The Most Effective Way to Run Farther Than You Thought Possible

Devin Arrigo

It’s not about shoes, technique, or even recovery

Photo by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash

I have a lot of crazy ideas when I run.

Quitting my job and living in a van. Fighting off an imaginary mountain lion on my trail run. And even ways to run farther than I have before.

My brain is usually all over the place. But the last of which I’ve spent hours trying to figure out, particularly as I’m struggling to finish the last mile of a run.

“Why the hell am I getting tired after just 5 miles when yesterday I crushed 10 miles without an inkling of fatigue?”

After hours and hours of racking my brain, I finally cracked the code:

The key to running farther than you thought possible is managing expectations. Regardless of the distance, our brains will fight fatigue and take control of our bodies in order to help us reach our goal.

If I expect to run 15 miles, my body will fight fatigue as long as possible to get me through 15 miles. That said, I may start fatiguing at mile 13. For a 5-mile run, the same is true — I’ll just fatigue at mile 4. The difference is the distance I expected to run.

Expectations drive performance

Notice that I didn’t mention the type of shoes that I wore, what watch I ran with, how well recovered I was, or even my running technique.

Sure, these things can impact my overall performance. But one of the biggest predictors of the distance I’m able to run is the expectation I set before the actual run.

If I expect to run 15 miles, my body may start fatiguing around mile 10–12. However, if I plan to run 5 miles, I may start to break down around mile 3 or 4.

It’s All Mental

Running is as much a mental sport as it is a physical one. While the physical ability to cover a certain distance is necessary, oftentimes you’ll have to stretch your limits to see just how far you can go. That’s where the mental games come in.

When you want to push the boundaries of what’s possible, you have to set the right expectations.

When you set the expectation of how far you’re going to run, your brain will do everything in its power to make sure you succeed.

Whether ‘longer’ for you is one mile, 5 miles, or even 20 miles, your brain is your biggest asset. By simply setting the expectation that you’re going to run longer than you have before, you’re bound to succeed. While you may not be the exact goal, chances are you’ll go farther than you have before.

Once you can take advantage of the incredible power that comes with setting expectations, you’ll be unstoppable and running longer than you ever thought possible.

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Marathon runner | Triathlete | Personal growth addict | Writing about creative ways to become a better human being.

Los Angeles, CA

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