There are two kinds of people in this world. People in the class of Usain Bolt who can run distances of up to tens of kilometers with a sweet smile on their lips, and those who can run even a kilometer, it’s like meeting death.
Running strength can actually be trained through regular and intense training. But when you’ve been practicing a lot and still don’t have the strength to run long distances, maybe it’s time to reflect. There are a number of physical characteristics that could be the reason why you run out of breath quickly when just running to the supermarket near your house, while your next-door friend wins a subscription to the 200-kilometer ultramarathon .
People who can run long distances have special genes in their bodies
In a study published in the journal PLOS One, a team of Spanish researchers found that genetics can greatly determine a person’s success rate in reaching the finish line in a marathon competition.
Researchers observed the physical condition of 71 people who had participated in a marathon running competition at least once in the last three years and were physically fit, had no history of any disease. Then blood samples of the study participants were taken for further investigation, and the extent of their muscle breakdown after running was also observed.
Researchers found that in addition to the determination to train strength running, long-distance runners have a special genetic code that allows their bodies to produce less creatine kinase and myoglobin, which are proteins in the blood linked to muscle breakdown. This compound is released by the body when muscles become tense or damaged after prolonged use, such as during a marathon.
Just for the record, to complete a marathon, you need about 30,000 steps, while your feet will hold up to 1.5 to 3 times your body weight at each step.
Thus, when there is major damage to muscle fibers, you will feel tired more quickly. On the other hand, the runner’s body that has this particular gene releases very little of these proteins. This means they experience less muscle damage while running. It is this gene that makes some people run better than others.
People who are strong in long-distance running have a longer leg bone structure
Shorter, stronger legs will generally display better running ability, but this only applies to the acceleration stage at the start of the race. Meanwhile, people with longer legs usually have longer strides. This is an advantage in the mid-race stage when they have reached the highest running speed, which must be maintained until the finish line.
Researchers at Penn University used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) imaging images of the feet of competitive runners, who had at least three years of experience in sprinting competitions. They found that these professional sprinters had forefoot bones that were up to 6.2 percent longer than the non-sprint group of runners.
Researchers also found that the Achilles tendon (the large vein at the back of the ankle that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone) also has a different structure. The Achilles tendon serves to lift the heel, such as when we stand on tiptoe or apply the brakes. The short “lever-arm” of the Achilles tendon of sprinters was found to be 12 percent shorter than that of non-sprinters. The “arm-lever” length is the distance between the Achilles tendon to the center of rotation of the ankle bones.
Long-distance runners must be able to generate very high leg muscle strength in relation to their body mass, in the very short time their feet touch the ground. The shorter length of the Achilles tendon “lever-arm” and longer toe bones allow the runner to generate greater contact force between the sole of the foot and the ground, and to maintain that force for a longer time. This running technique uses less energy, and therefore also consumes less oxygen, which can save you energy during your run.
But it’s still unclear whether it’s regular training that changes the structure of the legs, or whether some people are just born with a “runner” physique. What is clear, these physical characteristics can really provide an advantage for runners to produce greater strength during long distance running.
Strong people running long distances have a healthier lifestyle
Even if you are blessed with genes and trained extraordinarily to have a running speed like Usain Bolt, poor lifestyle principles can prevent you from achieving your best running ability. Poor nutrition that gives you empty calories without essential nutrients can actually slow your body down.
Failure to meet the needs of body fluids with water will not make the body able to display its optimal performance. Inadequate rest and poor sleep habits can rob your body of fitness.
Eating fresh food, drinking plenty of water, rest, and adequate post-workout recovery techniques are the keys to achieving the most perfect distance running ability.