Coach’s Corner: Breaking The Barrier

breaking the barrier

Breaking the barrier is the secret of the 11th minute. If you have tried running and quit after just a few minutes because of how awful it felt, I have good news for you. The first 10 minutes are the hardest, and it gets much better after that.  Here’s why. 

Breaking the barrier is getting your second wind and overcoming

When you first start running, your body tries to get all the oxygen it needs from the air.  Your lungs are struggling to take in as much oxygen as your muscles need, and your heart is struggling to pump all that oxygenated blood to keep up with what the muscles need. When you are out of breath and your heart is beating rapidly, that’s when running feels the hardest.  But that feeling soon passes.

Within a few minutes, your body will switch to breaking down carbohydrates and fat to get the oxygen it needs.  Once that happens, your heart rate and your breathing will settle down.  Meanwhile, synovial fluid will start lubricating your joints. You will feel your stride get smoother. All of this takes about 10 minutes.  The trick to feeling good while running is to make it to the 11th minute.  And that is breaking the barrier.

If you’re thinking, “I can’t run that long,” my answer is don’t. Instead, start out very slowly.  Jog at an easy pace.  Take walking breaks if you need to. Just keep moving at a pace you can hold for at least 10 minutes.  Pay attention to the changes in your body. As your heart rate and breathing slow down, and your muscles loosen up, this movement will not only feel good, it will feel empowering.  

You will prove to yourself that you can get past a temporary barrier and keep moving confidently forward.

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