How do we get fitter?

I'm doing w5r3 tomorrow, the first 20 minute run without a walk break, and like many others before me cannot believe I will do it, but the plan says I will, so I WILL!

But does anyone know how it works, how do we go from barely able to do one minute to about to do 20? Yes I know we get fitter, but HOW? What happens in the body to enable us to increase our output so much?

Skip

Featured Content

Join the NHS Couch to 5K community

Couch to 5K has been designed to get you off the couch and running 5km in just 9 weeks

Start today!

Featured by HealthUnlocked

17 Replies

oldest โ€ข newest
  • I've just done week 5 run 2 today and can't see how I'll get from 8 mins up to 20 but I've thought that all along and it just seems to work its magic! lol

  • Let me know how you do!

  • How - you are building strength and stamina in your body and resilience in your mind. Each week stretches you just a little more than the last, each successful run encourages you to keep going. ๐ŸŒป

  • The body adapts to suit what is required of it.

    It's a brilliant work of evolutionary genius. We don't use our leg muscles much, there is no point wasting valuable potentially scarce resources on maintaining big strong leg muscles. So blood supply is reduced, and the muscles weaken. Same is true of all the muscles.

    Then we start training. Now the muscles are doing more. That same evolutionary genius kicks in. Muscle fibres tear. They have to be repaired. The body heals them, but the repair is stronger than the original so it's better able to cope with the new activity level. To speed this process, blood supply is increased. The cardiovascular system is also under increased load, so it to adapts in the same way.

    We rest after exercise to enable this process to happen. But before it can all atrophy again, we do the same again but with slightly increased intensity or duration, which we can, because the previous round has conditioned us. Thus gradually, following a cycle of activity then rest, along with good nutrition and hydration, we gradually become fitter.

  • Brilliant, thank you! :-)

  • Reading back what I wrote, I should point out that the tears I referred to are micro tears. Literally microscopic injuries that don't tear right through a muscle.

    This is different to what people are usually referring to when they say they have a muscle tear or strain. That kind of tear is bad. That's an actual larger tear right through multiple fibres. The former is normal and might cause a mild ache or soreness for a day or two. The latter is an injury and needs to be treated as such.

  • Understood :-)

  • Nicely put MrD!!!

  • Thanks :)

  • Probably the best explanation of over compensation I've read. Nice one MrDecrepit

  • Good luck foreverendeavour...

    Start nice and steady, think of it in five minute chunks..you can do them...and just keep on running..

    You can do it..you are ready๐Ÿ˜Ž..

  • Thank you!!! :-) :-)

  • That's exactly what I did. I saw it as 4 5min chunks, which seemed to make it more doable. I think at this stage it is more a mental challenge than a physical one. You can do it!

  • I did wk5 r3 two days ago and like lots of others I thought it must be a mistake when I first saw the 20 minutes of running! I found all the posts on here so helpful and it was just like everyone said - it really is all about mental attitude. I've never run for 20 minutes before and I couldn't see how it would be possible but physically it was surprisingly do-able. A few minutes in I was aware I was doubting myself.. 'I can't do this.. I can't keep going for 20 mins'. As soon as I heard myself think that I knew I had to nip that in the bud so I started saying to myself 'I CAN do it!' - and I did! Hoping that will work just as well in the next weeks, it probably doesn't do to think I've got it sussed at this stage ;-) Enjoy your run!

  • Thank you! Just recovering from my r3/20 minutes, it was immensely hard but I did it, I bleedin did it! Looked ahead in trepidation to w6r1 and can't wait, though I can't believe I'm saying this, it will seem easy!!

  • Yay well done you! Enjoy feeling smug/proud :-) I'll be starting wk6 tomorrow :-)

  • Did w5r3 a few days ago. Like yourself I went out apprehensive about running a full 20 mins but after a bit I just got into a rhythm and just kept on keeping on. One foot in front of the other and before you know it you are done. It is totally doable. You CAN do it ๐Ÿ‘

You may also like...