getting buff

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Oxygen debt and second winds

Further to my earlier comments I have dug out the Runners World complete guide to try and find the reference that I half remembered. They say this (in talking about the concept of a second wind:

The most common theory goes something like this: when yu start exercising, your muscles burn glycogen as fuel. This requires oxygen. Your body has a limited amount of stored oxygen, and it burns it quickly. After that, if your body can't supply enough oxygen to your muscles, the muscles break down glycogen without oxygen, or anaerobically. This produces lactic acid. You're in oxygen debt, and you feel awful - your muscles burn, your heart beats quickly. Second wind, that welcome flush of relief, occurs when the body finally begins to supply enough oxygen to your muscles.

The term catch up is important when we talk about second wind....'When you go from total inactivity to heading out on a run, you create an oxygen debt. The payback in an unconditioned individual can be uncomfortable.'

Because their more efficient systems can supply their muscles with a steady stream of oxygen, fit athletes avoid oxygen debt... and never experience second wind."

I am definitely an unconditioned runner and this seems to describe what happens on my runs. I start out with a brisk walk and feel fine. After a couple of minutes I feel dreadful and then as my body adjusts to providing more oxygen to my muscles I feel good again. It is pretty noticeable because the whole cycle takes place in the space of about 20 minutes. Hopefully as my training improves, my ability to make the transition efficiently from not exercising to running will also improve.


You may be unconditioned - but you will be amazed at how quickly you improve with patience and consistency ;-)

Keep up the great work Deege - I remember being where you are (and it wasn't that long ago), every week is a PB so enjoy each one of them. You'll have a great time six months from now looking back at where you have come from.....
The longer you keep on running the more efficient you'll get at running and it will take longer before you feel dreadful, if at all. Persevere because it is worth it! Have a great weekend and enjoy your running!
If it makes you feel any better I really feel the first 10-20 minutes of every run I do - I feel like crap, my legs feel like lead and I ask myself why the hell I am doing this. As a very inexperienced runner (only a few months long)sometimes the runs are hard but then sometimes I feel so fantastic at the end that I am literally on a high - This is why I keep going. You're going great guns Deege so keep it up!!!

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