Running is a great sport to get in shape, burn some steam, and build muscles. But, have you ever wondered what your body goes through on a 30-minute run? Whether you're a newbie or an experienced runner, notice how your body changes from beginning to end next time you hit the pavement. Understanding what your body goes through will help you become a stronger runner.
The First Few Seconds of Your Run
As you begin to run, your muscles start using adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the energy molecules your body makes from food. Trust me, using ATP is a great thing. That surge of adrenaline is the ATP converting to another powerful molecule, adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Your muscle cells will change ADP back into ATP after that initial surge.
The First 90 Seconds of Your Run
During this time, you'll be establishing your stride. In order to release more ATP, your cells begin to break down glycogen, a form of glucose (fuel) stored in your muscles. Cells will pull glucose directly from your blood, which results in lower blood sugar levels.
As your body uses more glucose and your muscles unleash lactic acid (also known as 'the burn'), your brain will alert you that you're under physical stress. Don't panic. It's not a bad thing.
The Next Few Minutes of Your Run (and Beyond)
If you're a new runner, this is where it may become tricky to maintain your running pace. Don't give up. Keep pushing yourself. Your heart will begin to beat faster. Blood will start to moves toward your muscles and away from other organs that are not requiring energy. It takes an influx of oxygen to make the best use of your glucose at this time. At this point, you'll begin to breathe heavily.
Once you feel comfortable in your stride (remember you were establishing it in the previous step), your gluteus maximus (also known as your butt), legs and core, work to keep your form controlled, and upright. Your hip joints will extend so your feet can push off the ground. In short, you'll be running.
The burning of glycogen and oxygen tends to spike your body temperature. This is when you'll begin to sweat. Again, don't panic. Your sweat glands release moisture to keep you from overheating.