Second wind

Second wind

Second wind is a phenomenon in distance running, such as marathons or road running (as well as other sports), whereby an athlete who is too out of breath and tired to continue suddenly finds the strength to press on at top performance with less exertion. The feeling may be similar to that of a "runner's high", the most obvious difference being that the runner's high occurs after the race is over. [cite web|title=Runner Glossary|publisher=Road Runner Sports|url=http://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/content/content.jsp?contentId=500063#r] Some scientists believe the second wind to be a result of the body finding the proper balance of oxygen to counteract the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. Others claim second winds are due to endorphin production, while still others believe it to be purely psychological.

Documented experiences of the second wind go back at least 100 years, when it was taken to be a commonly held fact of exercise. [cite web|title=The Energies of Men|author=William James|year=1907|url=http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/James/energies.htm] The phenomenon has come to be used as a metaphor for continuing on with renewed energy past the point thought to be one's prime, whether in other sports, careers, or life in general. [cite web|title=A Second Wind|publisher=Time|date=March 29, 1971|url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944328,00.html?promoid=googlep] [cite news|title=Capriati Barely Outlasts Hingis in a Well-Heated Match|author=Christopher Clarey|publisher=International Herald Tribune|date=January 28, 2002|url=http://www.iht.com/articles/2002/01/28/open_ed3__2.php] [cite news|title=Charles Gibson Enjoys a Second Wind on ABC|author=Jacques Steinberg|date=May 17, 2007|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/17/arts/television/17abc.html?ex=1337054400&en=113d1e659553d21c&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss|publisher=New York Times]

Hypotheses

Lactic acid

During exercise the glucose stored in muscles is converted to energy. Burning glucose produces lactic acid, which causes cramps. Oxygen counteracts the effects of lactic acid; if the runner does not take in enough oxygen, this results in increased heart rate, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

Some people's bodies may take more time than others to be able to balance the amount of oxygen they need to counteract the lactic acid. This theory of the second wind posits that, by pushing past the point of pain and exhaustion, runners may give their systems enough time to warm up and begin to use the oxygen to its fullest potential. For this reason, well-conditioned Olympic-level runners do not generally experience a second wind (or they experience it much sooner) because their bodies are trained to perform properly from the start of the race.cite news|publisher=Newsweek|date=July 27, 1992|author=Ozzie Gontang|title=Second Wind|url=http://stason.org/TULARC/sports/running/26-Second-Wind.html] [cite web|title=Performance Benefits of the Warm-Up|author=Jim Kramer|url=http://coaching.usolympicteam.com/coaching/kpub.nsf/v/Sep02-5|publisher=U.S. Olympic Team|date=September 2002]

Endorphins

Endorphins are credited as the cause of the feeling of euphoria and wellbeing found in many forms of exercise, so proponents of this theory believe that the second wind is caused by their early release. [cite web|title=Be Active For Your Mental Health|url=http://www.mhca.org.au/AboutMentalHealth/ExerciseForYourMentalHealth.html|publisher=Mental Health Council of Australia|year=2005] Many of these proponents feel that the second wind is very closely related to—or even interchangeable with—the runner's high. [cite book|title=Hal Higdon's Smart Running|pages=27|publisher=Rodale Books|year=1998|author=Hal Higdon|url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0875965350/]

Psychological

The second wind, like many other exercise-induced "highs", is increasingly suspected of being purely psychological; it is claimed by some to be a by-product of the confidence and pride one gains by passing one's supposed limitations. Studies have found similar results when researchers have simply offered encouragement to subjects during exercise. [cite web|title=The Reality of the "Runner's High"|url=http://www.sportsmedicine.upmc.com/MySportRunningHigh.htm#Endorphin|publisher=University of Pittsburgh Medical Center]

References


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