Monday, December 27, 2010

Endurance Training Slows Top End Speed

From Matt Fitzgerald

The problem with this weightlifting expert’s argument is that the training required to increase your maximum sprint speed will reduce—sharply, in most cases—the percentage of maximum speed that can be sustained over long durations. So the runner who begins with a maximum speed of 18 mph and the ability to sustain 50 percent of that speed over 10K, and who then increases his or her maximum speed to 20 mph, is now able to sustain only 40 percent of his or her maximum speed over 10K and goes from a 41:20 10K runner to a 46:30 10K runner.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Coaching People Not Sports

From Vernon Gambetta

I am the coach of people not sports. Coaching sports is easy, that is the X's and O's, the sets and reps, the intervals, and anyone can learn that stuff in a book. Coaching people is tough; it demands understanding of what makes each athlete tick. You must never compromise your foundational beliefs. Know why you coach. Know why your athletes participate. Make sure your management or coaching style is your means of implementing your philosophy and remember the cornerstone of any effective coaching style is communication.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Less Volume, More Rest

From Healthynomics

Part of me wants to say that it has evolved tremendously, but much of the training in the United States remains dated, naive and backward. The over-reliance on volume without recovery still leads to a big problem of over training and athletes of all levels arriving to races fit, but tired. The positive is that there is a tide of change beginning to occur.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Less Thinking

From The Sport Factory

George Sheehan wrote, in Running to Win (1992), “of all the lessons sport teaches us about life, perhaps none is more dramatic than the danger of focusing on the outcome.” A part of our nature, we have a tendency to focus on winning or losing, success or failure. By focusing solely on the outcome, our enjoyment and our performance may suffer. A “don’t think, just run,” mentality keeps us focusing on putting one foot in front of the other, as fast as we can, rather than just thinking about the finish line.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

How Important is Lactate?

From PhysFarm

So, you may now be asking yourself, “Why should we even worry about lactate?” The answer is, we shouldn’t! I encourage my athletes and students to stop thinking in terms of lactate. Everyone does it, because it is so easy to measure. However, as you can see, it is really just a very indirect market of some much more important / interesting stuff that is going on in the body, most of which is not easy to measure without expensive gear. From the perspective of the average (or even professional) athlete, it is simply important to realize that you don’t want to be crossing CP with any significant frequency or for any significant duration if you are expecting to do your best in a triathlon, particularly a long course triathlon.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Don't Overthink

From Paulo Souza

The sport of triathlon is full of overthinkers. They overthink everything: nutrition, equipment and of course training. Proof of the existence of these overthinkers is the popularity of triathlon forums, with their endless pages of often pointless discussion. What makes overthinking an issue is that when athletes overthink, they lose focus. Focus on the truly important things: consistency, patience, long-term approach to development. This is a problem for many athletes, but I see it worse when coaches suffer from it. Too many coaches out there overthink their processes and “infect” their athletes with superfluous questioning of every step of the training process. The bottom line is that overthinking is synonym with underachieving.

A Look Inside Gait Analysis

From Running Times

A must-see video for all running coaches out there. This is a look inside at the University of Virginia's Centre for Endurance Sport and how they treat injured runners.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Different Athlete, Different Taper

From Running Times

Coaches and runners deal with individuals, while scientists deal with averages. As our elite coaches suggest, individualizing the taper is of the utmost importance. One way to conceptualize this is by thinking in terms of what makes up our muscles. As you may already be aware, human muscles consist of several different types of muscle fibers, which are broadly classified as slow-twitch (ST) or fast-twitch (FT) fibers. In general, the runners who are good at short and fast races have more FT fibers while the ultramarathoners have predominately ST fibers. Given our different mixture in the muscles, it makes sense why so many different peaking methods are recommended and why top coaches give different athletes different workouts. Even if they are training for the same event, our ST-laden ultrarunner is going to respond differently to a peak than our FT-heavy middle-distance runner.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Defining Run Economy

From My Tri Life

The point being: What we do know is that running economy tends to improve when we introduce the Progressive Overload Principle into our training. Why? Because progressive overload is what induces these adaptations.....No matter how you look at it, doing a lot of running at goal race pace, by itself, is not a factor in improving your running economy. It can only become a factor when the stimulus associated with training at goal race pace just so happens to be responsible for creating an overload and therefore eventually inducing an adaptation.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Drafting in the Swim: Feet or Hip


"The best position for a draft swimmer was found to be directly behind an active lead swimmer at a distance of 0.50 meters between the toes of lead swimmer and the hands of drafter, with significant reductions in both passive drag and oxygen uptake when drafting." Without having access to the entire study, we believe the conclusion is valid under the specific circumstance of swimming in a flat-water race in relatively clear conditions in a relatively straight course.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Avoiding the Overtraining Trap

From Fast at Forty

There is a very tenuous relationship between fitness and success and fitness and failure. When training is going well, it is so easy to push yourself over the limit by turning easy workouts into hard ones and making the hard workouts harder. Come on, you know you have gone out for an easy ride with the group and it turned into a slug-fest.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Look at Chris Lieto's Run


Ideally, the head is neutral with the lobe of the ear aligned with the shoulder joint, mid-trunk, trochanter, and slightly anterior to a mid-line through the knee and lateral malleolus (ankle). The goal in coaching is for athletes to achieve these positions “comfortably” by improving mobility, stability, flexibility while re-learning foundational (narrow adjustments) techniques.
Each year Chris has proficiently focused on improving and is a textbook and impressive example of someone who has worked elementary form and stability at a most consummate level.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Challenging Conventional Thinking on Weight/Reps

From Sweat Science

They found that the first (high weight, low reps) and third routines (low weight, high reps) were the same on most measures of protein synthesis, and the third routine was even better on some measures. Those new proteins being synthesized are what accumulate, over time, to produce bigger muscles. So as long as you’re lifting until can’t lift anymore, you’ll do as well or better with light weights as you would with heavy weights....This is some serious heresy being proposed, and it’s important to note that they didn’t actually observe bigger muscles, just cellular markers. The researchers themselves note that “a training study in which these distinctly different exercise loads are utilized is clearly warranted to confirm our speculation.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Running Tired: Mental Tools

From Bobby McGee

Focusing on anything other than that which can propel you forward faster during fatigued running can be called lost focus. Focusing on fatigue, or trying to think dissociatively, i.e. of something else to get your mind off the task at hand, when racing or running hard, leads to reduced access to fitness & ability. Focusing on how you are running (the mechanical movements) is also ineffectual, as this is a cognitive process that occurs so much slower (it is chemical), than the natural (electrical) flow of a reflex (unconscious) action. Thoughts on getting limbs & body into optimal position to gain maximum benefit from power application & elastic return are excellent ways to focus. Focusing on a feeling or image is also very powerful, especially when fresh. At the start of an endurance race, focus on mood words like, easy, smooth, powerful, relaxed, will help you to not interfere cognitively with your body’s natural ability to perform. In triathlon this would be relevant mostly in the swim & on the bike if a draft legal event. However, when fatigue sets in, it becomes useful to think objectively about what to do, especially if your form has deteriorated.

Climbing on the Bike: Sit or Stand

From Joe Friel

I was asked in a tweet last week if a rider should sit or stand when climbing a hill on a bike. I wish I could give a one-word answer, but that isn’t possible. As I’ve said so many times here in responding to reader questions, my answer must often start with “it depends.” This one is no difference. Here’s what this answer depends on…

Monday, August 9, 2010

Most Common Run Problem: Cadence

From Running Times

And while there is no perfect form, there are basic elements of good form, including landing over your center of gravity, a light, rapid cadence, minimal lateral rotation and, easier to spot than quantify, relaxed body position. What deviations from this basic model do experts most often see?

Daniels says that in young and old runners alike he's worked with, "The most common form problem was stride rate --bounding over the ground too slowly, with long strides. Runners are often told to work on a long stride, but that is more a function of getting fitter rather than just doing it. I never had a runner perform worse when I felt they needed a faster rhythm and they actually did learn to use a faster cadence."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tendon Problems and Answers

From Endurance Corner

Loosely defined, a tendon injury which goes on for months (or years -- anyone?) with associated tenderness, limitation to range of motion and overall function may be determined to be a tendinosis. Tendinosis implies the tendon is no longer actively inflamed, but instead its tissue has entered a static phase characterized by fibrous tissue replacing healthy tendon. The situation may even be made worse by anti-inflammatory medications.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Big vs Small Athletes

From Endurance Corner

While it may seem so, the message here is not lose weight and get small at all costs. The greatest proportion of the vast majority of IM races is made up of relatively flat cycling. As previously mentioned, the prime determinant in your performance here is power:frontal area. Your frontal area is relatively fixed by your body frame and dimensions. Therefore, you need the right size engine for your chassis in order to be an effective flat cyclist and ironman. However, if you are an athlete with a larger chassis, choosing flatter, cooler courses may prove beneficial to your relative performance.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fueling is Different for Males and Females

From NY Times

Why women respond differently seems obvious. Women are, after all, awash in the hormone estrogen, which, some new science suggests, has greater effects on metabolism and muscle health than was once imagined. Some studies have found that postmenopausal women who take estrogen replacement have healthier muscles than postmenopausal women who do not. Even more striking, in several experiments, researchers from McMaster University in Canada gave estrogen to male athletes and then had them complete strenuous bicycling sessions. The men seemed to have developed entirely new metabolisms. They burned more fat and a smaller percentage of protein or carbohydrates to fuel their exertions, just as women do.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thrive in the Heat

From TriFuel

Nothing will slow you down or stop you like heat and humidity. As the temperatures rise in June and July, so does the number of heat-related problems experienced by triathletes. Most experts agree that your body will acclimatize to heat and humidity - mostly in the first two to three weeks of exposure, and maximally after about two months. However there is a genetic limit on how much you can acclimatize.

We can't all have the genetic gifts and ability that Dave Scott and Mark Allen had to tolerate the scorching heat and stifling humidity in the lava fields of Kona! But there are ways to improve the ability of the body to tolerate extreme temperatures and to move the process along by cautiously increasing your exposure to heat and humidity. The payoff will be safer and more tolerable running, swimming and cycling when training and racing. (click from link for full article)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What Affects Fatigue Resistance

From Educated Runner

If you tell an elite African runner to run as far as possible at an intensity of 90 percent of maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max), he/she will often be able to race a half-marathon at that level of effort. But, if you provide the same instructions for an elite American or European distance runner, he/she will be able to run for only six or seven miles before slowing down. The elite African has greater fatigue resistance - an enhanced capacity to perform at a high intensity for a sustained period of time without diminishing pace.

(Editor's Note: The article goes on to discuss glycogen capacity, heat disapation, stretch-shortening of the muscle, and neural drive.)

Finding the Sweet Spot

From Training Peaks

So then, how do you go about creating your own optimal training formula? It is an ongoing process which requires that you pay close attention to your training and your body with a view toward connecting cause and effect so you can then discard training patterns that yield poor results and retain training patterns that yield good results. This is easier said than done, as there are myriad factors that affect how you feel and perform in training and races, but the three most important factors by far are overall volume, volume of high-intensity training and periodization system.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

No Reason to Slow Down at Fifty

From Globe and Mail

If it's acute injuries, not wear and tear, that lead to arthritis, you may expect running to be in the clear – and indeed that's what a series of recent studies have concluded. In a Stanford University study published last year in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that followed subjects for 18 years starting in 1984, researchers found that 20 per cent of the runners developed knee arthritis, compared with 32 per cent of non-runners.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Excellent Energy Cycle Summary

From Dr. Stephen Roth

Contrary to popular opinion, lactate or, as it is often called, lactic acid buildup is not responsible for the muscle soreness felt in the days following strenuous exercise. Rather, the production of lactate and other metabolites during extreme exertion results in the burning sensation often felt in active muscles, though which exact metabolites are involved remains unclear. This often painful sensation also gets us to stop overworking the body, thus forcing a recovery period in which the body clears the lactate and other metabolites.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Finding the Right Load

From Alan Couzens

The more astute coaches have recognized that different athletes respond differently to the same load and rather than adhering to "what we’ve always done" have tailored their programs to the particulars of the athlete.... With the advent of dose-response modelling techniques, these differences in the individual athlete’s rate of adaptation to a given load have for the first time been able to be quantified. This is a big part of what I do as a coach. I prescribe load, see how the individual athlete responds and then "tweak" the individual athlete’s constants so that I can come up with the best combination of load that will lead to the highest performance on a given date.

Run Till It's Time to Race

From Bobby McGee

In every endurance event, 1st race to your ability & fitness levels & then, when you have gone as far & as fast as your physiology & pacing have allowed, then race & beat everyone around you, knowing that these athletes will include many with greater capabilities. In this way precious few with less talent will finish ahead of you. And many with more ability will end behind you – those who have less fortitude than that which you forged in the fire of ownership & hard graft.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why Muscles Fatigue


Each of the causes of running fatigue are separate, but they work together to make sure your body maintains sufficient strength and balance to insure both your safety and the successful completion of your goal.

Muscle Fatigue: During exercise your myofibrils can lose their ability to contract...because your muscles begin to accumulate phosphate ions, especially during sprinting events, which depresses both the sensitivity of the calcium and your muscles ability to produce force.

Metabolic Fatigue:High running speeds leads to a lot of potassium building up outside your cells, which depresses the ability of your cells to create that electrical charge. So your muscles begin to fatigue.

Energy Depletion: ...
Central Nervous System Fatigue: ...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Power to Weight Ratio

From Joe Friel

The typical, high-performance, male triathlete is in the range of 2.1 to 2.3 pounds per inch (0.38-0.41 kg/cm) with high-performance female triathletes generally being 1.9 to 2.1 pounds per inch (0.34-0.38 kg/cm). In road racing the best male climbers are typically 2.0 pounds per inch (0.36 kg/cm) or less. Top female climbers are under 1.8 (0.32 kg/cm). Of course, there are always exceptions such as Lance Armstrong who is about 2.1 pounds per inch (0.38 kg/cm). He overcomes his greater weight by having even greater power.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Top Up Carbs to Feed Brain

From Canadian Running

So it seems pretty clear: you only need supplemental carbs for a one-hour exercise bout if you haven’t topped up your carb supplies beforehand. There are two ways your body stores glycogen: in your muscles (which is then used exclusively by your muscles), and in your liver (which feeds glucose into your bloodstream to fuel your heart and brain and keep blood sugar levels stable). When you sleep overnight, your muscle glycogen stays relatively stable, but your liver glycogen drops by more than 50 percent (because your brain and heart are still running all night). So the researchers believe that, if you don’t have a pre-exercise meal, the sports drink is needed to make up for your depleted liver glycogen stores.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Manage Your Training Load


Consider the following things when you develop your training plan:

  • Recognize that recovery—allowing your trained muscles/tissues time to heal—is more important than the training itself. Appropriate recovery does not necessarily mean a “day-off.”
  • Training less often with ambition towards competitive results REQUIRES that every single training/recovery session be thoughtfully designed and examined for efficiency.
  • Nutrition is key. If your training volume decreases, be aware of your caloric intake as well as the composition of those calories. Should it be the same?
  • Proper technique can not be over-emphasized!!! If you are training with poor technique, training less often with poor technique could be disastrous. CONSULT AN EXPERT before you decide to be a minimalist.

The Down Side of Stretching


As people age there is a physiologic decrease in flexibility and joint range of motion. Many older people can improve their functioning and quality of life by stretching. In addition, I am reminded every time I watch my daughter’s gymnastics team practice that there are some sports one cannot do if one doesn’t have sufficient flexibility. However, in my sports medicine practice, I increasingly see many patients who are too flexible and their joints have become unstable. When the joint becomes unstable (as we often see in swimmer’s shoulder) there is an increased risk of overuse injury or dislocation because joint motion is excessively increased.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Downhill Running Technique

From Bobby McGee

This week I am delving into downhill running. There’s so much to say about this topic & so many struggle to gain the full advantage of gravity in races. 1stly I used to agree that “letting go” was a good idea in short races, but now I think down hills need to be “run” to gain full advantage. It helps to push the arms out a little wider during descents for balance & stability & also to open the elbow angle somewhat, lengthening the arm lever to keep the kinetic chain intact while taking longer strides. BUT I THINK A HIGHER STRIDE RATE IS THE ANSWER – this provides more control & less fatigue. Lean off the line of gravity as the vertical, rather than off 90* being vertical on the level.

Run Training: Tempo vs Intervals

From Owen Anderson

After 10 weeks, the runners from both groups ran 800-meter and 10-K races. In these competitions, the interval-trained runners fared far better than the tempo-tutored harriers. For example, the interval-based runners improved 800-meter time by an average of 11.2 seconds and bettered previous 10-K times by 2.1 minutes......As Snell pointed out in a telephone interview with Running Research News, "Perhaps the best way to train is to spend the maximum-possible amount of time running at a pace which is closely related to the demands (or pace) of the race you're shooting for, without getting overtrained."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lacking Motivation or Rest?


(Editor's Notes: An excellent article looking at the question 'Is it fatigue or motivation?'. Here is the take home summary but I encourage you to read the whole article.)

Start warming up and see how you feel 5 to 10 minutes into the workout. If you feel better and forgot you were tired, then you probably just needed to harden up! If you feel worse and/or that you cannot maintain proper form, then take it to the house with no guilt and focus on rest and recovery.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Muscular Regeneration Review


This process continues until the damaged muscle fibers are completely regenerated.
The benefits of this complex process are numerous. When looking at muscle-cell regrowth in sedentary muscles, the muscle fibers seem to regenerate in a random orientation and remain relatively immature.

However, if the muscle fibers are cyclically exposed to various loads of stress and tension, they become well aligned, take up greater amounts of amino acids and synthesize more proteins. Other physiological benefits to training include an increase in intracellular mitochondria (the powerhouses of the cell), the number of capillaries, total blood flow and total oxygen-consumption capacity, leading to a profound rise in muscle metabolic activity. These increases yield a more well-developed and fatigue-resistant muscle.

Analyzing Run Technique


As you might guess, the primary focus is on the hip position. So depending on how the athlete ran is the first observation, we're often working on pulling their butt in / pushing hips forward and/or rotating the hips forward and/or generally straightening the athlete up into better alignment. Using a combination of skipping, hopping, bounding or similar drills can emphasize the position we're after from where we try to extrapolate that into full running motion. Start with a focus on the small aspects and build that into the full puzzle.

Active vs Passive Recovery

From Dr. Gabe Mirkin

Research data comparing active and passive recovery are scant. I am amazed at how few quality studies are available to answer this question. New training methods are developed by athletes and coaches. Then when these athletes win competitions, scientists do studies to show why the new training methods are more effective. A recent report from The University of Western Australia shows that runners recover faster by taking a relaxed swimming workout 10 hours after high intensity interval running, rather than just resting (International Journal of Sports Medicine, January 2010). However, in another study, runners recovered strength and power faster aftr a marathon by resting for five days compared to those who ran slowly (Journal of Applied Physiology, December 1984).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Focus on Posture At Start of Run

From Owen Anderson

(Editor's Note: It's a long article with a lot of obvious observations and some debatable recommendations. That said, still worth the read to challenge your viewpoint. Below is one worthwhile reminder.)

Perhaps the only consistent difference in running form during the bike-run transition (compared with regular running) is that athletes tend to run with a more 'stooped' posture - ie with their upper bodies inclined forwards(13). This 'death-march' style may be a sign of delayed adjustment from the forward-leaning style of cycling; alternatively it could reflect fatigue. However you explain it, the forward slump probably produces a dip in economy and may be responsible, at least in part, for the 1-12% drop in running efficiency commonly observed during the bike-run transition.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Listen to Your Body to Find the Right Balance

From Sport Science

The available evidence suggests that combining large volumes of low-intensity training with careful use of high-intensity interval training throughout the annual training cycle is the best-practice model for development of endurance performance.

It may be a hard pill to swallow for some exercise physiologists, but athletes and coaches do not need to know much exercise physiology to train effectively. They do have to be sensitive to how training manipulations impact athlete health, daily training tolerance, and performance, and to make effective adjustments.

No Medals for Lab Results

From Paulo Souza

The goal of training is to improve performance, not % of fat burning. And contrary to what the myth believers will tell you, improved fat burning does not translate to gains in performance. Improved fat utilization is the consequence of becoming more fit and not the other way around....Even if an athlete never trained in the “maximum fat burning zone”, as long as her fitness improved or/and her % of dietary body fat increased, she would still have improved fat burning ability at absolute intensities....This means that fitness and diet, not training, will determine how much fat you will burn.

Pre-Workout Stretching Hurts Endurance Performance


Performance was significantly greater in the nonstretching (6.0 +/- 1.1 km) vs. the stretching (5.8 +/- 1.0 km) condition (p < 0.05), with significantly greater energy expenditure during the stretching compared with the nonstretching condition (425 +/- 50 vs. 405 +/- 50 kcals). Our findings suggest that stretching before an endurance event may lower endurance performance and increase the energy cost of running.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Muscular Strength Exercise Increases Fatigue Resistance

From Running Research News

...there is good reason to believe that resistance training might give muscle cells a hand with their hydrogen problems. One key is that vigorous, high-rep strength training has been shown to produce a large drop in intramuscular pH and a significant rise in blood-lactate concentration - similar to the changes which occur during high-intensity running (5). These "signals" associated with resistance training may act as they do after top-quality running, producing appropriate muscular adaptations and upgrades in hydrogen-handling capacity.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's the Terrible Too's More than the Shoes

From The Science of Sport

"Shoes, running technique and so forth are factors in injuries, yes, but the only factor that is KNOWN to cause injury is training too long, too hard, too soon (or combinations of the three) is key and any runner who trains at the right level for their history and circumstances (this is where strength, flexibility, stability come into it), will not get injured."

Monday, March 22, 2010

More Support for Non-Linear Periodization


To achieve the study's equivalent results by endurance training you'd need to complete over 10 hours of continuous moderate bicycling exercise over a two-week period. The "secret" to why HIT (high-intensity interval training) is so effective is unclear. However, the study by Gibala and co-workers also provides insight into the molecular signals that regulate muscle adaptation to interval training. It appears that HIT stimulates many of the same cellular pathways that are responsible for the beneficial effects we associate with endurance training.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Obey the Signs of Overtraining

From Human Kinetics

No device can measure your recovery status and readiness to train hard any better than your own body can. When your body is poorly recovered from recent hard training, you can always feel it. And when factors outside of your training, such as lack of sleep or job stress, compromise your capacity to perform, you can always feel that. Before you even lace up your shoes, you know that you’re not going to have a good day because of the heaviness, sluggishness, soreness, or low motivation you feel. Your body itself is an exquisitely crafted piece of technology whose primary function is self-preservation....It’s important that you learn to recognize these symptoms and get in the habit of obeying them.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Strike One for Objectivity

The Educated Runner

(Editor: This, from Owen Anderson, is simply the best summary of the barefoot running issue I've seen. As always, click the link above to read the full article.)’s important to remember that most injuries in running are caused by an imbalance between the strain and micro-damage experienced by a muscle or connective tissue during training and the tissue’s ability to recover from such stress. This imbalance can occur when training is conducted shod – or barefooted! A weak or overly tight hamstring muscle which has been undone by excessive mileage won’t care if its owner was running barefooted or wearing shoes – it will still feel the pain.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Approaching the New Season


Know why you do what you do and what satisfaction you get out of it. Realistically plan how much effort you can expend and stick to it. Don't expect instant success - you've got to work on your weaknesses, while not ignoring your strengths. Draw satisfaction from the fact that you did your best honestly and with respect for others. Follow these tips and you can definitely make the most out of your training and racing this year.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Where Does the Lactic Acid Go?


What really happens to lactic acid after you hang up your running shorts to dry? Pure and
simple, most of the stuff is simply oxidized, i. e., broken down to water and carbon dioxide, with a consequent vast release of fuel for cellular processes. Your heart loves to see you do your lactate stackers, because it snacks on the resulting lactic acid at a feverish pitch after the workout is over. Your muscles, too, get into the act, using lactic acid at high rates, at least partially to kick-start the post-workout recovery process. It is now believed that 70 percent of the lactic acid which floods your blood after a spiky workout is oxidized; 20 percent is probably converted to glucose (which can then be used for glycogen formation), and-somewhat surprisingly to many-about 10 percent is utilized to make protein.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cautious With Results of New Running Study

From The Science of Sport

...changing how you run, whether by technique training or a change in shoes (like running barefoot) will load muscles that may be very weak, and joints and tendons well beyond their means. If however, you are a habitually barefoot runner, then you can do this, because your body has been prepared for it. For everyone else, I think we may be underestimating the time it will take to transition successfully to barefoot running (or forefoot striking, if you're going to force that change 'unnaturally').

And there is my point - taking this kind of interesting study, and dispensing advice, is a risky business. As a friend pointed out yesterday - the media's interpretation of this study will be a "stimulus plan for physical therapists and podiatrists".

Friday, January 29, 2010

Balancing Run Volume and Intensity


Since the only way to truly maximize running mileage is to forgo high-intensity training, I believe that overemphasizing mileage is a mistake. Most runners will get the best results by finding a balance between quality (intensity) and quantity (volume). So the adaptive running approach is to do as much running at various faster speeds as you can do without seriously limiting the total running volume you can absorb, and to do as much total running as you can do without seriously limiting the amount of high-intensity running you can absorb. Naturally, the precise formula is different for each runner, and finding it requires experimentation.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Science Needs to Step Up

From is clear that the differing effects of the mid-foot strike and rear-foot strike on ground-reaction forces, rotational forces, and muscle and tendon strain in various parts of the leg during running are not yet well-understood....this is one area in which scientific investigating has been rather deficient.

(Editor's Note: We all know that a mid-foot strike is faster and more efficient. Considering the size of the running market, it's interesting that science has yet to come up with concise proof. The fact remains as well that anyone transitioning from a rear strike to mid foot, must do so with great care.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Muscle Mass is Never a Bad Thing


.....there is some research support that shows that total muscle mass in endurance athletes is correlated with VO2max, and performance in weight supported aerobic events (e.g. Kerr et al., 2007, Mikulic, 2008).... the lighter runners with an appropriate muscle mass for their small frame will be the fastest runners but this isn’t your choice. When it comes to frame, you’re born with what you’re born with. An athlete with a larger frame who attempts to hit the same weight as an athlete with a small frame puts himself in exactly the same position as an athlete who puts on 10lb of fat during the off-season, i.e. a higher proportion of his weight (in this case bone) is not movement producing.

In conclusion, aerobic muscle mass is never a bad thing and for many athletes, the absence of sufficient muscle mass for their frame may be limiting. For this reason, appropriate strength training (with a focus on ‘aerobic strength development’ is an integral part of high performance endurance training.