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.