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.