Recent Posts in Training
Remember cooling vests? How about ice baths after workouts?
by on Monday, March 23, 2015

It looks like this is going to be a chilly post...

Do you remember cooling vests? I seem to recall them first coming to prominence around the time of the Athens Olympics in 2004. With the hot marathons, the American marathon teams used them with good results. Were the results pure coincidence or was there a connection? Likely, some of both.

I still see them being used at times in pre-competition settings, especially when it's going to be warm during the competition. The theory makes sense. Lower your core temperature and you'll perform better.

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My daily run thoughts
by on Saturday, March 21, 2015

In an effort to keep myself honest and get myself out there even if motivation is low I thought having a daily run blog would help. I also hope that it may inspire others and get them either running or become more consistent as well.

Today's run was uneventful - a short three miler at a 7:54 pace. It did feel very good - still a bit more of an effort than before my long break from running but not as tough as a week ago. (I started running again on 3/10/2015 after a five month hiatus.)

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Low carb, high fat (LCHF) diets and the runner
by on Thursday, March 19, 2015

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A little over a year ago, a coworker asked me for some advice. He was struggling with his long runs in preparation for the Boston marathon. We talked through things and all seemed fine. Then he mentioned that he had been trying the Paleo diet. While he had lost weight and was handling shorter runs at relatively low intensity well, he just couldn't sustain for his long runs.

Low carb, high fat (LCHF) is the latest trend in the diet world. Interestingly, it has not just your typical snake oil salesmen pushing it but it has some high profile names, most notably Tim Noakes (of Lore of Running* fame) promoting it. I greatly respect Noakes but, in this case, I couldn't disagree more.

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Long time off is over.
by on Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Due to a set of circumstances partly out of my control I lost five solid months of training. Coach Ryan has taught me how to make the past, "the past" and look forward. So, I have run seven of the last eight days - I think I am back it! Now of course they have all been about two miles and at a slow 8:00 minute per mile pace - but I am getting out there. I know that in a matter of weeks - things will start coming back nice and strong. Al's run is so important to me because of Team Hillrunner - I am focused strongly on that race and it is in fall - I have time.

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Coaches and placebos, avoiding muscle soreness
by on Monday, March 16, 2015

Coaches and placebos

Last year, I asked if the placebo effect is a bad thing. My point then being, if it helps you run faster, I don't care if it's placebo or a real effect. It helps you run faster and that's what matters.

It turns out I'm not alone. Coaches regularly use placebos in order to get performance gains.

Overall, the coaches are optimistic about placebo use in sports. Close to half of them, especially those coaching at higher levels of competition, may use it regularly while achieving positive results.
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The secret sauce
by on Thursday, March 12, 2015

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I bet Deena knows this "trick"

It seems like everyone is looking for it. What's that magical workout that will make you PR at your next race or beat that big rival who you just can't get ahead of? What's that one workout that all successful runners do? What's this or that coach's or athlete's go to workout?

I'll tell you my secret sauce. It's not mile repeats or progression runs or long runs. It's not something we do every week for three months. In fact, ask the runners I coach and they will tell you that I don't even like doing the same workout two weeks in a row.

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What shoes do you wear while not running?
by on Thursday, March 5, 2015

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I'm currently reading the book Tread Lightly*. In it, the authors mention the role the shoes you wear while not running play in your foot health and I'd like to bring this point up here because I think runners often overlook this point.

We runners are shoe geeks. At least many of us are. We can tell you all about the structural details of the shoes we have and probably even many shoes we don't have. We think about what these mean to the health of our feet and legs. We rightfully treat the topic as a big deal.

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Increasing stride rate
by on Monday, March 2, 2015

Can increasing your stride rate help you become a more injury resistant runner? Can you actually train yourself to increase your stride rate? It appears the answers just might be yes and yes.

I've been sitting on this study on increasing stride rate for a while because it never really seemed to fit but I wanted to write about it at some point because it did have interesting results.

In short, runners were given cues to help them improve stride rate by 7.5% over their natural stride rate. The test was to determine whether impact forces at foot plant and hip adduction (I often call this "hip drop", when the hip on the opposite side of your foot that is currently on the ground drops) could be reduced. Hip adduction is an important factor in things like ITBS and "runner's knee". So reducing this, as well obviously as reducing any forces at the time of foot plant, would be important in injury prevention.

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Obstacles to honesty
by on Thursday, February 19, 2015

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Last week, I posted about the importance of being honest with yourself. The runner I mentioned at the end of that post emailed me a few thoughts on that post. I think they were very good points and I'd like to address them here.

[S]ome runners won't want to admit to the start of an injury if they think their coach will severely curtail their workout.
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Be honest with yourself
by on Thursday, February 12, 2015

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Maybe "toughing it out" is worth it if you're in your goal race

When you're not feeling the greatest, what do you do? Do you just plow through? Or do you give some serious thought to how you're feeling and, if you feel necessary, adjust your training? At what point do you switch from just plowing through to adjusting? How long do you give yourself to return to normal training? Until you're feeling 100%? 90%? 80%? Less?

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