Coaches and placebos, avoiding muscle soreness

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original Blogs.

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.

Personally, I say good. While we don’t want coaches going around lying to their athletes, if they do something for an athlete saying this will help you run faster and the athlete does run faster, is that lying?

After a successful placebo intervention, only 15% of the coaches would administer it again without consulting the athlete.

To me, that’s a good sign. Coaches aren’t lying. They are using the placebo, then saying look at what you accomplished. You did this with the benefit of a placebo. Now, believe in yourself. Use the placebo if you wish because you believe in it but go into your next competition knowing what’s possible.

Avoiding muscle soreness

Alex Hutchinson at the Sweat Science blog has another good one. This time, about how to overcome muscle soreness.

Have you ever experienced the situation where some specific workout simply tore apart your legs and they were really sore for some time after? The next time you do the same workout, though, it’s not so bad. That’s called the "repeated bout effect" and it’s a real thing that can help us avoid soreness. Maybe not in that first workout but, if we use it right, possibly in races.

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