Fascia, drafting as a placebo, dangers of tapering

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

Another interesting batch of links this week in my opinion. Let’s jump right in.


Most of us probably don’t think about our fascia short of that one well known part of it that runs along the bottom of our feet. However, it is extremely abundant throughout our bodies and important in so many ways.

Running Times had a good primer on it that I came across this week. I’d consider this a must read. I’m partly including it here so I can reference it myself and read it again.

Is drafting a placebo?

That’s the question Alex Hutchinson asked in one of his Sweat Science blog posts from this past week.

As usual, I think Hutchinson has a great point when he says there is a difference between placebo and avoiding mental fatigue. Just because something may not be measurable doesn’t mean it isn’t real. We may not notice a difference in wind resistance but that doesn’t mean there aren’t benefits, as he points out, in terms of mental fatigue in drafting. I found myself thinking the same thing he wrote as I was reading the paragraph before he wrote it.

Of course, then I also found myself thinking the same thing he was about to write moments later. Sometimes, with some personality types, a runner may experience less mental fatigue by leading than by following. It all depends on the type of runner you are. Once again, know yourself and you’ll be able to decide the better strategy but we can’t overlook the benefit of pacers who make our jobs easier. Expending less mental energy worrying about pace early can mean having more mental energy later to push through the physical fatigue or to strategize.

Dangers of tapering

Most of us know the taper is quite possibly the most difficult part of a training plan there is. I probably spend more time thinking about the taper than I do anything else. What to do to get things just right? How to make sure you find that balance of enough rest without going stale from resting too much?

Well, Steve Magness has some thoughts on this. I always like Magness’s writings because he does such a good job of balancing the science of sports physiology with the art of coaching. This post is no exception.

So what’s his answer to what’s the right taper? As with most things, the answer is it depends.

Find what type of athlete you are and remember what event you are training for. Do you need the psychology of the routine? Do you need more speed/power? Are you more FT or ST orientated? What event are you tapering for?

These questions and more will hopefully help you solve the conundrum of tapering.

Good thoughts as always. Definitely worth a read.

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