What to do after a breakthrough?

Because there was no last Thursday of the month blog post last month, there will be none this month, and I’m incredibly busy at the moment, I’m going to slip a recap in here. There’s a lot I’ve been reading. Here’s some of it.

One note: I mentioned I’m going to slip more than just sports science links into these posts going forward. I’m going to feature something that is not sports science this month.

Some time ago, Steve Magness and Jon Marcus had Alan Webb on their podcast and they talked about a workout he did: 20×400, starting at 61 seconds and working his way down to 50.1 seconds. Yes, 50.1 seconds. On the 20th 400 of a workout.

Needless to say, that is a HUGE workout. Even for an elite athlete, that is a pretty crazy workout. So how do you follow up that workout? If you’re thinking you’re insanely fit, strike while the iron is hot, you’d not be doing what Webb did.

Webb took the next day off.

Smart move.

After hearing that podcast, I noted the topic as something I wanted to blog about at some point. Magness beat me to the punch.

This is a tough one for many people, myself included. It’s just natural to want “one more”. However, you got there through a lot of hard work. How do you know “one more” doesn’t become the one that’s too much?

If you’ve had a breakthrough, your body is on the edge. It’s doing things it’s never done before. Keep pushing it and you could push it over the edge.

This doesn’t mean you pack it in, just jog and giggle for the next month. However, it does mean you prioritize your recovery and make sure you’re ready for what’s to come. You don’t push for more, more, more. If you do, you’ll find out at some point that more isn’t always better.


Could Jell-O aid injury recovery? For certain types of injuries, maybe.

I thought this was a bit of overstated marketing until I read it, extremely comprehensive: The definitive guide to what we do and do not know about caffeine and performance

What’s new in hydration research? Alex Hutchinson fills you in.

What’s new in sports recovery research? Alex Hutchinson also has the scoop on that.

How many hours of sleep do you really need? You may think you are fine when you are not.

You may have seen the new study making the circles about a gut bacteria that appears to make you faster. Alex Hutchinson has some interesting insights. I’m now more skeptical, especially after this:

Three of the paper’s authors have indeed started or hold equity in a company called FitBiomics. According to the company’s website, they are “sequencing the microbiome of elite athletes to identify and isolate novel probiotic bacteria for applications in performance and recovery… [and] purifying these novel probiotics and commercializing as ingredients to disrupt consumer health and nutrition and cater to the next generation athlete.”

Back in 2017, discussing the company’s impending launch, the first author of the new paper, Jonathan Scheiman, said: “I would like to think that a year after we launch, we could have a novel probiotic on the market.” And to be honest, that goal-focused approach makes me read the results with a bit more skepticism. It doesn’t automatically mean the results are wrong. But they didn’t happen to stumble on a neat microbe with potential performance-boosting effects; they were looking for one. And the problem with that kind of science is that you often find what you’re looking for, even if it’s not really there.

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