Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ask Running Writings Episode 3: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Got another video done—this one is on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).  Even though many runners take these with the belief that these drugs will help speed their recovery from injury, the scientific literature says otherwise.  Check out the video for more! I've reworked the formatting a bit so the screen isn't quite so cluttered, so let me know what you think.



If you've got a question that you'd like answered on a future episode of Ask Running Writings, leave a comment on the video page or drop me a line at the Contact Me page!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

52 more lessons from another year of weekly writing

This week, I marked two full years of writing weekly articles on science and running for Runners Connect.  Last year, I made a list of one thing I learned about running from each week of writing, and I'm doing the same this year.  The shorter and more focused nature of my articles on Runners Connect allows me to cover a huge number of topics, which is reflected in the list below! Check out RunnersConnect.net for the full articles, as well some guides to injuries that I've written and a ton of other really useful information on running as well.

1.    Massive increases in training volume and intensity are likely to result in overtraining, a problem where your body responds hostilely and normal adaptation mechanisms fail.  Avoiding this is not just a matter of your training, though—getting more sleep and keeping your overall stress level low also helps keep you safe from overtraining.  If you are overtrained, it can take several weeks to work your way back to health.

2.  Because bones have a unique healing timeframe, the standard "increase mileage by 10% per week" rule might not work best for people susceptible to stress fractures.  Two ways to make sure your body can handle new mileage territory is by taking a down week every 3-4 weeks as you increase mileage, or using an "equilibrium" model, where you increase mileage by 30% one week, then maintain that same volume for several weeks before increasing again.

3.  For ideal performance, there's a balance between having a stiff, responsive surface and a little bit of "give" so you can get a lot of energy back from the ground.  On a soft surface like grass, you can get away with wearing the thinnest, lightest spikes you have, but on pavement, you probably want something with at least some cushioning.

4.  Some innovative new studies have connected hamstring tightness with increased stress on the plantar fascia and abnormal loading in the forefoot. 

5.  Many runners get extremely sore calves after their first race of the season.  This is because they spend the entire offseason training in regular running shoes, then run an entire race in low-heeled racing flats or spikes.  To avoid this, do some strides in low-heeled shoes (or in no shoes at all) a few times a week, even during parts of the year when you aren't racing. 

6.  The four best exercises for hip strength are the clamshell, side-step (or "monster walk"), glute bridge with single-leg lifts, and quadruped hip extension (pictured below).  If you're only going to do a few strength exercises, do these!




Monday, January 6, 2014

Ask Running Writings Episode 4: Gear for training in extreme cold

I'm actually still working on Episode 3 of Ask Running Writings, but given the blast of arctic air that's engulfed much of the Midwest, I figured I'd do my best to get this video (Episode 4) out as soon as possible.  It's about the kind of equipment you'll need if you're going to run outside in extreme windchills.  The gear showcased in this video will take me down comfortably to wind chills of at least 40 below zero.  Check it out!



If you've got a question that you'd like answered on a future episode of Ask Running Writings, leave a comment on the video page or drop me a line at the Contact Me page!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ask Running Writings Episode 2: What should you do during the recovery period of interval workouts?

Here's the next episode of my YouTube series! Something I'm asked a lot by young athletes and their coaches is "what should I/my runners be doing during the recovery period of interval workouts?" The best answer is "it depends"!  Different kinds of workouts call for different recovery tactics.  Check out the video for more!

If you've got a question that you'd like answered on a future episode of Ask Running Writings, leave a comment on the video page or drop me a line at the Contact Me page!