Sunday, June 28, 2015

Basic Training Principles is FREE to download on Kindle for the next 2 days!

Quick update! Through Amazon's KDP Select program, I'm able to run limited-time free promotional campaigns for my e-books.  At 12:01am PST on Monday, June 29th, my first booklet, Basic Training Principles for Middle and Long-Distance Running will be FREE to download and share forever for the next 48 hours! Get your copy while you can!

If you don't already know about Basic Training Principles, here's the blurb!

"Rome, 1960. World record holder Roger Moens headlined an impressive field in the men’s 800m final at the Olympic Games. At the gun, Moens led with a fast pace, and by 600m, the lead pack had thinned to five runners. It looked to be a sure victory for the Belgian. But then, something curious happened..."

So begins Basic Training Principles for Middle and Long-Distance Running, a short booklet which gives you an introduction into the structure of a proper training program through the eyes of Arthur Lydiard's legendary training methods, first described in 1962. This booklet is short, gripping, informative, and written at a level which even complete novices can understand. It is designed to be an introductory lesson in fundamental training methods for newly-minted competitive runners.

This booklet was written to get young, promising high school runners eager to embark on a training journey and to set them on the right track for long term development, but any runner, young or old, newbie or veteran, can gain something from Basic Training Principles.

 Thanks as always for your support and I hope you enjoy this free deal! If you enjoy it, it would be fantastic if you could leave a review! Click here to go directly to the Amazon e-book store for Basic Training Principles.  Sometimes it can take the free deal a few hours to kick in, so if it's still priced at $0.99 at midnight PST, wait 'til morning and it should be free! The deal lasts until 11:59pm on Tuesday night.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Modern Training and Physiology & Basic Training Principles are now available on Kindle!

Exciting news! My first full-length book, Modern Training and Physiology for Middle and Long-Distance Runners, is now available on Kindle! It took a bit longer than expected to convert the book to a Kindle-friendly format, but it's finally done.  The paperback version of Modern Training is still available on Amazon if you want a hard copy.

There are two great things about the Kindle edition.  First, it's only $3.99! And second, if you've already bought the hard copy, you can buy the Kindle edition for 50% off with the Amazon MatchBook service! Handy if you've already read my book but want to be able to reference it on the go.

Additionally, you can also find Basic Training Principles for Middle and Long-Distance Running on the Kindle store.  Basic Training is an introductory booklet to running training aimed at middle and high-school aged runners (though anyone can learn something from it!).  Basic Training is listed at only $0.99, but better, it will be completely free from June 29th to June 30th! Be sure to download your free copy on this upcoming Monday or Tuesday.

If you enjoy either of these books, please write a review on Amazon and tell your friends! Modern Training and Basic Training are the culmination of many years of work, and your support makes it all worth it. Thanks to you, Modern Training has sold almost 1,200 copies! Now, that's not going to impress any publishing industry big-wigs, but that's still pretty cool.  Over one thousand runners have bought this book! Now it's accessible to even more people through the Kindle store.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Light therapy for sports injuries: a case study in dubious modalities

In my upcoming book on preventing and managing running injuries (which, I'm sorry to say, is still very much a work in progress), one chapter discusses the roles various medical professionals can fulfill in the prevention, evaluation, and treatment of running injuries.  In many cases, a particular discipline is best-suited for one particular role: a podiatrist is ideally qualified to make custom orthotics, an orthopedist is best-suited to order and evaluate an MRI, and a physical therapist is the right person to create a rehab exercise routine. 

This does not mean that medical specialists see their own role with this narrow view.  There are plenty of physical therapists who prescribe orthotics, chiropractors who order and evaluate MRIs, and so on.  Perhaps because of pride or just a desire to manage all aspects of a patient's treatment, specialists sometimes have a tendency to stray outside of the boundaries of what they do best. 

In my view at least, the primary use of a physical therapist for an injured runner is as a resource for discovering muscular tightness or weakness that contributes to injury, evaluating running gait to identify any biomechanical flaws, and developing a rehab program to return to healthy running.  There are many fantastic physical therapists who focus almost entirely on these aspects of injury treatment. 

But many other physical therapists are wedded to their "modalities"—in-office treatments that purportedly improve healing or reduce pain.  The ones you are probably most familiar with are therapeutic ultrasound and electrostimulation (also known as TENS), but there is a veritable cornucopia of modalities that are sold to physical therapy clinics which claim to reduce pain, speed healing, or otherwise assist with the rehab process.  Some modalities even have research supporting their use, though this almost inevitably consists small, uncontrolled trials. 

Today I want to break up the allure of technological modalities by looking at one specific example called "light therapy."  Though it might sound like a quasi-mystical alternative treatment, light therapy is a real modality used in many physical therapy clinics.  The claim is that an intense beam of light, usually generated by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or sometimes lasers, can penetrate the skin and stimulate mitochondria in the muscle cells if the light is of the correct wavelength.  The stimulation of the mitochondria allegedly speeds healing from fatigue and injury.  Again, this sounds borderline crackpot-physiology, but that idea is from a real study published in a scientific journal.  

To show that the light therapy machines used in a typical PT clinic are most likely useless and overpriced, I don't have prove that specific wavelengths of light have no effect on muscular mitochondria.  I just need to prove it is no better than any other basic source of light. Like, say, the Sun.

The sun is a really fantastic source of light.  As an exceptionally large black-body radiator, it puts out a wide spectrum of very intense light.  Part of this spectrum is in the "therapeutic photon" range of 600 to 1000 nm cited in marketing literature for light therapy devices.

Now, how does the photon output of the sun compare to a typical light therapy machine? We'll take a look a typical machine from Dynatronics, a company which produces equipment for physical therapy offices.  I don't mean to pick on one particular brand—light therapy equipment by Dynatronics is largely identical to products from other companies when it comes to technical specifications—we just need one specific machine to draw technical details from.