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Shoes: injuries and running economy
by on Monday, December 8, 2014

I'm going to focus this week on research involving running shoes. Exciting, right? Well, here it is:

Why aren't shoes preventing running injuries?

Good question, explored here.

A change in footwear can affect the amount of impact the body absorbs during running, but it doesn’t change the fundamental stress of the activity.

I would change that slightly. Based on what I've seen and some basic laws of physics, I believe it would be better stated that a change in footwear can affect how the body absorbs impact during running. The amount is at least very close to constant and the fundamental stresses are still very similar. You're just moving those stresses from one joint or muscle group to the other when you change shoes. If you know that, for you individually, you have strengths and weaknesses, you might be able to find a shoe that works with them and reduce your injury risk. As a whole, though, no one shoe is going to reduce our injury risk. Only move the injuries from one part of the body to the other.

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Placebo doping? Foam rolling and DOMS
by on Monday, December 1, 2014

This week, I'd like to focus on two interesting studies I've seen in my feeds recently.

Placebo doping?


I've wondered for some time how much doping really helps athletes and whether there's some placebo effect going on. It would only make sense really that there is some placebo effect.

Well, along comes a study to test this:

Compared to control, the injected placebo improved 3 km race time by 1.2%. This change is of clear sporting relevance, but is smaller than the performance improvement elicited by r-HuEPO administration.
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Seattle Marathon: 4 days to go!
by on Wednesday, November 26, 2014


The time is here! Only four days to race day! The work is done, you've been resting up and you're probably bursting with energy right now. Don't you wish the race was tomorrow?

Well, it's Sunday. So what do you do between now and then to best be ready to go?

First and foremost, you don't over think the race or spend too much time stressing out about it. Believe me, the weather forecast isn't going to change every 5 minutes so there is no need to check it every 5 minutes. (For the record, I just checked for you and it looks chilly but dry!) Take care of the details but, after you've checked that you packed your shoes the first 10 times, you don't need to check the next 20 times. Lay out a sound race strategy (think even splits/effort) and have faith in it. Don't second guess it every 15 minutes. All of these things and all the other nervous habits you do will not help you and will in fact waste mental energy you could be using in the race.

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Shoes and forces of running, strong calves to fend off age related decline?
by on Monday, November 24, 2014

This week, a couple bloggers I follow posted some interesting things that I definitely would like to comment on.

Shoes and forces of running

First, Pete Larson at Runblogger had this interesting post about a study of rocker-soled shoes and forefoot pain.

I'd especially like to focus on what Pete says here:

I’m a believer that different shoes modify how forces during running are applied to the body...
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Seattle Marathon: Just 10 days to go!
by on Thursday, November 20, 2014


It's getting close! Are you getting nervous yet? Checking the weather forecast every hour?

I often say this time the hardest time of marathon training for many runners. You're used to working hard. There is a certain level of comfort that comes in doing the hard work. Now, that's being taken away from you. You're not working hard anymore and, after months of consistently working hard, you're being asked to rest. Rest? What? That's like a foreign language to runners. We know work!

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The talent/practice debate and altitude
by on Monday, November 17, 2014

Sorry this is a little late. About 2 hours before I intended for this post to appear, I came across one of the links included in the altitude portion that caused me to rewrite part of this. I didn't want to post without it, though, as I felt it gives a more complete picture of the topic.

Talent vs. practice

We all know the debate and we probably have our opinions on it. Is success at the highest level a matter of innate talent or "deliberate practice"? Malcolm Gladwell, with his 10,000 hour rule, might suggest it's all deliberate practice. Anyone can be an expert with enough of the right kind of practice. Others say it's all about talent. If you aren't born with the right genes, you might as well not try.

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Seattle Marathon: 17 days to go!
by on Thursday, November 13, 2014


Here we are, only 17 days to the Seattle Marathon! It's hard to believe all the work that has been done, all the miles run by the thousands of runners who will be lining up just 17 days from now to take on the streets of Seattle. If you're one of those runners, though, this is a tricky time. So what should you be doing?

Some of you might have already run your longest run and are just resting up now. Some of you might have one more good effort planned for this weekend. There is no one size fits all right way to do this. Some people need extra rest and others need to keep the training going.

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Stretching and self-regulation
by on Monday, November 10, 2014

What's really going on when you're stretching?

What does stretching really do?

Well, it apparently may not loosen your muscles and tendons. Did we ever think it did loosen tendons? Anyway, it appears according to this that it may just change the threshold at which we perceive the muscle being elongated too far.

Related to the above and going further, we have some more on stretching not doing what we may think it does. Also some good advice, though I don't quite agree with everything. I agree that elongating our muscles in everyday life is a good idea, as are not worrying about hypermobility and not stretching to the point of pain. However, I would still argue that some stretching is beneficial. No, 10 seconds or 1 minute of stretching won't undo 10 hours, give or take, worth of poor posture. That said, it can be part of an overall routine that can improve your posture and counter for those periods where we don't do our best.

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Seattle Marathon preparation: 24 days to go!
by on Thursday, November 6, 2014


Over the coming weeks, I'm going to focus my Thursday posts on the Seattle Marathoners I'm coaching and who simply want to follow along to get some helpful tips as they go through the final preparations for their big day. The marathon and half marathon are on November 30th, the 5K is on November 29th. Here, I'll primarily be discussing the marathon but my suggestions for the half marathoners would be nearly identical and I think even the 5K runners can gain from it. In addition, I think these posts will have useful tips for anyone to reference back to as they go through the final weeks before their goal races.

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Barefoot/minimalist running, carb loading
by on Monday, November 3, 2014

This week, I'd like to focus on two topics. One that has been around for years and is dying down and another that has been around for decades and is still going strong.

Is running barefoot/minimalists good or bad?

First, the topic that in recent years has spurred some heated, emotional debate. It has long been my contention that a runner should find the least amount of shoe that specific runner can wear without problems. For some, that means minimalist shoes. For a very select few, that may mean running barefoot. For most, it likely means something more than minimalist shoes but where on the spectrum is different for everyone, based on countless variables.

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