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Ice baths and pollution
by on Monday, October 27, 2014

Believe it or not, I didn't feel like I had a ton of great material that demanded a Monday post last week. I have a couple interesting things this week, though.

Ice Baths: We all hear about the benefits of ice baths. It is generally accepted that they are good for you. College teams gather in the training room after practice for team ice baths. The elites regularly do it. I remember when I was in school gathering outside the fieldhouse when the weather was nice to take my turn in the ice barrels that the trainers would have ready for us. When the weather wasn't as good, the whirlpools would be waiting for us at the end of practice and we'd gather in the back room of the training room to take our turns. This still goes on today at probably almost every college and many high schools.

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Why such long recovery?
by on Thursday, October 23, 2014

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Last week, I wrote about how to recover after your final race of the year. However, I kind of glossed over why. I mentioned the physical and psychological demands taking a toll on anyone but I didn't delve into these issues. I was privately called out on that so here it is. Why spend a month recovering, even if your race was shorter than a marathon? I'll use myself as an example, seeing as I just finished my racing for the year with a 5K.

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Race report: Going for 19 straight years
by on Saturday, October 18, 2014

As those of you who have been reading my race reports for any time know, one of the things I'm very proud of is my streak of going under 17 minutes in a 5K every year since 1996. A little background. For me, going under 17 minutes was a big deal. My early years as a runner were pretty inauspicious. As I first started, a sub-17 5K would seem impossible. Doing it for 19 years in a row? Forget about it. What I did have was the ability physically and mentally to push hard in training and a body that responded to that training very well. Combined with the best coaching I could have asked for, I was able to go from not being able to break 4 minutes in a half mile to nearly breaking 5 minutes per mile for 2 miles before I graduated high school.

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Post season recovery
by on Thursday, October 16, 2014

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Mid-October is here. Most of us have probably recently wrapped up our 2014 racing season or are close to doing so. So what do we do now? Most of us know we need some recovery but how much? The answer is probably more than you think.

It's time to give yourself a real break. Not just a down week or two but a month's worth of down time.

I know what some of you are thinking. A month? Are you kidding me? I didn't run a marathon. Why do I need to take a month? That's very true but you're not just recovering from the race. You were training hard leading into the goal race you just ran, right? For how long? 6 months? 10 or 11 months? During that time, not only did you push your body hard but you taxed yourself mentally and you probably sacrificed something outside of running that you enjoy. Maybe you gave up cycling because you couldn't fit it in on Saturday mornings due to your long runs. Maybe you gave up a fitness class you like or hikes with the family or something else because you just didn't have the energy. This is the time to go do those things. It's also the time to give your body and mind a real break.

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How to recover and mistakes in interpreting research
by on Monday, October 13, 2014

This week, I read several interesting things but I think two topics works well for these posts. If you disagree with me, feel free to say so in the comments or contact me via the contact form or any other place you can find me.

For this week, I'd like to focus on two things: recovery and interpreting research. I think recovery is especially an important topic right now as many of us are finishing up our racing seasons and looking toward 2015. As for interpreting research, it's always difficult. Conflicting studies, our own personal biases, confusing technical language. There are many barriers. Personally, I'm always trying to guard against these mistakes but I'm not perfect. We all fall into these traps from time to time, no matter how careful we are, and it's always good to get a reminder to be on guard.

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Nothing new on race day
by on Thursday, October 9, 2014

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"Never try anything new on race day."

We've all heard this advice by now and I'm sure we do our best to live by that rule but how well do we do?

Many of us fall short because we don't consider the corollary to that advice. Practice race day in training. Wear the shoes, socks and gear you're going to on race day. If you're running a race that's long enough to require fueling, practice not just fueling but doing so with your race day strategy and with the equipment you will have on hand on race day. Possibly most important, do this at goal pace and on a route that is at least similar to what you'll be racing on.

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Hill training and sleep
by on Monday, October 6, 2014

A couple things that greatly interested me popped up over the weekend. Here are some quick thoughts on them:

Hill training

We hear all the time about the benefits of hill training. While there are reasons going beyond hill training for it, the name of this site should tell you something about what I think of it. It just works. Runners and coaches around the world know this.

This is a case where the coaches and runners are ahead of the science, though. How many studies have we seen that show hill training works and why? Well, now we have this:

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When will we see a 1:59 marathon?
by on Thursday, October 2, 2014

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I wrote a little about this Sunday when posting about Dennis Kimetto taking the marathon world record under 2:03 but I don't think I've written a full length post on this so here it is.

Every time the record is broken and, especially, when a "minute barrier" is broken like we saw on Sunday, the discussion always starts: how soon until we see someone run a marathon in under two hours? It seems like, every time we go through a new "minute barrier", we get predictions that breaking through the two hour barrier is imminent. It's only a matter of 5-10 years. I've been hearing that it's only a matter of 5-10 years for over 10 years now and I wouldn't be surprised to hear the talk has been going on even longer.

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Strength training for injury prevention/treatment
by on Monday, September 29, 2014

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I've been quiet on my recent Monday and Thursday blog posts recently. Let's call it a late summer break so we could all enjoy some free time. Here's a short one to begin getting back on schedule.

Anyone who has received my advice or been closely following my blogging recently knows that I'm a big fan of treating and preventing injuries using a multi-faceted approach. Specifically, I think both strength training and flexibility/mobility training need to be considered. It used to be that everything was about flexibility. Get your soft tissues loose so they can pass through a full range of motion and they won't be so tender. That makes total sense but here's another thought: make your soft tissues stronger and they will be less susceptible to breaking down. Make sense?

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Dennis Kimetto: 2:02:57
by on Sunday, September 28, 2014

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For those of you who haven't heard, Dennis Kimetto this morning shattered the marathon world record in Berlin with a 2:02:57. That takes 26 seconds off the former world record, held by Wilson Kipsang. With his customary second place finish (his sixth time finishing second at a major marathon) Emmanuel Mutai also went under the former world record.

I see three things with this world record.

First, what an amazing run. Notably, Kimetto had Mutai to run with until he broke away with about 2.5 miles to go based on reports I've seen. In fact, Mutai was the one pushing the pace for a while. Even when Kimetto broke Mutai, he had to push the whole way because Mutai didn't just disappear. Direct competition in a fast race like this can do one of two things. Sometimes, it causes the pace to slow as runners size each other up and play the tactical game. Other times, someone decides to just lay it on the line and go all out. In this case, obviously, the latter happened.

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