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Running form and staying hydrated
by on Monday, August 4, 2014

I'd like to focus on a couple specific topics this week. Two things that I've stated frequently at least to certain individuals but I'm not sure I have laid out my points publicly.

Running form

We all know there's been a lot of talk about foot plant (I hate the term "foot strike" but that's for another day) in recent years. In short, we've been told to focus on landing mid-foot or even forefoot. However, is this where the focus should be?

As some of you I'm sure have heard me say before, I believe we should focus higher. My usual mantra: hips forward, chest up and forward, shoulders low and back. I break this down in the following way:

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Training capacity: what is it?
by on Thursday, July 31, 2014

Do you know your training capacity?

Most people don't. They assume they know but I've seen that many runners don't even know how to define their training capacity, much less determine what theirs is.

In the next three weeks, I'd like to explore training capacity. I was originally going to write this all into one post but I think it would turn out too long and too much to digest all at once. So I'm going to break this into three parts:

1) What is training capacity?
2) How to find your training capacity and what to do when you have found it?

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Running vs. sitting, abdominal bracing
by on Monday, July 28, 2014

This week, no deep insights into how to race faster but I think some interesting research/thoughts on how to be more healthy.

Running vs. sitting

We all know running is good for our health and spending too much time sitting is bad. How do the two counteract each other, though? For a long time, people believed running would be like a bullet proof vest, protecting us from the harmful effects of being too sedentary. Then sitting became the armor piercing bullet that could negate all the effects of running and then some, basically making running meaningless if you sit the rest of the day.

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Phasing out ads
by on Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ads have been on HillRunner.com for a long time. Most of us have probably just grown used to them and don't even notice them. I had them around just to help cover costs and they served that purpose for a long time.

However, now with the coaching service offered, costs are covered. I think the ads take away from the site and the financial benefit just doesn't seem significant enough to make them worthwhile anymore. So I decided it's time to do away with them and save everyone's eyes from that annoying clutter.

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Leucine for recovery and endurance vs. speed
by on Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm writing this before heading out for a camping trip. I'll be packing up my tent for the return trip home when this appears so sorry if I seem a little short this week.

Leucine

We all know by now that taking in a protein/carbohydrate combination as soon as possible after a run will improve our recovery, right?

Well, now we know that leucine also plays a role.

First, what is leucine? In short, it's an essential amino acid that the human body can't produce so we have to get it from our diet. For more, see this Wikipedia article on it.

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Summer training, fall results
by on Thursday, July 17, 2014

ImageTeam HillRunner.com before an early fall race in 2013

What are you doing now to win this fall?

What you're doing now will determine how your racing season goes this fall. Whether a "win" for you means winning a race, placing in your age group or reaching a time goal, the work you get in during the summer will go a long way toward determining whether you get that "win".

We all know distance running isn't an instant gratification sport. You have to put in months of work to get good results. Well, check the calendar. Your fall race may be as little as two months out and surely isn't more than five months out. You may have already hit the heart of your training schedule if you're two months out. Even if you're five months out, what you're doing now will affect how hard you can work a few months from now when you are in the heart of your schedule.

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Fascia, drafting as a placebo, dangers of tapering
by on Monday, July 14, 2014

Another interesting batch of links this week in my opinion. Let's jump right in.

Fascia

Most of us probably don't think about our fascia short of that one well known part of it that runs along the bottom of our feet. However, it is extremely abundant throughout our bodies and important in so many ways.

Running Times had a good primer on it that I came across this week. I'd consider this a must read. I'm partly including it here so I can reference it myself and read it again.

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It's Not Quality vs. Quantity
by on Thursday, July 10, 2014

Note: This is an article I first wrote at least a decade ago for the articles section of HillRunner.com. As I'm in the process of retiring that section, I'm moving all articles to the blog in their original form. This is the final one. I would likely write this somewhat differently if I were to rewrite it today but I want to keep it in its original form.

Over and over again, I see the debate come up. What is more important? Quality or quantity? Is it that simple, though? Can we really narrow this question down to one or the other? In recent years, it seems like many people would have you believe it is that simple. They refer to quotes such as "if you want to run fast, you have to run fast" and say that race performances are dependant on quality and quantity is not important. They frequently talk about "junk miles" as if anything that isn't a hard day is useless. Interestingly, it seems as if the "mileage junkies", as some of these people like to term high volume runners, don't take the same kind of angle. I can't think of one high volume competitive runner who has done high volume training to the exclusion of quality workouts or one high volume proponent who has stated that quality done at the right time is not an important aspect of training for competition. I can, however, think of many high intensity runners who have done high intensity to the exclusion of aerobic conditioning and also many people who say high volume training is unimportant, some who even say it is detrimental.

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July 4 Race Report
by on Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ok, so I don't race as much as I used to. But at age 50, with injuries and very inconsistent training the last 6 years,I'm glad for the last 6 months of pain free running where I've run 3 out of every 4 days during this time. Most of these runs have been on the dreaded treadmill, which has been much more forgiving on my knees. I had planned to run the Milton Independence Run on 7/4, but had no idea what to expect. All my treadmill runs were btw 7:45 and 8:15 pace, and my longest run was just 7 miles. My feeling was I could probably hold 7:00 pace, but would likely fall off in the last few miles due to my lack of overall mileage. I was right about that.

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Seeing blue, keep your arteries healthy and marathon battle of the sexes
by on Monday, July 7, 2014

I read a lot of interesting things this week but much didn't really seem to fit into a blog post well. Here are three that I thought might be interesting for the blog.

Seeing blue

I've long been a fan of the color blue. I think it shows in this site.

Well, maybe my next pair of sunglasses should have lenses that match my blue HillRunner.com gear.

The findings of this research suggest that exposure to the color blue improves performance of a muscular endurance based task. Such a simple and inexpensive performance enhancement warrants further investigation to explore different exercise modalities as well as effects of different colored lenses, and the mechanisms as to how color affects performance.
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