Recent Posts in Training
Coaches and placebos, avoiding muscle soreness
by on Monday, March 16, 2015

Coaches and placebos

Last year, I asked if the placebo effect is a bad thing. My point then being, if it helps you run faster, I don't care if it's placebo or a real effect. It helps you run faster and that's what matters.

It turns out I'm not alone. Coaches regularly use placebos in order to get performance gains.

Overall, the coaches are optimistic about placebo use in sports. Close to half of them, especially those coaching at higher levels of competition, may use it regularly while achieving positive results.
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The secret sauce
by on Thursday, March 12, 2015

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I bet Deena knows this "trick"

It seems like everyone is looking for it. What's that magical workout that will make you PR at your next race or beat that big rival who you just can't get ahead of? What's that one workout that all successful runners do? What's this or that coach's or athlete's go to workout?

I'll tell you my secret sauce. It's not mile repeats or progression runs or long runs. It's not something we do every week for three months. In fact, ask the runners I coach and they will tell you that I don't even like doing the same workout two weeks in a row.

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What shoes do you wear while not running?
by on Thursday, March 5, 2015

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I'm currently reading the book Tread Lightly*. In it, the authors mention the role the shoes you wear while not running play in your foot health and I'd like to bring this point up here because I think runners often overlook this point.

We runners are shoe geeks. At least many of us are. We can tell you all about the structural details of the shoes we have and probably even many shoes we don't have. We think about what these mean to the health of our feet and legs. We rightfully treat the topic as a big deal.

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Increasing stride rate
by on Monday, March 2, 2015

Can increasing your stride rate help you become a more injury resistant runner? Can you actually train yourself to increase your stride rate? It appears the answers just might be yes and yes.

I've been sitting on this study on increasing stride rate for a while because it never really seemed to fit but I wanted to write about it at some point because it did have interesting results.

In short, runners were given cues to help them improve stride rate by 7.5% over their natural stride rate. The test was to determine whether impact forces at foot plant and hip adduction (I often call this "hip drop", when the hip on the opposite side of your foot that is currently on the ground drops) could be reduced. Hip adduction is an important factor in things like ITBS and "runner's knee". So reducing this, as well obviously as reducing any forces at the time of foot plant, would be important in injury prevention.

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Obstacles to honesty
by on Thursday, February 19, 2015

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Last week, I posted about the importance of being honest with yourself. The runner I mentioned at the end of that post emailed me a few thoughts on that post. I think they were very good points and I'd like to address them here.

[S]ome runners won't want to admit to the start of an injury if they think their coach will severely curtail their workout.
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Be honest with yourself
by on Thursday, February 12, 2015

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Maybe "toughing it out" is worth it if you're in your goal race

When you're not feeling the greatest, what do you do? Do you just plow through? Or do you give some serious thought to how you're feeling and, if you feel necessary, adjust your training? At what point do you switch from just plowing through to adjusting? How long do you give yourself to return to normal training? Until you're feeling 100%? 90%? 80%? Less?

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Running "too much" or "too fast" (probably) won't kill you
by on Thursday, February 5, 2015

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I was thinking of doing what would look more like a typical Monday post today with some content from last week. However, this week, some bad analysis of a study that's been around for a while began appearing.

You may have seen the headlines: Fast running is as deadly as sitting on couch, scientists find or Too much jogging 'as bad as no exercise at all' or Stop that binge jogging! Three times a week is best for you... and too much is as bad as doing nothing

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How necessary is winter racing?
by on Thursday, January 29, 2015

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After my recent "Ask me anything" post, I received an email, asking the following:

I've been told I need to race over the winter to be ready for my spring races. What do you think of this? It seems like you don't race much during the winter and you seem to be able to get a good start to the spring. Do you race incognito? I hate racing in the winter!
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Brain training
by on Monday, January 26, 2015

It's seemed like a bit of a quiet week. Maybe I am just getting behind this week with things going on. Whatever the case, only one topic today but it's one that I'm really fascinated in.

I've blogged before about the idea of training your brain to handle fatigue more effectively and how that might make you a better runner.

Well, here's another one. This time, the participants were doing mentally demanding activities during their exercise.

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Keep at it
by on Thursday, January 22, 2015

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Recent running sights by Adam Piotrowski, on Flickr

I've seen some notes from several runners in the past couple of weeks, expressing frustration as they push through this winter's training. I know the feeling, I've been experiencing the challenges myself.

Winter training is tough. You're probably facing both weather challenges and, at times, traction challenges with snow and ice. If you're like me, you're not racing as much if at all during the winter months so the motivation of an upcoming race isn't driving you. Depending on your "running personality" you might feel that the base training you're likely doing is dull and boring. Combined with the fact that you're base training, not peaking for a race, you're also running slower than you recall running this past fall when you were nearing your peak.

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