Runner's and Triathlete's Web Digest - February 5, 2010
- A FREE WEEKLY E-ZINE OF MULTISPORT RELATED ARTICLES. The Runner's and Triathlete's Web Digest is a weekly e-zine dealing with the
sports of running and triathlon and general fitness and health issues. The opinions expressed in the articles referenced by the
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1. Emilie's Run - The Emilie Mondor Memorial 5K Race for Women - Canada's Fastest Women's 5K
Emilie's Run is over for another year. Tara Quinn-Smith set a new course record of 16:15.7 beating the 16:29 set by Nicole Stevenson
in 1996. 364 women completed the race with 33 women running under 20:00
The 2010 race will be run on June 19th.
For more on the race visit the website at:
2. Road Runner Sports, the world's largest running store at:
3. Toronto Waterfront Marathon, September 27, 2009
4. Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon - October 17, 2010
Register before the end of this month for the Marathon, Half Marathon, or 5k and save $$. Fees increase March 1st!
5. Training Peaks
The Runner's Web has partnered with Training Peaks to provide online coaching from experts such as Hal Higdon, Joel Friel and Matt
Fitzgerald. Sign up at:
6. January 4, 2008: Goodlife Fitness has come on board as a sponsor of Emilie's Run GoodLife Fitness - Coed or Women's Only Visit
www.GoodLifeFitness.com today to receive 3 FREE Visits! Your 3 FREE visits include: . A Visual Fitness Planner Consultation . Fit
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7. iRun Magazine
More than a million Canadians are runners, making it this country's most popular recreational and fitness activity. Canadians run
for exercise and we run to raise money for important causes. We run alone and in groups. And every year, hundreds of thousands of us
participate in organized races, from fun runs to marathons, which are growing steadily.
Until now, Canadian runners haven't had our own running magazine. But now, there's iRun, providing a uniquely Canadian perspective
on the activity and the sport. Published six times a year, iRun educates, informs and inspires Canadian runners.
Mark Sutcliffe, Publisher and Editor
Mark has more than 20 years of experience in the Canadian media business. An avid runner, he has completed five marathons and 10
half-marathons. He writes a popular weekly column on running in the Ottawa Citizen and co-hosts The Running Show every week on The
Team 1200 radio. Mark is the former Executive Editor of the Ottawa Citizen and has also launched several publications, including the
Ottawa Business Journal, now in its second decade, and the Kitchissippi Times, a successful community newspaper in Ottawa. His
writing has appeared across the country in daily newspapers, and magazines like Macleans and Canadian Business.
Ray Zahab, Contributing Editor
Ray Zahab is Canada's most renowned ultramarathon runner. A former pack-a-day smoker, Ray transformed his life by becoming a
successful long-distance runner, winning some of the world's most challenging foot races. Beginning in November 2006, Ray and two
other runners ran across the Sahara Desert in 111 days, averaging 70 kilometres per day without a single day's rest. Ray is an
accomplished public speaker, writes regularly about running and coaches athletes striving to achieve their own goals.
iRun is Canada's highest-circulation and most popular running magazine. With a total distribution of 50,000 and more than 9,000
subscribers, iRun is leading the market in the rapidly growing and highly desirable demographic of Canadian runners.
iRun Magazine is a sponsor of Emilie's Run
8. Canadian Running Magazine: Subscribe at:
9. Mi-Sport - The Ultimate Sports MP3 Player Introducing the world's first and only waterproof and wireless sports mp3 player.
These Mi-SPORT mp3 headphones have a 1GB memory built into a cool neckband design. At last no wire tangle and no earbuds to fall
out. The patented design makes this waterproof/sweatproof mp3 player great for running, cycling and gym work. The player however is
more than splash proof! It can be completely submerged with no harm to it making it perfect for swimming, kayaking, and water
skiing. Now incorporating the latest 3D music quality with it's adapted waterproof speaker. Relax to music in the bath, or push out
that training session with no fear of losing your player or tangling the wires. Circuit training is so much easier with your own
music. Enjoy the waves wire-free. This is the only waterproof pair of classic headphones with a built in mp3 player in the world.
The stylish looking headphones play the usual MP3, WMA and WAV formats and are compatible with Windows98/98SE/2000/XP and Apple MAC.
Depending on track length, the headphones hold well over 14 hours worth of music and the rechargeable battery life is about 8 hours.
Nick Matthew, the 2006 British Open squash champion now uses the player to train with and Mi-SPORT are endeavouring to encourage
more athletes to enjoy the benefits of training to wire-free music, podcasts or coaching aids. Inspiration and freedom at last, for
athletes and exercise enthusiasts everywhere.
Check it out at: http://www.mi-sportmp3.com/
10. Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon and Half-Marathon
January 17, 2010
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ROAD RUNNER SPORTS
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* Sports Nutrition by Sheila Kealey. Sheila is one of Ottawa's top multisport athletes and a member of the OAC Racing Team and X-C
Ottawa. She has a Masters in Public Health and works in the field of nutritional epidemiology as a Research Associate with the
University of California, San Diego. Her column index is available at: http://www.runnersweb.com/running/SK_index.html
* Peak Performance Online Peak Performance is a subscription-only newsletter for athletes, featuring the latest research from the
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* Peak Running Performance Peak Running Is The Nation's Most Advanced Running Newsletter. Rated as the #1 Running Publication by
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THIS WEEK'S PERSONAL POSTINGS/RELEASES: We will only post notes here regarding running and triathlon topics of interest to the
community. We have NO personal postings this week.
THIS WEEK'S DIGEST ARTICLE INDEX:
1. Why Elite Kenyan Runners Are Bad at Other Aerobic Sports
2. Training Q&A with Jack Daniels
3. Running Economy-Running Style
Current Research Shows There Are Two Ways To Improve Running Performance.
4. VO2max - The monthly newsletter of RunCoachJason.com
5. More exercise better in long run, study finds
6. Knee injuries- how iliotibial band syndrome can ruin the runner
7. Barefoot Running: How Humans Ran Comfortably and Safely Before the Invention of Shoes
8. How Long Are Your Telomeres?
9. Slimmer Doesnt Always Mean Fitter
10. This Week in Running
11. Me and my (anatomically perfect) shadow
12. Video: Medicine Ball Drills for Runners
13. Ask the Coaches: Adjusting to Heart Rate Training
Do I have my numbers wrong? Or is HRM training just not for me?
RUNNER'S WEB WEEKLY POLL:
Barefoot running has been in the news lately. Have you run barefoot or would you consider trying it?
I've tried it
Would consider it
No way, I love my NB shoes!
You can access the poll from our FrontPage ( http://www.runnersweb.com) as well as checking the results of previous polls.
Our Photo Slideshow is updated on a random basis. Check it out from our FrontPage.
FIVE STAR SITE OF THE MONTH: Youth Runner Magazine
Everything for the young runner
Check out the site at:
BOOK/VIDEO/MOVIE OF THE MONTH: THE RUNNER'S BODY
Runner's World The Runner's Body: How the Latest Exercise Science Can Help You Run Stronger, Longer, and Faster
Every day scientists learn more about how the body adapts to the stress of runningand how various body systems contribute to
running performance. Leading the charge is a fresh generation of brilliant young exercise physiologists including Ross Tucker and
Jonathan Dugas, whose work has demolished many long-standing beliefs about running. Now Tucker and Dugas, whose blog, Science of
Sport, has already created a devoted readership, join with esteemed fitness author Matt Fitzgerald to provide a captivating tour of
the human body from the runners perspective. Focusing on how runners at all levels can improve their health and performance, The
Runners Body offers in a friendly, accessible tone, the newest, most surprising, and most helpful scientific discoveries about
every aspect of the sportfrom how best to nourish the runners body to safe and legal ways to increase oxygen delivery to the
muscles. Full of surprising facts, practical sidebars, and graphical elements, The Runners Body is a must-have resource for anyone
who wants to become a betterand healthierrunner.
Buy the book from Amazon at:
For more publications on running and triathlon visit:
http://www.runnersweb.com/running/human_kinetics.html and http://www.runnersweb.com/running/amazon.html
THIS WEEK'S FEATURES:
1. Why Elite Kenyan Runners Are Bad at Other Aerobic Sports
Sport began as a religious cult as a way of controlling and changing the world.
Living in the most-arid regions of Mexico, the Zunis played games which they thought would increase the probability of rain. To
ensure a good whaling season, Makah Indians of the Pacific Northwest played the first known hockey contests, using whale bones as
both pucks and sticks. Some of the original tribes of India arranged tug-of-war contests to expel demons and encourage the sun
to shine (contestants at one end of the rope were evil, while those at the other end were good, and victory by one side was
thought to indicate dire troubles ahead or a year of prosperity).
The earliest Eskimos varied their competitions according to the season. In the early spring, Eskimo players used a kind of cup and
ball to catch the sun and bring it northward; in the fall, they employed a cats cradle of seal intestine which was designed to
ensnare the sun and prevent it from journeying too far toward the bottom of the earth. For the Eskimos, sport was a way of uniting
earth and sky, a method of bringing people together for a common cause.
The ancient Greeks believed in the divine aspect of sport. The original Olympic Games were designed to honor gods; according to
some historical accounts, the very earliest Olympics took place next to the temple of Zeus at Olympia and were undertaken in the
Over time, however, sport began to symbolize the daily strivings of humanity. In his Epistle to the Corinthians (in the New
Testament), Paul noted that athletic contests symbolized the Christian fight. He wrote about wrestling against the powers of
darkness, fighting the important battles, and finishing the race. Describing his mission in life, Paul wrote I do not run
aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air ..
Sport also developed utilitarian, political functions. The not-quite-so-ancient Greeks viewed sport as a way of curbing war, as a
method of improving relationships between people who ordinarily would be in conflict. One story suggests that King Iphitus of Elis
became so concerned about the slaughters taking place between the various city states of Hellas (in the ninth century B. C.) that he
consulted with the oracle at Delphi to find a solution. The oracle allegedly told Iphitus that sport was the only way to stop war
and thus that the Olympics, which had fallen into disfavor, needed to be re-established. With the resulting revival came a sacred
truce between previously warring states, along with guarantees of safe conduct to all contestants going to the Games. Eventually,
the Olympics took place within a holy month during which war was prohibited and in fact the carrying of any weapon was proscribed.
Thus, the modern-English word sport does poor justice to the origins of competitive activity. Sport has evolved from the Latin
word desporto, which means to carry away or to make merry. In human history, sport has rarely been simply a diversion, however.
A better term would be the Swahili word for sport riadha which is very likely to be derived from another Swahili word, radhi,
meaning agreement or unification.
Philip Boit is certainly aware that sport involves much more than merriment and entertainment. The Kenyan (who is the brother of
Mike Boit, the 800-meter bronze medalist at the 1972 Olympics) participated in the 10-K, cross-country ski race at the 1998 Olympic
Games in Nagano and in doing so became the first African to ever compete in the Winter Olympics.
His entry in the 10-K ski competition at the Games sparked controversy. Boit had been an excellent runner in his home country (as a
young athlete, he had dreamed of one day running in the Olympics), and some observers predicted that his lofty aerobic capacity and
excellent endurance would automatically lead to outstanding long-distance skiing performances. Skeptics, however, noted that Boits
skiing economy might be poor, and that in fact his skiing-specific strength would be modest, compared with the force outputs
displayed by Scandinavian skiers who had been participating in the sport since childhood. One American newspaper went so far as to
say (in reference to Philip and another Kenyan cross-country skier named Henry Bitok), These are not athletes clearing hurdles to
reach their Olympic dreams. These are marketing pawns financed by well-heeled publicity seekers.
Such verbal and written contestations came to an end when Boits first Olympic race did not proceed according to plan. He finished
in last place, in 92nd position, with a clocking of about 48 minutes, about twice the amount of time required by the winner, Bjorn
Daehlie of Norway, to traverse 10 kilometers of snowy paths. Philips troubles in this race stemmed mainly from the fact that he
was not yet supremely coordinated and forceful during the actual movements required for cross-country skiing. He was an outstanding
endurance athlete with a huge heart and muscles bursting with mitochondria and oxidative capacity, but he was rather mediocre at
optimizing propulsive force and coordinating the specific motions required to skim a body over snow on thin, rail-like structures.
He could wax Bjorn Daehlie in a 10-K road race, but Bjorn would always return the favor in any event taking place on waxed skis.
Nike, which had financed Philips build-up to Nagano, dropped its sponsorship. Clearly, Boit was not able to just do it.
Boits initial difficulties with cross-country skiing, occurring in spite of his great aerobic prowess, sparked EducatedRunners
interest in developing a neural system of endurance training for runners which revolves around very high-quality, race-pace-type
running, along with a form of resistance training which has the aim of maximally strengthening and stabilizing each and every part
of the gait cycle of running (as opposed to more-general and less-specific strengthening exertions which dont focus closely on
runnings true biomechanics). Over time, this system of training, inspired by Philip, has worked very well for both elite and
mortal runners. Its clear, though, that EducatedRunner missed the big picture associated with Philips sporting pursuits.
The most-important story was that after Bjorn won the 10K at Nagano, it would have been very easy for him in this age of the
were-number-one Olympics to take his urine test and then quickly move into the press tent to bask in the limelight provided by
Scandinavian journalists, honoring him for yet another gold medal. He could have crowed that Norway was the best, waved a flag,
maybe even held up a single finger as a sign of superiority.
But Bjorn didnt do that. In fact, he returned to the finish line he had crossed many minutes earlier.
To wait for the marketing pawn.
Said Philip later, It gave me a lot of morale to see the worlds-best skier waiting for me It made me feel that I was actually
When Daehlie finally reached the press tent, he told reporters that he was extremely impressed to see Boit coming across the finish
line. Daehlie and Boit became close friends, and Philip later named his first-born son Bjorn Boit.
Bjorn and Philip were not skiing aimlessly, they were not competing to be number one. They were bringing people together, uniting
earth and sky. They were engaged in the ancient practice of Riadha.
This essay is taken, with permission, from Owen Andersons inspirational e-book, Aurora. To obtain a copy of Aurora, simply go to
http://www.educatedrunner.com/Store.aspx and scroll to the bottom of the page.
2. Training Q&A with Jack Daniels:
Coaching legend Jack Daniels tackles the sorts of training questions ambitious runners in the real world bump into all the time,
like how much fitness you lose in two weeks off and what workouts give the greatest return when youre short on time. (12:23)
To listen to the Podcast:
3. Running Economy-Running Style:
Current Research Shows There Are Two Ways To Improve Running Performance.
The first, running efficiency, looks at the structure of the body and things like biomechanical efficiency of running technique,
stride length and frequency, and breathing rate, among others. Running efficiency is about improving running technique to gain
higher mechanical force and power output for the same unit of energy. Running efficiency was covered in part I (December issue,
24-10) of this two part series on running with style.
The second major way to improve running performance is running economy. Running economy is the energy required to run at a given
velocity. Its measured as the amount of oxygen consumed per unit time or per unit distance. A well-designed study by Morgan and
Craib (1992) found a clear relationship between elite runners and faster times due to superior economy. Other studies confirmed
that oxygen consumption at a given running speed is less for world-class middle distance runners than for less successful middle
distance runners (Margaria et al. 1963, Dill 1965, Kollias et al. 1967, Daniels and Oldridge 1971).
A runner with good running economy uses less oxygen to run at the same given pace as a less economical runner, enabling him to run
longer and faster. He can race at a faster pace (i.e. exerting greater force) while processing the same amount of oxygen than a
less economical runner, which will ultimately win him the race. As Jack Daniels puts it in his book, Daniels Running Formula,
Improved economy is a highly desirable result of training because the runner can now race at a faster speed than before without
using more energy to do so. Running economy and efficiency are closely intertwined. Biomechanical efficiency contributes a major
part to running economy because efficient movement consumes less oxygen at a given running speed.
The Contribution of VO2 Max to Running Economy
If we look at the effect of VO2 max on running efficiency and economy and vice versa, we get a better idea of their
interrelationship. A runner with a low VO2 max and good running efficiency will probably perform as well as one with a high VO2 max
and poor running efficiency, all other things being equal. Thus high VO2 max plays a key role in running economy. For example, Dr.
David Costill, in his book Inside Running: Basics of Sports Physiology, describes two runners, with VO2 max values of 60 ml/kg/min
(Runner A) and 70 ml/kg/min (Runner B), who are asked to run at a six minute mile pace. Both runners would consume about 50 mls of
oxygen per minute for each kilogram of body weight. But because of the difference in their aerobic capacities (60 vs. 70 ml/kg/min)
the demands placed on their cardiovascular systems would be markedly different. Runner A would be working at 83% of his VO2 max,
whereas runner B would only operate at 71% of his aerobic capacity. Runner B could sustain that pace for a longer period and feel
less distress than runner A. This fractional use of aerobic capacity is an important indicator of running economy.
Ultimately, high VO2 max levels enable runners to use lower percentages of those levels to meet the aerobic energy demands of
distance competition and avoid heavily taxing their oxygen transport systems. Thus a high VO2 max is of critical importance.
Sadly, VO2 max levels are heavily (80%) genetically determined, so the less-gifted runner in this department has to look elsewhere
to improve running performancerunning efficiency.
What Does Research tell us about Running Economy?
The question that must be asked here is, how can we improve our running economy? Lets look at what the scientific literature tells
us about this topic.
More Training Miles = Better Running Economy
There is a trend among runners who train and race over longer distances towards a higher level of running economy, according to some
research. Various studies (6, 7, 8, 9, 10) of trained middle distance and marathon runners show that marathoners are more efficient
than the middle distance runners by 5% to 10% at a given pace, for example.
This has even been found with sub-elite runners (11, 12, 13). In general, runners whove been training for long periods of time
(such as marathoners) are shown to have higher economy of running. This is due partly to reductions in pulmonary ventilation during
Muscle Fiber Typing and Running Economy
Muscle structure and composition clearly play a major role in running economy. Specifically, the higher the percentage of slow
twitch muscle fibers a runner possesses, the more economical his running (14). Scientists eyebrows were raised from this study when
marathon training was found to increase absolute power output by 50%, something that is not supposed to happen to slow twitch
muscle. Clearly then, training significantly changes the muscles ability to contract and produce power.
The idea that endurance athletes who have trained longer become more efficient and more economical over time is illustrated by data
(15) on Lance Armstrong, 6 times Tour de France champion. His muscular efficiency (and thus power production) improved 8% between
ages 21 and 28. Its believed his 3-6 hours of intense daily training stimulated changes in his muscle myosin type, perhaps from
Type IIb muscle fibers to IIa. However, it should also be noted that Armstrong dropped 15lbs between 1992 and his first Tour de
France victory, resulting in decreased resistance while riding and a 10% increase in power output, a result that almost surely
catapulted him from an average rider to the best of the best.
Cycling studies (16) also give an interesting insight into how important muscle fiber type is to the economy of endurance athletes.
It was discovered that the most economical cyclists have a high percentage of slow twitch (type I) muscle fibers in their vastus
lateralis muscle. We would certainly expect this to be the same with runners because of the similarity of motion and endurance
nature of both sports.
Respiration Muscles and Running Economy
Training is largely concerned with decreasing the energy and oxygen costs of the breathing muscles; the diaphragm, intercostals and
abdominals. These muscles can account for 11% of total oxygen consumed during heavy exercise and up to 15% of cardiac output.
Training also increases the glycogen stores in the respiratory muscles, providing energy for longer running efforts.
What other training factors might contribute to improved running economy? Apart from an efficient running technique, improved
pulmonary ventilation, an abundance of type I muscle fibers, and running for many years, there appear to be three other promising
factors: interval training, strength training and stretchingand their effects are surprising.
Interval Training and Running Economy
The effect of high-intensity interval training on running economy has been examined (17) with promising results. Various studies of
interval training at intensities ranging from 93% to 106% of VO2 max are linked to improvement in running economy. Likewise, a
French study (18) found that four weeks of interval training at 100% of VO2 max increased running economy 6%.
The Effects of Strength Training on Running Economy
Exercise scientists have long suspected that strength training improves running economy by improving core body stability during the
running action. Thus less energy would be required to correct inappropriate movements such as erratic side-to-side trunk sway.
Strength training also enables runners to sustain a given pace with lower energy cost.
A study (19) at the University of Illinois took nine men, non-runners, through a 10-week leg-strengthening program of squats, knee
flexion, knee extension, leg press, calf raises, and dead lifts. There was no running or cycling in the training program. As one
would expect leg strength increased dramatically by 38% to 50% depending on the leg exercise.
The participants oxygen consumption changed only slightly (4% for cycling, 0% for running) yet their cycling times to exhaustion
increased from 278 seconds to 407 seconds (47% improvement) and running from 291 seconds to 325 (12% improvement).
Since lactate tolerance was not improved in the subjects, the only factor remaining to account for these dramatic improvements was
economy. Since the leg muscles were much stronger, fewer leg muscle cells were required to pedal at the submax VO2 intensity, saving
energy and enhancing economy.
A follow-up study (20) by Hickson, this time using runners and cyclist, found similar results. Cycling time increased from 71 to 85
minutes (20%) and 10K times improved from 42:27 to 41:43 (2% improvement). Although the running improvement was not statistically
significant, the researchers were still able to conclude that strength training can boost performances of runners, notably running
A Finnish study (21) found that a 9-week combined explosive-strength and endurance training resulted in lower 5K times by 3% and
improved running economy by a staggering 8.1%. The researchers of this study attributed the improvements to improved neuromuscular
A nicely designed study (22) on female distance runners had them perform weight training for 10 weeks in addition to their standard
Their pulse rate dropped from 187 beats/minute to 183 beats/minute while running at 6:30 mile pace. This translates into being able
to run at a 6:17 mile pace at the same effort as the previous 6:30 pace. Thus can be extrapolated to an improvement of 80 seconds
over a 10K. And in fact, all the weight-training women who raced after this study reported improvements in race times from the 5K to
the half marathon.
To help hone in on what type of strength training is most effective to improve running economy, researchers in Brazil (23) had two
groups of well-trained runners do heavy weight training or explosive training for 4 weeks. The heavy weight-training group improved
running economy but not the explosive training group.
Plyometrics and Running Economy
Even plyometrics have been shown to improve running economy, according to an Australian study (24) by Spurrs et al. A six-week
program of explosive drills (with a total of 15 workouts) improved running economy from 4% to 7% and reduced 3K running times by
Hill Training and Running Economy
A Swedish study (25) involved 11 marathon runners who added a different kind of strength training, hill workouts, to their training
for 12 weeks. They improved their running economy by 3%, equating to a significant decrease in racing times from the 5K up. The
uphill running enabled the leg musculature to contract with greater force, thus improving efficiency and economy.
Tapering and Running Economy
And lest we forget the importance of the tapering period before major races, one study (26) stands as a great reminder. When
training was reduced over 7 days, but included a with a high-intensity interval workout of 400meters, 5K times dropped by 3% and
running economy by 6% in a group of well-trained endurance runners.
How Does Strength Training Improve Running Economy?
The evidence in favor of strength and explosive training improving running economy is overwhelming. How then, could strength
training improve running economy? Here are four plausible theories.
1. Improved Core Stability
Its feasible that the strength trained runners more stable body causes a decrease in unnecessary motion while running, thus
requiring less oxygen.
2. Increased Tensile Strength of Muscle Tissue
The increased tensile strength of muscle tissue in runners leg muscles enables fewer muscle fibers to be activated during running,
lowering the oxygen demand of the legs.
3. Increased Storage and Release of Elastic Energy
Closely related to (2) is the idea that increased strength of muscle and tendon tissue enables it to store more elastic energy,
producing a faster rebound (or energy recoil) off the ground with every foot strike, in turn causing faster running.
4. Improved Neuromuscular Coordination
An equally plausible theory is that strength training improves muscular coordination via the nervous system, allowing more efficient
forward movement for each energy unit expended.
The Effects of Flexibility on Running Economy
Several recent studies show that increased flexibility is correlated with decreased running economy. Thats rightthe less flexible
a runner, the better his running economy! The studies suggest that runners with tight and limited flexibility in the trunk have the
best running economy at every test speed.
A study (27) at Nebraska Wesleyan University found exactly this: less flexible runners tend to be more economical, while identical
results were found in another study (28) at the University of North Carolinarunners with less flexibility in hips and trunk
demonstrated more economy.
Yet another study (29) by Jones at Manchester Metropolitan University, England, found identical results. Likewise another study (30)
at the University of Lethbridge, England, found hat a group of stretching runners failed to improve their running economy.
Other studies (30) conclude that inflexibility of the Achilles tendon and calf muscle complex results in a greater relative stretch
of tight muscles and tendons, storing more elastic energy for the recoil phase. This reduces the work of the muscles. Physiology
studies show that the elastic recoil of muscle and tendons contributes 25% to 40% of the energy necessary for movement in maximally
stretched muscle, so the elastic energy recoil theory would seem to have some merit.
The perturbing results of the anti-stretching papers all fly in the face of what stretching evangelists have been preaching since
the beginning of the running boom. Do your stretching, theyve said, or youll get injured and wont run as fast. But perhaps tight
muscles reduce energy expenditure by enhancing the elastic energy storage and return in muscles and tendons. More than a few
researchers now believe that tight leg, hips, and trunk musculature may increase the storage and return of muscle energy, providing
greater and faster bounce off the running surface while minimizing the need for muscle stabilizing activity of the core.
How Do we Improve Running Economy?
All this information leaves us questioning the necessity of stretching and the opposite with heavy or explosive strength training.
The inclusion of stretching and exclusion of resistance training have been sacred beliefs in the temple of running since the
beginning of running time. To preach the opposite would still be considered heresy in some circles.
Where do I stand on these issues? Perhaps its time we cut back on the stretching and boosted the strength training a bit more.
Fortunately, other training icons of the running world such as interval training, tapering and the superior efficiency of
marathoners still stand fast against the onslaught of research by the bright young minds in universities around the world.
But dont be surprised when more of what we hold to be solid and true in running lore is challenged and left in the dust.
4. VO2max - The monthly newsletter of RunCoachJason.com:
** Workout Speeds
One of the biggest mistakes runners make is running workouts at speeds that are either too fast or too slow to obtain the desired
result. Problem is, they don't know what the desired result is. To determine the correct speed, you must know the purpose of each
workout. Is it to improve lactate threshold? VO2max? Anaerobic capacity? Muscle power? Technique? Each one of these variables
requires a different speed that will optimize the workout.
Each of the next few newsletters will focus on a specific type of workout and discuss the correct speed for that workout. The last
two newsletters discussed easy/long runs and lactate threshold (tempo) runs. We continue this month with VO2max intervals.
VO2max isthe maximum volume of oxygen that muscles consume per minute, and is regarded as the gold standard of aerobic fitness. It
is dependent on your maximum stroke volume (the volume of blood pumped by the heart per beat), maximum cardiac output (the volume of
blood pumped by the heart per minute) and the difference in oxygen content between your arterial blood and venous blood (which
represents the amount of oxygen extracted by the muscles). Having a high VO2max is important as a runner, since it's impossible to
achieve a high level of performance without a high VO2max. Given its popularity among physiologists, VO2max is the most often
measured variable in exercise physiology. To train VO2max, you want to reach VO2max during the work periods of your intervals
workouts. To do that, you should come close to reaching your maximum heart rate by the end of each work period because VO2max
occurs when you're running at your max heart rate. VO2max pace is very close to 2-mile race pace for highly trained runners and
about 1- to 1½-mile race pace for recreational runners. It's about the pace you can sustain for 8 to 10 minutes. Running your
interval workouts much faster than VO2max pace is not any better than running at VO2max pace when the goal is to improve your
VO2max. To make the workouts harder, either increase the length of each work period (e.g., increasing from 800 to 1,000 meters) or
add more repetitions (e.g., increasing from 4 to 6 x 800 meters).
Want to know more about how to do workouts correctly to see results? Order one of my many DVDs, including lactate threshold,
marathon training, and periodization for distance runners. These DVDs are flying off the shelves, so order a discounted one today
** Illiotibial Band Friction Syndrome
Many runners, especially those new to running, experience illiotibial band friction syndrome (ITBS), the most common cause of
lateral knee pain among runners. ITBS results
from repetitive friction of the illiotibial band (a fibrous sheath that extends from your hip to just below your knee) against the
outside of the knee. Research has shown that ITBS can be caused by an abrupt increase in running mileage, running downhill, stiff
shoes that limit pronation or high-arched feet that don't adequately pronate (which transfers the shock of landing to other parts of
the leg), and weakness or inhibition of the lateral gluteal muscles.
Running mechanics, specifically changes in knee flexion at heel-strike and internal rotation of the leg, also appear to be related
to ITBS. Research has shown that runners who
have ITBS have a greater knee flexion at heel-strike, a greater strain in the illiotibial band throughout the stance phase, and a
greater internal knee rotation at the end of a long, exhausting run compared to runners who don't have ITBS.
So, how do you get rid of ITBS? First, get soft cushioning shoes that promote pronation (if you don't pronate adequately). Second,
do specific stretching exercises that isolate the illiotibial band. Third, strengthen your gluteal muscles to enhance control of
the leg during the eccentric support phase (when your leg first lands on the ground). Lastly, don't run downhill until the pain is
Doing these things typically resolves the problem in most runners.
To view past newsletters go to: http://www.runcoachjason.com/newsletter
Copyright Jason Karp All Rights Reserved - http://www.runcoachjason.com
5. More exercise better in long run, study finds:
Paul Williams has only run one marathon in his life, but by his own research, he could probably benefit from running a few more.
A scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Williams has put together the world's largest study on runners, and the
evidence found over 20 years of research points to an important conclusion: When it comes to exercise, more is almost always better.
"When I started my study, everybody sort of knew exercise was beneficial. The government was saying you get benefits by walking
three or four times a week. My data has shown the more you do, the greater the benefits," Williams said. "I've had people doing 100
miles a week of running, and you could see benefits up to that level."
To be sure, Williams is not suggesting that everyone try to run 100 miles a week, or even half of that. But for years, he's been a
critic of national guidelines that recommend people get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, or about 30 minutes a day, five
days a week.
That's a fine goal for the couch potatoes, Williams says, but it's shortchanging the millions of Americans who already get the
minimum amount of exercise and might not realize that doing more - maybe even doubling their workouts - would improve their health.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/02/01/MNFC1BID8F.DTL&type=health#ixzz0eNnOI1o1
6. Knee injuries- how iliotibial band syndrome can ruin the runner:
Knee injuries are the curse of many athletes, especially runners.
For instance, about 60 per cent of all runners are injured in an average year, and about one-third of those misfortunes occur at the
knee, producing a yearly knee malady rate of one in five runners ('Running Injuries to the Knee,' Journal of the American Academy of
Orthopedic Surgeons, vol. 3, pp. 309-318, 1995).
If your knee pain is lateral (on the outside edge of a knee), then it's likely that you are suffering from one of the most common
knee complaints - iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). As you may have learned the hard way, ITBS may aggrieve your knee enough to
drastically limit or even completely stop your training.
ITBS has been around since man (and woman) first learned to run, but it wasn't actually described in the medical literature until
1975 (Sports Injuries and Their Treatment, p. 56, J. B. Lippincott Publishers, Philadelphia, 1975). The syndrome is often labelled
an 'overuse' injury, but that's a very poor way to describe the origin of the problem, since it implies that the main source of
difficulty is excess mileage. The truth is that runners can be afflicted with ITBS on a regime of just five to 10 miles per week,
even though such volume would hardly constitute overtraining. The key source of ITB disorders is actually a lack of strength and
flexibility in the iliotibial band, sometimes combined with a perverse fondness for running either on the track or on crowned roads,
as you'll see in a moment.
More...from Peak Performance Online at:
7. Barefoot Running: How Humans Ran Comfortably and Safely Before the Invention of Shoes:
New research is casting doubt on the old adage, "All you need to run is a pair of shoes."
Scientists have found that those who run barefoot, or in minimal footwear, tend to avoid "heel-striking," and instead land on the
ball of the foot or the middle of the foot. In so doing, these runners use the architecture of the foot and leg and some clever
Newtonian physics to avoid hurtful and potentially damaging impacts, equivalent to two to three times body weight, that shod
heel-strikers repeatedly experience.
"People who don't wear shoes when they run have an astonishingly different strike," says Daniel E. Lieberman, professor of human
evolutionary biology at Harvard University and co-author of a paper appearing this week in the journal Nature. "By landing on the
middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than most shod runners generate when they
heel-strike. Most people today think barefoot running is dangerous and hurts, but actually you can run barefoot on the world's
hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort and pain. All you need is a few calluses to avoid roughing up the skin of the
foot. Further, it might be less injurious than the way some people run in shoes."
More...from Science Daily at:
8. How Long Are Your Telomeres?
by Scott Douglas
Recent news about how years of running keep you internally more youthful is, of course, great. (Executive summary: Habitual
exercisers telomeres, which are caps on the ends of DNA strands, are longer than sedentary contemporaries telomeres, indicating
that runners and their ilk have younger cells.) Im certainly glad its not the other way around, because then a lot of us would
have to wrestle with whether to stick with our running habit while knowing full well that it shortens our lives. And its a
wonderful selling point for running to skeptical newbies.
But at the personal level, my main thought when I hear research like this is, Oh, thats nice. Anyway . Rather than being a
primary source of motivation, its a happy consequence of something I would be doing anyway, same as when I hear that doing puzzles
might help ward off dementia or that kohlrabi is full of cancer-fighting phytonutrients.
Probably my favorite part of long-term studies of runners is the finding that more is better. None of this Ken Cooper if youre
running more than 15 miles a week youre doing it for reasons other than your health stuff for researchers like Paul Williams. He
says he can see additional health benefits in those who run 100 miles per week versus 50. In other words, I was right in high school
when I told my mother that her everything-in-moderation credo could be taken to an extreme.
More...from Running Times at:
9. Slimmer Doesnt Always Mean Fitter:
IN his new book, Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance, Matt Fitzgerald, a sports nutritionist, writes about an
amazing running experience. He worked out on a special sort of anti-gravity treadmill, the AlterG, which uses a cushion of air to
lift the body, allowing you to effectively decrease your body weight as you run.
Mr. Fitzgerald started out on the treadmill by running without the machines assistance. Then he ran with it adjusted to lift him
just enough so that he was 10 percent lighter.
I felt as if I had become 10 percent fitter, he writes. Running at his usual pace was suddenly utterly effortless, he notes,
adding that it felt like normal running, only so much better.
Exercise physiologists agree that if your sport is particularly affected by the tug of gravity running, cross-country skiing,
cycling up hills you are penalized for excess weight. But that leaves some questions: What is the ideal weight for your sport? And
how much difference will it make if you actually achieve it?
There have been few direct tests of the body-weight effect, said Hirofumi Tanaka, an exercise physiologist at the University of
Texas at Austin. Most of them were done in the 1970s and involved subjects who were asked to run with weights on their backs or
ankles. Sure enough, the heavier the people were, the tests showed, the harder they had to work to run at a given speed.
More...from the NY Times at:
10. This Week in Running:
10 Years Ago- Lidia Simon (ROM) won the Osaka Women's (JPN) Marathon by a scant two seconds over
Harumi Hiroyama (JPN), 2:22:54 to 2:22:56. Hiroyama collected the Japanese title.
This was Simon's third win at Osaka. She finished this year in 4th (2:27:11), giving
her a total of 11 finishes at Osaka.
20 Years Ago- Eamonn Martin (ENG) won the Commonwealth Games (NZL) 10,000m in 28:08.57. Moses
Tanui (KEN) got the silver medal and Paul Williams (CAN) got the bronze. The women's
3000m was won by Angela Chalmers (CAN) in 8:38.38 with Yvonne Murray (SCO) and Liz
McColgan (SCO) taking the other medals in 8:39.48 and 8:47.66 respectively.
30 Years Ago- Frank Richardson (USA) won the USA marathon title in winning the Paul Masson (CA/USA)
Marathon with a time of 2:13:54. Hatsuo Okubo (JPN) was 2nd in 2:14:09 and David Smith
(USA) was 3rd in 2:15:42. Susan Munday won the USA title by more than four minutes
over Linda vanHousen (USA), 2:43:17 to 2:47:29. Sue Petersen (USA) was 3rd in 2:49:32.
40 Years Ago- Steve Prefontaine (USA) won an indoor two mile in Portland OR/USA) with a 8:39.2.
50 Years Ago- Allan Lawrence (AUS) won the 3 mile at the Millrose Games (NY/USA) with a 13:38.0.
John Macy (POL) was 2nd in 13:45.8 while Max Truex (USA) and Tom Laris (USA) followed
(times not known). The Millrose Games continue but nothing longer than one mile is
From The Analytical Distance Runner, the newsletter for the Association of Road
Racing Statisticians with a
focus on races, 3000m and longer, including road, track, and cross-country
The ARRS has a website at http://www.arrs.net.
11. Me and my (anatomically perfect) shadow:
Your Shape game lets you and your avatar star alongside each other on your home TV.
My anatomically perfect avatar wont stop reminding me that Im doing my leg exercises incorrectly.
Please refocus your attention on your legs.
Your legs need a little help, she instructs during sets of heel jacks, jump kicks and frog leaps.
But I have a ligament sprain! I tell her, realizing at once that Im speaking to a television screen.
I try the moves again, and this time she commends me with a voice that sounds like a cross between Heidi Montag and Reese
Witherspoon. Now youre really getting into it!
Herein lies the biggest strength and weakness to the Your Shape fitness product for Nintendo Wii: It can see me but it cant
More...from the Globe and Mail at:
12. Video: Medicine Ball Drills for Runners:
Four simple exercise utilizing the medicine ball that runners of all abilities can add to their training, from Coach Jay Johnson.
Watch the video at Running Times at:
13. Ask the Coaches: Adjusting to Heart Rate Training:
Do I have my numbers wrong? Or is HRM training just not for me?
Q: Recently I got a heart rate monitor and then proceeded to calculate my aerobic (everyday run) and tempo run zones, 70-75%
(143-153 bpm) and 80-87%(163-175) resectively, based upon my max heart rate which I tested myself.
I started into a base training program 4 weeks ago and since then the paces I can sustain at those heart rates have slowed
considerably (from 5:45-6:35 for 1-mile tempo intervals.) This seems counterintuitive because I should be getting fitter. What
could be the cause of this slow down? Should I ditch the heart rate monitor and try something else?
-- Chuck, Washington
A. It sounds like your target HR zones are too high and that it is leading to over-training. Your tempo pace of 5:45/mile at 85%
indicates a 34:00/16:23 level of fitness for 10 and 5k respectively. Im basing that correlation on the modifications Ive done to
the Daniels charts which you can find on my website.
If you are not in that kind of shape, then try using a 65-70% zone for your easy, recovery days and perhaps a 170 upper limit for
your tempo runs. Your perceived effort for the tempo runs should be that the pace feels uncomfortable but sustainable for three
miles or so. Your breathing should be just heavy enough to discourage any attempt any talking.
More...from Running Times at:
THIS WEEK'S FEATURED EVENTS:
*Please verify event dates with the event websites available from our FrontPage (www.runnersweb.com)
February 6, 2010:
Florida Hospital Lady Track Shack 5K - Winter Park, FL
Reebok Boston Indoor Games - Boston, MA
February 7, 2010:
Redondo Beach Super Bowl Sunday 10K/5K - CA
Pasadena Half Marathon - Pasadena, CA
Run Denver Super Bowl 5K - Denver, CO
Surf City USA® Marathon - Huntington Beach, CA
June 19, 2010
The Emilie Mondor Memorial 5K Race for Women
For more complete race listings check out our Upcoming Races, and Calendars.
Check the Runner's Web on Sunday and Monday for race reports on these events at:
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The Stretching Handbook:
The Stretching Video in a DVD version. With the DVD version you're able to use the convenient menu facility to:
* Go directly to a specific stretch;
* View only stretches for a specific muscle group;
* Pause each stretch to get a good look at how it is performed;
* View only the introduction and rules for safe stretching; or
* Play the entire video from start to finish.
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