Yes, there is a limit on how much daily stress you can handle without impacting your training. If you try to pack those mile repeats in while you're dealing with major issues at home or on the job, or your boyfriend just dumped you and you've got a huge exam coming up, that's more physical and emotional stress than you may be able to handle. You only have so much energy to use to adapt and handle different stress. The latest research shows that once that reservoir runs dry, your body won't adapt to -- and benefit from -- your athletic training. For insight into the impact of life stress of your training. click here.
Will changing the type of shoe you wear or adopting a radically different running stride turn you into a faster runner? Runners experience incredible performance breakthroughs all the time. What's farfetched is the idea that a consciously made change in running technique could precipitate such a breakthrough. Matt Fitzgerald talks to a top expert in this insightful piece. Click here to read it.
Can't wait for your next open water swim? Or is open water swimming the part of triathlon you like least? Even some athletes who come to triathlon with a swim background get a little uneasy when they have to trade that comforting black line at the bottom of the pool for less predictable swimming in open water. But all it takes to master open water is a little planning and guidance. You can get the inside view of preparing an athlete for open water by reading this guide prepared for open water swim coaches. Click here to read it.
Is it time to replace my running shoes? That's an often asked question, and the best answer may be, yes, if you're thinking you're overdue for new shoes that's probably an indication that you ought to get a fresh pair. But how often should you replace your shoes to prevent injury? There's no agreed upon simple answer, Gina Kolata explains after talking with folks in the shoe industry and people who have explored the issue. Click here to read what she found.
Think You're Running the Right Way? A new study of barefoot tribesmen in Kenya upends the argument of barefoot enthusiasts who say that to reduce impact forces and injury risk, runners should land near the balls of their feet, not on their heels, a running style they say represents the most natural way to run. Together with several other new running-related experiments, the study raises tantalizing questions about just how humans really are meant to move. Click here to read an article, and click here to read the study itself.
As Type A People, Interested In Our Health,
we athletes tend to pay particular attention to reports about the latest medical studies and research. What are the drugs or supplements that will help us stay healthy? Which ones that received a lot of attention when they came on the market have since been proven less effective? What foods will best serve our needs and what should we be avoiding? Pick up a sport or health related magazine and you'll find dozens of references to studies. Here, from Consumer Reports, is a guide that will help you decide which studies are valid and which ones you should view with skepticism. Click here for the guidelines
Is Barefoot Running Best, Or A Very Light Running Shoe,
or do you need a well-cushioned pair of shoes to keep from being injured? The debate has been going on for several years, and now more research is catching up with the controversy, using biomechanical research to calculate running efficiency and what makes runners fast (or slow). Scroll down this page for a look at some earlier research. Here's an article on the latest studies. Click here to see more.
Out Of Time? Figure You'll Just Have To Skip Today's Workout?
The latest research suggests that high intensity interval training is the answer if you want to get in a quality workout in the tiny window of training opportunity that your demanding day provides. Gretchen Reynolds explains how to make the most of the 20-minute workout. Click here to see a video.
Before We Learned To Swim Or Ride A Bicycle,
we learned how to run. Our running form is deeply ingrained by the time we're adults, so much so that we don't much think about it even as we tinker with our position on a bike or focus on our swim stroke. Coaches are warned against imposing radical running form changes on their athletes unless their bad form seems likely to cause an injury. But can people become better, more efficient runners on their own, merely by running? A study of beginning runners suggests that they can -- and do. Click here to read more.
Everyone In the Know Says They Know The Best Stroke.
Engineers claim they've have settled the argument over which of two freestyle techniques used by the world's best competitive swimmers is faster. The verdict: The deep catch stroke, in which the arm action resembles that of a paddle, has the edge over sculling, a bent-arm, propeller-inspired motion. Click here to see more.
"Too Many Miles On The Tires?" Do you slow down after a number of years or miles simply because your running parts are worn out? Gina Kolata, runner and New York Times uber health reporter, delves into that question. Click here to see more.
Have You Every Wondered Whether To Hose Down your beloved but filthy bike? Will the wash down gum up the bike? Here's your answer from the mouths of the guys who keep bikes spotless for the pro riders, and a video on how they do it. Click here to see more.
Do You Really Need To Refuel On The Race Course? Sports nutrition has grown into a billion-dollar industry in America, and there's no question that when you train or race long, good nutrition is essential. But do you need it for that 90-minute training ride? That 10-mile race? That 3,000-yard swim? Do that camel back and fuel belt provide critical fuel or just unnecessary weight? Do you need to suck down gel packs during a sprint triathlon or 10K race? How much is enough? Here is an interesting article that may change your approach to training and racing. Click here to read more.
Your Brain Is A Very Hungry Organ, and when you exercise it's burning energy with rapid-fire orders to those working muscle groups about muscle contractions, vision coordination, balance and the other elements that move you forward. It wants to be fueled too, and scientists have discovered that brain function during exercise requires more than just glycogen. Until recently, they hadn't fully understood how brain cells feed themselves during exercise. New research has opened their eyes. Click here to read more.
Endurance Sport Is A Mental Discipline Supported By Physical Ability. That fact is lost on many athletes who train their bodies into a state of high fitness but don't spend an equal or greater time preparing mentally to push through the comfort zone to achieve their goals. If the will to succeed hasn't developed over months and years of metal training, of daily visualization and of mastering the conversation in your head, then race day will be less than it might have been. World Champion Chrissie Wellington explains how it works for her. Click here to read more. And for even more, scroll down a bit and watch the video of Billy Mills talking about one of the greatest races in U.S. history.
Nothing In Endurance Sport Is Sacred, Except The Race. Other than that, it seems like virtually every theory on training and racing is open to challenge as we learn more about sport (see below). The brick is just the latest training technique to come under scrutiny. Should it still be an essential element of your training plan? Veteran coach Al Lyman makes the case for keeping the brick in your workout schedule, and the reason may surprise you. Click here to read more.
As The Science of Sport Continues To Evolve we're regularly told that a new way of thinking has supplanted old, tried-an-true approaches to the way we train and race. Although even the youngest of the triathlon sports, cycling, has been around for more than a century, modern technology and science continue to produce improvements in all three sports. This very good piece from swim coaches in Perth, Australia, takes a fresh look at 10 long-held beliefs about swimming. Click here to read more.
Another Short Course? Or Is Your GPS Watch Lying To You? Race directors get so many "short course" complaints these days that one even has a form email that says it's not the course, it's your GPS. "That kind of discrepancy, of course, plays havoc with your training," Gina Kolata writes in the New York Times. She explores the reason why your GPS very likely is off the mark a good bit of the time. Click here to read more.
To Stretch Or Not To Stretch? Back in the days before sport became such a science, everybody knew they should stretch before and after training. More recently we've moved to dynamic exercise rather than stretching before a workout on the theory that that activates muscles without straining them. Now there's another new study out in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that leads one expert to say, 'There is little evidence that stretching does anything important, but there is also little to be lost from doing it." Click here to read more.
Finding The Right Coach Means Melding Two Personalities To Achive A Common Goal. When Gina Kolata isn't writing about health for The New York Times she's a serious runner who counts on her long-time coach for direction and counsel. But she writes that coaching doesn't work for everyone, and finding a coach whose style is suited to your needs is a key to a successful relationship. Click here to read more.
During The Indoor Riding Season or for those rainy Saturday's a good bike trainer is a worthwhile investment. Elite USAT Coach Ian Murray shares his thoughts on what beginners should look for on the Triathlon Magazine website. Once you've gotten smart on trainers, drop by Bike Doctor in Arnold to check out their complete trainer inventory. Click here to read more.
The Panic Attack That Can Kill. If you've done a triathlon in the Washington region -- Nation's Tri, Columbia Tri, Annapolis Tri -- you've been in the water with Washington Post health reporter David Brown, a veteran triathlete. Now David, himself a practicing medical doctor, explores why the fear factor in open water swimming sometimes triggers a panic attack that causes some triathletes to die during the swim portion of races. Click here to read more.
Why Are Elite Athletes Staying Indoors? Matt Fitzgerald explains why more and more elite athletes are getting more out of workouts on the trainer than they could by riding outdoors. Writing for Inside Triathlon, he says that the indoor training preference now has caught on among age-groupers, who realize they can get the best results from their limited training time by joining top pro Andy Potts on the indoor bike trainer. Potts says, "When my coach writes my workouts, each minute is accounted for, as opposed to, 'Oh, just ride out to such-and-such place.'" Click here to read more.
Plenty Has Been Written About Cross-Training. Now Gina Kolata of The New York Times examines a lot of new research as she tries to determine whether it's beneficial for endurance athletes, who need to focus most on sports specificity to achieve their goals. She provides links to all the studies, so you can draw your own conclusions if you have questions about her's. Click here to read more.
You See Them Everywhere Athletes Gather: Compression Socks. And everyone has an opinion on whether or not they are really effective. As this thoughtful examination by Competitor Group concludes, the jury is still out but top athletes and coaches provide their own anecdotal evidence that suggests compression gear may speed the recovery process. Click here to read more.
There's More To Think About When Selecting A Saddle. The New York Times follows up on a provocatively titled study -- "Cutting off the nose to save the penis" -- with some addtional reporting on how choosing the right saddle may save men from erectile dysfunction and help women avoid genital pain, numbness and uncomfortable tingling. Click here to read more.
New Study Says Running Is Good For Our Knees Our old running buddy Bill has always claimed that running has saved his knees. He's the only member of his extended family not to get arthritis at an early age. Running, he reasons, explains why. We weren't convinced of this, or of the notion that the pounding our knees take on the run was anything but bad for them. But here's a piece on a new study that could change our mind. See if it changes yours too. Click here to read more.
A Fresh Season Is Here!
You're about to look down at the calendar and freak out! That season that once seemed so far off is popping up on the radar like a fat meteor rushing right at you. Don't panic. The worst thing you could do is start piling on the workouts to make up for lost time. That's a sure way to get hurt and risk overtraining syndrome. As one of our favorite triathlon authors, Matt Fitzgerald, explains in his latest article for Competitor Group, knowing how to structure your training is the key to success. Click here to read Matt's advice. "Do You Think Orthotics Would Help?" We've been running in orthotics for decades and plan to stick with them until our running days are done. We often are asked whether everybody should try them, and the answer to that is no. But they can be the answer for many people who need to correct imbalances that could lead to injury as they compete in repetitive stress sports like running and cycling. Check with a professional if you think you may need them. Meantime, read this article by Gina Kolata in The New York Times, who explains that even the experts aren't always certain why they work. Click here for more. Make the Most of Indoor Running We once thought that unless the snow was hip deep the only place to run was outdoors. Now we've grown older and wiser, and we realize the benefits of running indoors on the treadmill. No traffic, no cross streets, a surface more forgiving than concrete and a chance to really control those heart rate zones, if you're training with a HR monitor and running intervals. Brad Culp, who now is editor of Ironman's magazine Lava, teams up with the ubiquitous Matt Fitzgerald to provide good advice for treadmil training. Click here to see what they say.
The Ten Commandments of Endurance Training
Just how important is recovery in the process of progressive overload and adaptation that is a core principle of endurance training? Take a look at how they figure in the Ten Commandments of Endurance Training that author Vic Brown presented in a recent edition of Velo News. His message: work hard, recover even harder and get stronger. Click here to see Vic's gospel. "My butt, unfortunately, is dead."Any article that begins with that sentence is likely to grab your attention. This one caught ours. Writing in The New York Times, Jen A. Miller discovers that her running has become painful because of gluteus medius tendinosis. Never heard of it? Neither had she, but she discovered that it's pretty common problem. What's more, she learned that it can cause lots of other injuries and, most important, that if you take the right steps you can avoid it. Click here to see what saved her.
Perhaps you are an "elite athlete"?
Gina Kolata of the New York Times ranks with Matt Fitzgerald as one of the smartest writers out there on endurance sports. This is an excellent piece to which we'd just like to add one question: is conquering the mental part of sports a provence reserved for the elite athlete or does that challenge apply to every one of us? Here is her piece.
"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." --Steve Prefontaine
For Prefontaine, one of most inspiring American athletes of the 20th Century, the gift was an abundance of natural talents. But for those of us who can only dream of rivaling his achievements, the gift comes to us every day in a different form. It is the gift of opportunity -- opportunity to chase the more humble goals and dreams that are ours alone, that are not the property of an adoring public and at the end of the day that matter only to us. Meet your own challenge, chase your dream. Watch the video.
It is considered the biggest upset in Olympic history.
At the 1964 Tokyo games the favorite in the 10,000 meters was Ron Clarke
of Australia, who held the world record. The challenge was expected to come from defending champion Pyotr Boltnikov
of the Soviet Union and Murray Halberg
of New Zealand, who had won the 5,000 in 1960. Instead, an unknown American, a Sioux named Billy Mills,
stunned them all. Listen to Mills describe his race, and the mental preparation that is the essence of endurance sport, yet it's overlooked by so many who train their bodies but not their minds. Watch the video
When you hobble into work after a long weekend of training
, or show up on crutches or leaning on a cane, some kind colleague who spent the weekend in the garden or on the couch is bound to ask whether you're finally ready to give up that silly sport. Your answer, "nope," is explored by Gina Kolata
in The New York Times. More info.
Until running shoes were developed hardly anybody other than podiatrists knew the word. Now everybody talks about it but few people understand what it really means. Runner's World
has provides a good, simple explanation. More info
Barefoot running and interest in the new shoes
which come close to being barefooot have generated a lot of hot debate in the past couple of years, and you'll find links below to an excellent series on the subject. Now there are two new pieces out by experts we respect, Ross Tucker
and Matt Fitzgerald. You'll find Ross's latest here, and Matt's here.
, who has coached Olympic runners and professional triathletes, says Zersenay Tadese
may have the best running form of any runner competing today. This amazing performance is testament, then, to the efficiency and results that great form can bring you. More info.
Kinetic Motion's home is at the EMC center
in Annapolis, Maryland. Every year, we hear from local cyclists looking for fun, challenging routes to ride. Given that our parking lot is huge, always has plenty of vacant spaces and opens out to lots of great riding, we've drawn Annapolis Bike Routes routes with cue sheets that will take you out on routes from 17 to 70 miles. Ride safely! You'll find them here. More info.
For years, going long was deemed to be the best training for racing long, so endurance athletes commonly gauged their effort by counting the miles they ran or biked. The true value of interval training, which allows athletes to train hard without spending hours per day, has been more fully realized by recent studies and articles. Here's one that came our way which we though worth sharing. More info.
"We are what we eat. And what we eat largely determines our performance in sport. Yeah, I know, you may not want to hear it but it's true ..." that's the opening lines from a good piece posted on PointPositive that mentions one book we've recommended, Bob Seebohar's
lastest, and deals with a topic that's also explored in another of our recommendations, Matt Fitzgerald's
"Racing Weight." For a taste of the subject, here's the PointPositive article. More info
has produced a couple of good Olympic pieces that are worth a look. One deals with muscle cells and touches on muscle memory, which is a key part of repetitive sports like swimming, cycling and running. More info
. The second focuses on Vo2 max testing. Listen for the words "consum and process oxygen" because how your body does that, and not
your Vo2 max number is the key indicator of fitness. More info
The questions about sweating and fluid loss come up again every year when it gets warm once more. Here's a very good, in depth piece that Jonathan Toker
wrote for Slowtwitch
after a scorchingly hot Ironman in Kona. Take note of his comments on a popular misconception about hyphnatremia. More into
"I tested positive for Neoprene...."
This hilarious first-person account of putting that first toe into race waters should give you a chuckle. If it gives you a chill, and you live anywhere near Annapolis, it's not to late to sign up for Coach Jenn's Masters swim program. More info.
The International Triathlon Union (ITU), the global governing body
for triathlon, just came out with a great little video on bike handling tips. Before you take a peek, it's worth noting that pro ITU racers are allowed to draft, so that's why you see so much of it in this clip. Enjoy. More info
There's a new study out on a popular subject -- barefoot running
-- in the respected magazine Nature
. It will get superficial, and likely misleading, attention on the 6 o'clock news. Ross Tucker,
whose series on the subject is available below on this page, provides some valuable perspective. More info
Can a mouth guard help you become a stronger cyclist?
An interesting piece from the New York Times
. Chris McCormack wants you to believe it, but are his motives pure? More info
Are you building your 2012 race schedule
and looking for a few good races? Here's a link to a great service provided by Endless Pools (be sure to click on 2012!). More info
As more casual athletes sign up for triathlons, the sport
has seen a corresponding rise in injuries. The newcomers are particularly injury-prone, doctors say, because of the rigors of training simultaneously for swimming, bicycling and running. This piece in The New York Times got well deserved attention. We'll admit we're biased about this, and we wish we could guarantee that our athletes never will get hurt, but we think our approach might have helped avoid a lot of the sort of injuries this story describes. More info
If Matt Fitzgerald writes it, we read it.
He's the smartest voice writing about endurance sports today, and his work appears regularly in Inside Triathlon and Triathlete magazine. Here's a good one from Inside Tri on the pros and cons of heart rate monitors. More info
Another gotta-read-him writer is our friend Brad Culp
. It seems like only a few years ago he was teaching us the latest frat-boy drinks at a bar in Tucson, and now he's editor of Lava magazine. Buy his mag and read everything he writes, but don't overlook his blog, which has an interesting insight into doping and triathlon. More info
Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas are a pair of South African sports physiologists
whose blog, The Science of Sport, is a must-read for us. If you've been caught up in the debate over running shoes their three part series is worthy of your attention. Part 1
, Part 2
, Part 3
Our friend Brian Boyle, a Kinetic-Motion coached athlete
, has a new book out that tells the stunning story of his rebound from a near fatal accident to become an Ironman triathlete. Here's a review, and, for those of you who want a preview of his story, here's a link to a video on YouTube. More info Video
The website Slowtwitch is an online Bible for triathletes
. After hearing our own Steve Ruck
sing the praises of Felt tri bikes we discovered this critique by Slowtwitch guru and bike expert extraordinaire Dan Empfield
, who echoes a lot of Steve's thoughts. More info