All Posts by Kyle

Why You Slow Down

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Someone recently tweeted that she was curious about adding in speed work to her training,

I inquired about why she felt the need to focus on speed training and what exactly her goals were.

Her reply was that she wished to be able to hold a 10 minute pace for as long as possible, lets assume possible means marathon, for this discussion.

Next I asked how many 10 minute miles she is currently capable of running. She told me 10 is about the farthest distance she can hold that pace for, then she dies.

So now, lets think. She can run one 10 minute mile. She can run ten, 10 minute miles. Is speed her problem then?

No.

Endurance is the issue that needs to be addressed.

The speed is there, she can run a 10 minute mile. However she lacks the endurance to hold that pace over a duration.

How then, does one address the issue?

The first step would simply be to improve your aerobic fitness. How is this best done? Running more. Just keep running, over time your fitness will grow and your paces will improve.

Another consideration is the distance. Do you have enough aerobic support to actually cover the distance? For a marathon, performing multiple long runs in the 15+ mile range is generally sufficient.

If you have a goal pace for a goal distance in mind, and actually covering the distance is not the real issue and neither is running at goal pace for some time, but the combination of pace over the distance, what you need to work on is the specific endurance, or ability to resist fatigue at goal race pace.

Specific endurance is developed by occasionally training within roughly 5% of your goal pace. It boggles my mind that people pick a marathon goal pace but never actually run at that pace during the long runs. How do you expect to run a 6:53 pace for 26.2 miles if you do all of your long runs at a 7:53 average pace?!? With one of the athletes I coach, I had him do 18 miles at goal pace a few weeks before the marathon, and this was after weeks of gradually increasing how how long he ran at goal pace during his long runs. During his goal marathon he ended up averaging almost that exact goal pace!

So what might this look like during the progression of a training cycle?

It might start as half mile or mile reps at goal pace with recovery between them. For the 5k you might start with a few repetitions of 400m at goal pace. As training progresses you can progress with a combination of adding more repetitions at goal pace and/or extending the duration of these reps to 500m, 600m, etc.

For the marathon, you may start with tempo runs at goal pace and these can gradually extend into the long runs. They may culminate with the last hard long run of a warm up, 3×5 miles at goal pace with a mile jog between reps.

Of course, neglecting long slow runs or shorter faster speedwork is not a good idea either, the well rounded athlete incorporates all of these various types of runs throughout the year.

So there you have it, in my eyes the main reason people fall off their goal pace during races is (aside from starting off too fast) is they simply lacked the specific training at that goal pace required for their body to be adapted to it.

If you have any general or specific training questions, please use the contact form and I’d be happy to address your inquiry!

Thanks for reading,

Kyle

Mistakes Athletes Make with Yoga

Yoga may be the most common class that athletes attend as a form of cross training.

It is often touted as being useful in increasing flexibility and range of motion. I’m not sure if it actually increased ROM during running (since that’s about relaxation and reciprocal inhibition) and I’m not convinced that more flexibility is a good thing for runners.

Recently I came across an article titled The 5 Most Common Errors Athletes Make with Yoga, and the below quote really stuck out to me:

Flexibility without stability is nothing more than a recipe for injury.

A lack of stability decreases range of motion, because when your brain senses this instability it will tense the body to protect the limbs, reducing range of motion.

Who says static flexibility leads to a high range of motion while running anyway? You do need to be able to relax the glutes to allow your forward moving leg to move up and at the same time relax the hip to allow the trailing leg to travel backwards. I’m not sure that movement has anything to do with being able to do deep yoga poses.

It should also  be mentioned that it’s been found runners who are less flexible are more economic, because their bodies have to work less to stabilize itself during the run-gait.

Speaking of economics, there’s elastic recoil, or the use of the tendons and muscles as springs to help provide you with energy for forward momentum. A flimsy spring will not have as much recoil as a tighter one.

Just some miscellaneous thoughts on my end, but worth considering I think. 

Iron Supplementation Benefits Physical Performance in Women

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And no, I’m not talking about the iron that you pump, but that also benefits women’s athletic performance.

This is looking at nutritional 😉

I just updated my research page with a new link to a review and meta analysis on iron supplementation for women:

Iron Supplementation Benefits Physical Performance in Women of Reproductive Age
The Results:
Iron supplementation improved both maximal exercise performance, demonstrated by an increase in maximal oxygen consumption and submaximal exercise performance, demonstrated by a lower heart rate and proportion of VO2 max required to achieve defined workloads. Daily iron supplementation significantly improves maximal and submaximal exercise performance in WRA, providing a rationale to prevent and treat iron deficiency in this group.
My Thoughts:
While this does specifically look at women, it’s a good remind of the importance of iron for athletes of both genders. 

Top Training Mistakes

Your goal event, be it a marathon or a 5k, does not care what you did the month before the race.

It doesn’t even worry about the three to five month period that you’ve dedicated to the specific goal race.

What is is concerned with is your frequency, consistency, and volume of miles over the long term. We’re talking months to years. Every day adds up, a marathon is worth more than the sum of its parts. Every little decision matters, and the consistency of positive choices makes a difference when you get to the starting line.

Training is not only the time you spend on the run, but it is the decisions (positive or negative) that you make along the way. Below is a list of common negative decisions that all runners should be mindful to avoid.

Read the rest here!

Training 4/28-5/4

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So the week certainly did not go as planned.

I was planning on racing a 5k Friday evening and again on Saturday morning. However last weekend/late last week my left calf started to develop a bit of a soreness, likely a result of the tight hamstring the previous week. Nothing that affected my form, just an isolated dull ache. I was able to keep my volume up but skipped any speedwork.

The calf did not feel quite up to par on Wednesday or Thursday so I decided to skip the races. I’m actually glad I did because I never paid for the entry fees and looking at the results they would not have been very conducive to PR’s for me. So, I saved $50 and had two killer workouts this weekend instead!

I kind of had a mini taper/down period these last couple weeks because I tapered before my last race a couple weeks ago and was tapering this week but ended keeping my volume up and cut out all intensity. The week of April 5th is the start of my half marathon training. It’s going to be a long block since it’s looking like the half will be October 5th. Of course I’ll sprinkle in plenty of shorter races along the way.

Desi is liking her new Phase X for Zumba and cycling.

So, what would have been the low point of the week ended up being two of my best workouts in weeks!

I did both weekend runs without any GPS feedback, just kept it at an easy effort with no knowledge of what my pace actually was. The first run was a medium distance and was a steady effort 7:48 average. Sunday Desi and I did a bike-run and I again ran at an easy effort, but attacked the hills a bit. I expected a sub 8 pace, but not a sub 7:30 pace or a sub 7 mile at one point! Got to say I’m apparently feeling really well.

With my anemia, this last week I started taking the pills twice a day. The previous week’s 1 pill daily did not negatively affect my GI system, and so far 2 pills daily is fine as well. I’ll stick with this for a few months and retest my ferritin.

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Below are the diet logs of days I was able to record. Of course this is completely anecdotal, but I’ve had more full nights of sleep in the last couple weeks than I may have had all year. There may be something to this magnesium!

Monday
8 hours sleep
AM Pills: B12, D3
7am EZ45 + 20min elliptical
8:30 curry, bean, & rice. 1c orange juice + iron pill.
10am Irish Creme Soda
1:30 two pb&j’s
2pm EZ30+10min elliptical
4pm pancakes
8pm 3 veggie burgers, orange juice, iron
pm magnesium

Tuesday
9 hours
10am orange juice, iron pill, fish oil, pancakes
1:30 two tortillas with a little brown sugar and Promise.
3pm Elliptical10, EZ55, Elliptical10
4:30 soy milk and Amazing Grass
6:30 taco Tuesday, orange juice, iron
pm magnesium

Wednesday
7 hours sleep
9am orange, iron pill, peanut butter & honey on toast.
10a E30
Noon three bean burritos
3pm cheese quesadilla
4pm elliptical10, EZ30
7pm spaghetti, garlic bread, orange juice, iron

Sunday
10 hours sleep
9am two veggie sausage + bagel
Noon Italian creme soda
3pm two slices toast with pb&honey
3:30 EZ55 + hill accelerations
4:30 1c soy milk + Amazing Grass
6pm fajitas, iron supp with oj
pm magnesium

Which Shoe for Which Distance?

Here’s an article I wrote over at SKORA’s blog about the incredibly common question about specific shoes for specific distances?

This is definitely not a question or issue specific to SKORA.

“Is this shoe good for half marathon training?”

“What shoe do you recommend for a 5k race”

“Can I run an ultra marathon in this model?”

Check out the article here!

Forgiveness And Boston Bandits

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“Forgive people not because you are weak, but because you are strong enough to know that people make mistakes”

The biggest news to come out of the Boston Marathon is unfortunately not that a US citizen has finally won the race for the first time in three decades and did it in an incredibly fearless manor, it is that there were bandits at the race.

Bandits are people that  sneak into the event without paying. Sometimes they’ll fake a bib or sometimes they won’t even bother. This is definitely robbery if they are taking nutrition and medals away from people that actually paid, it has even gone as far as being called identity theft for those who have copied bibs.

Now, of course I am quite disappointed in these runners who cheated to get into a race that people train years to reach the time standards to just apply to sign up, and not even all that apply get in!

The most prominent bandit is of course Chelsa, the wife of Foresquare CEO. She made the poor decision of putting her twitter handle on her fake bib.

Runners all over social media are being very vocal about how mad, angry, disappointed, or hurt they are in these bandits. And I completely understand, it is definitely wrong of people to steal or cheat their way into a race. It has been going on for years, and I believe Boston has also been fairly accepting of these runners as long as they started after everyone else was through the starting gate. I have no doubt it was the bombing events last year that is making the cheating during this Boston Marathon especially high profile.

However what has shocked me the most is that runners, many of who are talking about how horribly wrong it was of Chelsa and the rest of the bandits to do what they did, are also harassing Chelsa.

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I am in no way condoning what Chelsa or the rest of the bandits did this year or the hundreds+ who bandit races every year. However I am saying that stooping down a level and going out of the way to make Chelsa and these bandits feel worse is not the noble and right thing to do either.

No doubt she is sorry and regrets what she did. Probably both because of the backlash but also I am confident that she genuinely sorry. I see no reason why being cruel to any solves any problem, ever

Compassion is at the heart of every little thing we do. It is the dearest quality we possess, yet all too often it can be cast aside with consequences too tragic to speak of. To lose our compassion, we lose what it is to be human.

Review: 1st Endurance Liquid Shot

First, would you please take a moment and vote for and share my video? I’m in the running to win a vacation getaway! Voting accounts for 20% of the overall score!

Within this fist sized bottle is packed 400 calories.

This is a powerhouse of a nutrition product.

A little caloric grenade, if you will.

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There are three characteristics of these EFS Liquid Shots that I really love.

The first is that it has 1,000mg of amino acids in it. Not protein, but pure amino acids. Research has shown that taking in amino acids during endurance sport can be beneficial. They may allow the body to push a bit harder because it has these amino acids to use as a fuel source vs body protein. In essence, these a.a’s kind of make the Central Governor feel a bit easier about letting go of the reigns a bit.

You can find further reading on a.a.’s here.

Second, is that it’s neither pure liquid nor pure solid. Almost like the consistency of pudding. This means that for a person like me who is not a big drinker, it works great for taking a mouthful of water right before an aid station and then chasing with gatorade. One could even take small sips of it along the way and be just fine, although having a bit of water is a bonus.

Finally, another cool thing about these Liquid Shots is that the bottles are reusable, they are basically mini water bottles.  You can purchase larger 32oz containers of the shots itself. What I did was purchase one single flask of each flavor, and I’ll probably purchase a larger bottle of the vanilla or kona mocha to refill. The wild berry was good, but not something I’d want 32oz of I don’t think 😉

1st Endurance Liquid Shot in use

Uses:

The main time I can see this being used, and when I’m planning on using it, is during any half and full marathons. For a half marathon effort I would likely experiment during my long runs with removing about a quarter of the pudding and add some water. That would make it a bit easier to take it without any additional fluid whatsoever. During a marathon I would probably take 1 of these over the course of the first 1.5-2 hours plus on course nutrition, which would probably put me at 600 calories in a couple hours. I could even take the full container during that first hour while my pace is low and stomach is still feeling good, and do on-course nutrition for the rest of the run.

What I like most about First Endurance is that they seem to be a brand heavily invested into science. When I was in college I was actually a subject during a study looking at the effectiveness of their PreRace supplement (it was effective). If you browse their website you’ll see a great deal of education about their products.

It should be noted that it is extremely difficult to actually tell if a nutritional product worked or not. I obviously did not test this on myself in a laboratory in a double blind, however I used it during harder workouts and did not feel any adverse reactions. And I’m quite confident it worked in that it fueled that particular workout.

So be sure to check these and the other great products out at 1st Endurance. Any purchase made through the amazon links above give a few cents back to the blog here without costing you anything, and greatly appreciated!

“You Pronate?” I hope so!

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I would like to draw to your attention a fantastic article written by Pete over at RunBlogger.com on his experience observing a shoe fitting and his further thoughts.

He starts with the unfortunately ever-so common first questions, when you sit in front of the shoe store employee, “Do you pronate?”

This entire exchange reinforced for me why I hate the whole pronation model of fitting shoes. First, the question “Do you pronate?” revealed that the clerk didn’t really understand what pronation is, and was probably just repeating something she had been told to ask by a manager, brand, or store fitting procedure. The reality is that everybody pronates, and pronation is a completely normal movement. (I should note that the term pronation as used colloquially is typically equivalent to rearfoot eversion, the actual movement is a bit more complex) We might vary in how much we pronate, but asking someone if they pronate is like asking them if they breathe. I’d actually be much more concerned if the customer had revealed that no, she doesn’t pronate. At all. That would be worrisome.

Next, Pete moves onto explain a bit about the research (or lack of) behind prescribing footwear based on static or even measured foot type or shape.

And finally, even if there was an accurate assessment of how much this customer pronated, I still have yet to see strong evidence saying A) how much pronation is too much for a given individual, B) that any given shoe is effective at controlling pronation when you look at the actual movement of the foot inside the shoe (and there are no data I’m aware of showing the relative pronation-controlling effectiveness of the various shoes on the market), or C) that fitting a shoe based on amount of pronation is warranted or effective from an injury prevention standpoint.

For those interested in either reading a great article on what they already know, or are curious on more up to date science behind footwear and foot movement, please give the article a read!

Be sure to check out my Articles of Interest page for further reading as well!

 

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