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!
So, it was a pretty good week. Nothing to special going on, I’m mainly doing a couple key workouts weekly and following these up with some easy running around them.
My favorite workout of the week was on Wednesday, just an easy 8 miles with 12x30sec max hill sprints. I just felt so good that day, which was about time because Monday and Tuesday’s runs were less than optimal.
The lowlight of the week was Thursday’s threshold workout. As you can see below, I was a bit slow on the repetitions. I think the previous day’s hill reps were a bit much for my legs with the track work the next day. Oh well, even though my splits were a bit slow it was still a great workout!
These upcoming weeks are going to be key. I’ve got two 5k’s coming up at the beginning of March so I’m really focusing on running easy volume between the occasional very high quality sessions. That being said, I’m really looking forward to shifting to half marathon training in March because I’m itching to get my volume up a bit more.
Week of April 14th
– warm up, 30min tempo @ LT (~6:00) + 5x20m fast with long recoveries, cool down
– Moderate 50 minutes + 40 @ AeT (sub6:30)
Week of April 21st
– warm up, 5x1k at 3:25 with 400m easy jog + cool down
– easy/moderate 110 minutes
– warm up, 30-35 minute tempo @ LT
Week of April 28th – Taper Week
– early week aussie quarters: wu, 6x400m faster then gp + 400m float, cool down
– Friday 5k
– Saturday 5k
That is going to be a challenging 5k schedule. The Friday one is actually at 6pm so I’ll really have to watch what I eat that afternoon, the worst thing I can do is overeat, but I need to be sure to get in some food!
Let’s get this out of the way.
I am the one that has never actually purposefully supplemented with electrolytes.
From the 5k to the 100 mile ultra, no salt or electrolyte pills. Of course I’ve taken electrolytes in, but never have I singled them out during supplementation.
I’ve nothing against electrolytes, but I am not a believer in the electrolyte depletion theory of muscle cramping. I do not think electrolytes are the cause of muscle cramps.
Recently though I have tested out the EFS (electrolyte fuel system) Electrolyte Drink from 1st Endurance.
There are a few characteristics of this powder that should be addressed.
There are 96 calories per scoop, with carbohydrate coming from a variety of carb sources (not simply pure maltodextrin). This means there are a variety of pathways for the carbohydrate metabolism, which can ease digestion.
I’m a huge fan of amino acids being included within sports fuel. This not only can spare muscle tissue but there has been decades of research showing a performance benefit to having free form amino acids taken in during high intensity training.
As I said, I’m not one to supplement with electrolytes alone. However I’m not going to avoid a fuel because it has electrolytes in it. 1st Endurance claims that their EFS Electrolyte Drink has the highest concentration of electrolytes on the market. Might as well bring in plenty compared to Gatorade’s dismally small amounts.
This unique inclusion has been shown in studies to stimulate oxygen consumption.
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.
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.
Due to the free shipping, tubs can be least expensively purchased from Amazon. That affiliate link also gives a few cents back to the blog here, which is greatly appreciated!
Oh, and flavor I recommend. Grape, duh 😉 I tested out some single serving pouches before purchasing a larger amount, however currently it looks like they are completely out of stock of that option at the website.
I just added a new Article of Interest to the page. From Outside Magazine, the author discusses something that I’ve seen so many times. He does not say it outright, but it’s there.
Runners simply don’t take responsibility for their poor choices.
They blame something extrinsic when they themselves are the cause.
Blame the Runner: Shoes Don’t Cause Injuries | Devon Jackson at Outside | “Up to 90 percent of running injuries could be classified as training errors, says Langer. One’s body mass index, history of injury, amount of pronation, too little rest, too much high-intensity running (hills, speed workouts), not enough cross training, abrupt changes in training volume, etc.”
Choose the Right Running Shoe | Mackenzie Lobby at Competitor | “Langer points out that 60–80 percent of running injuries are due to training errors, not footwear. “I usually tell my patients that in terms of running injuries, shoes are like quarterbacks: They get too much credit when things are good and too much blame when things are bad.””
I mean, I get it.
People like to place blame elsewhere.
But it’s often not the case.
Weak hips, glutes, etc
Bad training choices
Too much volume, intensity,
Not enough rest, easy running
No transition time to training changes (footwear, terrain, volume, etc)
The warning signs were ignored and trained through
These cause injury.
This is also were a coach comes into play. One of my athletes was practically a chronically injured runner when I was first getting to know him. I was honestly a little hesitant to take him on. However with myself working with him he cut about 10 minutes off his marathon time with a 3:04 Boston Qualification and just ran his first sub 18 minute 5k, completely injury free for the entire marathon training cycle.
“Running is a skill and how one runs matters more than what is on one’s feet,” declares Harvard University paleoanthropologist Dan Lieberman, the popularize of minimalist running also known as the Barefoot Runner. “Natural selection is a much better engineer than any shoe designer. So my null hypothesis is that less shoe is better until proven otherwise.”
I believe the best shoe for most people is a neutral option that allows the foot to move and the body to position naturally. Cushioning and protection are great, but the body must be able to function well.
Let’s break down some of the injury causes mentioned above:
A low cadence, high vertical movement, overstriding, landing with a straight knee, bent over posture. These are visually obvious poor form characteristics than can cause issues. Just because we were “born to run” does not mean everyone can do it well.
I recall a study that found a direct correlation to weak glutes and Illiotibial Tract Friction Syndrome. Hips are also an often overlooked muscle group.
Bad Training Choices
Such as running too much volume, speed work, not recovering properly, not slow enough transitioning to any new change in training, not doing ancillary work.
One of the reasons it’s believed that runners actually have lower incidence of arthreitis in old age is because they tend to weigh less than their inactive counterparts.
Ignored Warning Signs
Numerous times in the past I’ve felt a little injury coming on and was able to avoid injury by changing my training. For example, I jumped into trail running a bit too quickly moved to the Black Hills National Forest a few years back, and my ankles really felt it. Instead of ignoring this or pushing through it, I simply stayed on less technical trails and the road a bit more. The ankles were then able to “catch up” and I slowly moved back to the rocky trails.
Another example was last winter when I moved to the treadmill a bit too quickly. My hamstrings really felt it, I believe it was a combo of being on the treadmill as well as the treadmill’s incline (I now live on a very very flat part of South Dakota). I was able to avoid taking any time off from running, again, due to being mindful of my body and noticing what was happening. I eased back my volume a bit, avoided the treadmill incline, and was able to heel up within a few weeks and be back to full training. No problems.
Below if an example of the runner blaming the shoes and not taking responsibility
I had an ok week of training.
Definitely came down with a bug and it definitely affected me during my progression run on Sunday and may have been with me on Wednesday. I can pinpoint the exact moment in time I started to feel it on Friday (minutes after I had a veggie and dip sampler at an art gallery opening) but I did have some horrible GI issues during Wednesday’s track workout, so it’s possible that was the first day.
A lowpoint was without question Sunday. Yeah, the entire day. I woke up feeling great and even felt really peppy during the first 6 easy miles, consciously having to hold myself back because I had 30 minutes of tempo coming up. I threw up a bit during the second mile and felt pretty bad GI stress during the final 30 minutes. During my bath I felt fine, but as soon as I stood up I was “this close” to throwing up again. I dried off as quickly as I could and laid down in bed with a throw up bucket next to me.
Splits for the long run were:
8:04 8:00 8:32 8:24 8:17 8:27 6:38 6:34 6:29 6:45 (hills) 7:10 (hills) 6:43 (tired from hills, ha) 9:18 (cool down)
Coming up next week I have a few key workouts:
Power: 12x30sec very fast hill climbing with 3min recovery jogs
Specific Endurance: 2x3200m @AnT w3min easy recovery, 1x800m at best effort
Should you stretch that injury?| Dr. Stephen Gangemi "Sock Doc" | “Traditional stretching does not help injuries because it strains the muscle fibers and connective tissues that are trying to heal.”
Does Stretching Alter Your Muscles or Your Brain? | Alex Hutchinson | Stretching may be more about the brain relaxing the muscles than the muscles actually lengthening, at least the type of stretching most people do.
Quite a Stretch -Stretching research clearly shows that a stretching habit isn’t good for much of anything that people think it is | Paul Ingraham from SaveYourself.ca | “”There is really only one “benefit” to stretching that seems to be clear and (almost) uncontroversial: it does increase flexibility. The trouble is, what is it worth? Is it actually a benefit?””
Stop Stretching Your Hamstrings! | Michelle Edwards | “Pulling on any muscle in a static stretch will not make a muscle longer but might damage the tendons and ligaments that keep joints stable during movement. Instead take long walks, lay on a big exercise ball to open the front of your body and try a standing desk.”
They say runners need flexibility, but you may be surprised at the latest thinking | Amanda Loudin |“If the springs aren’t tight enough, they can’t do their jobs properly.”
“Hello! I’m writing here today to ask for your help. running was always one of my favorite parts of the day. I would look forward to getting my run in and it was always a great time to get out my emotions. But recently its different. I’ve been plagued by injury after injury and its starting to drag on my love for running. Running has almost become a chore for me lately. its hard to get up enough motivation to go for a run or to even think about running. I’ve tried changing up my running style, the time i run, the people i run with, I’ve even tried running alone but nothing seems to work. I was wondering if you have any tips or ideas on something that could help me. I would appreciate it very much.”
Get a Coach
This is not only on the list because I’m a coach, but because I have a coach and it has given my running a renewed sense of purpose. The simple fact that someone is taking the time out of their life to prescribe me training and looking at my log is huge motivation. I want to do my best for them and for myself! Also, you mention recurring injury. Coaches can be a great tool to help an athlete who’s been having injury issues. An outside view (aka someone telling you what to do or what not to do) can be a good asset.
Sign Up For a Race or a Race Series
I just had an athlete finish up an entire series of races. Each event gave finishers points based on their placing and the number of other runners. This was a fun series as it gave more meaning to each individual race, as well as having a nice schedule of events for a number of months. He seriously enjoyed doing this and tracked his improvements compared the same races last year.
Take a Break
There is a quick and easy solution for people who have lost their love of the run. Don’t run. Go on a running holiday, give yourself permission to not run at all. Maybe within a week or a month you’ll find yourself wanting to go for a run. There you go, now you can go run 🙂
“If you don’t enjoy running, why fight through it? You need to enjoy running or you won’t be able to take on new challenges.” – Renato Canova
Honestly, the runs I enjoy the most are the slowest and most relaxing ones. The ones that my only concern is to “run easy”. I do track the distance and I do wear a heart rate monitor, but only view them afterwards for review. Slowing down and the below suggestion can both help keep athletes from over-extending and becoming injured, which you brought up in your question.
Buy a Book, Start a Training Plan
Having a schedule laid out for you so you can visually connect with the next 3-5 months of training can really help put things in perspective. I’d also suggest having at least one goal race at the end of this plan.
Back before I was a runner, I was a cyclist, and became bored. Adding two other sports into the mix led to new adventures in training and racing!
Do you have any other suggestions for the bored runner?
Have a question you’d like me to answer? Please contact me!
Totally had a blast last week! Saturday was possibly the warmest day we’ve had all year. So I took the opportunity and did the 9 mile bike path loop that goes right past my apartment! Desi jumped on the bike and road with me 🙂 Love our bike-runs!
Key workouts last week were:
7.33 miles in 1:00:00
warm up + 8x60sec Max Hill Sprints with long recoveries + cool down
This was a treadmill run, fairly comfortable effort. throughout. This was a progression from a similar workout 4-5 weeks prior that had fewer hill sprints.
10.15miles in 1:1
Gradual increase in pace over the course.
Splits & HR: 8:29 (101), 7:50 (142), 7:47 (143), 7:38 (146), 7:29 (149), 7:26 (149), 7:20 (149), 7:04 (153), 7:09 (157), 6:48 (156)
I followed this up with a 4 mile run later in the afternoon even, that one an easy sub 8 minute pace too!
Next week, I’m looking at a few key workouts consisting of:
wu + 10x400m @ 5k goal pace (5:28) with 400m jogging recovery + cd
Moderate Long Run of 90 min with the last 30min @ aerobic threshold (~6:15)
This week was a fairly easy taper week for my first race of 2014, a cold 5k.
I don’t taper how most runners traditionally do, which it seems is lowered volume & lowered intensity.
The previous months have been general training, as I’ve been stuck indoors. Usually a weekly tempo run, a weekly longer run, and more steady state runs in between. The workouts from the last week are below:
warm up, 25min tempo run, cool down
warm up, MOD50, 40 @ aerobic threshold, cool down
Warm up, 30min fartlek, cool down
20 minute warm up, reps of 600m to 100m at 5k goal pace (3:30 / km) with equal distance jogging. No cool down.
Nothing special today. I did a 15 minute warmup followed by a 15 minute fartlek with accelerations ranging from 25m to 300m.
4k warm up, 5k in 17:32, 3k cool down
I’m of course happy with the 9 second PR, however I’m a bit disappointed that I won by something like 5 minutes! I drove an hour to this race in hopes of having at least 1 other person close to my fitness level, to help push me along. The temp was a cold 13 degrees and my tights actually had crotch frost at the end! My motivation was quite low, and the 4th kilometer was primarily uphill and into the wind, making it possibly the slowest kilometer I’ve run in a 5k race in the last year. Next up is the Scotty Roberts 5k in 6 weeks, judging from previous results there should be a couple people close to my fitness level at the run!
Only once a week do I generally drink caffeine. Before my 5k I drank this “instant latte” from Starbucks. Drinking caffeinated coffee only once a week before a hard really definitely makes a big difference! After my race and hard workouts I drink a couple cups of soy/almond milk with a scoop of a greens powder.
This was certainly an interesting week. I was in Portland OR from Monday to Friday, and was only able to run at sunrise in the AM on Tue, Wed, and Thur as I was traveling the entire days of Mon and Friday.
I wanted to enjoy running in PDX more than doing workouts, plus I had no idea where I was going to run. The two times I was able to get out were more just me exploring than actually training, which was great. I loved being out there, check out the photos as the bottom of this post 🙂
As for the running, I did something interesting. Since I did no quality running during the week, I executed both a tempo and a hard long run on the weekend. Most runners tend to do a hard effort separated by a few days of easier running, however I’ve experimented with doing back to back hard runs in the past. I’ve often felt the first hard workout being shorter and faster makes the longer and slower (yet still hard) workout feel better. During the long I did not feel any residual fatigue from the tempo the day before, and completed the long run exactly as prescribed.
The two quality sessions I ran, which were on Saturday and Sunday, were as follows:
wu + 25min tempo @ 6:00 avg +5x (200m fast + 300m jog)
I did the warm up and cool down on a treadmill with the tempo work on the track. I try to always do the wu/cd on a different surface than the workout, which usually means warming up on the treadmill.
Hard Long Run
MOD50 + 40 at aerobic threshold (6:30)
This very much felt like a half marathon, effort wise. The pace was of course slower, but the effort was exactly what 13.1 miles at race pace would have felt like. 1st third was pretty easy, middle third was “effortful”, last third was “if I speed up any more, I’m going to barf”. The only thing that kept this from being true race effort during the last bit was I didn’t really push it 100% during the last 1-2 miles.
Splits: 7:20, 7:20, 7:14, 7:18, 7:15, 7:18, 7:10, 6:30, 6:28, 6:23, 6:24, 6:27, 6:26
And the photos from the trip!