December 8, 2022

Here’s the free, abridged edition of my weekly “Run Long, Run Healthy” newsletter. It goes to nonpaying subscribers.

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Run long and healthy. Amby


4 surprising insights on endurance nutrition

The SweatScience guy, Alex Hutchinson, doesn’t often come upon endurance nutrition wisdom he hasn’t heard before. But he recently attended a conference that did include a few such pearls. Like, do you know what’s wrong with big salads? Or when fruits and veggies aren’t necessarily the healthiest foods? If not, follow the link below. 

I figured out some of this stuff a few years back from my own experiences, and now counsel others to “Eat healthy 360 days a year, but not necessarily before your most important marathon races.” With help from Canadian sports dietician Jennifer Sygo, Hutchinson also has some good advice on keto diets, the risk of low iron, and … well, pooping for faster times. More at Outside Online. 

Complete guide to Ground Reaction Forces--a key to injury control

Any time you feel a slight ache or pain, or are coming back from an injury, or perhaps returning to running after pregnancy, you should pay attention to vertical ground reaction force--GRFs. This is the force with which your body hits the ground with each step. 

The lower the force, the less you’ll experience pain or continued soreness. On the other hand, a low force also means you have to keep building up before you’re ready to run normally. It’s a delicate balance, requiring patience and a slow progression. 

First you’ve got to know something about relative GRFs. Which you maybe didn’t yesterday, but you do now, thanks to biomechanist Max Paquette and colleagues at the Univ of Memphis. They’ve just published a long list of activities and GRFs as measured in serious runners who were averaging about 35 miles per week.  

First things first. According to the new paper, your GRF is 2.46 (body weights) when you’re running on flat ground at any easy, relaxed pace. For recovery and rebuilding, you’ll obviously want lower GRF activities. 

Here are a few: The lowest measured was just 1.02 for the mini squat jump. (Note: I’m linking to YouTube videos here, but the videos were not produced by Paquette’s team, and may not represent the forces the team recorded. Be cautious with all new exercises.) A higher squat jump would raise the GRF to 1.35. 

An ankle jump comes in at 1.69, double jump roping at 1.97, and the popular A-skip exercise at 2.0 

Fast running scores a 2.66 and plyometric bounding a 2.78. I asked Paquette about downhill running, and he responded that it could increase forces by 40 to 70 percent, which makes it a definite no-no when you’re injured. On the other hand, fast uphill running produced a score of 2.54--barely above the 2.46 of easy running on the flat. The researchers note: “Uphill running may provide an alternative to speed workouts during injury rehabilitation.” More at Physical Therapy in Sport. 

Do you need to know your foot type and arch height?

Years ago runners were advised to use the “wet test” to determine their arch type and best shoe selection. This involved wetting the bottoms of your feet, and then placing your feet on a dry sheet of paper to see what damp, darkened shape they left behind. This would place you in the flat feet, normal arch, or high arch category. 

However, the “wet test” practice has fallen out of favor, since there is little evidence to support it. That’s probably a good thing, because, according to this new paper, few athletes have any idea about their foot “morphology” (ie, the foot shape, especially the arch height). These days runners are mostly advised to buy shoes by “feel.” If they feel great in the store and on a brief running test, that’s your best guide. More at European Journal of Human Movement. 

How to deal with the “most chronic disease” of endurance athletes

Winter’s nearly here for many of us, and it can be a tough season for those with EIB--or exercise induced bronchospasm. A new review labels it “the most common chronic disease among elite athletes” and particularly troublesome “for athletes of endurance, winter, and water sports.”  

A good warmup and the use of heat exchange masks can prove helpful, as well as prescribed medical inhalants. These, of course, will require consideration of current anti-doping regulations for anyone involved in elite competition. More at The Physician & Sportsmedicine. 

SHORT STUFF you don’t want to miss

>>> Unexpected report: Bruce Lee probably died from hyponatremia (excess water drinking). 


NOTE: If you were a subscriber to the complete, full-text version of RLRH for $4/month, you would also have received new articles about:

# A great race tactic for setting new personal bests

# Why you shouldn’t do some workouts even though you can do them

# A beginner’s guide to plyometrics (and greater ankle power)

# The benefits of StairMaster training for runners

# Preventive cardiology experts explain: “Here’s how to keep your heart healthy.”

# Should you skip the Gatorade?

# How “predominantly plant-based” diets are as good for athletes as omnivorous diets

# And a motivational quote from Maya Angelous

CLICK HERE for details about subscribing to the complete, full text edition of Run Long, Run Healthy.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. See you again in a week. Amby