May 18, 2023

May 18, 2023: Welcome to this week's edition of the free but abridged RLRH. Thanks for subscribing. Please share with your friends, and consider upgrading to the complete, full-text edition ($4/month. Additional details below).

Little time to train? Try this short (but super-effective) workout

Here an interval training expert, Paul Laursen, explains how to do a short interval workout that “refreshes your system without taxing you.” In other words, you get a fitness boost without days of muscle damage and soreness afterwards. Physiologically, Laursen’s workout is based on myoglobin--a muscle protein that rapidly absorbs oxygen when the muscle is relaxed (with modest recoveries) between short sprints.

This is basically a 10/20 workout with 10 seconds of hard effort followed by 20 seconds of jogging. Laursen recommends 2-4 sets of 9 x 10/20 for veteran interval trainers. But you can always start with just one, and build up if you find the workout fun and productive. More at Fast Talk Labs.

Breaking down the blueprint: New insights from Boston Marathon qualifiers

We already knew that Boston Marathon runners are different. After all, they have to train hard to hit a BQ time that only about 10 percent of marathon participants attain. Now a new Strava analysis has added specific numbers to our knowledge. Some of the most interesting: 

1--55% of Boston runners broke 3:30 vs 20% at New York (very hot) last fall. 2--At Boston, 16% ran negative splits vs 10-11% at other major marathons. 3--Boston runners covered a median 53 miles in training vs high-30s for other marathons. 4--At Boston, the more hill training runners had completed, the faster they ran. 5--Across several marathon majors, runners who broke 3 hours did at least 5 training runs per week. 

I was most surprised by the negative-splits data at Boston. I’d previously heard that the figure was under 5%, due to the infamous Newton hills (including Heartbreak Hill). On the other hand, the course is dramatically downhill for the last 5 miles, so maybe some smart, veteran Boston runners have figured out how to tame the second half. Good for them. More at Outside Online.

Running strong from the inside out: “Train your gut” for improved performance

We all know we’re supposed to hydrate well before and during our runs (especially in hot weather), and also consume carbohydrates (especially for the marathon and beyond.). The problem is … well, there are problems.

First, we don’t do this on most easy runs, so it literally feels unusual/uncomfortable. And no one wants to feel uncomfortable while running. Second, too many carbs (sugars) in the stomach can produce nausea. And then there’s always the question of time lost to potty stops.

Yet gut-training apparently works well. Here researchers did a big systematic review of studies that measured “repetitive exposure of the gastrointestinal tract to nutrients before and/or during exercise on gastrointestinal integrity, function, and/or symptoms” during endurance exercise.

Results: They were impressive. “Gut discomfort decreased” by an average of 47% to 26% for gels and liquids. Also, athletes quickly became accustomed to taking in a lot of carbs. That is: “Repetitive carbohydrate feeding during exercise for 2 weeks resulted in the reduction of carbohydrate malabsorption by 45–54%.”

Conclusion: “Overall, gut-training or feeding-challenges around exercise may provide advantages in reducing gut discomfort, and potentially improve carbohydrate malabsorption and Ex-GIS, which may have exercise performance implications.” The review did not look for actual performance differences. But it sure seems like a good thing if you can learn to consume more fluids and carbs without distress. More at Sports Medicine.

SHORT STUFF you don’t want to miss

>>> Hit the brakes: When to stop strength training before your big endurance race.  

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. See you again next week. Amby

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:

# Proven training methods of the great masters runners

# 5 rules of sustainable, lifetime running

# The history and successes of the “Live High, Train Low” approach

# How quad work and hip work compare vs knee injuries

# Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg is fast, but thinks too much

# Can nose breathing prevent overtraining?

# A “Healthy Runner” project making progress against bone injuries

# A simple, effective trick to improve sleep & recovery

# Endurance athletes have better blood flow in the lower legs

# A motivational quote on optimism from Helen Keller

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And remember: “I spend HOURS searching the Internet for the best, most authoritative new running articles, so you can review them in MINUTES.” Stay well. Amby