June 22, 2023

Here's this week's edition of the free but abridged RLRH newsletter. CLICK HERE for details about subscribing to the complete, full text edition of “Run Long, Run Healthy” for $4/month.

Twice as nice: This “Tempo Plus” workout gives you double the benefit

Mario Fraoli is one of those running coaches who can be depended upon for suggesting absolutely solid, productive workouts with no fluff or hype in the mix. He also practices what he preaches: This year, he ran his first Boston Marathon since turning 40, and recorded a strong 2:34:14.

Here he describes a workout he calls “Tempo Plus.” It’s an apt name, as the session includes some miles at tempo pace, followed by several 800 meter repeats. The repeats serve several purposes. One, as Fraoli notes: They’ll keep you “honest and prevent you from getting carried away during the tempo.” That’s always an important aspect of tempo running--staying in control. Of course, the 800s also get you moving significantly faster than your tempo miles. There’s the “Plus.”

Fraoli suggests a tempo distance of 3-6 miles, followed by 4 x 800. I’ll simply note that you could do less, and still get a nice boost from this workout. For example, you could do just 2 miles at tempo pace, followed by 2 x 800, and  feel the payoff in your next race.

If you see a good workout that’s a bit too advanced for your fitness, don’t discard it. Figure out how you can adapt it. More at The Morning Shakeout.

Pregnant moms-to-be: Exercise now to enhance your baby’s heart health

The field of “intergenerational health effects” studies how the parents’ behavior affects their children. This includes links between parents and their not-yet-born offspring. In this pilot study, researchers wanted to determine if the exercise habits of the moms could be detected in the heart health of their infants at the age of 1 month.

During the last 24 weeks of their pregnancy, moms were divided into a group that did 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise vs a comparison group that did no exercise but participated in 150 minutes a week of relaxation practices. The moms included both normal weight and overweight subjects.

A month after being born, subjects’ children received several heart-function tests. Those born to exercising moms showed “increased cardiac function.” It seemed their hearts grew stronger via their mom’s heart-healthy exercise habit. The improved function was relatively greater in children of overweight but exercising moms vs overweight, non exercising moms. More at Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

By the way, intergenerational effects are not limited to just the mother-child link. The father’s health can also influence the newly-born infant.

Can you be fat but fit? (Sure, but there’s a better way)

The fat but fit hypothesis has been around for a while now. Prior research has shown that overweight and obese individuals who exercise regularly are less likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc, than overweight people who don’t exercise.  

But a question always remains: Can overweight exercisers become as healthy as non-overweight exercisers? Or would they be smart to knock off a few pounds?

A big study with the important British Biobank database has produced an answer. It analyzed data from 438,000 subjects, and supported the fat-but-fit argument that obese exercisers (with other good lifestyle habits) enjoyed lower health risks than obese-sedentary individuals. 

However, they were also significantly more likely to develop chronic diseases than healthy weight individuals with good lifestyle habits, including exercise. Conclusion: While “a healthy lifestyle is associated with a reduced risk of several adverse health outcomes in adults with obesity, it does not entirely eradicate the risk of obesity-related diseases.”

So: Eat smart (and not too much), exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight. More at JAMA Network Open.

At the ACSM meeting, Canadian running and nutrition expert Trent Stellingwerff underlined this finding in a “10 Questions, 10 Experts” session. He offered a rarely-heard perspective on carbohydrates: “Most endurance athletes already eat enough carbohydrates, and eating any more carbohydrate will just make an athlete fat.” An accompanying cartoon showed a chubby runner next to a lean one. “My running’s so-so,” says the thick runner, “but I’m one of the nation’s top five carbo-loaders.” More at Twitter/Stuart Phillips.

SHORT STUFF you don’t want to miss

>>> Surface to surface: You run different on trails and grass vs the roads. Here’s how with free full text

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:

# The Norwegian training secret: Double threshold workouts

# A surprising new way to beat injuries during marathon training

# Protein timing to boost muscle recovery & adaptation

# Finding your optimal training mileage to set new personal bests

# How to protect your Achilles and calf muscles

# An intriguing question: Can your running shorts help you run faster?

# How exercise limits flu and pneumonia--by 48%!

# A terrific “wonderful life” quote from Kara Goucheri

Click here for details about subscribing to the complete, full text edition of “Run Long, Run Healthy.”

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