January 11, 2024

Some New Year’s lists of best/worst practices are still trickling in. These usually don’t contain much original material. On the other hand, they can remind us of key principles that are always worth reviewing. Also, you’ll often spot an idea that you’ve ignored in the past, but are ready to tackle this year. It’s never too late. Here are three recent articles I found helpful, plus the usual RLRH assortment of studies and training advice.

12 Inescapable Truths About Endurance Training

Physiologist Stephen Seiler is U.S.-born but has been living and working in Norway for a long time. He’s generally credited as the father of the 80/20 training program. Below he “distills” what he has learned from 30 years of engaging in, studying, and teaching endurance physiology. It’s as good a list of training truths as you’ll find.

Among them, a couple of my favorites: “Training is an optimization challenge, not a maximization challenge.” And: “Great coaches and athletes are not afraid of ‘intelligent failures.’ ” Also: “Physiology is COMPLEX but training prescriptions should NOT be.”

Finally, don’t miss number 12. It tells you how to put the training pieces together. Which is of course the crux of the entire process. More at X/Stephen Seiler.

And 8 Fitness Myths You Should Totally Ignore

While Stephen Seiler makes excellent points about training, the New York Times wants you to ignore 8 fitness myths that could sidetrack your efforts. Several of these are mainstay subjects at RLRH, especially the myth that “Running destroys your knees.” Thank you, NYT, for setting the record straight to your massive audience.

Also, you shouldn’t believe that just because you’re a runner, you don’t need to strengthen your legs. Sure, your legs are already road-proven. But leg-strengthening work “can improve bone density and lower your risk of injury — and make you a stronger runner or cyclist, too.”

You probably know that stretching has not been shown to reduce injuries or improve performance, but you might not realize that recent research indicates “lifting relatively light weights for, say, 30 repetitions is just as effective at building muscle and strength as lifting weights that feel heavier for five to 12 reps.” In fact, it might be better at building muscular endurance.

My favorite myth: “Modifications are for beginners.” I’ve learned that I need to modify almost every exercise I see in pictures or videos for my own strength level (or lack thereof), and for my own tightness. I thought I was cheating by doing this. Now I’m happy to learn I’m a smart modifier. You should learn to be accepting of your own training modifications. More at NY Times.

Here’s A “Snack” You Should Have Several Times A Day

The American College of Sports Medicine publishes a regular “Health & Fitness Journal” that doesn’t introduce new studies but rather tips, advice, and health-fitness wisdom from sports medicine professionals. The January issue includes “24 Fit Tips For 2024” and “10 New Things To Try In 2024.”

The below links don’t give you access to the full text of these articles, but do allow you to peruse significant portions. Here are two ideas that I particularly liked. 

From Fit Tips: “Schedule, Schedule, Schedule: Anchor at least three times per week that are non negotiable events for your exercise routine.” If you don’t put workouts on your calendar, it’s far too easy to watch them evaporate and disappear as life intervenes with its myriad demands.

From New Things: “I resolve to take more snacks.” This is not nutrition advice. Rather it refers to “exercise snacks,” a new term that refers to short [several minutes] cardio and strength routines that you do regularly throughout the day. You can also call it VILPA for “vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity.”

The key idea: You want to break up those long periods of sitting at your desk or on the sofa. Even if you do a 60-minute workout at some point, you should avoid long sitting the rest of the day. A 2023 study showed that increasing your VILPA sessions to 3 to 4 minutes (rather than just 1-2 minutes) “was associated with a decreased cancer incidence in a dose-response manner.” That is, the longer the VILPA, the greater the cancer reduction.

More at ACSM Health & Fitness J. here (Fit Tips) and here (New Things).

SHORT STUFF You Don’t Want To Miss

>>> Boost your daily energy: 3 simple tips to help you feel more focused and energized every day. 

HERE’S WHAT ELSE you would have received this week if you were a subscriber to the complete, full-text edition of “Run Long, Run Healthy.” (Subscription Link Here.)

# This midrace mental strategy can help you beat  your “A” goal

# OMG! HIT intervals are good for muscle rehab and heart health, too

# Why do running shoes have heel counters?

# Big new study: If you train hard, you probably need more magnesium

# Dunkin’ Donuts has a new running product--“glazed-donut flavored” whey protein

# You can do these self-assessment tests--for strength, balance, and mobility--in the comfort of your own home

# Warning! Some Instagram “fitspiration” posts promote “sexualisation, objectification or promotion of unhealthy or unrealistic body shapes.”

# An inspirational “change the world” quote from Haile Gebrselassie

Click here for info about subscribing to the full-text RLRH for just $4/month--20% off!

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

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