February 15, 2024

Every Day, Every Year Strength Training Becomes More Important For You

With every year that passes, strength training becomes more important to your overall fitness program. That’s the conclusion from two recent studies, which confirm many others.

The first doesn’t say anything about improving your 5K or marathon times. But it contains an important message nonetheless. “It is evident that aged muscle displays delayed, prolonged, and inefficient recovery. These changes can be attributed to anabolic resistance, the stiffening of the extracellular matrix, mitochondrial dysfunction, and unresolved inflammation as well as alterations in satellite cell function.”

In other words, with advancing years, you need to double down on strength training. It contributes to “fostering healthy aging”--the essential first step to better performance. 

The authors recommend that your program should consist of “both concentric and eccentric contractions.” Also: While you work hard at your strength training, you also need to allow sufficient recovery between sessions, especially as you age beyond 65. More at Cells with free full text.

A separate paper looked into differences in strength and biomechanics among female runners. It compared runners in their 20s with those in their 60s. This was important because “the relationship between age and running biomechanics specifically in female runners had not been well-studied prior to this research.”

The good news: While older runners are slower than younger ones, “there are no significant relationships between age and variables of running biomechanics.” That is, the older runners are able to maintain good running form. 

However, the ladies don’t have a get-out-of-jail-free card. They do lose strength with age, and need specific exercise regimens to slow the loss. Particularly useful: isometric knee extension and hip abduction.

Conclusion: “Female runners should consider strength training, particularly the muscles of hip abduction and knee extension, to help mitigate age-related declines in muscle strength and physical function. In addition, plantarflexion and hip-extension strengthening may contribute to preserving running pace into middle- and older-age.” More at Old Dominion University with free full text.

Add Cranberries To The Dark Red Foods That Might Boost Performance

I’m not surprised that the first study to measure the effects of cranberries on running performance produced a positive result. After all, other dark/bright red foods like beets and tart cherries have often been found to do the same. All are rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonols--plant substances thought to have many health-enhancing benefits.

Cranberries rank near the top for these substances. Furthermore, according to this new paper: “Their polyphenol content stands out because of the high concentration in rare A-type PAC, which is believed to be the main contributor to their beneficial effects.” Okay, enough of the fruity nutritional jargon.

To test the impact of cranberries on endurance, researchers asked a group of veteran, well-trained runners to consume a cranberry drink for 28 days. Before and after this period, the runners completed time-trials at 1500 meters and 400 meters.

They improved by 14 seconds on average in the 1500, dropping from 5:21 to 5:07. There was no change in 400-meter times, although the cranberry drink “buffered the post-exercise lactate response.”

Conclusion: “The faster time to completion of the 1500-m time trial was associated with a 1.5% increase in speed, which is important for competitive runners.”

The study was not funded by a cranberry company, although the researchers received a free supply of a freeze-dried cranberry mix. Also, the time-trials could not be “blinded,” as the drink had a distinctive taste. More at More at Physical Activity and Nutrition with free full text.

How Much Would You Run For Free Burritos? Or A $100 Running Certificate?

I try to keep 95% of the items in this newsletter focused on scientific studies and authoritative articles from the best sources. That’s what most interests me, and it’s what draws subscribers to RLRH.

That said, it’s impossible to skip important news like Kelvin Kiptum’s death, below. Also, you gotta have a little fun every once in a while.

That’s why I’m including two short summaries of unusual (and very smart) marketing efforts by running-related companies. First, Strava recently announced that it would be awarding free Chipotle burritos to the runners who complete Strava “segments” (each about 300 meters long) during the month of January. In Washington, D.C., the very persistent winner covered the local segment 1345 times. “It was quite a time out there in the rain, sun, snow, and icicles at all hours of the day and night,” he said. More at Marathon Handbook.

Also, the running apparel and shoe company, Tracksmith, is awarding a $100 credit to any runner (not a newbie) who sets a personal record (including an age-group PR) in a standard track or running event before April 30th of this year. I wonder what they’ll give to my friend, 75-yr-old Jeannie Rice, who has already broken her age-group world record for the half marathon in 2024?

I can’t wait for TrackSmith to announce the overall results of this giveaway later in the year. Here’s a great chance for all your amateur runners to turn professional. Just run faster than you ever have before. More at Tracksmith.

>>> “High”ly unlikely: CBD oil fails test for recovery and reduction of muscle soreness

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.” Why not give it a try? SUBSCRIBE HERE.

# The simplest--and now proven--injury prevention strategy you can possibly imagine

# Best new Super Shoes of 2024--as shown at the Marathon Trials

# And, do females benefit more from Super Shoes than men? (Yes!)

# A surprisingly smart new way to run “doubles” 

# Tired of black toenails? Here’s how to prevent them

# Unexpected boost: Male sex drugs lower Alzheimer’s risk

# RIP Kelvin Kiptum: Just 24, the marathon world record holder died in a car accident in Kenya

# Fat but fit? Retired National Football League players are often obese, but have “decreased mortality compared to community controls”

# A compelling “dream it to achieve it” quote from all time Olympic great Emil Zatopek

Don’t forget: 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