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Regular advice on running and RunCoach
Topic: ResearchThe new items published under this topic are as follows.
Posted by: pshields on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 04:54 AM 2320 Reads
How To Become A More-Powerful Kicker
By Owen Anderson, Ph. D.
Posted: January 27, 2005
Being able to produce powerful, extended kicks at the ends of your races is one of the most difficult tasks you are faced with as a runner. Basically, when you attempt to accelerate over the last 200 to 1200 meters of a race, you are asking your muscles to work at close-to-their-highest level - at precisely the time when they are most fatigued.
Not surprisingly, many runners don't know how to maximize their kicking power. In fact, a large number of athletes believe that a powerful kick is a God-given talent, impervious to the training process; naturally, these individuals spend little of their training time working on kick development. However, the belief that kicking prowess is locked in the genes is far from the truth. In fact, even if your current performance over the last 200 to 1200 meters of your races is more like a holding-on-for-dear-life stagger than a formidable surge, you can boost your kicking power dramatically in just six weeks. To do so, you have to enhance your muscles' abilities to work powerfully when they are close to exhaustion.
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Posted by: pshields on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 04:13 AM 5057 Reads
Plyometrics and Distance Running
By Owen Anderson, Ph. D.
Posted: January 21, 2005
Evidence that plyometric training improves running economy and distance-running performance continues to pile up. In recent research carried out by Rob Spurrs and colleagues from the Human Movement Department at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, just six weeks of plyometric work (with 15 total plyometric sessions) improved 3-K run time by almost 3%!
17 male distance runners with an average age of 25 who had been actively training for approximately 10 years participated in the Australian investigation; nine were assigned to a control group, and eight took part in the experimental, plyometric training (1). Prior to the study, all 17 athletes had an average weekly training volume of 60 to 80 kilometers (37 to 50 miles). None of the subjects had performed plyometric exercises during the three months leading up to the study.
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Posted by: pshields on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 08:51 AM 1838 Reads
Gym rats show oxygen is the key
Friday, 21 January 2005
Rats bred to be superfit are less prone to heart disease than their couch potato cousins, says an international team of researchers, and oxygen is the link.
The ability to use oxygen efficiently while running on a treadmill seems to be linked with healthier blood pressure, blood fats and ability to metabolise sugars.
The study, published today in the journal Science, may be bad news for people who hate exercise.
The research suggests it's not just laziness but also genes that may put them at higher risk of heart disease.
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Posted by: pshields on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 04:46 AM 3144 Reads
Altitude Versus Sea Level Training
Posted: January 19, 2005
Altitude Versus Sea Level: Why has the progression of world records slumped since endurance athletes began training at altitude?
During the years between 1956 and 1968, no endurance runner gave a thought to training in Boulder, Albuquerque, the French Alps, the mountains near Mexico City, or in any of the currently popular moderate- to high-altitude training sites. In spite of that glaring omission, in spite of the fact that almost every serious endurance athlete was training mundanely at sea level, world records at distances ranging from 1500 to 10,000 metres improved at an incredible rate.
For example, world-record pace in the 1500 metres improved from about 6.8 metres per second in 1956 to a nifty 7.03 metres per second in 1968, a 3.4-per cent upgrade which translated into about a seven-second improvement per 1500 metres.
In the 10,000-meter event, world-record speed advanced from around 5.76 metres per second in 1956 to about 6.03 metres per second in 1968, a 4.7-per cent upswing which corresponded with a stunning, greater than 75-second improvement in 10-K time.
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Posted by: pshields on Monday, January 17, 2005 - 09:34 AM 4711 Reads
Distance Running and Testosterone
Posted: January 17, 2005
Can distance running determine the sex of your children?
In the world at large, about 51 per cent of live births are male children, the upward slant from 50-50 being the result of slightly faster vaginal and intra-uterine swimming speeds by sperm cells which bear the 'Y' chromosome (the one which confers maleness).
However, that probability of offspring maleness - 51 per cent - can vary significantly in different groups of people. For example, artists tend to have higher numbers of male children, while blacks tend to have fewer males. Dizygotic ('fraternal') twins tend to be male, as do their siblings, but monozygotic ('identical') twins are more likely to be female. Oddly, the probability of having a male child decreases as family size increases (eg, the seventh child in a family is significantly less likely to be male, compared to the first and second). And - strangely enough - distance runners tend to have fewer male children, compared to the population at large.
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Posted by: pshields on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 04:07 AM 1970 Reads
An Overall View Of Training
Excerpt from Great Workouts for Popular Races
by Owen Anderson
In preparing for events ranging in length from 800 to 100,000 meters, you should always emphasize the quality of your training over mere volume. That is, you should stress speed (and the development of a higher maximal running speed), instead of placing your primary focus on the accumulation of mileage.
Why is this so? If you had 100 middle- to long-distance runners standing before you and you wanted to figure out which ones would finish near the front in a race (regardless of whether that race covered 800 meters, 10K, a marathon, or 100K), one of the simplest and most effective forecasting techniques would be to time each runner in a 20-meter dash! The runners with the fastest 20-meter times would also be the individuals with the quickest clockings for 5K - and for the marathon! On the other hand, if you ranked the runners according to weekly average mileage, you would find no relationship at all between training distance per week and performance time!
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Posted by: pshields on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 04:20 AM 1769 Reads
What Buses Teach Sprinters, Middle-Distance Runners, And Long-Distance Competitors About Training
Posted: January 7, 2005
By Owen Anderson, Ph. D.
On a day when you happen to step inadvertently in front of a bus, your continued existence suddenly hinges on whether your muscles contain enough high-energy phosphates. True, your visual system plays a role in your survival, too: After all, you do need to see the bus bearing down on you with all of its thunderous mightiness. But it is the job of your muscles to get you out of harm's way - to jump clear of the bus, and to jump free in just a small whisker of time. Such sudden leapfrogging is the province of the phosphates which are floating around in your muscular protoplasm.
You see, your muscles need energy to clear the bus bumper, and they can't wait for your heart to get revved up, for a cascade of oxygen-rich blood to hurry through your arteries, and for the incoming oxygen to assist with the breakdown carbohydrate or fat in order to release the energy required for your fancy jitney jumping. Depending on this rather laborious process would leave you dead; that looming double-decker has no time for the niceties of aerobic metabolism.
Posted by: pshields on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 04:04 AM 2195 Reads
The Oxygen Debt - One "Loan" That Never Has to Be Re-Paid
Posted: December 27, 2004
You've heard them.
The runner who says that he/she went into "oxygen debt" near the end of a 5K and thus had to slow down.
The coach or expert who states that the ability to incur an "oxygen debt" is so limited that improving aerobic capacity is the only viable way to upgrade endurance performance significantly over time (don't worry - complete sentences are coming).
Do such statements make sense? What is oxygen debt, and how does it actually influence your training and performances?
Posted by: pshields on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 04:05 AM 2372 Reads
The "How" and "Why" of Lactate Training
Posted: December 9, 2004
Excerpt from Chapter 6 of Lactate Lift-Off - The "How" and "Why" of Lactate Training by Owen Anderson
Not surprisingly, scientific research reveals that fairly intense training is the best booster of lactate threshold (LT). But before we get into this research, we should mention that another popular method for raising LT - doing a lot of training at an intensity which produces a blood-lactate level of 4 mmol/liter - is a very questionable practice. 4-mmol training became popular, especially among swimming coaches, about two decades ago when it became apparent that a reading of 4 mmol/liter was at - or slightly above - lactate threshold in a fair number of endurance athletes. The basic idea was simply that by training "at the limit of the lactate system" (e. g., at the "lactate threshold" of 4 mmol/liter), as it was often expressed, one could increase the chances of strengthening the "system" and boosting LT.
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Posted by: pshields on Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 01:35 PM 2084 Reads
Bad News For Lactate Lovers
By Owen Anderson, Ph. D.
Little Lactate-Level Readers Reveal Lactate Of The Moment Accurately But May Fail To Foretell Finer Fitness
Whether you are a runner, cyclist, rower, cross-country skier, swimmer, or triathlete, your lactate-threshold velocity - the movement speed at which blood-lactate concentrations begin to increase fairly dramatically - is a great predictor of your performance capacity. The reason for this is that lactate is a tremendously important muscle fuel during sustained activity; thus, if lactate begins piling up in the blood at fairly low speeds (i. e., if an athlete has a low lactate-threshold velocity), the muscles have a poor capacity for utilizing a key source of energy, and thus work output will be slight and fatigue will occur relatively early. If lactate doesn't accumulate until an athlete reaches a very high speed, the athlete's muscles must have a great capacity to use lactate for fuel, and so performances will be higher in quality and fatigue will occur later.
Naturally, athletes have focused on lactate-threshold velocity as a key physiological variable which should be improved during training. Logically, it follows that if training is going well, lactate-threshold speed should improve, and performances should also get better. But how can one determine if lactate-threshold velocity is really advancing?
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