BRAG ALERT! This post was inspired by me having comfortably run a sub 2 hour 21km, 'barefoot*', after only 9 weeks of running. More detail later. *I wore barefoot shoes for this particular run.
It is generally accepted that somewhere between 40 - 50% of runners are injured every year (Some say 80 - 90%. The difference? How one defines 'injury'.). Running injuries are classic overuse injuries: they are caused by poor bio-mechanics or lack of conditioning. While bipedal gait is the definitive movement of humans, running is a high level skill that needs to be trained in order to be performed in an efficient injury free way. It would appear that correct running technique is fairly 'universal', it is the same whether the runner is shod or not (I will however briefly venture into the 'barefoot' vs shoes debate). ...continue reading "Towards Injury Free Running"
We are all, I hope, aware of the benefits of an active lifestyle, however there are also risks associated with participation. Female & young athletes are at the highest risk. Sports injuries are the leading cause of adolescent visits to emergency rooms. Injuries delay or even derail athletic progress & may impact on other areas of the athlete's life. Some injuries including brain damage & osteoarthritis may only manifest years later. While it is impossible to completely avoid injury a large percentage can be predicted & prevented. The US CDC claims that over 50% of sports injuries in children & adolescents are preventable. In order to develop strategies to prevent the injuries we first need to understand the causes & look at the special cases of female & young athletes. ...continue reading "Attention to Prevention: Sport Injuries"
Endurance athletes' energy requirements are far higher than the average due to the large output as well as their raised metabolisms from the training. Unless the intensity of the event is low enough for fat to be used as the primary fuel, endurance athletes need to make up the bulk of their energy intake from carbohydrates. Athletes also need to ensure that they consume enough protein, fats & oils as well as vitamins, minerals & other micro-nutrients to support recovery from training. In order to maximise performance it is important that the athlete gets to the start line in peak physical condition & with maximum energy stores i.e. maximum levels of muscle glycogen. It has been known since the Swedish studies in the 1960s that supra-normal levels of glycogen in the muscles enhances performance in events that last longer than 60 minutes. ...continue reading "Endurance Fuel"
Very few people would start a journey without knowing where they are going, how to get there, measure progress & tell when they arrive. True, we've had some awesome holidays by picking a direction & seeing where we end up, but even there, we knew what we were looking for (a place to enjoy) & a direction. A bit like learning a skill / art for its own sake rather than to achieve a particular goal. An approach to life & learning which I do enjoy, you end up doing things in places you never imagined, but I digress... Most people start a fitness / nutrition programme with specific goals in mind. The questions are: How do you gauge progress in order to make adjustments along the way? & How do you know you've arrived?
Continuing with the travel analogy, before you can plan a route to your destination you need to know your starting point (the initial assessment). Once you know where you are & where you'd like to go, you can plan your route (the programme). You will need gauges in your vehicle & signs along the way to tell you where you are & how you are doing (regular follow up assessments). In addition you will need your travelog (training / food diary), so that you know how you got from A to P & at each stage along the way. ...continue reading "Keeping Track to Stay on Track"