Category Archives: journalism

10 Great Reads For Runners — or Some Links I Found in 2012

A few blogs I like, about running, in no particular order. I don’t claim they were all written in 2012. Just that’s when I found them… I’m still scratching the surface on fitness blogs, and every once in a while I find a whole other motherlode of goodness. I think you’ll find these to be of pretty uniformly high quality. Happy reading, imbibing, absorbing and implementing.

1. Coach Jay Johnson. Experienced coach links to his articles on other sites. Here’s a post with some quotes of wisdom — some thoughts to consider, if you will. Doesn’t post as often as I might like, but when it comes it’s usually worth it. His writing tends to the pithy, and that’s a good thing. For instance, the opening to this post: “‘I just had a great workout!’ Great. That’s fantastic. Now dial it back a bit.”

2. Running Competitor. I think I first heard about this site in relation to Matt Fitzgerald, who is a regular contributor (at least, perhaps his involvement goes deeper, I don’t know). Sponsored by Brooks, and there’s lots of good stuff here. For instance, just now I found this article titled “Should You Ditch Your GPS Watch?” Come on, runner, how can you not read that? If you can resist, how about these subheadings on the foibles related to GPS devices: 1. Constantly Adjusting Pace  2. Not Learning How to Pace Yourself  3. Always Pushing the Easy Days.

3. Sports Scientists. These guys. They wrote the book on The Runner’s Body, literally. Whenever I delve into their Running Technique section I find something useful. That’s a great section. There are 22 articles, and they are all very thoughtful and detailed and possibly more than you bargained for. Maybe start with the last one? It’s called Training Techniques to Improve Running Economy.

4. Endurance Base Camp. These guys offer coaching. They also feature some articles on strength training, which is how I came across them. Here’s a curious post to check out, among others, Mental Training for Endurance Athletes.

5. Best Running Tips. Not a site that appealed to me initially, I found it while looking for stuff related to increasing mileage. But it’s definitely worth a look, in particular the article on increasing your mileage.

6. Pfitzinger. Here’s an index of “dozens of articles”  by this name runner. I also found his site while reading up on mileage increases — and here’s one of his articles on that topic.

7. Strength Running. They try to sell your their book. I like their list of running books, definitely worth a look, if you need something to read. It is, in my opinion, a very good list of books. Again, I found this one while looking to increase mileage. They also have a very nice section on dynamic workouts, which I incorporated at one point and really should do so again.

8. Run Blogger. Shoe reviews and thoughtful, science-minded writing on minimalist trends. Recommended. You can use his code to save yourself some money, so, again, recommended. Here’s his review that put me on to the Saucony Grid Type A5. (Which I happen to be very happy with.)

9. Runners World – News Wire. Part of their new revamped site, which includes Running Times articles, too. Of course, there’s oodles of stuff here, for instance this piece: Running Economy Improves After 4 Weeks in Vibram FiveFingers. Resist that headline, if you can.

10. Can’t Stop Endurance. Not updated recently, but this little musing on getting tough is worth a dozen workouts.

On the Fanatic Love of Soft Surfaces

And while I’m trawling the internet, love this quote from Alberto Salazar regarding running on soft surfaces. It’s from a Runner’s World piece covering Galen Rupp’s (whom Salazar coaches) not running a marathon until after 2016. Love the long term planning.

Salazar also talks about his “fanaticism about running on soft surfaces,” noting that when he watches East African runners in Europe, “they won’t touch the pavement.” He asserts, “It deadens the legs. It kills your speed.” The exception, of course, is when preparing for a marathon, which requires specific road training. But even for the 2011 NYC Half, where Farah and Rupp were first and third, respectively, they did “maybe three workouts on the road,” Salazar says.

Winter As Training Tool

Not my Los Angeles winter. Your winter. A nice article I quite enjoyed from Running Times, which made me want to don cross country skis, snow shoes, etc. Worth a read. Here’s a little sample:

“Winter training makes you strong, flexible and tough,” Robinson says. “Strong because running through mud or snow builds running strength better than any gym, particularly the combination of leg lift and stride length, and the cardio capacity the effort produces. Flexible because you–and your hips, legs, knees, ankles and feet–learn to move flexibly over every kind of surface, and react to every surprise the terrain holds. When I was running across varied country every day, I never did stretches. The sticky ploughed fields or clumpy sodden grass stretched every muscle for me, with every stride. And my stretches were done at speed, which is surely what a runner needs. Tough because–well, it’s obvious. If you have trained in deep snow, or battled up a slippery hill into freezing sleet, or lifted your feet out of sticky clay for an hour, the race can hold no fear. If you do real winter training, Boston in April can throw nothing at you that you have not prepared for.”

Waterlogged!

Raining, here, though not quite soaked. Manning the fort. No pressing motivation to run. Perhaps in the late afternoon. It’s not nearly as hot here as it could have been, or was last week. Some country bicycling in store.

I found a draft lurking here, forgotten. So here it is.

I’ve always pretty much in awe of Timothy Noakes’ Lore of Running, 4th Edition, a compendium of learning impressive for sheer weight alone (3.5 pounds), but on top of that throw in a dash of scientific rigor and a no-nonsense practical mindset and you’ve got a great (reference) book. So I couldn’t help be curious when I came upon this piece in Running Times about his new book, Waterlogged. His point? Runners probably drink too much water.

Here’s the editor’s note prefacing the piece:

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tim Noakes, author of Lore of Running, has a new book out that will surprise many readers and perhaps even offend some. In writingWaterlogged, Noakes pored over seemingly every bit of research ever conducted on hydration and performance and concluded that much of what we’ve been told on the topic is wrong. Noakes says we’ve been sold a “dehydration myth.” In the following excerpt from Chapter 2 of Waterlogged, Noakes explains the physiology of dehydration and how research on the topic often contradicts conventional wisdom.

It’s not light reading — densely and forcefully argued — Noakes makes the case that you probably drink too much water. Here’s another sample:

More recent studies further confirm that the sensations of thirst are always sufficient to ensure proper hydration both before and during exercise. Participants who began exercise in a dehydrated state (-3.4 percent BW) drank 5.3 times as much fluid during 90 minutes of exercise than when they started exercise normally hydrated such that, provided they were able to drink during exercise, it made no difference whether subjects began exercise dehydrated or normally hydrated; by the end of exercise their core body temperatures, heart rates, blood osmolalities and thirst ratings were the same.

I’m afraid I’m just inclined to agree with him. This idea that you have to drink in anticipation of some dehydration that’s going to sneak up on you — even when you’re not thirsty — just seems like bunk.