Monday, June 30, 2008

Who is Rosie Ruiz?

I forget, not everybody involved in the sport of running and marathoning today knows the Rosie Ruiz story.

Back in 1980, Ruiz crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2 hr 31 min 56 seconds. Before the days of microchip timing, it took some time for race officials to suspect a fake.

Timesonline ranks the Ruiz incident 23rd on a list of top 50 sports scandals of all time.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rosie Ruiz Caught on Video!

I was there at the 1980 Boston Marathon with my handy Super 8 millimeter video camera and caught Rosie Ruiz, arms flailing, about 1/2 mile or so from the finish- she is wearing a heavy, yellow t-shirt. As far as I know, this is the only record of Rosie actually running the race outside of the finish.

Following is a clip of Alberto Salazar's victory at the NCAA cross country national championships in Madison, Wisconsin.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Nutritional Intake Predicts Performance in an Ironman Triathlon

Interesting piece of research here that found a correlation between finish times in an Ironman Triathlon and intake of carbohydrate and water.

"the correlation of finish time with the rate of carbohydrate intake relative to body mass could be from -0.74 to -0.39, which represent improvements in performance of between 7.2% and 3.6% for an increase in carbohydrate intake of 0.40 g·kg-1·h-1 (a change of 1.0 standard deviation). The most likely gain in performance is about 5%, or about half an hour over 10 hours."

The authors concluded "Ironman triathletes who increase their below-average consumption of food and drinks in an event can expect to enhance performance by at least a few percent. These findings should apply to a substantial proportion of athletes in all ultra-endurance events lasting 8-15 h."

In other words, get your calories- approx. 1 gram per minute of carbohydrate, or 240 calories per hour.

Is salt intake necessary during ultra or ironman events?

The short answer is that no one has yet provided good evidence that salt intake beyond the homeopathic amounts present in sports drinks is necessary to sustain performance during something like the Ironman. This does not mean that the case is conclusively proven; just that there is no definitive support for this practice at present. Interestingly our and other’s data suggests that the body probably has a reserve of sodium stored in an unionized form, perhaps in bone and skin, that can then be activated in the short term should a deficit in the blood sodium content develop. However this is still a controversial issue.

But more to the point is the absolutely clear evidence that subjects who drink to thirst will maintain or increase their serum sodium concentrations whether or not they ingest salt during exercise. Only in those who drink in excess of thirst and who either maintain or increase their weight during exercise is their some evidence that the extent to which the blood sodium concentration falls will be reduced (but not prevented) by the ingestion of sodium during exercise. (This fall can only be prevented by drinking less). Of course this finding has been seized upon by the sports drink industry as absolute evidence that sodium ingestion is essential during exercise. What they have failed to say is that if athletes just drank less during exercise (ie to thirst), they would not need to ingest salt in order to maintain their blood sodium concentrations. This we have known since blood sodium concentrations were first measured in runners in the 1960’s.

-Dr. Tim Noakes, exerpt from forum.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

World Champion Sprinter Tyson Gay Likes Junk Food Too

This is a guy who usually traveled overseas to compete with one bag full of training clothes and another crammed with potato chips, cheese nips, doughnuts, fruit roll-ups, chocolate chip cookies, gummy fruit snacks, and, in one near concession to healthy eating, granola bars. A guy who saw asparagus stalks on a plate and asked if they were zucchini.

-latimes article on Tyson Gay

MY COMMENTS: According to the article Gay has made steps to clean up his diet and is now eating more chicken, fish, and vegetables

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Diet and Performance

"Diet and training are so closely intertwined, they can't be separated," -Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong's coach. "Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are tied together and linked to how you perform," says Carmichael. So on top of eating more calories as your training intensifies, the ratio of carbohydrates to fats to proteins in your diet needs to change as well. -runnersworld

note: Armstrong won the Tour de France 7 times!

Hey Alan, please pass the chicken wings! The Olympic Trials start in a few days and I need to fuel up!

Is Alan Webb's Diet The Problem?

They order stacks of pizzas and boxes of chicken wings, and Webb can often be found planted in the middle, grease dripping from his hands.

"You would think, he's some world-class athlete, he eats like brown rice and grilled chicken," Zak said. "But nah, he'll eat like the greasiest Chinese food, and he'll eat like ice cream and cookies. He loves McDonald's. We went to Five Guys the other night. He ate a cheese steak with me a couple hours ago. He eats whatever he wants."

Rudd has marveled in the past when Webb has polished off an entire box of Entenmann's cookies in one sitting. "Alan could be sponsored by Entenmann's,"
-Washington Post

Here are comments on the article by Webb's girlfriend Julia Rudd-

As far as diet goes, Alan knows what works best. He went the ultra healthy disciplined route in previous years and it did not work. He does a great job getting a base of "healthy" stuff - fruits, good protein, dairy, etc.. but when you work out for 6 hours in a day, the most important thing is just getting the calories so you can come back strong the next day. Obviously its going to be hard to get in thousands of calories if you are only eating steamed broccoli and rice.

You have got to be kidding. You would think NIKE, who pays Webb $250,000 a year, could send a sports dietitian over to work with this guy. Diet plays a huge role in athletic performance, and when Webb finally realizes that maybe he will start running a little more consistent. He's been eaten alive in every race he's run this year despite his talent. Something is not working, and after reading this, if I were his coach diet is the first place I'd start looking.

Next thing I'd do is take him in for a physical starting with blood pressure and a lipid panel. Running won't protect your health from a diet like the one described here.
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Frank Shorter's View on Training

"My simple, basic theory involves running very easily--at what I call conversational pace--75-90 percent of the time. Integrate short, fast interval training at 5k race pace if you want to run faster. If you want to run a marathon, add a long run once a week working up to at least two hours (20 miles if you're very serious)." -Frank Shorter, who self-coached himself to 2 Olympic marathon medals.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to hear Frank speak at a clinic. As I recall, he said the same thing:

-Run an anaerobic interval session about every 3 days.
-Run 2 hours or 20 miles once a week, whatever threshold you hit first.
-The rest of the time run as many easy miles as your body can handle.

The lesson? Don't get so caught up in the technical aspects of training that you lose focus on the basics.

Will Alan Webb Make The Olympic Team?

Holder of the American record for the mile, Alan Webb has not looked sharp in any races leading up to the Olympic Trials, which kick off this Friday. Then again, Webb has never run very well when it's counted- Olympics or World Championships.

These quotes pretty much say it all- Webb and his coach Scott Raczko are groping for answers on how to taper and peak for an important competition. He could very well run great in August and September but not be on the Olympic team.

He hadn't planned to wait so long to open his season but made the decision to back off in training when he felt the hard work he was doing had become counterproductive.

"Eventually, I got to the point where I just hit it so hard I got to this plateau," Webb said. "Then, eventually, you start coming down the other side.

"That's pretty much what happened. So I said, 'All right. Chill out. I've got some time.' I didn't ever really stop running. It was more like I chilled out for a couple weeks, sort of medium-hard training. All that stuff I was doing before, I'm going to gain that back. I still have that base there."
-The Oregonian

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"The Brick"- YouTube Clip from The Jackel

The Squamish Brick: An Ultra Running Experience

Present company excluded, these people are all capable of running very, very long distances.

The Squamish Brick is a two-day event, consisting of consecutive long trail runs in Squamish, Canada, located about 55 miles south of Whistler. Sponsored by Club Fat Ass, the Brick is run on much of the same course as the upcoming ultra- STORMY 50 or 100 mile trail race.

While I've completed 40 something marathons, this was actually my introduction into the realm of ultra marathon training. The close knit ultra marathon community is comprised of a cast of characters the likes I have not met before. Some are what I call competitive. Others are not. The one unique ability they have in common is they can all run for a long time, and I mean a very long time.

Things I learned about ultra-marathoning this weekend.

Never, ever ask "how far do we have to go?" Inevitably, you'll get the answer, "not far", which as far as I know, by ultra definition could be any distance less than 10 miles.

Never ask which way. The answer I got was "it doesn't matter- we'll get out of here eventually."

Walk up the hills. Problem is, they walked so fast I had to jog to keep up.

Never stop your watch. An ultra runner never, ever stops their watch during a training run "...It's time on your feet that counts."

Conventional running gear is a rarity. You'll see a diverse selection of outerwear worn by the ultra marathon community, not all of it high tech, but certainly functional.

In contrast to most runners, ultra runners like to quantify their running in terms of hours, not miles. Carlos, for instance, has a 10 hour per week limit on his running. No more no less. So what if he does half of that on a Saturday, then another 4 or 5 hours on Sunday- that is a different week.

Blood on trail is not unusual . Many or most serious ultra runners have the scars to prove it.

Never take your car keys on an ultra run- not only did I lose mine, but we found another set of Toyota keys hung neatly in a tree waiting for the owner to claim (if anybody finds another Toyota key up there, it's mine!)

Ultra runners pick up every speck of garbage they spot along the trails. Not sure I've ever seen that before.

A bear sighting on trail is nothing to be alarmed about. You only have to run faster than one other person in the group.

Never underestimate ANYBODY training for an ultra. I consider myself a half-way decent runner, but had the feeling I was way out of my league in this group. Just because you've run a good road marathon time does not necessarily mean you can be a good ultra trail runner without lots of ultra, trail specific training.

Complaining or whining is not allowed in the ultra community, at least I never heard anybody else other than myself doing any.

I will use some of what I learned by training with this group, mainly that 2 hours of trail running is hardly a good warm-up for the typical ultra marathoner, and I probably should keep going for another hour or 2. The pace can be slow, and I can save hill work for another day. I will be more consious of picking up trash.

Now I can't wait to get back on the track for a session of good, hard intervals.

(c) Dave Elger 2008 All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

How do You Tie Your Shoe Laces?

Did you know that it's possible to improve the fit of your running shoes by changing the way that you lace them up?

If you think there are only 2 or 3 different ways to lace up shoes, think again. Check out Ian's Shoelace Site for a description and illustration of 34 lacing techniques, not to mention some different ways to tie knots and other great information. I love this site!

Trail Racing Not for the Weak- Cougar Mountain 7.6 Mile Trail Run

Don't get me wrong. I love running trails. Trail racing, however, is another story. Last weekend I ran the 7.6 mile Cougar Mountain Trail Race in Newcastle, Washington.

I consider myself in decent shape- my last 2 marathons were 2 hr 56 min at Vancouver and 3 hr 03 min at the hilly San Juan Island Marathon just 2 weeks previous.

Feeling pretty strong and confident at the start, I went out comfortably and as we settled in I began sneaking past a few runners on the narrow trail where ever I could.

I was sitting in the top 10 when we hit the first climb, which wasn't particularly steep, but it didn't take long before I started laboring. The runners I had just past got by me and soon disappeared from sight. No problem, I thought, I'll recover at the top and maintain a decent position. That's when the trouble started.

Every uphill got progressively worse until my legs and wind were eventually both taxed to the limit. At that point, slowing down was the only option.

Once we started down, there was even more trouble. Negotiating the turns, uneven footing, branches, stumps, roots, and other obstacles were nonstop, especially on the downhills. I watched helplessly as more runners swept past. How can they run that fast on this stuff? Finally, I gave up trying to be competitive and started stopping to let others go by.

To make a long story short, a good road runner on the flats will have serious trouble with trails without proper preparation. Up hills, down hills, and being able to freewheel on rough terrain are tools that I do not possess.

Still, I managed 25th out of 230 finishers. The way I felt and ran, I deserved much worse.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Arch Supports, High Heels, Prolonged Squatting, and Body Weight Contribute to Knee Osteoarthritis

ARCH SUPPORTS: Not everybody benefits from arch supports. This study found increased varus torque on the knees of subjects wearing arch supports compared to controls (I am curious how or if foot type plays a role in this since medial support is always recommended for flat, collapsing arches).

- Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

This study found a decrease in knee stress in subjects with knee osteoarthritis who used a lateral wedged insole (outside of foot)while walking.

Finally, this summary from Biomechanics reviews other factors that contribute to knee osteoarthritis

-High heels increase knee varus torque by 23%

-Hip abduction strength (side leg raises) may help decrease knee torque and should be considered as a good preventive exercise

-Chinese women that routinely squat for long periods have a higher incidence of knee osteoarthritis

-Obesity is correlated to knee osteoarthritis

Kenyans DO Hydrate!

Sometimes I am amazed at what gets published in reputable journals. This study monitored the hydration status of 14 elite Kenyan distance runners over 5 days.

Guess what they found out? Kenyans drink!

These results demonstrate that elite Kenyan endurance runners remain well hydrated day-to-day with an ad libitum fluid intake; a pattern and volume of fluid intake that is consistent with previous observations of elite Kenyan endurance runners.

Elite Kenyan Endurance Runners are Hydrated Day-To-Day with Ad Libitum Fluid Intake Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

Half Squats Improves Running Economy

Subjects who performed 4 sets of half squats with heavy weights (4 repetitions maximum) 3 times a week for 8 weeks showed significant improvement in running economy and time to exhausion compared to contols who did nothing but run.

Maximal Strength Training Improves Running Economy in Distance Runners.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

26 Tips for Marathon Training and Racing: #1- Post Marathon Recovery

"You’re not ready to run another marathon until you’ve forgotten the last one."- Frank Shorter

Once you've completed your marathon, consider yourself injured. More than likely you are dehydrated, depleted, and inflamed. Your sodium levels are probably low, and your immune system is suppressed. Core body temperature is elevated and your legs are sore- usually very sore. Soreness is a sign that those muscle fibers have been severely traumatized and are damaged.

In order to repair properly, you need to eat, drink, and rest. Replace your electrolytes and start snacking as soon as possible. Dr. Tim Noakes cautions that a small number of slower runners who drank large quantities during the race might actually be over hydrated and should be careful not to drink too much in the period afterward.

If you sit for too long, you'll become very stiff, so I like to walk as much as possible in the first hour. Once fully re hydrated, over the counter anti- inflammatory should help reduce inflammation and speed recovery.

This article from discusses how antioxidant supplements like vitamins C and E can speed recovery of traumatized muscle tissue. Antioxidants may also protect you from post race illness.

Many marathons mistakenly believe that jogging the day following a marathon speeds recovery. You are better off resting until the soreness is gone before resuming light jogging. For most people, that takes 3-4 days. A very light massage may also help heal tissues, but basically you just need rest. If you must exercise, head to the nearest pool.

After 26.2 miles you are entitled to eat just about anything you want at that first meal. You certainly deserve it, and one incidence of over indulgence following that kind of effort means nothing. Ideally you should begin replacing healthy portions of carbohydrates and protein as soon as you can. Surprisingly, you may not have much of an appetite at first, but there is no doubt that you will be hungry within 2-3 hours.

The general rule of thumb for complete recovery is 1 day for every mile raced, so figure it takes a month to get everything back to normal after a marathon.

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3 hr 03 min 54 sec

I ran the San Juan Island Marathon on Sunday, June 1- a small race held on a challenging, hilly course.

Felt strong but not able to get in under 3

1 hr 32 through the half so the splits were almost identical.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chocolate Milk a Good Recovery Drink for Runners

"Our study indicates that chocolate milk is a strong alternative to other commercial sports drinks in helping athletes recover from strenuous, energy-depleting exercise," -coauthor Joel M Stager, PhD.