Sunday, November 29, 2009

Baking Soda May Improve Short, Anaerobic Performance...and More

The International Journal of Sports Medicine published a study in June from researchers at Loughborough University in England that timed nine swimmers under three different race conditions: without taking any sort of supplement; 60 to 90 minutes after ingesting a sodium bicarbonate capsule; and 60 to 90 minutes after taking a placebo. Eight of the nine swimmers were fastest after ingesting the baking soda capsule.

In another study, presented at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting in May by Ronald Deitrick, PhD, FACSM, Program Director of the Department of Exercise Science and Sport at the University of Scranton, 800-meter runners who took sodium bicarbonate 90 minutes before a race performed better than their counterparts who ingested a placebo. Both studies reported some side effects, however--mostly gastrointestinal discomfort and nausea.
-Training & Conditioning

MY COMMENT: According to Peak Performance, "The cumulative evidence suggests that bicarbonate loading may be of benefit in events conducted at near-maximum intensity for a duration of 1-7 minutes."

How much? "The generally accepted protocol for bicarbonate loading is to divide the calculated total dose into five relatively even amounts and, starting three hours before competition, to stagger the intake at 30-minute intervals so that loading is complete an hour before the start.

The scientific evidence suggests that a dose of less than 0.1g of sodium bicarbonate per kg of body mass is unlikely to be effective while, at the other end of the scale, a dosage greater than 0.3g/kg BM is unlikely to further improve the potential performance benefit. This upper limit may be slightly lower for females (0.25g/kg BM) since they commonly have a lower level of muscle mass.

By my crude estimate, .3 gm /kg would be about 3/4 of an ounce for a 150 lb runner, mixed with water and drank over a 2 hour period.

Here is another good reference (

You can also throw some leftover baking soda in your washer to freshen up your running clothes, splash some under your arms as a deodorant, sprinkle in your running shoes to mask smell and absorb moisture, and brush to whiten your teeth! (75 Extraordinary Uses for Baking Soda)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Revenge for Allie Mclaughlin- 5th at NCAA

The first and only time I've seen 4'10" Allie run was this amazing footage of the high school Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships in 2008. I recall thinking, if she ran a little smarter and had a more efficient arm carriage, she could have won this race (be sure to watch all 3 parts)

Fast forward to this year's NCAA meet, where Allie place 5th overall, beating Footlocker Champ Jordan Hasay convincingly by 22 seconds.

She's at a good program at Colorado, and it will be interesting to see how she develops- I have yet to see a clip of her in college and wonder if her form has improved any.

No Place To Run?

Services Of Remembrance Are Held For The Fallen On Armistice Day

As you probably know I train in a cemetery. I have found this location to be the best for me to deal with winter for a number of reasons.
1. It is only 100 yards from my house.
2. It is cleared as well or better than the roads and certainly much better than sidewalks.
3. Running the 1/3 mile loop repeatedly, if there are any icey patches they can be anticipated.
4. Running the small loops means that you don't face the wind for any extended time, thus evening out the wind chill
5. As the temperature goes down I just put on extra layers, generally just cotton, not a particular fan of tech materials.
6. Going out the door is no big deal if it is cold or snowing. I don't like going out into heavy rain although if it starts during the run that's sort of OK. A coating of freezing rain makes running impossible. This seems to happen less than once a year though.
7. To a minor extent I time my runs to avoid a particularly bad weather event.

-written by Ed Whitlock, who ran 2:54:48 at age 73! He routinely does 2-3 hours on his 1/3 mile loop. If that sounds boring, how do you think Michael Phelps feels swimming 70 miles a week or whatever he does in a 25 or 50 meter pool?

Something tells me Ed does not own an iPod either.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Where Are Your Hands During Running?

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Nine

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Five

Try to keep your hands at waist level, right about where they might lightly brush your hip. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle, with your elbows at your sides

I disagree- I got this quote from a popular on-line running site. If you can bend your elbows at 90 degrees and KEEP your hands at waist level at the same time, I'd like to see it.

Many (but not all) top runners actually carry their arms with a greater than 90 bend at the elbow, keeping hands up high. A shorter lever arm requires less energy expenditure, so it makes sense to keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less.

Check out your elbows and hands in the reflection next time you run by a window- if your hands are down by your waist, bend your elbows to bring them up.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dick Beardsley Back Racing After Knee Replacement

Beardsley survived a farm equipment accident in which he broke his back and mangled one of his legs, three car accidents and an addiction to painkillers, which he overcame 13 years ago. He had a knee replacement in January and back surgery in August -Hartford Courant

Dick Beardsley and Inge Simonsen

MY COMMENT: And I thought I had injuries! I guess you can never count out Dick Beardsley, but if it were me I'd have taking up swimming and cycling a long time ago. He's running the historic 4.7 mile Manchester Road Race this weekend. This race got it's start in 1927!

That's Beardsley tying with Inge Simenson of Norway at the 1981 London Marathon. When's the last time you saw somebody do that at a major race?

Barringer Tries To Explain

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack


MY COMMENT: "It's not going to matter in the long run." A quote from the middle of this interview. Sounds to me that Barringer blames this on a build up of psychological pressure as opposed to a specific physical problem.

Not the same, but certainly brings back memories of Suzy Favor Hamilton's dive with 200 to go when she got passed in the 1500 meter Olympic final at Sydney. Years later she finally admitted the pressure of losing got to her and she fell on purpose: Then comes what she calls the toughest admission of her life: "I was thinking about everyone, how happy they would be. And at that moment I had let them all down, so falling was the option. And I fell."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Happened to Jenny Barringer?

Jenny Barringer, in case you don't know, has been on a roll for a long time- she ran in the Olympic Games in 2008, had a great track season at U of Colorado,and shattered the American record in the 3000 meter steeple chase last summer, running a very quick 9:12.

I had the chance to see Barringer run a couple of times last year and she was head and shoulders above her competition. She is an awesome talent.

This week, in her final collegiate race, the NCAA cross country meet, the unbelievable happened -

"When Barringer was passed by Kuijken as the runners neared 4,000 meters, the Colorado standout slowed and fell back to the pack. Barringer, who said she suddenly got "light-headed", stumbled to the ground almost a minute after runners began passing her by.

"There were points I didn't know if I was on a long run or if I was in a race," Barringer said. "I'm human. There was a lot mounting up to this. It was important to me (to win), maybe I just made it a little too important."

Barringer, who finished in 163rd place in 21, minutes 47 seconds, said she "had some nerves" in the days leading up to the race, even losing her appetite.

MY COMMENT: That's why you have to run the race. You never know for sure what's going to happen.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Heel Drop Achilles and Calf Stretch

I've been doing this one recently 4 x a day- each time that I take Sumo out morning and night, plus on the way back. The first few times I could tell immediately that I had neglected this key group for way too long- I felt extreme tightness back there that is now finally starting to show some improvement.

The only difference for me is that I have found a curb with a wall directly in front for balance suppport, enabling me to stretch both legs at once. Does it ever feel good!

If you are like most runners that neglects stretching, if nothing else get in the habit of stretching your calves and achilles.

You can also purchase a single or double Pro Stretch device (pictured above) to keep handy at work or home so you use it regularly.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tegla Loroupe

When she turned 15, Tegla had already run about 23,000 miles in her short lifetime just going back and forth to school (on a hilly dirt road at 7,500 feet elevation!) -peak performance online

Great article on Loroupe including her training prior to her New York Marathon victory in 1994, when reportedly she often ran up to 190 Kilometers per week (118 miles). Tegala is a former marathon world record holder and still holds records over 20, 25, and 30 kilometers.

Wikipedia is also worth reading. For example, I didn't know she ran both the marathon and 10K at the Sydney Olympics without shoes, a feat she later stated she achieved out of a sense of duty to all the people taking her as a bearer of hope in her home country

Shorter Ran 3:12 at New York

No not Frank- his son Alex. According to Frank, "he had the talent to go far." Now age 30, Alex ran 3:12- not bad for a "recreational" runner. I might be dreaming, but I seem to recall he did break 2hr 20min years ago.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stay Cheap at Your Next Race With airbnb

Traveling out of town or a different country for your next race? Check out for a place to stay.

World class runner Chris Lukezic (3:33 for 1500 meters)has retired from competitive running at age 25 to work as Director of Marketing for airbnb.

I love the concept- travel anywhere in the world for a race and stay cheap!

Where Does Your Lead Foot Strike While Running?

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Three

Aussie 10,000 meter runner David Mcneill.

It appears that his front foot lands behind his knee and he's going to plant forefoot first. Then look at me running the Napa Valley Marathon- foot out in front heel striking! Certainly not the most efficient way to run.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nose Breathing

I've been bantering back and forth with folks at on the pros and cons of nose breathing- breathing in through your nose and exhaling out your mouth while running. While I believe the general consensus is you can't sustain nose breathing while racing or exercising at high intensity, there seems to be several who practice this technique while running a sub max levels and believe in it's virtues.
Woman's Lips
To be honest, I have never tried nose breathing and have no desire to do so. I'm happy with the way I breath now, exhaling every other time my left foot strikes while running at high intensity. During slow, easy paced recovery runs,who cares?

I thought about it while swimming today- now there is an endurance sport that simply would not allow breathing in through your nose. Same as running, at least in my humble opinion. This is one that can easily be proved or disproved in a laboratory setting. To my knowledge, that's never been done.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Is Chicken Noodle Soup Better Than Sports Drink?

SOUP (about 12 ounces of chicken noodle soup) ingested before exercise improves fluid balance because of increased ad libitum water intake and reduced proportional urinary water loss -Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

In a related study, soup was also found more benefcial than water or a carbohydrate elctrolyte replacement drink following exercise.

"..greater plasma volume recovery and lower urine volumes were observed in subjects ingesting CB (chicken broth) and Soup, containing high concentrations of sodium, than in those consuming H2O and CE (carb. electolyte drink). These differences were seen, despite the ingestion of only 350 ml of each beverage at the onset of rehydration -J of Applied Physiology

MY COMMENT: I am definitely giving this one a try! Are you wondering who funded this study? If you check out the authors, I see Rick Sharp, who was an old classmate from my days in the Human Performance Lab at Ball State. Check out his impressive credentials (and the number of grants from Campbell's) ! Rick also co-designed Speedo's LZR high tech swimsuit used by US swimmers at the Beijing Olympics (see article). A former All American swimmer for Chico State, Rick earned some of his graduate assistant money at Ball State by coaching the DIVERS!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rehydrate With Food!

...five male and three female cyclists cycled in a steamy environment (34 degrees Centigrade, 55 per cent humidity) until they had dehydrated them-selves by about 2 per cent of body weight. After the exercise, the athletes ingested either a carbo-hydrate-electrolyte sports drink or else a standard meal comprised of 53 per cent carbohydrate, 28 percent fat, and 19 percent protein, along with water (at a volume 1.5-times greater than the amount actually lost during exercise).

Total urine output was significantly lower after the meal, compared with the sports drink, probably because of all the electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium) naturally found in the food, which helped hold water in the body. When only the sports drink was ingested, the subjects' body-water levels were still down by about 10 to 11 ounces six hours after the exercise had concluded, while the meal-and-water combination restored fluid balance to normal ('Restoration of Fluid Balance after Exercise-Induced Dehydration: Effects of Food and Fluid Intake,' European Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 73, pp. 317-325, 1996). Obviously, combining good water intakes with consumption of electrolyte-rich foods can be a great way to rehydrate.

MY COMMENT: Eating after a long workout does much more than restock muscle glycogen!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Joan Samuelson Runs 2:49 Marathon at Age 52!

-Joan Samuelson running 5:02(about a 5:20 mile) or in an exhibition 1500 meter race last summer.

Joan Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic marathon champion, now 52, finshed the New York Marathon last weekend in 2 hr 49:09- an amazing time considering her age plus the fact that New York is not known as a fast course. She also ran 2 hr 49:08 at the 2008 Olympic Trials.

Looking at the age graded calculator, Samuelson's time projects to 2:19:34, faster than her 2:21:21 set on a fast Chicago course in 1985. She also ran 2:22:43 at the 1983 Boston Marathon and won the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Marathon under hot, humid conditions, in 2:24:52, 17 days after arthroscopic knee surgery (wikipedia)

Amazing high level of consistency over so many years!