It’s All About the Science. And Beer.

Admittedly, I didn’t do much outside reading this week. Neural Science is easily the hardest class in medical school thus far (at least for me, I have trouble imagining structures) and keeping up with school and mileage shrunk my average sleep by over an hour this week. Ooops. Regardless, what I did read seems to have centered on some great writing on the things we accept as “truth” in running. I’ve been a competitive runner since I was 14 and even I have seen quite a few trends come and go. I won’t touch the 5 Fingers news from the week because almost everyone else has and I didn’t need longitudinal data to tell me that those weren’t a good idea.

First, a fantastic post by Chris McClung on the Myth of Over-Pronation. I’ve run enough and coached enough to see lots of different kinds of form be successful. I’ve watched enough races to realize that there is no perfect. Why should we expect anything less from our feet and foot strike? I don’t totally agree with McClung that we should throw out everything but our neutral shoes but I do agree that maybe we should focus less on finding a shoe that makes us hit the ground perfectly and more on building a strong kinetic chain.

Second, an interesting culmination to a week-long conversation on training pace from Peter Larson and Caleb Masland. In the series, Larson, Masland and other athletes explore the idea of training pace. All three line up on the idea that faster is not always better for training. I couldn’t agree more. One of the biggest struggles I face as a coach is convincing athletes to slow down. When you are getting back in shape, it’s tempting to push the pace to try to accelerate fitness acquisition. When you are a hair’s length away from a PR, it’s tempting to push the pace to get there. By and large, the only place you’ll get in these scenarios is injured. Last year, Greg McMillan wrote an article on longevity that really resonated with me. For a long time, I wondered if my religiosity towards slow long runs and easy runs was holding me back. Although I’ve had two surgeries due to anatomical freakshow-ness, I’ve never struggled with injuries. I’ve never had a stress fracture. I haven’t had shin splints since 1998. I attribute much of this to the fact that I have no problem running 90 to 120 seconds slower on long runs and even slower on recovery runs. The paces that matter are race paces and workout paces.

As I’m coming back from surgery and dealing with the aches and pains associated from reminding my body that it can run, I’ve been careful to make sure the foundations matches the architect’s plans. This article is a simple but excellent summary of what systems need to be in place before real workouts can begin.

Moving on from science, the Kara Goucher sponsorship train keeps on rolling, this time with Nuun. I’ve never tried Nuun, mostly because I don’t worry about my electrolytes but I am interested in their new energy product. I find myself slumping in the afternoon but work hard not to have another cup of coffee. Adding a little zip to the water that I need to be drinking anyway appeals to me.

Finally, I’m really anxious to find out the date of the Beer Mile World Championships. I’m running a marathon on October 12th but if the Championships are later, I’m giving full thought to going for it. I’m a serviceable miler but I was an excellent beer drinker in college and feel strongly that this might be my event.

What did you read this week? Have you tried Nuun? Anyone done a beer mile and have advice?

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