14 Compelling Running Links for April 2012

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Photo Credit: Dixie! Run!! from Flickr user kenna takahashi, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-2.0-Generic license.

Caleb Masland is always reliable for a few good training posts each month on the dailymile blog.  This month he shifts his focus to shorter races and provides some killer speed workouts.  I’m normally a fan of the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) approach to speed work, but these can certainly add some variety while driving key physiological gains for short races.  And he contributes his thoughts on base training as well, a true tribute to the principles of Lydiard.

Coach Jeff Gaudette, who you can normally find at Runners Connect, wrote an excellent post on Competitor.com where he takes Caleb’s thoughts a step further by proposing some strategies for overcoming the mental barriers to running faster.  I find that breaking milestones in speed workouts (like sub-6:00 for 4X1600) are a great step for building the confidence to race at a more aggressive pace.  Jeff also points out what can happen when you stop trusting your training – and his blow-up examples he gives at the 10K level would only be magnified in a marathon.  This is not a race you can afford to go in carrying doubts.

Also on Competitor.com, Scott Jurek provides yet another attempt to clarify the tempo run – the value in this post might be the ideas for mixing up your tempo workouts using hills or an interval approach.

Another source of several good posts per month in the physiology realm is Alex Hutchinson at the Sweat Science blog.  Fortunately, his move to Runner’s World hasn’t resulted in any dumbing down of his content. This month he reports on a study showing you use a lot more energy to run when you weigh more (a topic on which I’d posted previously).  Contrary to studies that show your efficiency improves if you add weight via a backpack, your efficiency flatlines when it comes to body weight.  I.e., you pay for every pound you gain.  And that’s why I’ve been diligent about my diet while recovering from injury.

Also from Alex comes a post highlighting the benefits of using regularly scheduled exercise to overcome jet lag.  As a believer in staying fit while on the road (and doing so in the predawn), this was music to my ears.

Dr. Steve Gangemi (aka the Sock Doc) began a 6-part series on aerobic fitness on Dr. Mark Cucuzzella’s Natural Running Center.  In Part 1, he clarifies the meaning of aerobic fitness (as differentiated from anaerobic) and re-emphasizes why it is so important to your athletic development (hat tip to Mike Friedline).

Tis the season for shoe model updates, and Thomas Neuberger reviews the updates in the Saucony Kinvara 3.  My feelings were a bit mixed in my review of the Kinvara 2, and with the recent Achilles issues, they will probably play a smaller part in my shoe rotation for the near term as I move back to a slightly larger heel-to-toe drop.  However, it seems this update is going to work out well for a lot of runners who do like the Kinvara, with the biggest gain possibly being an extension in its life.

Speaking of Saucony, you may have seen their Find Your Strong campaign the past several weeks. If you’ve wondered who the model is for their campaign, it’s apparently Dorothy Beal at Mile Posts.  She manages a great blog that is worth checking out.

I don’t normally plan to highlight race reports here, but how can you ignore this year’s Boston Marathon?  In a year where most reports were pretty similar (intended to slow down, didn’t slow down enough, but still finished), and where even finishing was a major accomplishment, two runners stood out for delivering strong performances and good reports.  Rob Savarese ended with a comparable result to most normally-3:00 marathoners, but his journey is fun to follow.   And fellow Clevelander Elizabeth Hiser (aka “Pepper”) delivered her best-ever Boston, and finished 38th female overall.

On the lighter side, Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano at Run the Edge (look for a review of [amazon_link id=”B005OT3Q8A” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]their book[/amazon_link] in the next few weeks, as I’m reading it now) help update your pick-up lines (and I don’t mean pace) while out for a run.  Fortunately, I have no need to employ such devices.

A year ago on Predawn Runner, I was just getting over an injury, and posted advice for those suffering with similar issues on how to prevent hamstring strains.  Too bad I didn’t follow my own advice on massage, as I believe that accumulated scar tissue from the hamstring on down has contributed to my ongoing Achilles issues.

And in a departure from the running world, Tony Schwartz reminds us, via the Harvard Business Review blog, that stress is not our enemy.  While we instinctively know this is true physically, as our training relies on the appropriate and measured introduction of stress, it is helpful mentally too.  We can condition our minds to perform just as we do our bodies. Tony’s posts on leadership and productivity are nearly always worth the read, no matter what your aspirations in life may be.

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