OK, so I had to cheat a little on this one and dip into January. Maybe a lot of other bloggers were light on content in December like we were here. I personally can blame the holidays and a vacation in Cancun, and I imagine other bloggers can apply similar excuses.
Obviously, winter has begun in the northern hemisphere, so Scott Jurek helpfully reminds us of the value of training in the winter. Post this on your door for those days you hesitate to face the cold, snow, and wind.
On a topic I’m still torn about, Competitor discusses compression socks. This is one of those areas similar to massage where good studies are hard to design since you can’t eliminate the placebo effect. Personally, I think they are a Band-Aid at best – though one I’ve come to rely on as I sleep. I find I feel better in the morning when I wear them, though I can’t say that the effect (for better or worse) doesn’t disappear about a mile into my predawn run.
One topic I’m not in doubt about is the importance of setting long-term goals. Caleb Masland put up one of his best posts to date on the topic in encouraging you to define your longest-term running goal, and using that to then filter down to your long-, intermediate-, and short-term goals. This is analogous to what I’ve written about before in taking the 20,000 to 50,000 foot view of your running career, but Caleb crystallizes it a bit better in running aspirations (dammit).
On Maximum Performance Running, Mark Hadley posts some excellent thoughts on the predispositions runners have towards being either long- or short-distance specialists. Obviously, your predisposition can change over time (and your relative performance in the short-term depends on how well-trained you are for the specific race). Personally, I’ve always believed I’m predisposed a bit to longer distances, as borne out by my PR’s to date, and thus, in the interest of playing to my strengths, will continue to focus on marathons for the foreseeable future.
Speaking of specializing, Jeff Gaudette lashes out (in a more animated-than-usual manner) at the efforts of the CrossFit world to promote a marathon training plan, in a post on avoiding the one-size-fits-all approach to plans (and makes a good argument for hiring a coach in the process). Jeff also provides a good process for transitioning to a minimalist shoe. Whether or not you think such a step is important, the drills and exercises recommended are good injury prevention techniques for any runner (and are also included in his Artemis drill in the Runners Connect Strength Training package).
Jeff makes one more appearance this month via an interview on Mark Kennedy’s Healthynomics (who, by the way, also came out with his 2013 list of must-follow running blogs – Predawn Runner was on the 2012 list so he obviously has good taste). Jeff stays true to his approach of basing things in science instead of just opinion, which is why his posts are so often featured here.
One topic I’m planning to cover a little more this year is diet. In fact, this is partly spurred by an article by Mark Cucuzzella incorporating an essay on the hazards of sugar for runners by Phil Maffetone. This is not to say I’m a believer in radical diet approaches, but I do think that many of the food ingredients we take for granted to require a bit more moderation, and I’m intrigued by the thought that our sugar-rich diets make us worse runners by making us less capable of burning fat for fuel (though running predawn can do quite a bit to offset this).
Finally, we go a little bit outside of the traditional sources to cite an article from Fortune on why ambitious people (career-wise) love marathons. Though I suspect that the trend is increasingly moving beyond marathons into ultra territory. And Leo Babauta reminds us of the importance of acting instead of hesitating (or, for that matter, reading and planning) due to fear. So now that you’re done with this post, get out there and run!