Each week, Boston Marathon winner Amby Burfoot, also the world’s most experienced running editor, curates the latest and most useful content on running and health from around the internet. “I spend hours finding the best new research and articles, so you can review them in minutes.”
THIS WEEK: Careful with your work ethic. Train one leg at a time. Fun new (running) therapy for Achilles injuries. At last — good news on stretching. Exercise during pregnancy reduces problems by 40%. Foam rolling supported by new studies. Can glucose monitoring boost your endurance? More.
Your work ethic could be a liability
I often tell other runners “That which makes us strong also makes us weak.” I’m talking about discipline, determination — an iron will. Runners tend to rank high in these qualities, which also bear fruit in other areas of life. But in training, too much of a good thing often backfires. There are many times — when you have an incipient injury, too much stress, too little sleep, etc. — when it’s smarter not to call upon your iron will. That’s the subject of this “work ethic” article, and it’s super important. Run slower than you planned, do a little less rather than a little more, or just skip a day. In the immediate future, this decision won’t make a difference. In the long term, it will: It can keep you healthy, injury free, and better prepared for your next important workout. More at PodiumRunner.
Running is a one-legged activity, so train one leg at a time
There’s plenty of evidence that strength training (your legs) can improve your running performance. But an interesting question has arisen: Should you train both legs together, as with typical squats and presses? Or one at a time? After all, running involves hopping forward from one leg to the next. You don’t do a series of successive two-footed jumps. Here’s the evidence from comparative studies, which gives a slight edge to alternate, single-leg strength training. More at Outside Online.
At last — a positive view on stretching
It’s been a while since stretching fans have received any good news, but a new study from Italy should cheer them. Researchers found that both static stretching and dynamic stretching improved running economy and decreased relative effort among recreational runners in their mid-30s who ran about 10 miles per week. Static stretches should be held for relatively short periods — less than 90 seconds. Stretching had no effect on VO2 max. The paper concluded that stretching “may optimize the running energy cost and reduce the perception of effort, making the training session more enjoyable.” More at Int J of Environmental Research & Public Health.