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Run Long, Run Healthy Weekly Roundup — October 21, 2021

Your weekly guided tour of the best new research and articles on running from around the web.

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,” Burfoot says.

THIS WEEK: How to combine run training and strength training. Be seen in the dark. Bloody poop. Don’t sweat the small stuff. “Reframe” your bad days. Get recovery runs right. Women and hydration. When data isn’t helpful. More.

How runners should do strength training

We run at least in part because we enjoy our mostly aerobic workouts. That’s good. Modest endurance training is linked to dozens of great health outcomes. We also hear frequently that we ought to budget some time for strength training, but many of us don’t. It’s not exactly fun, and there are too many lifts, too much technique, and not enough clear instruction. This article aims to get you going. It emphasizes the benefits of coordination and power and gives you just five lifts to focus on. More at PodiumRunner.

Reflect on this: It could save your life

Back in my days at Runner’s World/Rodale, I had a friend and training partner who worked in the “Product Testing” division. He knew so much about reflectivity that the Feds eventually called on him to educate them about nighttime safety. It’s something we should all study carefully, especially during this season when longer, darker hours are coming. Here’s an excellent basic guide. More at PodiumRunner.

What does it mean when there’s blood in your poop?

After returning from my Peace Corps service in Central America 50 years ago, I one day pooped a really long worm. Nasty. I needed an antibiotic for that one. I’ve run long enough to experience other pooping issues, too. While you don’t need to know about all of them, blood has sometimes been involved. This article is mostly reassuring. More at Triathlete.

(The next time you see me, be sure to thank me for sparing you more details.)

Sure, the little things matter. But not all that much

Houston coach Steve Magness is known as “the science of running” guy. What’s interesting is that the more he has run and coached, the less he leans on micromanaging the science. In fact, he’s more a KISS coach now (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Here’s a great Tweet thread from Magness. I liked a lot of his observations, particularly: “The Little things matter, but they are little for a reason.” In other words: Take care of the important stuff first. More at Twitter/Steve Magness.

Bad day? It’s time to “reframe” and see things in a better light

Ryan and Sara Hall are masters at finding the positive in almost every race, i.e., “reframing.” This may be one reason Sara has had such a long, sensational career. (Though it didn’t do the same, length-wise, for Ryan.) Here they give some insights on Sara’s somewhat disappointing Chicago Marathon. Also, sports psychologist Justin Ross advises us to seek “performance goals” vs. “outcome goals.” The difference? Performance goals allow for mental reframing. More at New York Times.

How to get your recovery runs right

It’s hard to be exact about the right way to do recovery runs. No one can say: Do them at pace X to reduce injuries and prepare for your next hard day. Nope, there’s no research for such claims. Instead, we have to default to the experience of the best runners and coaches. They believe that recovery runs should be several minutes per mile slower than your marathon pace, and also shorter than your typical run. If you go harder and/or longer, you’re asking for trouble. So don’t. More at Recovery Athletics.

Do men and women need different hydration strategies?

Reading this “Sweat Science” article, I had a (not original) thought: Yes, women are not small men. I’m pretty sure that refrain will become a consistent theme as we continue to explore the science of endurance performance. And since women’s optimal health is essential to the continuation of the human race, evolution probably provided them with many spectacular ways to be different from small men and super successful. Here you’ll learn how women’s bodies manipulate water and sweat quite differently from men. You’ll also learn that these differences don’t appear to limit women’s endurance. More at Outside Online.

How to pick the right running shoe for you

The NYT “Wirecutter” website here offers a simple guide to choosing the right running shoe. Nothing very cutting edge. But I think it bears repeating that the best running shoe for you is probably the pair that feels the best when you slip them on and jog a few strides in the store. Trust the feel. The shoes should feel like an extension of your foot. They shouldn’t go “clunk-clunk” when you run in them. More at New York Times.

How to avoid DNS’s and DNF’s

At some point, most runners face a DNS (did not start) or DNF (did not finish). Either can be a crushing disappointment that prevents you from bouncing back to a healthy training and racing routine. To avoid this, you need a solid cognitive plan. Don’t catastrophize. Develop positive “If/Then” strategies like, “If I start slow and finish strong in workouts, then I can do the same in races.” Here’s great advice on how to avoid DNS’s and DNF’s. More at Precision Hydration.

Plantar injuries linked to weekly running mileage

Some general reviews of running injuries surprisingly find that there’s little to no link between weekly mileage and injury incidence. This one looks only at “plantar” injuries, and concludes that it’s “obvious” these are associated with marathon training and/or running more than 20K a week. Plantar (bottom of the foot) injuries extend beyond the dreaded plantar fasciitis to include stress fractures, tendon issues, and neuromas. You’re more likely to experience pain on the “medial” (inside edge) of the foot than the outside, and “diagnosis is always a challenging task.” But it’s the first step to figuring out a recovery plan. More at Cureus Open Access.

Data is good. Except when it isn’t

For the most part, the RLRH newsletter provides short summaries of reasonably concise articles and research studies that can help you become a better runner. Occasionally, I come across longer articles that are more difficult to summarize, yet contain important ways of thinking about what we do. This is one. Craig Pickering is a former world-class sprinter and bobsled competitor turned Ph.D. sports scientist. Here he explains how we use data effectively in our training, but sometimes also ineffectively. He discusses something called “Goodhart’s Law,” which states that “when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” In other words, it’s easy to get distracted by your weight, heart rate, stride frequency, miles per week, and many other things you can count. But none of those deserve so much attention that you lose sight of the big picture your overall training progression. Pickering also cautions us to “Avoid Premature Enumeration” (wish I had thought of that one) and to remember that “Misinformation Can Be Beautiful, Too.” This will take you five to seven minutes to read. You won’t be sorry. More at Simplifaster.

SHORT STUFF you won’t want to miss

Here’s one way to get kids moving: bicycle “buses” in the Netherlands

5 ways to optimize your glucose control and your sleep

Say what you will, but pickled cabbage has some interesting (muscle and aging) effects. Study 1. Study 2.


“My basic philosophy can be summed up by an expression we use in Norwegian: Hurry slowly. Get there, but be patient.” —Grete Waitz nine-time NYC Marathon winner