08 March 2012

Interesting Items I Saw Today

I wanted to provide you with some links to news items that I thought were interesting.  All of them I came across today.

Two days ago I discussed my thoughts on flexibility and static stretching.  Today, runnersworld.com reported on a meta-study that found, after reviewing 104 studies on pre-workout static stretching, that static stretching before running (or any other type of workout) might not just be unnecessary.  It might actually be harmful.

With this in mind, I'd like to share with you a clip from the movie "Zombieland" that helps us better understand the role of stretching before running.  Thanks to my friend RTA for bringing this clip to my attention.

Speaking of video clips.  Six years ago, when I was coaching middle and high school cross country and track and field, I believed that running form was not something necessary to coach.  I believed that each runner ran with the form most efficient for that individual's unique body type. I've done a complete 180 on this since then.  I do believe there is a best running form, and I do believe that it is something runners should work on achieving.  Here is a great video from Natural Running Center's Dr. Mark Cucuzzella demonstrating good running technique.

In a post from 27 February, I discussed my fervent dedication to running negative splits during all of my runs.  I also questioned if going so far was really necessary.  Well, in an article at runningtimes.com today about managing the middle of a race, Pete Magill forwards advice from Sean Wade, former elite New Zealand marathoner and current coach of the Houston training group The Kenyan Way, about preparing for the middle miles of a marathon:
     Wade encourages his runners to negative split every run they do. "You would be shocked how
     many runners have trouble doing this," he says. But forcing runners to start slower enables
     them to finish stronger--a habit that will serve them well in the marathon.

Maybe I'm not as crazy as I thought.  And it's always nice to know that my instincts as a coach are shared by other notable coaches.

With regard to negative splits, check out my splits for a 10k tempo run I completed this morning:

Guerrilla Race by scarbellyracer at Garmin Connect - Details

I couldn't be happier with how this run progressed.

And finally, here is some recent research reported by the Sweat Science blog at runnersworld.com.  Basically, this research tells us that the physiological make-up of a 2:07 Kenyan marathoner is similar to that of a 2:08 European marathoner.  Why one would think that runners who are of similar size and run similar times in the marathon would not have similar physiologies is unknown to me.  Maybe someone could help me understand why this research is important.  I do like Alex Hutchinson's take on this, though, at the end of his post.  I may live to see the first sub-two hour marathon.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave comments or questions below.

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