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Regular advice on running and RunCoach
Topic: ResearchThe new items published under this topic are as follows.
Posted by: pshields on Thursday, July 28, 2005 - 04:22 AM 8337 Reads
How much protein do athletes need – and how safe are high-protein diets?
Posted: July 16, 2005
Protein is not just an essential nutrient, but the largest component in the body after water, typically representing about 15% of body weight. Most of this protein mass is found in skeletal muscle, which explains the importance of protein to athletes. However, proteins also play an important role in the following:
Posted by: pshields on Sunday, July 24, 2005 - 10:54 AM 1076 Reads
The Truth About Stretching
By Phil Campbell, (M.S., M.A., FACHE) author of Ready, Set, Go! Synergy Fitness
Posted: July 20, 2005
A three year old study about stretching is being cited in many articles today, and the conclusions reached by some writers may be harmful to your muscle, ligaments and joints.
Is stretching before exercise harmful? Stretching before fitness training and athletic training is being made out to be a time-waster, not needed, and even harmful. This is not true. In fact, there's a recent study that evaluates all the research on stretching, and the study concludes:
"Due to the paucity (small number), heterogeneity (dissimilar study subjects) and poor quality of the available studies no definitive conclusions can be drawn as to the value of stretching for reducing the risk of exercise-related injury." (The efficacy of stretching for prevention of exercise-related injury: a systematic review of the literature, 2003, Weldon)
Essentially, the researchers are telling us that there are not enough quality studies to draw conclusions about this issue.
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Posted by: pshields on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 04:07 AM 2843 Reads
How Strength And Plyometric Training Can Boost Endurance Running Performance
by Raphael Brandon
July 14, 2005
Strength endurance: Power without mass: how strength and plyometric training can boost endurance running performance.
As a middle or long distance runner (or running coach) do you include strength sessions in your weekly training programme? In my experience, as a strength and conditioning coach working with elite athletes, those who don’t have either had negative experiences of weight training or hold certain prejudices – eg that strength training will lead to increased weight or interfere in some way with running training.
Given my position, it should come as no surprise to learn that I believe strength training is important for middle and long distance runners. However, its beneficial effects, backed up by research, will be experienced only if it is performed in the right amounts, using the correct choices of exercises.
Athletes and coaches should always have an open-minded approach to tweaking and improving their training programmes. At the same time, they should also question the benefits of any new or additional training method. Why is this kind of training good for my event? What is the exact benefit that I will gain from it? How can I successfully fit it into my routine?
Posted by: pshields on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 02:16 PM 1204 Reads
Chinese Nutrition - Can Western Athletes Learn Anything?
Posted: July 19, 2005
It is hard not be impressed at the sheer variety of foods on offer when wandering around a typical supermarket. But are we guilty of ignoring the bigger picture? All around the globe, billions of people consume diets radically different from those followed in the affluent west, containing a wide variety of unfamiliar foods. But this doesn’t seem to be a barrier to superior athletic performance – witness China’s medal haul in the 2004 Athens Olympics! So can western athletes learn anything from their contemporaries? And have western nutritional practices influenced athletes from the east?
Most Chinese people still live on farms in rural villages, where they grow much of their own food and have very limited access to shops and supermarkets, processed foods and refrigeration. Grain, particularly rice, is the major component of the rural diet, and households grow much of it themselves. In 1999, rural Chinese households consumed an average of 247kg of grain per person, of which they purchased only 42kg! Purchases of perishable foods in rural areas are also limited by access to refrigeration; and in 2000 only 12% of rural households had a refrigerator.
Posted by: pshields on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 05:32 AM 1147 Reads
Fighting Fiber Fall-Offs
July 9, 2005
By Owen Anderson, Ph. D.
VO2max (maximal aerobic capacity) is a very poor predictor of performance among athletes of fairly similar ability levels. For example, if you measured the VO2max of all female runners in the world who can run the 10K in less than 35 minutes, you would find a weak correlation between the VO2max readings you obtained and actual 10-K performance times.
On the other hand, rises and falls in VO2max can play a strong role in determining your individual performance capacity. If you are fortunate enough to elevate your VO2max from 52 to 60 ml kg-1 min-1, for example, you can reasonably expect a major improvement in your 5-K, 10-K, and marathon times ' as long as you have not slaughtered your running economy and terrorized your lactate threshold in the process.
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Posted by: pshields on Thursday, June 23, 2005 - 04:05 AM 1330 Reads
Are Norwegian Hams As Well-Preserved As Swedish Ones?
By Owen Anderson, Ph. D.
June 12, 2005
In a recent issue of Running Research News, I described some special Swedish exercises for curing hamstring ills ("Swedish-Cured Hams Are Right for Runners," Volume 19-8 (October), pp. 1-4, 2003; http://www.rrnews.com). Now, Norwegian researchers are getting into the hamstring act with a unique and extremely effective exercise which expands hamstring strength greatly and - unlike the Swedish effort - requires no special equipment to perform.
In the new Norwegian research, Roald Bahr and four colleagues from the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center at the Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education and the Stabaek Clinic in Bekkestua, Norway worked with 22 competitive soccer players who were from the first-division national club Stabaek Fotball (10 athletes) and also from some second- through fourth-division teams (12 players). At the beginning of the study, all athletes underwent basic tests of hamstring flexibility and strength, as well as quadriceps-muscle forcefulness (1). None of the 22 players were suffering from prior hamstring strains which had not been fully resolved by the start of the study.
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Posted by: pshields on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 04:13 AM 1482 Reads
How Does Explosive Training Change Your Leg Muscles?
By Owen Anderson, Ph. D.
June 17, 2005
Our skeletal muscles are highly plastic tissues which respond rapidly to the things we do during training. That being the case, what specific changes occur in our muscle cells when we engage in explosive training? Does an understanding of explosive-training-related muscle alterations help us plan more-effective explosive workouts?
To find out, Dr. Heikki Kyrolainen and his colleagues at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, Appalachian State University in North Carolina, and the Copenhagen Muscle Research Center in Denmark recently studied the leg muscles of 13 athletes as they carried out explosive training, along with 10 individuals who served as controls (1). The subjects in both groups were young (24-25 years old) and relatively lean (9- to 11-percent body fat), and had not participated in any systematic power training prior to the study.
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Posted by: pshields on Monday, June 20, 2005 - 01:50 AM 1274 Reads
Management of Heatstroke and Heat Exhaustion
JAMES L. GLAZER, M.D.,
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are part of a continuum of heat- related illness. Both are common and preventable conditions affecting diverse patients. Recent research has identified a cascade of inflammatory pathologic events that begins with mild heat exhaustion and, if uninterrupted, can lead eventually to multiorgan failure and death. Heat exhaustion is characterized by nonspecific symptoms such as malaise, headache, and nausea. Treatment involves monitoring the patient in a cool, shady environment and ensuring adequate hydration. Untreated heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke, a much more serious illness involving central nervous system dysfunction such as delirium and coma. Other systemic effects, including rhabdomyolysis, hepatic failure, arrhythmias, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and even death, are not uncommon. Prompt recognition and immediate cooling through evaporation or full-body ice-water immersion are crucial. Physicians also must monitor electrolyte abnormalities, be alert to signs of renal or hepatic failure, and replace fluids in patients with heatstroke. Most experts believe that physicians and public health officials should focus greater attention on prevention. Programs involving identification of vulnerable individuals, dissemination of information about dangerous heat waves, and use of heat shelters may help prevent heat-related illness. These preventive measures, when paired with astute recognition of the early signs of heat-related illness, can allow physicians in the ambulatory setting to avert much of the morbidity and mortality associated with heat exhaustion and heatstroke. (Am Fam Physician 2005;71:2133-40, 2141-2. Copyright 2005 American Academy of Family Physicians.)
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Posted by: pshields on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 04:29 AM 3137 Reads
Can Endurance Runners Be Vegetarians?
May 28, 2005
By Owen Anderson, Ph. D.
Many meat-eating athletes wonder whether a switch to a vegetarian diet might provide a performance boost, and there are logical reasons for such thinking. First, vegetarian diets tend to be high-carbohydrate regimens, which should lead to optimal glycogen storage in muscles. At the lofty intensities required for high-level training and serious competition, carbohydrate is the primary source of energy; when muscle-carbohydrate (glycogen) levels are too low, athletes experience fatigue and tend to perform poorly (1). Thus, a vegetarian diet may function as an "insurance policy" against insipid intramuscular carbohydrate storage and underachievement in races.
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Posted by: pshields on Monday, May 30, 2005 - 04:23 AM 12264 Reads
A Stitch In Time - How To Prevent "Stomach" Cramps From Ruining Your Race
By Owen Anderson, Ph. D.
Posted: May 20, 2005
Runners who are prone to pains in their upper-abdominal areas (aka "stitches") usually develop the problems during the latter halves of their races, and they seldom have to endure stitch suffering during workouts, even when the sessions are prolonged and taxing. Why is this so, and what can you do to decrease your risk of developing a race-ruining stitch?
The fact that stitches prefer the late stages of competitions means that the disorders tend to occur when the respiratory system is stressed to its maximal level. In addition, since the pains appear in the upper-abdominal area, the key muscle of breathing - the diaphragm - must be involved in the often-agonizing discomfort. The diaphragm, which spreads over the top of the abdominal cavity like a dome-shaped hood, is producing its greatest-possible force near the end of a race, hoping to increase the rate at which oxygen is dragged into the lungs (and therefore enters the blood). At the same time, the diaphragm is experiencing its greatest-possible fatigue.
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