Running News Daily

Running News Daily is edited by Bob Anderson in Mountain View, California USA and team in Thika Kenya, La Piedad Mexico, Bend Oregon, Chandler Arizona and Monforte da Beira Portugal.  Send your news items to bob@mybestruns.com Advertising opportunities available.   Over one million readers and growing.  Train the Kenyan Way at KATA Running Retreat Kenya.  (Kenyan Athletics Training Academy) in Thika Kenya.  Opening in june 2024 KATA Running retreat Portugal.  Learn more about Bob Anderson, MBR publisher and KATA director/owner, take a look at A Long Run the movie covering Bob's 50 race challenge.  

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Three ways to loosen your piriformis for your best performance

If you sit in an office chair all day, you probably have tight hips, a problem that affects many runners. Tight hips may lead to pain and tension in your piriformis muscle, which can affect both your enjoyment of your run and the quality of your workout. (It may even lead to more serious injury.) Here are some ways to loosen up the area and activate your piriformis muscle, which can be done both before and after your run.

The piriformis is a muscle in the gluteal area which lies deep in the gluteus maximus. When it comes to running, the piriformis muscle carries the large responsibility of stabilizing the hip joint and moving the thigh in various directions.

1.- The modified runner’s lunge

This exercise is called a crescent lunge, which provides a deeper stretch to the hips, glutes and thighs. You can do it from standing or go into it from one knee.

Start by bringing your right leg into the air, drawing it in through your centre of gravity and plant your foot between your hands. Make sure your right knee is not going past your ankle. Allow your back left knee to drop to the ground, resting the top of your left foot on the ground.

Keep your core engaged and body upright. Push into your left hip, with both hips pointing straight ahead. You should feel the stretch at the top of your hips. (Do both sides.)

2.- 90/90

The 90/90 stretch is a staple for improving your hip mobility. During this movement, you’ll rotate one hip externally and the other hip internally, creating two 90-degree angles with your legs.

Sit on the floor and bend one leg in front of your body with your hip rotated outward. Position it so your lower leg and knee are resting on the ground, and your ankle should be at ease, with your foot pointing straight ahead. Position your other leg beside you, with your hip rotated inward and your shin and ankle on the ground.

To enhance this stretch, ensure your back knee is in line with your hip, and your ankle should be neutral. Keep your back straight and resist the urge to bend to one side. Think about sitting into both hips equally and easing the lifted hip straight down toward the floor.

Hold for 20 to 30 seconds on each side.

3.- Supine piriformis stretch

To begin this stretch, lie down and bend your knees upward, then cross one leg over the other, bending it upward toward your chest.

Grab your knee with one hand and your ankle with the other, then pull the bent leg across your body until your glutes are pulled tight.

Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then release.

(08/23/2022) ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Kilian Jornet and NNormal launch their first trail shoe

Kilian Jornet calls the Kjerag "a shoe that can be used for everything from a VK to a 100-mile race”

The Kjerag [pronounced: sche-rak], a trail running shoe and the first product launched by ultrarunning phenom Killan Jornet’s brand NNormal. The Kjerag is named for a 1,100-metre-high mountain in Norway, which can be conquered by running up challenging trails or tackled via some moderate hiking.

The made-for-everyone versatility of the mountain inspired the name of the shoe, touted as being made for every runner at every level. At 200 g, the Kjerag is a lightweight shoe boasting unique shock absorption and stability, with a stack height of 23.5 mm and a heel-to-toe offset/drop of 6 mm.

The design team at NNormal worked with Jornet to create a shoe that’s made to be versatile enough to switch between road running and scrambling up technical trails.

Jornet explained in a press release on Monday: “Our goal with Kjerag was to find the highest-quality materials, cutting-edge technologies, planet-friendly production processes–the best of everything. Then to bring them together in a shoe that can be used for everything from a VK (vertical kilometer) to a 100-mile race.”

The Kjerag has a generous front volume to provide comfort for runners tackling long races or trekking through hot days. Jornet has been test-driving the shoe throughout the 2022 season. “You forget about them when you run,” he reports.  “They follow the natural movement of the foot, which helps prevent muscle fatigue and blisters. The shoes adapt to you.”

The Kjerag has a super-sticky, extra durable Megagrip Vibram sole, with 3.5 mm lugs intended to prioritize speed and allow sensitivity to the terrain. The shoe boasts a “new generation of foam” with its EExpure midsole, sitting in direct contact with your feet via a very thin membrane. “No inner sole means best-possible propulsion and compression, less slippage and fewer blisters,” explains NNormal.

NNormal will be launching a range of apparel and accessories alongside the Kjerag that align with the same principles: lightweight and breathable attire made for both intense and less strenuous activities at every level. All the clothing designs are intended to be both timeless and durable. 

A shoe as all-encompassing as the Kjerag is hard to imagine, and it will be interesting to see if regular runners find the trail runner as versatile as NNormal claims it to be.

(08/23/2022) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Keira D’Amato Will Attempt to Lower Her American Record at Berlin Marathon

After winning the Falmouth Road Race on Sunday morning, Keira D’Amato confirmed that she will be running the Berlin Marathon on September 25 in an attempt to lower her own American record.

D’Amato set the current record of 2:19:12 in Houston in January, eclipsing Deena Kastor‘s 16-year-old American record of 2:19:36.

“I think I can run faster than I did in Houston, and I’m going to go to try to prove it in Berlin,” D’Amato told Citius Mag after Falmouth, confirming what many insiders expected as she wasn’t listed in the NY or Chicago elite fields and former NY elite athlete coordinator David Monti had previously tweeted out (but then deleted) that D’Amato was headed to Berlin.

This will be D’Amato’s second Berlin Marathon. In 2019, she finished 17th in 2:34:55 in what was then a PR of more than six minutes. This time around, she will be looking to run more than 35 seconds per mile faster.

As the American record holder, D’Amato would have attracted a hefty appearance fee from either of the two American major marathons this fall, Chicago and New York. She also would have had more time to recover from her last marathon, an eighth-place finish at the World Championships on July 18 (there are 10 weeks between Worlds and Berlin; there are 12 weeks between Worlds and Chicago and 16 between Worlds and NYC).

But D’Amato typically bounces back quickly between races — she won Falmouth less than five weeks after Worlds — and did not log a full buildup for Worlds as she was named as a late injury replacement for Molly Seidel barely two weeks before the championships. Additionally, American records result in big endorsement bonuses from shoe sponsors.

Berlin has become the go-to course for world record attempts in recent years, as it has hosted the last seven men’s world records and was also the venue of choice for Shalane Flanagan‘s American record attempt in 2014 (Flanagan fell short of the AR but still ran her lifetime best of 2:21:14). But three of the last four women’s world records have fallen in Chicago, including the current mark of 2:14:04 set by Brigid Kosgei in 2019. Either would have been fine options for an American record attempt; the better option may come down to weather on race day.

(08/23/2022) ⚡AMP
by Jonathan Gault
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BMW Berlin Marathon

BMW Berlin Marathon

The story of the BERLIN-MARATHON is a story of the development of road running. When the first BERLIN-MARATHON was started on 13th October 1974 on a minor road next to the stadium of the organisers‘ club SC Charlottenburg Berlin 286 athletes had entered. The first winners were runners from Berlin: Günter Hallas (2:44:53), who still runs the BERLIN-MARATHON today, and...

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Super star Eilish McColgan takes a much deserved short break but still got in ten miles

"Treated myself to 48hrs of R&R but back to work tomorrow!  I say 'rest and recovery' but really it was a mental break. I still did 10 mile this morning on the treadmill," twitted Eilish this morning.

"Few road races on my calendar! So I'll have a proper holiday and a two week break after those!"

Eilish McColgan won the women’s 10,000 metres in Birmingham, setting a new Commonwealth Games record after a stunning last lap in the closing stages of the event. 

The sold-out crowd of 32,000 at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium roared as McColgan sprinted to her first gold medal at an international competition. She ran straight to the arms of her mother, Liz, where the two shed tears of joy and triumph, while wrapped in the Scottish flag.

Eilish followed in the footsteps of her mother Liz - Commonwealth 10,000m champion in both 1986 and 1990 - as she recorded the biggest win of her career on August 4.

(08/22/2022) ⚡AMP
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Self-reporting is as accurate as blood testing and other objective measurements, new study finds

Researchers determined that you can trust how you feel when it comes to training load, recovery and general well-being.

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that athletes’ self-reported info on stress, fatigue and well-being did not line up with information reflected in objectively measured data, such as heart rate response and blood markers; the self-reported data was actually more sensitive and more accurate, not less.

As a regular runner, you may have struggled with conflicting info in your own training: your heart rate is elevated, but you feel great. Should you still go for your run?

Maybe you’ve experienced the opposite, where you feel terrible but there seems to be nothing physiologically wrong with you. It can be hard to determine what information is most important and will help you stay healthy without overtraining.

Researchers reviewed and compared subjective information (self-reporting, including athletes responding to surveys on fatigue or general well-being) and objective data (measurements including heart rate, blood markers, oxygen levels), both to see whether the responses correlated and which type of information was most useful.

Athletes’ self-reporting consistently accurately reflected training load–general well-being was impaired with a large increase in training load and improved with a reduction.

While the study recognizes that it was limited in not being able to take non-training stressors into account (for example, work or family stress that may influence how an athlete feels), the results determine that self-reporting is a useful and reliable tool for both coaches and athletes.

The researchers explain: “given that subjective measures reflect changes in athlete well-being and provide a practical method for athlete monitoring, coaches and support staff may employ self-report measures with confidence.”

The takeaway for regular runners

Blood markers, heart rate variability, and VO2 max measurements can all be useful and informative ways to track how your body is handling your training load, or the amount of physical stress you are putting on it.

Self-reporting, however, is more accurate than physiological measurements and can be relied upon as a reflection of how you are doing. As a regular runner, you may not have access to the objective data that elite athletes do, and you don’t necessarily need it.

Paying attention to how well you feel on a regular basis, and occasionally doing a self-assessment of how rested and energized you are is an accurate way to determine how hard you should run or train.

(08/22/2022) ⚡AMP
by Keeley Milne
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Spain’s Mariano Garcia Runs Smart Race To Win Thrilling European 800m Title

On the final evening of the 25th European Athletics Championships at Olympic Stadium here, Spain’s Mariano Garcia and Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa captured the final two distance medals on offer.  Garcia, who won the world indoor title at 800m last March, added the European outdoor title here tonight in a personal best 1:44.85.  Crippa, who won the bronze medal in the 5000m five days ago, won the 10,000m in 27:46.13.  He became the first Italian man to win the European 10,000m title in 32 years.

Although he came into the race as the current world indoor champion, Garcia wasn’t the favorite for gold.  He had never broken 1:45 –either indoors or out– and he was faced with the daunting challenge of beating reigning world 1500m champion, Jake Wightman of Great Britain.  Wightman, who stepped down in distance for these championships after running the 1500m at both the World Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games, said before these championships began that he was particularly motivated to compete well here.

“Coming here to do the 800 is just something I’m actually excited to do,” Wightman said.  He continued: “I want to show I can be as competitive over eight as fifteen.”

And indeed, he was.  Running an intelligent race, Wightman let Garcia lead at 400 meters (52.07).  The Scotsman sat in the main group with Ireland’s Mark English and his British teammate Ben Pattison and continued to stay slightly behind Garcia through 600 meters (1:18.59).  Wightman was where he wanted to be.

“I was just ready to race and did not care too much about the splits,” Wightman told the European Athletics mixed zone team.  “It was more about the position in the race to get medals.”

Coming around the final bend Garcia had the slightest of leads, but he was running on the rail and had the shortest line to the finish.  English was also well-positioned behind Garcia, while Wightman was out in lane two and also had Belgium’s Eliott Crestan to pass who was between him and Garcia.  The Spaniard’s strategy of leading in the second half was about to pay off.

“When I decided to take the lead, I knew I had to give it my all,” Garcia said.  “Because towards the end of the race, that’s when you have less energy, so I need to get this right.”

In the final 100 meters Wightman was able to make it close.  He got ahead of English and was closing down Garcia but just couldn’t catch him before the line.  Only 6/100ths of a second separated them, and Wightman got silver in 1:44.91.

“I was very close to the gold, and I would be very glad to get that, but still I am pretty happy with the silver,” Wightman said.  “I was not quite close enough in the last straight and it is tough when you are not that close with a strong opponents.”

English, who won the bronze medal at his first European Championships in 2014, got the bronze in 1:45.19.

“I am really pleased to get the bronze medal,” English said.  “I can’t really ask for more.”

Sweden’s Andreas Kramer nearly caught English and finished fourth in 1:45.38.  He was in last place with 110 meters to go in the race.

Crippa’s victory was achieved by a fast start, a slow middle and a fast finish.  France’s Jimmy Gressier decided to attack the field right from the gun, running an improbably-fast first lap of 61.6 seconds.  The Frenchman said that he felt most comfortable going hard from the gun.

“I go fast because it’s my best strategy,” Gressier told Race Results Weekly in English.  “I like (to) run fast.  It is the same as cross country; I like to push the run.”

The field immediately strung out.  Gressier had Britain’s Marc Scott and Turkey’s Aras Kaya right on his heels through 3000m (8:09.9), and the leaders were on pace to run 27:13.  Scott expected Gressier to push early and was ready for that.

“I thought he’d do something like that just knowing the type of character he is,” Scott told Race Results Weekly.  “But it’s nothing most of the field can’t handle because we all knew it was going to come back.”

Indeed, when Scott took over the lead at 3600 meters, lap times fell to the 70-second range and the field bunched up again.  France’s Yoann Kowal tried a solo breakaway but by 4800 meters he was absorbed.  Kaya was the nominal leader at 5000m (13:54.2) with Crippa and Scott right behind.  Crippa, who won the bronze medal at the 2018 edition of these championships, was feeling confident.

“Compared to fours years ago, in Berlin 2018, I feel I have changed a lot – especially my mindset,” he said.  “I am much stronger mentally than I was in the past.”

He used that mental strength to hold back in the second half of the race.  He led for five laps through 8400 meters averaging a not-too-fast 67 seconds per lap.  He didn’t immediately react when Norway’s Zerei Kbrom Mezngi took the lead at 8800 meters and built up a small lead over Crippa, Gressier, Britain’s Emile Cairess, and France’s Yann Schrub.  Instead, he waited for the final 200 meters to try and catch the tall Norwegian.  The crowd roared as Crippa began to close from at last 50 meters back.

“I believed in myself, and I knew I could do what I did tonight,” Crippa said.

With about 80 meters to go, Crippa passed Mezngi to seal the victory.  Mezngi held his speed and got the silver in 27:46.94, a personal best, while Schrub managed to pull away from Gressier and get the bronze in 27:47.13, also a personal best.

“I kept some energy and was able to use it on the last meters,” said Schrub, who is a medical student.  “I would have never thought that I could win a medal today.”

(08/22/2022) ⚡AMP
by David Monti
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European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Championships Munich 2022 will be the biggest sports event in Germany since the 1972 Summer Olympics. From 15-21 August 2022, European sport will be united as its best athletes compete for the highest accolade of their sport on the continent – the title of ‘European Champion’. The second edition of the European Championships will feature nine Olympic sports:Athletics, Beach...

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Kenya's Hellen Obiri to train in US for New York Marathon

World 10,000 meters silver medalist Hellen Obiri plans to travel to America ahead of time before making her debut in New York Marathon race on November 6.

In an interview with Nation Sport, the double 5,000m world champion said that she will be heading to Colorado, USA to acclimatize.

Obiri said that she will be depending on her new coach Dathan Ritzenhein, who heads On Athletics Club, for guidance.

Ritzenhein is a former athlete who has previously competed in the New York Marathon.

Obiri, who has plans to relocate to the US, said that she is not moving yet.

“There is still some paperwork that I’m working on before finalizing my move to the US. But, I will be going to Colorado for training because I want to acclimatize before the race. I look forward to a good race, but the most important thing for me is to learn,” she said.

The World Athletics Cross Country Championships title holder, who has been training in Ngong, Kajiado County, said that when she stepped up to marathon racing, it was not easy because the training is different.

“Marathon training is different from what I was used to while competing in track races. At fast it was tricky, but I persevered and I am now used to it,” she said.

The Olympic 5,000m silver medalist said that she was inspired to switch to marathon by two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat.

“I was really inspired by Edna Kiplagat who has been doing well for long and is still competing. I have interacted with her, and when I learned that she was part of the elite field at New York Marathon, I felt encouraged that she will be racing with me,” said Obiri.

“Before the competition, I look forward to train with Edna in the US.”

The Istanbul Half Marathon champion said that she took a leap of faith to compete in full marathon after performing well in half marathon races.

Obiri clocked 64:38 to win this year’s Istanbul Half Marathon after having triumphed in the same race last year in 64:51.

The former 5,000m African champion has had a good season which climaxed in her winning a 10,000m silver medal at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA on July 16.

In New York, Obiri will be up against defending champion and Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, Edna, debutante Sharon Lokedi, Caroline Rotich and US-based Viola Lagat, who was second last year.

Other top names in the race are newly crowned world champion Ethiopian Gotytom Gebreslase and her compatriot Senbere Teferi, world bronze medalist Israel’s Lorna Chemtai Salpeter, USA’s Sara Hall and Aliphine Tuliamuk.

(08/22/2022) ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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TCS  New York City Marathon

TCS New York City Marathon

The first New York City Marathon, organized in 1970 by Fred Lebow and Vince Chiappetta, was held entirely in Central Park. Of 127 entrants, only 55 men finished; the sole female entrant dropped out due to illness. Winners were given inexpensive wristwatches and recycled baseball and bowling trophies. The entry fee was $1 and the total event budget...

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Ben Flanagan wins his third Falmouth Road Race

Kitchener, Ont. native Ben Flanagan has done it again, winning his third Falmouth Road Race in four years. Flanagan finished the seven-mile (11.3 km) course in 32:25, outlasting runner-up Biya Simbassa (32:32) for a second straight year in Falmouth, Mass.

With two Falmouth victories to Flanagan’s name, and his partner, Hannah, growing up in Falmouth, he was the race favourite heading in and was keen to defend his 2021 title. In a pre-race interview, Flanagan chatted about his familiarity with the course and how he was already dreaming of his celebration when he won his third.

Like in previous years, the 27-year-old broke the tape by jumping into it, holding up the “number three” with his hand. 

Flanagan again made his attack at the top of the Scranton Ave. hill at the 5.5-mile marker. Simbassa, who lives and trains in Flagstaff, Ariz., followed Flanagan’s move along with David Bett of Kenya. The Canadian 10K record holder ousted Bett and Simbassa on the final downhill to win, nine seconds shy of his personal best on the course: 32:16 from 2021.

Flanagan now joins an exclusive group of six runners to successfully defended their titles at Falmouth. The group of six features: Alberto Salazar (‘81 and ‘82), Frank Shorter (’75 and ’76), and David Murphy (‘84 and ‘85). Next year, he will have the chance to join Kenya’s Gilbert Okari as the only men to win three straight (2004-06)

The American women’s marathon record holder, Keira D’Amato, won the women’s 11.3 km race in a nail-biting finish (36:14). She managed to hold off a surging 2017 Boston Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat (36:28) to claim the women’s title in her Falmouth debut.

This race was a quick bounce back for the 37-year-old, who placed eighth at last month’s 2022 World Athletics Championships marathon for Team USA in 2:23:34. Earlier this year at the Houston Marathon, D’Amato set the U.S. marathon record of 2:19:12.

D’Amato will take another stab at breaking her American marathon record on Sept, 25. at the Berlin Marathon.

Daniel Romanchuk won the men’s wheelchair title in 22:02, and Susannah Scaroni won the women’s division in 25:30.

 

(08/21/2022) ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Falmouth Road Race

Falmouth Road Race

The Falmouth Road Race was established in 1973 and has become one of the premier running events of the summer season. Each year the race draws an international field of Olympians, elite runners and recreational runners out to enjoy the scenic 7-mile seaside course. The non-profit Falmouth Road Race organization is dedicated to promoting health and fitness for all in...

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Does the 80/20 Rule Apply to Low-Mileage Runners?

Even those running less get faster in races when abiding by this golden ratio of training intensity.

The well-known 80/20 rule of intensity balance stipulates that runners should aim to spend about 80% of their weekly training time at moderate intensity (i.e. at a pace at which you can comfortably carry on a conversation) and about 20% at moderate to high intensity. This ratio was first observed in elite endurance athletes by exercise physiologist Stephen Seiler in the early 2000’s. His research found that the 80/20 rule is followed almost universally by top-level runners, cyclists, swimmers, triathletes, cross-country skiers, and rowers around the globe. 

But it wasn’t always. Historical analysis has shown that elite endurance athletes of the mid-20th century and earlier did not train this way. Because today’s top athletes are a lot faster than those of earlier generations, Seiler believes that an 80/20 intensity balance is optimal for them, yielding better results than any alternative.

The thing about elite endurance athletes, though, is that they train at very high volumes. So it’s natural to ask whether the same ratio is also optimal for non-elite athletes who train at lower volumes, or whether these athletes are better off spending more time at higher intensities to make up for training less. If you only run three times per week, for example, should each run be equivalent to one of an elite’s harder workouts, since you took a day off when the elite was putting in more long easy miles and so you’re ready to roll hard again?

Seiler and other scientists have not only asked themselves this very question, but also addressed it in controlled studies. In one such study, 30 club runners with 10K times just under 40 minutes were divided into two groups and placed on separate training programs for nine weeks. One group adhered to an 80/20 intensity balance while the other hewed to a 50/50 ratio, which is actually what most recreational runners do. All of the runners completed 10K time trials before and after the training period. 

On average, members of the 80/20 group improved by 5% and members of the 50/50 group improved by 3.6%. This seemingly small difference in percentage improvement translated into a 35-second difference on the clock. And when the authors of the study looked at the six individuals in the 80/20 group who did the best job of adhering to the prescribed ratio, the performance improvement jumped to 7%, equal to an additional an 12-second lowering of 10K times.

The runners in this study ran just over 30 miles per week, or slightly less than the typical self-described “recreationally competitive” runner does, according to one survey. Thus, we have pretty solid evidence that if there is a threshold of training volume below which the 80/20 rule no longer applies, it’s under 30 miles per week. Additional research is needed to find out exactly how much lower this threshold might lie.

As a coach, I encourage runners who log substantially less than 30 miles per week and want to improve their race times to stick with an 80/20 balance and run more rather than try to make up for running less by spending more time at high intensity. It is true that, minute for minute, high intensity yields bigger improvements in aerobic capacity than lower intensity. But this doesn’t mean that high intensity can completely substitute for low intensity. 

No amount of high-intensity interval training, for example, will give you the endurance you need to complete a marathon. Regardless of how little you train, it’s important that you balance your workouts in a way that develops all of the fitness components you need to race successfully (assuming that’s your goal). 

Recently I asked Stephen Seiler — a former competitive rower and cyclist who still keeps fit — how he would approach his own training if he were confined to the extreme low end of the volume spectrum. “If I could only train two times a week,” he replied, “I would probably end up combining some high-intensity and low-intensity work in both sessions, aiming to try to stimulate every muscle fiber I could, as much as I could!” As you see, even in this extreme scenario, the person who knows more than anyone about optimizing intensity ratios would not go all-in on high intensity.

It should be added, however, that Seiler would never voluntarily train just twice per week in the first place if he intended to race, nor choose to race if he could only train twice per week — and I hope you wouldn’t either!

(08/21/2022) ⚡AMP
by Outside
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Matt Hudson-Smith wins 400m gold in the European Championships

Matt Hudson-Smith continued his hugely impressive season by winning 400m gold at the European Championships in Munich last night, retaining the title he won in Berlin in 2018.

By doing so he made history by becoming the first British athlete to win three major medals in three different outdoor championships in the same year, after taking World Championships bronze in Oregon in July, followed by Commonwealth silver in his home city of Birmingham earlier this month.

The 27-year-old sprinter ran a pretty much flawless race, moving clear of the pack on the closing bend before extending his lead in the home straight to win in 44.53 seconds, securing Great Britain and Northern Ireland's first gold medal of the Championships.

Another Briton, Alex Haydock-Wilson, took bronze in 45.17. Separating them was Ricky Petrucciani of Switzerland, who came second in 45.03.

(08/20/2022) ⚡AMP
by Andy Dixon
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European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Championships Munich 2022 will be the biggest sports event in Germany since the 1972 Summer Olympics. From 15-21 August 2022, European sport will be united as its best athletes compete for the highest accolade of their sport on the continent – the title of ‘European Champion’. The second edition of the European Championships will feature nine Olympic sports:Athletics, Beach...

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Laura Muir Storms To European 1500m Title

With a savage move about 25 meters before taking the bell, Britain’s Laura Muir overwhelmed the field here at Olympic Stadium tonight and successfully defended her European Athletics 1500m title.  Muir, a Scotswoman, ran the final lap in 60.4 seconds and won in 4:01.08.  Her victory tonight came just 12 days after she won the Commonwealth Games title at the same distance.

“Physically I’m not too bad, but mentally, oh my God that was hard,” Muir told reporters.  “I’m used to feeling tired, I’m used to training and racing, but that was something else.”

When Muir, 29, consulted with her coach Andy Young before the race they both agreed that her ability to jump the field late in the race was her best weapon.  So, she immediately dropped to the back of the twelve-woman field after the gun to save energy, then waited for two laps to go before moving to the front.  Ireland’s Ciara Mageean shadowed her closely, and Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui tried to stay close.  Muir was only just beginning her wind-up.

“Speaking with Andy, we knew I could run the last lap faster than anybody else,” Muir explained.  “So, if I was tired the best –the safest– way to run it was to do that.”

But Mageean would not give up so easily.  She had planned for this exact kind of race.

“It’s funny visualizing different types of races, and in my 20 minute warm-up that’s exactly what I visualized,” Mageean told Race Results Weekly.  “Laura’s probably going to go, and in my mind she’s going to go a little sooner than at Commonwealth Games; she’s going to go earlier, which she did.  I said to myself, you be her shadow.”

Coming down the homestretch the penultimate time, Muir switched on the afterburners even before getting to the bell.  Mageean reacted immediately and stayed close, but Ennaoui was too far back to catch up (she would have to settle for bronze in 4:03.59).  Mageean was still close as she and Muir rounded the final bend, but Muir was just too fast.

“I thought going up the home straight that maybe I was going to have her, but she’s just got a little bit more strength than me,” said Mageean, who ran a season’s best 4:02.56.  “Laura’s a 3:55 runner and I’m just not there yet.”

With her gold medal tonight, Muir won medals at all three of this summer’s major championships.  At the World Athletics Championships in Eugene she took bronze in the 1500m, and at the Commonwealth Games she won the 1500m and took bronze in the 800m.

“I really wanted to win; to get a medal at Worlds as well I’m so pleased,” Muir said.

There was more success for the British team today in the semi-finals of the 800m.

During the morning session all the medal favorites advanced to the final of the women’s 800m, including all three British women who ran today.  In the first of two heats, Olympic and World Championships silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson got the win in 2:00.67 and confirmed her status as the gold medal favorite.  She finished comfortably ahead of Poland’s Anna Wielgosz (2:01.05) and Ireland’s Louise Shanahan (2:01.15).

“I’m just really happy to have got through,” Hodgkinson told the British Athletics media team.  “I’m tired, but I’m taking it race by race. I could have taken it on, but the Polish girl set the pace which certainly helped me, so I’m just pleased to have got the job done.”

Frenchwoman Renelle Lamote narrowly won the second heat over Hodgkinson’s British teammate Jemma Reekie, 2:00.23 to 2:00.30.  A third British woman, Alex Bell, got third in 2:00.53 putting three British women into the final.

“It’s great to see all three of us through,” said Bell who finished sixth in the Commonwealth Games 800m.  “I think even though I have been racing for so long, it’s only been this season that races are stressing me less when it gets bargy and clumpy and trippy. In the past I have panicked at that point, so I am just conserving more energy, because the more composed you are the more energy you save.”

Much to the delight of the German fans here, Christina Hering advanced on time by finishing fourth in the second heat in 2:00.86.

“WOW,” Hering wrote on her Instagram just after the race.  “Home crowd gave me wings.”

In the men’s 800 semi-finals tonight, reigning world 1500m champion Jake Wightman advanced to the final by going from fifth place to second place in the homestretch of heat two, stopping the clock in 1:46.61.  The Scotsman finished behind Spain’s Mariano Garcia (1:46.52) and just ahead of Ireland’s Mark English whom Wightman passed in the final 20 meters.

Although he made the final, Wightman wasn’t happy with his performance.

“I didn’t run good there,” he told the British Athletics media team. “I think the one thing I am taking from it is I must be pretty fit because tactically I was all over the place, but I was still able to get through. I hope I don’t get lane one in the final as I didn’t run too well from there.”

The first heat went slow, and Poland’s Patryk Dobek (the 2021 Olympic bronze medalist) only managed to finish fourth in the final sprint and did not make the final.  Instead, Sweden’s Andreas Kramer (1:48.37), Italy’s Simone Barontini (1:48.51) and France’s Benjamin Robert (same time as Barontini). Moved on to the final.  Kramer performed a deft move in the final 50 meter, slicing through the center of the field to get the win.

“I just waited for it, because I didn’t want to disturb anyone,” Kramer told Race Results Weekly.  “Just kicked and waited for the small opening.  Then when it came, I just went for it.”

In tonight’s other medal event within the distance disciplines, Finland’s Topi Raitanen fended off a triple attack from the Italian twins Osama and Ala Zoghlami and their teammate Ahmed Abdelwahed.  Raitanen, 26, helped set the early pace then allowed the Italians to lead the final laps before making his bid for victory.

“My strategy was to keep a decent pace, and everybody’s happy and nobody wants to push harder, so I saved some energy for the last laps,” Raitanen told Race Results Weekly.  “Italy guys, really strong guys, started to push the pace and I just knew that I needed to follow them and keep up, and just wait the last lap so everything is possible.”

Coming down the backstretch on the final lap, Raitanen moved to the lead then carefully took the final water jump.  He began to sense that victory would be his.

“After the last water jump I saw a small gap behind me and I really can take the medal,” he said.  “I was just taking it really, really carefully and not fall down.  A couple of meters and I was watching the screen and I still had a small gap behind me and I know I can win.”

(08/20/2022) ⚡AMP
by David Monti
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European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Championships Munich 2022 will be the biggest sports event in Germany since the 1972 Summer Olympics. From 15-21 August 2022, European sport will be united as its best athletes compete for the highest accolade of their sport on the continent – the title of ‘European Champion’. The second edition of the European Championships will feature nine Olympic sports:Athletics, Beach...

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Include some intervals into your trail runs to improve your speed

Becoming a faster trail runner is not easy, but have you tried taking your interval workouts to the trails? Mixing in some different terrain can not only help you become a better trail runner, but it can translate to faster times on the roads.

On the trails, you have the option to make the workout as hard (or easy) as you want. Take your interval workout to a more technical trail or singletrack path to help you improve your strength and cadence.

The workout

10 to 15 reps of one-minute fast and one-minute jog

The idea behind this short interval workout is simple: run at your perceived 5K goal pace for one minute, followed by one minute of easy slow jogging, and repeat.

The up and down terrain will make this short speed workout feel tougher than it is. Try to keep a cadence of 175 strides per minute or higher, altering your pace and cadence to the gradient. The short active rest combined with faster intervals will challenge your endurance and strength.

Since the intervals are short, it is easy to get carried away on the first three or four reps, but the key to doing this workout is managing your speed in the early intervals, so you’re able to pick up the pace later on. Ideally, you should do at least 10 reps, but if you’re training for anything over 10K, you should do 12 to 15 reps.

(08/20/2022) ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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This Siberian Yupik Ultrarunner Is Ready To Take On Leadville

Just 170 miles from Russia, Nome, Alaska is perhaps best known as the finish line for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Nome's population is near 3,500, but grows in the summer with an influx of gold dredgers and panners. 

Crystal Toolie is a Siberian Yupik ultrarunner from Nome, and is one of five Indigenous runners in this weekend's Life Time Leadville Trail 100 Run presented by La Sportiva. In Nome, Siberian Yupik peoples are from the villages of Gampbell and Savoonga on Saint Lawrence Island (164 miles west), off the coast of Alaska. Even here, they're a relatively small community compared to other Alaska Natives. 

Training in Nome harbors unique challenges that develop spades of endurance and strength.

Training in Muskox Country

"It's a very isolated town. This year, we've had a lot more [brown] bears. And we have [musk oxen]," said Toolie. "So if you're a runner and you train outside, you have to be aware of your surroundings." The small but supportive running community in Nome leans on social media to update each other on bear and other wildlife sightings. 

 "There was one winter when I strictly just ran on the treadmill. It was torturous," said Toolie. "There are other years that no matter what the temperature or if there's a blizzard out, I made sure to get outside and run."

Blizzard conditions are commonplace in remote Alaska, making appropriate gear mandatory. "I would wear regular running shoes but double up on socks and wear cleats, so I don't slip," said Toolie. "Layers, if it's a blizzard. I would wear snow pants and a winter coat. My inner layer will be something that's sweat-wicking, something to cover up my face and hood. Sometimes goggles, sometimes not. And then wear really good gloves." 

In addition to layering, Toolie sticks to Nome's limited road system as a safety measure, making it a priority to be visible during runs. Looking to Leadville, she incorporated hiking local mountains into her training. 

"This year, I've been able to get out of the road system and get into the mountains, which is great for training for Leadville," said Toolie.

Running Under the Lights

During winter runs, Toolie has nature's headlamp guiding her way. Best seen just outside of the city, the Northern Lights present colorful bands of greens and whites that illuminate the sky. The lights are generated from electrically-charged particles in the earth's magnetosphere colliding with gases, creating energy in the form of light.

Though beautiful, the lights were sometimes frightening to Toolie as a child. 

"Our elders would tell us if you're outside late, when you know you're not supposed to be, making noise, the Northern Lights would come down and steal you up," said Toolie. "And so if you whistle or make loud noises, the Northern Lights dance and become more vibrant. It looks like it's coming down." 

Nome-St. Lawrence Island Dance Group

Beyond ultrarunning, Toolie is dedicated to preserving the movements of her culture. Several years ago, Toolie reinstated the Indigenous dance group in the area. Toolie's great grandfather, Nick Wongittillin, was the leader of the first Nome dance group, when he passed away, they stopped. "We all wanted our children to be able to learn about our culture, to be able to pass down that tradition," said Toolie. 

Composers set the tone on drums (Saguyak) - constructed from tightly stretched walrus stomach linings from the Bering Sea - based on how they're feeling at that moment. The zen-like movements are reminiscent of Qigong from southeast Asia. Toolie and her relatives even have a particular song dedicated by an elder to their running pursuits. 

The women wear regalia that is distinguishable from other Alaska Natives in the region. Traditionally, their dress-like garments have three to four red lines sewn at the bottom, symbolic of the Russian Orthodox influence on the culture. The women wear their hair in two braids with beads sewn into them. 

The group performs at local events of celebration and mourning, a way to bring the community together. The elders ensure the dances are appropriately conducted so that the integrity of the movements is consistent over time. 

Climate Threats and Commercialism

The Town of Nome sits mainly on permafrost (permanently frozen ground). Permafrost is particularly sensitive to increases in air temperature and changes in snow cover, making it especially vulnerable to climate change. Permafrost stores carbon from life buried years ago. As the permafrost thaws, carbon is converted to carbon dioxide and methane, which hasten climate warming. Generally, climate scientists are finding that the Arctic is warming four times as fast as the rest of the world.

"Climate change is a huge topic when you live in our region. We have generations of hunters that know the land like the back of their hand. When scientists study the Arctic in our area, they will seek out the trained hunters and ask them questions because they know that they are observers of that area," Toolie said.  

The hunters and families have noticed changing behavior patterns in the region's polar bears. 

"We used to see them more frequently. One would always come up to the East End beach, and it would have to be redirected out of town," said Toolie. "I haven't heard of a polar bear going to Nome for years now."

Lately, commercial fishing and cruise liners have affected the lifelines of local families, too. The cruise industry disrupts the area's food system in the waters and creates challenges for the local fishing industry. In some instances, cruise ships have even dumped human waste on Alaska beaches, Toolie explained.

Moreover, commercial fishing overseen by state governments often harms subsistence family fishers in Nome. These residents store fish and other seafood for the winter to feed their families, not to make a profit. 

"Subsistence living is rooted in our culture. We have big families that live in one home. To feed them, you need to hunt, fish, and berry pick for survival," said Toolie. Whaling is also part of that equation. 

"I think it's just because people don't understand, don't have an understanding that this feeds communities. It's not done in a way that is disrespectful to animals or the earth. In Native culture, we're taught not to over-hunt or over-pick, and we use everything," said Toolie. "We don't waste what we get. And so I think that's something that would be nice for people who are unfamiliar with our culture to learn about."

This year, at Leadville, she will be paced by fellow Native skier and ultrarunner Connor Ryan. Since this is Toolie's first time taking on Leadville, her approach to the race will be to take it easy. "I'm going to take it slow," said Toolie. "And if I feel comfortable, I'm going to take it slower."

(08/20/2022) ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Will Jim Walmsley Be the First American Man to Win UTMB?

Jim Walmsley has always been an outlier among American trail runners.

Not only is he as fast and talented as any ultrarunner the U.S. has ever produced, but he's also been bold and even a little brash about his intentions. His off-the-front racing style is something to be revered-and respected if you're one of his competitors -because the lanky 32-year-old Hoka-sponsored runner from Flagstaff, Arizona, has proven time and time again that it works for him. 

On August 26 in Chamonix, France, Walmsley will embark on his latest and most prodigious quest yet: to win Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). It's his fourth attempt at trying to follow up on his stated intention of becoming the first American man to win the race, but he's gone to extra lengths this year to prepare for it. It would certainly add to what has already been a great year, given that he and longtime girlfriend Jessica Brazeau got married on May 4 in Silverton, Colorado.

But if Walmsley is going to pull it off this year, he will have to fend off three-time UTMB winner and 2022 Hardrock champion Kilian Jornet, of Spain, among other strong runners in the talent-loaded field.

UTMB has been one of the pinnacle events in the sport of trail running since its inception in 2003. Not only does the course send runners on a grueling 171.5K loop (106.5 miles) around the Mont Blanc massif with nearly 33,000 feet of vertical gain, it also brings together the deepest international field of the year and more hype and media attention-including epic coverage and commentary via livestream-than any other event in the world by far.

One of several top-tier Americans in this year's UTMB field, Walmsley skipped the Western States 100 this year and since June has been living and training in the mountains of the Rhne Alpes region of France near Beaufort, not far from good friend Franois D'Haene, who knows a thing or two about training for big mountain ultras. 

Last year, D'Haene not only became the first male runner to win UTMB for a fourth time, but he also became the first runner to win both Colorado's Hardrock 100 and UTMB in the same year.

The Frenchman was crewed and paced by Walmsley at Hardrock in 2021 and was one of the first people to suggest that Walmsley spend a summer training in the French Alps in order to best prepare for UTMB, rather than showing up in Chamonix 7-10 days before as he-and many other American men-have in the past.

Aside from Jornet, who won this year's Hardrock 100 for the fifth time on July 16, the top international runners include Frenchman Aurelien Dunand-Pallaz, the runner-up at UTMB last year; Germany's Hannes Namberger; New Zealand's Scott Hawker; and Spain's Pau Capell, who won the race in 2019.

D'Haene certainly thinks Walmsley is capable of winning UTMB, but points out that there are always numerous capable runners who are contenders and it all depends on how the race plays out. The idea of Walmsley stating his intent out front-that he wants to win UTMB-is more of a bold American approach, D'Haene says, as opposed to a more subtle European style he prefers.

"Just to explain to people, 'I am here to be the first American to win the UTMB,' puts a lot of pressure on him," D'Haene says. "He thinks UTMB, he sleeps UTMB, he eats UTMB, so it's a lot of pressure. If you take the approach that I just want to smash that course and win that race, then it's a lot of pressure. I'm not sure if he'll win or not win, but at least he's training well in the Alps and his confidence is up."

Walmsley has raced UTMB three times already-taking fifth in 2017 but DNF-ing in 2018 and 2021. The fact that no American man has ever won UTMB is irrelevant in the scope of this year's race, but it certainly adds a heightened focus in Walmsley's quest and a brighter spotlight on him before and during the race.

Whereas four American women have won the women's UTMB race a total of seven times-including the 2019 and 2021 champion Courtney Dauwalter-only a handful of U.S. men have made it to the UTMB podium. The highest finish came when when Topher Gaylord and Bradon Sybrowsky tied for second in the inaugural race in 2003. 

While Walmsley appears to be the top American this year, it would be foolish to focus on him as the only American capable of winning. Other U.S. runners with momentum and motivation heading into UTMB include Tim Tollefson, who finished second at CCC in 2015 and third in UTMB in 2016 and 2017; Tyler Green, fourth at Western States 100 this year and 10th in the TDS 145K in Chamonix last year; Zach Miller, winner of the CCC 100K in 2015 and sixth and ninth, respectively, in UTMB in 2016 and 2017.

Miller went for broke trying to win UTMB in 2016 and held a 35-minute lead beyond the halfway point. He still led at the 100K mark, only to struggle over the final 50K and wind up sixth. What makes UTMB different, he says, is that the endless string of long climbs and descents demands a more moderate rhythm and effort over the first half of the course so you don't blow up before the race really begins.

"I don't think there's a super-secret code to crack. We've had a number of really good American men run there, it's just we have to have one of them have a good day all day one of these years," Miller says. "It's not anything we can't figure out or accommodate for. I think we've done it in other European-style races. It's just this one has kind of eluded us. I think it's possible that someone is going to have that 'right' day, but you almost have to have to get a little lucky, too."

Tollfeson is coming off three DNFs at UTMB in 2018, 2019, and 2021, and had a tough Western States this year (21st). Miller also DNF'ed at UTMB in 2018 and 2019 and then was away from racing because of injuries. He finished his first long ultra in several years in late June, winning the Andorra 100K to earn his place in Chamonix.

Other Americans in the field include David Laney (third at UTMB in 2015), Jason Schlarb (fourth in 2014), Seth Swanson (fourth  in 2015 and seventh at TDS last year) and Sage Canaday (48th at UTMB in 2017), who is back after suffering a pulmonary embolism and a devastating house fire in 2021.  

As for Walmsley, his front-running style has helped him snag three Western States 100 titles, three JFK 50 wins, a 50-mile world-best time, a 100K American record and the Fastest Known Time running across the Grand Canyon and back. It also helped him produce a solid 2:15:05, 22nd-place effort at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. 

Most recently, he tore up the trails (and the competition) at the rough and rugged Madeira Island Ultra Trail 115K in Portugal in April. Otherwise is been running in the Beaufortain Mountains with D'Haene and training a lot on a Wahoo bike trainer in France. Two weeks ago, he completed the arduous 114K (71-mile) Ultra Tour du Beaufortain loop with 7,300 meters (25,000 feet) of vertical gain as one of his last big training days. 

"I hope Jim can change it this year," D'Haene says. "I hope he will be OK and can run a good race, of course, but it's UTMB and, of course, it's always difficult."

(08/20/2022) ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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So You Think You’re “Elite”

A new way of classifying athletes aims to quantify the thresholds that distinguish recreational athletes from their trained, highly trained, and elite brethren A new way of classifying athletes aims to quantify the thresholds that distinguish recreational athletes from their trained, highly trained, and elite brethren

“Like monkeys,” a review of the neural and psychological foundations of social hierarchy explains, “we tend to use certain cues, like physical strength, to make status judgments.” This is presumably why running messageboards like Letsrun feature seemingly never–ending debates about the precise thresholds that distinguish “serious,” “sub-elite,” and “elite” runners from the unwashed masses. “Elite,” according to one typical if slightly hyperbolic poster, is “the time that sets a world record and/or wins. Everything else is hobby jogging.”

But figuring out these thresholds isn’t just about pissing contests. As a new paper in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance puts it, “the term ‘elite subjects’ might be one of the more overused and ill-defined terms in the exercise science literature.” That matters, because the results of a training study on semi-fit college students may not apply to Olympic athletes, and vice versa. Beet juice, for example, reliably boosts performance in recreational athletes, but doesn’t seem to help elite athletes to the same degree. The same appears to be true of training with deliberately depleted carbohydrate levels. To interpret the results of an exercise study, you need to know who the subjects were and have a consistent way of classifying them.

That’s the goal of the new IJSPP paper, which comes from a team of prominent sports scientists in Australia, Canada, Spain, and the United Kingdom, led by Alannah McKay of Australian Catholic University. They’ve put together a detailed framework to classify athletes into six distinct categories based on exercise patterns and athletic ability across a broad variety of sports.

It’s an inherently intractable challenge, since the characteristics of, say, well-trained table tennis players, marathoners, and archers are so different. But they’ve tried to make the framework flexible enough to work in different contexts by anchoring it in population statistics. You don’t get elite status by running a certain time or training a certain number of hours; it’s based on where you stand relative to everyone else.

Here are the categories:

Tier 0: Sedentary

~46 percent of the global population

This one is pretty straightforward. If you’re not hitting the World Health Organization recommended minimum level of physical activity—150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, plus a couple of muscle-strengthening activities—then you’re sedentary.

Tier 1: Recreationally Active

~35-42 percent of the global population

In this tier, you’re hitting those WHO guidelines, and may participate in a few different sports or activities, but you’re not focused on training or competing in a specific sport.

Tier 2: Trained/Developmental

~12-19 percent of the global population

Now we’re getting more serious. In this tier, you identify with a specific sport, and you’re probably training three or more times a week for the purpose of competing. You might represent a local club, play in a rec league, or be on the junior varsity high school team.

Tier 3: Highly Trained/National Level

~0.014 percent of the global population

There’s a huge drop-off from Tier 2 to Tier 3: not many people meet the requirements of being highly trained. You’re competing in state- or national-level tournaments and competitions, or perhaps for an NCAA Division II or III team, and you’re training not just for fitness but to improve sport-specific skills. For sports measured in time or distance, you’re typically within about 20 percent of the top performance in the world.

Tier 4: Elite/International Level

0.0025 percent of the global population

At this point, you’re likely training as hard as anyone in your sport trains. You dream of the Olympics (or whatever the pinnacle of your sport is). You might be an NCAA Division I athlete or a member of your national team. You’re probably ranked somewhere between 4th and 300th in the world in your event, and you’re within seven percent of the top performances in the world.

Tier 5: World Class

<0.00006 percent of the global population

This is what I think of as the Spinal Tap tier: a notch above elite. Crunch the numbers, and you find that there are fewer than 5,000 people in the world, across all sports, in this category. To join the club, you’re probably an Olympic medalist, or at least a finalist, or an all-star in a professional team sport. You’re within two percent of the world record or yearly top performance.

The last three categories remind me of the cliché about the Inuit having dozens of words for different types of snow. Put together, tiers three to five total less than a couple hundredths of a percent of the population, so a very rarefied group. But to sports scientists, those distinctions matter. The higher up the ladder you climb, the closer the subjects are to their maximum adaptive potential, and the more likely that any study you try will find no meaningful improvement. Under this microscope, the difference between a good college athlete and an Olympic medalist is substantial.

Of course, there are an infinite number of nuances. If your classification depends on comparison to your peers, then the competitive depth of your sport matters. A lot more people compete in running than in, say, dressage or sailing. In freestyle snowboarding, the authors suggest that you need to be a medalist at a major international event to be in the top tier, while making the final eight puts you in Tier 4. In track and field, making the final (which means placing in the top 8 to 15) at a major international competition puts you in Tier 5, because the competition is much deeper. If you want to dig into these nuances, the paper is freely available to read online.

As for the eternal Letsrun debates about what counts as elite, the paper includes a table of running times that delineate the various tiers based on a combination of Olympic winning times, gap from world record, gap from top yearly time, world ranking, and other measures. To be world class in this formulation, a male marathoner would need to run 2:04:33, and a female marathoner 2:20:01. For elite, it’s 2:12:15 and 2:31:03; for highly trained, 2:27:54 and 2:50:41. Those are pretty lofty thresholds, and I can’t help wishing that there were a few more rungs to climb between “trained” and “highly trained.” For practical classification purposes, I’ll probably stick with the sliding scale I’ve been using for the past few decades: the definition of “fast” is a half-step ahead of me.

(08/20/2022) ⚡AMP
by Outside
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Camouflaged Speed Work You Can Do Year ’Round

Three types of training that will improve your speed, stride, and stamina, but won’t burn you out.

Long ago, runners and coaches learned that intense speed work (VO2 Max workouts like 400–800m intervals at 3,000m pace) and anaerobic training (lactic acid-producing workouts like 300m repeats at 1500m pace) performed year-round often lead to a plateau in performance and at worst, overtraining and chronic fatigue.

Instead, runners are encouraged to take a break from VO2 Max and lactic acid-producing workouts during their off-season (a.k.a. base, foundational, pre-competition, preparatory phases). Too much intensity in this range can actually damage the mitochondria and aerobic enzymes you’re working to build during the base phases of training.

Many of us, however, worry about losing speed, or at the very least, don’t want to skip our running group’s weekly track workouts. Not to worry. Here are three great ways to maintain speed yet rest the VO2 Max and anaerobic systems:

Leg speed/form training is by far my preferred way to include faster running during the base/off-season phase. In fact, all of my Base plans include leg speed training in the last few weeks as a great way to prep the body for faster running. Runners completing the Base plan find they are very ready for their more intense workouts and enjoy the break from just doing easy runs all the time.

An example of a leg speed/form training workout is 10–15 reps of 10–15 seconds at a fast but controlled effort using excellent running form with full recovery (usually 45–90 seconds) walk or jog. Done 1–3 times per week, this develops great running form, leg turnover and makes the transition to faster workouts later in the training cycle, much easier.

Leg speed/form training is also the safest way to keep doing some faster running while avoiding VO2max and lactic acid-producing training. Each repeat is short enough that you never get winded during the interval nor have to “dig deep” to complete it. Leg speed (aka strides) take very little out of the runner and recovery is very quick.

Leg speed/form training works great for inexperienced, young and/or long-distance runners and, completed 1–3 times per week, feed the “need for speed” but don’t stress the musculoskeletal, VO2 Max or lactic acid systems.

Leg speed/form training also works great for runners who lack self-discipline and/or don’t have an onsite coach controlling the intensity of the off-season workouts. These runners often run too fast in less intense workouts and thus turn appropriate off-season training into the stressful workouts that we are trying to avoid.

Lastly, you can easily do this workout alongside your running mates who may still be doing more traditional speed workouts. Warm-up with them and then do your strides on the track as you cheer them on. Win-win.

Hill sprints are another popular workout that can be used year-round. These short, intense runs up a steep hill recruit lots of muscles fibers yet the body remains alactic (meaning lactic acid does not build up).

Hill sprints work really well for runners who are used to frequent speed work (and thus their muscles are used to very powerful strides) and are injury-free. As an effort-based workout, they also work very well for runners who tend to “race” the watch on repetition workouts and/or can’t control their intensity in workouts.

A steep hill (8–12% incline) is needed and for a hill sprint, you run very, very fast (using excellent running form) up the hill for around 10 seconds. Then, you recover for 2–3 minutes before the next sprint. Like the leg speed/form training workout, 10 or so repetitions is enough.

Again, you should not get out of breath during hill sprints. The workout should also not feel “hard” like a speed workout, so if you are getting out of breath or are struggling to run fast, you are running uphill for too long. Shorten the repeats till you can run fast and strong but not get out of breath.

Hill sprints, often described as strength training for the legs, offer a big improvement in running economy, running form and leg strength. While they are very intense, they don’t take a lot out of the runner so there is little residual fatigue in the coming days.

Injury-prone runners should stick with leg speed/form training workouts first, then in the next off-season add some hill sprint workouts.

Just can’t stand not going to the track every week to meet up with your group? Tweener repeats are for you. Tweener repeats, aka cruise interval/critical velocity interval workouts, are repetitions at an intensity that is slower than your VO2max yet faster than your lactate threshold (thus the “tweener” moniker).

In the McMillan Calculator, tweener repeat paces are listed as “Cruise Intervals” in honor of legendary coach Jack Daniels who popularized these less intense repetition workouts. You may have also heard them called “Critical Velocity” workouts, a term popularized by successful elite coach Tom Schwartz. (Schwartz defines critical velocity as 90% of VO2 Max.)

No matter what you call them, the concept is that shorter repetitions (Daniels suggests three minutes as the perfect duration) performed at this tweener intensity allow the runner to get in a good workout yet not create a lot of fatigue, perfect for the purpose of off-season training.

The key, of course, is control. Running too fast and turning the workout into a VO2max workout is a big no-no, so many runners and coaches find that using heart rate to control the workout is a good technique. In the off season, I tend to start runners at their lactate threshold heart rate (approximately 85–87% of heart rate max) and then allow the heart rate to increase slightly in the later repetitions (up to 88–92% of heart rate max).

As with any repetition workout, you can modulate the stress of the workout by adjusting the volume and recovery. During the off season, I recommend keeping these workouts shorter (2–4 miles of total fast running) and the recoveries longer if you begin to breathe heavily. Again, these repeats should feel fairly easy compared to your normal VO2 Max speed workouts and your anaerobic longer sprint workouts.

Note: If you are a runner who can’t control herself on the track or a marked course during repetition workouts, then don’t time the tweener repeats, so you focus more on effort and/or heart rate and avoid pushing too hard. Fartlek-style workouts work great in the off-season.

Another great benefit of tweener repeats is that you can essentially turn any workout from your weekly track group into this type of workout. Just make sure you run within the “cruise interval” pace range from the McMillan Calculator and you are good to go. My go-to tweener workout during the base phase is 6–8 x 800m at cruise interval pace with 200m jog, performed once every 2–4 weeks. As always, though, essentially any short repeats (from 30 seconds to around 3 minutes) at this tweener intensity work great.

I don’t recommend these faster off-season workouts when you are using the off-season to advance to a new mileage level. It’s not a good idea to add both volume and intensity at the same time.

Also, if you are very tired (mentally and physically) from the previous training cycle, avoid these workouts for 4–8 weeks as you begin your next training cycle then ease into them once your body has freshened up. The same goes if you are frequently injured or your performances have plateaued. Both indicate the body/mind needs a few weeks of low-intensity running before adding these off-season workouts.

As long as you remember the main goal of off-season fast running of avoiding both a big VO2 Max stimulus as well as the buildup of lactic acid, you can include these camouflaged speed work sessions to get in some fast running while resting your VO2 Max and lactic acid-producing system.

(08/20/2022) ⚡AMP
by Outside
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5 Run-Improving Exercises You Can Do During Daily Life

Improve your running by integrating these strength, mobility and balance exercises into your daily routine—so you’ll be sure to do them regularly. Improve your running by integrating these strength, mobility and balance exercises into your daily routine—so you'll be sure to do them regularly.

We all know we could benefit by doing exercises that compensate for the weakness and mobility issues caused by our mostly-sedentary lifestyles. But finding time to do them and doing them regularly enough to make a difference is difficult. I’ve found the key is to integrate them into my daily routines so that they become habitual by being linked to something I’m doing already, and they get done without taking up more time out of my busy schedule. Here are five creative strategies to fit essential balance, strength, and mobility exercises into your daily life.

Standing on one leg develops balance, proprioception and muscle activation required for effective running—which is, itself, a series of one leg stances. One easy way to integrate this into a daily habit is to stand on one leg while brushing your teeth every morning and night. Alternate legs, and as it gets easier, integrate some side leg lifts, swings and hip circles with the raised leg.

Another option I’ve found easy to make a habit is to stand whenever putting on pants, shoes socks and shoes. This provides a built-in dynamic challenge as you pull on each pant leg, reach for each sock, tug it on, reach for a shoe, get it on and tie it. Alternate which foot you start with, so each day you’re balancing barefoot on a different side. Once it becomes a habit, you don’t have to remind yourself to stand: It is just what you do to get dressed. You know you’re getting good when you can balance on one foot while putting on Injinji toe socks.

Glutes, which are the largest and most fatigue-resistant muscles in running, get ignored and lazy during our days of sitting. But adding exercises to our days sometimes seems like too much, and hard to remember to fit into a busy schedule.

For several years I’ve been doing air squats while grinding coffee beans with a hand-crank grinder. At first I had to focus to do 10 effective squats that used my glutes, not my quads. Now I can finish 15 bilateral squats and 10 single-leg squats on each side while cranking enough for an espresso.

Lately, I’ve alternated single-leg deadlifts and Tippy Twist exercises for the squats on some days. Most importantly, I can’t grind without doing exercises; it’s part of the same action in my mind.

Another option is to do exercises while your coffee (or tea) is brewing. Making coffee is something you do every day, and you have to wait for it anyway. Link the wait time to a habitual exercise and you’ll be more consistent and effective than ever at activating and strengthening target muscles.

Sitting puts our hips in a perpetually flexed position, so that our hip flexors become shortened and we lose essential hip mobility. Most of us can benefit from regularly stretching our hip flexors, but who has the time to take 3-5 minutes several times a day to focus on this?

The solution? Do the stretch at your work desk. Just push the chair back or to the side and kneel in a lunge position in front of your desk. Lift your torso tall, straighten the curve of your spine and rotate your pelvis backward—imagine an axle sticking straight out of your hip bone and you are rotating your hip around it, so that the front comes up and the back goes down. You should feel the stretch in the muscles at the front of your hip over your kneeling leg, and feel your glute contracting on that side.

Hold this position while you work on your computer. Five minutes per side goes quickly during the work day. I try to do this two or three times per day: mid-morning, after lunch, and when I need a change to loosen up and wake up during the late afternoon.

Feet also get ignored and coddled, with hours idle and stuffed under desks. It doesn’t take much focus to do regular foot exercises to activate and strengthen intrinsic muscles used for stability and propulsion while running—and no one needs to be the wiser.

Three easy exercises are the short foot, foot splay and toe yoga. For short foot, pull the ball of your foot toward the heel while keeping your toes flat and relaxed, doming and contracting the arch. Hold for 8 seconds and relax. Repeat whenever you think about it (or use a reminder, like every time you check email) and feel your arch getting stronger throughout the day. Toe splay, which is simply pulling the toes apart as wide as you can and holding, also activates and strengthens the arch effectively. Toe yoga involves pushing your big toe into the ground while lifting the others, then reversing and lifting only the big toe. Toe yoga enhances foot control for improved balance and stability.

All of these are easier and more effective if you can surreptitiously take off your shoes, or, at minimum, have shoes that allow your toes to move. Minimalist models with ample toe boxes not only enable more natural foot movement all the time, but their low heel lift also helps strengthen your achilles in a safe—and effortless—manner as you walk around during your day.

When you’re at the wheel, you can’t work on your hip position—since you are sitting—but you can work on posture from the waist up by sitting as tall as you can. Bring your chest up and shoulders back, tighten your lower abs and reduce the curve of your spine. Lift your head straight and high. You’ll notice that you’re several inches taller.

I set my rear-view mirror for this height—so every time I slouch it gets out of line and reminds me to get tall again. You’ll find your upper back and lower abs get tired; keep working at it to improve your postural endurance which will help you run tall and balanced for longer.

(08/20/2022) ⚡AMP
by Outside
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How Much Will Hitting the Wall Hurt Your Marathon Time?

New big-data study digs into hitting the wall in the marathon, revealing who is most likely to crash, when, and how much it will cost you. New big-data study digs into hitting the wall in the marathon, revealing who is most likely to crash, when, and how much it will cost you.

A massive new analysis of marathon splits and finish times provides us with more information on “hitting the wall” than anything previously published. It also answers some questions we have never thought to ask before.

Ireland’s Barry Smyth became interested in marathon data about five years ago. Since then, he has published a handful of big-data articles analyzing performances and even the training behind performance. He has summarized some of this work in nontechnical articles at Medium.com. Smyth is director of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at University College Dublin.

In his new paper, “How recreational marathon runners hit the wall: A large-scale analysis of late-race pacing collapse in the marathon,” Smyth dug into an astonishing 4.1 million marathon performances achieved by 2.7 million different runners from 2005 to 2019. For each performance, he collected every 5K split (8 of them per marathon), plus the final 2.195K split. The paper is published by PLOS One and is available in free, full-text form. 

Smyth eventually refined his list of runners to 717,000 unique individuals for whom he could locate multiple marathon performances. This allowed him to draw conclusions about the career arc of individual performances. He managed to collect marathon finish-times that extended backwards and forward nine years from the time of each runner’s personal best marathon.

With all this data, Smyth could have chosen to concentrate on any number of different explorations. In this paper, he focused on: male vs female HTW (hitting the wall) differences, how much time you will lose when you HTW, and when in your career you are most likely to HTW.

A last preliminary note: Smyth established an arbitrary but objective definition for HTW. He took runners’ splits from 25K to the finish, and compared this pace with their splits from 5K to 20K. Runners who slowed by at least 20 percent for at least a 5K distance late in the race were defined as HTW-ers.

The guy. No contest. Twenty-eight percent of male runners hit the wall versus just 17 percent of female runners. This data held relatively constant for different ability levels and age-groups.

Women tended to hit the wall slightly sooner than men — at 29.3K vs 29.6K — but their bad patch lasted slightly less distance than the men’s — 9.61K vs 10.7K. This meant that more women recovered from their slow running prior to the finish line than men.

On average, men lost 31.5 minutes and the women lost 33.2 minutes.

Men slowed more when they hit the wall, suffering a relative slowdown of 40 percent vs 37 percent for women. This was calculated by comparing the runner’s finish time in the given HTW marathon with their best marathon time in recent years.

The time difference is a trivial amount, mostly influenced by the well-established male-female gap in marathon finish times. In Smyth’s data set, men who HTW had an average finish time of 4:37 vs women who averaged 5:07.

Both men and women are most likely to hit the wall in the three years prior to their PR effort. This is the point where you are improving, and “going for it,” but maybe haven’t put all the pieces together yet. During this 3-year period, 40% of men are likely to HTW vs 28% of women.

During years 4–9 prior to your PR, the equivalent percentages are lower: 26% (men) and 16% (women). In the three years after your PR, the percentages are 32% (men) and 21% (women). Smyth speculates that we may ease off on the throttle a bit in the years after a PR.

The answer here is faster runners, which is a bit counterintuitive. You might expect that they have less to lose. However, Smyth’s data shows the opposite. “Faster runners are associated with higher costs when they hit the wall,” he noted in an email. This is both an absolute and relative cost.

Smyth believes this finding is a function of the fact that fast runners have very fast personal records. When they attempt to beat these records, they risk a lot. Also, slower runners may have proportionally slower PRs. They might not have tried as hard in their marathon bests as fast runners did. This means that slower runners may have more margin for error if they mis-pace a marathon.

Here’s a table with data from a few marathons (including the 6 world marathon majors) showing an example of Smyth’s approach:

In his concluding remarks, Smyth notes that his huge data set allows him to do lots of slicing and dicing.

Yet he cautions that we shouldn’t lose sight of the big picture. The reasons for HTW and the outcomes of HTW are largely similar across all runners: You probably didn’t train enough, you probably didn’t pace the marathon correctly, maybe you didn’t fuel and hydrate properly… and, as a result, you’re going to pay a price — a steep price.

“Runners and coaches have the potential to impose some level of control on whether a runner will hit the wall by focusing on making better decisions,” he writes. He adds that these better decisions could be especially helpful to male runners and to all marathoners who are chasing a personal record.

(08/20/2022) ⚡AMP
by Outside
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Four runners collapse during half-marathon in London heatwave

On Sunday morning at the RunThrough Richmond Park Half Marathon, in London, U.K, four runners collapsed and were rushed to hospital. (Reports say the temperature was 33 C at 9 a.m.)

The race began at 9:30 a.m., from Richmond Park in southwest London, with the temperature reaching a high of 34 degrees by 10 a.m. The London Ambulance Service took four people to hospital, who collapsed during the race. Race officials confirmed in a Facebook post at RunThrough confirmed the four individuals who went to hospital on Sunday were doing OK. 

Four hundred runners took part in the event, and reportedly there were only a few water stations on the course.

On Sunday morning on Twitter, the Royal Parks Police issued a warning for exercising during a heatwave. 

Several race participants took to social media questioning whether the RunThrough event should have been allowed to go ahead despite the high temperatures.

Thomas Davies, a runner who took part in the race, said on Twitter: “I don’t think the race should have gone ahead. The heat was absolutely mad!”

Many runners were upset that the start was not moved to an earlier time.

On Saturday, the RunThrough event posted a warning message on Instagram: “If you are competing this weekend, remember to slow down the pace and hydrate before, during and post-race. Know your fitness and stay safe.”

(08/20/2022) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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The new 2023 World Championships entry standards are wild

On Thursday evening, World Athletics published the entry standards for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest. The time athletes are required to run for automatic qualification is faster than ever.

The championship will run later in the year than in 2022, from Aug. 19 to Aug. 27, 2023. Although these standards mean automatic qualification, there are still ways to qualify through a confusing qualification system that the World Athletics implemented for the World Championships in 2019. If an athlete is highly ranked in their respective event but has not run the standard, the athlete is still eligible for nomination by their national governing body. 

For the first time ever, the mile – both in-stadium and road mile – will now be a qualifying event for the 1500m, while performances achieved on the road in the 5K and 10K will now be eligible for qualification in the 5,000m and 10,000m, respectively. In addition, the top eight athletes in the world cross country rankings not otherwise qualified through other pathways will be considered qualified for the 10,000m.

The 2023 championships will be held in the National Athletics Centre in Budapest, which is currently under construction, and will have a capacity of 36,000.

The 2022 championship standards were similar, but some events have gotten a lot quicker. Most notably, the men’s 800m, 100m, 5,000m and marathon standards have become more challenging, along with the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, 1,500m and 10,000m. The 2022 standards are below.

Due to the postponement of the 2022 World Championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, athletes now have five years of straight major games, with Budapest 2023, the Paris Olympics in 2024 and the Tokyo world championships 2025 on the horizon. 

(08/20/2022) ⚡AMP
by Running magazine
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Five records fall on opening day of NACAC Championships

Laulauga Tausaga-Collins led a gold medal sweep for the USA as five records fell on the opening day of the North and Central American & Caribbean (NACAC) Championships at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex in Freeport, The Bahamas, on Friday (19).

A World Championships finalist, Tausaga-Collins broke the discus championship record twice in her first two throws (62.21m and 63.18m) to claim one of the eight titles for the USA.

Three other women surpassed the 60-metre mark, all in the final round, but it was not enough to catch the US thrower, who was pleased with her win before heading to the Wanda Diamond League final.

Cuba’s 2015 world champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Denia Caballero returned to competition after a full pause following the 2021 season and moved from fourth to silver with 61.86m in the sixth round, finishing ahead of USA’s Rachel Dincoff (61.56m) and Cuba’s Silinda Morales (60.73m).

Despite the hot and humid weather conditions, US distance runners rewrote three records: Gabrielle Jennings in the women’s 3000m steeplechase (9:34.36), Natosha Rogers in the 5000m (15:11.68) and Sean McGorty in the 10,000m (29:23.77) with the latter erasing one of the two remaining men’s championship records from the inaugural edition in El Salvador in 2007.

Not only did Jennings and Rogers break the championship records, they also led medal sweeps for the USA. Katie Rainsberger and Carmen Graves took silver and bronze in the steeplechase, while Fiona O’Keefe and Eleanor Fulton secured the other podium places in the 5000m.

USA’s 2016 world indoor champion Vashti Cunningham found some redemption after failing to reach the World Championships final on home soil. The three-time global medallist and Olympic finalist cleared 1.92m on her first attempt in the women’s high jump final, breaking St Lucia’s three-time winner Lavern Spencer’s 1.91m record set in Toronto in 2018.

One of the biggest surprises of the first day came in the women’s hammer, where USA’s world bronze medallist Janee’ Kassanavoid got the better of world champion Brooke Andersen. Kassanavoid won with 71.51m as Andersen managed 68.66m, recording just her second defeat of what has otherwise been a highly successful breakthrough season.

Oop The other winners on the opening day were Chris Bernard in the men’s triple jump (16.40m) and Roger Steen in the shot put (20.78m).

In other action outside the finals, world and Olympic champion Shaune Miller-Uibo delighted the home crowd with an easy semifinal win in the women’s 400m in 50.84, only 0.02 off the championship record. Jamaica’s Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper led the semifinals in the 100m hurdles (12.62) while her compatriot Andrew Hudson (20.25) and USA’s Brittany Brown (22.59) led the 200m semifinals.

A total of 17 finals will be contested on Saturday, including the men’s and women's 100m and 400m, featuring two other individual world champions from Eugene: Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson (200m champion running 100m) and Miller-Uibo.

The fourth edition of the championships, held for the first time to the Caribbean, was opened by the Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Philip Davis, and is dedicated to the late Anita Doherty, an educator of many generations of Bahamians, who competed for the island nation in the pentathlon at the 1970 Commonwealth Games.

(08/20/2022) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Run stronger by using these words four tips from Olympian Kara Goucher

Two-time American Olympian and NBC sports analyst Kara Goucher‘s tips for creating a mantra come from personal experience with nerves and intimidation. “Working on a mantra helped me shut out the negativity and focus on the present,” the athlete shares in her book Strong. 

On race day, Goucher would repeat ‘I belong.’ to herself. “It centered my mind and allowed me to execute the race I knew I was capable of running,” she explains. Use Goucher’s suggestions to create a phrase or mantra that will elevate your own racing.

Keep it simple

A single word or short phrase is enough. “Short and sweet works best,” Goucher says. When you’re running hard, deep thinking is challenging and your mantra should be easy to remember and repeat.

Use present tense

Performance relies on an athlete’s ability to stay in the now. “Active words like ‘focus’ and ‘execute’ can help pull you into the moment to concentrate on the task at hand,” says Goucher.

Establish an emotional connection

A great mantra will be connected to a strong mental state and positive feelings. Goucher suggests thinking of words or phrases that “light you up with confidence, motivation, and readiness.” For her, phrases like ‘grit and grace’ and ‘why not me?’ elevated her ability to perform at her best.

Test your material

Test your mantras by using words and phrases in workouts and races. If you find something you repeat to yourself resonates strongly, write it down. Goucher suggests placing mantras strategically on water bottles, sports bags, or even on your wrist or arm as a reminder on race day.

Mental strength comes into play whenever you put forth a hard effort: be creative and consistent with your mantra, and you’ll have a new tool to bring out reserves of mental toughness you weren’t aware you had.

(08/19/2022) ⚡AMP
by Keeley Milne
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Jakob Ingebrigtsen Completes “Double-Double” by Winning 2022 European 1500 Title

Jakob Ingebrigtsen is golden again.

After claiming 5,000-meter gold at the European Athletics Championships in Munich on Tuesday, Ingebrigtsen doubled back and won Thursday’s 1500-meter final in wire-to-wire fashion, setting a championship record of 3:32.76 in the process. Jake Heyward, who just missed out on making the British team for the World Championships and finished 5th at the Commonwealth Games for Wales, took silver in 3:34.44, running down Spain’s Mario Garcia Romo, who held on for bronze in 3:34.88.

The victory for Ingebrigtsen improves his record to 4-0 in European outdoor finals and means he has completed the “double-double” by winning the 1500 and 5000 at both the 2018 and 2022 European championships. All at the age of 21.

As is his custom, Ingebrigtsen started slowly off the line, but worked his way into the lead on the home straight of the first lap and would stay there the rest of the way. He hit 400 in a quick 56.34, 800 in 1:54.11 (57.77 lap), and 1200 in 2:51.68 (57.57 lap), at which point a pack of four men — Garcia Romo, Heyward, Italy’s Pietro Arese, and Poland’s Michal Rozmys were in close pursuit. Ingebrigtsen opened a small gap on the back straight before blasting away over the final 200, using a 55.24 last lap (27.14 last 100) to crush all opposition.

The only drama in the final half-lap centered around silver and bronze as Heyward passed Garcia Romo in the home straight to take silver and Garcia Romo held off the 22-year-old Arese — who ran a 2+ second pb of 3:35.00 — to earn bronze to go with the Euro U23 silver he won last year.

(08/19/2022) ⚡AMP
by Jonathan Gault
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European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Championships Munich 2022 will be the biggest sports event in Germany since the 1972 Summer Olympics. From 15-21 August 2022, European sport will be united as its best athletes compete for the highest accolade of their sport on the continent – the title of ‘European Champion’. The second edition of the European Championships will feature nine Olympic sports:Athletics, Beach...

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Have a blast on your easy runs, just like olympian Molly Seidel

U.S. Olympic marathoner Molly Seidel can run a magnificently fast race, but she’s also an expert on running slowly. She completed the #slowestmilechallenge in 2020 and revived it this year, managing to run a mile in an impressively slow 36:56. Her enthusiasm, along with her sister Isabel Seidel‘s commentary, will motivate you to keep those easy runs sloth-like (OK, maybe not quite that slow).

The slowest mile challenge is funny, but you can also use it as inspiration to inject some zest into your own easy runs.

Easy runs can get boring. Most of us know we should maintain a slow (for us) pace most days, but it can be ever-so-tempting to pick it up–you might even catch yourself speeding up accidentally. Many runners associate that completely wiped-out feeling you get after speedwork with a great workout, and it’s time to change that perspective.

Turn it into a challenge

It certainly doesn’t have to be as extreme as Molly’s slowest mile, but adding a personal challenge to your run can motivate you to get out the door. Set a (slow) goal pace, and see if you can maintain it throughout your run, catching yourself when you start speeding up. Not only will this keep you focused during your time out there, but you’ll reap the benefits of practicing discipline and patience on race day.

Try new, unique (and fun) routes

An easy run is a perfect opportunity to explore a new area or route. Use your easy runs as a chance to finesse your route-mapping skills on Strava, or aim for a specific destination.

Make your end (or mid-point) goal a coffee shop, ice cream stop, or local park, and for bonus points, invite some friends to meet you. The small reward will give you a boost to get going and to maintain your easy-pace goals.

Be open to suggestions

Runners can be notoriously stuck in their habits–I once listened to the same playlist for an entire year. We’re often reluctant to throw something new into the routine. To spice up those easy runs, be open to ideas from others.

If a friend recommends a fantastic audiobook and you generally only listen to music, a slow run is a perfect time to give the book a fighting chance. If you always run alone, but know of a local running group, join them on a slow day. It might feel initially uncomfortable to throw a small wrench into your routine, but you’ll have the opportunity to work through the discomfort, another integral skill to fine-tune for races.

Slow runs have a multitude of benefits: you’ll increase running efficiency, have the opportunity to work on better form, and build strength without needing a lot of recovery time. By upping the enjoyment of your easy run days, you’ll be less likely to skip them or to run too quickly.

(08/19/2022) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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How much should you exercise each week for long-term health?

Good news runners! A short run can improve your longevity.

It’s well known that exercise is good for you, but how much of it do you need per week to be really healthy (or extend your lifespan)? A new study published in Circulation (the journal of the American Heart Association) highlights that adults need a minimum of 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week to lower their risk of premature death–that’s only 21 and a half minutes a day.

Vigorous physical activity was defined as running, walking, bicycling or swimming.

The study looked at 116,221 adults, and found that people who went beyond the minimum guidelines could lower their risk of premature death even more. The participants self-reported their physical activity via a questionnaire over a period of 30 years.

Participants who exercised two to four times the physical activity recommendations (300 to 599 minutes per week, or 42 to 85 minutes per day) saw the most benefit. According to the study, they had 26 to 31 per cent lower death rate overall, 28 to 38 per cent lower incidence of death from cardiovascular events, and 25 to 27 per cent lower risk of death from non-cardivascular causes, as compared to a control group that did no vigorous physical activity.

It may not come as much of a surprise to lifelong runners that their hobby improves their longevity, but it’s interesting to see this borne out in a long-term study with thousands of participants.

 

(08/19/2022) ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Olympic Champ Marcell Jacobs Made his 9.95 look easy at the European Championships

Marcell Lamont Jacobs wins men's 100m European title in Munich and sets new championship record

The Olympic champion won a tight final in Munich to clinch his first 100m European championship crown: "It's been a difficult and complicated season, so taking home gold is exciting," the Italian said.

Italy's Olympic champion Marcell Lamont Jacobs put his injury-ridden season behind him by winning the 100m at the European athletics championships in Munich on Tuesday (16 August).

The 27-year-old won his first outdoor continental crown in a time of 9.95 seconds. The Tokyo 2020 star improved on his season best time in the semi-final (10.00) and claimed one of the six gold medals available on the night at the Olympiastadion.

The podium was completed by Great Britain's 2018 Euro champ, Zharnel Hughes running 9.99, while Jeremiah Azu took bronze in a time of 10.13 seconds.

"I'm very happy with this result. It wasn't my best race from a technical point of view and the time is not what I wanted but it mattered crossing the line first after an outdoor season so complicated and full of injuries," Jacobs said after the race.

"Coming here and showing that I am the best is something beautiful that motivates me to push even harder."

The Italian becomes just the third man in history to win 100m Olympic and European titles back-to-back.

He follows in the footsteps of Valreiy Borzov of the Soviet Union (Munich 1972-Roma 1974) and Great Britian's Linford Christie (Barcelona 1992-Helsinki 1994).

After being the surprise winner of the 100m Olympic title at Tokyo 2020, in March Jacobs beat defending champion Christian Coleman to the world indoor 60m title in Belgrade.

However his outdoor season before Munich had been undermined by illness and muscle problems which forced him to scratch from the semi-finals at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

"My goal this season was to win three medals, we won two out of three and it can be considered a good result," he said.

"Being forced to withdraw from the semi-finals at the World championships was a big disappointment, but next year there's going to be another championships and all my motivation will be to do well there."

"I want to say thank you to the people who have been supporting me, and also to the people who criticized me because they gave me the energy to show that I'm the best," the newly crowned European champion said.

"I'd like to watch it again as I think I ran better in the semi-final.

"Maybe I was too tense and I didn't start well, then I managed to recover speed but it was important to finish ahead.

"When I was practicing at the starting blocks I felt a niggle in my calf, but I tried to give it all, and fortunately it was just a small problem.

"The time is not as great as what I wanted because I always aim for the best but I'm happy with this. A lot of people thought that I wouldn't even start and winning gold means that we have been working well and that I can continue to achieve great things. Now I'm looking to win more with the 4x100."

(08/18/2022) ⚡AMP
by Ash Tulloch and Alessandro Poggi
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European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Championships Munich 2022 will be the biggest sports event in Germany since the 1972 Summer Olympics. From 15-21 August 2022, European sport will be united as its best athletes compete for the highest accolade of their sport on the continent – the title of ‘European Champion’. The second edition of the European Championships will feature nine Olympic sports:Athletics, Beach...

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Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei keen to defend London Marathon title

London Marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei will be seeking to defend her title in this edition set for October 2.

Last year, the 2016 Africa 10,000m bronze medalist obliterated a strong field to clinch the title in a personal best time of 2:17:43.

“My main aim is to defend my title and also lower my personal best,” Jepkosgei said.

Jepkosgei revealed she has invested a lot in training and expects this to repay handsomely on the streets of London.

“My main focus this season was on this marathon and I have trained very well for it. I know I will perform well,” she said.

Jepkosgei insisted she is not worried about the competition, where she will face the likes of compatriots Brigid Kosgei and Mary Ngugi, the Ethiopian duo of Degitu Azimeraw (2:17:58) and Ashete Bekere (2:17:58), who finished second and third respectively last year. Bekere finished second at the Tokyo Marathon in March.

Kosgei is the fastest in the field with her world record/personal best time of 2:14:04, ran at the 2019 Chicago marathon. Ngugi has a personal best time of 2:21:32 attained at this year’s Boston Marathon.

Commonwealth Games 10,000m winner Eilish McColgan will make her full marathon debut while another Ethiopian, Yalemzerf Yehualaw (2:17:23), will be making her London Marathon debut. McColgan aims to replicate her mother — Liz McColgan — who won the 1996 edition.

“I enjoy running with elite runners. The race will be tough and that means I can post a good time,” she said.

The 28-year-old said she does not feel any pressure after training under her supportive husband/coach, Nicholas Koech.

“My coach has been a great support system for me and with that, I do not feel any pressure. He is also my adviser,” Jepkosgei said.

Meanwhile, Jepkosgei disclosed she is yet to make a decision on the 2023 World Championships in Budapest and the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“After the marathon, my coach and management will sit down and decide what next,” Jepkosgei said.

Commonwealth Games 10,000m winner Eilish McColgan will also be making her London Marathon debut with the aim of replicating Liz McColgan’s (her mother) win in the 1996 edition.

 

(08/18/2022) ⚡AMP
by Abigael Wuafula
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TCS London Marathon

TCS London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Get your stamina soaring with this progression run, this workout will maximize your ability to run longer at a faster pace

Running at a steady pace for a long period of time is the distance runner’s ultimate challenge. Stamina-based workouts help runners strengthen this ability, focusing on lactate threshold (LT) improvement and learning to run by effort. Both of these are essential skills when racing on trails or hilly road courses, where pace may not be reflective of effort.

Blood lactate is a byproduct created when muscle cells use glucose as fuel. Formerly thought of as a waste product, we now know lactate is used for a multitude of things within the body, including brain function.

If you’re running at a high intensity, your body might not be able to recycle or ‘clear’ the accumulated lactate, and you’ll experience heavy legs, the need to slow down, and burning muscles.

Stamina-based workouts can help shift the lactate threshold (LT), helping you run faster for longer.  Stamina-based workouts are different from speedwork–they’re all about pushing yourself to run longer at a specific pace or effort. A key factor in improving your LT through a workout like this is to hold back from running too quickly.

Stamina-based training focuses on working at or near a pace you can maintain for one hour, roughly where LT is attained for many athletes.

The workout

Thirds progression runs are split into thirds, as the name suggests. This workout begins at a comfortable, conversational pace; however, as the workout progresses, you work your way through training zones, from an endurance-based zone into one that is stamina-based.

If you’re new to progression runs, start with a 45 to 60 minute run. More experienced runners can begin at 90 to 120 minutes.

First third: Run at a very slow, easy pace

Second third: Increase your pace to a manageable, but steady speed

Final third: Increase your speed to between marathon and half-marathon effort, or roughly 80 per cent to 90 per cent of max heart rate

This is an optimal workout for dialing in your sense of pace and effort, as you move from one training zone (or effort level) to the next.

Remember to hydrate well, and use the day after a hard or long effort for recovery or easy running.

(08/18/2022) ⚡AMP
by Keeley Milne
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Five signs you need to change up your running route

There’s something satisfying about going out for a run on a route you know better than the back of your hand; it allows you to clear your mind, breathe in the fresh air and get your run done without even having to think about how far to go. There are pros and cons of running the same route over and over, but if it’s beginning to feel too comfortable, you should consider switching it up.

Here are some definite signs you may need to change up your route.

You’re feeling unmotivated to train

Has your training gone stale? Are you unsure what to do to rekindle the flame? Look at your routes: if you are running the same distance in the same place every day, consider changing your routes.

Try running to a new neighbourhood or park you’ve never been to. You’ll find your run will go by faster when you are taking in new surroundings.

You’ve become a local legend on Strava

“Congrats Matt! You are now a local legend on the segment XYZ. You’ve run this segment 90 times in the last 60 days.” 

If you’re a local legend anywhere, this is a message from Strava telling you to please explore someplace new. 

You have a hilly race coming up, and your route is flat

If your go-to running route is flat and you have a hilly race on the horizon, you might want to find a loop with a bit more elevation gain to prepare you for race day. It’s impossible to train for hills on the flats. 

People on the route start knowing your name

If you are getting waves/gestures from the same people you pass every day and they start knowing your name, it’s time to switch things up. Not only has your route become part of your daily routine, it’s become part of their daily routine to see you go by each morning.

You have a hilly race coming up, and your route is flat

If your go-to running route is flat and you have a hilly race on the horizon, you might want to find a loop with a bit more elevation gain to prepare you for race day. It’s impossible to train for hills on the flats. 

People on the route start knowing your name

If you are getting waves/gestures from the same people you pass every day and they start knowing your name, it’s time to switch things up. Not only has your route become part of your daily routine, it’s become part of their daily routine to see you go by each morning.

(08/18/2022) ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Four Reasons why you should go for a run today

Go for a run. Get up and go, get out of your chair and move. These words resonate with me multiple times a week as if it were some form of mantra. I never had a love for running growing up, if anything I despised it until recent. If you are like me and the majority of your working days are desk bound, you will know the stale feeling that can build up throughout the day mentally and physically. No fresh air and maintaining supposedly the worst position for the human body, sitting.

When you fall victim to the physical and mental drain of the daily grind and woes I can recommend one medicine, a simple run. I didn’t start running because I was told to, I normally swayed to weight training in the gym. Running is intrinsically natural, primeval even, whether it was our ancestors chasing prey or running from predators, it would have been a daily activity. We lost this over time as we became kings of the food chain, sinking into the more comfortable existence we now know.

Get your heart pumping and feel how the machine that you have been given works, feel the blood pumping through your veins and your mind chatter clearing as you keep saying “No, I will run an extra kilometer.” It is a form of meditation. If you feel as though life is getting the best of you drag yourself outside and run. I prefer running outdoors as to indoors, purely because the chances of stopping when your ego starts yelling at you to give up are slimmer, if I am a few kilometers from my home then I have to keep going or it’s a long walk home. So what are the benefits of running?

1. Running makes you happier.

Running is a natural mood booster, just 30 minutes of exercise can result in a huge boost of the feel good hormones known as endocannabinoids. This is a great aid for depression, and unlike their pharmaceutical counterparts the effects will last longer. 

2. Running can strengthen your joints, and your bones too.

Running can help you strengthen the bones in the lower half of your body especially your knees, helping you stay agile as you age. 

3. Running will keep your mind sharp, even as you age.

Running can help you to fight off a variety of mental health related diseases especially as you age. A rapidly growing literature strongly suggests that exercise, specifically aerobic exercise, may attenuate cognitive impairment and reduce dementia risk. 

4. Running can add years to your life.

Regular running slows the aging clock keeping you feeling and looking younger. In one study it was shown that elderly runners were found to have fewer disabilities, a longer active life and are half as likely as aging non runners to die early deaths. 

So put on your running shoes, lace up and get moving.

(08/17/2022) ⚡AMP
by Owen Fisher
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Why should you race before your goal race

If you have a goal race on the horizon, a great way to get yourself ready is by doing a tune-up race, which will help you see where your current fitness is at. It also helps you to assess how your training has been going and what you need to tweak before your goal race.

By running a race in advance of a more important one, you can see if you are prepared, moving in the right direction, or if you might require a change of plan or more specific preparations. (It also serves as a speed workout.)

Pick a tune-up race a few weeks or months out from your goal race, shorter than what you are training for (so if you’re training for a half-marathon, pick a 5K or 10K). 

Why run a tune-up race?

Tune-up races are the perfect opportunity to practice your race-day routine, including what you do before, during and after the race. You can practise waking up early, eating a pre-race meal, wearing your race gear and apparel, getting to the start line with time to spare and using the facilities before the race. It can also give you some exposure to race-day anxiety and adrenaline, help you practise your hydration and execute a sound race plan in terms of pacing. After the race, you can also experiment with how to refuel and recover as you resume training.

Some runners will use a tune-up race to run at the pace they hope to maintain during their goal race. This could mean running a half-marathon at marathon pace or completing a 5K event at 10K race pace. This strategy will help develop your confidence running at your goal race pace.

Another strategy for planning a tune-up could be on the course of your goal race, which can help familiarize yourself with the route, the terrain, the elevation and specific landmarks along the way.

(08/17/2022) ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Jakob Ingebrigtsen Runs 3:57 Final 1600m to Win European 5000 Title

World 5000m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway kicked away with ease from World 1500m bronze medallist Mohamed Katir of Spain over the final 100m to successfully defend his European 5000m title in 13.21.13, as Katir was second in 13:22.98 and Yemaneberhan Crippa of Italy 3rd in 13:24.83. Sam Parsons of Tinman Elite and Germany was 6th.

The pace was very modest on a nice evening in Munich (temperature around 70 at the start) until Ingebrigtsen went to the front with 3 laps to go and began pushing the pace. A 60.2 and 59.5 made it a three-man race at the bell, with Jakob content to lead with Katir right on his slipstream until the final 100m.

Jakob ran his last 1600 in 3:57.0 thanks to a 53.74 final lap and unofficial 12.8 final 100m.

Considering he was the world champion in this event earlier this year and double European 1500/5000 champ at the age of 17, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised how easy Ingebrigtsen made the final 100m look, but Katir has run 12:50 for 5000m and got bronze at Worlds in the 1500.

(08/17/2022) ⚡AMP
by Letsrun
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European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Championships Munich 2022 will be the biggest sports event in Germany since the 1972 Summer Olympics. From 15-21 August 2022, European sport will be united as its best athletes compete for the highest accolade of their sport on the continent – the title of ‘European Champion’. The second edition of the European Championships will feature nine Olympic sports:Athletics, Beach...

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Monthly KATA Time Trial series was run on the track with good success

The August Kenyan Athletics Training Academy (KATA) Time-Trial was held on the Track in Thika Kenya for the first time toady (August 17) with Peter Mwaniki and Fredrick Kiprotich winning the 10,000m and 5,000m respectively. The 5000m was added this time around. 

Running on the 400m training track at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Mwaniki transferred his winning from the road to complete the 25 laps in 29:24.4 followed by new addition Bernard Musau who finished in 30:02.8 while seasoned Zakariah Kirika maintained the third position clocking 30:17.9.

In the shorter 5,000m, middle distant runners and upstarts got motivated to running in their preferred distance.  Fredrick clocked 15:22.5 just edging out Boniface Mungai (15:23.9) with Alfred Kamande just behind clocking 16:11.9.

The August time-trial will now usher in the September race that will be the Second edition of the Double 15k (10k+break+5k) race as the Kenyan Athletics Training Academy marks it's first Anniversary. The September event will be held on 14th starting and finishing outside the Academy.  "All runners are invited to run in the second annual KATA Double 15k," says KATA Director Bob Anderson from his office in Mountain View, California.  "There were many world class times clocked a year ago."

10,000metres

1. Peter Mwaniki (bib 70) 29:24.4

2. Bernard Musau (82) 30:02.8

3. Zakariah Kirika (98) 30:17.9

4. Peter Mburu (79) 30:54.9

5. Nicholas Kitundu (72) 31:36.0

6. Evans Kiguru (85) 32:01.5

7. Anthony Wanjiru (80) 33:57.8

8. Joseph Nyota (66) 36:57.2

9. Caren Chepkemboi (76) 38:15.6

10. Susan Njeri (100) 38:58.5

5,000metres

1. Fredrick Kiprotich (500) 15:22.5

2. Boniface Mungai (77) 15:23.9

3. Alfred Kamande (67) 16:11.9

4. Gipson 17:19.8 (81) 17:19.8

5. Hannah Njeri (83) 26:02.3

(08/17/2022) ⚡AMP
by Coach Joseph Ngure
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KATA Time Trial Series

KATA Time Trial Series

The Kenyan Athletics Training Academy (KATA) in Thika Kenya stages a monthly time trial. Starting Sept 2021 this monthly event is open to anyone who would like to get an official time on a acurant course. Results will be published at My Best Runs so race directors and other interested people can see what kind of shape our participants are...

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How to survive taper tantrums, if you feel awful when you taper, you're normal

Tapering? Here’s how to make it through alive.

It looks simple on paper: a reduction in mileage before a race, usually over a week or two. In reality, you may feel intensely irritable, sore in places you didn’t know could hurt, and overtired. Your ‘easy’ runs may feel so hard that you doubt your ability to race.

Trust your training

As a coach, I have witnessed what lengths tapering can drive people to. Setting off on 30K runs at race pace to test your fitness is obviously a poor choice, but it can be incredibly tempting. The most important thing you can do during the week or two before a race is recover.

Running hard during your taper week will only lessen your ability to perform on race day. Trust the work you have put in, and know that no hard workout you do in the week before your race will improve your race outcome.

Treat yourself like an infant

Taper time is the perfect opportunity to turn up the dial on your self-care. With less time spent running, try cooking some nutritious food for yourself, or capitalize on the rare opportunity to get out of running gear and enjoy a meal out.

Keep a bottle of water within reach at all times–starting a race well-hydrated and fuelled can make a world of difference. Tuck yourself into bed early.

Use that nervous energy to get organized for your race

I’ve always found it challenging to stay still during taper time, and I’m envious of those who can actually read a book or catch up on Netflix. When I can’t sit still or I feel an urge to run extra mileage, I divert that energy toward getting prepared for my race.

Organizing racing gear, checking the weather, updating crew or supporters on start times, sorting out logistics like parking–ignoring these things can lead to panic on race day (I’ve been there, too!). You have a perfect opportunity during taper time to get ready to race.

It takes practice to be able to do these things and survive the week before a race worry-free. Know that those niggling aches and pains are your body recovering from training and getting ready to tackle something bigger, remind yourself why you run, and focus on the process.

If all else fails, read some motivational quotes. Somehow, seeing the words of other runners who have been through it all reminds me that I’m part of a community, and I’m doing something fun.

(08/17/2022) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Should you warm up before your marathon?, Two-time Canadian Olympic marathoner Reid Coolsaet says a warmup is a good idea, but you don't want to overdo it

Most runners understand the purpose of warming up before a race, but should you be doing a warm up before your marathon?

The warm-up is intended to prepare your muscles for performance by increasing your core body temperature, which speeds up the supply of oxygen to your muscles. This procedure increases blood flow to the working muscles, so they are ready for the effort, and reducing the risk of injury.

A warm up requires energy, and for shorter races like 5K or 10K, running out of energy is not a concern, since the race is too short to risk running out of glycogen (stored carbohydrate). But when you’re preparing to race for three-to-four hours, it’s vital to conserve as much energy and glycogen as you can.

Two-time Canadian Olympic marathoner (2012 and 2016) and head coach of CoolsaetGo Reid Coolsaet says a warm up is a good idea, but don’t overdo it.

“You want to run enough before the race to hit your race pace off the start line,” says Coolsaet. “For most, five or 10 minutes of running and a few strides is plenty.”

Most runners will be running at their warm-up pace for the first five or 10 minutes into the marathon as it is.

“If you go out for anything longer than 10 minutes, it is likely that you will regret that 20-minute warm up at kilometer 40.”

Another thing Coolsaet also mentioned is to leave enough time between your warm up and the start of the race to negotiate porta-potty lines. The last thing you want is to have GI issues only 10 kilometers into the race.

 

(08/16/2022) ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Kenyan runner Wambui banned for seven years over positive test and cover-up

Kenyan runner Tabitha Gichia Wambui has been banned from competition for seven years after testing positive for norandrosterone and tampering with the anti-doping process.

Wambui argued that she was injected with the testosterone booster at hospital where she was being treated for "a headache and general body weakness".

However, an investigation from the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya showed that the 37-year-old did not attend the hospital on the same dates as her medical reports stated and the hospital also had no record of the outpatient number on the documents the athlete submitted.

This attempted cover-up resulted in the tampering charge, which Wambui later admitted.

The athlete was banned for four years for the failed test and four for tampering, with one year removed from the overall sanction because Wambui was judged to have admitted the offences early and accepted the sanction.

The beginning of Wambui's ban is backdated to September 19 2021 and all of her results from that date have been disqualified, including victory at the Poznań Half Marathon in Poland on October 17 last year.

All titles, medals, points, prizes and appearance money must also be forfeited by the Kenyan from this period.

September 19 was the date that her first urine sample was taken, in-competition at the Copenhagen Half Marathon, before a second sample was collected at the race in Poland.

The following day, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Oslo reported an adverse analytical finding for norandrosterone in the first sample.

Norandrosterone is a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) non-specified substance as it is a product of nandrolone, an anabolic androgenic steroid.

Wambui's ban comes just a month after her compatriot Lawrence Cherono, the eighth-fastest marathon runner of all time, was banned from competing at the World Athletics Championships in the United States.

Cherono had tested positive for trimetazidine which can be used medically to prevent angina attacks.

It was also the same drug the Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for before the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Kenya is one of seven Category A nations deemed by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) to have the highest doping risk and threaten the overall integrity of the sport, along with Bahrain, Belarus, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria and Ukraine.

There are currently 49 Kenyan athletes listed as banned in the AIU database.

(08/16/2022) ⚡AMP
by Owen Lloyd
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Britain´s Laura Muir strolls to European 1500m final

Britain's Laura Muir began the defence of her European 1500m title in style as she breezed into Friday's final on a sweltering morning in Munich.

The 28-year-old, defending the title she won in Berlin in 2018, finished in four minutes 6.41 seconds to win her heat as temperatures neared 30C.

"It has been a busy, busy season, but I am lucky I have got a big gap to the final," Muir told BBC Sport.

Team-mate Matthew Hudson-Smith qualified fastest for the 400m final.

The world bronze medallist was the class of his semi-final, coasting down the home straight and clocking 44.98 seconds.

Like Muir, Hudson-Smith will be defending a title he won four years ago when he runs in Wednesday evening's final.

Fellow Briton Alex Haydock-Wilson will join Hudson-Smith in the final after clocking 45.45 - the fourth fastest time across the three semi-finals.

"It felt good," said Hudson-Smith. "I will go for the medal, the gold one I hope."

Muir and Hudson-Smith are aiming to secure more medals after finishing on the podium in both the World Championships and Commonwealth Games in the past five weeks.

Team-mates Katie Snowden and Ellie Baker joined Muir in the 1500m final via their times in a swift second heat.

Ireland's Ciara Mageean, who won silver behind Muir at the Commonwealth Games while representing Northern Ireland, also qualified.

Victoria Ohuruogu's excellent season continued as she set a new personal best of 50.50 seconds en route to the 400m final.

It is the sixth time this season that the 29-year-old Commonwealth silver medallist has broken her 400m personal best.

Fellow Britons Laviai Nielsen and Nicole Yeargin both missed out on Wednesday's final, but the Netherlands' Femke Bol, who is taking on the 400m flat as well as her specialist hurdles event, qualified as fifth fastest.

Elsewhere, Jazmin Sawyers' leap of 6.60m was enough to earn the Briton a place in the long jump final.

The back straight was the most densely populated stand in the 69,250-capacity Olympic Stadium as local fans watched Olympic, world and European champion Malaika Mihambo go furthest with a best of 6.99m.

(08/16/2022) ⚡AMP
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European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Championships Munich 2022 will be the biggest sports event in Germany since the 1972 Summer Olympics. From 15-21 August 2022, European sport will be united as its best athletes compete for the highest accolade of their sport on the continent – the title of ‘European Champion’. The second edition of the European Championships will feature nine Olympic sports:Athletics, Beach...

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9-year-old runs a mountain half-marathon barefoot

The Emperor’s Challenge is a 20 km race up and down Babcock Mountain in the Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global Geopark in northeastern British Columbia. After being cancelled for two years during the pandemic, the race was back in person this year on Aug. 6, with a new, more technical route offering more scenic views. According to the Alaska Highway News, Jacob Funk, who is only nine, completed the race–not the 2K or 4K kids’ race, but the whole 20 km–and he did it in bare feet.

This was Funk’s first half-marathon, and he received a trophy for being the race’s youngest finisher. He doesn’t get to keep it, but it will have his name engraved on it.

We reached Jacob and his mom, Cara, on a family trip to Newfoundland (they live in Swan Lake, about an hour and a half from Tumbler Ridge). Cara has run the Emperor’s Challenge twice before. She explained that her family are not necessarily proponents of barefoot running; Jacob simply prefers going shoeless (and sockless) most of the time, indoors and out, year-round. “He just really likes the feel of the ground under his feet,” she says.

Jacob told us there was an 8 km section of the course that was loose gravel, which, despite the thick calluses he has built up from going barefoot, was uncomfortable and slowed him down a lot. He plans to return to the race next year, but run it in shoes (at least the gravel parts), to try and improve his time. (He finished in 3:29.) “I did get some times where I was a little bit tired,” says Jacob, “but I never wanted to quit.” For his next race, Jacob is considering That Dam Run, a 16 km race in the mountains at Hudson’s Hope, B.C. on Sept. 25.

Jacob wasn’t the only competitor who achieved something unusual and significant at the race; Rose O’Neill ran it on a running prosthesis. O’Neill, who lives in Quesnel, B.C., took up running as a way to cope with domestic abuse before finally leaving her situation a few years ago. In 2019 she lost her lower right leg to amputation, due to nerve damage resulting from back surgery related to her abuse. This was her first successful race finish using the blade.

Earlier this year, she made it 30 km into a 50K ultra before her prosthesis broke, forcing her to pull out. At the Emperor’s Challenge, she had to stop and change the sock on her stump six times, due to sweat issues.  She had run four times previously–as an able-bodied athlete, before she lost her leg. “Each time I stop, I have to take my leg off, dry it off, change my sock, and put everything back on,” she said, adding that when she races, she carries a pack with a first aid kit and dry socks. She finished about 20 minutes past the five-hour cutoff, but she was still elated with the accomplishment of finishing. 

O’Neill, like Funk, hopes to improve her time next year; she says she’s sure she can finish the race 45 minutes faster, once she gets more accustomed to running with the blade. But she has another goal–to get more runners with disabilities to try challenges like this one. “No other adaptive athletes have run that race,” she says. “There’s a reason—it’s tough! But I want other people to see that they can do it, as well.”

The race was won by Kristopher Swanson of Tumbler Ridge in 1:31:47 and Carly Madge of Smithers, B.C., in 1:54:31. (Swanson has won the race every year since 1999, except in 2007, when he finished second, and has represented Canada at multiple World Mountain Running championships.)

(08/16/2022) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Potatoes Might (Someday) Be Your Recovery Savior

What athlete doesn't love potatoes? Regardless of how they're prepared - fried, baked, or roasted - these tubers have found their way into our hearts and stomachs to fill us up and replenish those glycogen stores like nobody's business. But potatoes are for more than carb-loading and delicious post-run treats. What if I told you these famous plants could do even more to help you achieve your personal best by assisting in muscle protein synthesis and recovery from exercise?

A new study suggests that potato protein might be just as effective as dairy proteins to kick-start the post-workout recovery process-but there's a catch.

The Ever-Changing Role of Protein

Amino acids serve as the building blocks of protein-determining the protein type and thus its characteristics and role within bodily functions.

Dietary proteins, like meat, soy, tofu, beans, and dairy products, are broken down during digestion into their amino acid components. The body utilizes these amino acids to support the growth, transport, and storage of nutrients, tissue repair, and the removal of waste deposits. This is why protein plays a critical role in the proper functioning of the muscles, bones, skin, hormones, and immune system.

Dietary Guidelines have evolved from limiting or promoting specific nutrients to emphasizing food patterns. Our grandparents centered entire meals around the consumption of protein, with meat taking up a significant portion of the plate. In contrast, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (2011) introduction of "My Plate" now recommends the consumption of protein as a quarter-plate portion. More recently, the availability of a vast array of fruits and vegetables provides health benefits and flavor strategies to create a balanced and delicious menu that includes proteins in the appropriate amounts.

When it comes to protein for athletes, specifically, previous research has suggested that animal-based protein has a greater ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis when compared to an equal amount of soy and wheat-based proteins. The lower anabolic response following the consumption of plant-based protein can be attributed to lower amino acid digestion and absorption combined with a fewer essential amino acid content from plant sources, specifically lysine and methionine.

However, this notion is based on a limited number of comparison studies, and doesn't necessarily apply to all plant-based protein sources. Researchers at Maastricht University (Netherlands) examined if consuming 30 grams of potato-derived protein concentrate following resistance training would increase muscle protein synthesis to the same level as the same amount of milk protein concentrate. With the outcry for additional plant-based dietary options, this study comes at an ideal time for those still wishing to build muscle with a plant-forward (pescatarian or plant-based) or even plant-exclusive (vegetarian or vegan) diets.

Potato Protein FTW

In this study, Pinckaers et al. used a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group design that included 24 healthy young males assigned to either consume a 400mL beverage containing 30g of potato protein concentrate or 30g of milk protein with 12 participants in each group. Double-blinding increases the rigor of the research, and means that neither the researcher nor the study participants knew which drink they were receiving after performing the same exercise protocol, outlined below:

The results supported the hypothesis that potato protein concentrate can strongly increase muscle protein synthesis in a similar way to the same amount of milk protein both at rest and in a recovery period from resistance training in healthy, young males.

The Catch

While this research is promising, you may not want to start substituting hash browns for your whey protein shake or chocolate milk just yet. For starters, the authors acknowledge the potential conflict of interest as the study was funded by the Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE), however, the organization insists they had no bearing on the design, results, or execution of the data analysis.

There are also several study limitations to consider.  This study was performed on males (18-35 years) only, which may not be transferable to females and those of different age ranges (think: older).

But the biggest issue: Potatoes only contain 1.5 percent protein of their fresh weight (about 4.3 grams of protein for a medium-sized potato). It would require consuming almost seven medium-sized potatoes to provide enough protein to equal the equivalent of 30 grams of potato concentrate from juices that were used in this study. Granted, you're likely extremely hungry after your long run, but eating that many potatoes is a tall order, especially when considering the nutrients you'll need to obtain from other foods.

So why does this study matter? Because it opens the door for innovation. When plant-based proteins are separated and purified from the anti-nutritional factors that often limit their digestibility, the final protein concentrate allows absorbability at similar levels to those found in animal-based protein sources. We may see more isolated plant-based protein concentrates/isolates hit the market within the next few years as the research and call for options for plant-based athletes continues to increase. The researchers commented that additional studies to evaluate the dose-response and subsequent anabolic properties of various plant-based protein options during larger studies over a broad range of genders and ages will be necessary moving forward to evaluate potential benefits for athletes. But we might just see potato protein shakes as the hot new recovery trend in a few years.

(08/16/2022) ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Great Britain's Eilish McColgan took women's 10,000m silver at the European Championships as Turkey's Yasemin Can claimed a superb win in Munich

Eilish McColgan, 31, won her first major title as she triumphed in the event at the Commonwealth Games 12 days ago.

Having also finished second in the 5,000m at Birmingham 2022, the Scot earned another silver as she ran clear of Israel's Lonah Chemtai Salpeter.

Can kicked clear with seven laps to go to win in 30:32.57. 

"I'm pleased. I'm obviously disappointed, I would have loved to become European champion tonight - but tired, tired legs," McColgan told BBC Sport.

A fortnight of soaring glories continued for Eilish McColgan as she fought off her extreme post Commonwealth Games fatigue, and the attentions of a high-class field, to claim a brilliant European 10,000m silver in Munich. The 31-year-old had been so weary before this race that she had spent the day in a deep slumber. Yet fuelled by caffeine and a desire for her third medal in 12 days, she produced another performance of immense grit and steel.

In blustery conditions, McColgan applied the template that had served her so well in Birmingham, pushing to the front early and applying a cobra-like squeeze for lap after painful lap. But this time the Kenyan-born Turkish athlete Yasemin Can proved to have a powerful antidote.

With seven laps remaining Can made a decisive move, breaking away before coming home the winner. But McColgan had enough in the tank to beat Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter for silver.

 “I felt very tired all this week,” McColgan admitted afterwards. “I hadn’t slept for several nights after the 10,000m in Birmingham and then I had to do it again in the 5,000m. And then all the media the following day when you’re up at the crack of dawn and on your feet all day – I’m not used to that.

“All I did today was sleep. My roommate just thought I was dead. And even though the housekeeper came in, I didn’t even hear it. I was just totally knocked out.”

However McColgan still packed a punch when it mattered. After a sedate opening kilometre, she decided enough was enough and kicked on. Soon the field was strung out and screaming. With 18 of the 25 laps remaining, only four athletes were left in contention. And while gold ultimately proved beyond her, this was another impressive performance.

“I didn’t want a last kilometre burn-up,” McColgan said. “But when the pace went up, I just didn’t quite have that zip. But it was probably to be expected. I’m not a superhuman and I have to respect that my legs were going to be tired.

“And I knew it was going to be tough with Can. I knew she was the one to beat tonight and she just was super strong. I couldn’t stay with her.”

Fellow Britons Samantha Harrison and Jessica Judd finished sixth and 10th respectively.

McColgan followed in the footsteps of her mother Liz - Commonwealth 10,000m champion in both 1986 and 1990 - as she recorded the biggest win of her career on 4 August.

In a hugely impressive season, McColgan also broke the European 10km, British half-marathon and Scottish 10,000m records earlier this year.

Though illness and injury hindered her World Championships medal aspirations in July, the 2018 European 5,000m silver medallist has returned to form emphatically - delivering one of the key moments of Birmingham 2022 as she out-kicked Kenyan Irene Cheptai in front of a packed Alexander Stadium.

In Munich's Olympia stadion, McColgan took it upon herself to increase the pace after a relaxed opening kilometre and by halfway only Can, defending champion Salpeter and Germany's Konstanze Klosterhalfen were able to remain in touch.

But Can, champion in 2016, made her stunning bid for gold with over a quarter of the race remaining, surging away from the competition to leave McColgan and Salpeter to chase.

While they could not close the gap, McColgan was able to move clear of Salpeter on the final lap, finishing in 30:41.05.

(08/15/2022) ⚡AMP
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European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Championships Munich 2022 will be the biggest sports event in Germany since the 1972 Summer Olympics. From 15-21 August 2022, European sport will be united as its best athletes compete for the highest accolade of their sport on the continent – the title of ‘European Champion’. The second edition of the European Championships will feature nine Olympic sports:Athletics, Beach...

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Richard Ringer and Aleksandra Lisowska take marathon thrillers

There was joy for the hosts in a dramatic finish to the men’s marathon on day one of the 2022 European Athletics Championships in Munich on Monday (15 August).

Israel's Maru Teferi looked to have a decisive lead with 200m to go, but Germany's Richard Ringer - a bronze medallist over 5000m in 2016 - showed that track speed to surge into the lead and take gold in a time of 2:10.21.

A stunned Teferi came home second ahead of fellow Ethiopian-born teammate Gashau Ayale.

Earlier, Aleksandra Lisowska took the first gold of the competition in the women's marathon.

The Pole crossed the line in 2:28:36, six seconds ahead of Matea Parlov Kostro of Croatia with Dutch runner Nienke Brinkman just denying home favourite Miriam Dattke the bronze.

Teferi appeared to have the race at his mercy with German Amanal Petros well placed for silver.

But it was all change in the home stretch as Ringer, who was 26th in the Tokyo 2020 marathon last year, sprinted to victory from the two Israelis with Petros finishing fourth.

The women’s was wide open until the last 5km when Dattke, in just her second marathon having made her debut in Seville in February, injected pace and whittled the lead group down to eight runners.

But Lisowska, 35th in the Olympic marathon last year, made an attack of her own and came clear to secure her first major career triumph.

Parlov Kostro took silver with Dattke just missing out on the medals behind Brinkman.

 

(08/15/2022) ⚡AMP
by Evelyn Watta
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European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Championships Munich 2022 will be the biggest sports event in Germany since the 1972 Summer Olympics. From 15-21 August 2022, European sport will be united as its best athletes compete for the highest accolade of their sport on the continent – the title of ‘European Champion’. The second edition of the European Championships will feature nine Olympic sports:Athletics, Beach...

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Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs given the green light to chase the European 100m title in Munich 2022

The presence on the final entry-list of the Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs adds a huge and intriguing element to the sprints at the Munich 2022 European Athletics Championships from 15-21 August, part of the wider multisport European Championships.

The 27-year-old Italian was a surprise winner at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in a European record of 9.80, although his win over 60m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships earlier in the year indicated his rising potential having started his career primarily as a long jumper. 

In March this year he beat the defending world indoor champion Christian Coleman to the world indoor 60m title in Belgrade but Jacobs’ outdoor season has been undermined so far by illness and muscle problems which forced him to scratch from the semifinals at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

It will be a huge feature of the Munich 2022 athletics programme if he can toe the line in the 1972 Olympic stadium – and it will be fascinating to see what degree of fitness he has been able to reclaim. 

On the eve of the championships, Jacobs’ coach Paolo Camossi was optimistic about his prospects in the Munich Olympic Stadium next week. "He's running free, he's having fun, the workouts are promising. If we are here in Munich it is because he is fine and can compete…Marcell is the Olympic gold medalist and he is here to win, but it is not a race to be taken lightly," said Camossi as quoted by FIDAL.

Among his prospective rivals include Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes who stands ready to defend the 100m title he won in Berlin four years ago in a championship record of 9.95.

Hughes had an ultimately frustrating time at last summer’s Olympics, false-starting in the individual 100m final and then seeing the 4x100m silver-medal winning performance to which he had contributed annulled because of a positive doping test for team-mate CJ Ujah. 

Last week he indicated he is in fine racing form as he won Commonwealth silver in the 200m in Birmingham and helped England win 4x100m gold. 

While Jacobs won the Olympic title in 9.80, he has only run 10.04 this year although he did open his season with a marginally wind-aided 9.99. Hughes is second fastest this season with 9.97 but top spot goes to his enigmatic fellow Briton Reece Prescod, who ran 9.93 this season at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava – into a significant headwind. 

France’s Meba-Mickael Zeze is the third sub-10 second performer this season with 9.99 and will be in medal contention along with home sprinter Lucas Ansah-Peprah, who has clocked 10.04 this season. 

And it doesn’t do to rule out the experienced French performer Jimmy Vicaut, who has run 10.10 this year but has a best of 9.86 - the former European record which Jacobs surpassed when he blazed to the Olympic title in Tokyo last summer.

A clash of youth and experience in the 200m

Fresh from a medal at the Commonwealth Games Hughes will also fancy his medal chances in the 200m, where his British teammate Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, silver medalist four years ago, is also entered. 

Turkey’s defending champion Ramil Guliyev, who has a best of 19.76 from the 2018 European Athletics Championships where he came within 0.04 of Pietro Mennea’s long-standing European record, has run 20.21 this year. 

Zeze will also double up, and is looking good for a podium place given his 19.97 personal best this season. 

But the most intriguing presence will be that of 18-year-old Israeli Blessing Afrifah, who won the world U20 title in Cali in a European U20 record of 19.96 - to surpass Guliyev’s previous mark of 20.04 - and in so doing beat Botswana’s hugely favoured Letsile Tebogo, who had earlier won the 100m title in a world U20 record of 9.91 despite showboating over the final 30 meters. 

Afrifah was born in Tel Aviv and raised in Israel to parents from Ghana - his father came to Israel as an employee of the Ghanaian consulate – and was granted permanent residence in 2010. 

Will this hugely talented runner be able to adapt to the pressures and rigors of a senior international competition less than two weeks after his record-breaking exploits in Cali? It will be fascinating to see. 

Also in the 200m mix will be a sprinter who brought home the baton for a historic 4x100m victory at last year’s Tokyo 2020 Games - Italy’s Filippo Tortu - who has run a personal best of 20.10 this season and harbors aspirations of broaching the 20 second-barrier for the first time. 

Jacobs and Tortu are also named in an Italian 4x100m relay squad that could produce another historic performance in Munich although a squad - admittedly devoid of Jacobs who was injured - didn’t make it through the heats at the World Athletics Championships.

Reigning champions Great Britain, France, hosts Germany and Turkey will all offer strong opposition along with surprise Tokyo 2020 Olympic finalists Denmark.

(08/15/2022) ⚡AMP
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European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Athletics Champioships Munich 2022

European Championships Munich 2022 will be the biggest sports event in Germany since the 1972 Summer Olympics. From 15-21 August 2022, European sport will be united as its best athletes compete for the highest accolade of their sport on the continent – the title of ‘European Champion’. The second edition of the European Championships will feature nine Olympic sports:Athletics, Beach...

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Trail or Treadmill - The Pros and Cons

Few things can compete with running outside, but there is another side to running on the treadmill.

Trail or treadmill: which one provides the best workout? The debate has been around since treadmills came onto the scene in the 1960s. There are arguments for and against each one of them, and much of it is down to personal preference, as well as the goal you are trying to achieve via each type of workout. There are genuine advantages and disadvantages for both, as we shall see.

Distractions and Entertainment

It may shock some of our readers, but for some, perhaps many people, running can be either something that has to be endured through gritted teeth, aching limbs and burning lungs, while for others it is simply boring.

Treadmill

Some treadmills come ready equipped with a TV, but even if yours doesn’t there are plenty of opportunities to take your mind off what your legs are doing, via your own phone or tablet. Catch up on the latest episodes of Netflix series like Stranger Things, browse sites like Unibet for the latest Premier League Odds with all the different modalities and categories, or even watch a live match if football is your thing.

Trail

Obviously watching something while running outside is out of the question, but there is nothing stopping you from listening to music or a podcast. That said, however, one of the huge advantages of running in the great outdoors is exactly that: the great outdoors. Who needs anything else? Admittedly, not everyone is lucky enough to have incredible scenery in their backyard, but for those who do, or even a path with some greenery, there is nothing like running outside. Fresh air in your lungs (hopefully), scenery that changes day to day, month to month, season to season. There may even be wildlife. Netflix or live Premier League can hardly compete with that.

The Surface

A treadmill provides a safe, secure and predictable environment for a workout

Treadmill

It was often assumed that the springiness of a treadmill was kinder on knees and ankles than the hard terrain you often encounter when running outdoors. That is questionable, and because of the subtle change in running style when on a treadmill, it may actually be worse for your knees. The one definite advantage of a treadmill is that the surface is even and true. There are no uneven footholes or other hazards that could cause you to fall or twist your ankle. 

Trail

Many people don’t find running long distances on tarmac or other hard surfaces great for their joints. More injuries are sustained by those running outdoors than inside, almost certainly down to the rough terrain, something that is accentuated if the weather conditions are not ideal. Trail running does offer different types of surface, however, and a combination often provides a more varied workout.

The Actual Workout

Treadmill

Though there are limitations which we will cover below, the beauty of a treadmill is that you can program them with different workouts. You can choose the incline (as long as it is up), in terms of frequency and severity, something few have the chance to do with trail running. Because the surface you are running on is already moving, something that hopefully is not the case outside, you do expand a little less energy on a treadmill.  Setting the treadmill to a slight incline does rectify that.

Trail

If you are using the run to train for an event, then running outside is by far the best way, as opposed to simply putting the miles into your legs. Outside gives you the chance to run on uneven surfaces, around bends and downhill, all of which use different muscles, and are not available to those in a gym.

Safety & Convenience

Many people either don’t have somewhere to run outside, or prefer not to do it, especially on their own. The gym treadmill provides a safe environment with a guaranteed climate. If you do suffer an injury during the run, it is far more convenient to simply press stop on the treadmill than limp the two miles back to the start.

(08/15/2022) ⚡AMP
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Sharpen your speed, stride, and stamina without burning out, try these workouts to maintain super-fast legs with minimal fatigue

Quick legs, fast turnover, and the stamina to keep those abilities flowing over distance are the goals of every runner. Try these three types of workouts to maintain those much-desired skills year-round, without overtraining.

Intense speed-work is an effective way to increase V02 max, but runners often take a break from those super-speed sessions during the winter months.

Too much hard, fast running can lead to a plateau in improvement or even overtraining syndrome.

We have three types of workouts that will help you maintain quick legs without becoming burnt out.

Strides (also called leg speed and form drills)

Strides can be added to your already-planned easy runs several times a week. They are a great way to run fast but avoid building lactic acid, or creating a lot of residual fatigue. If you feel out of breath during these, shorten them and reduce repeats until you’ve gained strength. Strides are perfect for beginners to experienced athletes.

Workout: 10 to 5 x of 15 seconds at a fast but controlled effort, with full recovery (45 to 90 seconds) very easy running

These can be added into the middle or end of an easy run, or tacked on to the end of your weekly long run.

Tweener repeats

Renowned coach Greg McMillan explains that ‘tweeners’ are repeats done slower than V02 max pace, but faster than your lactate threshold. The goal of these intervals is to use shorter repetitions at less-than-top speed to get the same benefits of longer speedwork sessions without the fatigue.

McMillan suggests adding recovery time if you start to breathe hard,  and keeping the workouts based on effort or heart rate if possible, rather than pace. Athletes should start at approximately 85 to 87 per cent of heart rate max, and allow for an increase in later repetitions up to 92 per cent of heart rate max.

Too much calculating for you? Run these at a pace that’s hard but not full-out, and adjust the repetitions and distance as needed so that you aren’t feeling extremely fatigued between or after intervals.

Warmup: 10 minutes easy running

Workout: 4-6 x 800m at cruise interval pace with 200m recovery between each one

Cooldown: 10 minutes easy running

Hill sprints

Find a steep hill (eight to 12 per cent incline) or set your treadmill incline. These short sprints are very intense, but over quickly enough so that you shouldn’t feel out of breath or like you’re struggling to run fast. If you’re finding it hard to breathe, shorten them until you can sprint continuously without feeling winded.

Warmup: 20 minutes easy running

Workout: 10 x 10 seconds uphill sprinting, recovering with two to three minutes easy running in between each hill sprint

Cooldown: 10 minutes easy running

As always, make sure the day following a speedy one is easy running or recovery, and hydrate well.

(08/15/2022) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Ultramarathon man Dean Karnazes attacked by coyote during 150-mile race

Acclaimed ultrarunner and author Dean Karnazes, 59, can boast some of the wildest accomplishments in endurance sports, but a coyote attack mid-race was a first for him.

The California-based athlete has raced (and won) some of the most legendary ultras in the world, run to the South Pole, and completed 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days in 50 different states. He’s even been attacked by a shark–but never a coyote. The athlete shared his experience mid-race on Instagram on Friday, calling it “terrifying.”

Karnazes was running Headlands 150-mile Endurance Run, a race held in Sausalito, Cali. It’s an event he has returned to over the years of his lengthy career. Headlands Endurance Run hosts everything from a marathon distance trail-race to the 150-miler.

Prior to the animal attack, Karnazes shared a video to Instagram of the night lights along the Golden Gate Strait and San Francisco Bay area. “I’m running the Headlands 150-mile foot-race in Marin County, and if you’re wondering why anyone would do such a thing, maybe this view this will give you part of the answer,” Karnazes said.

Shortly afterward, a bloodied and clearly shocked Karnazes shared his coyote debacle. “I was attacked by a coyote, that was a first,” Karnazes said. “It knocked me over; I was running with poles, thankfully, and I whacked it and it ran away.”

Karnazes said he wasn’t sure what he was going to do, but that he thought he had better keep going or “it might come back for me.”

Karnazes posted to his Instagram story a few hours later explaining that the coyote won the battle. With no result for his race on Ultrasignup, it appears the accomplished athlete may have had to drop out. If there’s ever a valid excuse for a DNF, a coyote attack is undoubtedly it.

(08/15/2022) ⚡AMP
by Keeley Milne
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Elite Runners and Coaches Bust Six Major Training Myths

Let's be honest. There's a ton of bad training advice out there. Heck, there's just unchecked advice flung here and there and everywhere these days, on all topics of living and being.

So how do you best navigate these thickets of often dubious recommendations? How do you validate what's solid, and what's not? At Trail Runner, we turn to the experts. We turn to well-respected coaches and the most consistent and high-performing elites in the business. We turn to science.

From bro science to outdated training methods, here are eight stubborn training myths that just won't go away, and some proactive solutions to keep you tacking in the right direction.

Myth #1: Always Run High Mileage

It's tempting to think the only way to improve is to run more and more and to keep piling on the miles. But, high-volume training can have diminishing returns for many athletes.

"Running more miles isn't always the answer and comes with a laundry list of disclaimers: injury, sickness, burnout. Instead of adding more miles, fold in a form of cross-training. This helps keep training fresh, the body happy, and it's still stoking that aerobic engine," says coach and elite mountain runner Tabor Hemming. 

However, it's also not never the answer. Less isn't always more. 

"Adapting over many training cycles usually requires alterations in stress across years, so the best volume an athlete can do is often the least they can do while still adapting consistently, as long the total is within the general range that is needed to spur high-performance in their events for their physiology and load capacity," says coach and Trail Runner columnist David Roche.  

"The long-term approach to volume increases leaves room for growth, prevents stagnation, and limits breakdown that can stop an athlete in their tracks long before they figure out where their true ceiling is."

To advance and adapt, you do, in fact, need additional training stress as you progress. Just don't jump into triple-digit miles right off the bat.

Remember that running is different from other sports like cycling because repeated impact leaves athletes more injury-prone. Build up your volume over time, and back off (here's a handy guide) if you're feeling excessively fatigued or if soft tissue injuries occur. Myth #2: Always Give 110%

Elite mountain runner and coach Mason Coppi was hard on himself, always pushing his body to the limit in training and racing. 

"No matter what races I won or what times I ran, it was never enough. In my mind, there was always something I could have done differently. I could have always just given a little more effort. Every race and workout I ran I tried to give 110% effort. But here's the thing about 110% effort: it doesn't exist," says Coppi. 

Coppi tried to just work harder, to effort more in an attempt to reach his potential. But his performance in races declined steadily as Coppi ignored the signs his body was giving him to loosen up and rest. The more tired he felt, the harder he tried. The harder he tried, the more tired he felt. That feedback loop led to burnout, and Coppi is now taking a temporary step back from running. "You can only give what you have on that day, nothing more," says Coppi. Now, he's working to destigmatize the concept of taking easy days really easy. He works with other runners to help them understand that mental toughness is learning to listen to your body, to assess what your mental and physical needs are on a particular day and respond accordingly. 

"Once I realized my best on a given day was my best, a weight was lifted off me," says Coppi. "I knew my all-out effort was enough whether I was limited by something physical or mental."

Now, he no longer chases PRs and fast times on every run and instead works on flexing his adaptability muscle in training. To quote Coach Ted Lasso, "I want 60% effort, 1000% of the time." 

Consistency beats intensity when it comes to reaching your athletic potential, and enjoying the process. 

Myth #3: Don't Worry About Speedwork

Speedwork is a trail runner's best friend. 

"It's a myth that you have to train for ultras very slow, via many, many miles. High-intensity work is an ultrarunner's friend and diminishes the need to run 100+ mile weeks," says Jessica Riojas Schnier of Smiles and Miles Coaching. Use high and moderate-intensity workouts to train smarter and more efficiently. You'll reduce your risk of injury and burnout if you are more efficient with your training, which then makes us happier runners, for longer!"

Start by integrating 15-30 second strides at the fastest pace you can go without straining with one to two minutes of easy, recovery-effort running in between. Do four to eight sets, two to three times a week throughout your runs. 

Then, you can start integrating more structured workouts into your training. We recommend beginners start with these looser, more relaxed trail workouts. More advanced runners can skip right to these race-oriented workouts, or even get into some fun, combo workouts. 

Don't be afraid of a little speedwork. It'll help you train smarter, faster - and maybe you'll even have more fun. Myth #4: You Must Move to Boulder

While many top trail runners live in mountain Meccas like Boulder or Flagstaff, there are plenty of folks who live and train far from the Rocky Mountains and still compete at a high level. Take Ohio-native Arlen Glick, for example, who finished third at this year's Western States Endurance Run.

"There is still a myth that if you do not live near mountains, you can't do well or complete mountainous races. I have seen numerous athletes repeatedly train in the prairies (flat flat flat lands) of Canada and crush some of the most technical trails and races with incredible vertical gain and loss," says coach Jenny Quilty. 

There's plenty you can do to prepare for steep races, even if you don't live in Chamonix. Functional leg strength, like Mountain Legs, can help build strength and resilience through specific movement patterns. Improving your running economy through speedwork and hill strides is also key for mountain adventures and competition. 

Also, don't fear the dread-mill. Treadmills can help you practice power hiking, and just a few concentrated sessions are enough for some mega-mountain adaptations. Uphill treadhill doubles are also a great way of getting some vert in, all while reducing impact. Don't overlook the eccentric strength required to rock downhills, though, as many runners' legs are more affected by descents than the climbing. 

Myth #5: Run a Metric-Ton of Vert

While you'll want to do some vert-specific work to get better at climbing, overdoing it can lead to slow-downs and stagnation. 

"You don't have to run a ton of vert to get better at climbing," says Nike pro athlete Matt Daniels. "I have seen with many athletes that the ones who have developed more speed and better running economy without hundreds of miles in the mountains are the ones who end up handling the vert better on race day. There has to be a fine balance between vert-heavy runs and economy build-in training to be a good climber on race day."

Work on improving overall fitness without overemphasizing vert. According to coach and columnist David Roche, "The best climber is usually the best runner with just enough specific training on climbs." Focus on improving your running in training, while mixing in strength work (like mountain legs) and incorporating more vert as you get closer to your goal event. 

Try to get out on trails with race-similar terrain on the weekends leading up to your event, and mix in some mid-week vert during workouts and easy runs, too. Try to run the downhills with intention to get your legs ready for the muscle breakdown they'll incur on race day. 

Myth #6: Don't Race Until Perfectly Trained

Curious about diving into your first trail race? Don't wait!

"It's a myth that you have to already be an accomplished trail runner to register for a trail race. Most trail races are not that much different than road races (except if you're racing in the mountains, of course) in terms of their footing," says Denver-based Strength Running Coach Jason Fitzgerald. "Get a good pair of trail running shoes, get comfortable on all kinds of surfaces, and you'll have a blast at your first trail race!"

If you're curious about jumping into a trail race, reaching out to the race director can help determine if you're ready for and interested in a particular event. Researching past participants' race reports can help, too. (Remember to always take race reports with a grain of salt, since it's just one person's experience and perspective.) It doesn't hurt to have a friend sign up for the event with you for moral support and training accountability. 

Our advice? Start small. Find an event that's short enough that it sounds fun, rather than a huge stretch for your first race. 

Also, make sure you have a solid, consistent base of miles and you're not jumping into something that's hugely above your pay grade. We recommend at least six hours a week of training before jumping into a 50K, and closer to nine hours a week when you're looking at the 50-mile distances and up. If you're not sure where to start, check out our full catalog of training plans here. 

(08/15/2022) ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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The Dos and Don'ts of Pacing and Crewing an Ultra

Although trail running - especially ultramarathons - is often framed as a solo sport, ask any veteran of the 50-mile-and-above distances and they will tell you it most certainly is not. 

There are dozens of people who help runners get from the start line to the finish, sometimes hundreds of miles later. Long before the race, those folks might look like physical therapists, coaches, nutritionists, and others. But during a race, the two most important types of people upon whom a runner depends: crew and their pacers.

Each role comes with challenges and requires preparation to best help the athlete.

Crewing 

Crew members are the pit crew of ultrarunning. They stand ready at aid stations and checkpoints prepared to dole out food, water, basic first aid, dry socks, and new shoes. Maybe even a quick massage for tight muscles. Crew members must work efficiently as a unit to help their runner move through aid stations and get the support they need in a timely fashion. 

Boise, Idaho-based Alexandria Otter had already crewed both a 50K and 100-miler before completing her first ultramarathon. Now, Otter primarily crews for her husband, noting they have their method "dialed in." 

"I have individual plastic bags packed for each aid station to be as efficient as possible," said Otter. "When my husband comes into the aid station, he drops his pack, I unload all the garbage in his pockets, put one of those bags into his pack, and he heads out."

Before the race, crew members are given an info sheet that lists all the aid stations, a range of ETAs based on performance, current mileage, and elevation change. 

Crew members should arrive before the race starts and be ready and willing to help their athlete from the very first moments of their day. That might mean providing or taking clothing layers, getting any pre-race water or nutrition, or even just being a smiling face among the nervous energy.

It's important that crew members arrive  at each aid station as early as possible. The sooner a crew arrives at an aid station, the better the parking and spots to set up camp, and the less anxiety there will be among the crew. 

Prime parking spots at aid stations are highly coveted because they allow for ease of access to supplies for your runner, as well as a convenient place for you to rest between traveling to the next aid station. A good parking spot also makes it easy to load up your supplies and head to the next station. 

Arriving early at each aid station also gives you the opportunity to set up your runner's supplies in an optimal location, as close to the trail as is permitted. The last thing a runner wants, miles into their race, is to weave through others' setups to try to find their crew. 

Crew members will often help each other out when it comes to setting up aid stations. It's typically a family atmosphere, not one of icy aloofness. 

It's not uncommon to find crew members for a variety of runners helping each other set up chairs and tables, fill up water bottles, and lay out food for each runner. Likewise, the spirit around most aid stations is one of plenty. If a crew member forgot something like sunscreen, Bandaids, or salt tabs, most other crews will be more than happy to share their supplies.

Once the race is underway, crews may end up with a lot of time on their hands as runners traverse the course in between aid stations. And sometimes, the runner's plan doesn't shake out the way they hope it will.

"When I'm in between servicing our aid stations, I'll make sure to feed myself, find a bathroom; sometimes I'll even go for a hike or run from the aid station," said Otter. "I've met a lot of awesome people - and dogs! - just by hanging out near the aid stations, too." 

The hardest part usually is post-race, when the runner, pacers, and crew are tired from a day(s) of getting the athlete from point A to point B. But someone still needs to collect the food and supplies from each aid station. Staying organized by managing the athlete's equipment in drop bags at each aid station makes things much easier when it's time to depart from each station or from the race as a whole. 

Alyssa Godesky holds the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for the Long Trail in Vermont, the High Peaks in Adirondacks, and the High Peaks in New Hampshire. For each of her FKT attempts, she relied heavily on a stellar crew. 

"The best crews are made up of people who know how to be both leaders and good teammates," said Godesky. "So many things can shift rapidly during a race or FKT and you need to trust your crew will adjust."

For example, maybe one of the crew's cars will break down and the other crew members will need to figure out a different way to get to the next aid station. Or maybe the athlete is taking longer - or going faster - than previously expected and aid station arrival times have changed. A crew needs to be flexible and ready to change plans at a moment's notice. 

The most important thing a crew can have, according to Godesky?  Endless optimism.

There will be points during an ultramarathon where a runner may lose their motivation to continue the race. The crew needs to remain relentlessly positive and solutions-oriented to remind the athlete of their "why" and get them excited to head back on the trail and keep going.

"If pacers and crew members were a family," said Godesky. "The crew members would definitely be the parents - nurturing, organized, and always ready to help." 

Pacing

Pacers are an ultrarunner's eyes, ears, and sanity. Pacers generally come in in the later stages of a race when a runner may be too exhausted (or too loopy) to safely continue on their own. For 50 milers, that might be around the 30- or 35-mile mark. For 100-miles or longer, pacers may be required from the 50-mile mark on. They're also helpful when a runner is gunning for a certain time goal and may be struggling to hold that pace on their own. A pacer must be patient, encouraging, and be able to run, walk or shuffle alongside their athlete. It's not unheard of for pacers to be dropped by an athlete that's having the race of their life!

Ally Gregory got her start in ultras by volunteering more than 10 years ago - she had a firsthand view of trail and ultrarunning before she even ran a race. Today, the Chicago-based ultrarunner is a race director for trail events in Illinois and frequently serves as a pacer for her friends. 

"The purpose of a pacer is to provide the runner with mental support and to literally keep them moving forward," said Gregory. "This entails knowing the race course - the route, elevation, distance between aid stations - monitoring the runner's well-being, and knowing when to push the runner and when to let them rest."

Pacing is like being a therapist, coach, and friend all wrapped up in one. It is not an easy job, especially during races that are 100 miles or longer. Gregory noted that a key part of being a top-notch pacer is understanding your athlete's communication style, their expectations and motivations for the race they're running, and most importantly, how to make them laugh, even at mile 80. 

Godesky thinks of her requirements for pacers in two parts: physical traits and mental traits. 

"I know I'm going to be in the best shape of my life when I attempt an FKT," said Godesky. "I need my pacer to not only be able to match my speed, but do so while potentially carrying my equipment, keeping track of nutrition and hydration schedules, and pushing me to go faster if necessary."

The most critical part of pacing is being able to match your athlete's fitness. You need to be able to navigate the pacing segment (which could be 20+ miles) without slowing your athlete. On the flipside, if your athlete is having a tough day, be prepared to shuffle or walk alongside your athlete, too. It helps to have previous trail running experience and confidence in your mental and physical tenacity. As tempting as it might be to immediately say "yes!" to pacing someone, it's OK to ask to give it some thought, too. 

From a mental characteristics perspective, Godesky looks for pacers who have high levels of self-awareness and emotional intelligence and who are direct, concise communicators. These traits tend to yield folks who know when to push Godesky to press on and when to respect if she needs to slow up or pause.

"Basically, I look for people I can get along with for many hours in the middle of the woods," joked Godesky.

Not everyone you would love to have as a pacer should be a pacer. Taking into account both the physical and mental strengths of your pacers is paramount over asking close friends or family to be part of your pacing team. 

Unlike crewing, pacing does not require you to be at the race start, and in fact, it's best to get the rest you need and wait to show up until it's time to roll. Pacers are called upon later in a race, so do your part to get enough rest, nutrition, and hydration in the hours before meeting up with your athlete. 

Ultrarunning and trail running are solo sports with a big asterisk next to solo. There are loads of people who help a runner reach the start and end lines of not just a race, but their journey leading up to the race, as well. 

The best way to learn about crewing and pacing is to immerse yourself in an ultramarathon or local trail race. Aside from pacers and crew members, trail races also need volunteers to assist with everything from aid stations to race day check in. Signing up to volunteer can give you a first-hand look at the ups and downs each runner faces across the race and how pacers and crew members react to best support their athlete. 

"There's no better way to learn about the sport than jumping into the ultrarunning community," said Godesky. "Whether that's volunteering at a race, joining a local run club, or taking the plunge and running a race yourself, you will learn how to best pace and crew by being open to learning from experience."

Pacing and crewing are skill sets in and of themselves. Not being afraid to ask questions, volunteer, and hone your skills by joining the ultra community are key to becoming an invaluable pacer and crew member. You can find a run club (trail and/or road) by finding them through Facebook groups, asking your local run shop, or searching for nearby trail races to help you get started in the ultrarunning community.

(08/14/2022) ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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VO2 Max Output As A High-Performance, Anti-Aging Superweapon

This article is purely theoretical. Some readers will think that the theory is obvious on its face, and others will think that it's wrong. The joy of talking about training theory at the intersection of science and anecdote is that there are too many physiological metrics to track, and too many variable responses to interventions, so the resulting conclusions fall somewhere on the spectrum between fundamental truth and biased bullshit. Throughout, I'll try to check my biases and acknowledge the unknowns.

You know I'm nervous about writing an article when the first paragraph is undercutting myself with disclaimers. To be fully real with you: I am unsure on this one. 

This article tries to articulate an unexpected observation that now forms a cornerstone of my coaching approach, but I have too much self-doubt to ignore my biases. It's like looking at a diagram of constellations in the night sky. The diagram might say: "This is the mighty hunter, pursuing the courageous bear." 

So remember, as I try to break this down, I'm describing a scene with a mighty hunter, but I'm painfully aware it might just be dots and a phallus. 

Here it is, distilled down to 3 sentences:

Output at VO2 max while climbing (measured via grade-adjusted pace) may have a high predictive value for athlete progression and regression over time, particularly with age. 

The metric likely is a proxy variable for limitations of mechanical output that are faced by some athletes from the start of their running journeys, and confronted by all athletes with age. 

Constant reinforcement of the metric may improve performance at all effort levels, including long ultras, and can seem to reverse the athletic decline process in some cases.

That's it. To paraphrase The Lion King: Simba, let me tell you something that my father told me. Look at the stars. YOU SEE WHATEVER YOU WANT TO SEE.

Observations From Athlete Training

Let's have some fun with training theory, reverse-engineering why I think this conclusion is significant and may be overlooked. When my co-coach/wife Megan and I started coaching (we talk about this topic more on episode 114 of our podcast), we began as acolytes to coaches like Renato Canova and Jack Daniels who excelled with Olympic-level athletes on the road and track. 

We added some wrinkles here and there based on data we saw along the way, which seemed to especially manifest themselves with athletes that might not have Olympic-level VO2 maxes, whether due to genetics or age (VO2 max measures peak oxygen utilization during exercise, has a strong genetic component, declines with age, and is not highly trainable). You have probably seen me write about a lot of those wrinkles: plenty of fast strides, a higher proportion of short yet controlled intervals, and the heavy use of hill intervals year-round.

But Megan and I both kept hitting the same stumbling block: athletes over age 40 just didn't respond as well as we would like.

So we tried something new. With sub-ultra trail runner Mark Tatum and a few other athletes, we moved almost every workout into the hills, with an astounding number of power hill strides, and at least one session most weeks with short hill intervals. Mark and some others had breakthroughs, seemingly giving a big middle finger to the aging process. For Mark, a few years of training later, it led to an overall win at the Dipsea Race.

That made sense with aging athletes. Hills reduce impact forces and may increase muscle recruitment/mechanical demand (2017 review article in Sports Medicine), and short intervals may counteract natural VO2 max reductions, so they are great for the aging athlete. I've written about that before, as have others. It was nothing new, although maybe the approach was more committed to the bit.

But then something fascinating happened. A few younger athletes that we coached also seemed to have issues where traditional speedwork didn't lead to the expected adaptations. Maybe it was repeated injury cycles without clear explanations, or maybe it was just an unexplained performance reduction. So we tried a similar intervention. While results varied, the hill emphasis had a substantial effect size on results in our team, including preceding a couple national championships.

Now we were intrigued. Is it just the specificity of hills for trail running? Possibly, but we saw similar improvements in some road runners. Could it be an improvement in the VO2 max variable? That's doubtful, since there's little evidence that it can increase much in trained athletes. Lower injury rates? That likely plays a big role, but later we started to see similar results in athletes who rarely got injured. Or, to summarize: The hunter, or a random association of dots?

As we started to incorporate short hills more for all of our athletes, with all different backgrounds, we started to hone in on one primary explanation: the unique neuromuscular and biomechanical demands of mechanical output in running.

Here, mechanical output is shorthand for how aerobic processes interact with the musculoskeletal, biomechanical, and neuromuscular systems to create speed. A thorough explanation of mechanical power output is in this 2018 article in the Journal of Biomechanics, but just think of it as how each stride transmits force, rather than as conveying everything that goes with the technical term. For our purposes, effort level at VO2 max does not refer to the specific physiological measure, but is a general shorthand for high-yet-controlled outputs.

We have seen that if an athlete can improve their output around VO2 max on hills, they can counteract - even reverse - part of the athletic aging process at all distances. The reason that the short hills should lead to more broad-ranging development is that athletes accumulate lots of aerobic work over time, and those lower-level aerobic gains accumulate. 

There is nothing new about this concept. For example, Norwegian training principles are so hot right now. Most of the focus is on the high volume of threshold work. But if you look closely at some of the sample weeks, you'll sometimes see a day full of short, fast hills (and that's for young, immensely talented athletes). Similar concepts were rumored to be included in the training of Jake Wightman, World Champion in the 1500 meters. Whether it's Lydiard-based systems from the 1960s and 1970s, Canova-inspired hill sprints, or hybrid approaches, once you start looking, you'll see these elements all over, even for athletes that seem to have almost no genetic or age limitations.

Possible Physiological Explanation

Okay, let's go back to first principles. VO2 max peaks at a young age, and it isn't highly trainable. So how do athletes keep getting faster if their peak oxygen intake is staying flat or declining? 

The answer is that their output at VO2 max improves, usually measured as velocity at VO2 max, even as the denominator doesn't improve. The prototypical example is Paula Radcliffe (see this 2006 study in the International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching), whose VO2 max actually decreased from when she was a champion junior athlete, but her running economy (the amount of energy she used to run fast) improved by 15 percent. Those running economy improvements likely come from some mix of lower-level aerobic development leading to more efficient cellular processes of fatigue management, neuromuscular/biomechanical efficiency, and mechanical output. I'm not concerned with how much oxygen an athlete can consume, but what they do with the oxygen they have.

Running economy can be measured across multiple intensity levels. At the intense end of the spectrum, you have velocity at VO2 max (think 10ish minute effort, with variance). More toward the middle is critical velocity or velocity at lactate threshold (~30- to 60-minute effort). At the easier end of the spectrum is velocity at aerobic threshold (2-3+ hours, depending on the athlete). With age, vVO2 goes down first (often in an athlete's mid-20s), followed by vLT (30s or later), then vAeT (which can stay higher for a long time due to the aerobic component). That makes intuitive sense-athletes move up in distance with age by necessity as VO2 max and mechanical output go down, while long-term aerobic development is ongoing. 

Side note: there are 10 statements in the preceding paragraphs that are controversial in exercise physiology. Sorry about that. If there's anything I learned from eating a lot of cereal as a kid, it's that if you spot them all and mail proof of purchase to General Mills, they might send a free toy!

Back to it. Our theory is that focusing too heavily on the aerobic side of the running economy equations misses out on the mechanical power side. Yes, VO2 max will decrease with time. But based on what we have seen, the mechanical output associated with VO2 max doesn't need to decrease much at all. And it can even go up very far into an athletic journey!

Mechanical Limitations

Why is that significant for an athlete competing in longer races? Think back to the experienced 60-year old athlete who progresses a bunch with short hill intervals. Their VO2 max number likely can't change much at that point of their athletic journeys, but we think that their mechanical output can. And because mechanical power is a strong performance indicator at all efforts in aging athletes, it doesn't matter that the short hills are non-specific to their race distances. It's the highest-yield stimulus for output, and it pushes back the strongest against the inertia of aging, so they get faster at everything.

If you're 50+, I think that you can take that to the bank. Focus on mechanical output/strength alongside aerobic development, and you'll be rich as hell. Now, let's dive into a more speculative investment. 

The hardest logical leap is to take these principles and apply them to younger athletes. Why might they progress even when they aren't limited by mechanical output in the same way?

Our theory: they are limited in that same way, just to a less clear extent. In fact, most of us have some mechanical limitations that are semi-independent of traditional aerobic development.

Talented, elite athletes are the origin point for many training theories, and most of those athletes have few limits associated with vVO2-that's why they're elite in the first place. So they can focus more heavily on the aerobic-input components of speed, plus specific training for their events. But for most of us, mechanical power at the top-end of aerobic capacity is a limiter from when we are young, and it only gets worse with time. 

That's one reason we strongly encourage athletes to eat enough, always. Running is a power sport, even if it doesn't always feel that way. And that may add another explanation of why athletes who restrict food almost never improve over time.

Theoretical Implications

Since mechanical output is the true theorized limiter, it may be better to do many of the sessions targeting it on uphills. Flat intervals are fantastic and important at times, but many athletes end up not having the biomechanical and neuromuscular efficiency to translate their aerobic ability into the same output. In our data, an athlete who is not extremely fast (in a road/track sense) will often have a faster grade-adjusted pace on a 2-minute hill interval than pace on a 2-minute flat interval, often by 20-30 seconds per mile. Combined with the higher muscular demand and lower injury risk, output around VO2 max seems to be optimized on hills. 

A quick disclaimer: we could easily be confusing cause-and-effect here. Perhaps it's all driven by reduced injury rates and lower soreness levels, creating more consistency over time (or any other explanation you can think of). Going backwards from outcome to mechanism is problematic for 99 reasons, and for the strength of this theory, each and every one of them is a bitch.

But the practical takeaway is this: we have seen that if an athlete can improve their output around VO2 max on hills, they can counteract - even reverse - part of the athletic aging process at all distances. The reason that the short hills should lead to more broad-ranging development is that athletes accumulate lots of aerobic work over time, and those lower-level aerobic gains accumulate. 

The aerobic system can continue to improve, but for many athletes, it runs into a ceiling that we think is often set by mechanical output. If you raise that ceiling, there can be a positive feedback cycle where improved mechanical output allows the improving aerobic system to translate to better running economy, which improves mechanical output more, and so on.

The Big Takeaway 

Don't let your mechanical output be too strong of a limiter, no matter what training approach you use. For us, that involves three main elements. 

First, athletes do hill strides year-round to encourage max power development. That can be as simple as 2 sessions of 4-6 by 20-30 second fast hills in the 2nd half of runs each week, or adding hill strides after a flat workout. Or it can be bigger, dedicated sessions like in the Norwegian training sample weeks. Flat strides can also work for this purpose, particularly for advanced athletes. 

Second, athletes periodically do moderately hard hill intervals, as often as weekly for aging or injury-prone athletes, and as little as every 6 weeks in durable track or road athletes (with other sessions being on flat or rolling terrain). Our usual guideline is 12-20 minutes of total intervals, with each interval being 3 minutes or less with run down recovery between them. Simple go-to examples are 16-20 x 45 seconds, 8 x 90 seconds, 6 x 2 minutes, or 5 x 3 minutes, though you can get creative with it based on what's the most fun for you. Mix up the gradient, with the sweet spot being 8%, but it's cool to have fun with steeper or shallower grades, too. 

Third, do strength work. We are partial to Mountain Legs and Speed Legs, but anything that improves your strength can work. Just avoid overdoing it.

And remember: this is just one element of our training theory, and our training theory is a grain of sand on the beach of training theories that are out there for free on the internet. Even for us, it interacts with hundreds of other concepts. Listen to your body and do what works for you. Ignore this if you disagree. Send all of your complaints to General Mills.

But don't accept that getting weaker is a foregone conclusion. Aging is inevitable. If you zoom out far enough, slowing down is inevitable, too. But slowing down is not inevitable tomorrow or next year. And I think there's a strong argument that it's not inevitable 5 or 10 years from now either. What do we say to 

(08/14/2022) ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Western States Endurance Run Announces This Year's Golden Ticket Races

On August 9th, 2022, the Western States Endurance Run (WSER) updated its schedule and criteria for the 2022-2023 Golden Ticket races. For the second consecutive year, the lineup will include three international races, including UTMB, and the first-ever Golden Ticket event in Asia. 

The Western States Endurance Run is the U.S.'s oldest and most competitive 100-mile race and has long depended on a lottery system to modulate the number of runners on the start line. Golden Ticket events give the top two runners automatic entry into the race, allowing them to bypass the competitive lottery. In this system, 28 spots are reserved for Golden Ticket winners in WSER. If the recipient of the Golden Ticket winner already has an entry (either through the lottery or another Golden Ticket event) the ticket rolls down to the next runner without entry. All runners who finish in the top ten at Western States also get automatic entry the next year.

Like last year, the list includes Ultra Trail Mont Blanc (France, Italy and Switzerland) and Tarawera by UTMB (New Zealand). However, the Endurance Trail des Templiers (France) has been replaced with the Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB 100M. This is the second year that international races have been Golden Ticket events, and the first year that features an event in Asia, which spreads out and diversifies opportunities for international elites to gain entry to WSER. 

There are still only four Golden Ticket races in the U.S., and each year these events get even more competitive. Historically, there have been five to six Golden Ticket events in the U.S. Notably, the Lake Sonoma 50 is no longer on the docket, which was the only sub-100k chance at a Golden Ticket. All the remaining events are now at least 100k, which is WSER's current qualifying distance. There are now three 100-mile qualifiers: UTMB, Doi Inthanon Thailand 100M, and Javelina Jundred (Arizona).

The inclusion of four UTMB-branded events signals the coalescing of trail running's most competitive events under a single UTMB banner. Additionally, if runners want to run at the UTMB main event in Chamonix, France, they need to first run a UTMB-branded race to collect sufficient running stones to qualify. 

(08/14/2022) ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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How Running Has Helped The Millionaires’ Magician Perfect His Act

Steve Cohen, a longtime magician for celebrities and world leaders, became hooked on marathoning since running his first one in 2018.

For most of his life, Steve Cohen has been known for his impressive sleight of hand as the host of Chamber Magic, a live weekly show at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel. In fact, during our video interview, the “Millionaires’ Magician” made my favorite card, the ace of hearts appear out of thin air twice. 

Now, those close to the performer have started complimenting him on his sleight of foot since he took up running in 2018. It's a newfound skill that Cohen says has improved his expertise as a magician and vice versa. 

Until recently, Cohen, 51, never considered himself an athlete. He joined the track team in high school, competing in the 100-meter dash but quit soon after to participate in the theater program, where he thrived as a performer. 

Since starting Chamber Magic in 2000, Cohen has used his shows as his form of exercise, frequently performing six times in a weekend. His audiences, which often include celebrities and royalty, get to enjoy conjuring, mind-reading, sleight of hand, and one of his most famous tricks called “think-a-drink,” in which an audience member requests a specific beverage that magically appears in Cohen's teapot. With the rapid fire energy, preparation, and effort that goes into each performance, Cohen didn't consider outside exercise for many years.

“Magicians are usually couch potatoes and it's rare to find a magician that's incredibly fit,” Cohen says. “That was kind of me.”

In 2015, Cohen's wife Yumi Morishige picked up running and encouraged him to join her. As Cohen recalls, he couldn't keep up with his wife for a full mile during their first run together. “I was huffing and puffing, and she was running loops around me to keep me going,” he says. “That demoralized me.”

After the first run, Cohen joined a gym but realized he needed more stimulation in his workouts. Instead of exercising in the gym, his wife encouraged him to focus on destination workouts, like running to Harry Houdini's house, which is about two miles away from their apartment on the upper west side of Manhattan. Over time, Cohen added more routes that excited him, including a run to Alexander Hamilton's house uptown.

With more miles under his belt, Cohen and his wife made a bet. If he entered the lottery for the New York City Marathon and gained entry, he would run the race. Cohen lost in 2016 and 2017 but the following year, he received surprising news. While sitting in the theater of the Magic Castle, a private magician's club in Los Angeles, Cohen received an email from the New York Road Runners letting him know that his application to run the marathon was finally accepted. “The first thing that came to my mind was oh shit,” Cohen says. 

After spending a few minutes processing the news, Cohen realized he couldn't break the promise to his wife and came around to the idea of becoming a marathoner. “Being a magician is all about making the impossible possible,” Cohen says. “I thought, I'm going to be a magician to myself and I'll make this impossible thing that I thought I could never do, possible.”

In March 2018, Cohen started building up mileage using Hal Higdon's marathon training plan. Because his shows are on the weekends, Cohen has to fit all of his weekly mileage into five days, which means he does his long run on Wednesday. 

Prior to the marathon in November 2018, the longest race Cohen had ever run was 100 meters on the track as a high school student. But he embraced the experience as an opportunity to try something different and bring his magic community along for the ride. 

Before the race, he sent an email to his fanbase encouraging them to cheer him on during the New York City Marathon. He wore a t-shirt with the king of hearts printed on the front, which helped people recognize him among the thousands of competitors. Throughout the race, fans cheered for Cohen and on several occasions, he even stopped to perform magic tricks, including one in which he penetrates an earphone cord through someone's finger. “There were enough people that it kind of slowed my time down a lot,” Cohen says. “But I don't really care because I wasn't in it to win some PR.”

In his first 26.2, Cohen finished in five hours and 37 minutes and was immediately hooked. After his debut, Cohen joined his wife as a member of the New York Flyers run club. 

During the height of the pandemic, the magician didn't perform for 16 months amid COVID lockdowns. In addition to writing two books, running helped Cohen cope with the cancellations. “I didn't have the physical exertion that I normally get while performing,” he says. “You need an outlet for all that stress, so running really did save me.” 

In the fall of 2020, he completed the New York City Marathon virtually. For his 50th birthday on February 21, 2021, Cohen ran from his home to the hospital where he was born in Yonkers, New York and back for just over 50K. 

In November 2021, Cohen returned to the New York City Marathon in person and took 32 minutes off his previous personal best. This fall, he hopes to break five hours for the first time on the NYC course. 

Now four years into his development as a runner, Cohen says the sport has helped elevate his skills as a magician. His posture has improved while on stage, and similar to managing paces in a 26.2-mile race, he's become more efficient in pacing his energy with back-to-back performances. Before he became a runner, Cohen would end the weekend exhausted with pain in his back. Now, he says the endurance gained from running makes him feel like he can add another show to the line-up. Perhaps more importantly, running has given Cohen a newfound sense of accomplishment when he takes the stage in front of world leaders and billionaires.

“The one thing that they can't buy is something you need to accomplish on your own, and if I've accomplished that by having run a marathon, it gives me a great amount of personal strength and it makes me feel they're equal when I'm standing in front of someone who is a very powerful person,” Cohen says. “I feel a lot more self-empowered, and I think that's thanks to running.”

(08/14/2022) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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