My Queasy Stomach

 

Stomach get queasy when you run? Feel like you have to poop your shorts? You’re not alone. Gastrointestinal distress is a common problem among runners. Try these 8 things to minimize the risk:

1. Avoid high-fiber foods in the few days before the race.

2. Ingest multiple types of carbohydrates during the race (which use different transporters), such as glucose and fructose, instead of more of the same amount of a single carbohydrate such as glucose.

3. Ingest carbohydrates during the race in more, smaller amounts rather than fewer, larger amounts.

4. Ingest carbohydrates with sufficient water during the race.

5. Avoid high-fructose foods the day before the race.

6. Avoid dehydration. Drink!

7. Avoid aspirin and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.

8. Practice pre-race and race-day nutrition plan many times before race day.

To 5K Pace or Not to 5K Pace?

 

 

Many runners and coaches seem to be fond of training at 5K or 10K race pace, designing workouts at those paces. There is not much value to doing that other than to practice specific race pace. While it may seem logical to run at 5K (or 10K) race pace as often as possible to get faster for a 5K (or 10K), it’s not the best (or even a good) way to improve 5K time. It’s better to target the specific physiological factors that influence race performance.

5K race pace is too fast to train lactate threshold and too slow to train VO₂max, and so is not the best use of your training time. Instead, run at lactate threshold pace to train lactate threshold and run at VO₂max pace to train VO₂max. However, if you feel you need to practice specific race pace for the confidence it gives you, then train at that pace to meet the psychological purpose.

When you get REVO₂LUTION RUNNING™ certified, you’ll learn all about how to do workouts correctly.

revo2lutionrunning.com

Time to Stretch! Or is It?

 

If you’ve ever run with a dog or watched a horse race, you’ll notice that other animals don’t stretch before or after they run.

Although most people have been stretching since their middle school gym class to prevent injuries, improve exercise performance, and reduce muscle soreness, the research on stretching tells a different story.

(1) Stretching doesn’t prevent injuries for activities that don’t include bouncing movements, like running, cycling, and swimming. If the activity includes explosive or bouncing movements, stretching can reduce injuries by increasing compliance of tendons and improving their ability to absorb energy.

(2) Stretching can prevent muscle injuries, such as sprains and strains, but not bone or joint injuries.

(3) Stretching doesn’t improve exercise performance. You won’t run faster or longer by stretching before you run. Research on stretching before strength training has shown a reduction in strength performance due to a decrease in muscles’ ability to contract.

(4) Stretching doesn’t decrease post-workout muscle soreness. Soreness comes from the inflammation in response to the microscopic damage to muscle fibers from training. Stretching doesn’t make muscle fibers heal any quicker, so stretching won’t make you feel less sore.

(5) The major benefit of stretching is to increase mobility and flexibility—a joint’s range of motion—thereby priming muscles to move dynamically through their full ranges of motion. When stretching to increase flexibility, doing it apart from your workout makes it even more effective.

Learn more about stretching and everything else at revo2lutionrunning.com

MARATHON TRAINING LONG RUN

Why don’t most runners run the full marathon distance (26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers) in training while training for a marathon?

Time.

When it comes to training, time is what matters, not the distance. Time represents the amount of stress. The reason why it’s not a good idea to run the full marathon distance in training is because of how long it takes most runners to do that and the consequent muscle fiber damage incurred and subsequent recovery time needed.

By contrast, elite runners regularly run more than 26.2 miles (42.2 km) in training because they run the distance so fast that it doesn’t take much time. In my published study on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials qualifiers, I found that the average length of the long run for men was 25 miles (40.2 km) (range = 20-52 miles) and 23.5 miles (37.8 km) (range = 18-30 miles) for women. For the year leading up to the Olympic Trials, the men ran longer than 20 miles (32 km) an average of 17.7 times (range = 1-60 times), while the women did so an average of 10.4 times (range = 0-50 times). The large ranges shows there were big differences between runners in the length of the long run and in how many times the runners ran longer than 20 miles.

If a run takes you more than about 3.5 to 4 hours to complete, it’s going to take a lot of time to recover from that, and will thus get in the way of the other training you need to do during the rest of the week.

While most recommendations are to cap your long run at 20-22 miles (32-35 km), there’s no law that says you can’t run longer. It’s all about the time, and finding out where the point of diminishing returns are for you. For most runners, several to many 20- to 21-mile runs is likely better preparation for a marathon than one 25-mile run.

So give yourself plenty of time to prepare, and work up to handling several very long runs.

(To read the study on the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers, go to run-fit.com/research)

 

Are You An Individual?

 

The individuality of training is too often neglected, especially with so many runners running in groups and as part of running clubs. Both research and empirical evidence shows that there is a large inter-individual response to training, both in the magnitude of response and in the time frame for developing and retaining training effects.

What may work for one runner may not work for another. Not all runners who are capable of the same performance have the same work capacity. Some runners may respond better to high volume and low intensity while some may respond better to low volume and high intensity. Some need more recovery days between hard workouts than others. It’s important to know your training needs or, if you’re a coach or trainer, the needs of those you coach, and to individualize the training, even when in a group setting.

Training should also be individualized based on workout stress in addition to the strengths and weaknesses of each runner. For example, since the time under stress is what matters, not the actual distance, base workouts on time. If Jack and Jill do a 5-mile tempo run at lactate threshold pace to fetch a pail of water, and Jack runs 7:30 per mile pace and Jill runs 6:30 per mile pace, Jack has a more difficult workout because it’s going to take him 5 minutes longer to run 5 miles at threshold pace (and Jill will get all the water).

The Main Thing is to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing

 

When I was in high school, I attended a track camp. Sort of like band camp, but we ran instead of played instruments. The name of the camp was The Mighty Burner Speed Camp. It was a pretty unique camp, not just because of its name, which might sound intimidating to some, but because of the four camp coaches. They were the members of the United States’ 1,600-meter relay team that competed at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. The four athletes who each ran a 400-meter leg of the relay were the fastest 400-meter runners of their generation—Vince Mathews, Ron Freeman, Larry James, and Lee Evans. Together at the Olympics, they won the gold medal in the 1,600-meter relay and set the world record of 2 minutes and 56.16 seconds, which stood for twenty years.

A man of words as well as fast legs, Larry James had a saying for us impressionable high school runners at his camp which, I found out years later, he borrowed from psychologist and author Stephen Covey: “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

“What’s the main thing?” he asked us, as we collected as a group on the track. “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing,” we responded in unison.

“What’s the main thing?”

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

“What’s the main thing?”

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Running directs your efforts, helping you to keep the main thing the main thing. There’s nothing like a long run to put the issues in our lives into perspective. We worry about things that don’t happen; we waste our time on things that don’t matter; we follow paths that lead to dead ends. Running puts us on the right path. It directs us toward a life of meaning. And it helps us get more done.

You’re a Failure… And So Am I

 

I’ve been talking to a talented runner where I live in San Diego for a couple of years about working with me as her running coach. She says she wants to do it, but she waffles back and forth about going through with it. Part of all her waffling is financial; she can’t afford it. But even when I offer to coach her pro bono because she’s got so much potential, she still waffles and makes a lot of excuses—her busy schedule, her young kids, needing flexibility with her training rather than a set plan, and so on. I finally asked her what all the waffling is about. “I’m afraid to fail,” she conceded.

Although we perceive that external obstacles prevent us from accomplishing things, it’s often the obstacles that lie within us that prevent us from meeting our potential. We let our fears, thoughts, and emotions control our actions. Many of us stop short of pursuing our dreams or following through with something because we’re afraid of failing. With greater success comes greater expectations, and then what if we’re not good enough to meet those expectations? It’s become too easy in our society to be complacent and maintain the status quo. And why not be complacent? Our society rewards mediocrity instead of challenging and inspiring people to be better. ‘No Child Left Behind’ has become ‘Everyone is a Winner.’

People are always impressed when they find out how many books I’ve written, how many awards I’ve won, and how many places around the world I travel for free to speak. What people don’t know is that for every book contract I have received from a publisher, there have been many other publishers who have rejected my proposal. For every award I’ve won, there have been many others I did not. And for every event I speak at, there are many others for which I applied but did not get selected. The truth is, I have failed many more times than I have succeeded. 

I’ve always been drawn to people with talent, which is perhaps why I continue to try to persuade that runner in San Diego to let me help her, but I’m even more drawn to talented people who are willing to completely commit to do whatever it takes to accomplish what they want to accomplish, however real the risk of failure may be. While there may be a chance of failing, people take risks because the chance of failing makes success taste even sweeter.

So take a few risks. But don’t take stupid risks. Educate yourself about what you’re trying to accomplish and take calculated, thoughtful risks. And surround yourself with people who will give you the strength and momentum to help see those risks through. If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.

6 Lessons From Physiology and How They Make You a Better Runner

 

When done correctly, it is a scientific endeavor to maximize running performance. Unfortunately, nearly all scientists spend their careers in academia without venturing out into the arena that got many of them interested in physiology in the first place—competitive sport. As a result, few scientists are coaches. The opposite is also true—few coaches are scientists. Being both, I have learned that each can learn from the other, as my experience has given me a unique view of the sport and of the training process. Here are 6 lessons I have learned from physiology and how they can make you a faster runner. 

Lesson 1: Lactate threshold and running economy are more important than VOmax.

While VO₂max (the maximum volume of oxygen your muscles can consume per minute) has received most of the attention among runners and coaches, a high VO₂max alone is not enough to be a good runner; it simply gives you access into the club, since a runner cannot be good without a high VO₂max. I have tested many athletes in the laboratory with an elite-level VO₂max, but few of them were capable of running at the elite or even sub-elite level because they did not have a high lactate threshold or were not very economical. Running economy is the volume of oxygen consumed at submaximal speeds; the less oxygen you use to run at a given pace, the better.   

For longer races (half marathon and marathon), your running economy and the speed (pace) at lactate threshold are the most important factors. For shorter races (1,500 meters/mile, 5K, 10K), the speed at VO₂max is the most important factor. So that is what you have to train.   

Lesson 2: There are different muscle fiber types.

Humans have 3 types of muscle fibers, with gradations between them: slow-twitch, fast-twitch A, and fast-twitch B. The exact percentage of each that you have in your muscles is genetically determined and dictates your strengths and weaknesses as a runner. Skew your training to your strengths determined by your dominant muscle fiber type.

Lesson 3: A larger, stronger heart can pump more blood and oxygen to your muscles.

Your left ventricle is responsible for pumping blood to every inch of your body except your lungs. Your maximum stroke volume (the maximum volume of blood your heart pumps each beat) and your maximum cardiac output (the maximum volume of blood your heart pumps each minute) dictates your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles and determines your running performance. The bigger your left ventricle, the more blood it can hold; the more blood it can hold, the more blood it can pump with each beat. Make a bigger heart, and you deliver more oxygen to your muscles.  

Lesson 4: Metabolism is tightly regulated by enzymes and oxygen.

Enzymes are biological catalysts that speed up chemical reactions. The faster chemical reactions occur, the faster you produce energy (ATP) for muscle contraction. Make more enzymes involved in the aerobic and anaerobic metabolic pathways, and you make ATP faster, which enables you to run faster.

Metabolism is also regulated by the availability of oxygen, which determines the metabolic pathway used. If there is adequate oxygen to meet the muscle’s needs, your muscles will rely on aerobic metabolism. Conversely, if there is not adequate oxygen to meet your muscle’s needs, your muscles will rely on anaerobic metabolism, which causes the development of acidosis, causing you to fatigue and slow down.

Lesson 5: Carbohydrates are extremely important.

People think carbs are bad. If you are one of those people, stop it. Research since the 1960s has shown that endurance performance is strongly influenced by the amount of stored muscle glycogen, with intense endurance exercise decreasing muscle glycogen content. Carbohydrates are so important that ingesting them during prolonged exercise delays fatigue. That muscles prefer carbohydrate as a fuel is so fundamental to exercise metabolism, when your carbohydrate fuel tank gets very low, your liver makes glucose from amino acids and lactate to assuage the threat of a low carb fuel tank. (That’s why a ketogenic diet doesn’t really keep you in ketosis—because your liver is smarter than you and will break down protein into amino acids to make more glucose to assuage the threat presented by not eating carbs.) You need carbs to run fast.

Lesson 6: Most female distance runners get better the longer the race.

Estrogen shifts metabolism to a greater reliance on fat and less on carbohydrate when running at the same pace as a man. The longer the race, the more important this shift in metabolism becomes, since the conservation of carbohydrate is very important given that we have only a limited store of it. The faster the pace you can run while still using mostly fat, the better long-distance runner you will be. Most women, therefore, get better the longer the race. The performance difference between men and women is much smaller for ultramarathons than it is for races shorter than a marathon because the longer the race, fuel use starts to outweigh the importance of cardiac performance and oxygen transport in the blood, characteristics that favor men. Because of women’s estrogen-induced predisposition toward endurance, women should embrace aerobic training and run a lot to maximize their running performance. (Get my book, Running for Women, for a lot more detail, including how to train around the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause.) 

14-Minute Metabolic Workouts

 

Excerpted from 14-Minute Metabolic Workouts ©Jason R. Karp

Beginning in the seventh grade, I became fascinated with time—specifically how fast it goes and how each year seems to go by faster than the previous year. When I once shared my perception of time with my 90-year-old grandmother, she said, “Just wait until you’re 80.” I’m still far from 80, so I can only imagine how fast time will go by then. It likely will go by in no time at all. Even now, each second that comes is gone just as fast, leaving us with only future and past. The advice to “stay present in the moment” becomes impossible.

I’ve spent much of the last 30 years appreciating the impact that short workouts can have and creating workouts that can make people extremely fit in a short time. 

Why 14 minutes? Because it’s precise. You pay attention. You focus on the effort because you know the time will be gone as fast as it arrived. Enjoy the time.


VO2max Pyramid

  Duration RPE* Intensity
Rep #1 1:00 9 >95% max HR
Recovery 1:30 2-3  
Rep #2 1:30 9 >95% max HR
Recovery 1:30 2-3  
Rep #3 3:00 9 >95% max HR
Recovery 1:30 2-3  
Rep #4 1:30 9 >95% max HR
Recovery 1:30 2-3  
Rep #5 1:00 9 >95% max HR
Total Time 14:00    

*RPE = Rating of Perceived Exertion on a scale of 1 (easy) to 10 (maximum effort)


Treadmill Triple 3 Hills
3 Reps, 3 Minutes, 3% Grade

  Duration Grade RPE* Intensity
Rep #1 3:00 3% 9 >90% max HR
Recovery 2:00 0% 2-3  
Rep #2 3:00 3% 9 >90% max HR
Recovery 2:00 0% 2-3  
Rep #3 3:00 3% 9 >90% max HR
Total Time 13:00      

Use the same workout speed for each rep and the same recovery speed for each recovery interval. For the reps, choose a speed that is challenging. For the recovery intervals, decrease the speed to a slow jog that enables you to recover before the next rep. *RPE = Rating of Perceived Exertion on a scale of 1 (easy) to 10 (maximum effort)


Sprint Pyramid

  Duration RPE* Intensity
Rep #1 :10 9 Fast
Recovery :20 2-3  
Rep #2 :20 9 Fast
Recovery :40 2-3  
Rep #3 :30 9 Fast
Recovery 1:00 2-3  
Rep #4 :40 9 Fast
Recovery 1:20 2-3  
Rep #5 :50 9 Fast
Recovery 1:40 2-3  
Rep #6 :40 9 Fast
Recovery 1:20 2-3  
Rep #7 :30 9 Fast
Recovery 1:00 2-3  
Rep #8 :20 9 Fast
Recovery :40 2-3  
Rep #9 :10 9 Fast
Total Time 12:10    

*RPE = Rating of Perceived Exertion on a scale of 1 (easy) to 10 (maximum effort)


True Tabata

  Duration RPE* Intensity
Rep #1 :20 10 Nearly all-out
Recovery :10 2  
Rep #2 :20 10 Nearly all-out
Recovery :10 2  
Rep #3 :20 10 Nearly all-out
Recovery :10 2  
Rep #4 :20 10 Nearly all-out
Recovery :10 2  
Rep #5 :20 10 Nearly all-out
Recovery :10 2  
Rep #6 :20 10 Nearly all-out
Recovery :10 2  
Rep #7 :20 10 Nearly all-out
Recovery :10 2  
Rep #8 :20 10 Nearly all-out
Total Time 3:50    

Do this workout on a stationary bike and sprint nearly as fast as you can for each 20-second rep. In Tabata’s original research study, subjects cycled at 170% VO2max, which was determined from previous VO2max tests in their laboratory, and they did the workout five times per week for six weeks. Don’t try that at home! *RPE = Rating of Perceived Exertion on a scale of 1 (easy) to 10 (maximum effort)


Muscular Endurance Upper Body Drop Sets

Exercise Sets Reps Intensity
(% 1 rep max or RPE)
Recovery
Chest Press 3 10 80-85 / 75-80 / 70-75% :10
Chin-Ups 3 10 80-85 / 75-80 / 70-75% :10
Seated Cable Row 3 10 80-85 / 75-80 / 70-75% :10
Triceps Pressdown 3 10 80-85 / 75-80 / 70-75% :10

Decrease the amount of weight after the first set by 5 to 10 pounds and immediately do the next set of 10 reps. Then drop the weight again by another 5 to 10 pounds and immediately do the third set. A 10-second recovery between sets is built into the workout to give you enough time to decrease the amount of weight.


Sprint/Body Weight Circuit

Exercise Duration/Reps
Sprint :30
Squat Jumps 10-15
Push-Ups 10-15
Pike Crunches 10-15
Sprint :30
Squat Side Steps 10-15 each side
Superman 10-15
V-Sit 10-15
Sprint :30
Mountain Climbers 10-15 each leg
Triceps Dips 10-15
Russian Twists 10-15

This circuit sequences sprint running with a lower-body exercise, upper-body exercise, and core exercise for a total-body workout. Go immediately from one exercise to the next. Do the circuit once or twice with 2 minutes rest between circuits. If you do this workout in a gym, you can substitute sprint cycling for sprint running. Make the sprint fast and challenging, but not all out.


Upper Body Strength Pyramid

Exercise Sets Reps Intensity
(% 1 rep max or RPE)
Recovery
Chest Press 1 / 2 / 3 10 / 8 / 6 75-80 / 80-85 / 85-90% 1:00
Seated Cable Row 1 / 2 / 3 10 / 8 / 6 75-80 / 80-85 / 85-90% 1:00
Biceps Preacher Curls 1 / 2 / 3 10 / 8 / 6 75-80 / 80-85 / 85-90% 1:00
Triceps Pressdown 1 / 2 / 3 10 / 8 / 6 75-80 / 80-85 / 85-90% 1:00

Increase the amount of weight by 5 to 10 pounds as you decrease the number of reps in each set.


Want more great workouts? Pick up a copy of 14-Minute Metabolic Workouts 

Nice Legs

 

A number of years ago, I was talking to one of the members of a local gym in which I was working as a personal trainer as she rode a stationary bike alongside her workout buddies. As I explained how she and her friends could get more out of their workouts, I sensed that she wasn’t listening. Maybe she didn’t care for the advice of a young, scrawny-looking runner in sweats. Maybe she was just focused on her workout. A few days later, I saw her again as I was about to go for a run. Seeing me for the first time in my running shorts, she enthusiastically asked, “How can I get legs like yours?” Smiling, I joked, “So, you want me for my body rather than for my mind?” Everyone wants nice legs.

Try this workout from my book, 14-Minute Metabolic Workouts to get nice legs, which will take you less than 14 minutes. Get the book for more great workouts. https://www.amazon.com/Jason-Karp/e/B002K8O6EG 

Dumbbell Deadlift: 3 sets, 5-8 reps @ 80-85% 1-rep max w/2:00 rest between sets

Dumbbell Side Lunges: 3 sets, 5-8 reps @ 80-85% 1-rep max w/2:00 rest between sets

Dumbbell Plié Squats: 3 sets, 5-8 reps @ 80-85% 1-rep max w/2:00 rest between sets

Dumbbell Deadlift

Hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides at arm’s length and stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Keeping your back and legs straight, bend over at the waist to lower the dumbbells until your back is parallel to the floor. As you bend over, you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Keeping your back and legs straight, stand upright to return to the starting position and repeat for the prescribed number of reps.

           

 

Dumbbell Side Lunges

Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of you, with your palms facing each other, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a big lateral step out to your left side and lower yourself into a squat, keeping your right leg straight. Push back up with your left leg to return to the starting position and repeat for the prescribed number of reps before switching to the right leg.

          

 

Dumbbell Plié Squats

Stand with feet slightly greater than shoulder-width apart and toes turned out about 45 degrees. Hold a dumbbell vertically with both hands between your legs. Keeping your back straight, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push through your feet to stand up to return to the starting position and repeat for the prescribed number of reps.

           

 

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