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Why Running Alone Feels Harder – Explained

Why Running Alone Feels Harder – Explained

COVID-19 has changed a lot in the world of 2020. But one notable difference for runners is the absence of group training in the last few months. Has anyone else noticed that a solo workout just feels worse than when you’re running with others? The effort may feel just as hard, coming up with the motivation to finish the set may be taking an unusually high toll, and the splits you’re running may not reflect what you’re normally capable of when running with training partners.

Alex Hutchinson of Sweat Science just published an article analysing a recent study in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, which provides some really interesting insight into why this may be the case. The study takes a close look at affective feelings and how they may alter performance in either a solo time trial effort, or an effort run with others. As Alex puts it, affect essentially means how much pleasure or displeasure you’re experience, and it is very tightly correlated with mood.

Conducted by researchers in São Paolo, the protocol was to have 14 runners complete a pair of 10km efforts, one alone on a track, and the other competing against the other participants of the study (with at least a week between the efforts). No prizes for guessing which trial saw faster results, the group run resulted in an average time almost one minute faster than the solo effort (39:32 vs 40:28).

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How Fast Do You Lose Endurance?

How Fast Do You Lose Endurance?

In a 1990 study Houmard et al looked at detraining of experience endurance runners who were averaging 81km per week in training (~60km at ~75% VO2 max and 21km at ~95% VO2 max). Over a three-week period of detraining the athletes cut their volume by 70% to 24km, maintaining the intensity distribution with 17km at ~75% of VO2 max and 7km at ~90% VO2 max.

The participants in the study had an increase in maximum heart rate (2.3%), and plasma volume decreased (-5.6%) during the period of reduced training, so some physiological adaptations regressed. However, performance saw no change, with VO2 max and 5km time trial results holding steady. Another significant finding in this study was also that time to exhaustion during VO2 max testing increased by 9.5%, suggesting that the decreased training left the athletes much fresher. These results indicate that being smart with limited time or training capacity can still help massively in maintaining running performance.    

These changes also appear to be less pronounced in older athletes and athletes who have trained for a longer time. Which makes sense, the accumulated progression and adaptations from consistent training over a long time are more entrenched, and therefore more resistant to deterioration than acute improvements in performance from relatively shorter training blocks.      

As Ross puts it, defending physiology requires much less work than earning that physiology, and a little goes a long way. With races off and freedom of movement restricted in many places, despondency is pervasive. But lamenting the situation and the certainty of your lost fitness gains won’t serve you well. These studies highlight that even though it may be difficult to stick to training plans and complete hard sessions, a significantly reduced load of training still goes a very long way to preserving the physiological adaptations for which you have laboured.

read more
The End Of Season Rest Periods Of The World’s Best Athletes

The End Of Season Rest Periods Of The World’s Best Athletes

Renato Canova: “There are not rules valid for all the athletes, and valid, for the same athletes, always in the same way. After a season, we can have a short RESTING period, before starting the TRANSITION period, which is already a period of training. In Kenya (and Africa generally), the resting period is something including FULL REST. We give, to every athlete, about 2 weeks of total rest, and in this period they don’t do any physical activity.”

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John Smith – Speed

John Smith – Speed

Maurice Greene, Ato Bolden, Jon Drummond, Inger Miller, Marie- Jose Perec – world record holders, Olympic champions, they all come to Los Angeles to work with him. Because John Smith has developed a radical approach to training sprinters. Actually, let me rephrase that: he’s developed a radical approach to how to think about training sprinters, that just seems to work better than anything else out there.

read more
Allyson Felix Training – Strength Routine (from 125lbs deadlift, to 270lbs deadlift in 7 months)

Allyson Felix Training – Strength Routine (from 125lbs deadlift, to 270lbs deadlift in 7 months)

“In September of 2002, we began high school sprinter Allyson Felix’s final assault on Marion Jones’ national high school 200-meter record. At the time, Allyson weighed 121 lbs. Allyson increased September’s 125 lbs deadlift to 270 lbs in mid-April and to an estimated 300 lbs by June. Her body weight increased a paltry 2 pounds from 121 lbs to 123 lbs. Meanwhile, her 200-meter sprint time dropped from 22.83 in 2003 to 22.11 in 2004.”

read more
What separates elite athletes from average athletes?

What separates elite athletes from average athletes?

What separates elite athletes from average athletes and average athletes from the general population has a lot to do with the efficiency of the motor control center of the brain and how quickly it can deliver messages to the muscles to perform certain movements. The good news is that an athlete can train his neuromuscular system resulting in better coordination and quicker movements.

read more
Why Running Alone Feels Harder – Explained

Why Running Alone Feels Harder – Explained

COVID-19 has changed a lot in the world of 2020. But one notable difference for runners is the absence of group training in the last few months. Has anyone else noticed that a solo workout just feels worse than when you’re running with others? The effort may feel just as hard, coming up with the motivation to finish the set may be taking an unusually high toll, and the splits you’re running may not reflect what you’re normally capable of when running with training partners.

Alex Hutchinson of Sweat Science just published an article analysing a recent study in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, which provides some really interesting insight into why this may be the case. The study takes a close look at affective feelings and how they may alter performance in either a solo time trial effort, or an effort run with others. As Alex puts it, affect essentially means how much pleasure or displeasure you’re experience, and it is very tightly correlated with mood.

Conducted by researchers in São Paolo, the protocol was to have 14 runners complete a pair of 10km efforts, one alone on a track, and the other competing against the other participants of the study (with at least a week between the efforts). No prizes for guessing which trial saw faster results, the group run resulted in an average time almost one minute faster than the solo effort (39:32 vs 40:28).

read more
How Fast Do You Lose Endurance?

How Fast Do You Lose Endurance?

In a 1990 study Houmard et al looked at detraining of experience endurance runners who were averaging 81km per week in training (~60km at ~75% VO2 max and 21km at ~95% VO2 max). Over a three-week period of detraining the athletes cut their volume by 70% to 24km, maintaining the intensity distribution with 17km at ~75% of VO2 max and 7km at ~90% VO2 max.

The participants in the study had an increase in maximum heart rate (2.3%), and plasma volume decreased (-5.6%) during the period of reduced training, so some physiological adaptations regressed. However, performance saw no change, with VO2 max and 5km time trial results holding steady. Another significant finding in this study was also that time to exhaustion during VO2 max testing increased by 9.5%, suggesting that the decreased training left the athletes much fresher. These results indicate that being smart with limited time or training capacity can still help massively in maintaining running performance.    

These changes also appear to be less pronounced in older athletes and athletes who have trained for a longer time. Which makes sense, the accumulated progression and adaptations from consistent training over a long time are more entrenched, and therefore more resistant to deterioration than acute improvements in performance from relatively shorter training blocks.      

As Ross puts it, defending physiology requires much less work than earning that physiology, and a little goes a long way. With races off and freedom of movement restricted in many places, despondency is pervasive. But lamenting the situation and the certainty of your lost fitness gains won’t serve you well. These studies highlight that even though it may be difficult to stick to training plans and complete hard sessions, a significantly reduced load of training still goes a very long way to preserving the physiological adaptations for which you have laboured.

read more
The End Of Season Rest Periods Of The World’s Best Athletes

The End Of Season Rest Periods Of The World’s Best Athletes

Renato Canova: “There are not rules valid for all the athletes, and valid, for the same athletes, always in the same way. After a season, we can have a short RESTING period, before starting the TRANSITION period, which is already a period of training. In Kenya (and Africa generally), the resting period is something including FULL REST. We give, to every athlete, about 2 weeks of total rest, and in this period they don’t do any physical activity.”

read more
John Smith – Speed

John Smith – Speed

Maurice Greene, Ato Bolden, Jon Drummond, Inger Miller, Marie- Jose Perec – world record holders, Olympic champions, they all come to Los Angeles to work with him. Because John Smith has developed a radical approach to training sprinters. Actually, let me rephrase that: he’s developed a radical approach to how to think about training sprinters, that just seems to work better than anything else out there.

read more
Allyson Felix Training – Strength Routine (from 125lbs deadlift, to 270lbs deadlift in 7 months)

Allyson Felix Training – Strength Routine (from 125lbs deadlift, to 270lbs deadlift in 7 months)

“In September of 2002, we began high school sprinter Allyson Felix’s final assault on Marion Jones’ national high school 200-meter record. At the time, Allyson weighed 121 lbs. Allyson increased September’s 125 lbs deadlift to 270 lbs in mid-April and to an estimated 300 lbs by June. Her body weight increased a paltry 2 pounds from 121 lbs to 123 lbs. Meanwhile, her 200-meter sprint time dropped from 22.83 in 2003 to 22.11 in 2004.”

read more
What separates elite athletes from average athletes?

What separates elite athletes from average athletes?

What separates elite athletes from average athletes and average athletes from the general population has a lot to do with the efficiency of the motor control center of the brain and how quickly it can deliver messages to the muscles to perform certain movements. The good news is that an athlete can train his neuromuscular system resulting in better coordination and quicker movements.

read more

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