Your Running News Roundup!

Posted by Filed Under: News and Opinion

We are in the thick of the fall marathon season. Earlier this year I did a quick survey to see which month and weekend has more races than any other. October is the busiest month for marathons, and October 7 was the single busiest day, with 20 marathons. This past Sunday was not far behind. Good luck to all of you who are racing!

Runners Improve with Age

The Los Angeles Times has a special section exploring the effects of aging. One section deals with how older athletes have certain advantages in endurance sports, including running. The Times notes that “Events that require pacing, strategy and mental fortitude are where many older athletes, especially women, excel.” The basic advantage is in between your ears. Older athletes have more experience and are better at developing an executing a strategy in competition.

Let’s Get It Started

Many of us face challenges with our training. We don’t see results fast enough so we get frustrated, which leads to overtraining or a drop off in training. The Los Angeles Times lists some ways to keep your motivation. Some things to consider: vary your routine, train with a friend, and reward yourself.

Cost ≠ Quality

Many people equate cost with quality. We go to a restaurant and think the more expensive wine should be better. The same goes for running shoes. We all want to find our $100 running shoe on sale for $75, but would you ever consider a running shoe that cost $60? Or would you deem such a shoe poorly made from inferior materials? NBA star Stephon Marbury raised some eyebrows when he endorsed a basketball shoe that costs only $14.98, about one-fifth the cost of a pair of Air Jordans. Now the Times of London reports on a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that concludes that cheaper running “provide the same (if not better) cushioning” as high-cost running shoes.

Be Energy Efficient

So what’s the lesson to be learned? Perhaps it’s “Spend just enough money to get the features you need.” The same goes for running itself. The New York Times studied efficiency in athletes. Have you ever been passed in a race by someone who was a flying tangle of arms and legs? Don’t feel bad–they were just more efficient. While running seems to have some basic elements of efficiency, there seems to be little that runners can do to increase their efficiency. Adhering to a certain form make may you look more graceful, but you are probably hampering your performance.

Beat the Heat

In the wake of the problems with the Chicago Marathon, the Times also had some helpful tips for managing the heat. One surprising tidbit: our enzymes perform best within a very narrow temperature range, between about 99 and 105 degrees. Olympic marathon champion Frank Shorter wrote an op-ed piece for the Times in which he tried to figure out what went wrong, and how to avoid the problem in the future.

The Power of Friends

The mainstream media devoted a lot of ink and air time to a study that described how obesity can “pass” from one friend to another. When your friend gains weight, you do, too. Two doctors are trying to use that connection to help people stay fit. They created a new website for “people who already are physically active, like them, and want to meet others. The site also is for those who want to become more active and for whom having a partner might make it more likely that they will stay that way.”

Are Runners Smarter?

Finally, I stumbled across an older article from the Daily Telegraph that looked at research indicating that exercise–particularly aerobic exercise–makes your brain bigger and more capable of learning. Exercise affects a part of the brain called the dentate gyrus, “one of the few areas of the brain where neurogenesis – the creation of nerve cells – takes place.”

One Comment
  1. Mark Iocchelli on October 17th at 11:28 am

    Good stuff, Old School. Related to the aging article, have you ever heard of Ed Whitlock?

    He’s another terrific example of what fitness can do!