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Running Article Recs: Heat Training, Overtraining, Neuroplasticity, and More!

Posted on June 16 2015

VCM 2Last year I started sending out a weekly newsletter with recommended articles from around the web. I stopped producing the newsletter in the Fall because it was sometimes tough to come up with articles on a weekly basis, and I simply ran out of steam trying to keep up with it. I thought I might resurrect the recommended article posts on a more sporadic basis, and I’ve read several good articles in the past few weeks that are well-worth sharing.

First, Alex Hutchinson discusses the benefits of training in heat to aerobic performance. As someone who tends to suffer when it gets hot out, it’s nice to know that slogging through hot miles can pay off come the cooler temps of Fall. And you have to love an article that starts out with the following in the opening paragraph:

“Did you know that, if you urgently need to rehydrate someone and they can’t take in fluids orally, you can shove the tube of your hydration pack up their rectum and create an improvised Murphy drip to get the fluids in through the back door? (I don’t recommend trying this without appropriate training, and — thanks to this new knowledge — I also don’t recommend buying hydration packs second-hand!)”

Next, Meaghen Brown of Ouside Online wrote a fantastic article on overtraining syndrome in ultrarunners. She discusses the dramatic rise and subsequent health issues of several prominent ultrarunners in a cautionary tale that warns that sometimes pushing ourselves to the limit can have dire consequences. This article struck a chord with me as I think I was dealing with the effects of overtraining (and overwork) toward the end of last summer and wound up paying the consequences, both mental and physical, for several months in the Fall. I think it’s important to consider that you may not need to be an ultrarunner to suffer the effects of overtraining, and I’ve been trying to approach running (and life) in a much smarter way so far this year.

Next, a great article from Running Times that challenges the idea that there is one ideal way to run, emphasizes variation in our training and movement, and explores the importance of neuroplasticity. I love this passage:

“We all conform to a common blueprint. We have the same components arranged in the same order. But, as nature has no means of precisely manufacturing body parts, how our individual anatomy is fitted together varies extensively. Multiple dimensions of running architecture — snugness of bones within sockets, springiness of tendons, rigidity of feet, geometry of muscles — differ between individuals, sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically.

We learn to run in ways that accommodate these mismatched parts thanks to a pervasive aspect of human biology: plasticity, our capacity to reshape neural and biological structures in response to repeated practice.”

Finally, an interesting read titled “This is why you shouldn’t believe that exciting new medical study.”


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