Bionic Runner Magazine December 2017
Coffee, it can make you 2% faster.
Ton Bell PB's every race in the last 12 months and qualifies for Boston, find out his secret.
Carbs Vs Fats - you decide.
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8. December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 15 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 14 used to just run”, says Stephen Wilburn of his youth. “Now I try to run sensibly and try to avoid injuries.” Stephen started running in the late 1980s as a young teenager, then he quit for 15 years. When he got back into it in 2005, he found that he got injured more easily than when he was younger, particularly given his love of long-distance runs. Running “sensibly” for the 44-year-old athlete means training with the Bionic Runner. But it isn’t just about being sensible: with its help he set a per - sonal best in a half marathon. “i sT e P hen w i LB urn User s t O r I es
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19. December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 37 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 36 aurent Briere took a roundabout path to the sport of running, coming to it later in his life after twenty 20 years of basketball. After an injury kept him from playing basketball, he chose running as a substitute sport. Little did he realize that he would not only end up loving running, but that he would find a new career in the sport, using cutting- edge technology that includes the Bionic Runner. l Lauren T Briere User s t O r I es
14. December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 27 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 26 December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 27 n late 2014 he ap - plied to run the Berlin Marathon in 2015, one of the six Abbott Mara - thon Majors. He was successful, but also got into the Chicago Marathon that year. Chicago is another of the majors, and he decided to focus on that race. He got into the Berlin Marathon again in 2016, but didn’t make it to the race. Perhaps the third time’s the charm – he applied to run in Berlin again through a special charity place and was accepted into the 2017 race. This time he did make it, though he ran an extra 500 metres! Bionic buildup to Berlin To prepare for this, his fifth, mara - thon and the third of the big six ma - jors, Andy stuck to a very specialized training routine he’d developed after being told by his doctor not to run the New York Marathon in 2014 due to a bad knee. “I use a Run Less, Run Faster train - ing program that specifies three core runs each week for up to a 16-week program,” Andy says. He did one speed and one tempo workout each week, plus one long run. Then he used his Bionic Runner for two cross-training sessions each week. This helped Andy with his goal to train harder, while running less. Training on the Bionic Runner also allowed Andy to heal up between his speed workouts and his long runs. Most of the time, Andy, who lives in Brisbane, trained indoors on his BR, for about 30 to 45 minutes each time. But when he needed a change, he took the Bionic Runner outdoors – this was particularly helpful when he hurt his calf running with spikes on the track. “It was when nursing a calf niggle picked up through speed work that the Bionic Runner really came into its own”, he explains. “I did my longest BRun of 50km during this period, User s t O r I es i User s t O r I es a ndy Gray Bionic Runner Preparation for the Berlin Marathon Andy Gray had a problem over the last few years that many long-dis - tance runners wish they could share. He gained admittance to too many mara - thons and had to choose between them!
1. BIONIC RUNNER Placebo e ffect: f rom Su PP lement S to l ucky Sock S Plyometric exercise Running on Coffee: Caffeine as a Training Tool c arbs V s Fats s afe Weight l oss r un to the b eat, and Get Faster t he r eco V ery Windo W d i G esti V e h ealth r ecovery t echniques s lee P m ore, Per F orm b etter Bionic Runner Profile: l aurent b riere Jean- yV es n ourdin a ndy Gray s te P hen Wilburn #2 issue / december 2017 www.run4.com r unnin G for a Longer Life Weights for Runners TOM BELL
20. BI on I c runn E r December 2017 38 December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 39 Taking a new trail A decade ago, a serious injury put a stop to Laurent’s passion for basket - ball. He was forced to choose anoth - er sport if he wanted to stay active. He chose something complete - ly different from basketball, and the choice he made set him on a trail to - wards a new life. “My choice fell on the race”, Lau - rent says. “Especially trail running.” It was not an easy transition, though. But he stuck with it and sur - prised himself with how much he changed. “Whereas in the beginning, running 5km required a considerable effort, I now run almost 1,500km in a year”, Laurent says. He’s not a competitor, other than with himself. For Laurent, trail run - ning is a thing of beauty. “What I like about this sport is run - ning over long distances, discovering new places and landscapes”, he says. “The important thing for me is to en - joy nature while sharing with other runners this passion.” There were other challenges, too. Most of the trails he enjoyed running and racing on went up. “I unfortunately live in a fairly flat area which does not allow me to op - timally prepare my body and muscles to climb very steep paths”, he says. “The first races in the mountains were very difficult for me.” So he spent a lot of time running up and down stairs to train for the steep, rugged climbs and descents he faced in his new sport. Brutal but best Little by little, Laurent persevered and improved, though progress was slow. “This progress allows you to have extra motivation and the desire to go further, higher and run longer and longer”, he says. He kept going further and higher until he found himself, a few years ago, running one of the toughest trail runs in the world. This was the infamous 6000D, in La Plagne, France, a 67 kilometre course that climbs 3000 metres and then descends 3000m. He describes it as both the hardest and the best run he’s ever done. “It was the first long race I attend - ed”, Laurent explains. “I had to run for 11:30 hours to cross the finish line, holding the hand of one of my daughters. It was a great moment for me that I will never forget.” Training for that race also opened up another aspect of the running ex - perience for him – friendship. “This race required several months of preparation that I realized with my best friend Jean-François, who also finished”, Laurent says. From GoPro to Pro That social aspect of running and racing is fundamental to Laurent’s enjoyment of the sport, and he used technology to boost his social con - nections from running. User s t O r I es “My choice fell on the race, especially trail running.”
3. BI on I c runn E r December 2017 4 December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 5 ike many runners, Tom Bell appreciates the phys - ical fitness he has gained from running. Long workouts on Nova Scotia’s lovely, lonely log - ging trails keep him in tip - top shape. “I have never felt better, nor have I ever been in better condition,” he says. And he takes his fitness seriously, training seven days a week at age 56. But for Tom, running has been less about being physically fit than about his emotional and mental health. It’s pulled him out of several of life’s big crises, and with the help of his new Bionic Runner, he hopes to keep on setting and achieving new goals. n ever m y Favorite Thing During a nearly three-decadelong ca - reer in the military, Tom did his fair share of running, and learned how to keep healthy. But in the military, running is a means to an end, like learning to shoot straight – any pleasure the participants take from it is secondary. Not that Tom took too much pleasure from it. “We kept fit in the military,” Tom says, “but running was never my fa - vorite thing.” After 28 years, though, Tom had picked up some injuries during his various deployments, and he had to retire from the career that not only meant a great deal to him, but which also kept him fit. It was a difficult blow to take. But he did his best to face it head on. “I had to make a choice after my re - lease; whether to wallow in self pity for being released, or set some goals and stay healthy,” Tom says. “I chose the latter.” Two years ago he joined a local running club, hoping to keep fit and to meet some like-minded people. Making that positive deci - sion was help - ful in keeping him moving for - ward on a con - structive course. “Running became my main path to mental well - ness, keeping me energized and able to continue with pursuing a positive path and new goals,” he says. When his father, Norm Bell, died in 2016, Tom also turned to running to help him through his grief. He planned to run the Hamilton mara - thon in Ontario, a major qualifying race for the famous Boston mara - thon, in November, and he dedicated the run to his father. But like the loss of his dad, it was a tough, painful run. “I wanted to qualify for Boston and had full confidence I was ready to do it,” Tom says. “About the 28K mark, I suffered an injury on a sharp de - cline part of the course. I tried to compensate with my stride but the wheels came off at 34K and I struggled to even finish, missing Boston by five minutes.” w ork For The Local Physio Despite such setbacks, running was suddenly much more important to Tom, and more fun, too, most of the time. He took to running in the trails through the Nova Scotia forest around his home. Often, he’d run with his dogs through the wilderness. “Running on logging trails through the woods brings me great peace of mind,” he says. But peace of mind wasn’t always accompanied by peace of body. Those injuries he’d gotten during military service hadn’t gone away. Tom Be LL User s t O r I es Not many people can say the have PB’d every race since they change something in their training. Tom Bell can, because he has PB’d every race since he started training with the BR. Here’s Tom’s story. l
9. BI on I c runn E r December 2017 16 s hin is a four-letter word Stephen has always been drawn to long running events, whether half marathons, full marathons or even Ironman events. He’s not fast, but has the iron determination to com - plete ultra-long events, events so long that there’s always some suffer - ing. The question is what type of suf - fering, and how much is too much – questions that all ultra athletes have to answer at some point. Running has taken Stephen all over the world – he counts long trail runs around Nashville, Tennessee, as the best runs of his life; but he hasn’t al - ways been able to enjoy the exotic locations he’s visited, such as Lanza - rote, in the Canary Islands. “The heat was incredible”, he says, remembering the marathon portion of the Lanzarote Ironman. “I felt like I was breathing fire.” But iron determination didn’t mean Stephen had iron shins, and that proved a chronic, discouraging prob - lem for him. Nor did iron determina - tion solve the shin problem. “I have suffered from shin pain when running every year at some point”, Stephen says. “I just keep go - ing, but it takes away the pleasure of running when every step hurts.” “ n othing worked” When it didn’t work to “just keep go - ing” anymore, Stephen sought other solutions for his shin pain. He tried different shoes – Hokas – or running without any shoes, run - ning on grass, standing in cold water, ice, heat, taping his shins, compres - sion socks, even exercises such as calf raises. “Nothing worked”, he says. Desperation drove him to look at more radical solutions, such as the Elliptigo device, which he ultimately rejected due to its “flatter motion” than running. Even so, he was pretty sceptical even of the Bionic Runner, before he got on it. “It looked like running”, he says of his decision to try it out. “I didn’t think it would work but I needed to try something.” Even as desperate as he was, he dithered. “It took me about nine months from seeing one on the Internet to actually buying one”, he says of the Bionic Runner. “I had it in my basket so many times before I bought it.” Propelled towards a personal best He wishes now he’d gotten it soon - er. After just six weeks of training on the BR, Stephen broke a personal record. “I had my first personal best at a half marathon for three years”, he says. “I can’t wait to see what I can do next year with a full winter’s train - ing on it.” His first impressions of a Bionic Runner workout erased all his doubts. “Wow, it really works”, he thought after that first ride. “It seems to acti - vate my quads and glutes, and actual - ly makes me stronger running.” Stephen uses the BR typically for aerobic workouts, pushing himself to 70 percent of his max heart rate. “I do 90 minutes, three times per week, which is 20 miles per session”, he says. “And I run and cycle the oth - er days.” Setting aside the technical training advantages and the aerobic and en - durance boost he’s gotten from his training on the Bionic Runner, Ste - phen explains the machine has one other advantage – riding it around turns him into a sort of celebrity. Sort of, because the real celebrity is the BR itself. “I could wear a tinfoil hat and cape”, he says, “and everyone would still be looking at the Bionic Runner.” “I have suffered from shin pain when running every year at some point.” “I do 90 minutes, three times per week, which is 20 miles per session.” User s t O r I es December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 17
15. BI on I c runn E r December 2017 28 December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 29 User s t O r I es just a few weeks out from the mar - athon.” Even though his calf injury led to a “sympathetic” hamstring pull as well, he was able to keep up his schedule. “The Bionic Runner allowed me to train through both without losing condition”, Andy says. Beware of “Bier and Bratwurst” Once Andy made it to Berlin, a few days before the 24 September race, he had a few challenges the Bionic Runner couldn’t help him with. His hotel was famous for its enor - mous buffet breakfasts, so he had to choose carefully when it came to nu - trition. Fortunately, the broad selection included plenty of foods with a low glycemic index (GI) that he could eat. “It had heaps of low GI foods and protein to load up before the mara - thon and they even opened up ear - ly on the Sunday of the event so we could get a good feed in”, he recalls. Temptations abounded, though, at that time of year in Berlin. “It was Oktoberfest, but I stayed away from the bier and bratwurst un - til after the event, then well and truly made up for lost time”, Andy says. He got in an 8km run two days be - fore the marathon, which gave him a chance to run some of the course – the start and finish area near the Tiergarten. To take his mind off the race, he watched a different kind of marathon. “I got to see the inline skating mar - athon the day before and witnessed some crazy costumes and some gnarly crashes”, he says. n ot quite far enough? It rained Saturday night, leaving wet roads on Sunday for the race. Mist and some cool drizzle kept things damp, but the temperature was per - fect. “The race went mostly according to plan”, Andy says. His goal was to run a 3:30 marathon. “I did have to have a quick toilet stop after only a slight urge started to mess with my head”, he says. But he wasn’t discouraged. “I made up for this lost time.” However, he made up for that lost time a little too well! “This was the first marathon where I did not hit a wall at all and managed to lift my pace in the last 10km in - stead of fading”, he says. Andy finished 2 minutes past his goal of 3:30, still 5 minutes better at 3:32 than any previous time he’d run. Yet there was a bit of a twist – he’d run too far! “I managed a personal best of 3:32 chasing my target of 3:30 but actually ran 500 metres more than 42.2K!” he says. With all the crowds of people in the race, he’d been unable to stick to the “blue line” that marks the course. Tokyo to go After some celebratory bier and bratwurst , Andy was ready to reflect on his race and look towards the fu - ture. “I’m calling it a 3:30”, he says, given the extra half kilometre he ran. His goal, now having run three of the Abbott Marathon Majors – New York, Chicago and Berlin – is to com - plete the other three – London, To - kyo and Boston. The Bionic Runner will help him get there “The Bionic Runner is fully inte - grated into my training regime”, Andy says. “It helps prevent injury, and it helps recovery from injury picked-up in higher impact activities. The Bionic Runner has improved my upper leg and hip strength as well as core and it has definitely assisted with running economy and cadence.” Proper training will help him get through those three remaining major marathons, but a bit of luck will help, too. “The day after the marathon, I re - ceived email notification that I’d se - cured an entry in the ballot for To - kyo!” Andy says. Perhaps that extra 500 metres got Andy wondering, too, if maybe a mar - athon isn’t quite far enough. Thinking ahead, he adds another goal to the list. “I also aim to complete my first 50K trail ultra next year.” His goal, now having run three of the Abbott Marathon Majors – New York, Chicago and Berlin – is to complete the other three – London, Tokyo and Boston.
2. What is it? Finally an outdoor running trainer that gives you the same workout as running but without the pounding. Why use one? To arrive at events fast, fit AND unin - jured. When should you use one? When you are building volume, peak - ing, or want a safe interval or fartlek tool. It will enable you to manage the excessive training loads, and avoid impact and overextension injuries. How does it help prevent injury? The Bionic Mechanism transfers the passive ground reaction forces into active ground reaction forces. Passive GRF are the point at which impact injuries occur. By increasing active GRF you build running strength. The Bionic also protect you from extention inju - ries. How will it help you to get faster? Intervals and fartlek are known to increase speed, but can often lead to impact related or over extention inju - ries. Now you can perform these in a safe environment. The resistance train - ing will build foundation leg strength. By doing Bricks, you can double your training distance. How it is different from an elliptical or a bike? Ellipticals and bikes don’t feel like running, and they don’t get your cardio into the same zones. The Bionic Runner has a gait similar to running with a high kickup and the foot landing under your body. It will also give you a workout every bit as tough as running. What has changed to enable a new solution? For years of R&D, and 1000’s of hours of testing by runners in 32 countries around the world. “ I was recovering from a torn plantar fascia and subsequent stress fracture of metatarsal. I could only manage to get 12 runs in before the Ber - lin marathon, and the rest of my training was done on the Bionic Runner. I can honestly say that it got me over the line. I ran 3.51 which is 3 min faster than my NY time last year after having trained all year for that race. Thanks.” Salliann Powell , Brisbane “ I have stayed completely injury-free despite an estimated 12,000,000 steps in 8,000 miles.’ Dr Tom Anthony, New York “ After two months of commuting to work I decreased my time in the Prague 10 km Grand Prix night event from 38:21 to 36:24, finishing 79th place out of 5542 runners. I don’t think you need better evidence, that the Bionic runner realy does it’s job well :-) ” Roman Hermanek, Czech Republic Check it out now www.run4. C om
21. BI on I c runn E r December 2017 40 December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 41 User s t O r I es “Since I’ve participated in these races I always have with me a GoPro camera”, he explains. “That allows me to shoot images and take the time to take some pictures on my course and then share it with a maximum of people.” Serendipitously, that video sharing led Laurent on a path to a new ca - reer. When the organiz - ers of some races saw his videos, they contacted Laurent and asked him if he would make official films of their events. “It has become my profession now”, Laurent says. “I am a professional photographer and director.” He’s become involved in the sport in a completely new way since 2014, following some of the top trail run - ners in the world on their races, in - cluding Xavier Thevenard, who won the Ultra Trail of Mont-Blanc, and Sylvaine Cussot. From curiosity to lifesaver Laurent first started Bionic Running more from curiosity than anything. “Initially, when I discovered the BR video on the Internet my first impres - sion was astonishment”, he says, “but also the originality of the concept and the beauty.” He found it a practical way to sup - plement his running training, too, when he got one. But quickly he found that the Bionic Runner was a great boon to the social side of run - ning. People loved it. “I then discovered the craze that the BR aroused in people whom I met on my way when I went out on it”, he says. He allowed people to try it, and explained its operation to them. “I took a lot of pleasure during these demonstrations to explain the operation of this atypical bike”, Lau - rent says. But when he broke his right collar - bone while making a film last summer, he found the Bionic Runner wasn’t just a cool conversation starter. “I had to see a physiotherapist to teach my shoulder to function normally”, he says. “This long immobilization of the shoulder also made me lose a lot of muscle mass in my legs and arms.” During recov - ery, he wasn’t able to run. “I could not run right away because of the vibrations caused by running on my skeleton and therefore on my collarbone, which was not yet very well consolidated”, he explains. But he could ride his Bionic Run - ner. “The BR was so helpful to me. I was able to start training again (heart, lung, muscle)”, Laurent says. “This has been beneficial not only for my legs but also for the rehabilitation of the muscles of my shoulders and arms.” As he has recovered enough to be - gin running again, Laurent has con - tinued to train with the Bionic Run - ner as he did while healing. “It has become both a leisure but also a training companion to run - ning”, he explains. But despite its practicality, the Bi - onic Runner appeals to the romantic soul of the man whose favourite mo - ments of running are all about beau - ty. “Absolute happiness in these mo - ments is to cross animals on the trails”, he says. And that’s his philosophy about the Bionic Runner, too, he explains: “I am very attached to the beauty of this bike.” The BR was so helpful to me. I was able to start training again (heart, lung, muscle).
10. December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 19 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 18 User s t O r I es Q & A with sT e P hen w i LB urn What’s your favourite place to train? Seaside near my home in South Shields, UK. Any nutrition suggestions? Stop eating junk. Why did you start bionic running? Shin pain. Do you have any injuries? Shin pain. Any major goals or races coming up? Dark Skies night trail marathon. What are your favourite things about bionic running? Being outside. Has it changed the way you train? Yes, I can get more volume without injury risk. Do you have a favourite training routine with the Bionic Runner? A straight 20 miles along the coast. What are the three best things you like about the Bionic Runner? The glute activation. The speed. And the support from Steve and Carol. What would you do if you couldn’t use a Bionic Runner anymore? Limp slowly. What would you say to someone considering buying a Bionic Run - ner? Just do it. I was unsure for nine months and missed loads of training due to injuries during that time. Tell us something that no one would know about you. I love the despair of long runs. If you were to define Bionic Run - ning in a word, what would it be? Impact-free. Bonus question: Is there a question you’d like to answer for us about Bionic Runner? What would you change on the BR? I would change the tyres to Schwalbe Marathons straightaway. “ I love the despair of long runs.”
6. December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 11 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 10 t’s not fun. Small won - der, then, that there have been so many studies about alterna - tive fueling options for endurance athletes. Anyone who has spent months training for an event only to lose steam partway through would be within their rights to think there must be a better way. Depending on who you ask, there might be a differ - ent, better, approach. Conventional wisdom has it that carbohydrates are endurance fuel. There are innumerable gels, drinks and bars on the market announcing themselves as “energy food” that are either high in carbohydrates, or caf - feine, or both. Millions of marathon - ers can’t be wrong, right? Well, may - be. Let’s look at the research. While refueling with carbohydrates during endurance events appears to help maintain energy levels in endurance athletes, what would happen if those athletes were using fat, not sugar, as their primary fuel? A ketogenic diet is basically the opposite of the standard endurance athlete’s diet. Keto looks like about 70 percent of calories coming from fat, another 15–20 percent of cal - ories coming from protein, and only the remaining 10–15 percent of cal - ories coming from carbohydrates. In some studies, a low carbohydrate diet is written off as ineffective be - cause subjects experienced a slight reduction in athletic capacity after a six-week period. One criticism of this type of study is that it can take up to ten weeks for your metabolism to ful - ly switch over to burning fat for fuel. Don’t worry; it’s only the first one to two weeks that you’ll feel the so- called “carb flu” as your body works its way through sugar withdrawal. During this time of adaptation, ath - letic performance will indeed suffer, as you’ve used up your glycogen stores and your metabolism is flailing about trying to figure out what to use as fuel instead. People who embark on a ketogenic diet often experience a rather sudden loss of water weight at the beginning of their diet, which can translate into faster race times just by virtue of carrying less physical weight across the finish line. Unfortunately, even seasoned athletes can experience a certain amount of fatigue as they adjust to their new way of eating. Studies which allow for a longer fat-adaptation period sometimes show no signif - icant change in endurance, or some positive change in trained athletes. One intriguing approach offers the best of both the low-carbohydrate approach and the high-carbohydrate way of eat - ing., forcing the body to burn fat as fuel shifts the metabolism even after loading with carbohydrates for a few days. Following a ketogenic protocol for several weeks, followed by two to three days of carbohydrate replen - ishment seems to allow the body to continue prioritizing fat as fuel, sav - ing muscle glycogen for later in the endurance event. It makes sense that optimizing all available fuel pathways would result in better performance. When we’re looking at studies that show clear, conclusive evidence on a topic that has been contentious for decades, it’s important to look at who paid for the study. In the FAST - ER study on ultra-endurance athletes following a ketogenic diet, athletes were seen to burn significantly more fat as fuel during 3-hour endurance runs, and both the high carbohydrate group and the ketogenic group dis - played similar degrees of muscle gly - cogen deple - tion. It’s worth noting that in this study the subjects were all seasoned competitive en - durance athletes, and those who were part of the ketogenic group had been eating according to the pro - tocol for an average of 20 months. Definitely no concerns that these athletes lacked time to adapt to fat as fuel. The only part that might give pause is that this entire study was jointly funded by Atkins and Quest, both companies who have a vested interest in the low-carb marketing game. It doesn’t mean the results of the study are not valid, but maybe take it as a large grain of salt. The advantages of teaching your body how to use fat as fuel don’t just have to do with performance gains. People following very low carb diets often report reduced hunger, steadier blood sugar, controlled Type II diabetes, weight loss and better sleep. There’s some evidence show - ing that a low carb diet can protect your metabolic rate from drop - ping; research indicates that the body’s total energy expendi - ture (the number of calories that you burn by just exist - ing plus your daily activities) drops less when subjects lost weight on a very low- carb diet than those who lost weight on a low-fat diet. That being said, a ketogenic way of eating is not for everyone. If a high-carb diet is working well for you, your body composition is where you’d like it to be, and you’re happy ... it ain’t broke, so don’t fix it. Likewise, if you embark on a low-carb way of eating and find that even after the adaptation period you’re suffering from low energy, higher perceived ef - fort during normal activities, and feel cold all the time, then by all means ditch it. A ketogenic approach is not for everyone. Curious? Intrigued? The only way to find out if a ketogenic approach to endurance activities will work for you is to try it out. You might be pleas - antly surprised to be free of all those sports beverages and gels. i f OOD Car B s V s Fa T s If you’re a distance runner, you’ve proba - bly experienced “bonking”:, when your blood sug - ar drops, you hit the wall part way through a run and just don’t have any more gas in the tank. The advantages of teaching your body how to use fat as fuel don’t just have to do with performance gains.
11. sk a human to tap their fingers on a ta - ble, and the tempo they’ll likely settle into is close to 120 beats per minute. This is also the cadence at which people tend to walk, and a huge number of popular songs are in this 120bpm groove. Humans, apparently, love this cadence. If we are driven by this universal rhythm, it would follow that other rhythms will affect our baseline functions and per - ceptions. Humans also really like being on the beat. No, we really like it. In a study comparing subjects moving in time with the music against subjects listening to music that was a bit slow - er than the cadence of their move - ments, those moving with the beat used oxygen more efficiently. Beyond affecting mood, it looks like listening to music can affect our basic bodily functions in a pretty significant way. On a fundamental level, music in - fluences the rhythm of our brainwav - es. The wrinkly organ which drives all of our systems syncs up with musi - cal beats, which has a cascade effect throughout the body. With proven effects on heart rate, blood pres - sure, mood and work output, it looks like listening to music is a more than pleasant distraction for endurance athletes; it’s a powerful tool. Your background and education seem to be a piece of the music-as-tool puz - zle; when listening to motivational up-tempo music, trained musicians seem to be the most affected in terms of alertness. Maybe they are more in tune with their ears? There doesn’t seem to be any habituation effect (meaning the “dose” of music continues to be effective even over time, without tapering off). This is promising: other performance-en - hancing techniques, at least those in - volving ingesting substances, tend to create higher and higher tolerances (as is the case of caffeine). The recent trend of “body hacking” makes influencing our basic body functions sound more complicated than it is. We don’t need to attach electrodes to our heads to facilitate fundamental brain wave chang - es just to gain a better 10K time. All we need are some earbuds. The mechanism by which music affects our prefrontal cortex is not known, but the effect has been defini - tively proven in studies on the subject. Listening to music increases cerebral blood flow, which holds promise for people suffering from brain disorders or dementia. So how do we focus this positive effect in our running training? Tak - ing a cue from the research, it looks like upbeat, motivational music, with a dominant beat, is the most effec - tive way to amp up your vagal tone. Consider situation-specific music, as your playlist isn’t just useful for your workout but also recovery. The same response that ramps up blood pressure and heart rate in response to rock music responds to relaxing tunes by reducing systemic tension. For endurance athletes, it might be worth considering choosing calmer motivational music to maintain a low - er overall heart rate over the course of a long event, thereby conserving energy for the final push. The emotional impact of music choice cannot be overstated, and this is a huge aspect of its usefulness as a training tool. Music (or the ab - sence of music) has a strong effect on athletes’ perceived rate of exer - tion over a 5km run. Study subjects found themselves able to run faster in an all-out 1.5 mile test, but when it comes to maximal efforts it looks like music’s power to reduce perceived rate of exertion fades. Its effect on performance remains, however, so even for short sprints music choice is key. If you’re looking to cash in on the effect of reduced perceived exertion (about 10 percent) that music has on running, stick with training below your maximum threshold for speed. Runners know that reaching a state of “flow” is very desirable, especially when sustaining effort over long dis - tances. Music can facilitate that slip into the groove, and Haile Gebrselas - sie famously set the world record for 2000 metre sprint, in part by using a musical strategy and syncing his run - ning pace to the beat of Scatman by the late Scatman John. Given music’s reputation for facilitating increased work output, it’s an easy choice to include it in your training regimen. In 2007, USA Track & Field, which governs most major marathons in North America, famously banned the use of headphones and music play - ers during events. Their rationale mainly proves the earlier points of this article, however, as one of their reasons for banning the devices was so runners wouldn’t have an “edge” over non-musically motivated ath - letes. The pushback was so great, however, that race officials have largely declined to enforce the ruling. Runners are in love with their music, and it takes a monumental effort to pry it out of their hands. For many, a running playlist is a deeply personal choice. The music that gets you going may be simply annoying to another runner. Consid - er choosing music that has a tempo that works for your target pace and you may find yourself setting PRs with less effort than ever. Fol - low your run with some slow - er-tempo, relaxing music, and your heart rate and central nervous system will thank you. a mU s IC r un T o T he Bea T , and Ge T Fas T er Humans, as a species, are pretty predictable. We have consistent circadian rhythms, need similar amounts of sleep, and we all, universally, love ice cream. December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 21 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 20 Listening to music increases cerebral blood flow, which holds promise for people suffering from brain disorders or dementia.
5. t Running on Coffee: Caffeine as a Training Tool C O ffee he way in which people talk about coffee makes it sound like some kind of snake oil magic cure-all that can’t pos - sibly be as good as it sounds. “I can’t get going without it”, “I’m smarter after coffee”, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of “I heart coffee” mugs, t-shirts, and bumper stickers. It’s a global obses - sion that has proven it’s here to stay. I, for one, welcome our caffeinated overlords. Luckily for me and my own personal addiction, the science is starting to show that coffee has some serious health and training benefits. Historically, coffee has been blamed for stunting growth, raising blood pressure and causing heart attacks. That’s a lot of blame. Lately, however, coffee is recovering its tar - nished reputation ... it looks like regu - lar coffee drinkers are at reduced risk for MS, cardiovascular disease, mela - noma and more. It looks like regularly drinking coffee might reduce the risk of premature death across the board, reducing all-cause mortality. In one of the few studies that observed non-white populations, the positive effects of drinking coffee extend to populations of colour as well. There are a few things to consid - er when looking at coffee’s benefits: people who drink coffee regularly are, at a baseline, at least affluent enough to afford it. Exclud - ing non-coffee drinkers also excludes those who are living in abject poverty as well as people who avoid coffee because of exist - ing medical conditions. Coffee drinkers may also spend a bit more time socializing, which could lead to better emotional health and well-being. One final thing to consid - er is that athletes who think they’re getting caffeine also perform a bit better, so the placebo effect can be strongly in play in some of these studies. That being said, every study referenced here includes a control group who ingest a similarly flavoured caffeine-free beverage to inhibit the placebo response possibility. A side from increasing alertness, what’s so great about coffee? Quite a bit, actually: trained cyclists were able to cycle 5 percent faster than a control group in a time trial after ingesting 5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight. Both competitive and recreational runners perform up to 2 percent better after ingesting a compara - ble dose. Caffeine has an ergo - genic (energy-creating) effect for efforts lasting up to 2 hours, and appears to be metabolized similarly in both men and women. That 2 to 5 percent boost in speed could mean the difference between placing and not placing in a competition scenario. Spreading your caffeine consumption out over a longer endurance event appears to be a solid strategy for max - imizing power output and endurance. So if 5mg of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight is good, more would be better, right? Not necessarily. Not only does a 5mg/kg/BW dose keep your caffeinated urine well below the Olympic doping standards, it seems to be the point at which caffeine’s benefits start to level off. Beyond this dose level, subjects get jittery, have trouble focusing and experience increased anxiety. These are not great qualities to cultivate during a high-pressure performance situation. Keep in mind, as well, that to ingest this amount of caffeine from coffee you’re looking at 5 to 7 8 ounce cups, so it’s not an insignificant amount of liquid to be pouring into your system. Even a much lower dose of about 3mg/kg/BW appears to be ergogenic ... even more so than a dose of 9mg/ kg/BW, without creating the less-fun side effects mentioned above. This lower dose also doesn’t influence heart rate or blood pressure. This would suggest that caffeine interacts directly with the central nervous sys - tem rather than the previous theory that caffeine influenced secretion of adrenaline and other catecholamines. For enhanced athletic perfor - mance, some combination of car - bohydrates and caffeine seems to be the ideal, al - though in one study both sucrose and caffeine worked as well as a combination of the two in improv - ing running performance at 80 per - cent of VO2 max. Ingesting caffeine and carbs together (in a fed state) could offer a significant boost to your race times. Sport gels that contain both sugar and a caffeine supple - ment would be a convenient option pre-training or pre-race. Keep in mind, as pointed out above, that coffee is not the only delivery agent for caffeine, and the amount of coffee you’d need to consume in the hour prior to your race could send you to the bathroom at an awkward moment. Alternatives include caf - feine-containing gels or pre-workout beverages (these are also easier to manage mid-event than a steaming cup of espresso). For those of us who prefer to go old-school, or who have proven stomachs (and bladders) of steel, caffeine from coffee works just as well as caffeine in supplement form. You may have read that caffeine’s performance-enhancing effect is only really useful for folks who don’t drink coffee daily. Luckily for hard-core ad - dicts, that theory doesn’t appear to hold water. Even if you’re downing multiple cups per day, caffeine as a pre- or mid-workout performance booster will be just as effective. As performance enhancing drugs go, caffeine has stood the test of time and continues to be the drug of choice for many, many profession - al and recreational athletes. Con - sidering coffee to be a therapeutic intervention to boost athletic per - formance may be a new approach for some who have previously con - sidered it more of a lifestyle bever - age. Judicious mid-race dosing could change the outcome of your next marathon; just do a pre-event trial run to make sure your digestive sys - tem is on board with the new plan! December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 9 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 8 Caffeine has an ergogenic (energy- creating) effect for efforts lasting up to 2 hours, and appears to be metabolized similarly in both men and women.
25. your mood suffering. Since mood can be predictive of athletic perfor - mance, this is a big deal. It makes sense that if you’re feeling more op - timistic you’ll perform better ... it’s that old “whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” chestnut. In this case, missing out on sleep can predispose you think you can’t, which in turn becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’re get - ting adequate sleep but still suffering from a negative frame of mind, man - aging your emotional state can have an impact upon your athletic perfor - mance in and of itself. As if increased risk of injury and dampened mood weren’t enough, chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a host of other health complications as well ... shift workers, who routine - ly operate on suboptimal amounts of sleep, demonstrate higher levels of circulating cortisol, a stress hormone, and are at higher risk of weight gain, insulin resistance and type II diabetes. After sleep loss, one study found ele - vated levels of pro-inflammatory cy - tokenes, which point to an immuno - suppressive effect. Since we already know that in the hours and days after a marathon our immune systems are particularly vulnerable, it becomes even more important to carefully safeguard sleeping hours in the con - t e x t of en - durance training. For optimal sleep, there are several steps you can take. You may have heard that the blue light emitted from backlit screens (like tablets, smartphones and televisions) can mess with your sleep cycle ... and the research backs up that claim. Blue light exposure in the evening suppresses your body’s production of melatonin, prevent - ing you from attaining sufficient deep sleep for fully restorative rest. Studies have found that even in the absence of a screen, low-level back - ground light has an influence on your body’s production of melatonin. Your best bet is to make your room as dark as possible, even covering your alarm clock and using blackout curtains to keep ambient light out at night. By abstaining from screens a few hours before bedtime and sleeping in total darkness, you will give your body the best chance at full repair. Sleep is the athlete’s cornerstone, and there are no supplements or dietary interven - tions that will allow you to cut this corner, unfortunately. If you are troubled by uneasy sleep, however, there are some nu - tritional strategies that can help to improve the quality of your rest. While we can’t cheat the clock, we can facilitate deep sleep by taking in a balanced diet of high-quality foods which include sufficient fibre content. Another strategy involves supplementing with magnesium to improve sleep quality. On the whole, eating your vegetables and going bed early brings us back to the advice we received as children. Maybe all those grownups were on to something ... . Exercise and sleep are intrinsically intertwined; good sleep leads to bet - ter physical capacity, and adequate vigorous aerobic activity leads to better sleep. It’s a bit of a chicken- and-egg argument, and the exact mechanisms by which these two are related need to be studied further. In the meantime, it’s safe to say that we all need more sleep than we’re get - ting, and up to 12 hours per night (in the case of some professional athletes) will allow your tissues to recover from all those miles you’re putting in. You might be surprised to see what happens if you make it your job to max out your sleeping hours each night for, say, two weeks. It may take a bit of getting used to (and your social life may suffer) but especially if you are incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in your work - outs this is one recovery strategy that you cannot afford to ignore. he A lth December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 49 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 48 leep. We’re just not getting enough of it. Even if we’re getting the doctor-rec - ommended 7 hours a night, it’s probably still not enough. There’s a fairly straightforward correlation between training and sleep: training more? Sleep more. But while we move through our fast-paced lives, it can seem like an easy compromise to stay up just one hour later, or get up just one hour earlier, to squeeze a little more work or training into the day. Feeding into this is the culture of busyness that rewards workaholics. If you’re working at all hours you must be incredibly dedicated; staying late and waking at 5:00 am to train? How admirable! We’ll sleep when we’re dead, right? Unfortunately, this stoic atti - tude of powering through sleep deprivation has far-reaching athletic and general health con - sequences. When it comes to performance, even short-term sleep deprivation negative - ly impacts upon reaction time and aerobic capacity in trained athletes. In one case, the train - ing load increased for competitive rowers leading up to an event, and the training schedule compressed their sleeping window. Consequent - ly, the rowers’ athletic performance suffered significantly. Conversely, basketball players who were tasked with increasing their sleep time by an average of 90 minutes per night displayed faster sprint times and re - ported an increase in overall physical and mental wellbeing during games. Missing the necessary hours of sleep leaves your body open to inju - ries, since carrying a sleep debt can leave you less coordinated, on top of limiting time for your tissues to regenerate. Since sleep is when your body rebuilds muscles stressed by exercise, it’s a logical conclusion that limiting sleep limits recovery. If you are sleep deprived, you may also find s Athletes talk a lot about training methodologies, supplements, and nutrition. All of these are vitally import - ant pieces of the puzzle when it comes to optimal athletic performance, but those of us who are working, possibly parenting, and training on top of an already full schedule are likely forget - ting an even bigger puzzle piece. Missing the necessary hours of sleep leaves your body open to injuries. Sleep More, p erfor M Better
16. listers, chafing, dehydration, ex - haustion, early morning training runs ... and let’s not forget the other kind of runs. Runners often suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) distress when participating in mar - athons, triathlons, Ironman races or other ultra-endurance events. These complaints range from nausea to cramping to diarrhoea, and none of them are fun. So what’s the deal with runners’ tummies? And how can ath - letes prevent these unpleasant side effects of their chosen sport? It’s becoming clear that the health of your gut is tied closely to the health of your brain, as the gut–brain axis is studied more and more close - ly. Unbalanced gut microbiota can af - fect your mood and outlook, as well as your immune function. These are pretty big areas of concern for many people, so it’s worth taking a closer look at interventions that may help keep things moving along smoothly. Your gut microbiome isn’t the only thing that suffers when your GI tract is out of whack. Athletes suffering from intestinal distress of any kind were less likely to drink or refuel adequately (because they felt aw - ful), which messes with their energy balance and hydration. Hint: dehy - dration is a contributing factor for GI distress. It’s a vicious cycle. It looks like GI complaints related to endurance training and competing are caused by a few things, all of them closely intertwined. Extreme (and not-so-extreme) training regimens appear to increase gut permeability, which affects nutrient absorption. Even running for 60 minutes with - out adequately replenishing fluids can compromise your gut health. Ultra-marathoners know that all the jostling that goes along with running can result in blood loss in the intestines. There’s no dietary inter - vention for jostling, but I hear there’s a low-impact endurance trainer on the market ... But is it only the im - pact-heavy extreme train - ing? Competitive endurance athletes also tend to adhere to extreme diet plans, which could also be a contributing factor. Run - ners who consume a fibre-rich meal before competing are setting them - selves up for cramps (so lay off the hummus for a day or so before your marathon), while in-race beverages and gels can help to reduce stom - ach upset, depending on their ingre - dients list. Carbohydrate drinks and gels that contain both glucose and fructose seem to be the way to go. Once thought to be the cause of runner’s diarrhoea, restricted blood flow to the internal organs doesn’t seem to be a contributing factor, at least according to one study. It looks like the big picture of gut health for endurance athletes may be a lot more complicated than it appears at first blush. Marathon runners, for example, have better gut motility than their untrained counterparts, so it’s possible to bring your insides up to speed with your outsides and avoid uncomfortable consequences. One strategy for avoiding stomach upset at a critical moment is to in - corporate your race foods into your training runs. This approach has two benefits: one, you’ll discover in a low- stress environment how your body responds to any new supplements or recovery beverages, and, two: prac - tising with your preferred fuels al - lows your guts to adapt to absorbing them effectively. Supplementing with probiotics seems to hold promise for distance runners as well. Probiotics and pre - biotics have a well-established rep - utation for promoting healthy intes - tinal activity, but that benefit may translate to athletic capacity as well. Runners were able to last longer, in a test where they ran on a treadmill to exhaustion in hot conditions, after supplementing with probiotics for 4 weeks. In another study, run - ners were able to run faster after supplementing with either prebiotics or probiot - ics. It makes sense; if your guts are healthier, they’re able to absorb more of the nutrients from the food you eat, resulting in a better-fu - elled you. When your phys - ical machine has the building blocks it needs, it will deliver you better race results. Watch out for mouthwash, how - ever: your saliva is an important part of the digestive process, and if you kill the microbes in your mouth with mouthwash, you won’t reap the ben - efits of all that beet juice you’ve been drinking. It looks like your mouth is a really important part of your diges - tive chain, microbes aside. Endurance athletes are able to run faster, for longer, when they swish (but don’t swallow) a glucose solution regular - ly throughout a time trial. If you can avoid pouring the glucose solution down your front, that’s just a bonus. Take a look at your diet and see if it’s got enough yogurt, kefir and fer - mented foods to support a healthy gut microbiome. Those little bugs in your guts are more important than you might think. Beyond keeping you from an embarrassing situation during a race, your microbes may be an overlooked training tool; feed them well! b he A lth d i G es T i V e h ea LT h Endurance running is a curious sport, and non-runners are often at a loss as to why on earth anyone would engage in such a punishing pastime. December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 31 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 30 Your gut microbiome isn’t the only thing that suffers when your GI tract is out of whack.
27. rimarily the domain of weight lifters, this anabolic window was important for endurance athletes as well. If you can’t refuel during the magic win - dow when your muscles are hungriest for fuel, what’s the point, right? Might as well throw that protein shake out the window. The research backed it up for ages, too: pro - tein after exercise was supposed to facilitate muscle repair and recov - ery; a combination of fast-digesting pro - tein and carbohydrates after exercise increased whole-body protein turnover. Re - plenishing muscle and liver glycogen optimal - ly started to look like a full-time job according to the recommended protocol in this study of supplementing carbohydrates after exercise for 6 full hours. Take a look at the format of those studies, and you’ll see that they gen - erally test athletes who are exercis - ing in a fasted state, and the studies themselves are generally quite short in duration. Looking at how quickly muscles reload their glycogen isn’t quite the same thing as looking at long-term strength or endurance de - velopment. Taking a longer view, one study review observed that overall strength development had more to do with overall dietary protein intake and less with when that protein was consumed. Unless you are training in a fasted state, you’re still digesting the food you ate before your work - out. Subjects who ate protein before (and not after) and after (but not be - fore) working out developed similar amounts of strength over the course of the study. It turns out the magic anabolic window is only really a thing if you haven’t eaten anything in the previous four hours or more. If you’re restricting calories for weight-loss purposes, it may make sense to cover your butt by consum - ing protein both before and after ex - ercise, to preserve as much lean mass as possible. Since calorie-restrict - ed diets can be deficient across the board, it’s important to pay close at - tention to the quality of the calories you are taking in. Keep in mind that digestion takes time, however. Not refuelling immediately after you stop running won’t toss your results out the window. That being said, if your overall diet is deficient in protein, then purposely ingesting significant amounts of protein after a workout will translate into increased strength because your overall protein intake is increased. The timing of the protein is fairly irrelevant. It looks like that 30-minute period after a workout might not be much more special than any other 30-min - ute period of the day. If there really is a magic window for recovery and muscle growth, it might actually be at night. Consuming casein protein at night has been demonstrated to “acutely increase muscle protein syn - thesis and metabolic rate” without adding fat mass. It makes sense, af - ter all, that most of our tissue repair activity would happen when we’re sleeping. The whole purpose of sleep is recovery, so why not give your in - ternal pit crew a boost? If you’d like to take this version of nutrient timing out for a spin (see what I did there?), aim for 40g of casein protein right before sleeping. If you want to real - ly take this strategy to the next level, throw an evening-time weight train - ing session into the mix, then take your protein, then go to bed. In this context, you’ll repair and build more muscle tissue than just taking protein or working out alone. If you’ve been faithfully chugging a protein shake after every run, don’t worry: you haven’t been doing any damage. Ingesting protein helps to preserve lean mass no matter when you consume it. Going forward, how - ever, you might be able to save some time and stress by moving your focus away from post-workout nutrition and into pre-sleep nutrition. Taking all of your recovery strategies into the evening sounds like a pretty won - derful way to wind down from the day: a little resistance training, a little self-myofascial release and mobility work, an Epsom salts bath, and a nice big protein shake ... then off to bed in your completely dark room for a solid night of optimal sleep. Keep us post - ed if you wake up the next morning with actual superpowers. As with every intervention, it only works if it works for you. Studies such as those quoted here have sev - eral weaknesses when it comes to assessing the validity of nutritional approaches for athletes: baseline di - ets are self-reported, study durations are short, and the specific parame - ters with which they are designed may not apply to your situation or lifestyle. But if anything sounds in - triguing, take some notes and give it a whirl. The r e C o V ery w indow December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 53 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 52 f OOD After physical exercise, your muscles are primed to absorb new fuel. We’ve been hearing for years about the “anabolic window” or “recovery window”, the 30 minutes after completing a workout when it’s critical to get protein and carbohydrates in lest you risk losing the benefits of all your hard work. p
12. December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 23 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 22 fewer knee injuries in athletes who do plyometric training. When it comes to training your jumping capacity, more is definitely not better. The magic frequency and duration appear to be twice a week for 4–6 weeks. Because the training itself is quite intense, continuing the training cycle beyond 6 weeks can put the central nervous system into a state of fatigue and stress. Allow 48–72 hours of recovery between plyometrics sessions. Those of us who are no longer 22 years’ old might be wondering if all this leaping about is safe for creaki - er joints. The answer is absolutely – with a caveat. Before embarking on any new training programme, I am le - gally obligated to instruct you to con - sult a doctor, of course. But beyond that basic due diligence, it’s import - ant to make sure you have an ade - quate base of strength, conditioning and coordination to avoid injuries. Every plyometric movement can be adapted and scaled down to allow for a sensible, slow buildup. For use in rehabilitation after injury or surgery, plyometrics performed in water can offer similar benefits without danger. Alternatively, dampeners offer a gen - tler landing. Caution is always wiser than excessive zeal, especially when it comes to exploring new movement patterns. If you suffer from serious joint instability, or have an acute in - jury such as a strain or sprain, or have inflammation or pain, maybe launch - ing yourself off of a great height isn’t the wisest choice for today. There are so many reasons to incor - porate plyometrics into your training, but a lot of adults find jumping up onto a box or bench quite unnerving. If you find yourself inexplicably afraid of jumping, it’s easy enough to work up to it – you just have to re-teach your brain a lesson it learned in child - hood: that jumping is easy! Starting with a very low target, like a curb or even a line of tape, practice jumping to your target with both feet land - ing simultaneously. When you feel comfortable, increase the height bit by bit until you’ve reached your de - sired height of 8, 12, even 24 inches or higher. An alternative to jumping up onto a target is called a drop jump , where you jump off of a platform and, upon landing, jump straight up into the air right away. So how do we best incorporate plyometric training into a running re - gime? Here’s one way: Warm up your joints and mus - cles in whatever way makes sense to you, with dynamic stretching and light cardio to get your blood moving. Wall touches. Face a wall. For 30 seconds, jump straight up as high and as fast as you can to touch a spot on the wall. Split squat jumps (two sets of 40 jumps). Starting in a lunge posi - tion, jump straight up and land in the starting position. Immediately repeat the jump. Lateral cone jumps (two sets of 30 jumps). Stand next to a small cone or pylon, and with feet hip width apart, jump back and forth sideways over the cone as quickly as possible. Drop jumps. Starting on a plat - form or box 12–18 inches high, drop off the box and immediate - ly upon landing jump as high and fast as possible. Remember to first ensure that you have the strength and capacity to perform these movements with suf - ficient intensity, and stop if you feel acute pain. As always, exercise cau - tion ... and have fun! exer CI se Adults don’t jump enough. When was the last time you jumped around, on to or off of a bench or tree stump, or off a swing? ids get lots of practice jumping on trampolines and playgrounds, but as we age we tend to stick to more “ma - ture” movements like walking and running. If you’re fa - miliar with plyometric training then you know it’s all about jumping , and it can make your workout a whole lot more interesting and fun. If you weren’t sold on the promise of added fun, try this on for size: plyo training has been proven to improve running economy in distanc - (plyo plus weighted squats) improved more than twice the amount of the plyometrics-only training group. Jumping has been proven to de - crease the amount of time you spend in contact with the ground, improving overall agility. For trail runners, agility is important to cultivate, as a poorly placed tree root can put a damper on your training plan for weeks to come. Interestingly enough, most of the positive changes associated with plyo training seem to be neural adaptation as opposed to muscular changes. Not only does jumping make you more agile but it can improve your muscle recruitment status particularly in the hip joint, which leads to significantly es up to 5km, and subjects who did a 6-week training programme which incorporated plyometrics twice a week saw a significant improvement in both their 200m sprint times and their 2.4km running time. Plyo training makes optimal use of your muscles’ stretch reflex, where the muscle contracts when it’s in a state of extension. It’s a bit like snap - ping a rubber band – the bigger the stretch, the bigger the snap. To reap maximum benefit from this training protocol, one study indicates that plyometric training works best when combined with doing heavy weighted squats to parallel: subjects’ vertical jumps in the combined training group k P L yome T ri C exer C ise Jumping has been proven to decrease the amount of time you spend in contact with the ground, improving overall agility.
26. Weights will bulk you up, make you heavier, and thereby slow you down. You’ll be a huge steroid beast lumber - ing along the track, with actual rips in your shirt due to your hulking muscles. Unless you’re planning on using actu - al steroids, the chances of becoming accidentally large and bulky are slim. As long as you are not adding sev - en cheeseburgers to your daily diet, lifting weights in the context of an endurance running program will not make you bulky. Long-distance car - diovascular exercise is actually cata - bolic, so your chances of building big muscles are even lower than for the average gym-goer. Master marathon - ers are more affected by their body fat levels than their muscle mass, so don’t fear the weights. Weights are exhausting! If you’re lift - ing weights, you can’t possibly main - tain your current training schedule in addition to pumping all that iron. You’ll be so tired you might get hurt. Yep, weights are heavy, and lifting them is difficult. The amount of lifting you need to do to see positive changes in your running performance might be less than you think, though: adding just two short sessions of weights and plyometrics per week can offer significant results without burning you out. Isn’t squatting bad for your knees? Pretty sure I read that somewhere. And deadlifting, don’t get me started on deadlifting. Injury central. It’s possible to hurt yourself reaching for the ce - real, so I won’t say that weightlifting is entirely without risk. Nothing is. If you have a trainer who knows how to coach a proper squat, however, your risk is dramatically reduced. Ramp up slowly, resist the temptation to test your 1-rep max on your first day, and use proper form; weight lifting is less risky than crossing the street. (Fun fact: fitness in childhood and ado - lescent makes it safer to cross the street while distracted due to im - proved proprioception and situation - al awareness.) strengthened their core muscles for 6 weeks performed better in a 5km run than those who just ran. Alright, so how much weight should you lift? If you’re looking to avoid bulk, you should listen to Gwyneth Paltrow’s trainer and only lift light weights like 5 million times, right? Nope. Sorry to burst your low- weight-high-rep bubble, but it looks like lifting heavy weights fewer times has the better effect on muscle and tendon strength, takes less time and is way less boring. Even in trained athletes, who, we would assume, have a base of strength and condi - tioning that the average recreation - al runner doesn’t have, lifting near maximal loads during weight training sessions has been shown to improve their already impressive running effi - ciency and time to exhaustion. If you want to really level up, throw some plyometric training into your weights sessions. Your running times will improve by leaps and bounds (see what I did there?). Even highly trained runners benefit from adding explosive stimuli like jumping to their training programs. Beyond strength - ening your muscles, high impact movements and weight training also benefit your bone density. While run - ning is great for maintaining strong bones, endurance runners tend to display lower bone density than their sprinting, lifting or ball-throwing counterparts. If you’re so inclined, try running an experiment on yourself: take notes, measure your starting stats like body composition and speed, and keep track of how you feel. Incorporate weight training (squats, deadlifts, presses) into your program under su - pervision of a qualified trainer, and see what happens to your recovery and speed. Remember to lift heavy, 80 percent of your maximum capaci - ty, and stick to something close to five rounds of five repetitions. Increase the weight as you get stronger, and then retest your speed and capacity at the end of your testing period. You might be pleasantly surprised! he A lth December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 51 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 50 You may have heard from your friends, your training partners, or even your coach, that runners don’t need to lift weights. Weights for Runners Some studies don’t find strong ev - idence for weight lifting beyond im - proved leg strength, which ... I mean ... improved leg strength is pretty key to avoiding injuries. When you train your leg muscles, that training also affects your patellar tendon thick - ness. Avoiding future knee injuries sounds like a pretty good reason to embark on some lifting. Even if weight lifting didn’t improve running efficiency and overall strength, the protective effects alone would be worth it. Runners concerned that de - veloping strength will negatively im - pact upon their VO2 max can relax ... the main benefits may taper off after the first 6 to 12 weeks of a strength training program, but aerobic and anaerobic capacity will continue to develop as though you weren’t lifting any weights at all. You’ll just be stron - ger on top of everything else! When you train your leg muscles, that training also affects your patellar tendon thickness. So now that we’ve established that you should probably be lifting even if you’re already running, what’s the best way to go about it? You don’t need to buy a set of barbells just yet, and you’ll be spending maybe an hour or two a week at the gym. Get this: you don’t even have to train your legs if you don’t want to. Strength - ening your core alone will improve your times and performance. In the referenced study, participants who n fact, you may have heard that lifting weights will mess with your capacity to run long distances. Look, I don’t want to contradict your pals or your trainer, but it’s pos - sible they’ve been misin - formed. Many people, when they think of lifting weights, imagine a hypertrophy regimen whose entire purpose is to increase muscle size. It doesn’t have to be that way! A few arguments (and counter-argu - ments) around weight training for run - ners: i
24. BI on I c runn E r December 2017 46 December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 47 December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 47 e was not particularly gifted at it, either. “It took me several years with long inactiv - ity periods to get used to running”, he says. Only when he couldn’t do it any - more did Jean-Yves understand how much he’d come to love it over time. Friends versus physiology Alhough Jean-Yves lives in France’s lovely Loire Valley, dotted with his - torical castles and carpeted with vineyards, the beautiful scenery around his village was not enough, on its own, to make him enjoy run - ning there. “I began to enjoy it when I started to run with a couple of friends”, he says. “We liked to run on our small countryside roads every Sunday morning, around 1 to 1.5 hours.” They ran flat courses along the River Cher when they wanted some - thing relatively easy, but also took to the hills, following roads through the vineyards, when they preferred tougher training. Eventually, his running friendships led him to running competitions. Running races together was far bet - ter than racing alone. “After a few years, we began to at - tend competitions”, Jean-Yves says. “We ran a few half marathons in 2010, and then a marathon in No - vember 2011 in Cannes.” But even camaraderie couldn’t compensate for all the aches and pains of a full marathon! “I ran it in 4:57 hours”, Jean-Yves says. “I had hoped to finish it in 4:15, but I had hard cramps in my legs the last 10km.” He concluded that half marathons suit him much better. “The only marathon I ever ran left me exhausted; it took me several months to recover”, he says. “I dis - covered that, despite being fit and fairly well trained, I do not have the physiology to endure long runs.” s ink or swim? Two years later, Jean-Yves’s physiol - ogy took another hit when he rup - tured his left Achilles tendon playing squash for the very first time. “It took me a whole year to recover from it and be able to run again”, he says. Seeking an alternative form of ex - ercise, Jean-Yves began swimming once or twice a week. He even took swim lessons to improve his tech - nique. “I like the exhaustion after an hour of crawl”, he says. But swimming, though physically satisfying, lacked some of the emo - tional and spiritual benefits of run - ning. “I wondered if swimming would give me enough satisfaction”, he re - calls. “And ... it didn’t. I missed the ex - haustion of running, the movement, the stride, the outdoor activity.” Meanwhile, though he recuperated from his damaged Achilles tendon, another foot problem (in the right foot!) began to plague him shortly thereafter. “I have arthrosis in my right foot”, he explains. “Very painful when I hike and also when I run.” By 2015, Jean-Yves was quite de - pressed about losing the sport he’d once hated. California dreamin’ But in the summer of that year, Jean- Yves took a family holiday in Califor - nia. And a serendipitous encounter in the Golden State renewed his faith in a future full of running. “Since I am ‘only’ 51 years’ old”, he says, “I’d like to preserve my body for when I get old.” On the California coast near San Luis Obispo, Jean-Yves saw someone on an Elliptigo. He had never before seen such a device, and it astounded him. “I was totally amazed!” he says. Back home in France, Jean-Yves plunged into research about stand - ing-type bicycles. “I dug further on the internet”, he says, “and I finally found a YouTube video about the Bionic Runner.” He was impressed by the over - all positive attitude on social media about the device. “Many people on this group are friendly and helpful”, Jean-Yves says. “It’s not only about business – I like this attitude.” His research clinched it. “I knew I had found the standing bike I want - ed!” he says. “ a bsolutely pain free” When his Bionic Runner arrived and Jean-Yves took it out for his first ride, it wasn’t easy. But neither was limp - ing around on an arthritic foot. “Tough!” he says of that first trip on the BR. “My quads were burning, I was out of breath. I knew I’d found a great fitness tool.” He took the Bionic Runner out to one of his favourite running spots, the valley of the River Cher, where he trained so much with his friends for that long-ago Cannes marathon. In 2:26 hours, he covered 43km. “I liked it very much”, he remem - bers. “Bionic Running mimics quite well the running stride – one can have a great and exhausting workout in a short amount of time, as in run - ning. It’s absolutely pain free, at least for me, and this is very good.” Bionic Runner workouts also give Jean-Yves a break from work stress. His job requires him to be on call one night per week and every third week - end, too. “Physically and mentally, it’s very important to me”, he says. “And when I manage to take spare time and achieve a long ride, I feel good, calm, self-satisfied.” After so many years, Jean-Yves dis - covered how much he’d come to love running without quite realizing it. And he still misses a few aspects of it. “Maybe I would say I miss the im - pact on the ground, paradoxically”, he says. “This added a rhythm, in the bones, in the muscles, in the whole body.” But he sure doesn’t miss the pain. “Never mind – bionic running is great”, he says. “And as a great bonus, totally pain free.” User s t O r I es User s t O r I es When Jean-Yves Nourdin started running fifteen years ago, he hated it. He really hated it. “First, I used to run for 10 to 20 min - utes, once a week”, he remembers. “It was boring, ex - hausting, difficult and I used to feel ludicrous.” h Jean- yV es n ourdin
22. ome run because it’s the quickest way to clear out the cobwebs. But no matter what your rationale, you might be doing even more good for yourself than you realize: running can reduce your risk of pre - mature death by 25 to 40 percent. Running just 6 miles a week has been proven to have pro - tective effects against all-cause mor - tality. No matter how fast or how far you’re running, you’re lapping every - one on the couch; the reduction in cardiovascular disease and mortality risk is similar across distances and speeds. As long as you hit or surpass that magic 6 miles per week, you’ll be enjoying life-lengthening benefits, and everything beyond those 6 miles is gravy. While we know persistence and consistency are keys to success (es - pecially in endurance sports), now the science backs up consistent, per - sistent effort as longevity strategy as well. Persistent runners had even better outcomes than casual runners, with even greater reductions in all- cause and cardiovascular mortality compared to people who have never been runners. While it’s never too late to start, now is definitely better than later. This is another situation where a time machine would come in handy; just as activity in early childhood predicts bone density in adolescence, the athletic work we put in early in life pays dividends later on. The earlier we start getting fit, the longer, and better, we’ll live: our fitness at age 25 predicts mental acuity in middle age. Run now, your brain will thank you later. The link between physical activity and brain function has been studied thoroughly, but is it a two-way street? Can brain activity have an effect on your physical wellbeing? It looks like maybe the answer is yes: just think - ing you’re fit could have a protective effect. In this study, those who per - ceived themselves to be less fit than their peers had worse survival rates over a 21-year follow-up period even after scientists adjusted for their actu - al levels of fitness . This would appear to be a case of “whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”. This dovetails nicely with re - cent studies examining how our so - cial interactions affect our overall health and wellbeing. It would seem that peer pressure and self-evalua - tion, along with local environmental factors, carry more sway than we may have realized. While seasoned athletes tend to have a better quality of life than sedentary folks, running can extend your life expectancy even if you are not in optimal shape. A regular run - ning routine reduces chances of pre - mature death even in overweight folks. All shapes and sizes can gain years of independent life by increas - ing their activity levels. The upsides to running don’t stop at increas - ing longevity; they also include im - proved mental outlook, optimism and self-confidence. As a preventative measure, regular aerobic exercise appears to be protective against de - pression and has been studied as an alternative treatment to pharmaceu - tical medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Anyone taking any medications for any reason should always consult their doctor before changing a treat - ment protocol, of course. Running is an excellent complementary strategy for mood and stress management but should not replace the advice of a medical professional. One of the best strategies for main - taining fitness and healthy lifestyle factors is surrounding yourself with factors that facilitate that choice. It would follow that living in an envi - ronment or social group where ev - eryone is pursuing a healthy lifestyle would promote those actions. If your close friends are on the road to obe - sity, your chance of following in their footsteps rises. Social cues in our friend groups are powerful, indeed. In fact, our behaviour can even be influenced by subtle environmen - tal cues that don’t even need to in - volve our peer group. In studies on environmental prompts, the prompts had to be kept secret from the study subjects for them to work since we tend to compensate for obvious in - fluences. You can set up your life to deliver unconscious cues, however, by choosing to put yourself in envi - ronments that are conducive to your goals. Unfortunately, in spite of all the promising research, we cannot run our way to immortality; while running can add years to your life, the benefit tops out at about 3 years of increased lifespan. While the benefits are not infinite, they are consistent across ac - tivity levels; competitive endurance athletes enjoy longer lifespans just as casual joggers do. Nice to know that our (slight) obsession with distance running isn’t cheating us out of those extra years. Keep in mind, however, that the benefits of living an active life are most attainable if you contin - ue to pursue your activity/activities of choice. A high-level athletic career followed by retirement to a desk job results in a return to baseline levels of longevity. The takeaway: keep going! Endur - ance athletes enjoy the longest lifes - pans of all competitive athletes. If possible, train with a friend for maxi - mum results. And for goodness sake, if you are an elite athlete, don’t give up your active life if you stop compet - ing. The continued pursuit of physical fitness will keep you younger, longer, and your brain will thank you by stay - ing sharp well into old age. he A lth Not to sound smug, but runners are just about the best people in the world. Well, maybe that’s a bit smug. Some of us run for pleasure, or from our demons;, some of us run because we’re deeply competitive. December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 43 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 42 s A regular running routine reduces chances of premature death even in overweight folks. Running fo R a Longe R Life
7. A NNOUNC eme N ts A NNOUNC eme N ts P r edator The Predator is the new benchmark in cross training. It takes the patented Bionic Running technology we all love in the Gen2, and combines it with comfort and superior drive train. The high volume air tires combine with improved geometry to give a ride that is smooth and responsive. The Nuvinci IVT means you have the latest in leading edge gear systems. It changes flawlessly on any terrain, including hills, and because there is an infinite amount of gears within it’s range, you can always dial in the exact resistance and cadence you want. If you can afford the extra, it is well worth the upgrade. Folding and Height adjustable. Find the exact height that suits you so you can BRun in comfort. The stem is Indexed and Adjustable to suit your height. There is 130mm of adjustment in a vertical direction so you can find the height that most suits you, and then lock it in place with the unique index design. Stiff and ridged, for a powerful Ride. The stem will always feel solid and not flex side to side like other brands, which means you can concentrate on your workout. Built to last – it is forged from 6061 Aluminium that then un - dergoes two heat treatment processes to double it’s strength. Forging, unlike casting, strengthens the metals grain structures to make then stiff and strong. It is then precision CNC ma - chined and annodised. Easy storage and transportation with the Collapsible Steer - ing column Convenient handle for carrying. Premium liquid paint Non-Folding Light weight aluminium front forks that accept a high volume 26 inch wheel Nuvinci N330 Infinetly Variable Gear system allow you to change gears in one continuous motion, a bit like a light dim - mer. Simply adjust the gears by twisting the gear shifter on the handlebars for continuous progression from one speed to another, with no abrupt ratio changes or harsh gear en - gagements so you can always find the cadence you want. The N330 has a 330% range and is almost maintenance free. 20 inch rear and a 26 inch front wheel. Dual walled alloy rims. The ride comfort of a BR is enhanced by using a 26 inch front wheel. A more comfortable ride means a more enjoyable workout. The larger front wheel, with 1.95 wide tires allows for over 3 times the air volume in the tires. This acts like a suspension system creating a smoother ride.If you want improved ride comfort and handling, the 26 inch wheel is for you. Summary Steering f rame f orks Gear System Wheels Superior handling Infinitely variable transmission Amazing performance and value Used by World Champions Marathoners Star Rating BI on I c runn E r December 2017 12 December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 13 I M pr O v E d d E s I gn Gen2 The perfect foray into the exciting world of Bionic Running. The Gen2 is built on our proprietary Bionic Running technology. It is an all-rounder that offers amazing bang for your buck . Disc brakes, 8 speed internal gear hub, and alloy frame. It folds in half, so it is easier to transport and store. It comes standard with the Patented 60:40 swing stance phase timing, so you get a High Intensity workout. Folding , forged aluminium, heat treated for strength Folding Steel front forks that accept a 20 inch wheel S turmey Archer 8 speed internal gear hub with a 325% range . 20 inch wheels front and rear with a 1.35 wide Kenda tyres World’s best value running trainner Folds for easy transport 8 speed internal gear hub Disc brakes Star Rating B I gg E s T sELLE r aLL Bioni C r unners C ome s T andard wi T h The Patented 60:40 swing stance phase timing, so you get a High Intensity workout. Long stride technology . A frame built to last - we combine the technologies of forging, extrusion, and CNC machining to deliver to you a superb and reliable frame. The aluminium is 6061 that is both T4 and T6 heat treated for increased strength and rigidity. Disc Brakes front and rear. Spectacular stirrups. The stirrup is the heart of the BR technology chain. It combines with the pedal crank and the roller track on the frame to create a run like workout that is unique to the BR. 100% forged in one piece.6061 Aluminium that is aircraft grade. Two heat treatment pro - cesses to double the strength. Anodised. Precision CNC machined Unique Roller System, made from a special grade of in - dustrial strength Delrin. Precision CNC machined. The axle uses a CROMO steel, that is heat treated and CNC. Dual bearings in each wheel capable of carrying a load of 240 kg per bearing, so you can expect a long life Alloy handle bars fitted with ergonomic grips and bar ends. The bar ends are special handles that allow you to change your grip to attack hills better. Custom made Ergonomic Running Pedals Maximum user capacity of 100kg. m ode L Com P arison
23. oal-oriented train - ing is fulfilling work, and it feels great to reach a personal best; it can be tempting to chase that feeling all the time ... but we can’t all set re - cords every day. In fact, your dedica - tion to your training program, if not balanced out by adequate periods of rest and recovery, can be doing your athletic capacity more harm than good. Recovery is incredibly important and vastly underrated. When we think about training, it feels like any - thing that doesn’t include actively sweating through a working session is wasted time. Since the dawn of fitness, people have been scrambling for recovery strategies that will allow them to get back to working more quickly. But this obsession with get - ting back to work might be impeding the body’s natural capacity for repair and recovery. The most basic of all rest and recov - ery techniques is also the most obvi - ous: sleep. Sleep is magic. In studies where athletes got a 10 hours of sleep per night, their mood, reaction time and athletic capacity all went up significantly. While 10 hours might seem unrealistic, it might be worth a short-term trial to see if the benefits outweigh the inconvenience of turn - ing all the lights out at 8:00 pm. Other recovery strategies range from isolation float tanks, which seem to be effective in clearing blood lactate and reducing pain but are ex - pensive and not always accessible, to the very accessible and inexpensive intervention of low-fat chocolate milk as a recovery beverage. Women have a significant advantage in the recov - ery game, with female study subjects returning to full strength just 4 hours after bench pressing to failure. (The men in the study required more than 24 hours to return to full strength.) Historically, studies on athletic ca - pacity have been carried out with pri - marily male subjects, so new research on the differences between men and women’s strength and recovery char - acteristics is fascinating. Look out for more and exciting progress on this front in years to come. Back on topic: spontaneously switching your gender in the pur - suit of athletic recovery isn’t really a viable option, so let’s take a look at the proven strategies that reduce de - layed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and fatigue. Contrast water therapy and cryo - therapy have been two popular ap - proaches to post-workout recovery for quite some time. Climbing into and out of a freezing cold tub may seem more punitive than kind, but athletes have found essentially freez - ing and heating their muscles can re - duce pain and inflammation. Be care - ful with this intervention, however, as contrast water therapy has been demonstrated to attenuate new mus - cle growth. After all your hard work, it doesn’t make sense to essentially stop your progress in its tracks. The positive aspects of contrast water therapy seem to have a lot to do with this intervention’s psychological im - pact. Subjects who did ice baths felt better and reported less pain. Compression garments as a recov - ery tool show promise when com - pared to passive recovery techniques (sitting on a bench for 9 minutes), but require that the compression gear be worn for 12 hours after the athletic effort. Compression wear has been popular as a training tool recently, but studies show that it is actual - ly more useful to wear compression clothes during your recovery win - dow. In comparison, active recovery (low-effort cycling for 7 minutes) showed similar benefits, cleared blood lactate, reduced heart rate and reduced DOMS with a much shorter time commitment. I know I’d rather go for an easy stroll than wear tight hosiery for 12 hours. Self-myofascial release is another area which has come to the fore - front in recent years as foam roll - ing has gained in popularity. Those of you who have used a foam roller know that the benefits come with a bit of a price: while rollers them - selves are inexpensive, the process of rolling out tense quadriceps can be ... full of intense sensation. There is solid research, however, indicating that foam rolling after exercise is a promising recovery tool, reducing DOMS and increasing range of mo - tion in fatigued muscles at least in the short term. Learning how to use foam rollers properly and effectively is key to successfully improving your post-training time. If you’re squatting or running, don’t waste time rolling out your lats, for example. Self-my - ofascial release is most effective on the specific muscles that were doing the work. Physical recovery strategies aside, nutrition timing is a vital piece of the puzzle. Depending upon the length of your effort, you may need to refuel during longer training runs. If you’re maintaining a standard high-carb en - durance athlete’s diet, sport gels and drinks can keep you going mid-mar - athon. If you’re training while eat - ing ketogenic or low-carb diet, your mid-run refuel may not be necessary, or may skew more towards fats and proteins than carbohydrates. After your workout you’ll want to take ad - vantage of the recovery period and throw some high-quality protein and carbohydrate into your snack. After physical exercise, your muscles are primed to absorb new fuel (rather than shuttling carbohydrates into fat stores). This is part of why chocolate milk is such a well-loved recovery beverage for endurance athletes. The important take-away here is that recovery is just as much a piece of the training puzzle as all the sweaty parts. Your muscles recover when you’re not working them, and recover optimally when you’re sleep - ing. Any argument for more napping is a solid argument if you ask me. Ac - tive recovery and foam rolling seem like two low-investment strategies that yield clinically proven results. g r e C o V ery Te C hniques December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 45 BI on I c runn E r December 2017 44 r e CO very After physical exercise, your muscles are primed to absorb new fuel Endurance athletes, lifters, and sprinters alike are all doers . We prefer to be in action, working towards a goal, and getting incrementally stronger and faster.
4. BI on I c runn E r December 2017 6 “Running, however, has created much more work for our local physiotherapist, from IT band issues to knee pain.” User s t O r I es Medication and physiotherapy had kept them mostly in check since his retirement, but running aggravated them, especially as Tom, his habits sharpened by years of military life, never took it easy on himself. “I train to a level for me that is al - ways teetering on injury,” Tom says. “This is mostly due to the volume of mileage required to train for a mara - thon.” That volume of training would be hard on anybody, but for Tom, it was tougher due to those injuries, which had been somewhat under control before he took to the roads and trails. “Running, however, has created much more work for our local physio - therapist, from IT band issues to knee pain,” Tom says. His injuries may have also boosted the local sports equipment and facil - ities economy, as Tom sought to in - crease his fitness without further in - jury by cross training – he swam, rode a bicycle and tried stand-up paddling, too. But none of them gave him the specific muscular workout and fitness required for running and racing. He and his partner, Andrea, both had treadmills for indoor training, but both of them preferred, like their dogs, to be running free outdoors, even in Nova Scotia’s awesome winter. And treadmill training inside didn’t provide the same spiritual ben - efits that Tom got from his adven - tures on the forest logging trails. ‘Getting to the start line healthy’ One day, Tom’s partner, Andrea, also a serious runner who’d suffered Achilles, knee and hip injuries from overtraining, showed him an ad for a revolutionary device she’d gotten on a waiting list for – the Bionic Runner. “The more and more I read about it, the more genius it seemed,” Tom says. “We sold both of our treadmills and ordered our BR as soon as it be - came available in Canada.” At first, the duo shared a single Bionic Runner, putting it on indoor training rollers for the winter months, but that didn’t last long, and Tom bought one all for himself. For some - one who trains seven days a week, the Bionic Runner gives him plenty of options, even in wintertime. “The trick is to not compromise on the volume, through finding a way to compensate,” he says. “When I feel that my legs are getting close to in - jury, I often do part of my run on the BR. I have it set up inside right now on trainers, but soon spring will be here.” Even in the coldest months of win - ter, Tom puts in about three hours a week on the Bionic Runner, but he expects that to increase dramatically as the weather warms. “It aids in keeping me injury free and it’s fun,” he says of these work - outs. “After a training session on the BR, my legs always feel amazing.” For Tom, recovering from serious injuries as well as from disorientation and depression after retiring from the military, the Bionic Runner has been what he calls a “game changer,” both physically and mentally. It has helped him achieve something every com - petitive runner wants. User s t O r I es Q & A with Tom B e LL What’s your favorite place to train? Outdoors on backwoods trails or BRunning on the roads. What’s your favorite place to train? On trails in the woods. Country roads on the BR. Any nutrition suggestions? Eat clean, eat local if possible. I eat a mix of steel cut and regular oats every morning, with a cut up banana and dates on top. I also put some pure maple syrup and almond milk on it. Why did you start Bionic Running? My spouse Andrea showed me the product online. Do you have any injuries? Nowhere near what I had before I started incorporating the BR into my program. Any major goals or races coming up? Fredericton marathon in May, my third attempt to BQ. I need to be an - other 5 minutes faster. What are your favorite things about Bionic Running? Low impact training that is specific to the dynamics of running. Has it changed the way you train? I can maintain the volume of training required without the nagging injuries due to the low impact nature of the BR. Do you have a favorite training routine with the Bionic Runner? I work in Zone 2 at this time on the BR as I prefer to do my speed work without it. What are the three best things you like about the Bionic Runner? -It’s fun -It’s well built -It’s well backed up by the company What would you do if you couldn’t use a Bionic Runner any more? I have not considered this scenario since I started training on it. We had to buy a second one because my spouse and I both needed one and sharing was not going well. What would you say to someone consider - ing buying a Bionic Runner? We have lots of people who want to test ride it and they are all amazed. I am not pushy so I just say how it has improved my endurance and running form without the usual injuries. Tell us something that no one would know about you.? When I was young, I used tobox. My father, Norm Bell, is in the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame and once helped coach the Canadian Olympic Team. If you were to define Bionic Run - ning in a word what would it be? Game Changer. (2 words) Bonus Question: Is there a question you’d like to answer for us about Bionic Runner? Anyone who has ever considered buying a treadmill would be smart to consider buying a BR and also an in - door trainer for it. We sold both of our treadmills in order to help pay for the BR, and have never regretted it. It has proven to be a much more valu - able training tool than the treadmills ever were. I work in Zone 2 at this time on the BR as I prefer to do my speed work without it. December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 7
17. BI on I c runn E r December 2017 32 December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 33 The placebo effect has even been in observed in studies on depression, demonstrating that believing you’re receiv - ing medicine can change the way in which your brain behaves. In this study, adolescents suffering from anxi - ety, depression and obsessive compul - sive disorder (OCD), who received dummy pills they believed to be se - lective serotonin reuptake in - hibitors (SSRIs), reported better mental wellbeing. Not only that, when they were finally given real an - tidepressants by the study adminis - trators, they were more responsive to the drugs. It would seem that the placebo trial somehow primed their brains to receive the real medicine. When it comes to tricking your brain, it turns out the set-dressing is really important. The effects of place - bo “caffeine” on athletic performance varied depending upon how much the participants believed they were getting the real stuff. The colour, consistency and even the labelling and price tag of placebo medicines and sports beverages can change their perceived effect. That being said, even placebos that are deliv - ered honestly (i.e., the label says “pla - cebo”) have an effect. It would seem just the action of taking a pill causes some kind of change, at least for mi - graine sufferers. So if rituals and placebos are so powerful, why aren’t they taking the world by storm? Well, they are, and they aren’t. Programs that purport to use your “energy waves” or thought patterns to bring desired outcomes into your life are banking on this phe - nomenon. If you believe it works, it works, right? There are those who argue that the entire field of homeo - pathic medicine is predicated on the placebo effect. The only downside is that placebo treatments, aside from your lucky socks, can be quite ex - pensive. Then the question becomes: who cares if they’re expensive if they work? People using placebo treat - ments to cure with real diseases can find themselves stuck; placebos can improve the quality of life of some - one suffering from a serious illness, but they are not a cure. As with everything, there is an - other side to the placebo effect. Nicknamed the “nocebo” effect, it is the phenomenon where study par - ticipants in the control group who believe they are receiving real med - ication (but are not) report negative side effects they’ve been told are associated with the medicine they’re not taking. When it comes to more benign sub - stances such as caffeine and carbo - hydrates, athletes have demonstrat - ed modest increases in strength and stamina when they believe they’re receiving a caffeinated or carbohy - drate-containing beverage during a long endurance effort. Belief is the cornerstone of the physiological changes they experience, and some coaches have historically used this to their athletes’ advantage. In 1954 the German Football Federation doc - tor injected players with vitamin C, telling them it would increase their stamina. (vitamin C injections don’t do much at all). French cyclist Rich - ard Virenque was told he was being injected with a stimulant but it was actually a small amount of glucose. He finished second. One downside to these scenarios is that it compro - mises the coach–athlete trust bond. After the race or game, if an athlete discovers they’ve been tricked, it will affect future training and events. It’s difficult to engineer a placebo effect for ourselves without sabo - taging the whole thing by knowing what’s fake and what isn’t. In order to pull it off, we’d need to recruit a help - er to swap out our coffee, or inject us with “steroids” to improve our per - formance without letting us in on the trick. That sounds like an enormous undertaking when compared to pull - ing on some lucky socks. h ABI t We all have superstitions. The question is how intense are they? Where does superstition overlap with habit? ’m not talking about refus - ing to walk under ladders for fear of bad luck, although some people do avoid doing that. I’m referring more to the “lucky socks” that some ath - letes wear in competition, or elaborate pre-game rituals be - fore an important match. For those of us who are not elite athletes, some habits slide into ritual without our notice: a morning coffee in a fa - vourite mug becomes a cornerstone event for feeling right for the day. Do these rituals and habits actually have an effect on our athletic per - formance? One argument says yes, because wearing those lucky socks may contribute to a feeling of being in control of circumstances that we don’t actually have power to influ - ence. In the case of a big game, where there are elements of both skill and chance, those lucky socks might start to feel very important indeed. A ma - jor contributing factor is the fact that since we are animals, humans are just as vulnerable to conditioning as the pigeons in the famous Skinner Box experiments. In this study, pigeons were given food at random times, but their behaviour indicated that they felt they were somehow influencing the food delivery: The results were astonishing. The pigeons kept doing what they did at the moment that the food was ad - ministered. For example, a pigeon that had just turned its head contin - ued turning its head; and a pigeon that happened to walk around con - tinued walking around. This basic animal need to assign meaning to what are often random occurrences can land us squarely in lucky sock territory. “Last time I wore these I hit a PR, so I’ll be sure to wear them again on race day.” While it doesn’t make a tonne of sense that socks would make you run faster, they behave almost like a comfort item or special blankie does for a child. The object itself doesn’t have magical properties, but it serves a psycho - logical purpose. All this to say: if you have a particular article of clothing that seems to bring you good fortune and increased aerobic capacity, more power to you. Just make sure you do laundry in time for the big event. Where it gets really interesting is when we look at placebo studies. It turns out that the power of human belief is incredibly strong. While the lucky socks may not hold any actual power, the belief that they do might be enough to cause actual physio - logical changes. In one example, sub - jects were told they were receiving steroids, but were actually receiving a placebo. Those subjects developed more strength and power over the course of the study than the control group even though they were not re - ceiving any kind of PED . i Placebo Effect: From Supplements to Lucky Socks People using placebo treatments to cure with real diseases can find themselves stuck.
28. BI on I c runn E r December 2017 54 December 2017 BI on I c runn E r 55 you an idea of where your body is trending, but the most accurate mea - suring tool to date is hydrostatic (or immersion) testing. Once you’ve es - tablished a realistic goal, make a plan that allows for a realistic and safe rate of loss. For athletes, fat loss should max out at about 0.7 percent of to - tal bodyweight per week. Consider that calorie tracking has a strong cor - relation with disordered eating be - haviours. That being said, you don’t have to count calories to make prog - ress; there are several ways around obsessing over every gram of food that goes into your mouth. The human body tends to assess whether it’s had “enough” food based on the total weight of food consumed over the course of a day. We tend to feel sated with the same overall food weight regardless of whether that weight is made up of chips or cucumber. Filling your plate with less energy-dense foods, and foods that have high water content, is an easy side road toward weight loss. Anoth - er piece of human behaviour to make note of is that when we see larger portions we tend to eat more food. This is where the common dietary ad - vice to serve food on a smaller plate comes in. If you prefer large portions, fill most of the plate with low-density vegetables to maximize satiety with - out overdoing your energy intake. Once you’ve got your plate of low-density foods, remember that especially in the context of reduced energy intake, protein is very import - ant for retaining lean mass. That lean mass is what will carry you through your endurance events, so you need to hang on to it! About one third of your total energy intake should come from protein during periods of weight loss. Protein has a subtle thermic ef - fect (meaning it costs calories to di - gest it), which seems to have a posi - tive effect on the metabolism. Another interesting fact is that the human body adjusts for energy ex - penditure in the short term but not over the course of days. So if you do a long run or hike on, say, Wednesday, you may feel hungrier the same day but you likely won’t on subsequent days even if you limit your food to reasonable amounts on Wednesday. Making a conscious choice not to fall face first into a tray of donuts after a long training run might not feel fun but it can get you closer to your goals with a minimum of pain. Exer - cise also has an appetite-suppressing effect, so eating enough to have the energy to move around will benefit your overall goals by allowing your total energy burn to be higher than if you were lethargic due to severely restricted calories. The takeaway: fill your plate with veggies and protein, move around a lot, and don’t restrict too much or expect to lose weight too fast. You’ll be a lean, mean, running machine without encouraging disordered be - haviours or compromising your qual - ity of life. h ABI t Although endurance sports like such as running and cycling are not as focused on aesthetics as, say, ballet or gymnastics, the general wisdom is that a lower body mass index (BMI) correlates with better performance. ulling less weight along as you run means faster times, but what is the cost of drop - ping body fat for competitive distance run - ning? Elite athletes across disciplines are at risk for eating disor - ders and disordered eat - ing behaviours. In the case of young athletes, it’s important for coaches to keep an eye on their ath - letes’ food behaviour and body mass to flag any disordered behaviours that may crop up during times of stressful training or prep. If you are a distance runner look - ing to lose fat, you might be tempted to launch into a short-term very re - strictive diet to drop weight quickly. Fortunately for the survival of the species, but unfortunately for your crash diet weight loss goals, your me - tabolism is astonishingly flexible. The rule of thumb for weight loss is that 3500 calories equals 1 pound of fat, but that rule is context dependent. For obese patients at the beginning of a calorie-restricted diet, the num - bers shake out closer to 2200 calo - ries per pound of fat lost. As the diet progresses beyond about 4 weeks, the number of calories per pound moves towards 3500. For athletes at a healthy weight, major calorie restriction can backfire. Drastically reducing your caloric intake actually causes your metabolism to adjust its rate of burn, becoming more efficient and slow down fat loss progress. In the other direction, your body is very good at burning extra fuel, so don’t freak out if your intake is a bit higher than you’d like for a while. Extra calorie intake tends to trans - late into higher energy output as the body seeks to attain equilibrium. Beyond being ineffective, severe calorie restriction will negatively im - pact upon your training program and can lead you to be more sedentary during non-training times, effectively cancelling out all your hard work. Ac - cording to a review from the School of Biological and Population Scienc - es, Oregon State University, the con - sequences of sharply curbing your energy intake include: decreased sport performance effects due to decreased mus - cle strength, glycogen stores, concentration, coordination and training responses, and increased irritability; increased negative health conse - quences, such as injury due to fa - tigue, loss of lean tissue and poor nutrient intakes, including essen - tial nutrients, due to limited food intake; increased risk of disordered eat - ing behaviours due to severe en - ergy restriction; increased risk of dehydration, es - pecially if the diet is ketogenic; increased emotional distress due to hunger, fatigue and stress re - lated to following an energy-re - stricted diet. So what are we supposed to do? Are we doomed to carry that extra 5 to 10 pounds around for the rest of our athletic lives? Not so. There are effective strategies for fat loss that involve neither starving nor develop - ing an eating disorder. First up, assess whether you actu - ally need to lose any fat. Is your goal realistic? Keep in mind that bio-im - pedance devices are an unreliable method of measuring body fat mass. Skin fold callipers, administered by the same person each time, can give Safe Weight Loss p For athletes, fat loss should max out at about 0.7 percent of total bodyweight per week.
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