Thinking Twice About My Next Hokas

Hoka running shoes-- right shoe with badly crushed midsole on medial sideOne of the blogs that I love to follow is The Gait Guys.  To really dig into their content, you really have to be comfortable with distinguishing the sagital, transverse, and frontal planes, know your flexor hallucis brevis vs your flexor hallucis longus muscles, and a whole lot of other technical stuff.  Recently they posted their thoughts on Hoka One One running shoes and other “maximalist” running shoes.  Bottom line: think twice before you buy them.  Here’s the simplified explanation about why.

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A Real Pain in the Butt: Hamstring Tendinitis, GHR Raises, and Free Speed on the Bike

2014 has not been a good year for hamstring tendons.  So far, I’ve counted three friends (all within a few months of my age) who have gotten bitten by upper hamstring tendinitis.  Mind you, I’m an old guy– I don’t have that many friends.  When three of them suddenly get hamstring tendon problems, I call that an epidemic.  Fortunately or unfortunately, I know something about this injury — I got hit by it hard about 5-6 years ago, figured it out, and fixed it.  I’ve also figured out some ways to turn a disadvantage into a way to get faster.  Although I may regret it when former victims of this problem start beating me in races, sharing my thoughts on it is probably for the greater good.

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Supercompensation and Timing of Training Effects

A few days back, I had a marathon weekend racing Duathlon Nationals and Seafair.  The next day (Monday), I was curled up in a fetal position on the couch and occasionally making cow-like sounds (memo to self: take such days as vacation or sick days).  I felt only slightly better on Tuesday.  A moderately hard (but failed) workout on Wednesday and an easy day on Thursday… maybe finally I’m ready to hit a hard workout.  And so that workout would be 2 x 30min at FTP or higher with 5min recovery.  I rode this one with my friend Mary.  Time escaped us and I was only able to get one effort in, but it was both comfortable and 10 watts higher than it should have been.  If I raced with this much energy on the weekend, I would have been unstoppable.  Obviously, at least for that day, anaerobic threshold (AT) was not my limiter.

So what’s going on here?  Simple, it’s just basic training effects and supercompensation.  According to Pete Pfitzinger, there are some basic rules to the timing of training effects. The bottom line is:

  • It takes 8-10 days to get benefits from any workout
  • It takes 8-10 days to recover from a maxVO2 workout
  • It takes 4 days to recover from lactate threshold and tempo workouts
  • Recovering from long runs takes the longest time

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Hate Your PT Routine? Record It and Just Do It!

If you’re into any endurance sport, you probably have seen a physical therapist more times than you care to remember.  A good PT is a magician in fixing your body but sometimes the elaborate routines of exercises that they assign can be a little daunting.  Some people are fine with reading the exercises off a sheet of paper, remembering all the cues that their PT warned them about for each exercise, and then mechanically going through the steps to make it happen.  I wouldn’t be one of those people.  Combine a highly perceptible degree of boredom with a virtually imperceptible degree of confusion/stress from having to figure out the exercise and, well, the exercise just doesn’t get done. Eliminate the second part (confusion/stress) and doing an exercise routine seems so much easier.  I think this is one of the reasons why exercise videos and classes have so much better consistency than just trying to do an exercise program out of a book.

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