Running Coaching from David & Megan Roche
Mid-race fueling is a hotly debated topic, with different approaches working for everyone. But emerging science may validate what some of the best athletes do in practice--consume more calories than is traditionally suggested. Is it worth experimenting with 400+ calories per hour? Let’s break it down.
An emerging field of study takes a fascinating approach, using race performances themselves as the dependent variables. What are the attributes of an athlete who has the most success in trail and ultra races? The answer involves speed, strength, and ... maybe some luck. Let’s dive into a wildly fun area of research.
A wonderful new review article analyzed the literature and online resources to summarize the training that makes athletes into the best in the world. It's got everything: easy running, workout structure, season design, tapers, and so much more. Let’s dive into one of the most incredible articles ever.
Three science-backed tips for creating a training system that supports long-range athletic goals and progress.
Fascinating studies from rugby show that positive reinforcement before and after matches can increase testosterone and reduce cortisol, along with improving performance. What are the implications for how we discuss training and racing?
Some exercise physiology studies show quick improvement in athletes introducing just a few weeks of 30-second intervals. Does that mean all athletes might benefit from applying the principles of speed development? The answer could have major implications for how you think about structuring a training week.
A new study reviewed the literature on how underfueling and overreaching may be intertwined in some cases, but not in all. The findings have big implications for how we talk about the nuanced world of training load and fueling in endurance sports.
Conventional wisdom is that athletes get slower while racing longer distances, particularly ultras. But does it have to be that way?
Using data on past race-day results and temperatures, Dr. Marshall Burke completed regression analyses that predict what we can expect in 2022 for race winners, top 10 finishers, and average finish times.
A 2022 study in Sports Medicine reviewed the fascinating field of minimal-dose resistance training. Even very small strength training stimuli can lead to major benefits in the general population when done consistently over time. Here's why.
Studies show that reducing body temperature may improve performance even in relatively temperate conditions. We’ve known that physiology for a long time, but it wasn’t until recently that athletes started making cooling techniques a top priority. All around the world, in all different sports, there is something big happening. We are witnessing a cooling revolution.
An incredible study from 2014 found that simple self-talk training and intervention can improve performance. What might happen when those psychology-influenced performance gains interact with physiological adaptations over multiple training cycles? My theory: our internal dialogues may hold one of the keys to unlocking breakthroughs.
A perfectly designed training program might aim to have ideal intensity distributions. But what happens to a perfect program when you add hills? The answer to that question can lead to fitness breakthroughs... or collapses.
6+ hours of biking a day? Ultrarunning? 2 rest days every week? 5 straight threshold workouts? Let’s explore the exciting training principles of a world-record holder, which could have lessons for all endurance athletes. And no matter what, it is extremely cool.
Some athletes from Norway are using variations of intensity-controlled threshold training, double-workouts, and focused specific work to great success on the international stage. The approach has important takeaways for all athletes. Let’s take a deep dive into some training theory.
There are a variety of medications you can take to help yourself sleep, but what impact do sleep aids have on athletic performance?
Stop, put your hands on your knees, and take some deep breaths after an exhausting year. You earned it, and according to a 2019 study, it works.
Gut microbes play a big role in athletics, and the microbiome could be positively impacted by behavior changes and supplements. Let’s dive into some smelly science.
A heavy emphasis on long runs could have lower reward and higher risk for athletes that are not within a training block for longer races.
A November 2021 study uses a fascinating research design to test different types of periodization over a 16-week training cycle.
There's a time and place for pushing to your very limits, but lower-intensity, consistent training might be more effective in the long run.
According to a new study, overtraining and underfueling share pathways, symptoms, and diagnostic complexities. Those connections have important implications for long-term adaptation and health.
The aging process brings up some difficult questions for all athletes. Talking openly about the age-performance curve can be healthy for everyone.
A recent report in The Oregonian details allegations that the University of Oregon program adjusted training based on body composition readings in repeated DEXA scans. If true, that practice is medically dubious and physiologically wrong.
The weirdest thing about training for ultras is that you don't actually need to go that far in training to be prepared. That's the paradox that launched a thousand ultra-coaching websites.
Cross-country skiers train lots, but often very easily, with minimal changes in aerobic principles based on distance raced in endurance events. What does it mean for runners?
You're probably aware of the dreaded "gray area" of running training. Traditionally the gray area is that spooky zone where you're not going hard enough to elicit the desired adaptations, and not going easy enough to build aerobic endurance and recover. A little bit of gray area can go a long way.
There are 4 physiological reasons why consistent runs have an oversized effect on long-term growth. On a tough day, even 10 or 20 minutes can be plenty to spur progress.
There are lots of ways to find your running potential. These tips may not be helpful in that process.
Run too fast some of the time, and you’ll probably get slower all the time. Here's what aerobic threshold is, and how to train below it.
The July 2021 study found that level, uphill, and downhill running economy are correlated except at the steepest grades. What does it mean for training?
While the literature on alcohol and athletic performance is somewhat mixed, it’s worth tracking how you respond to even small amounts due to the risk of impaired recovery.
How much does talent matter? Whatever talents we have can often only be unearthed with years and years of the unglamorous grind.
Fatigue resistance is a complicated concept. Her are some theories about maximizing it.
Uphill treadmill run/hikes (aka treadhills) are a bonus training element that could help some athletes improve speed and endurance.
Ultramarathons are huge beasts. Here's everything you need to know about going the distance.
Adaptation rules. Injury drools. Here are 10 tips to maximize benefit from your training and keep injuries at bay.
Eating enough food can be a high stakes game for athletes, as undereating can lead to negative impacts on fundamental body processes.
Recovery is a critical part of training, because that's when adaptation from all your training happens.
Sometimes it feels like the best/fastest/happiest runners never take breaks. But critical fitness adaptations happen when you rest.
"Easy” generally describes a wide range of paces. But athletes are often left unsure of how these runs should feel.
What explains performance in athletes? The more scientists learn about genetics, the more they see that the complexity may be related to non-linear associations across different parts of the genome.
Antidepressants can change lives. Antidepressants can save lives. And antidepressants can help support long-term athletic breakthroughs.
The power of Ted Lasso is in making the leap toward love in a world that often rewards cynicism. Maybe we could all learn from that.
This article is about finding a happy medium between a fully structured plan and a fully unstructured adventure schedule. Adventure flex days build playtime into a long-term growth plan, supporting aerobic development and psychological sustainability.
Two athletes. Same age, gender, body dimensions. Same speed, VO2 max. Same job, stress levels. Together, they start the same high-volume, high-stress training approach. What happens next?
A study published online on July 27 in the JAMA Cardiology journal found that there could be ongoing cardiovascular risks for people that contract COVID-19, independent of pre-existing conditions, severity and overall course of the acute illness.
The theory is that the chronic training stress of volume and intensity allows for a de-emphasis of long run length. Add quality to long runs, and athletes can prepare for mile 20 and beyond without the breakdown risk of going long all the time in training.
Eating enough to fuel an athletic life is essential for health and performance. And it goes beyond making sure you have enough energy availability on 24-hour cycles.
The problem is that with running, there is a temptation to think that practice should be very hard. For some athletes, that focus on intensity can lead to stagnation and regression due to how the body adapts over time.
If I had to choose the place where real-world application has changed my coaching philosophy the most over time, it would be in how cross training relates to top running performance.
This article is about reframing rest days for that pesky brain that considers empty spaces lost opportunities. Rest days are not about being cautious and playing it safe. Rest days are about shooting your shot and going all in on your potential.
Runners have slightly less of a chance of dying in the next 5.5 to 35 years, but every resident in Boise has the same fate eventually. Run because you love the process, and all that other stuff will sort itself out in due time.
I think athletes often pursue a state of tiredness and soreness as a validation of training. I don’t think that’s the best approach for most athletes.
Post-race workouts are frequently part of the training plans of elite track athletes. But should trail athletes be incorporating them?
You are perfect the way you are. Lots of feelings can be wrapped up in these discussions, so just know that wherever you are, you are enough as is.
Slower might be better for many runs if combined with faster running at other times in the week. It all gets back to how aerobic adaptations happen over weeks, months and years.
A developing area of training theory indicates that the relaxed runner may adapt more positively than the discouraged runner even though they underwent the same stimulus.
On one side, you have speed. On the other side, you have endurance. Usually, the two are separate. But bring them together, and it’s like when the Power Rangers teamed up to create a Megazord that could crush any opponent.
Turning your blood volume up to 11 can improve your performance on the trails.
If you can run faster on easy days, should you? Not necessarily. Science says there's a lot of physiological reasons to take it extra easy.
Fiber is important- and not just for digestion. To keep your running progression regular, you should know about your muscle fibers.
Running economy is a bit of a mystery. Here are a few tips to make faster running feel easier.
Even on mountains, being your fastest self is the best way to cover ground quickly. That seems obvious—run fast to climb and descend fast—but all too often, athletes focus too much on climbing and descending.
Unlike cyclists and swimmers, who can train harder and longer without risking impact-related overuse injuries, runners need to be more strategic.
The best way to build fitness is to build a big wall. Focus on putting in as many daily bricks as possible, even if they are really small.
Specificity means that your workouts in the final 4-6 weeks before a big event should stress your body in a way similar to the upcoming race.
That formula provides insight for structuring your training, removing pressure and enjoying every run.
Tons of other variables can cause an offset between physiological exertion and pace/speed. So, when in doubt, slow down. Your ego might be bruised, but your body will be happy.
Minimum velocity isn’t sexy. It’s actually kinda boring. But when thinking of your training and racing, remember the age-old fable: there’s a reason that the race is won by the boring, not-sexy-at-all tortoise.
A recent study found that longterm endurance exercise may influence the body more than previously thought. In other words, you are not just playing the genetic hand you were dealt.
A 2012 article in the journal PLoS One found that heat was the biggest predictor of marathon performance across nearly two million race results, with some performance reductions of 10 percent on the hotter days.
Less is not more. More is almost always more. So if you want breakthroughs on the trails, the best way to get them is to run more than you have before.
You've likely heard people say, "Build your base," and "Run mostly easy," but what does that really mean. We break it down here.
Training for altitude at sea level is kind of like practicing kissing on an apple. You can approximate it, but it probably won't get you 100% ready for the big dance.
There are plenty of possible reasons for performance and health reduction during winter. I keep coming back to another explanation. Maybe it’s related (at least partially) to blood volume.
Getting better at climbing just means you need to climb more, right? Maybe not. Here's the science of going uphill.
Life rewards joyous enthusiasm, jumping into tasks and doing as much work as possible as efficiently as possible. Pacing, meanwhile, rewards those that are meticulous and detail-oriented and willing to have no fun at all (at first).
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