In this episode of the A to Z Running Podcast, runners get their questions answered about race distance, down weeks, and trail running.
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MAIN TOPIC: RACE DISTANCE, DOWN WEEKS, AND TRAIL RUNNING
Main Topic: Listener Q & A
Runners get their questions answered about race distance, down weeks, and trail running. Tune in for this week’s Q & A episode!
WORLD OF RUNNING
World of Running
#1. Mitch Ammons’ life turnaround
- Mitch Ammons… prior to 2016, he hadn’t run since freshman year of high school, basically
- Why? In his own words: “That’s when drugs kicked in,” said Ammons. “I was hanging out with the wrong crowd.”
- It took 6 visits to rehab and years or relapses until things started to turn around
- Health didn’t come right away either
- In 2018, he started running regularly with a local group
- In 2019, he decided to take it seriously and found a coach
- Progression from there:
- 2019 ran a 1:07 HM
- 2021 ran a 2:23 M
- 2021 ran a 1:06 HM
- 2022 ran 1:05 HM → turns out he had appendicitis during the race and had surgery days later
- End of 2022, ran 2:16 in the M
- 7 years after getting sober, he ran a minute under the Oly trials qualifying time
#2. Running History: Story of Dorando Pietri and the 1908 Olympic Marathon
- Excerpts from Roger Robinson.
- London 114 years ago
- The crowd watching Dorando Pietri were moved by something deeper than partisanship. Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes) said it best, covering the race for the Daily Mail: “He has gone to the extreme of human endurance… It is horrible, and yet fascinating, this struggle between a set purpose and an utterly exhausted frame.”
- Collapsed 4 times of heat exhaustion.
- And now things became really exciting. The next runner was from the USA, Johnny Hayes, a New Yorker of Irish parentage and he was charging, with a sure stride. It is a crucial part of the story of this extraordinary day that Hayes ran a perfectly judged race when everyone else was going bananas. The favorites from Britain went way too fast and faded by mile 10.
- How did Pietri ever reach the finish? With plenty of help, for sure, even to stay upright. He got there as Hayes was on the final bend, a mere 150 yards behind. The famous finish line photo shows Pietri with liquid legs and glazed expression. Race director Jack Andrew is helping him through the tape, with a good grip on Pietri’s right upper arm, holding a huge megaphone in the other hand.
- Now we all know that if you give assistance, the runner must be disqualified. But we know it because of what happened in London that day.
- Through his megaphone, Andrew promptly announced Pietri the winner. The courageous little Italian was the briefest champion in Olympic marathon history. The American team immediately lodged a protest, which inevitably was upheld. Johnny Hayes, who alone among the potential winners seemed to understand that a marathon is longer than 18 miles, was the worthy winner.
- What happened next? Pietri and Hayes had an offer they could not refuse to race marathons for big prize money, indoors (262 laps) in New York. Longboat and England’s Alf Shrubb soon joined them. And so began another great story, the forgotten one of the years when marathon mania was spectacular American show business.
#3. More Discussion on menstruation and performance
(source: Athletics Weekly)
- In the past several months, there have been many high-profile track stars trying to bring attention to the need for more study on menstruation and performance
- Researchers respond:
- True that there is not as much study of the high level athletes… apparently it’s really hard to get elites to agree to being studied
- A recent meta-analysis found that there isn’t much that is generalizable
- The most common generalization made is that there is a decline during the beginning of the period (follicular phase)
- Unfortunately, if that is true, data suggest that it is only true by insignificant amounts, generally speaking, and that individual variability is still high
- Further convoluted by the fact that much of the methodology is dodgy
- Studies leveraged training diaries and relative perceived experiences
- We all know how reliable that is
- Ultimately, the question becomes one of knowing yourself: what helps you feel better, what helps mitigate negative effects at different stages
- Learn how your body responds to different stages in your cycle
- Learn what effects those responses have on performance
- Learn what helps: nutrition, massage, etc.
- Avoid the gimmicks that claim to offer responsive training to menstrual cycles–not many data to suggest that kind of stuff has any backing in science or any capacity to advise well