Showing posts from February, 2014

Marathon Training Specificity: At What Cost?

Marathon training... it can quickly become a complex beast. Chose your running website of choice or do a quick search for training plans and you'll end up with all sorts of ideas and theories (including this one). I would venture to say that the common theme between the marathon training plans you'll find is higher volumes and relatively lower intensities when compared to a 5K or 10K program. But have you ever stopped to ask, "Why?" Why should an athlete need 20+ mile long runs and 80+ mile weeks? Why should an athlete complete 10 mile tempo runs instead of repeat 400s? Well, I like to ask questions... A couple of weeks ago, after helping give a class presentation on the dominance of East-African runners, one of my classmates made the comment that we, as "sports-scientists", tend to over-analyze th ings. She argued that instead of trying to figure out what makes some athletes better than others, we should just go back to the basics and focus on what

Beta-Alanine - Past and Future

Around 2009, I discovered the supplement beta-alanine and at that time I was intrigued by something that could potentially improve H+ buffering capacity and exercise performance. In the summer of 2011, I went to a symposium at the ACSM's annual meeting that discussed (as well as promoted PowerBar's) beta-alanine supplementation for performance enhancement. Below is a presentation I gave later that summer as an intern at Carmichael Training Systems. Since 2011, we've had more literature published and I'll try to discuss a few of those below the posted presentation as well as provide some food for thought and suggestions for future research. In short - beta-alanine supplementation has consistently shown that it increases carnosine in skeletal muscle and carnosine is understood to be an effective intracellular buffer. What's not clear is if that leads to increases in performance - but there is potential. Since the time of this presentation, we've had