5 Strength Training Myths for Trail Runners (and the Truth Behind Them)
Bulking up? Only lifting heavy? Avoiding soreness? How is your strength routine (0r lack thereof) holding your trail running back.
Bulking up? Only lifting heavy? Avoiding soreness? How is your strength routine (0r lack thereof) holding your trail running back.
Understanding your heart rate can be helpful to calibrate your perceived exertion, especially on easy and steady runs. This simple method is imperfect, but can be very useful for a general understanding of training intensities.
For years, this elite runner, coach, and surgeon specializing in lower extremity injuries treated hundreds of runners. Until it was her turn to be sidelined.
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.
It's one thing to think about a workout; it's another to actually do it. Here's how to make sure workout brain doesn't convince you to quit.
A new study reviewed the short-term and long-term performance impacts associated with low energy availability, along with the nuances of how low energy availability relates to body composition. The science is unequivocal: athletes need to eat enough, always. What that means can vary based on the athlete, the season, and their goals.
Tempo runs are a key part of trail training, especially if you're preparing for a race. Here's how to do them.
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.
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.
Hiking is an amazing opportunity in trail races. Coolest of all? No matter where you live, you can become a stellar hiker by adding a small number of treadmill sessions.
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It’s easy to overthink the days leading up to events you care about. So let’s break it down day-by-day to provide some simple guidelines that can help give you added race-week confidence.
Our columnist reflects on the uncertainty and emotion of parenthood.
A January 2023 study in Frontiers of Physiology tracked a world-class athlete as they returned to the top level after multiple years of underperformance. The interventions included a holistic approach consisting of more fueling around training and increased training stress periodization, which may provide clues into the practices that sustain top performance long-term.
A new study found that in mice, microbiome status influenced motivation and performance for exercise. It’s another brick in a research wall showing that the microbiome may be connected to numerous physiological processes that are instrumental in health and athletic performance.
A 2022 study on cross-country skiers found that 5 weeks of 5 weekly heat training sessions increased hemoglobin mass and red blood cell volume, adaptations which should have beneficial effects for training. I think the recent literature may be pointing toward lessons that can change how we think about heat training outside of specific heat protocols.
Let’s recap 10 vaguely running-related reasons why 2022 was the BEST YEAR EVER.
For a year-end celebration article, let’s break down the rationale of 9 categories of workouts, with advanced and intermediate options.
Winter is a risky time for trail runners. Here's why, and how you can prevent injuries.
Fast strides with shorter recovery times add increased strain on the aerobic and cardiovascular systems. Used strategically and in moderation, short-rest strides can be a unique adaptation stimulus that helps translate to top-end output into better workout and race performances.
A November 2022 study analyzed split data from 16,518 ultramarathon finishes to determine what sets apart different finishers. There were some surprising takeaways for pacing strategies, which may also have training implications. Let’s break it down.
Here's what to remember when running outside in the cold.
Golden Ticket winner Riley Brady and Coach David Roche on nonbinary athlete inclusion in trail and ultra running.
Adam Peterman’s last year of racing has been mind-blowing, with wins at the JFK 50 Miler, Chuckanut 50K, Canyons 100K, Western States 100, and the World Championships. What type of training leads to an athlete with such stellar speed and endurance? Here's how Adam Peterman took the trail running world by storm.
Long-term fitness growth relies on aerobic development, and focused base periods are an opportunity to lay the groundwork for breakthroughs. This 12-week plan builds training volume while developing top-end speed. Breakthroughs await.
The mechanical and neuromuscular adaptations for breakthroughs can be difficult to stimulate in a smart, intensity-controlled training plan. Sometimes, being “smart” is overrated. That’s where the Power Hour comes in.
Eleven months ago, my wife Megan was in the hospital for heart issues that had doctors worried about her future. Last week in that same hospital, we had a very different visit. This is an article about what can happen when you’re forced to run down a new fork in the trail.
In training plans of athletes who are volume-limited, you’ll often see a pattern: a couple hours on the elliptical a week. Should you consider the elliptical in your training plan? Here’s why the elliptical might be the fitness machine with the biggest bang for your cross-training training buck.
Conventional wisdom states that athletes should do 2- to 3-week tapers with ~50% volume reductions and maintenance of intensity. But many of the world’s best athletes describe taking 7- to 10-day tapers, with long runs and relatively high aerobic volumes, closer to race day. Is there a lesson for how everyone should structure their taper period?
Courtney Dauwalter has been stunningly dominant across the world’s most competitive ultramarathons. How does she do it? Let’s explore her training methods – with some mystery to keep it interesting.
The messaging around eating and athletics can get complicated and nuanced for individuals. But in general, it can be pretty simple: eat food that you enjoy to fuel the work you are doing. Bring on the potato chips (or whatever other food you love).
Eliud Kipchoge just set a mind-boggling world record at the Berlin Marathon, running 2:01:09 to break his own mark by 30 seconds. Analyzing his training to become the GOAT in the marathon could provide fascinating insights for all athletes.
An August 2022 study used an ingenious study design to put two approaches against each other: a set training plan versus a plan that changes based on objective and subjective recovery data. The individualized plans had significantly higher rates of adaptation and fewer instances of non-response, with implications for how we think about adjusting training over time.
Kilian Jornet, aka the Greatest Of All Time, just published a summary of his training data and practices for all of 2022. His post is destined to be a legendary guide to thinking about training theory and what it takes to have the best season ever. Let’s break it down.
The watch-maker Coros published a fascinating snapshot of Kilian Jornet’s training data in the weeks leading up to his course record performance at UTMB. Let’s break it down.
An August 2022 study tracked performance before and after pregnancy in 42 elite runners. While every pregnancy journey is different, there was an exciting finding—athletes “who intended to return to high-level competition did so at a statistically similar level of performance in the 1- to 3-year period post-pregnancy.” A whopping 46% improved performances post-pregnancy.
The historical data at UTMB paints a fascinating picture of one of the hardest and most competitive races in the world. Using data on past race-day results and splits, Dr. Marshall Burke completed regression analyses that provide 4 insights and predictions about what we might see in the 2022 race.
A wonderful 2022 study has novel insight into the training of 3 top finishers at the Giro d’Italia, one of the biggest cycling stage races of the year. The case studies show that what we expect athletes to do in theory and what they actually do in practice can diverge. And that leads to some fascinating lessons about training theory.
Training theory: output at VO2 max while climbing may have a high predictive value for athlete progression and regression over time, particularly with age. Constant reinforcement of this metric may improve performance at all effort levels, including long ultras, and can seem to reverse the athletic decline process in some cases.
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.
The Tour de France is the world’s best field experiment for endurance performance. What did we learn in 2022?
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.
A recent webinar gathered some of the world’s top running researchers to talk about downhill running. Let’s review four incredibly cool takeaways!
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.
Media coverage is booming, athletes are rapidly improving, thoughts on heat, and more. Here's a breakdown of some of the 2022 highlights.
The key to running fast is learning to run slow. But what does it mean, and how do you do it? Here's your guide to running easy.
Conventional wisdom is that athletes get slower while racing longer distances, particularly ultras. But does it have to be that way?
The Western States 100 is the Super Bowl of US trail running. It’s hard and hot, and it presents unique problems for all athletes. These 10 race-day tips are designed to help athletes solve those problems, and they may help you excel at any ultra.
Aid stations are a challenge that new ultrarunners have to adapt to. Here's how to maximize efficiency and also aid station benefit.
After ultramarathons, the body undergoes numerous physiological changes. A wonderful new study examined how those changes vary across athletes. While there are many similarities, the variance between men and women points toward very cool ideas for future physiology studies and training theory.
A new study compared two weeks of higher volume training versus two weeks of higher intensity training. The findings could have important implications for how athletes think about training interventions.
Workouts can be daunting, both physically and psychologically. Here's how to prepare so you're sure to feel good.
When you’re getting ready for a key event, a big training effort can spur neuromuscular and musculoskeletal breakthroughs. The Hill Beast workout can make the legs and the brain indestructible. Let’s dive into the evolution of a training theory.
Strong, repeatable downhill running is a major factor predicting trail running performance. So how can athletes improve how their physiology responds to downhills? An amazing 2020 review study provides some clues that can inform training theory.
Heat training may improve performance in all conditions. This article provides a practical guide for how to get heat training benefits without overstressing your body, whether your goal is just to feel better on hot days or to excel at Western States.
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.
If you are tired and looking for ideas, try one of these anytime, anyplace workouts, after a 15-minute warm-up of easy running.
A 2021 study gathered data on what nutrition runners consumed before and during a 24-hour ultra run. Quantity of carbohydrates leading up to the event and during the event both correlated with performance outcomes. What does that mean for long races? Keep the carbs coming.
Here are three of the biggest factors to keep in mind when it comes to succeeding at your first 100-mile race.
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.
There is staggering variation in how each of us can experience the world inside of our own heads. Mental health treatment can vary from non-clinical practices to talk therapy to medication and so much more—and no treatment should have any stigma. You are enough and you are loved, as you are, always.
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?
There isn't a lot of research into the relationship between yoga and running performance. But it provides a few key elements for runners.
Join Trail Runner editor in chief Zoë Rom and columnist/coach David Roche for everything you need to know to run your first trail race!
What happens when you do a race that pushes your physiology beyond the horizon, only to realize that you’re not even halfway done? The new frontier of 200 mile racing is exciting, but can also be scary and overwhelming. This training plan hopes to make it a bit less scary. You have permission to remain overwhelmed.
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.
Nani Beags is 15 years, 8 months old, and she still joyously runs a few miles most days. There are lessons for all of us, even if we have two legs and a butt that is adept at quitting.
Hard workouts are important in the weeks leading up to a goal race. Use these examples to get yourself race-day ready.
One of our favorite semi-structured workouts involves short, controlled intervals within an easy/moderate aerobic run. The easy/moderate fartlek can work for any athlete looking for a fun way to level up their aerobic efficiency. Here’s how it works.
There are a variety of medications you can take to help yourself sleep, but what impact do sleep aids have on athletic performance?
Sports can be cruel. And that’s why they are magic.
There's conflicting evidence (both scientific and anecdotal) about the impacts of alcohol on athletic performance. Here's a refresher.
An overview of the biomechanics of hill running, how and when to do hill intervals, and why they'll make you stronger.
The 12-week plan provides a range of mileage options starting at 31 to 65 weekly miles and reaching 50 to 95 weekly miles, including weekly workouts and guidance, geared toward supporting peak performance and long-term growth.
Wrist-based heart rate monitors are notoriously inaccurate...except when they're not? Here's how to keep the conflicting data in perspective.
The December 2021 study shows large amounts of individual variation across different phases of the menstrual cycle.