Friday, October 7, 2011

Runners' World

Check out the November 2011 issue of Runners' World for some advice (by me) on keeping the immune system functioning while training for endurance events.

Soy v. Whey Protein

There is a lot of dissension on the good and evils of soy protein in endurance athletes.  One of the arguments that is made by the detractors of soy protein is that it inhibits protein synthesis.  While it may have less muscle protein synthesis after resistance exercise (which itself is a big contributor to muscle protein synthesis), it is still better than casein, another milk derived protein.
The researches from one study concluded that the rapid rise in amino acids after whey, compared with soy ingestion may be one of the contributing factors.
Source: Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men. Tang et al. J. Appl Physiol. 2009 Sep;107(3):987-92.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Why good people take bad advice

I recently had lunch with a friend from medical school.  She was telling me about her running coach.  This coach was an attorney who got fed up with law and decided to become a running coach.  She now tells people like my friend how far to run every day.  Only problem is, my friend isn't losing weight the way she wants.  So she does her own thing, like cross-fit.  "It's the only way I can lose weight" she tells me.
"Why not run like you do cross fit?" I asked
"You mean run fast?" she says
"Exactly." I reply
"Because I can't keep up the speed."


One of the best ways to get fast, lose weight and build endurance comes down to interval training.  Too many people follow programs designed for training volume with no focus on training intensity.  Of course doing too much of one without any of the other isn't good either.

Unfortunately, most intervals are based on distance.

800x4, 200x8, etc.  As you get faster, your intervals are getting shorter.  If you aren't fast enough, the intervals are too long and fatiguing, which limits recovery.

Intervals should be aimed at the skills of the fast twitch fibers they are trying to target.  Fast twitch fibers perform very well for 4-5 minutes (Type IIA fibers) and for 20-30 seconds (Type IIB fibers.)  Of course, there is a lot of variability in there, but these represent good interval times to start.

Shoot for a goal of 6-8 intervals with complete recovery at the 4-5 minute pace or the 30 second pace.