Running season is approaching in the northern hemisphere and I happened to notice an interesting research article in regards to trail running. It has been written by Glen Björklund as first author with whom have performed one study in Finland at our Turku PET Centre research institute. The study has been published in Frontiers of Physiology, so it is freely available to everyone. It’s major conclusions are that maximal oxygen consumption, vertical running speed and fat percent are important predictors for trail running performance. Performance between runners also varied the most on downhills throughout the course, while pacing resembled a reversed J pattern. But they are discussing also many other things and this paper also has nice introduction to the topic, so it is worth reading if trail running interests you!
Orienteering is one of the best exercises one can imagine. Running in a forest with a map trying to find your way according to pre-defined locations puts both your legs and brain working. No step is similar than previous one and terrain is often quite demanding. Uphills and downhills and reading map and sometimes just running fast is best natural interval training that one can figure. Good thing also is that you do not need to be running with maximal effort but you can also enjoy nature, which is good and healthy for your body also according to science. These were some of the things I figured out also today when I was orienteering. Early summer was full of rowing on a same days as our weekly orienteering events happen, but now I am back to running in the forests with a map, and how great is that 🙂
Another link that I happened to click recently was NIH’s National Institute on Aging provided article discussing family activities that could be tried to improve the health of whole family. That was good read but they have also lots of other good information that could be checked, such as general guides for endurance, strenght, balance and flexibility training that everyone should do, preferably daily. But coming back to physical activities that whole family could do, one of the most common things that we use to do is to take our boys to ride their bicycles while we are running as parents. I have actually done that ever since my oldest child was 2,5 years old when he learnt to cycle, without balance wheels. He had used a balance bike for quite long before that so actual cycling was quite easy after that. We were living in The Netherlands at that time and luckily roads were very flat and regions very safe, which made things much easier. I was also giving him a little “push” every now and then and was helping him when going uphills (those few that we faced during our normal running and cycling trips).Younger brother also learnt to cycle at quite young age and now they need to wait dad when I am running and they are with their bikes 🙂 We also cycle to pre-school and daycare and use bike every time when distances are not too long.
Cycling, walking and playing various (ball) games together is also good fun. One of the things we do once per week is parent-child floorball, which has been so great as that is not so “structured” club exercise aiming at competitions or so but just easy playing with kids. Regional club football is also good as boys can meet and interact with their mates at the same time, as well as during cross-country skiing practises where general motor and other skills will improve substantially. So there are plenty of good ways to be physically active also as a whole family and we just need to pick up the best ways that work each one of us.
Sounds basically impossible but Eliud Kipchoge was yesterday able to run some 2,5 minutes faster than is the current marathon world record, which is already amazing time and these type of records are not usually beaten by that large margin. He stopped clocks in a time 2:00:25 in Nike’s sub-2 marathon attempt which was held on a racetrack in Monza, Italy. There has been quite a lot of speculation about his shoes and other things and it was not accepted as an official world record due to numerous reasons such as there was a car setting the pace for him and other runners. In a way that should not matter, that is unbeliavably fast!
To find out all the details Runner’s World has covered the topic well and it might also be worth of wathing the entire run. Read also their report on the attempt as well as Mike Joyner’s analyses what we should still expect. I have listened to many of Mike’s presentations on the topic but also researchers such as Andy Jones and many others have presented very interesting ideas and calculations which are worth of visiting if you are interested in reading some more what these running velocities for such a long periods require physiologically. I would say Kipchoge’s run was simply astonishing and I hope there is nothing else behind that time but unique genetics and very hard training.