The truth about sports, nutrition and pain!

Posts tagged ‘running’

Calculating the %of VO2Max to train at.

We already know what Vo2 Max is, why it is important to train it and at what intensities we should train to improve it. Now all we need to figure out is how to calculate those percentages to know  if we are training at the right intensities.

Let’s not forget that training intensities between 40-89%Vo2Max can improve the aerobic capacity in normal people. This means that people who are not in such good shape can train at 40 %  of Vo2Max, or even lower, and already see improvements, while people who are in better shape will have to train at higher intensities. Remember that two of the ways to improve VO2Max are by:

High Intensity Interval Training ( 80-100 % Vo2Max)- Only people who are well fit should train at those percentages.

Long Slow Distance Exercise ( 50-65% Vo2Max)- The run should usually last longer than 30 minutes.

Ok, so now the moment we have all been waiting for, how to calculate the intensity of Vo2Max you are working at. So, we do this through a method called the KARVONEN METHOD. It works because it is based on the linear relationship between hear rate and Vo2 with increasing work.

The steps you have to do are the following:

  1. Calculate your Heart Rate Max ( 220 minus your age)-This formula is not exact and the potential error with the standard deviation can be +-11 beats per minute.
  2. Calculate your  resting HR- It is usually better to do it in the morning
  3. Calculate your Heart Rate Reserve (HRR)- This equals Heart Max- Heart Rate Rest.
  4. Target Heart Rate (THR)- This is the heart rate we want to work out.

Remember that there is a linear relationship between heart rate and Vo2 with increasing work. That is why this formula works. So let us say that I want to work at 80% of Heart Rate Reserve the formula would be as follows..

THR= HRrest +0.80 ( Heart Rate Reserve)

I will use myself to put things more clearly. I am 34 years old, my heart rate at rest is 58 and I want to train at 80% of Vo2 Max.

  • Heart Rate Max:220 -34= 186
  • Resting Hear Rate: 58
  • Heart Rate Reserve: 186-58= 128
  •  THR= 58+0.80 (128)  and my Target Heart Rate would be 160.4, meaning that if I wanted to work at 80% percent of my VO2Max my heart rate would have to be at 160 beats per minute

I know it seems a little bit complicated but once you get the trick of it it will be quite easy and your training’s will be much more effective!!

Try it out and let me know if it works. Until next time

I

 

 

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Can I jump/run faster at higher altitudes

In the last blog I talked about how and why altitude affects endurance exercise but would altitude also affect short explosive exercise where oxygen is not a factor? Well, let us find out.

Most of you have probably heard that when we exercise we can use two systems: Aerobic and Anaerobic. Aerobic means that we need oxygen to produce energy and any event that last more than 60″ seconds is basically going to depend on that system for energy. Anaerobic, on the other hand, means we are able to produce energy without oxygen and any event that last 10″or less seconds is going to use mostly the anaerobic system.

So, would altitude affect anaerobic exercise? We  know now ( thanks to the last blog) that the partial pressure of oxygen is lower at higher altitudes but since we would be doing an activity that does not require oxygen that would not affect us. We also learned that at higher altitudes there is a lower air density. If there is a lower air density it means there is less resistance, meaning your running speed could improve!!

There you have it, since anaerobic exercise does not rely on oxygen and there is less air density, any exercise that does not last too long should not be influenced by altitude. And that is what happened exactly at the Olympic games of Mexico city in 1968. In most of the short duration-explosive events there was a big improvement!

 

Hope you enjoyed it.

 

 

 

The importance of resting.

Most people are quite competitive with themselves and always want to get better at what they do. If it is running, they want to get faster, if it is resistance training, they want to get bigger and stronger Whatever sport it is we usually want to get better. And what do we do to get better? We train, we train harder, we train faster, we train over and over again until we achieve our goal. And that is for the most part correct, We have to train to improve, but it is not the whole equation, an important part and one that people take for granted is REST.

Let us take running for example. Whenever we run high forces are applied that cause damage to our body. If we rest and recover, our bodies heal and adapt, making us stronger in the process. This is known as supercompensation and it can be applied to most sports. Injuries occur when these forces caused by the sports we practice exceed the body´s ability to handle it, either, because the body is too weak or the forces are too great. And most of the time this is due to 2 factors. We train too much and we don´t rest enough.

If you think about it we shouldn´t really be getting injured nowadays when running, I mean, with all the high-tech shoes out there, how is it possible? But the truth of the matter is that we still get hurt on a frustratingly regular basis, just like 30 years ago. Why you ask? Well in my opinion is not the shoes (1-2). The shoes aren´t even that important ( did a blog on it). The two main factors that predict if you are going to get injured are weight and volume. Meaning, the more you weight the more likely you will get injured, and the more you run the higher your chances of getting injured. And volume and rest are connected, as the more you run the less you rest. Rest includes sleeping properly and this is what a lot of people don´take seriously. Just this year a study came out that said ¨ adolescent athletes who slept eight or more hours each night were 68 percent less likely to be injured than athletes who regularly slept less¨(3). Did you guys see that? It said 68% percent less likely, that is a lot, and something we should take into account. So training is important but resting could be even more important as it could prevent a lot of injuries. And remember if you are injured you cannot train, meaning you won´t get better. So in conclusion REST!!!!!

  1. Theisen D, Malisous L, Genin J, Delattre N. Influence of midsole hardness of standard cushioned shoes on running-related injury risk. Br J Sports Med.2013
  2. Richards CE, Margin PJ, Callister R. Is your prescription of distance running shoes evidence-based. Br J Sports Med.2009 Mar;43(3):159-62.
  3. Mileski MD, Skaggs DL, Bishop GA, Pace JL, Ibrahim DA, Wren TA, Barzdukas A. Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes. J Pediatr Orthop 2014 MAr,34(2)129-33.

Cardio or Lifting Weights, what is better for losing weight?

This is a classic question I always get asked and one where people always get surprised when hearing my answer. Which is that for losing weight I put more emphasis on weight training.

Running is great and something I love to do but I do not run to lose weight. I run for other reasons, like to improve my cardiovascular condition, to disconnect  and to prepare myself for future races. Because, like I have stated various times in my blog, the body is the best machine you will ever have. It is designed for efficiency, meaning that if you do the same thing over and over again, the process will become easier. So, this is good if your aim is to try to win a race but it is not good if your goal is to lose fat. For example, did you know marathon runners spend 30% less energy running a marathon than a normal person (1). Even do you are doing the same distance, the marathon runner is still burning or spending 30% less, how can this be? Well, it could be for various reasons like running technique and weight, but the most important one is that the metabolism has become more EFFICIENT.  So if you run everyday for 40 minutes, your body is going to get more efficient and you are going to burn fewer calories. That is why I sometimes tell people who only run to lose fat that, instead of just slogging away to lose 300 calories, they can just eat 300 fewer calories per day and get the same result.

Weight training is different because, first, you are creating muscle. Muscle will elevate your metabolism, remember, most of the calories we burn throughout the day are not thanks to the sports we do but because of our metabolism. Also, every time we do weight training we create mini-micro tears that need to be repaired. This process requires energy, meaning we are burning calories.  And let us not forget that strength training  is considered anaerobic training because it is high in intensity. Exercises high in intensity have been shown to accelerate metabolism for up to 72 hours after the workout due to the effects of excess post exercise oxygen consumption (2).

In conclusion, running is a great activity and something that I usually recommend people to do and of course it can help in losing weight but, if you ask me, weight training is even better for this task.

 

Hope you liked it.

References

  1. Hargrove T. A guide to better movement.  Better movement 2014. p 22-24.
  2. Heden R, Lox C, Rose P, reid S, Kirk EP. One-set resistance training elevates energy expenditure for 72 h similar to three sets. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011 Mar;11 (3):477-84.

Now with weight training

I will explain that later but first I want to explain some terms.

Aerobic –  meaning your body gets its energy through the use of oxygen. When you are in aerobic the body´s prefer source of energy is ¨¨. Basically during the whole day we are in ¨aerobic¨, so we are burning fat the whole day. So, technically it is a myth when you hear people say ¨to burn fat you have to run more than 40 minutes¨, because you are burning fat throught out the day.

Anaerobic- without oxygen

 

Running shoes – are they really that important?

Running shoes can make a simple person go crazy. I went to buy some the other day, thinking it would be an easy task and, boy, was I wrong. First, they asked me if I was a pronator or supinator, I answered that I was more of terminator. Then they asked me about stability, I´ve always been afraid of that issue so I decided not to answer. After that scare, they put me on a treadmill and asked me to walk and run and when that was over they told me they had the perfect shoe for me, it was called the SUPERAXICS BALANCE NEUTRAL STABILITY POWER 1000  and it only costed 165€. I almost had a heart attack!!

Obviously, I exaggerated a little but I wanted to get the point across, buying running shoes can sometimes be a nightmare. But, does it have to be? Is pronation-supination really that important? Do you really have to buy expensive shoes to prevent an injury? What about those new stability shoes, do they really work? Let´s find out….

Running shoes were invented around 40-50 years ago, before that there were only normal shoes or something to cover your feet with and way before that we didn´t even have shoes, but we were still able to run.  And that´s what the book Born to Run talks about. It says that we were meant to run barefoot and that the invention of the shoes has altered our footstrike. You see, when you run barefoot you land with the forefoot because if you landed with your heel it would hurt. However, when you run with running shoes you tend to land with the heel, that´s why running shoes tend to have a lot of cushion in the back.  So now you see a lot of people running with these minimalist shoes, like the five fingers. And you may ask yourself what´s better? In my opinion, the best thing is to buy a normal shoe and alter your footstrike, meaning sometimes you land with the forefoot and sometimes with the barefoot. You see, in his book, Born to Run, the author states that humans were meant to run barefoot and I agree with that, but we were not meant to run MARATHONS or SEMI-MARATHONS. We ran to catch our food and that was it!! I know a lot of people who are running marathons and semi-marathons with minimalist shoes, heck I have a friend who just last month ran the MALAGA MARATHON in SANDALS, yes sandals (here is the picture to proof it). And he is perfectly fine, still runs with the sandals and loves them. He is also a trainer and a great physical therapist.

chema

Still, I wouldn´t recommend people to run marathons with minimalistic shoes, 5-10km yes (that´s probably what we ran to catch our food), but 41km, hell no.  And do minimalistic shoes prevent more injuries than ¨normal¨ running shoes? Well, according to a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, they don´t (1). They found no difference in injury rates between runners who wore soft-soled shoes and those who wore firm-soled shoes. But, you can also read this the other way – RUNNING SHOES DO NOT PREVENT MORE INJURIES THAN MINIMALISTIC SHOES.

So with all this said, you can imagine that running shoes are really not that important and various studies have demonstrated that. For example, researchers have NOT found a strong link between pronation and injury, that is why stability shoes don´t seem to help people who have been diagnosed as ¨over pronators¨. Another paper in 2009 concluded that ¨prescribing cushioned, motion-controlled shoes to distance runners was not evidence-based (2).

So what do we do……. well, I guess each person is different and has to find their shoe in which they are comfortable.  But the point I´m trying to get across, is that we really don´t need expensive shoes to run, heck, we don´t even need shoes to run.

chema2

(My friend Chema again, but this time WITHOUT SANDALS)

And I also wouldn´t bother too much about pronation, supination and stability, I don´t think the sandals my friend ran with had any of those features. So, until next time keep running!!!

I leave you with a nice article that talks about pronation and a video that talks about ¨Born to run¨.

http://www.runnersworld.com/running-shoes/does-pronation-matter

References:

Theisen D, Malisous L, Genin J, Delattre N. Influence of midsole hardness of standard cushioned shoes on running-related injury risk. Br J Sports Med.2013

Richards CE, Margin PJ, Callister R. Is your prescription of distance running shoes evidence-based. Br J Sports Med.2009 Mar;43(3):159-62.

 
 

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