Running in pollution, core strength, toe joints and more!

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As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)

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The new issue of Canadian Running magazine is on newsstands now. Lots of good stuff in there, as usual — I particularly recommend the article by Canadian 1,500-metre star Hilary Stellingwerff on her training stint in the highlands of Ethiopia. Lots of behind-the-scenes details about the training of top Ethiopian stars, and a very interesting window into a country that few of us have visited (well, I haven’t).

There’s also my regular Science of Running column. Topics covered: how much pollution you inhale running alongside a four-lane highway; why it’s better to measure your heart rate in a race or workout than in the lab; whether core strengthening actually makes you run faster; whether heavy shoes make you run slower; and whether running is bad for your toe joints.

Follow-up on “non-surgical” Achilles treatment

THANK YOU FOR VISITING SWEATSCIENCE.COM!

As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)

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I now have details from the ARRS Annual Meeting presentation on the “non-surgical” Achilles treatment discussed yesterday. Continue reading “Follow-up on “non-surgical” Achilles treatment”

New “non-surgical” treatment for Achilles problems?

THANK YOU FOR VISITING SWEATSCIENCE.COM!

As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)

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[UPDATED INFO HERE.] There’s a press release from the American Roentgen Ray Society (a.k.a. radiologists — “Roentgen ray” was the original name for X-rays) that has been making the rounds over the past few days, thanks to a fairly optimistic opening line:

Researchers have found an alternative, “non-surgical” method to treat chronic tendinosis (tendinitis) of the Achilles tendon that fails conservative treatment, according to a study performed at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University in Chicago, IL.

This, of course, would be great news, especially for the 10 to 15 percent of runners who may be affected by Achilles problems that don’t respond to the usual treatments. The new approach seems to be “ultrasound-guided Achilles debridement.” This is a little confusing, because debridement (removing the damaged tissue, and possibly making some incisions to stimulate the body’s natural repair processes) is (a) a well-established treatment for Achilles problems, and (b) generally considered a surgical procedure.

So what’s new here? Perhaps it’s a minimally invasive procedure, made possible by the ultrasonic guidance — though that still sounds like surgery to me. I’ve requested a copy of the full study, so that should answer these questions. In the meantime, the press release reports that about 60 percent of the 17 patients who underwent the procedure reported either marked improvement or complete disappearance of their symptons, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

BOSU balls, wobble boards, stability balls, Dyna Discs…

THANK YOU FOR VISITING SWEATSCIENCE.COM!

As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)

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This week’s Jockology column (just posted) takes a look at balance training tools:bosu1lega

No gym is complete these days without an assortment of oddly shaped and surprisingly expensive balance-training gadgets. Unlike many fads, this one really does have its roots in solid medical research: Wobble boards earned their stripes decades ago in aiding the rehabilitation of ankle sprains.

The purported benefits of balance training now extend much further, promising injury prevention and the strengthening of countless small stabilizer muscles that would otherwise be left flaccid. For those who play court sports involving lots of running and rapid changes of direction, the benefits are increasingly clear; for the rest of us, the verdict is murkier. (read on…)

Another data point on compression socks

THANK YOU FOR VISITING SWEATSCIENCE.COM!

As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)

***

The Mt. SAC Relays, a traditional season-opener for many North American track and field stars, has been taking place this weekend. Further to our discussion of compression socks last week, I note this photo by Image of Sport‘s Kirby Lee of U.S. 5,000-metre runner Chris Solinsky showing off the latest in knee-high Nikes.solinsky

While Solinsky ran a fine time of 13:18.41, he did wind up getting outkicked by the other two runners in the picture, offering further evidence that facial hair and tattoos still trump compression socks in the final straightaway.