Running Fast and Injury Free

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Running Fast and Injury Free
by Gordon Pirie

Gordon Pirie was a British long distance runner most famous for his silver medal at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics in the 5000 meters. The 1998 edition of the Guinness Book of Records lists Gordon Pirie under the Greatest Mileage entry, stating that he had run a total distance of 347,600 km (216,000 miles) in 40 years to 1981. That’s over 100 miles (160 km) a week every week for 40 years! The irony of this is Pirie gives three reasons why runners get injured, and one of them is too much “long slow distance” (LSD) mileage! In all fairness, he does believe in a balance of various types of running and to include strength training as a component.

Running Fast and Injury Free is partly biographical and partly an outline of Pirie’s training approach. From the introduction:

“In the last 45 years, I have participated in three Olympic Games (winning a Silver Medal in the 5,000 metre race at the 1956 Melbourne Games), and have set five official world records (and a dozen or so more unofficial world bests). I have faced and beaten most of the greatest athletes of my time, and have run to date nearly a quarter of a million miles. Along the way, I have coached several of Great Britain and New Zealand’s best runners some of whom have set their own world records. In addition, I aided the late Adolf (Adi) Dassler (founder of Adidas) in developing spiked racing shoes, on which most of today’s good designs are based. This brief list of some of my accomplishments is presented in order to lend credibility to what follows”.

Pirie lists what he considered the three biggest causes of injury among runners. First, few runners know how to run correctly. Improper technique puts undue strain on the feet, ankles, knees, back and hips, and makes injury inevitable. Second, most running shoes today are designed and constructed that make correct technique impossible (and therefore cause chronic injuries) due to a misconception that a runner should land on his or her heels and then roll forward to the front of the foot with each stride. In designing their shoes, most shoe companies fall prey to this incorrect assumption. Third , is an over-emphasis on mileage in training, especially “long slow distance” (LSD). Without the constant maintenance of a proper balance in training including sprinting, interval training, weights, hills and long-running – a runner’s body simply will not adapt to the stresses it encounters on a day to day basis.

His recommendations on strength training are especially interesting. He devoted an entire chapter to weight training.

A race is an all-out effort over a short period of minutes or seconds. The aim of weight training for runners is to simulate as closely as possible the movements used in running their special event, and hence the demands which racing makes on the body. In this way, the body’s strength can be developed, with an emphasis on ensuring that the body is balanced in strength, and not lopsided with one side stronger than the other, as commonly occurs because most people are either right- or left-handed. A runner should be equally strong in both sides of the body – left and right – and have balanced strength between the front and back of the body… Many of the runners who decry the positive effects of weight training have gained their superior strength with the assistance of a good Doctor or Chemist. Others – like Sebastian Coe and Steve Scott – are open about the significant role that weight training has played in their training… You should aim to work to at least two-thirds or more of your body weight with bar-bells. The ultimate test is to be able to lift the equivalent of your own body weight over your head. When you can do this, you will be strong enough for running events.

Before I began weight training, I was a long distance and cross country runner who could grind it out with anyone, but a constant loser in a sprint. A diet of hard weights, however, turned me
into a complete competitor, one who could pour on the pace and still sprint madly at the finish.

Before getting onto the specifics of an effective weight-training protocol, here are some general guidelines about fitting weights into your overall programme:

How often should one do weight-training?
Every second or third day is about right, along with a full running programme (curtail your weights several days before a race). Your weight training should also continue through the height of the racing season. Do not give away all the good training you have done just when you need the greatest amount of strength.

How hard should the weight-training be?
There are two types of weight sessions: (1) a full-out session in which you do all and every exercise as hard as you can; and (2) an easier session with half-dosages of fewer exercises. It is not uncommon for a tired runner to feel much fitter after a moderate session with the weights. These sessions seem to flush out your muscles. On the other hand, the full-out, go-for-it, maximum sessions tend to put the body down a bit, and numb it for a while; so those sessions should never be attempted near to a race day (say within six days). The body does cope easily with easy routines, however, and I sometimes even find that a few exercises with strong weights before a three-hour running session can bring fantastic strength into the running, making it feel much easier. I have always found my best running fitness – when I was able to set world records and finish races in stunning fashion – to be absolutely tied in with my best form with the weights. The stronger I was at grappling with the weights (combined with a lot of hard running), the better I was on race day.

Pirie is basically describing a HLM (Heavy-Light-Medium) template, 2-3 times per week, recommending to warm up light and then ramp up to a weight you can handle with good form for about six repetitions and then increase in each session in a steady, programmed manner from there. Free weights are ideal and lifts specifically recommended include presses (working up to pressing a barbell loaded to bodyweight over head), rows (using 2/3 bodyweight and increasing from there), cleans, deadlifts (starting at bodyweight and increasing from there), and chin ups. This is very similar to the advice given by noted strength coach and competitive lifter, Bill Starr.

Running Fast and Injury Free
by Gordon Pirie
Free download:
https://www.scribd.com/document/13695/Gordon-Pirie-s-Running-Fast-and-Injury-Free/

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-5k-not-the-marathon-is-the-ideal-race/

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Endurance Race: Safety and Participation

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About 2,500 Boston Marathon runners receive medical treatment

Boston Globe, April 16, 2018
https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/04/16/marathon-runners-treated-for-injuries-wellesley/JhQbVspqLwJEy4XFKjvULI/story.html

The food, drinks, coffee, and roaring fire in the building’s front room took on a more serious purpose as more than 50 injured competitors streamed in, many suffering from symptoms of hypothermia.

“It’s just become this impromptu shelter for running refugees,” said associate pastor Ashley Murphy, who lives nearby and had already raided her pantry and linen closet for food, towels, and dry clothes.

More than 2,500 runners, including 25 elite athletes, received medical treatment, race organizers said. Eighty-one runners were taken to the hospital.

Given 29,978 runners registered for the 2018 Boston Marathon (and they had to pre-qualify to be accepted), this is more than a 8.3% casualty rate. Contrast this to the injury rates common at shooting or strength sport events, which are comparatively non-existant.

So why do endurance sports enjoy positive attention? The stats continue to show why non-shooting events receive attention while shooting events do not.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/tag/participation-rates/

29,978 runners registered for the 2018 Boston Marathon, supported by 9,500 volunteers, over 500,000 spectators, and $830,500 in prizes. There were another 10,000 participants at the BAA 5K around the Boston Common held just before.
The 2018 Boston Marathon: By The Numbers by Kurt Badenhausen, Forbes Magazine
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2018/04/16/the-boston-marathon-2018-by-the-numbers/#7ccf034b31d6

Contrast this to participation rates at shooting or strength sport events and you’ll have your answer.

Mark Allen on Strength Training

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Are you over 35 years of age? Do you have a limited amount of training time? Do you want to reverse — or at least slow down — as many aspects of the aging process as possible? Are you an endurance athlete looking for an extra edge? Do you want to boost power, reduce fatigue, guard against injury and increase your late-race energy reserves?

Well, who doesn’t? And strength training can be the tool to help you accomplish each of these universally sought-after benefits. In fact, strength, or resistance, training is one of the most commonly overlooked means to improve endurance athletic performance.

All too many triathletes sacrifice strength training in favor of additional swim, bike or run sessions. This is unwise. In fact, a well-executed strength-training program can allow you to carve up to 25 percent out of your swim, bike and run volume while improving performance and enjoying better race-day results.

I fought going to the gym for years until I reached my mid-30s. Suddenly, speed work started to look more like steady-state training, and I could no longer override a lack of power on climbs with desire. My race performances started to suffer. I could see that even with a huge volume of miles out on the roads, my fitness was not what it was in my 20s.

Adding resistance training was the next step, but I had a problem. I had no idea how to design and integrate a strength program into triathlon training. I was also intimidated by the gym because I felt like the scrawny weakling on the beach compared to the hulks pushing around weights that would crush me. So there I was, the Ironman champion, embarrassed to go into the gym.

But my desire to win was even stronger than my embarrassment. I was introduced to a top strength coach, a woman named Diane Buchta. She led me through an entire season of weights, focusing on building overall body strength and, eventually, muscular speed.

The results were dramatic. In the first full season I used [a strength program] I won the Triple Crown of Triathlon: the Nice International Triathlon, the Zofingen duathlon, and the Hawaii IRONMAN.

Running and Shooting Demographics

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Running USA reported on road race participation numbers.
2016 State of the Sport – U.S. Road Race Trends
The second running boom appears to be backing off as runners retreat from non-traditional races.
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