Are Boston qualifying standards unfair?

I’ve heard it mentioned several times that “women have it easier than men” when qualifying for the Boston Marathon. The argument usually goes something like this: Boston should be accepting the same proportion of talented male runers as female runners. But women get a 30-minute advantage in every age group, when the men’s world record […]

The Basics: Running safely in the dark

As the days begin to get shorter in the north and the school year wreaks havoc on running schedules, more and more runners are taking to the streets in the dark. I was surprised to realize last week that as the summer wanes, I once again need a headlamp for my regular 6 a.m. run […]

Mammals with bigger brains are better “athletes”

How do you measure a non-human animal’s VO2 max? Put it on a treadmill, just like you would with a human. What do you do with that information? If you’re David Raichlen and Adam Gordon, you use it to figure out if there’s any relationship between an animal’s ability as an “endurance athlete” and its […]

What’s the minimum (and maximum) exercise to improve health?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services currently recommends that adults engage in exercise at least 150 minutes per week. They also say that more exercise is even better, but that also suggests that doing somewhat less than 150 minutes per week might be better than nothing. If you’re an active runner, you might […]

What’s the ideal running drink? Noakes weighs in

There’s been a fair amount of discussion of hydration and dehydration on Science-Based Running, but it’s been focused on what to do to prevent serious problems, rather than how to optimize running performance. Let’s assume you’re not going to keel over from heat exhaustion or overhydration in a race. What should you consume before and […]

The Basics: Running during your vacation

I apologize for the lack of posting this past week, but I have an excuse: I’ve been doing the “research” for this post! I’m in the middle of a two-week vacation in Hawaii, but I’ve also been trying to keep up with my marathon training schedule, which had me slated to do 49 miles last […]

Do world-class sprinters really move their legs no faster than ordinary runners?

The speeds attained by world-class sprinters like Usain Bolt are simply unfathomable to me. During today’s workout, I ran at nearly top speed for a set of 400-meter repetitions: About a 6-minute-mile pace, or 10 miles per hour. Sure, I could probably hit 15 mph over 50 meters or so, but that would be about […]

Nutrition during a run: Yep, consuming carbs improves performance

This summer I’m reading Tim Noakes’ massive volume Lore of Running, bit by bit, then reporting the critical bits back to you. Last week I covered fatigue and exhaustion, discussing why we get tired when we do. This week I’m finishing up Noakes’ chapter on energy systems and running performance. I started running in the […]

The Basics: Running, sweating, and drinking in warm weather

Few topics fill runners with more dread than trying to figure out what and how much to drink for a workout. Should you consume an energy drink? If so, what kind? Or is plain water fine? Should you drink beforehand? Can you drink too much? When the weather warms up in the summer, the questions […]

Why do we get exhausted? Noakes on energy supply and running

This summer I’m reading Tim Noakes’ massive volume Lore of Running, bit by bit, then reporting the critical bits back to you. Last week I covered running potential, discussing whether there are fixed limits to human performance. This week I’m reading Noakes’ chapter on energy systems and running performance. The basic question in this chapter […]

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