Thomas from Marathon Handbook here.
Today, we’re announcing that Marathon Handbook is the new home of the Run Long, Run Healthy newsletter by Amby Burfoot.
We’ve included this week’s newsletter below – but first, I wanted to provide some context!
Who Is Amby Burfoot?
If you asked me who the authority on running journalism is, I wouldn’t hesitate to answer: Amby Burfoot.
Amby is a bit of a legend in the running world ever since winning the Boston Marathon in 1968 . . . he became the first collegian to win this prestigious event and the first American to claim the title since John Kelley in 1957.
His stellar college career at Wesleyan University saw him undefeated in cross-country dual races, and he later continued his dominance on the global stage, with significant performances like a near-American record at the Fukuoka Marathon in Japan.
Not limiting himself to racing, Amby channeled his passion for running into journalism. He joined Runner’s World magazine in 1978, rising to the position of Editor-in-Chief and then serving as its Editor-at-Large.
Author of several seminal books on running, including The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life and The Principles of Running, Burfoot’s influence spans both the tracks and the pages, earning him spots in several Halls of Fame, including the National Distance Running Hall of Fame (2008), the Road Runners Club of America Hall of Fame (1994), and the Running USA Hall of Champions (2004).Amby regularly writes on running for major outlets such as the New York Times and Outside Online; in September 2023, he became Marathon Handbook’s Editor-At-Large.
What’s The Run Long, Run Healthy Newsletter About?
Amby has been self-publishing “Run Long, Run Healthy” for three years. His musings cover training, nutrition, shoes, motivation, injury prevention, and recaps of the best running advice articles to hit the presses.
I like Amby’s description best:
“I spend HOURS searching the Internet for the best, most authoritative new running articles, so you can review them in MINUTES.”
How’s This Different From The Monday Morning Mailer?
The Monday Morning Mailer is the best of the guides and tips we put out each week on Marathon Handbook: consider the Run Long, Run Healthy newsletter to be your “digest” to everything else that happens in the running world – including many studies that MH doesn’t cover.
Amby shares the best news, guides, and studies from all over the internet – including from our competitors’ publications. He simply shares what he thinks is best for his audience.
We’re planning to publish RLRH on Fridays, so you’re never overwhelmed by running newsletters!
Regular (free) vs. Premium
Each week, Amby produces two newsletters – a regular one, which you’ll recieve, and a premium one.
The premium newsletter contains a ton more content than the regular one. For example, this week’s premium one (going out tomorrow) includes:
- How Clarence DeMar changed running forever
- Research showing that more daily steps leads to a longer life
- Camille Herron’s weird (but record-setting) ultra training
- Do runners need to “insure” their health with multivitamins
- The benefits of running with a weight vest
- How to run stronger and faster with more emotional intelligence
- An inspiring Clarence DeMar quote about winning past age 40
- A systematic review that supports both orthotics and taping for plantar fasciitis relief
Interested in the premium version? It’s costs one dollar per week, and you’ll easily find the stories in it worth that amount.
You can subscribe for $4/month at the link below!
(this includes a 20% discount for our readers)
On a personal note, Run Long, Run Healthy has been the one paid newsletter I’ve read consistently in recent years – and I’ve always found something interesting in each week’s edition.
It’s been a pleasure to get to know Amby over the past year or so, and when the opportunity arose to make RLRH part of Marathon Handbook, I jumped at it.
It’s been fun getting to know Amby and working with him over the last few months, and – as a reader – I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings to the Marathon Handbook audience in the months and years to come.
I hope you enjoy this first edition, and if you enjoy it, please consider signing up for the premium version to support us.
Otherwise, I’ll hand it over to Amby for the first edition of RLRH in association with Marathon Handbook.
Editor-In-Chief, Marathon Handbook
Is Arthur Lydiard’s training system the best ever?
Recently I stumbled upon a 33-page Arthur Lydiard training guide that’s apparently based on talks Lydiard gave during a 1999 lecture tour of the U.S. If you’re not familiar with Lydiard, he coached a number of great New Zealand distance runners during the 1950s and 1960s. The best-known was Peter Snell, but there were many others as well.
Lydiard also introduced famous University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman to “jogging” as a healthful activity for average midlife individuals. Bowerman then brought this practice to the American public in his book, Jogging, co written with W.E. Harris, M.D.
You can read the full 33-page Lydiard manual at the below link. Here are a few highlights: Lydiard says his system is “based on a balanced combination of conditioning, strength, and speed. The end result is stamina, or the ability to maintain speed over the whole distance.”
Lydiard recommends “running at a good effort and finishing each run feeling pleasantly tired.” He doesn’t advocate Long Slow Distance, but admits that LSD will produce the same end results; you’ll just spend more time on your feet.
He also recognized the need for faster training. “You should do three hard workouts a week.” It doesn’t matter what distance and speed you use, according to Lydiard, as “No coach can tell exactly how many repetitions you can do or what your recovery intervals should be on any particular day.” So don’t worry about that stuff. “Trust your instincts and responses.”
Before you begin speedwork, Lydiard advocates for a transitional training period that “is accomplished by bringing resistance to the leg muscles.” How? “By springing uphill with a series of short and sharp bounding steps.”
You can achieve “sharpening” ( peaking) by running “sharp sprints of 50-100 meters once a week with an equal distance of ‘floating’ in between.”
And here’s Lydiard’s number one Golden Rule. “Never try to run too fast during the initial training period. You can never run too slowly to help bring about some cardiac development, but you can run too fast, causing undue strain, sore muscles, and slower recovery. This inevitably affects the following day’s training.” More at Champions Everywhere, a lengthy PDF that includes many full blown training plans.
Some caffeine abstinence may be required to boost endurance
It was almost 50 years ago when a Runner’s World cover story first revealed that coffee/caffeine was performance-enhancing for endurance runners. At the time, we were told the program worked best if we refrained from coffee/caffeine for several days or longer before taking it on race-day morning. Later a number of studies seemed to indicate that such “withdrawal” was not necessary.
This implied you could drink your coffee regularly, and still get a nice boost on marathon morning. Whew! Many addicted coffee fans regarded this as sensational news.
Now the newest paper on the subject has retested the whole “withdrawal or no withdrawal” protocol, and concluded that, yup, you gotta take at 8 hours off to get the full benefit.
The experiment included 10 regular coffee-drinking recreational cyclists. In a randomized order, they received either a caffeine pill or a placebo pill 8 hours before a laboratory cycling test. Then, one hour before the test, they again received either a caffeine pill or a placebo pill before beginning a 10K time trial that also measured power output. Caffeine use was administered with a dose of 6 mg per kg of athlete body weight.
Result: Cyclists’ time-trial performance and power output was improved only if they had consumed no caffeine 8 hours prior to the 10K time trial. The authors believe this finding means that “previous work may have overstated the value of caffeine supplementation for habitual users.”
Of course, most road races begin in the early morning when you haven’t had any caffeine during your 8 hours of nighttime sleep. So you pass that hurdle. How about abstaining for the full day (or more) before your race? That’s one of those personal experiments you’ll have to try on your own. Also, the researchers say that “Future work should examine higher doses of caffeine for habitual users.” More at International J. of Sport Physiology & Performance
Check out the podcast, “Running: State of the Sport,” with Amby Burfoot and George Hirsch.
Recent episodes feature Deena Kastor, Mark Milde, and Jack Fleming.
Strength training fails to prevent injuries. (But is still recommended.)
Many runners do regular lower body strength training in hopes of improving their performance and limiting injuries. The following report casts a bit of a shadow over those hopes.
It finds no evidence that leg strength training reduces injuries. In fact, strengthening the hips (a frequent suggestion to runners) is linked with a slight uptick in injuries. At the same time, ignoring upper body resistance work also correlates with injury risk.
Of course, like most injury research, this one paper can’t prove cause-and-effect. Only associations.
The findings were based on questionnaire data from 616 runners who had been running an average of 13 years, and generally logged 4 running workouts a week. Those who covered more than 19 miles/week had more injuries than lower-mileage runners. Also, those with a strong “performance orientation” were more likely to be injured.
That’s possibly because they didn’t listen to their body when they should have. They continued to push hard in training when they should have backed off and recovered.
Conclusion: “Completely eradicating RRIs is unrealistic.” Also, despite their findings, the authors retained their belief in strength training. They state that it can improve “capacity to tolerate training load and, thus, should be recommended.” More at J of Functional Morphology & Kinesiology with free full text.
SHORT STUFF you don’t want to miss
Here’s What You’re Missing This Week From
The Premium Edition of RLRH:
# How Clarence DeMar changed running forever
# Research showing that more daily steps leads to a longer life
# Camille Herron’s weird (but record-setting) ultra training
# Do runners need to “insure” their health with multivitamins
# The benefits of running with a weight vest
# How to run stronger and faster with more emotional intelligence
# An inspiring Clarence DeMar quote about winning past age 40
# A systematic review that supports both orthotics and taping for plantar fasciitis relief
And remember: “I spend HOURS searching the Internet for the best, most authoritative new running articles, so you can review them in MINUTES.”
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading. See you again next week. Amby