A quick hit of the latest running science: perks of caffeinated gum, facts on running in the dark, and a helpful new performance podcast.
Welcome back to the aid station! Just remember the order of operations here is bottles, community trail mix, then lube reapplication. – Corrine
We know that caffeine used at the right time in the right environment can be performance enhancing, but there are so many different ways to ingest it. We can drink it, consume it in gels, or even pop pills … but what about caffeinated gum? Good news for us, we now have a better picture of what that looks like.
Final word: If you’ve shied away from caffeine due to fears of GI distress, you might want to give caffeinated gum a try – as the majority of caffeine is absorbed before it reaches your gut. A possible pick-me-up without tummy troubles. Like with anything, dosage and timing are still important here, so practice during training before race day.
Are you interested in coaching philosophy, science, and good ol’ fashioned wisdom? Then you might want to make space for one more podcast in your rotation and check out On Coaching with coaches Steve Magness and John Marcus. Episode 170 is about avoiding the common trap of coaching to the average, and what it means to focus on the individual – even when that individual seems like an outlier.
Final word: Even if you are not a coach, and even though Steve and John work predominantly with road and track athletes, I think all runners could benefit from listening to them work through these coaching and performance topics each week. On Coaching is now one of my regular listens.
Do I idolize Alex Hutchinson? Maybe. Have I met him once in person? Yes. Did I make him laugh with a question? I’ll never tell ?! His recent Sweat Science column caught my eye, not just because I was nodding along, but because I thought “oh this would be interesting to test in an ultra!” The article titled Why Running at Night Feels Harder discusses research conducted by Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology and the Swedish military, and finally sheds light on why those nighttime miles are actually more difficult.
Final word: Running in the dark not only feels harder, it is harder. For ultrarunners with races that contain many hours of darkness, consider your headlamp investment (or even a waist light) as a way to help extend your field of vision creating a slightly slower optic flow – hopefully making those nighttime miles feel a little easier.