28 October 2022

LT training, cluster workouts and the Norwegian secret to taking over the running world

While I still maintain that Yuki Kawauchi is my running hero, I have certainly hopped aboard the Norwegian bandwagon as I've been most invested over the past 3 or 4 years watching two of my favourite track athletes:  Karsten Warholm and Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

While they have certainly drawn the attention of the running world to Norway in recent years they are not the only Norwegian runners to have risen to dominance ... take 9-time NYC Marathon winner and the first woman to run a sub-2:30 marathon Grete Waitz for example.  So you could argue that there's been something in the water there for a long time.


But what is it?


I stumbled across this article today and wanted to share it as perhaps a peeling back of the curtain on Norwegian training approaches and what may be a big difference maker in this little nation's performances on the world stage.  I confess to not having heard about "cluster training" or training by a lactic acid meter so this is a real education piece for me.  I definitely think that it is worth looking at and sharing:  https://www.mariusbakken.com/the-norwegian-model.html


I'm getting older and slower so my best racing days are long behind me - but if this dog isn't too old to learn new tricks then maybe I'll give the Norwegian method of systematic threshold training more than a passing glance.


14 January 2022

When You Get The Itch To Use Creatine

I've not been one to use supplements to a great degree - it's not that I don't believe in the science behind it or want to benefit from the advantages that they may offer.  It's usually because (a) I'm too cheap to invest in a lot of extras and (b) I'm too lazy to stay on schedule with taking them.

That being said there have been a few things that have regularly been part of my intake:

  • Vitamin D - since I'm primarily a pre-dawn runner I don't get out for a lot of natural sunlight, so this supplement helps boost my vitamin D levels.  Plus I think that it couldn't hurt in helping to stave off COVID-19.
  • Glucosamine - over the past 12 years of running (usually 5-8 times a week) I have experienced intermittent knee pain issues so I'm trying to give myself a bit of an advantage here
  • Protein powder - a must-add to my morning waffle mix, and a boost to my post-workout breakfast.

However having eclipsed the half-century mark I paid special attention to the studies that indicate that muscle loss increases with age and so I thought that perhaps it might not be a bad idea to try to slow that rate in some fashion.  As such I decided to give creatine supplementation a go.

This is the third 'brand' of creatine that I've tried now

Since the intention was not to 'bulk up' but to just try and slow depletion I'm not sure that I expected to observe any demonstrable differences ... however to my surprise I did observe a change that coincided with the start of my creatine intake.


I understand that creatine is a naturally occurring property, and that there is creatine already in my system.  What I also know is that since I started with regular creatine supplementation I've had hives every night - starting just before bedtime and lasting through until after breakfast. 

I've worked on eliminating all of the other 'regular' suspects - changing laundry detergents, checking for bedbugs, swapping shampoos and bar soaps, buying different skin moisturizers. 

The only consistent thing during this period has been my creatine intake.

A quick Google search will of course find varying opinions on the subject, but at least a few reads (e.g. here, here and here) have reassured me that I'm not an outlier here.  Other people have wondered about the same sort of connection between creatine and allergic reactions/hives.

While I'm neither a doctor nor a detective, I do subscribe to the old Sherlock Holmes adage that "When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".  So I'm going to put my creatine bucket away for now and see if my condition improves over the next few weeks.

Here's hoping that soon I won't feel the need to scratch that itch.