The Inside Run – 2017 vol. 7

Front Runner Sports are pleased to present a practical, monthly summary of recent research relevant to distance runners. Our expert team will pick their highlights from the previous month to give YOU The Inside Run on how new and practical research can assist you to beat YOUR best. Please see our summary below!


  1. Lack of Sleep Associated with Increased Injury Risk

The importance of quality sleeping patterns for runners cannot be understated. Quite simply, sleep is WHEN you recover from the stress of training (Training = planting the seed, Eating & Drinking = fertilising the garden, Sleeping = growing the garden). This study focussed on adolescent student-athletes and found that those who averaged <8h sleep per night were 1.7x more likely to have suffered an injury than those who averaged >8h. So, if you are in a heavy training phase or are building your training load (i.e. increasing stress), make sure you are increasing your recovery time by sleeping more to reduce your risk of injury.

Read the paper HERE


  1. Running Shoes: The Preferred Movement Path

 The name Benno Nigg (University of Calgary) is synonymous with running footwear research. His latest paper investigates a recent idea he terms the ‘preferred movement path’. Simply, this means that a runner’s kinematics (motion) will often stay within a small range despite changes in environment (e.g. different running shoes). Unless there was a significant change in footwear conditions (i.e. from a cushioned shoe to barefoot), between 80-100% of runners stayed within a 3o range between cushioned footwear conditions. This speaks volumes of the body’s ability to adjust to dynamic conditions to keep loads stable. Watch this space as future research emerges from Benno and his team…

Read the paper HERE


  1. Pacing Strategies for Elite Level Championship Marathons

Given the limited scope for research into elite level runners, when papers do come out, they give an insight into how we can learn from the best in the world. In this paper, Marathon pacing strategies at the championship level (World Championships & Olympic Games), where finishing position is valued over time, were analysed between Men & Women with the aim of seeing what separates the medallists from the rest.

Medallists from both sexes were successfully able to maintain their pace from 10-42km, vs. the rest that slowed significantly beyond 21km. Of the runners who slowed in the 2nd half, those who could stay with a fellow runner and form a pack slowed down less than those who were between packs or on their own for significant periods. Females slowed than less in the 2nd half then their male counterparts (women typically exhibit great running economy than Men for the same intensity) and were more likely to run a negative split due to their conservative starting pace vs. the men. Women medallist’s where also more likely to speed up in the final 2.2km than men. This reinforces the importance of runners being able to identify a sustainable starting pace for the Marathon as well as the benefits of having fellow competitors to run with through the middle stages of the event.

Read the paper HERE


  1. Self Blame proportional to Injury Risk

The Bio-Psycho-Social model (check out a great blog HERE) explains the importance of treating and managing injuries from a holistic stand point. As runners are typically highly motivated and goal driven people, the psychological factors that contribute to an injury should be understood by their team (e.g. coach & physio) to ensure the risk of re-injury is reduced.

In this paper, Swedish Track & Field athletes were monitored physically and psychologically for 12months, with the psychological variable ‘self blame’ (a cognitive process in which an individual attributes the occurrence of a stressful event to oneself) highly correlated to injury. The authors therefore discuss the importance of looking at the timing as well as the magnitude of training load in an athlete’s year. Whilst the training load may be the same, the athletes ability to adapt to that load may vary significantly depending on the external variables outside of training that are occurring at the time (think exams, family or relationship stress, travel etc.). From a coaching point of view, athlete monitoring from both a physical and psychological standpoint should be prioritised to assess how much (overall) stress the athlete is under through the training cycle.

Read the article HERE


  1. Running Injuries Podcast

For those of you who have checked in over the past couple of editions, we have featured some great podcasts from the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM). We continue this with a great summary on ‘optimal loading’ by Sports Physio Dr. Phil Glasgow. Given the importance of getting the training load right for both performance enhancement and injury reduction, this is a great listen that covers questions such as when is the optimal time to start loading after an injury and how to vary load as you progress through your rehab – enjoy!

Listen HERE


Running Regards,

Team Front Runner