The Inside Run – 2017 vol. 3

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. The Australian Pathway to the Olympics

For an aspiring young Australian whom dreams of representing their country at the Olympic or World Championship level in Track & Field, a lot of hard work must be done over many years and of course some luck must fall their way. The aim of this paper was to understand the major influences contributing to the development and long-term sustainability of elite senior Australian Track & Field athletes. Whilst there were numerous pathways to the top, the majority followed a linear pathway from junior to senior elite athlete in their chosen discipline. The results also reinforced data from successful US Olympians in Track & Field that demonstrated later specialization and involvement in other sports during adolescence were associated with senior elite success. The study also found that having a strong social support group around the athlete, growing up in a major city and completing a University degree were also common features of elite senior track and field athletes in Australia.

Read the abstract HERE or email us to get the full paper


  1. Are your Muscles Genetically Prepared to Run a Marathon?

Anyone who has completed a Marathon, or trained up for one, knows very well that the resilience and strength endurance of the muscles in your legs is MORE important than your aerobic fitness. This is simply due to the accumulated fatigue the leg muscles must deal with during the course of the Marathon distance. Whilst the loads of each foot strike itself is not a lot, the repetitive and cumulative nature of the load means that your legs will often give out before your fitness limits you. Marathon training programs can vary significantly between athletes, however often they will favour runs that build leg strength (think long runs, tempo runs, hills etc.). However, what if your genetics played a role in determining how well your muscles would handle the stress of a Marathon? You would then have the ability and confidence to focus on certain adaptations that you may or may not be genetically primed for.

In a recent study from Spain, the results were conclusive… a runners genetics played a significant role in determining how well their muscles handled the stress of Marathon. This research opens the door for the use of genetics in determining optimal training loads for runners as they train for specific events. However, the research team said this is should NOT be an excuse to avoid competing in a Marathon – and we agree! Having an unfavourable genetic profile only meant that those runners would have to pay MORE attention to muscular adaptations (vs. aerobic) to ensure they were ready to beat their best over Marathon distance.

Read the research summary HERE or the full paper HERE


  1. The Link between Anxiety & Injury Risk

 A runners number one concern is often the apprehension that they will suffer an overuse injury as they chase their goals. After all, more than 50% of runners will get injured every year. Research has thoroughly investigated the physical risk factors (training loads, footwear, strength etc.), however psychological risk factors are increasingly recognized as important in sport-related injury prevention. Understanding how these psychological factors may affect the risk of injuries could help design effective prevention programs to ensure training consistency and therefore optimal performance. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of reported preseason anxiety and depressive symptoms on the risk of injuries during a prospective season in a cohort of collegiate athletes. Athletes with anxiety symptoms at preseason were at an increased risk of injuries during the prospective season. Targeted programs could focus on psychological health and injury prevention for athletes, especially for those exhibiting symptoms at preseason.

Read the paper HERE


  1. The Sub 2h Marathon Attempt

Whilst this is not peer-reviewed research as such, with the hype surrounding Nike’s sub 2h Marathon attempt this weekend in Italy, we couldn’t resist buying into this and sharing the world’s leading endurance analyst and Sport Scientist, Ross Tucker from The Science of Sport, views on one VERY crucial aspect – the pacing strategy.

We highly recommend you read his detailed analysis HERE


  1. Do Elite Athletes Follow Nutritional Guidelines

Just like a runners training program, contemporary nutrition guidelines promote a variety of periodised and time-sensitive recommendations. Runners will do different sessions on different days of the week to achieve different physiological adaptations. Current information regarding the knowledge and practice of these strategies from a nutritional perspective among world-class athletes is limited. The aim of this study was to investigate this theme by implementing a questionnaire on dietary periodization practices in national & international level female & male middle and long distance runners. The findings indicated that elite endurance athletes appear to follow pre and post session nutrition recovery recommendations. However, very few athletes deliberately undertook some contemporary dietary periodisation approaches, such as training in the fasted state or periodically restricting carbohydrate intake. This study suggests mismatches between athlete practice and current and developing sports nutrition guidelines.

Read the paper HERE


Running Regards,

Team Front Runner