The science of running in super spikes: New data on Nike, Adidas, and PUMA track shoes

Lab scientist holding a prototype track and field super spike

Super spikes are track spikes for middle and long distance events that use the two key innovations in shoe tech that have revolutionized marathon shoes: “super foam” with high deformation and excellent energy return, and carbon fiber plates in the midsole.

I have a longer and more detailed article in the works that takes a deep dive into the biomechanics of super shoes more generally, but I wanted to get this post out since it’s track season and people want to run fast!

The impetus for this post was a fascinating new preprint on the benefits of super spikes from a multi-site collaboration involving research labs in Spain, the US, and Canada. The focus of the study is middle distance performance in super spikes versus traditional spikes.

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A comprehensive overview of Canova-style percentage-based training for runners

Percentage-based training is a mathematical approach to planning workouts for runners. Percentage-based methods are used by many top international coaches, most notably Renato Canova, to train runners at distances from 800m to the marathon. 

I could write a whole book about percentage-based training for runners (in fact, maybe I will someday), but the goal of this post is to give a clear, comprehensive, and readable overview of percentage-based training as a system—a set of principles that can be used to guide training decisions.

To this end, we’re going to focus on the concepts and rationale behind the percentage-based training method, as opposed to exact training calendars. This post does include an appendix with recommended workouts for every event from 800m to the marathon (even the 3k!), but event-specific full training calendars will be a project for another day.

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Did you know I have a book? Check it out here!