Saturday, October 25, 2014

How To Taper For Your Next Marathon

Finishing stretch at the Singapore marathon from Flickr
Are you getting ready for your next marathon? Ever wondered how elite runners do their taper? Well, here's a sneak peak at what elite British middle and long distance distance runners did when they were preparing to compete at the 2012 London Olympics. (800 m to marathon runners were included in this study, but this post will discuss marathon tapering strategies only).

Average best male time for the marathon were 2:15:46 while the women had an average of 2:31:54 hours.

During normal training, he marathoners averaged 100 miles a week over 12 runs. Majority of the runs (94 miles or about 150 km) were of various distances at slow to moderate pace. The runners did one real quick interval session of 6 miles (or 10 km) such as 6 x 1600 m.

During their 2 week pre marathon taper, these runners did just 7 runs a week, totaling about 53 miles (or 85 km), reducing their mileage by almost 50%. They still did one interval session of about 4 miles (6.4 km), i.e. reducing interval mileage by about 33 %. This suggests they needed to maintain their speed while cutting excess mileage to rest.

During normal training, regular runs were 16 % slower than their marathon pace while intervals were done 10 % quicker.

While tapering, their intervals done slightly quicker than marathon pace while maintaining the pace of their other runs. The authors suggested that their intervals was not done at any greater efforts compared to normal training as their legs recovered as they ran less. This helped to increase their confidence for the race too.

Kate Spilsbury, the lead author referred these faster taper runs as the "priming effect" and suggested that pace should "feel easier as the runners reduce volume and become fresher."

Also have a read here.


Spilsbury KL, Fudge BW et al (2014). Tapering Strategies In Elite British Endurance Runners. E J Sp Sci. 5: 1-7.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Keeping Fit Helps You Sleep Better As You Age

Singapore Track greats - C Kunalan and Glory Barnabas by richseow
I don't know about you, I've been a terrible sleeper for as long as I can remember. Even when I was training a lot more when I was still racing. In fact I found that when I trained too hard, I found it harder to fall asleep. I still am a very light sleeper and once I get up (even in the middle of the night), I usually can't fall back to sleep.

What I read though keeps me going at maintaining whatever fitness I have left. This is in hope that I can sleep better as I get older as more than 8000 adults tracked over a 35-year period showed that those who maintained their cardiovascular fitness as they grew older slept better.

Researchers noted that as one passes 50 years of age, their cardiovascular fitness can decline quickly.

Previous other studies and anecdotal evidence have suggested that exercise helps you sleep better. Most studies used a questionnaire to find out about subjects' sleep patterns. This particular study used a treadmill test as an objective measure rather than just relying on subjects' self reporting.

Every minute decline on the treadmill test endurance led to a 1.7% increase in sleep complaints. No surprises, the researchers concluded that those who kept fit (cardiovascular fitness) during middle age help protect against the onset of sleep complaints made to the doctor.

Well, more reason for you (and I) to keep exercising.


Dishman RK, Sui XM et al (2014). Decline In Cardiovascular Fitness And Odds Of Incident Sleep Complaints. Med Sci Sp Ex. DOI: 1249/MSS.00000000000000506.

*Picture by Spyros Papaspyropoulos from Flickr

Surely you don't wanna sleep like this

Friday, October 10, 2014

Original Kinesio Tex Tapes Maker Threaten Sport Laboratory Over Name Dispute

The real slim shady
The original Kinesio Tex tapes maker, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico has sent a letter to Kinesio Sport Lab (KSL) an exercise physiology/ testing laboratory based in Nova Scotia, Canada to stop using the name Kinesio or face legal action.

'KINESIO' is a proprietary trademark registered in over 50 countries.

KSL was asked to "discontinue and permanently refrain from all use of the words KINESIO SPORT LAB, KINESIO, and any other confusingly similar marks and names in any manner."

Kinesio owns 13 active trademark registration in the United States involving the term "KINESIO. These registration cover a a broad range of goods and services as well.

KSL does not make or sell similar therapeutic tapes, although it does offer services in a related field of exercise testing, nutrition consulting and endurance coaching etc.

According to lawyers interviewed, infringement may occur even though trademarks are not identical, goods and services are not overlapping.

Infringements occur when a consumer may be likely to think that the goods or services associated with the allegedly infringing business are made, sold, leased, hired or performed by the same person or company that has prior rights in the similar trademark.

Well, you use the original Kinesio Tex tapes because it is superior to other copycat/ imitation tapes, but remember don't name your company Kinesio.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bosses Who Run May Be More Effective

Sir Richard Branson running the London marathon from Flickr
If you have a boss who's run marathons, he or she may be able to lead your team/company better.

According to researchers, CEOs (in S and P companies) who have run marathons had 5 % greater value at leading their firms.

Due to high stress levels because of frequent changing demand in their jobs, making far reaching decisions accompanied by media scrutiny, fitness play an important role for CEOs.

The CEOs were found to have a positive impact especially in cases where CEO's were above median age and tenure at the company and in cases where the CEOs had a particularly heavy workload. Among this group, completing a marathon was associated with an 8-10 percent increase in company value.

According to researchers, this is due to running's buffering effects on stress and its positive impact on cognitive functions, executive control processes and job performances.

Case in point, I have a patient who's the CEO of their American office here in Singapore and when I told her about this study she agreed with the researchers' conclusion. She had just gone out for a 28 km run before she came to see me on Saturday and she shared that she "solved her all problems" while running. Usually if she has yet to make up her mind on any issues, she's able to think through, analyse and decide what she wants to do by the end of the run.

Come to think of it, I've also treated various other patients who hold high positions in their jobs and many run, do triathlons and other exercises citing similar reasons.


Limbach P and Sonnerbach F (2014). CEO Fitness And Firm Value. Social Sci Research Network.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Eat Less Processed Red Meat To Live Longer

Picture I took at our local NTUC
Wanna live a couple of years longer? Than you need to stop eating processed meat as it decreases your lifespan by about 2 years.

Processed red meat includes sausages (or your favourite hot dog), luncheon meat (a popular local favourite), cold cuts, ham and liver pate to name a few.

How do I know this? Well I didn't make this up, I read a paper in which 75,000 people were studied from 1998 to 2012. They were asked about the frequency and types of red meat in the diet. Researchers measured total red meat consumption (fresh pork, beef and veal) and processed red meat consumption listed above as a subset.

More than 22 % of the participants died during the study period. Those who didn't eat much meat products (less than 100 grams or about 3.5 ounces per day) had similar survival rates as vegetarians. Those who ate more than 100 grams per day had a lower life expectancy as the quantity of red meat grew larger.

Those eating processed red meat had the highest mortality rates. The researchers concluded that eating non processed red meat alone was not associated with shorter survival rates though.


Bellavia A, Larsson SC et al (2014). Differences In Survival Associated With Processed And With NonProcesssed Red Meat Consumption. Am J C Nutrition. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.086249.

Picture from Flickr 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Can Running Help Stop You From Eating Junk Food?

My personal favorite
Any of you having a craving for junk food? I do, all the time. In fact as I'm writing this, I am having a huge craving for potato chips.

How do I not succumb to this urge? Well, it seems that people whose brains have a strong dorsal-lateral prefontal cortex (DLPFC) section may have greater self control when it comes to eating behaviour.

What the heck is that?

Well, the DLPFC is near the front portion of your head in case you were wondering. Researchers zapped that area (with a coil placed near the subjects scalps near the hairline) to temporarily decrease brain activity in the DLPFC of the subjects in their study.

Guess what? When the participants were zapped in that area, they had more food cravings and also ate more junk food compared to subsequent tests when they received a sham zap.

With that zap, the participants were almost totally interested in high calorie snacks (Pringles potato chips and milk chocolate in the study).

In fact they mostly ignored the more healthy food options that were also available.

The researchers suggest that improving your DLPFC function can improve dietary self control, prevent obesity and may even help manage Type II diabetes.

How to you make your DLPFC function better? Studies have shown that running and other aerobic exercises are known to enhance DLPFC function. Getting adequate sleep and avoiding alcohol have also been shown to help.

Hmmm, this is strange. When I used to train a lot previously, I would often eat all potato chips, chocolate, drink lots of Coke etc. I thought all that training was supposed to help strengthen my DLPFC??

Now that I'm not racing and training much I would not dare to eat as much for fear of putting on too much weight. I guess after my accident, I've changed my eating habits as well.


Lowe CJ, Hall PA et al (2014). The Effects Of Continous Theta Burst Stimulation To The Left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex On Executive Function, Food Cravings And Snack Consumption. Psych Med. Sep 76(7): 503-511. DOI: 1097/PSY.0000000000000090.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Introduction To Kinesio Taping 130914

Due to many requests by some of our readers and patients, Sports Solutions hosted the Introduction to Kinesio Taping today at our clinic. Some couldn't come though, they went to watch our National Netball team in action as the girls were playing the semi finals against rivals Malaysia today.

Today's  session was taught differently compared to previous introduction courses. Specific regions of the body were addressed with specific techniques taught, a fair bit being KT 2 concepts.

Here are some pictures from this afternoon.

All ready to begin
getting ready to choke Priscilla
Jolyn taking over teaching duties
Helping Jolyn out
All the participants left very happy with specific techniques they can use from the course. Email us at if you're keen to learn more.