The Impact of AI on Endurance Running Coaching

The latest technological advancement, the Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) autoregressive language model, is making waves across the internet. ChatGPT, an AI language model, has learned 300 years’ worth of information in just 6 months, allowing it to engage in conversation with users. This new technology is being hailed as a potential game-changer in many fields, with Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, predicting that AI will significantly impact software categories and, I suggest, will extend to diverse areas of study, including endurance running.

Coaches who have tested ChatGPT for creating training plans have reported a range of reactions. While some were thrilled with the results, others were disappointed, particularly when asking for basic training plans for events like the Marathon. The AI-generated responses were basic and lacked the expertise expected from experienced coaches. However, coaches who approached the conversation with ChatGPT in a more personalized way, providing additional context about the goal race and the athlete’s running history, were more satisfied with the results. ChatGPT was able to create a tailored and detailed training plan, taking into account factors such as the specifics of the goal race and the athlete’s available training time. The plan even included suggestions for strength training and cross-training activities.

This technology has raised questions about the role of coaches in the future. However, as renowned coach, Renato Canova, highlights, the training plan should be tailored to the athlete and not the other way around. A coach’s expertise lies in adapting the training plan to the individual athlete and making changes based on the effects of each session. Coaching remains a dynamic process, and the coach’s role cannot be fully replicated by technology.

Scientists from the Department of Physiology of the University of Granada (UGR) have shown that caffeine (about 3 mg/kg, the equivalent of a strong coffee) ingested half an hour before aerobic exercise significantly increases the rate of fat-burning. They also found that if the exercise is performed in the afternoon, the effects of the caffeine are more marked than in the morning.

In their study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the researchers aimed to determine whether caffeine–one of the most commonly-consumed ergogenic substances in the world to improve sports performance–actually does increase oxidation or “burning” of fat during exercise.

Maximum fat oxidation

The results of our study showed that acute caffeine ingestion 30 minutes before performing an aerobic exercise test increased maximum fat oxidation during exercise regardless of the time of day. The fat oxidation was higher in the afternoon than in the morning.

These results also show that caffeine increases fat oxidation during morning exercise in a similar way to that observed without caffeine intake in the afternoon.

In summary, the findings of this study suggest that the combination of acute caffeine intake and aerobic exercise performed at moderate intensity in the afternoon provides the optimal scenario for people seeking to increase fat-burning during physical exercise.

mobility exercises

Mobility training helps develop a full range of motion in your legs. It also plays a crucial role in injury prevention and generally improves joint and muscle health.

Starting with Mobility Exercises

When starting, I suggest a Build from the Base approach. The exercises below are in that order.  Start with Foot Doming and progress up the body to the hips. Start with 10 minutes a day, every day, until you have done all the exercises a few days later.

When you have mastered all the exercises, you may start increasing your sets and load.

Cultivating a daily mobility practice will enable you to resolve recurring issues before an injury occurs.

When building up to long-distance, we need to avoid layering strength on top of movement dysfunction.

Start with this basic approach if you have no existing problem areas.

Focus on Problem Areas

If you suffer from recurring running injuries, start by focusing on the problem area. Not only there, but also the parts above and below the problem. When you have sufficiently recovered, you can start with the basic approach.

ExerciseProblem Area/s
Foot DomingFoot, Ankle
Toe ResistanceBunion, Foot, Ankle
Heel DropFoot, Heel, Achilles
Ankle TurnAnkle, Calf, Shin
Hip HikeKnee, ITB, Hip, Glutes, Core
Step DownAnkle, Knee, Quads, Hip
Step UpQuads, Glutes
Hip RotationHip, Core
Hip ExtensionGlutes
Back ExtensionHip, Glutes, Core, Back, Spine, Shoulders
Mobility Exercises (Click on the exercise for the detail.)