Author Matt Laye

Matt Laye has a PhD in Medical Physiology and is an Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance at The College of Idaho and lives in Boise, ID. He enjoys competing on trails and on the roads in distances from the mile to 100 miles. He has averaged under 8 min/mile for 100 miles and under 5:30/mile over a marathon.

The Challenges of Cold Weather Running

Cold weather running shares at least one similar challenge which occurs in warm or neutral conditions. For instance, in a 161k ultramarathon taking place in extreme cold, nearly half of the 16 athletes that were followed ended up with hyponatremia.

The Role of Protein During Exercise

During exercise, we typically think of carbohydrates and fats as our main sources of fuel, while protein is associated with recovery. Today, many sports nutrition bars, gels and drinks contain branched-chain amino acids (a special subset of amino acids) or protein. If we aren’t using protein to help muscles continue to make energy and contract, then what is protein doing in those supplements? Is there a role for protein during exercise? Let’s take a look.

Stride Frequency and Running Economy

Most of us can’t escape the ultra-shuffle as we reach the later stages of races. As we fatigue our biomechanics change in many ways, including changes in stride length and frequency. In this article I will shy away from the nitty gritty details of biomechanics and focus on the relationship between stride length and frequency and how they impact running economy.

Training with Purpose: Periodization

The stress of any given training is due to the intensity and duration of the types of running that occurs. The idea of periodization of training is that during some periods you may train at a low intensity for a long duration and during other periods at a high intensity for a short duration – or any combination in between.

Injury Risk and Prevention in Novice Runners

Why do some people get injured and others don’t? It seems like this simple enough question would be solved by sports scientists, especially when it comes to new runners. However, injury prevention for novice runners is a topic that is much discussed but not well understood.

Sleep and the Ultrarunner

Recently, the importance of sleep has had a bit of renaissance. Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington wrote a book called The Sleep Revolution, corporate offices have invested in nap spaces and new technology offers numerous ways to track your sleep patterns. Sleep is in, so does the science support the recent hype?

Heat Stress

By understanding the physiology behind thermoregulation, we can be better prepared for our summer events. Here’s what you need to know about what causes body heat to increase, heat loss mechanisms, why athletes perform worse in the heat and factors to improve performance in the heat.

Science of Running and Mental Fatigue

When we think of ultrarunners, we think of people with iron wills and the ability to push themselves beyond their limits. They seem to override physical fatigue with mental toughness. Finding causes of fatigue has been at the center of exercise physiology research for more than 100 years.

The Science of Ultrarunning

This is the first in a series of articles on what happens to your body during an ultra, focusing on the sparse but growing scientific literature that exists. However, physiology is extremely individual dependent, so please interpret this column with caution, as we are all different.