1. Best Running Tights and Pants For Winter:
The warm embrace of summer running is falling behind us, and that means Winter GRIT is just around the corner. It also means that it’s just about time to put away the short-shorts and break out your running pants and tights. If you haven’t upgraded your wardrobe in a little while, we’re here to help. These are our picks for the best running pants and tights you can buy.
You could technically run in long underwear or grow out your leg hair into a new pair of pants, but these options pack plenty of the latest and greatest technology. While we may not have reviews for every single pair, we trust all of these brands and you’ll find many of them in our closets.
We’ve picked nine of our favorites, so there’s bound to be something that catches your eye. Let’s get caught with our pants on.
More...from Belive in the Run.
2. These Will Be the Biggest Health Trends of 2021:
We asked a range of experts how they see things shaking out during a very challenging time.
Around this time last year, in keeping with recent tradition, we reached out to our network of health and fitness experts to forecast some industry trends for 2020. It was December 2019, just as the first documented cases of a new respiratory illness were being recorded in Wuhan, China. We were innocent of the global health cataclysm that was about to transpire, one which would force many of us to reassess what we had long taken for granted. For some, even going outside for a run became a luxury.
Amid our changed environment, here is a new batch of predictions for 2021. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate our national psyche, we asked some of our favorite contributors and other experts in the fitness world to give us their best guess about what to expect in the coming year.
More Athletes Will Open Up About Their Mental Health
I think the biggest trend in fitness will be more emphasis on mental illness and mental health. I think more world-class athletes, coaches, and industry insiders will come forward and share their stories of mental health challenges. This is an unambiguously good thing. We are not a mind and a body but a mind-body system. Just because you are a top athlete doesn’t mean you can’t go through emotional ups and downs. Athletes like Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan used their platforms to great effect to help destigmatize anxiety and depression. It is incredibly freeing to get that kind of load off your chest, and the by-product is that you can help others along the way.
More...from Outside Online.
3. Why micro-gyms could be the next big thing in fitness:
Wilfred Valenta opened his first "micro-gym" almost two years ago, repurposing a 580-square-foot office space in downtown Montreal and renting it out by the hour to fitness trainers and small workout groups.
He couldn’t have known back then how fortuitous his timing was.
Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many big gyms to stay closed, his company, Silofit Inc., is rushing to scale up. After five openings since September, it’s adding a dozen locations in Toronto next year.
It’s also accelerating plans to enter the $32 billion gym market in the U.S., backed by money from U.S. and Canadian venture capital firms and NFL player Ndamukong Suh, a defensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And it’s preparing add-on services for fitness trainers, its core customers.
"We’re at the point where we’re seeing such a large appetite that we would like to expand faster," Valenta, Silofit’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview. "The industry was moving away from big box gyms memberships - COVID just accelerated that."
4. 2021 health and fitness preview: Four predictions about what will go and what will (or should) stay:
In our pursuit of fitness, as in so many other aspects of life, we spent much of 2020 adapting to various forms of "the new normal," from solitary virtual 5Ks to yoga on Zoom.
If we’re lucky, the year ahead will see the return of some elements of the old normal. But you can’t step into the same river twice. At least some of the trends launched or accelerated by the pandemic will leave a lasting mark on the health and fitness world. Here are four predictions about what will go and what will (or at least should) stay.
About five years ago, as part of a playground refurbishment, the city installed a bunch of outdoor fitness equipment a few blocks from my home in Toronto. Since then, it has mostly felt like my private personal gym. But boy, did that ever change this year.
Bike paths and running trails have been similarly overrun. Cities like Vancouver and Toronto closed major roads on weekends to free up space for walking, running, and biking. On average, 18,000 cyclists and 4,000 pedestrians zoomed along Lake Shore Boulevard West each summer weekend.
A radical stop-gap to deal with a one-time emergency - or just smart urban planning? Ottawa has been closing parkways on Sunday mornings for 50 years now, drawing thousands of cyclists to car-free roads. If other cities follow suit in making the policies permanent, it could help transform the great outdoor summer of 2020 into an annual rite.
More...from the Globe and Maila.
5. Here’s How Strength Training Can Improve Your Sleep Quality:
Lift more weights to get better Zzzs, a new study suggests.
According to a recent study in Preventive Medicine Reports, strength training can help improve your quality of sleep.
This is because strength training creates a molecule called adenosine, which tends to cause drowsiness.
Additionally, exercise in general tends to help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, which can make it easier to fall—and stay—asleep.
It’s all too easy easy to get stuck in a cycle of not being able to fall asleep at night—or struggling to stay asleep—and then feeling groggy the next morning. In fact, 1 in 4 Americans experience insomnia each year and 70 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder. So, if you’re struggling with sleep issues, you’re definitely not alone.
However, the takeaway from a new study in Preventive Medicine Reports says that adding some strength training into your routine during the day can actually help improve your quality of sleep.
More...from Runner's World.
6. Yes, Walking Is Sometimes Faster than Running Uphill:
Top trail runners mix running and walking on steep terrain, but even scientists aren’t sure how we choose which is better.
There was a time, in my younger days, when I thought I would never walk during a run. I abandoned that philosophy about two-thirds of the way up a mountain in Slovenia, where I was competing in the 2010 World Mountain Running Championships. The course climbed a little over 4,000 feet in 7.5 relentless miles. During one particularly steep section, I finally gave in and started to walk. To my surprise, I didn’t lose any ground to the runners around me. Lesson learned, and I’ve been less dogmatic ever since.
I’m not alone, though. Even among serious trail runners, there’s sometimes a tendency to keep running at all costs, according to Jackson Brill, a Salomon-sponsored trail runner and graduate student in Rodger Kram’s Locomotion Laboratory at the University of Colorado. But when the hills get steep enough, walking becomes inevitable—and the decision about when to switch back and forth between gaits is among the key tactical choices trail competitors have to make. As it happens, Brill and his colleagues have been researching this problem for several years, and a pair of recent studies offer some interesting new insights. The bottom line: “Our research,” Brill says with tongue in cheek, “gives people permission to walk if they want.”
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
7. How exercise may improve the immune system’s ability to fight cancer:
Working out may help the immune system target cancer cells, new study in mice suggests .
Exercise may help to fight cancer by changing the inner workings of certain immune cells, according to an important new study in mice of how running affects tumours. The study involved rodents but could also have implications for understanding how exercise might affect cancer in people as well.
We already have considerable and compelling evidence that exercise alters our risks of developing or dying from malignancies. In a large-scale 2016 epidemiological study, for instance, highly-active people were found to be much less likely to develop 13 different types of cancer than people who rarely moved.
Likewise, a review of past research released last year by the American College of Sports Medicine concluded that regular exercise may reduce our risks of developing some cancers by as much as 69 per cent. That analysis also found that exercise may improve treatment outcomes and prolong life in people who already have cancer.
More...from the Irish Times.
8. The Scientific Case For Working Out At Lunchtime:
One of the very, very few silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it’s afforded people much more flexibility and time for exercising. Newly released data from ClassPass revealed that lunchtime was the most popular time to fit in a workout while people were working from home. And it turns out that midday workout benefits are legit.
"Lunchtime workouts can be a great way to get a start on burning some stored energy throughout the day," says Gabrielle Tafur, RD, an Orlando, Florida-based dietitian. "Working out at this time can not only help to ease you into bed at night, but it can be a great way to get that midday energy boost you need when it comes to the afternoon slump."
Generally speaking, exercise helps to reduce stress levels, as well as relieve anxiety and depression symptoms, says Holly Roser, an NASM-certified personal trainer and owner of Holly Roser Fitness in San Francisco. Research has also shown that regular exercise can help to boost work productivity, whereas sitting all day is tied to increased risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
More...from Bustle Magazine.
9. Workout of the Week: Thompson’s New Intervals:
Add these rolling-recovery intervals to your training program to develop your ability to burn lactate, and run faster for longer.
High-intensity interval runs come in many flavors, but in nearly all of them, the recovery intervals between hard efforts consist of slow jogging or passive rest. But so-called new intervals are an exception. Developed by veteran English running coach Peter Thompson, new intervals substitute traditional recoveries with faster “roll-ons” that challenge the body to recover from hard efforts at a higher metabolic rate. Simply put, whereas in a conventional high-intensity interval session you slow down a lot (or stop completely) between hard efforts, in a new intervals workout you slow down only moderately.
The rationale for this twist on familiar interval formats has to do with the physiology of acute recovery from high-intensity exercise. During intense running, the muscles produce large amounts of lactate, which was once thought to be a fatigue-inducing metabolic waste product but is now known to be a critical energy source. The fittest runners are able to use lactate very efficiently, whereas less fit runners are not, which leads to the build-up of lactate in the bloodstream that is observed in all runners when they approach exhaustion at higher intensities.
More...from Podium Runner.
10. Can 4 Seconds of Exercise Make a Difference?"
Four seconds of intense intervals, repeated until they amount to a minute of total exertion, led to rapid improvements in strength and fitness in middle-aged and older adults.
In what is probably the definitive word on how little exercise we can get away with, a new study finds that a mere four seconds of intense intervals, repeated until they amount to about a minute of total exertion, lead to rapid and meaningful improvements in strength, fitness and general physical performance among middle-aged and older adults.
The study relied on a type of specialized stationary bicycle that is not widely available, but, even so, the results suggest that strenuous but super-abbreviated workouts can produce outsize benefits for our health and well-being, a timely message as we plan our New Year’s exercise resolutions.
More...from the NY Times.
11. Psychology: Take control:
Sports psychologist Dr Josie Perry outlines why changing your mental approach – and doing things on your terms – can bring big benefits
With events and long-term targets continuing to fall by the wayside for athletes at all levels, there has arguably never been a more important time to ensure you have good mental – as well as physical – health.
From lacking in motivation to rising anxiety levels, how someone reacts to a situation can have a huge impact on their frame of mind and overall wellbeing.
That is why sports psychologist Josie Perry believes that, as we enter winter, one of the best things an athlete can do is to make time to assess and really understand how their mind – more specifically the human brain – works. Be proactive rather than reactive, she says – and the first step is taking control.
The biggest thing I’m working on with athletes is setting goals that they are in complete control of.
Setting a goal like ‘I want to win National Schools next year’… previously it would have been sensible but actually setting a goal on something that we now know can change very easily just leads you to get really upset.
More...from Atletics Weekly.
12. Ultramarathons are in - but are they good for you?:
Ultra-marathons are fast gaining popularity, and the more brutal and extreme the better. Should you join the race?
For many marathoners any distance longer than 42.2km is now the benchmark, whether it is trail running or road running. Two of South Africa’s most popular ultras, the iconic 90km road-running Comrades Marathon and the K-way SkyRun100 trail run, have recently had a huge increase in participants.
According to Comrades race director Ronwyn James, numbers have increased by 60% in the past five years. In 2015, 16,630 runners took part and in 2020 it went up to 27,626. Media coverage had helped make it a race to aspire to a bucket-list event.
Most runners do it because they want to prove they are capable of completing South Africa’s most prestigious ultra race, which is also known as the ultimate human race. Recently, the number of female runners has also increased exponentially.
Michael Haast, race director of the self-navigated SkyRun mountain trail, says entries for its 100km flagship race have risen about 50%. Bookings are sold out within an hour of opening; entries are capped at 500.
More...from the Daily Maverisk.
13. New Science on Caffeine for Endurance Athletes and Ultrarunners:
In the very early part of my coaching career, far before I was working with elite athletes, caffeine was considered a controlled substance per the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Meaning, if an athlete had too much caffeine in his or her system, they would be subject to a doping sanction, similar to athletes getting busted for EPO and testosterone do today. At that time, the threshold for a positive test was set rather high, equivalent to drinking about 10 espressos over a few hours for a normal sized male. Yet, despite this unusually high threshold (which was put in place as to not penalize social coffee consumption), several athletes during that era served caffeine-derived doping sanctions anyways, which gives an entirely new meaning to the phrase, ‘all hopped up on something’. WADA eventually removed caffeine from the banned list in 2004, giving Starbucks permission to fuel Olympic hopefuls at will.
All jest aside, the real point here is that caffeine is a powerful ergogenic aid. Once a banned substance, it is now one that has been studied copiously, particularly since it was legalized in Olympic sport. We know how caffeine affects endurance, speed, stamina and cognition, what the mechanisms of action are, and even a fair amount about what causes individual variability. We know a tremendous amount about effective dosing and no, 10 espressos is not the optimal dose (far from it, actually). It’s one of the few drugs that we can safely and confidently prescribe interventions with and have more than a reasonable amount of certainty that it will improve performance. Keep that in mind the next time you are attempting to haphazardly chase down performance gains with an amino acid supplement derived from wasp, the latest ketone ester, or even some cordyceps sinensis mushrooms.
14. There’s a New Way to Choose the Right Running Shoe:
Pronation is out of favor, comfort is too vague, but maybe measuring your “habitual motion path” will guide you to a shoe that minimizes your injury risk.
A decade ago, runners had a method for picking shoes that was simple, scientific, and wrong. It was all about pronation, ensuring that your shoe enabled your foot to roll inward by just the right amount with each stride. But amid the upheaval of the barefoot revolution, one of the first casualties was the pronation paradigm: despite two decades of increasingly clunky pronation-controlling shoes, runners kept getting injured.
The challenge, ever since then, has been figuring out what to replace it with. The temporary solution that many people (including me) settled on was a proposal from University of Calgary biomechanist Benno Nigg—one of the original proponents of the pronation paradigm, back in the 1980s—that runners should rely on what he dubbed the “comfort filter.” The idea is that if a shoe feels comfortable, your bones and joints are probably moving the way they’re supposed to, lowering your risk of injury. It’s convenient and simple but it’s also untested scientifically, and sounds suspiciously like a cop-out: we’re out of ideas, so just run in whatever feels good.
Sweat Science on Outside Online.
15. Fat-burning for athletes and the workforce:
Host Brad Kearns welcomes the dynamic duo of Dr. Ron Sinha and Dr. Phil Maffetone in a show representing the confluence of Dr. Sinha trying to prevent and cure metabolic disease among his high-tech Silicon Valley workers and Dr. Maffetone’s work in the area of fat-adapted aerobic conditioning. The key takeaway point is that almost all exercisers, from novices with metabolic syndrome to elite performers, will do better by slowing down and emphasizing aerobic development. This is the case even if you like high-intensity workouts, because aerobic conditioning establishes a fitness base that supports performance at all higher intensities.
You’ll also learn how to strategically integrate resistance exercise and explosive sprints into your schedule without suffering from the common afflictions of breakdown and burnout. These two experts are true leaders in the battle against what Dr. Maffetone calls the "global overfat pandemic." The solution starts with igniting your fat-burning system by cutting out refined carbohydrates and building your aerobic system. Enjoy the show!
Listen to the podcast on MAF.
*Please verify event dates with the event websites available from our FrontPage.
Upcoming Races, Marathons, Races, and Triathlons
January 10, 2021:
Great Ethiopian Run International 10km - Addis Abeba, Ethiopia
For more complete race listings check out our Upcoming Races, and Calendars.
Have a good week of training and/or racing.