1. Adidas ULTRABOOST 21: First Thoughts
The adidas ULTRABOOST, featuring - the midsole that saved adidas running,- is back again. And while the ULTRABOOST 21 isn’t the twenty-first version (the ’21’ stands for the year), it does seem that the UB has become an old friend to us here at Believe in the Run.
In the past, it’s been a reliable workhorse (albeit a bit heavy) that feels great on the run and gives you a ton of miles underfoot. It helps that it’s perennially one of the best-looking running shoes out there.
So what’s new in the ULTRABOOST 21? According to adidas, a few things, though we would say none of these are the game-changers that we’d like to see in the ULTRABOOST. Let’s start with the meat and potatoes of the shoe, the BOOST midsole.
BOOST literally changed the game when it debuted back in 2013. While other companies rested on their laurels with traditional EVA midsoles, adidas went full-in on BASF’s TPU technology and it reaped dividends. Out of the gate, the original adiZero adios BOOST claimed the men’s marathon world record at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.
More...from Believe in the Run.
2. Exploring Periodization Methods:
In this series, we will compare the two major styles of periodization in order to help you determine which model makes the most sense for your training.
Periodization has its roots all the way back to the days of ancient Greece and it’s still at the core of most athletes training plans. As our knowledge and methodologies become more advanced, so has our concept of periodization. However, not all models of periodization are the same, and the “old school” styles of periodization do not make sense for most athletes. In this series, we will compare the two major styles of periodization, traditional and block in order to help you determine which model makes the most sense for your training.
The Roots of Traditional Periodization
In ancient Greece, ahletes training for the Olympics would complete 11 months of rigorous training in order to be at their peak for the one main event—but the term “periodization” came to prominence in the 1960s in training Olympic athletes.
More...from Training Peaks.
3. Strength Training Outside of the Weight Room :
Strength training can occur anywhere. It’s not dependent on the weight room. In this episode we explore ways to develop strength and power outside of the weight room. From utilizing sprints and hills to bounding, plyos, and throwing around heavy objects outside, we cover ways in which runners can develop strength outside of the traditional manner.
Listen to the podcast on "Science of Running.
4. How to break the endless cycle of big goals and broken resolutions :
Here’s one small way in which this highly unusual year is not so different from its predecessors: In the waning weeks of January, gyms are empty.
Every year, we resolve to mend our sedentary ways and exercise more. We know it’s good for us. We were born to leap and thrust and ramble across the savannah. So why do we abandon those resolutions so quickly and predictably?
That’s the question at the heart of a new book by Harvard University evolutionary anthropologist Daniel Lieberman. Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding is, in some ways, a book full of excuses. Our aversion to wasting energy is hard-wired into our genes, he tells us: “Exhorting us to ‘Just Do It,’ ” he writes, “is about as helpful as telling a drug addict to ‘Just Say No.’ ”
Don’t celebrate yet, though. Lieberman sets out to puncture myths about what we were born to do and how we’re supposed to feel about it, but he’s not cancelling exercise, and he’s not promising to make it easy. Instead, he’s hoping that a more nuanced understanding of our evolutionary heritage can help us break away from the endless cycle of big goals and broken resolutions.
More...from the Globe and Mail.
5. The Pandemic Bike Boom Is Here to Stay:
Activity and sales data suggest that there are still more cyclists than ever before .
Just before Christmas, social-fitness platform Strava released its annual Year in Sport report, a look at how people used the service to record their workouts in 2020. Because Strava has millions of active members, it’s always an interesting perspective. But this year, COVID-19 shaped the data in remarkable ways.
By now you probably know that the pandemic created a huge exercise boom in the U.S., with bikes at its center. New bicycles have been in short supply for months, and some shops have entirely sold out. We’ve been left wondering whether this was just another 2020 fad, or if it will lead to lasting change. Strava’s report, and broad sales figures from the NPD Group, which tracks data across thousands of American bike shops, suggests an answer: cycling’s newfound popularity might endure.
More...from Outside Online.
6. Warm-up, Cool-down, & Recovery - Myths & Misconceptions about stretching in the warm up & cool down.:
Most people believe that you stretch during a warm up or cool down to improve flexibility. This is totally wrong and can actually lead to impaired athletic performance and injury. Learn the real purpose of stretching during the warm up
Watch the video from StretchCoach.
7. New Research Says More Activity Is Better, and There’s No Upper Limit:
The big data report is based on Fitbit-like measurements, not dubious questionnaires.
Most of us luxuriate in the warm glow we experience on a run and after. Ah, the calm, the relaxation. There’s nothing like instant gratification. “Running never fails me” has become a popular aphorism.
We also appreciate the dozens of other health benefits associated with regular physical activity such as running. Sure, we sometimes wonder about “excessive exercise.” Is there a limit? After all, there’s a J-curve associated with many health behaviors. A little sun is a good thing. A lot of sun, not so much. Same with pasta. Same with aspirin.
Could a J-curve apply to physical activity and heart disease? Not according to a massive and objectively-controlled new study of 90,000-plus adults from the United Kingdom. It’s the biggest and most precise research of its kind.
More...from Podium Runner.
8. The Benefits of Moderate Exercise:
High-intensity workouts get a lot of attention and can be great for health. But moderate physical activity may have metabolic advantages.
The best exercise for many of us may not be the briefest, according to a provocative new study comparing the head-to-head health benefits of short, intense, interval training with those of longer, gentler workouts. The study, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, finds that each approach to exercise has advantages, but the impacts on blood pressure, body fat and other aspects of metabolism may be greater after standard, half-hour, moderate workouts than eyeblink-quick interval training.
As those of us who follow fitness know, high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is alluring, trendy and a frequent topic of this column, as well as of exercise science. A mix of extremely short spurts of intense exercise followed by a minute or two of rest, HIIT is quick and potent, with studies showing that a few minutes — or even seconds — of interval training can improve people’s health and longevity over time.
More...from the New York Times.
9. Re-Evaluating Vitamin D as a Sports Supplement:
Two new studies find performance benefits from high levels of the sunshine vitamin, but they’re not the final word.
The case for vitamin D as a sports performance booster got a minor bump from a couple of recent studies. One showed an apparent benefit to VO2 max and 30-second sprint performance; the other saw a reduction in markers of muscle damage after a punishing 30-minute downhill running test. Both studies were placebo-controlled and blinded (meaning the subjects didn’t know whether they were getting the vitamin or the placebo). It’s enough, in other words, to make an avowed supplement skeptic wonder whether he should reconsider his skepticism.
Vitamin D has been getting hype in the sports world for well over a decade. It was originally associated with bone health, and remains a first-line recommendation for athletes with a history of stress fractures. Just last month, a study of 135 college runners from Stanford and UCLA found that 34 percent of them took vitamin D supplements, including half of those with previous bone stress injuries. But it turns out that vitamin D plays a whole bunch of other roles, including in athletically interesting areas like muscle function, muscle repair, and the immune system.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
10. The 7 types of rest that every person needs:
Have you ever tried to fix an ongoing lack of energy by getting more sleep - only to do so and still feel exhausted?
If that’s you, here’s the secret: Sleep and rest are not the same thing, although many of us incorrectly confuse the two.
We go through life thinking we’ve rested because we have gotten enough sleep - but in reality we are missing out on the other types of rest we desperately need. The result is a culture of high-achieving, high-producing, chronically tired and chronically burned-out individuals. We’re suffering from a rest deficit because we don’t understand the true power of rest.
Rest should equal restoration in seven key areas of your life.
The first type of rest we need is physical rest, which can be passive or active. Passive physical rest includes sleeping and napping, while active physical rest means restorative activities such as yoga, stretching and massage therapy that help improve the body’s circulation and flexibility.
11. What counts as good for your age?:
There is no avoiding the fact that cyclists slow down as they grow older, but what counts as good for your age, and how can you stay faster for longer? David Bradford goes in search of age-related gold standards.
Earlier this year, we received an email with the subject line: ‘How good are you?’. No, it wasn’t a phishing attack; it was a genuine enquiry from a reader named Alex. To our relief, Alex wasn’t getting in touch to conduct an audit of CW staff FTPs or Zwift rankings. Instead, he was asking a serious question related to cycling performance and age.
"We all want to know how our numbers stack up against club-mates and pros, and we’ve all studied the Coggan watts-per-kilo table,' he wrote, "but for cyclists of a certain age, these comparisons are difficult. We’re missing comparative statistics within our own cohort."
More...from Cycling Weekly.
12. See how they run: ‘Exercise protein’ doubles running capacity, restores function and extends healthy lifespans in older mice:
Animal and human data reveal new target for reversing age-related decline, according to USC study.
A new study shows that humans express a powerful hormone during exercise and that treating mice with the hormone improves physical performance, capacity and fitness. Researchers say the findings present new possibilities for addressing age-related physical decline.
The research, published on Wednesday in Nature Communications, reveals a detailed look at how the mitochondrial genome encodes instructions for regulating physical capacity, performance and metabolism during aging and may be able to increase healthy lifespan.
"Mitochondria are known as the cell’s energy source, but they are also hubs that coordinate and fine-tune metabolism by actively communicating to the rest of the body,” said Changhan David Lee, assistant professor at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and corresponding author of the study. “As we age, that communication network seems to break down, but our study suggests you can restore that network or rejuvenate an older mouse so it is as fit as a younger one."
More...from USC Leonard Davis.
13. What happens when you drink too much before a race?
Nervously drinking too much plain water before a race and then standing in the queue for the porta-potty may seem like a harmless, albeit annoying, act. But in this misguided attempt to stay well hydrated, some athletes can put themselves at risk of low blood sodium levels, otherwise known as hyponatremia.
An extreme case of overdrinking
Hyponatremia occurs when sodium and fluid in the body are out of balance. In other words, there’s either too much water or not enough sodium in your blood.
It’s a condition typically associated with clinical populations but athletes are at risk of exercise-associated hyponatremia, especially those taking part in endurance activities.
Normally, your blood sodium levels should be between 135 and 145 milliequivalents per litre (mEq/L). Hyponatremia occurs when your sodium level falls below 135 mEq/L.
In the majority of cases, hyponatremia is a result of hyperhydration or water intoxication (i.e. the overconsumption of water). Whilst few and far between, severe cases of hyponatremia can be fatal.
More...from Precision Hydration.
14. The 21 Best Running Shoes of 2020:
We've selected the best road and trail shoes for the year from major brands.
In a year when most running was limited to competing against oneself, it only seems appropriate that we keep our “best running shoes of 2020” safely within brand bubbles, picking each company’s outstanding shoe for the highly-unusual year. In a few cases we chose both a road and trail entry, in the end totaling 21 shoes — to go one up on the year and get us into 2021. All of these models are still on the market; time to snatch them up — maybe at discount? — before they get updated, or use this as a guide for shoes to watch out for when new, improved models start rolling in during the new year.
adidas Adizero Adios Pro $200
Weight: 7.9 oz Unisex
Offset: 8.5 mm
Adidas was late to the super shoe party but made quite an impression with the Adizero Adios Pro. It’s not quite as light as some of its contemporaries in the high-tech marathon racing shoe genre, but it still manages to serve up a well-cushioned, slightly bouncy, efficient ride. With the new, thick and bouncy Lightstrike midsole foam, the Adizero Pro is designed with a far-forward rocker that starts just past the ball and falls away quickly under the toes. As such, it creates an interesting interaction with the stride, seeming to maximize the rebound property of the foam under the ball before speeding the toe roll. It’s a true go-fast shoe that is impressive in its ability to help you turnover your gait, not just to the forefoot but specifically to the big toe for optimal efficiency and lift-off power. It feels best when staying forward-balanced over the foot with a quick cadence, but they are comfortable (just not as energetic) at slower paces. Upper is surprisingly generous for adidas, while holding the foot securely as befits a racer.
More...from (Podium Runner.
15. The Pros and Cons of Running Once or Twice a Day:
In 2011 I spent a few months living in a run-training camp in Iten, Kenya. I was surrounded by some of the best runners in the world and had the chance to see what life was really like for aspiring athletes living in a typical Kenyan training compound. I lived in a compound owned by James Kwalia, a Kenyan-born athlete now running for Qatar, who has personal bests of 7:28 in the 3k and 12:54 for the 5k. Much of the training that the group did was based on the trickle-down of information from his own training regime. That meant that the daily routine of the athletes at the camp was fairly simple and uniform, but also very intense.
During the week, the first morning run took place around sunrise. It was a comfortable effort lasting anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes and would frequently end with a pace build-up. After tea and a small breakfast, the group would head to the track for another higher-intensity workout in the late morning. Then in the evening, there would often be another run similar to the morning when athletes would add extra running volume to the day at a very comfortable pace.
*Please verify event dates with the event websites available from our FrontPage.
Upcoming Races, Marathons, Races, and Triathlons
February 14, 2021:
Austin Marathon - Austin, TEX
February 19, 2021:
RAK Half-Marathon - Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirate
Tel Aviv Samsung Marathon - Israel
February 20-21, 2021:
Gasparilla Distance Classic - Tampa Bay, FLA
February 26-27, 2021:
Texas Qualifier - Austin Texas
For more complete race listings check out our Upcoming Races, and Calendars.
Have a good week of training and/or racing.