1. Why women's sport cannot ignore the 'alarm bell' of missing periods
Bobby Clay was tipped to be athletics’ next big star - but was diagnosed with osteoporosis at 18 after years of overtraining and undereating
Bobby Clay remembers the tear that slid down her mother’s face in the surgery, trying to process the doctor’s earth-shattering words. She was 20.
“He turned to my mum and said ‘Your daughter will never have children’. She didn’t say a word. That’s when I decided to change,” Clay tells Telegraph Sport.
A successful middle-distance runner who had won countless vests for Great Britain, Clay was tipped to be athletics’ next big star.
She was fourth in the 1500m at the 2013 World Youth Championships, crowned European junior champion two years later and made the Great Britain under-20s team when she was just 15. Three years later, she was diagnosed with osteoporosis, a result of years of overtraining and undereating.
That merciless combination meant her body had been deprived of oestrogen, the female sex hormone which is crucial for bone density.
Clay first realised something was wrong after fracturing her foot in a swimming pool doing a tumble turn. On another occasion, her shin snapped when she sat down in the gym. Both were clues that she was suffering from Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-s) Syndrome – formerly known as ‘the female athlete triad’ – which can cause devastating effects due to low energy availability.
More...from the Telegraph.
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2. What Marathoners (and Badminton Players) Think About:
A new study explores how inner monologue varies between sports, situations, and experience levels
A few years ago, I gave a talk on the brain’s role in physical limits to a group of star prospects from my hometown baseball club, the Toronto Blue Jays. One of the topics I discussed was self-talk, which in the endurance world is basically the idea that telling yourself “You can do this!” will lead to better outcomes than "I suck and should give up." Afterwards, a mental skills coach from the team’s vaunted High Performance Department pointed out something obvious: psyching yourself up so that you’re ready to chew nails and spit fire doesn’t necessarily help you connect with a 90-mile-per-hour fastball.
Self-talk, it turns out, is a much broader and more nuanced phenomenon than just telling yourself that you can do it. According to one estimate, we spend about a quarter of our waking hours talking to ourselves, so it’s not surprising that the purposes of that inner monologue can vary. In sports, one of the key distinctions is between motivational (you can do it!) and instructional (keep your eye on the ball!) self-talk.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
3. New Balance Fresh Foam More V3 Performance Review:
What You Need To Know
Weighs 10.9 oz. (309 g) for a US M10.5 / 8.75 oz. (248 g) for a US W7.5
Gobs of Fresh Foam X to roll hundreds of miles
Small improvements to upper make a huge impact
New Balance came for the Cush King Bondi and Prince Clifton, and they didn’t miss
AUSTIN: The New Balance Fresh Foam More v3 is proof that bricks bounce. Yes, version 3 still looks like a behemoth based on the stack (33/29), but I believe that it’s a sleeper shoe for 2021. Before proceeding, revisit the More v2 performance review from last March for a refresher. Next, drop that shoe from memory altogether because the More v3 is streets ahead.
THOMAS: The running brands have been trying to unravel the mystery behind the HOKA Clifton for awhile now. News flash: they’re catching up. That perfect mix of cushion, weight, and ride seemed to be as elusive as a Peloton owner that doesn’t post about their Peloton. But New Balance finally cracked the code. It took them three tries, but they nailed it. This next statement may be a stunner, but I’m gonna say it – they may have out-HOKA-ed HOKA.
More...from Believe in the Run.
4. Should You Try Intermittent Fasting for Better Running Performance?:
While it could take some trial and error, it may be worth experimenting to figure out if this eating plan works for you.
A small study of 23 runners suggests that while intermittent fasting can reduce body mass, it does not impact running performance.
That doesn’t mean runners shouldn’t give intermittent fasting a try - you just have to find the schedule that works best for you, which could take some trial and error.
If you notice your sleep quality, mood, digestive health, work focus, and overall feelings of wellbeing take a dip, this may not be the right eating plan for you.
Intermittent fasting has been highlighted for its advantages - studies show how this way of eating can affect metabolic health, cardiovascular function, and even longevity—but can it make a difference in your running performance? New research in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests this type of time-restricted eating may have some benefits.
More...from Runner's World.
5. The Latest Research on Protein and Muscle-Building:
Insights from this year’s ACSM conference on how to lift, what to eat, and how that affects endurance athletes.
One of the most grueling endurance events I’ve ever participated in is the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting. From dawn to dusk every day for nearly a week, scientists present the latest results from their labs. At any given moment, there are at least three presentations that you wish you could see happening simultaneously. It usually takes place in conference centers so vast and cavernous that flitting from one talk to another involves logging serious mileage.
The payoff is a glimpse of what topics are currently roiling the waters of sports science. In some cases, the results being presented are still a year or two away from appearing in a peer-reviewed journal, so interpreting them requires caution. With that caveat, I’m going to share over the coming days a few themes that emerged at this year’s conference, which took place in Orlando from May 28 to June 1.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
6. The science of tapering: how should you taper before a race?
In a sports setting, a taper refers to a phase of reduced training load that you might undertake in the lead up to an important competition.
The purpose of this taper is to optimise competition performance by reducing the negative impact of daily training (i.e. accumulated fatigue) without suffering a loss of the training adaptations (i.e. detraining) you’ve spent many weeks or months gaining.
With well-planned training, by the time you start tapering you should have achieved all or most of the expected physiological adaptations so, as soon as the accumulated fatigue diminishes, your peak physiological and psychological performance can rise to the forefront...
Tapering broadly means reducing an athlete’s ‘training load’ - described as a combination of the training volume, intensity and frequency.
More...from Precision Hydration.
7. Strength Training: Why All Endurance Athletes Should Go to the Gym:
mproving your economy — the ability to sustain a given power at a certain VO2 value — should be one of your top training priorities. Here’s how strength training at the gym will make you a more powerful and economical endurance athlete.
Despite much evidence supporting the profound benefits of strength training for endurance athletes, year-round strength training is not commonplace in many athlete’s programs. As a coach, I always want to explain the ‘why’ to my athletes before prescribing anything. Outlined below are just a few of the reasons why you definitely should go to the gym year-round.
More Than Just VO2 max
Early research in endurance performance found that the fastest runners had the highest VO2 max values relative to bodyweight. Since that time, VO2 max has been enshrined as the most important metric for performance in many people’s eyes. Of course, it is true that a Tour de France winner must have an exceptionally high VO2 max. However, more recent research has shown that VO2 max is not the most accurate predictor of performance.
This notion is most relevant for experienced endurance athletes. If everyone on the start line has been training for many years and has similar VO2 max values, what really sets them apart? What has become clear is that it is not just how much oxygen you can consume, but how effectively you can use that oxygen during exercise. For this reason, economy has been shown to be a very important metric for performance.
More...from Training Peaks.
8. Getting Race Ready- Preparing to Perform After A Layoff :
How do you get ready to race after a long layoff? This might be something that you may be facing do to COVID or coming back from injury. In this episode we dive into how to get back into the groove of racing!
Listen to the podcast on Science of Running.
9. Time for New Gear?
At the beginning of the pandemic, when many people were picking up running as a new habit, I wrote in this newsletter about how runners don’t actually need much gear to get started. If you found yourself without a gym and therefore without your usual workout equipment, or felt the need to get outside to relieve some stress, and hadn’t run a mile since high school gym class, you could try out running with little more than sneakers.
But if you’ve stuck with running, and are looking to upgrade or invest in some running-related tech or gear, by now you might be ready for some shopping. Wirecutter, a New York Times company that reviews and recommends products, is here to help: It’s just updated a bunch of its fitness-related guides.
There are recommendations for headphones for running, foam rollers, yoga mats, fitness trackers, jogging strollers and treadmills. And it’s also updated its guide to Tread+, the Peloton treadmill.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need the latest gear to be a runner. I’ve been around the block a few times, and I prefer to use a simple Timex Ironman watch rather than a GPS watch. I’ll find a pair of running shorts or tights I like, then buy as many of them as I can so I don’t really have to think about what to put on before going out the door. My favorite running water bottle? I found it in a clearance bin, and then went on eBay and bought every single one I could find.
I like reading Wirecutter guides because they give me an idea of what’s out there (I recently used the site to find a case for my new phone), and because they clearly explain how they conduct their tests. But just because a new product exists, I’m not always going to replace what I already have. If you find something that’s working for you, it’s fine to stick with it.
And since supply chains are still backed up, you may have to live with what you’ve got, whether you decide you’re ready to splurge on something new or not. For example, Wirecutter recommended two treadmills. They both look great, but they’re both out of stock at the time I’m writing this, and Peloton is spending $100 million to deal with shipping delays. The best treadmill for me has been the one a family member gave me last summer on indefinite loan.
Did you start using something for running at the start of the pandemic because you couldn’t find exactly what you wanted, and fell in love with it? Let me know — I’m on Twitter @byjenamiller.
Jen A. Miller
Author, “Running: A Love Story”
10. Workout surprise! 'Low intensity' sports burn more calories than you think:
Average 'real-life' duration of different sport activities show a better image of how many calories you can burn doing them.
Doing any kind of sport activity is more beneficial than sitting on the sofa watching TV. That said, some activities will burn more calories than others: we all know that HIIT workouts can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time, but what if we told you that some 'low calorie burn' sports can burn more calories than running a marathon, taking their average 'real-life' duration into consideration?
Over a decade ago, Harvard conducted a study trying to find out how many calories different sport activities burn in half an hour. As always, people looked at the results and drew their own conclusions: 'general weightlifting' is not good for calorie burning, while 'vigorous stationary cycling' will most likely help you lose belly fat. The truth is, resistance training (weightlifting being the most well-known type) is great for long term weight loss as it increases muscle mass which in turn will help boost metabolism and burn more calories by raising you basal metabolic rate. However, a casual cycling session in the park will burn less calories than brisk walking, when done for the same amount of time.
More...from Smarter Living.
11. Can Sweating Cause a Yeast Infection? Here’s What You Should Know:
Plus, 4 other ways running can affect your breasts, uterus, and vagina.
When you’re getting ready to head out on a run, you probably think about things like seamless socks to keep your feet blister-free, fuel to keep your stomach happy, and the perfect playlist to keep you motivated. But there are other areas of your body - your breasts, uterus, and vagina - that also deserve some consideration.
Don’t blush. If you want to get the most out of every run, you need to think through how running affects your whole body. (For example, you might’ve noticed a correlation between a sweaty run and an unfortunate yeast infection flare up.) Here are five things every female runner should know about the relationship between running and need-to-mention unmentionables.
More...from Runner's World.
12. Finding Your Mileage Sweet Spot:
How much mileage should you be running? While there is no clear-cut answer that applies to every runner, two top coaches share some helpful ways to think about the volume question so that you can find your optimal mileage number.
When runners start paying attention to their mileage, this simple sport tends to get a bit murky. You may find yourself wondering: Am I running enough? Too much? Should I be matching what my friends are doing? How do I determine the best volume for me and my goals?
While none of those questions have clear-cut answers, there are some helpful ways to think about them. Here, two coaches with a solid grasp on this volume conundrum share their perspectives and offer advice for other runners and coaches searching for that elusive mileage sweet spot.
13. How Exercise Enhances Aging Brains:
Sedentary, older adults who took aerobic dance classes twice a week showed improvements in brain areas critical for memory and thinking.
Exercise can change how crucial portions of our brain communicate as we age, improving aspects of thinking and remembering, according to a fascinating new study of aging brains and aerobic workouts. The study, which involved older African-Americans, finds that unconnected portions of the brain’s memory center start interacting in complex and healthier new ways after regular exercise, sharpening memory function.
The findings expand our understanding of how moving molds thinking and also underscore the importance of staying active, whatever our age.
More///from the NY Times.
14. Does coffee ACTUALLY dehydrate you and harm your performance?
The general consensus is that caffeine can boost performance, especially during longer bouts of endurance exercise, so athletes tend to be heavy coffee drinkers. But what effect does coffee have on your hydration status?
The idea that caffeine can promote dehydration isn't new. A small but influential study back in 1928 saw participants pee out up to 50% more urine when they drank caffeinated water and coffee. Most of us have probably felt this effect.
And caffeine is still widely regarded as being a mild diuretic (a compound that causes your kidneys to produce more urine than they normally would).
A recent study looked at urine volumes produced in the 2 hours after drinking a range of drinks; the fluid loss from coffee was highest.
But, the key thing that’s often not talked about is that the diuresis that coffee consumption can induce doesn't appear to result in a net fluid loss over a longer period, when you take into account the fluid that's absorbed and retained from the coffee itself.
More...from Precision Hydration.
15. He’s Usually Preparing for a Marathon. Instead, He’s Getting People Vaccinated:
How Dave McGillivray, a legendary road race organizer, pivoted from racing to getting shots in arms.
In an ordinary year, Dave McGillivray would be able to see the finish line. Patriots’ Day, the traditional April launch of the Boston Marathon, would be about six weeks out, and McGillivray’s team would be near done with the complex feat of logistics and preparation that helps 30,000 or so runners make the 26.2 mile jaunt from Hopkinton to Boylston Street one the most iconic sporting events on Earth.
"We’d be really dialed in by now" McGillivray told me on the phone recently. "Ninety percent of the planning work would have been done."
Alas, 2021 isn’t an ordinary year. For the second straight Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, there won’t be a Boston Marathon - no anxious early splits into Framingham and Natick; no personal bests conquering Heartbreak Hill; no triumphant left turns off Hereford Street into the homestretch. There’s hope that organizers can pull off an in-person version of the event in October, though McGillivray acknowledged: "No one knows right now."
More...from the Wall Street Journal.