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Runner's Web Digest - March 26, 2021 - Posted: March 26, 2021

The Runner's Web Digest is a FREE weekly digest of information on running, triathlons and multisport activities.
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Runner's Web Digest INDEX

1. What Your VO2max Score Really Means
2. How Your Menstrual Cycle Affects Your Injury Risk
3. Benefits of Additional Protein Intake by Masters Athletes
4. Trans women retain athletic edge after a year of hormone therapy, study finds
5. How runners can reduce the risk of bone stress injuries
6. 3 Strength Training Exercises Every Endurance Athlete Should Be Doing
7. Could Your Nose Be Key to Better Performance?
8. What to Do If You Notice a Sustained Increased Resting Heart Rate
9. Is It Safe to Go Back to Group Exercise Class at the Gym?
10. What’s the Minimum Dose of Training to Stay Fit?
11. Too Much High-Intensity Exercise May Be Bad for Your Health
12. Women are better at burning fat during exercise than men, research suggests
 13. A strong coffee half an hour before exercising increases fat-burning
14. Study: Extreme exercise can lead to mitochondrial functional impairment
15. Gene doping: The next ‘big issue’ in world athletics
Which of the following distance running events is/are the most demanding?
*	1500M/Mile
*	3000M Steeplechase
*	5000M/10000M
*	Marathon
*	Cross-Country 
Vote here

What workouts are you doing during the current COVID-19 crisis?
1 Running 	743  (47%)
2 Cycling 	394  (25%)
3 Walking 	147  (9%)
4 Weight training 	129  (8%)
5 Yoga, Pilates, etc. 	110  (7%)
6 None of the above 	59  (4%)
Total Votes: 1582

Founded nearly 60 years ago, Atlanta Track Club's origins were in local coaches and runners coming together to recognize the accomplishments of high school track and field and cross country athletes. While these honors continue to exist today as the Powerade All-Metro Banquets, Atlanta Track Club jumped to national recognition with the creation of the AJC Peachtree Road Race. First run in 1970 with 110 finishers, the race has grown and now is the "World's Largest 10K". Now hosting more than 40 events a year for adults and youth, Atlanta Track Club has more than 30,000 members. However, as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Atlanta Track Club's commitment to the community continues to grow. Through the support of its members, volunteers, sponsors, and partners, Atlanta Track Club offers programming ranging from Kilometer Kids, a free-to-all youth running program, and a partnership with Atlanta Public Schools, to adult training for beginners through advanced runners, and competitive teams. Through its events and programs, Atlanta Track Club inspires the next generation of runners and walkers and makes Atlanta a healthier city.
Visit the website at

A Practical Guide to Diet, Exercise, Healthy Aging, Illness Prevention, and Sexual Well-Being
Philip Maffetone
Taking control of your health and well-being is a necessary and personal journey. From teens and parents fighting obesity in America, to aging baby boomers refusing to go quietly into the dark night-everyone can stay fit, healthy, and active for many years to come! This book lays out a sensible and holistic road map that makes health and fitness an ingrained part of your lifestyle, and an easy-to-achieve goal for both men and women at any age.
For more than three decades, Dr. Maffetone has been treating and advising patients, coaching athletes, lecturing worldwide, and writing books about the importance of self-health care. Topics covered in his latest book include how to make healthy dietary choices, obtain the best nutrition from real food, avoid illness and disease, and learn to listen to your body. Also learn the dangers of common dietary supplements, fat-burning exercise for weight loss, reducing stress, controlling inflammation, having a healthy and fulfilling sex life, and much more. Maffetone expertly guides the reader step by step through each topic and provides simple health surveys to help you better understand how the body works and what to safely do if a problem or symptom arises during your fitness or dietary regimen.
Buy the book from Skyhorse Publishing.

For more books on running and Triathlon visit:,,, and


1. What Your VO2max Score Really Means:
Plenty of fitness trackers these days will tell you your VO2max, sometimes referring to it as a “cardio fitness” score or telling you that you’re fitter than a certain percentage of the population. While it’s fun to watch this number change as you train, it’s not necessarily a good measure of your fitness.
Fitness can be tested and measured in many ways, and no one metric can possibly give a complete picture. For example, someone might be strong enough to deadlift 800 pounds, but be unable to do more than a handful of push-ups. Somebody else might be a fast sprinter, but end up at the back of the pack in a long-distance run. Our muscles, lungs, and all our other body parts work together to produce athletic performances, and there’s no single number that can define “fitness.”
What is VO2max anyway?
We have a whole explainer here, but briefly: the higher your VO2max, the harder your body can work for extended periods of time. A person with a higher VO2max can outrun a person with a lower VO2max, all things being equal, because they can sustain a higher speed during their workout.
More...from LifeHacker.

2. How Your Menstrual Cycle Affects Your Injury Risk:
Changing hormone levels affect your tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and evidence is mounting that this can influence your chances of injury.
ligaments (ACLs) in the United States each year, the vast majority of them women. And the timing of these injuries isn’t coincidental. For more than two decades, researchers have known that ACL tears are more likely during certain phases of the menstrual cycle, presumably because changing hormone levels affect ligament properties.
It’s not just ACLs: a new study in Frontiers in Physiology, from researchers at the University of Lincoln, Nottingham Trent University, and The Football Association, followed women’s national-team soccer players from England over a four-year period, and found evidence that muscle, tendon, joint, and ligament injuries are unevenly distributed across the menstrual cycle. Hormones clearly affect injury risk—but the tricky part is figuring out what the mechanisms are and what to do about it.
The key factor appears to be estrogen, which has broad effects on the body including decreasing the stiffness of tendons and ligaments—a handy trick that helps make childbirth possible but leaves knees and other joints less stable when levels are elevated. In the simplest terms, you can divide the menstrual cycle into two halves: the follicular phase, which begins on the first day of menstruation; and the luteal phase, which begins with ovulation. Estrogen is lowest at the beginning of the follicular phase, then rises to its highest peak shortly before ovulation. Then it drops sharply, and rises again to a gentler peak during the luteal phase.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.

3. Benefits of Additional Protein Intake by Masters Athletes:
This is an excerpt from High-Performance Nutrition for Masters Athletes by Lauren Antonucci.
New research has demonstrated that older adults (70-85 years old) were able to increase lean body mass, muscle strength, and muscle power following a six-month trial that included supervised and progressive resistance training three times a week as well as 40 grams per day of whey protein supplement (Chalé et al. 2012).
In chapter 6 we will discuss at length the extent to which protein intake needs to be altered as we age in order to increase our ability to perform high-intensity and resistance training throughout our lifetime and thus increase and preserve lean muscle mass. There, you will learn to overcome age-related decline with muscle-building protein. See figure 2.1 for a pictorial description of the importance of protein.
More...from Human Kinetics.

4. Trans women retain athletic edge after a year of hormone therapy, study finds:
The findings raise questions about current Olympic guidelines, but the lead author cautions against using them to back bans in recreational and school sports.
A new study suggests transgender women maintain an athletic advantage over their cisgender peers even after a year on hormone therapy.
The results, published last month in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, could mean the current one-year waiting period for Olympic athletes who are transitioning is inadequate.
“For the Olympic level, the elite level, I'd say probably two years is more realistic than one year,” said the study's lead author, Dr. Timothy Roberts, a pediatrician and the director of the adolescent medicine training program at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. “At one year, the trans women on average still have an advantage over the cis women," he said, referring to cisgender, or nontransgender, women.
More...from NBC News.

5. How runners can reduce the risk of bone stress injuries:
Injuries are a common and frustrating component of sport for many endurance athletes unfortunately, but there are ways that runners and triathletes can reduce the risk of suffering bone stress injuries...
What are bone stress injuries?
Bone stress injuries (BSI) are common amongst runners. In fact, 0.7-20% of all sports medicine injuries that present to clinicians are reportedly bone stress injuries (Bennell, et al 1999).
For triathletes, it's common to experience bone stress in the lower limbs, including the thigh (femur), shin (tibia), and foot (e.g. navicular, metatarsals), and, at times, the pelvis.
The best way of looking at bone stress injury is by viewing them along a pathology continuum, from normal bone remodelling to bone pathology:
More...from Precision Hydration.

6. 3 Strength Training Exercises Every Endurance Athlete Should Be Doing:
These three strength training exercises will make you a stronger, more powerful, and more resilient athlete.
Whether it’s longer steady-state sessions, hill ascents and descents, or intervals, you’ve probably got the endurance side of your training covered. But as Lawrence Herrera explored in a recent TrainingPeaks series, your body also needs to be strong, powerful, and resilient enough to handle the force you create and the load you subject yourself to during such workouts. With that in mind, here are three essential exercises to add to your gym routine.
1. Farmer’s and Overhead Carries
While they’re not included in many coaches’ lists of fundamental movement patterns, carries are extremely practical full-body exercises that require you to maintain control and stability while you’re generating motion. The easiest variation to start with is the farmer’s carry, which involves picking up two equally weighted dumbbells, kettlebells, or, if your equipment is limited, filling two empty milk or water jugs with sand. Then, as the name suggests, carrying them.
Once you’ve got this down, you can change the stimulus by using a different weight in each hand. Add in an anti-rotation element by switching to a one-hand suitcase carry (which, perhaps unsurprisingly, will prepare you for lugging a suitcase in an airport once travel restrictions are lifted or for lugging your child’s car seat around). Although you shouldn’t try to go as heavy, an overhead or waiter carry will challenge you by raising the center of gravity of the weight and requiring you to create more stability in your shoulder and thoracic spine. If you’re going to do overhead and farmer’s and/or suitcase carries in the same session, do the former first, as you don’t want to risk putting a weight overhead when you’re fatigued at the end of a workout.
More...from Training Peaks.

7. Could Your Nose Be Key to Better Performance?
Our writer tests out a novel “natural performance enhancer”: breathing through your nose. It's harder than it sounds.
I’m drowning at the gym. We’re four hours into the Art of Breath clinic, run by coach and trainer Rob Wilson, and right now I’m “dryland swimming,” which involves carrying kettlebells across the floor with no oxygen in my lungs. Turns out that’s really freaking hard.
Practicing breathwork isn’t exactly groundbreaking. The ujjayi breath, with its dramatic “ha” exhale, is an integral part of yoga, and athletes have been limiting their oxygen intake during workouts for decades. Wilson developed the Art of Breath four years ago to help deliver a mix of these drills to the masses. During a one-day session last November, he taught me and 41 other participants how to perfect this basic life function with innovative exercises like dryland swimming and inflating a balloon while holding a static pull-up. I went to see if such drills could help me get faster on the bike and stronger in the gym. According to Wilson, it’s possible. But only if I stop breathing through my mouth.
More...from Outside Online.

8. What to Do If You Notice a Sustained Increased Resting Heart Rate:
Even if it still falls within the normal range, a change in this number may be signaling trouble.
Men with resting heart rates on the low end of the normal range are less likely to die early than those with heart rates on the higher end of the normal range, according to new research published in BMJ Open Heart.
But a change in resting heart rate matters, too: For every additional beat increase in resting heart rate over the course of the study, the participants’ risk of early death rose by 3 percent.
If you notice a sustained increase in your resting heart rate, even if it still falls within the normal range, you should talk with your doctor.
You might regularly check your heart rate when you’re on a run or working out, but research suggests you may want to keep track of your resting heart rate, too: An increase in your normal beats per minute may be signaling something’s amiss, according to research out of Sweden published in the journal Open Heart in 2019.
More...from Runner's World.

9. Is It Safe to Go Back to Group Exercise Class at the Gym?
Indoor fitness classes, which often result in heavy breathing in poorly ventilated rooms, can be risky. Here’s a guide to help you decide if your gym is doing enough to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Last summer, a 37-year-old fitness instructor in Hawaii taught a spin class to 10 people. He was perched on a bike in the front of the room, facing his students as he shouted instructions and encouragement. The doors and windows were closed, but three large floor fans created a breeze to keep everyone cool. As a precaution against Covid-19, all the bikes were spaced at least six feet apart. (At the time, the gym didn’t require people to wear masks.)
More...from the NY Times.

10. What’s the Minimum Dose of Training to Stay Fit?
A new review assesses what it takes to maintain endurance and strength when circumstances interfere with your usual training.
My college coach used to assign us a week of complete rest every November, after the conclusion of the cross-country season. But one of my teammates, an exercise science student, discovered the research of Robert Hickson, who did some classic studies in the early 1980s on maintaining fitness with reduced training. So, during our yearly week of sloth and bacchanalian revels, we would sneak out for two 30-minute bouts of hard running, hoping that would allow us to be both well-rested and still fit when we started training for indoor track.
Life as a grown-up is more complicated, and the reasons for temporarily reducing training are sometimes considerably more pressing—like a pandemic, say. But the question endures: what’s the smallest dose of training you can get away with temporarily while staying mostly fit? It’s particularly relevant for military personnel, whose ability to train while on deployment is often severely constrained, which is why a group of researchers at the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, led by Barry Spiering, has just published an interesting review of the “minimum dose” literature in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.

11. Too Much High-Intensity Exercise May Be Bad for Your Health:
A new study hints that excessive HIIT may harm your mitochondria, the energy generators found in every cell of your body.
If high-intensity exercise is good for us, is more necessarily better?
Maybe not, according to an admonitory new study of the molecular effects of high-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT. In the study, people who began working out strenuously almost every day developed sudden and severe declines in the function of their mitochondria, which are the energy powerhouses inside of cells, along with incipient signs of blood sugar dysfunction.
Their metabolic issues started to reverse when they dialed back on their workouts but did not disappear, suggesting that the benefits of extremely vigorous exercise may depend on just how much we do.If high-intensity exercise is good for us, is more necessarily better?
Maybe not, according to an admonitory new study of the molecular effects of high-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT. In the study, people who began working out strenuously almost every day developed sudden and severe declines in the function of their mitochondria, which are the energy powerhouses inside of cells, along with incipient signs of blood sugar dysfunction.
More...from the New York Times.

12. Women are better at burning fat during exercise than men, research suggests:
Women may have an advantage over men when it comes to burning fat during exercise, a study suggests.
Fit people also burn fat more efficiently. You can improve your aerobic fitness through training.
Burning fat more efficiently is also key for performing well in long workouts, like endurance runs.
Women may have an edge when it comes to burning fat, according to new research.
A pair of studies published this month found that women tend to burn more fat than men during exercise, and athletes with better cardio endurance of all genders burn more fat than their less fit peers.
One study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism by researchers from the University of Bath, looked at 73 healthy adults ages 19-63 as they participated in a cycling fitness test on an empty stomach.
The researchers found that participants who burned the most fat were those with the best cardio fitness, measured by how much oxygen they could use during a workout (VO2 peak).
But women also consistently burned more fat than men, the study found.
The same group of researchers were able to determine how participants burnt fat for fuel in a second study, published March 6 in Experimental Physiology. They found that specific proteins in muscle tissue helped to break down fat for energy during a workout more efficiently.
More...from Insider.

13. A strong coffee half an hour before exercising increases fat-burning:
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. Despite the fact that its consumption in the form of supplements is very common, the scientific evidence for its beneficial claims is scarce.
More...from MedicalXpress.
(Note: Dr. David Costill wrote about this 50 years ago)

14. Study: Extreme exercise can lead to mitochondrial functional impairment:
A team of researchers from the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences and the Karolinska Institutet, has found that people who go to extremes when exercising can go too far, resulting in mitochondrial functional impairment and insulin resistance. In their paper published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the group describes exercise experiments they conducted with volunteers and what they learned from them.
One of the things most people hear from their doctors is a suggestion to get more exercise. But in this new effort, the researchers have found that there is a limit to what the body can endure—too much training, they found, can lead to insulin resistance and mitochondrial functional impairment.
To learn more about the way the body responds to exercise, the researchers developed an extreme regimen to test the boundaries of seriously pushing the body to its limits. They then enlisted the assistance of 11 healthy young volunteers who were already keeping themselves in shape using some form of exercise.
More...from MedicalXpress.

15. Gene doping: The next ‘big issue’ in world athletics:
In 2020, the Polish developer CD Projekt Red launched Cyberpunk 2077, a video game that pulled players in to a post-human world where the body is little more than a meat sack for housing an array of enhancement technologies. Among the many ways of “improving” your character, the game gives you the ability to manipulate your genetic makeup as you attempt to “re-evolve” the human form.
The world of Cyberpunk really gives you that feeling of being immersed into a sci-fi world akin to the likes of Bladerunner (1982) and Altered Carbon (2018). But the gene editing technologies you explore in games like Cyberpunk are becoming less removed from reality. In our fast techno-evolving world, we are seeing frequent transitions of science fiction into science fact, and the advent of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing has brought us one giant leap towards being able to genetically enhance our abilities.
Although CRISPR’s transhumanist impact is the subject of almost daily headlines, one aspect of its revolutionary potential has not been as scrutinized: depending on how it’s regulated and its many potential rogue uses, gene editing could forever disrupt the competitive balance in sports. And it may be an issue as soon as this summer, if the Olympics are held in Japan as now planned. MBR>More...from the Genetic Literacy Project.

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Upcoming Races, Marathons, Races, and Triathlons April 11, 2021: NN Mission Marathon - Hamburg, Germany April 14-17, 2021: Mt. SAC Relays - Walnut, CA April 18, 2021: Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile and 5K Run-Walk - Washinton, DC Rescheduled to September 12, 2021 April 18, 2021: Nagano Marathon - Japan April 25, 2021: Austin Marathon - Austin, TEX For more complete race listings check out our Upcoming Races, and Calendars. Have a good week of training and/or racing. Ken Email:

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