1. New Balance FuelCell RC Elite 2 Performance Review:
What You Need To Know
Weighs 8.3 oz. (235 g) for a US M9.0 / 6.3 oz. (179 g) for a US W7.0
Airy mesh upper sparkles in the sun
Higher stack height provides an uber-cushioned, bouncy ride
Purple haze, all in my brain…
BEN: The New Balance FuelCell RC Elite 2 is the newest racing shoe from the Boston-based brand and it has taken the autoclaved FuelCell foam to new heights. The original RC Elite used the same foam compound but had less stack height. It felt light and responsive but didn’t maximize the cushion or plate curvature due to the lesser midsole thickness. Version 2 has more than made up for that – coming in just under the legal limit for stack height and adding on a full refresh of upper and outsole as well.
WIDE FOOT JARRETT: We all knew the RC Elite 2 was coming, it was just a question of if the sizing was on par with the TC (wider) or RC (more narrow). Thankfully, New Balance went with the beloved TC sizing. The miles for this review racked up insanely quick as I didn’t want to put on any other shoe.
MEAGHAN: It was pretty much love at first sight. The New Balance RC Elite 2 not only sparkles in the sunshine (literally), but it’s built on 39 mm of this bouncy, delightful goodness known as FuelCell. That’s just a taste of what’s to come.
More...from Believe in the Run
2. Is it best to drink water or dump it on yourself to stay cool in hot weather?
Pouring water over the head is a tactic you do see being used by athletes in all sorts of sports to try to combat extreme heat and it can be an effective way of cooling down your body.
But when it comes to staying cool during a race, are you better off pouring the water over yourself or drinking it? Precision Hydration and Sport & Exercise Scientist, Andy Blow, explains...
Which is better - pouring water over your head or drinking water?
A study in 2012 set out to answer the first question by comparing the effectiveness of four approaches to cooling and hydrating during a 90 minute walk followed by a 5km time trial run in hot conditions (33°C / 92°F). The four conditions they tested were:
1. Drinking nothing and not pouring water on the head.
2. Drinking some chilled water but not pouring water on the head.
3. Drinking nothing but pouring water on the head.
4. Both drinking and pouring water on the head.
The 10 athletes who participated in the research were all runners of a good collegiate standard - so were well-conditioned to hard physical workouts - and the results showed (perhaps a tad unsurprisingly) that they all felt worst when they drank nothing and didn’t pour water on themselves during the session.
More...from Precision Hydration.
3. Meet the mental-toughness trainer helping Canada’s Olympic stars get their minds in shape:
Tessa Virtue had a confession to make. Earlier this year, during an online chat with Jean François Ménard, a mental-performance coach, she suddenly struck a bashful tone. "I’m going to be very found out here in this talk," she said with an embarrassed laugh, "because everything I go around saying and preaching in interviews and corporate talks, and with anyone who will listen – it’s really all of your material that I’ve learned from you."
When sports fans think of Olympic athletes preparing for competition, they often envision years of physical training: strength and skills drills; early mornings and late nights in the gym or out on the field or the ice or the water; the hard falls and injuries accumulated along the way. But there’s another vital element to success that doesn’t tend to make it into the stirring montages and athlete profiles that pepper Olympic broadcasts, partly because it would look so boring on camera: years of talk and study and work on mental toughness.
But now, with less than 100 days until the Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to open after a year of extreme uncertainty – and with even non-athletes feeling as though they could use some help with mental resilience – sports psychology may be ready for its close-up.
More...from the Globe and Mail.
4. World's First Glucose Sport Biosensor for Athletes:
Abbott's Libre Sense - based on FreeStyle Libre - is designed for use in athletes without diabetes.
Abbott is taking its world-leading continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology to the next level - athletes without diabetes.
Called Libre Sense Glucose Sport Biosensor, the tech is CE marked and is the world’s first glucose sport biosensor designed for athletes.1
Here's how it works: Libre Sense continuously measures glucose levels of athletes, ages 16 and up, with a small round biosensor worn on the back of the upper arm for up to 14 days. The user will automatically receive streaming glucose data, via Bluetooth® wireless technology, every minute and these data are designed to work with compatible mobile apps,* thanks to Abbott’s non-exclusive collaboration with sports tech company Supersapiens.
This over-the-counter product is based on Abbott's world-leading2 CGM technology FreeStyle Libre, which was originally developed for people living with diabetes.
But Libre Sense goes a step further, showing the potential breadth of sensor-based technology beyond diabetes management.
While the market for high-tech diabetes devices, including CGMs and insulin pumps, is approximately $7 billion - the fastest growing medtech market over $1 billion3 - expanding the population that can benefit from CGMs beyond those with diabetes stands to substantially broaden the market for this technology.
5. ‘Good’ vs ‘bad’ pain: How to tell when your body is saying 'no' while exercising:
From running to yoga, spin classes or swimming, you need to know the warning signs – and when to tell your trainer or even yourself it’s time to stop.
ankle or other injuries may make you less willing to go all out when exercising.
You instinctively hold back or avoid loading on the affected body part because, well, it will otherwise be sore or even painful.
But what if your overzealous buddy is screaming motivation at you to crank out more repetitions? Or the trainer – who believes in the "no pain, no gain" adage a little too much – wants you to push beyond your pain?
Perhaps your hamstring may already feel like tearing but your yoga instructor adjusts your pose into an even deeper stretch. You might also be carried away by the pumping, high-octane music blasting from the speakers to pedal faster and harder in spin class.
More...from (CNA Lifestyle.
6. Fitness: Missing the motivation of group exercise? You're not alone :
Depending on where you live in Canada, it may be the better part of half a year since your exercise crew got together at the gym for a workout.
Depending on where you live in Canada, it may be the better part of half a year since your exercise crew got together at the gym for a workout. And while some people have adapted to exercising solo, others have had a harder time finding their groove without their regular squad of gym rats working out alongside them.
"I can’t work out to a video - it’s too depressing," said Michael Samman, a Montreal-area emergency room doctor who was a regular at his local CrossFit gym until it closed during the first, second and third waves of the pandemic.
It’s not like Samman didn’t try to do workouts at home. Like so many other Canadians, he bought fitness equipment and over the summer months managed to stay on track - more or less - with his routine. But when the cold weather hit and he was forced to move all his gear into the garage, his motivation plummeted. His three-times-a-week fitness habit turned into once a week if he was lucky - a routine that was anything but consistent.
More...from the Montreal Gazette.
7. What Is the Minimum Amount of Exercise Necessary to Maintain Your Fitness?
Dropping your volume by a third or more won’t deplete your hard earned gains, new research shows.
According to new research, you can reduce your training volume by a third and still maintain your endurance fitness for up to 15 weeks.
You can maintain your VO2 max with just two sessions a week, so long as your overall volume and intensity remains the same.
Additionally, you can keep your muscles strong with just one session of strength training per week and one set per exercise, as long as you’re lifting at least as much weight as you typically do.
We’ve all been there, maybe more than we like lately: feeling under the weather, out of routine, maybe just out of sorts, and wondering what’s the least we can do to maintain our hard-earned endurance and strength gains.
Well, good news. Research shows the amount is far less than you probably think.
In a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers reviewed existing data examining the minimum exercise prescription (frequency, volume, and intensity) to maintain performance.
More...from Runner's World.
8. Springtime Heat Challenges: Strategies for Exercising on Isolated Hot Days:
It feels a little strange to write about how to handle the heat when it’s still April. But, as I scrolled through my athletes’ comments on TrainingPeaks over the weekend, it’s obvious that athletes are contending with short term bouts of warmer conditions. This initial challenge, when actual temperatures are not that intimidating (say, 75° F), but represent a big temperature shift (like +10° to +20°) catches athletes off guard every season. Athletes head out the door with too little fluid and hammer up the same climbs at the same intensity. Somewhere in the middle of the run the heat catches up with them, they overheat and run out of fluids, setting off a cascade of heat related performance implications.
Because hot weather days at this time of year appear and disappear so quickly, it leaves little time for athletes to physiologically adjust to the heat. When we use heat stress interventions like a sauna or hot water bath to prepare athletes for races in hot weather environments, those protocols last for ~5-10 days, which is a relatively short timeframe for anything related to endurance sport adaptations. That timeframe is important, as it represents just enough time for the body to improve and not so much that it causes undue stress. However, even though those heat stress adaptations kick in quickly, they still take days, not hours in order to make a meaningful impact.
9. You’re Fooling Yourself, Which Is Great for Your Endurance:
Alex Hutchinson, a.k.a. @sweatscience, is basically the taller Canadian version of me: we’re close in age, and he was also a national level middle-distance runner who transitioned from science into writing. Except, unlike me, he actually finished his Ph.D. program (in physics), and made his national team.
Far from making him my annoying professional doppelgänger, it has made him one of my favorite writers. His bestselling book, Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, is, quite frankly, a book I wanted to write. I’m glad Alex did, though, because I can’t imagine anyone having done it better.
The paperback is just out, with a new afterword, so I invited Alex to chat about human limits and the mind-body connection.
DE: How did you decide to take on this topic?
AH: The initial spark was some research by a South African scientist named Tim Noakes, who proposed that we have a "central governor" in our brains that slams on the brakes before we reach our true physical limits. As a long-time runner, I was fascinated by the idea that it’s my brain, rather than my lungs or my legs, that holds me back. And as a journalist, of course, I’m a sucker for "Everyone always assumed X, but it’s actually Y" stories.
More...from David Epstein.
10. When It Comes to Coaching, Shalane Flanagan Says "I Had Imposter Syndrome":
In a wide-ranging conversation, Shelia Burrell, Shalane Flanagan, Lauren Fleshman, and other pro coaches talked to Women's Running Coaching Collective about their experiences, plus the state of their profession and our sport.
Few pro running squads and track and field athletes are coached by women. That’s despite strong performances, a surge in women’s running in recent years, and-frankly-this being 2021. What gives?
Women’s Running Coaches Collective, an organization that aims to support, inform, and inspire women coaches at all levels, brought a handful of these elite women coaches together (virtually) to discuss this issue.
The panel featured five top coaches from across the sport of professional running and track and field, each with valuable insights for any fan of our sport. Each shared her own unique path to becoming a coach of world-class athletes, which illuminates the obstacles to (and benefits of) coaching.
More...from Women's Running.
11. The Talk Test and the Lactate Threshold:
Let's start with the simple things first, lactic acid build up and the lactate threshold are not the same thing. The real term for what is euphemistically called lactic acid build up, what's supposed to make it hard to push through an intense workout becuase of "the burn," is lactic acidosis.
Lactic acid is always produced in some quantity, along with another intermediate by-product called pyruvate, in the long sequence of reactions that take place in the breakdown of glucose during exercise.
If you are not working out too intensely the lactic acid will break down and get released as energy in the presence of oxygen. If you work out really intensely, you body looks to use more glycogen for fuel because it can get a hold of it quickly but you then get a build of lactic acid, you breathe heavier to get more air to oxidize the pyruvate.
At some point, you can't get enough oxygen in to meet the demand and lactic acid builds up, which is when you can get the proverbial burn as the concentration of acid ions goes up.
The rise in intensity of activity correlates to a rise in blood lactate levels and the lactate threshold is the point at which you move from the efficient oxygen in, burning fuel, aerobic capacity for work to the gulping for air, change in energy creation, air be damned just keep me going anaerobic capacity part of your workout.
More...from Breaking Muscle.
12. Meet Virtual Reality, Your New Physical Therapist:
While use of the gaming technology for improving physical ailments is still in the early stages, it shows promise - and it’s fun.
our years ago, Michael Heinrich was riding his motorcycle on the University of Michigan campus when a rotted tree fell on him and snapped his neck, causing him to permanently lose use of the lower half of his body. He spent weeks in intensive care and then went to inpatient rehabilitation for more than two months,
About halfway through his rehab stint, his occupational therapist asked whether he was interested in trying virtual reality for his therapy. Mr. Heinrich, now 26 - who is returning for his master’s at the university - was game.
"What I really enjoyed was being an eagle trying to go through rings," he said, describing a virtual reality experience. "From an emotional standpoint, coming off an injury where I lost the majority of the use of my body, V.R. pushed the boundaries of what I thought was possible."
More...from the New York Times.
13. The importance of genes in athletics:
We examine the age-old question surrounding nature v nurture and discover some intriguing findings.
When it comes to sporting excellence, how much of a factor is what you are born with as opposed to what happens afterwards? In touching on this old question, a recently published study might appear, at first glance, to weight nurture well above nature.
The research looked at the genes of five elite track and field athletes and 503 members of the public. More than 100 specific genes known to have a link to speed, power and endurance were honed in on, with the study concluding that you could not identify the elite athletes from genes alone.
Some of the details were even more intriguing. When it came to genes linked to speed and power, 14% of the randomly chosen control group from the general population scored better than any of the sprinter-type athletes.
More...from Athletics Weekly.
14. Ice for Sore Muscles? Think Again:
Icing muscles after strenuous exercise is not just ineffective, it could be counterproductive, a new study in mice suggests
After a particularly vigorous workout or sports injury, many of us rely on ice packs to reduce soreness and swelling in our twanging muscles. But a cautionary new animal study finds that icing alters the molecular environment inside injured muscles in detrimental ways, slowing healing. The study involved mice, not people, but adds to mounting evidence that icing muscles after strenuous exercise is not just ineffective; it could be counterproductive.
Check inside the freezers or coolers at most gyms, locker rooms or athletes’ kitchens and you will find ice packs. Nearly as common as water bottles, they are routinely strapped onto aching limbs after grueling exercise or possible injuries. The rationale for the chilling is obvious. Ice numbs the affected area, dulling pain, and keeps swelling and inflammation at bay, which many athletes believe helps their aching muscles heal more rapidly.
More...from the New York Times.
15. What is plantar fasciitis?
This is an excerpt from Running Anatomy 2nd Edition by Joseph Puleo & Patrick Milroy.
Plantar fasciitis can be such a painful condition that it often prevents any running at all. This sheet of fibrous tissue runs between the metatarsal heads and its insertion in the calcaneus (next to the Achilles tendon; figure 9.4). Its weakest part is found at the heel, where it becomes injured. The typical sufferer winces when the underside of the heel is even lightly touched. If the exercises presented in this chapter are ineffective, then a physician's steroid injection can produce a cure. A better long-term solution, however, is to seek knowledge of why the injury occurred and address that cause.
Why does plantar fasciitis occur? Like many running injuries, it happens due to some very specific reasons and some very general ones. Not every runner suffers plantar fasciitis for the same reason, but they all suffer. For instance, some runners wear stability shoes with a low arch when they have a high-arched foot. The discrepancy between arch height and arch support allows the plantar fascia to collapse or stretch into the empty space, which can result in micro tears in the fascia or pull the fascia away from its insertion into the bottom of the calcaneus. In another example, runners with chronically tight calf muscles may develop plantar fasciitis because the tight calf muscles tighten the Achilles tendon to which they are attached, which in turn causes the ankle to lose its ability to dorsiflex. This lack of dorsiflexion can cause the plantar fascia to tighten and become inflamed.
More...from Human Kinetics.