1. The Story of the Cyclist with the Highest-Ever VO2 Max:
A newly published scientific case report documents the rise (and fall) of cycling phenom Oskar Svendsen
On August 27, 2012, an 18-year-old Norwegian cyclist named Oskar Svendsen visited a lab in Lillehammer for physiological testing. The tests, which included lactate threshold, efficiency, and VO2 max measurements, had become a standard part of his routine since switching his focus from alpine skiing to cycling three years earlier. But something was different this time. After the testing was finished, the scientists disassembled the metabolic testing equipment, and the next day they shipped it back to the manufacturer to check its calibration: Svendsen’s VO2 max reading had eclipsed the highest value ever recorded.
VO2 max is a measure of how quickly your lungs, heart, and muscles can process oxygen, and it’s synonymous with aerobic fitness. When we talk about extreme feats of endurance, like world records or two-hour marathons, we’re implicitly wondering (in part, at least) about the outer limits of VO2 max. New physiological “records” are a big deal. Though Svendsen was an unknown at the time, rumors of his test traveled quickly—especially since, just two weeks later, he seemingly lived up to his physiological potential by winning the individual time trial at the junior world championships.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
2. The Anatomy of a Perfect Marathon Taper:
5 facts about reducing training load and maintaining fitness as your marathon approaches. Plus, a proven 4-week marathon taper plan.
Fall marathons are looming, and tens of thousands of runners are finally preparing to toe the line to see just what they can do after all these months of waiting. A big piece of success lies in the final stages of preparation where you execute the marathon taper, a stage of training when you back off and try to walk the tightrope between going into the race well-rested, but not so rested that you go stale.
Going stale occasionally happens, but most runners err in the opposite direction by not trusting the marathon taper process, trying to do too much when they should be resting. It’s a mistake that can make the difference between a PR and a disappointment.
Luckily, there are a few basic principles you can remember when the fears we all face about being lazy or missing training tempt you to do too much.
More...from Podium Runner
3. The Seductive Appeal of Adidas’s “Illegal” Running Shoe :
The Prime X is banned for professional athletes, but that might be its main selling point.
Two years after hosting Eliud Kipchoge’s successful bid to run 26.2 miles in under two hours, the Austrian capital of Vienna once again made global running headlines. This time, the news was less auspicious. The winner of last weekend’s Vienna City Marathon, a 24-year-old Ethiopian named Derara Hurisa, had been retroactively disqualified for wearing shoes that violated a World Athletics rule limiting sole thickness to 40 millimeters for road race events. According to a press release from the race organizers, Hurisa competed in the Adizero Prime X model from Adidas, which boasts a stack height of 50 millimeters. In the era of headline-driven online media, the fact that a marathoner could be DQed for wearing shoes that were one centimeter above the allowable limit was irresistible. The story was picked up by mainstream outlets around the world, from the Taipei Times to Fox News. In Die Presse, Austria’s paper of record, there was talk of “Schuh-Gate.”
Schuh Gate may have garnered the Vienna City Marathon an impressive amount of media coverage for an event that doesn’t typically feature distance running royalty, but it’s safe to assume that this is the kind of publicity the race could have done without. Vienna is a World Athletics “Label Road Race,” which means that, in addition to a world class elite field, it’s supposed to adhere to rigorous organizational standards. Having to disqualify the winner of your men’s race on what seems like an easily detectable technicality is not a good look.
More...from (Outside Online.
4. ‘I have a goal with pain’: Kipchoge reveals secret to superhuman feats:
It seems a reasonable fact to check with Eliud Kipchoge.
Particularly given the weight of contrary evidence the greatest marathoner of all time has provided. Like the fact Kipchoge has only been beaten twice in his marathon career, and last month cruised to his second Olympic gold by 80 seconds in sweltering Sapporo.
Or the fact Kipchoge holds the recognised world record for the marathon and, almost two years ago in a special time trial, also became the first man to run under two hours for the fabled 42.195 kilometres. Which, when you break it down, requires you to run every 400 metres - all 105 of them - in 68 seconds or fewer.
But what makes this fact reasonable to check with the Kenyan is that during all of it - every step of every mile - Kipchoge has never looked tired. Not once.
More...from the Sydney Morning Herald.
5. On Cloudboom Echo Review: Diamond Fists or Paper Hands?
What You Need To Know
Weighs 7.8 oz. (224 g) for a US M9 / 6.7 oz. (190 g) for a US W8
Beautifully designed racing shoe from the Swiss upstart
Features carbon-infused Speedboard with dual layers of Cloudtec and Helion superfoam
It is not a cushioned marathon shoe, but a fast, firm, and snappy short-distance racer
Available now for $270
BRANDON: If you’re not familiar with BITR’s past relationship with On, here goes: On sends shoe. Build quality is outstanding. Shoe is beautiful. But – shoe is insanely firm. Like, ‘wooden board’ firm, (despite the word Cloud in the name). Our feet hurt. We trash the shoe. Rinse. Repeat.
I’m relatively new to the team, but I’m here to restore balance to the force. I like firm shoes. A lot. It’s actually been somewhat of a struggle for me, as today’s super shoes are getting more and more cushioned. From the ASICS Metaspeed Sky to the Nike Alphafly NEXT% to the New Balance RC Elite, you’re getting stacks on stacks of bouncy foam, designed to save your legs for the marathon distance.
And then there’s the On Cloudboom Echo, a super shoe that is literally nothing like any of the aforementioned shoes. Sure, the Cloudboom Echo might be labeled as On’s long distance to marathon super shoe (and the evolution of last year’s On Cloudboom), but don’t be fooled, this is more of a firm and snappy racing flat than a well-cushioned marathon day shoe. It’s also $270. So that’s a thing we can talk about.
More...from Belive in the Run.
6. How should athletes use caffeine during training and racing?
Caffeine is a go-to supplement for athletes across many sporting disciplines, thanks to its proven and legal performance-enhancing effects (the World Anti-Doping Agency approved its use in sport in 2004).
It especially lends itself to enhancing endurance performance but are athletes using it effectively? And if you aren’t using caffeine already, should you be?
What are the benefits and drawbacks of athletes using caffeine?
For many people, a caffeinated drink is the only way to get the day started on the right footing. For example, PH founder Andy Blow once walked through a coffee shop's drive-thru and convinced the poor barista to serve him a double shot Americano as it was the only place open at 4:30am that day!
Knowing Andy’s penchant for an early morning run, he was no doubt looking for a quick boost before heading out to get some pre-work miles in.
More...from Precision Hydration.
7. Here’s Why Nordic Skiers Are So Fit:
Nordic skiers are some of the fittest athletes in the world. Improve your endurance by implementing their top training secrets.
Nordic skiers are made in the summer. It’s cliché, but true,” says Kate Barton Johnson, Head Coach of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team’s Development squad. Because skiing is such a seasonal sport, skiers do a lot of training that is not on snow, which means they are often looking for adaptations that can come from other disciplines. This multi-sport mindset creates athletes that are well-rounded, strong, and resilient. Here are three lessons from elite Nordic skiers that all endurance athletes can benefit from.
Nordic Skiers Practice Cross-Training — A Lot
Living in the continental U.S. means professional skiers have limited time on snow. “Some athletes travel to get on snow in late summer, but most won’t touch it again until we head overseas in November. Roller skiing is basically as close to a skiing equivalent as we get,” says Johnson.
More...from Training peaks..
8. Stretching and Muscle Fascia:
What is muscle fascia and how does it affect your flexibility and the way you move?
When trying to improve flexibility and range of motion, the muscles and their fascia should be the major focus of your flexibility training. While bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and skin do contribute to overall flexibility, we have limited control over these and can do damage to them if trying to stretch them directly.
What is Muscle Fascia?
Fascia is a fibrous connective tissue that is present throughout the entire body, not just the muscles. There are three main types of fascia:
1. Superficial Fascia, which is mostly associated with the skin;
2. Deep Fascia, which is mostly associated with the muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels; and
3. Visceral (or Subserous) Fascia, which is mostly associated with the internal organs.
More...from the Stertching Handbook.
9. New Research Highlights the Importance of Hydration for Your Heart:
Keeping up on your fluid intake may help prevent heart failure, so drink up!
Keeping up on your fluid intake may help prevent heart failure, according to research presented at the recent European Society of Cardiology meeting.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to hydration is to aim for about 60 to 80 ounces of water daily.
Keeping up on your fluid intake is an important part of race performance and training recovery, but here’s one more reason to keep emptying that water bottle: It’s good for your heart.
Maintaining good hydration over time may slow down age-related changes within the heart that lead to heart failure, according to research presented at the recent European Society of Cardiology meeting.
More...from Runner's World.
10. Why Sprinters Peak in the Evening and Marathoners Don’t :
A new study investigates how different types of physical performance are affected by the time of day
ost track and field world records are set in the evening; most road running world records are set in the morning. This is not a deep physiological riddle—it’s just a reflection of when big track meets and road races are held. For mass-participation endurance events, in particular, early start times are largely dictated by the need to close streets and the desire to avoid hot weather, not by when the human body is primed for maximal performance.
Still, even when the usual logistical constraints were tossed out for Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-two-hour marathon attempts, they still opted for early morning starts. Was that a mistake, or at least a missed opportunity? The answer, according to a new review in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise by researchers at Harvard Medical School and the University of Basel, isn’t as clear as you’d think.
More...from Sweat Science @ Outside Online.
11. The New Science on How We Burn Calories:
How could that change our understanding about, for starters, chronic disease, aging and obesity?
It’s simple, we are often told: All you have to do to maintain a healthy weight is ensure that the number of calories you ingest stays the same as the number of calories you expend. If you take in more calories, or energy, than you use, you gain weight; if the output is greater than the input, you lose it. But while we’re often conscious of burning calories when we’re working out, 55 to 70 percent of what we eat and drink actually goes toward fueling all the invisible chemical reactions that take place in our body to keep us alive. “We think about metabolism as just being about exercise, but it’s so much more than that,” says Herman Pontzer, an associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University. “It’s literally the running total of how busy your cells are throughout the day.” Figuring out your total energy expenditure tells you how many calories you need to stay alive. But it also tells you “how the body is functioning,” Pontzer says. “There is no more direct measure of that than energy expenditure.”
More...from the New York Times.
12. New Research Suggests Lowering Protein Requirements for Masters Athletes:
For what seems like an eternity now, we’ve been warned about the potential for age to detrimentally affect muscle mass retention. Recommendations aimed at older athletes have become so ubiquitous you could go across any of the major endurance media outlets, from Runner’s World to Ultrarunning Magazine and find the basic same set of recommendations for Masters athletes to prevent age-related muscle loss:
Do weight bearing activities (primarily aimed at cyclists and swimmers)
Eat more protein
They’re not wrong, but a recent review paper written by Daniel Moore in the publication ‘Sports Medicine’ has applied greater scientific scrutiny to that last recommendation. The results might surprise you and could definitely pour some cold chocolate milk on the idea that athletes over 60 (sometimes referred to as Grand Masters) need more protein than younger athletes.
More...from Train Right.
13. Your Workout Burns Fewer Calories Than You Think:
Our bodies compensate for at least a quarter of the calories we expend during exercise, undermining our best efforts to lose weight by working out.
For every 100 calories we might expect to burn as a result of working out, most of us will actually net fewer than 72 calories burned, according to an eye-opening new study of how physical activity affects our metabolisms.
The study finds that our bodies tend to automatically compensate for at least a quarter of the calories we expend during exercise, undermining our best efforts to drop pounds by working out. The results also show that carrying extra pounds unfortunately compounds calorie compensation, making weight loss through exercise even more elusive for those who are already overweight.
But the study suggests, too, that calorie compensation varies from person to person, and that learning how your metabolism responds to workouts may be key to optimizing exercise for weight control.
More...from the (New York Times.
14. What Factors Put Runners at Risk for Exertional Heat Stroke During a Marathon?
Exertional heat stroke (EHS) can develop in participants at running events. A runner with EHS overheats beyond their capacity to cool and can suffer organ damage, and even death. Understanding the factors that may lead to EHS can help race organizers and medical teams plan care. In this study, investigators examined all EHS cases at the Boston Marathon from 2015 to 2019 and found that younger runners and faster runners had higher incidences of EHS. Though all cases occurred during races held in warm and humid conditions, a greater increase in heat stress from start to peak during a race worsened EHS risk. Runners with EHS were only a small percentage of all runners presenting for medical care, and many were discharged directly from the race medical facilities without needing further care. None of the runners died, though their treatment was both labor- and time-intensive. Putting measures in place to predict and reduce EHS risk should be encouraged.
15. Are Naps Good for You? They May Not Make Up for Sleep Deprivation:
If you’re trying to catch up on sleep, it’s better to change your evening habits instead, research shows.
Regular naps don’t allow you to catch up on as much sleep as you may think, according to new research in the journal Sleep.
Focus on your nighttime habits and improving sleep quality rather than relying on naps to make up for lost ZZZs.
However, a nap once or twice a week can be refreshing, and it’s best to choose a late morning or early afternoon time to prevent disruption to your evening sleep schedule.
When you’re exhausted after a long run, a quick nap of 30 minutes to an hour might seem like the perfect reset. However, a new study in the journal Sleep suggests regular snoozing during the day may not allow you to catch up on sleep as much as you think.
More...from Runner's World.