1. It is time to choose: How a new transgender guidance policy shifts the conversation and demands difficult decisions:
The UK Sports Councils have released guidelines on transgender participation in sport, following an exhaustive and comprehensive review process. The two key points made are: 1) to confirm that the current policy that suppresses testosterone for twelve months is not fit for purpose, because advantages are retained even after testosterone is reduced, and 2) that "categorization by sex is lawful" (it also states that this categorization remains the most useful and functional division relative to sporting performance.
The implications of those two statements alone are profound, and they effectively mandate the sports to make a choice between three options, also offered in the guidelines. In this bonus episode, Ross explains what they are, what this all means, and perhaps most importantly, discusses revelations from the report about fear and anxiety from those who don't believe in inclusion and fairness, and how they've been threatened into silence or compliance on this issue. That should be alarming, but the presence of this report should be encouraging. What happens next? Nobody knows, but this podcast has you covered for where we are now.
Listen to the podcast on The Real Science of Sport Podcast
2. Sleek Speed: Saucony Endorphin Pro+ Review:
What You Need To Know
Weighs 6.9 oz. (195 g) for a US M9 / 5.9 oz. (168 g) for a US W8
Ultralight, minimalist track spike-like upper shaves .6 ounces over the Endorphin Pro 2
Same midsole and outsole as the EP2
Ideal for those who like a firm and snappy feel but still want great bounce and energy return
Available in limited quantities for $250
ROBBE: Sure, it’s late 2021 and we’re still in a weird limbo space for racing, but that doesn’t mean the super shoe arms race has cooled off by any means. We haven’t seen any brand-new models drop recently, but that doesn’t mean innovation isn’t still happening. Case in point: the Saucony Endorphin Pro+, the limited-edition upgrade to Saucony’s race day princess.
Short history – the original Saucony Endorphin Pro was a shoe that I straight up loved, especially for shorter distances. It was a polarizing shoe, for sure. A lot of people found the carbon plate to be too firm, the toe-off too snappy. But those who loved it really loved it. I found it felt like a rocket and loved running in the shoe, especially the sensation I got from the PWRRUN PB super foam midsole – bouncy and ultra-responsive with plenty of ground feel. Combined with the Saucony Speedroll geometry, the shoe rolls once you get moving.
And at $200, it was a pretty great alternative to the Vaporfly for anything half marathon and under. The only issue was the weight (and the fit of the upper to some degree). At 7.5 oz (213 g for a US M9.0) it wasn’t quite at that level of some of the other super shoes, most notably the Vaporfly and ASICS Metaspeed Sky.
More...from Belive in the Run.
3. Don’t save too much for the final marathon miles, says study:
Sprinting down The Mall on Sunday might look impressive, but the stats tell a different story.
The received wisdom when it comes to the marathon is to start gently and save a little for the final miles. While this is undoubtedly true, it’s equally possible to keep too much in the tank – resulting in a glorious sprint finish but not, it would seem, a faster finishing time.
Quite the opposite, in fact, according to a study by University College Dublin of more than 200,000 London Marathon runners. Runners who finished significantly faster than their average pace tended to have slower overall marathon times compared with those whose finishing pace was close to their average pace.
More...from Runner's World UK.
4. Do you sweat more as you get fitter?
Ever wondered why the guy next to you in your spin class barely has a bead of sweat on his forehead but you, your clothes and the area around your bike are saturated?
Well, when all other factors are equal (i.e. environmental conditions, relative exercise intensity, clothing, mode of exercise etc) then a person will sweat more when they’re fit than when they’re out of shape.
This might seem counter-intuitive at first, but there’s a good reason for it and it’s to do with keeping core body temperature under control when we’re exercising.
Why do we sweat?
Exercise is not particularly efficient as a large proportion of the energy burned during the process goes into producing heat and not into motion. So, even on a cold day, when you need a thick coat to stay warm during periods of inactivity, you can get seriously hot when running or cycling in just light clothing.
More...from Precision Hydration.
5. The Not-So-Terrifying Death Stats for 5K Races:
Yes, people sometimes die while running. No, that doesn’t mean running is “dangerous.”
I’m not a huge fan of studies about runners dropping dead—not because the topic is scary or uninteresting to me, but because it’s so hard to calibrate the message properly. When you write a man-bites-dog article, it doesn’t matter how many nuances and caveats you pack in there: some people are inevitably going to walk away with the impression that it’s just a matter of time before some crazy human bites their beagle.
So let me clarify, right off the top, that what follows is mostly a good-news story. In the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a big team of researchers in Britain led by Charles Pedlar of St. Mary’s University published an analysis of every medical encounter at Parkrun events in the United Kingdom between 2014 and 2019. More than two million people participated, racking up 29 million finishes, and 18 of them died. Each of those deaths is extremely sad, but the overall picture is nonetheless encouraging.
More...from Sweat Scinec @ Outside Online.
6. Is it OK to Miss a Workout? When to Skip and When to Push Through:
Tuning into your body’s fatigue signs will help you determine whether or not you should skip your next workout. Here’s what to look for.
We’ve all asked the question. During those bigger training weeks, when the body starts to feel it, we often wonder, “Should I skip this workout, or do I need to push through?” Making the wrong decision could cause you to spiral into getting sick, fatigued, and run down, leading to several lost weeks of training. On the other hand, skipping valuable sessions when unnecessary can hinder important training gains.
So how can you make an educated decision about when to push through and when to call it a day? The answer lies in tuning into your body — and you can use some powerful, yet simple metrics to do so.
Metrics to Look Out For
Metrics are your allies when assessing signs of fatigue, which you can easily access in your TrainingPeaks app. These data points can give you valuable clues to determine where your body is at on any given day.
There are a few specific metrics an athlete can look at to determine whether the next session may push them over the edge.
More...from TRaining peaks.
7. Potential Long-Term Health Problems Associated with Ultra-Endurance Running: A Narrative Review:
It is well established that physical activity reduces all-cause mortality and can prolong life. Ultra-endurance running (UER) is an extreme sport that is becoming increasingly popular, and comprises running races above marathon distance, exceeding 6 h, and/or running fixed distances on multiple days. Serious acute adverse events are rare, but there is mounting evidence that UER may lead to long-term health problems. The purpose of this review is to present the current state of knowledge regarding the potential long-term health problems derived from UER, specifically potential maladaptation in key organ systems, including cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, renal, immunological, gastrointestinal, neurological, and integumentary systems. Special consideration is given to youth, masters, and female athletes, all of whom may be more susceptible to certain long-term health issues. We present directions for future research into the pathophysiological mechanisms that underpin athlete susceptibility to long-term issues. Although all body systems can be affected by UER, one of the clearest effects of endurance exercise is on the cardiovascular system, including right ventricular dysfunction and potential increased risk of arrhythmias and hypertension. There is also evidence that rare cases of acute renal injury in UER could lead to progressive renal scarring and chronic kidney disease. There are limited data specific to female athletes, who may be at greater risk of certain UER-related health issues due to interactions between energy availability and sex-hormone concentrations. Indeed, failure to consider sex differences in the design of female-specific UER training programs may have a negative impact on athlete longevity. It is hoped that this review will inform risk stratification and stimulate further research about UER and the implications for long-term health.
8. Good health isn’t just about burning calories to hit weight goals:
When it comes to calories, sometimes the numbers simply don’t add up. Check the tally on your smartwatch or Peloton, keep track for a few months, and then check the bathroom scale. No matter how many calories you’ve torched, the resulting weight loss will be less than you hoped.
That’s the riddle at the heart of a recent review published by Lewis Halsey, who heads the University of Roehampton’s Behaviour and Energetics Lab, in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. It’s clear from the review’s title, The Mystery of Energy Compensation, that final answers aren’t yet forthcoming – but as Halsey explains, a flurry of studies using new techniques to measure calorie burn are overturning some long-cherished tenets of conventional wisdom about the effects of exercise.
More...from the Globe and Mail.
9. Study: women’s hearts respond differently to marathon training than men’s:
New research shows there are differences in the way male and female runners adapt to marathon training
Over the last several decades, female athletes have often been left out of sports science research, and the majority of studies have focused primarily on young, healthy males as subjects. It has only been in recent years that researchers have begun to include women in their studies, and, perhaps not surprisingly, some differences are beginning to emerge. A recent study looking at the differences between male and female marathoners found that women’s hearts actually respond differently than men’s after training for a marathon.
The paper, entitled “Sex differences in cardiovascular adaptations in recreational marathon runners,” aimed to examine various changes in heart function in male and female marathoners and recreational athletes. The researchers included 52 marathoners (28 females and 24 males) who had completed five to seven marathons over three years and 49 recreationally active adults (25 females and 24 males) as controls.
More...from Canadian Running Magazine.
10. Fitness: Do you need to count on 10,000 steps a day to improve health?
In the last few years, daily goals as high as 15,000 and as low as 7,000 have been proposed by experts.
Setting a daily step goal is one of the easiest ways to ensure you’re active enough to benefit your health. All you need is a step counter, such as an app on your smartphone or smartwatch, a pair of comfortable shoes and a commitment to put one foot in front of the other. But just how many steps does it take to improve health and fitness?
Ten thousand is often the first number that comes to mind when setting a daily target for steps. This easy-to-remember metric has been touted as the ultimate goal for anyone taking steps toward improving their health. But in the last few years, daily goals as high as 15,000 and as low as 7,000 have been proposed by experts.
More...from the Montreal Gazette.
11. How My Desire to Run Again Pushed Me to Walk:
After recovering from a traumatic brain injury, a writer seeks to reclaim the mental transcendence that comes from running.
I only began to understand why I was so stubbornly devoted to running when I couldn’t do it anymore. That’s where I was when I woke up in an emergency room on the morning of April 6, 2020, with a traumatic brain injury sustained during a dumb middle-of-the-night fall.
The last thing I remember I’d gone downstairs to the kitchen at 4 a.m. to get a snack. My husband heard a crash and found me unconscious, blood pooling from a large gash at the back of my head. When I woke up six hours later in an E.R., my left side was a bit weak, but more important, my muscles on that side couldn’t properly coordinate basic movements.
More...from the New York Times.
12. Return-to-running following childbirth: When the principles of Sports Medicine and Pelvic Health collide:
Return-to-running following childbirth: When the principles of Sports Medicine and Pelvic Health collide
In 2019 a BJSM blog highlighted the pelvic health considerations for return-to-running following childbirth and called for postpartum rehabilitation to align with return-to-sport injury models (Donnelly et al., 2019). We decided to answer its call for female-specific research and we wanted to provide new insights into how to evaluate and support perinatal women in order to facilitate their engagement in postpartum exercise, such as running.
What did we do and find?
We designed an online survey exploring factors that may impact return-to-running postpartum (Moore et al., 2021). A large number of women (n=881) completed the survey and their average time to return-to-running postpartum was 12 weeks, which aligns with current clinical guidelines (Donnelly et al., 2020). The majority of women had returned to running (74%), however a high proportion (84%) suffered musculoskeletal pain whilst running. Pain in the lower limb was the most common complaint and likely related to this cohort being runners. Typically, lower back and pelvic pain are common issues postpartum, but these were less frequently reported than the lower limb in our study. We also identified modifiable and unmodifiable factors that contributed to postpartum return-to-running and running-related stress urinary incontinence
More...from the Journal of Sports Medecine.
13. Study pinpoints the best time to exercise if you want better sleep:
Like Simon Cowell dressing down an off-pitch reality show contestant, scientists sometimes know how to kick you where it hurts.
“Despite the overwhelming consensus that both sufficient sleep and adequate exercise are pivotal in maintaining health, these behaviors are often deprioritized within the typical American lifestyle,” reads a scathing 2017 paper. “It should be of little surprise then that Americans who both lack proper sleep and fail to engage in regular exercise vastly increase their risk for chronic illness.”
Okay, so we know that we should be sleeping and exercising more. Americans also love a good deal: Is there a two-for-one situation at play here?
The answer is complicated, but essentially, yes. While it’s understood on an intuitive level that tuckering yourself can benefit sleep, there’s debate over to what extent it helps. Some studies have found moderate exercise ahead of bed is advantageous, and vigorous, high-intensity exercise (HIE) is not.
14. “Invisible Sportswomen”: The Sex Data Gap in Sport and Exercise Science Research:
Over the last seven decades, there has been a steep rise in the number of women participating in sport and exercise. For example, at the elite level, the number of women participating in the Olympic Games increased from 10.5% of competitors in Helsinki in 1952 to a predicted high of 48.8% of competitors in Tokyo in 2021 (Elliott-Sale et al., 2021). This rise in female participants can be largely attributed to changing societal and cultural views and the increasing development of, and investment in, women’s sport (Forsyth & Roberts, 2018). Indeed, acts such as Title IX have had a significant effect on high school girls’ participation in sport, with an increase of over 900% since the act was first passed in 1972 (Vadhera, 2018). Likewise, the “This Girl Can” campaign run by Sport England has encouraged 3.5 million more women to be active by challenging preconceptions about exercise that had become barriers to them choosing to participate (Sport England, 2015).
Similarly, global campaigns, such as Nike’s “Dream Crazier” and Adidas’ “She Breaks Barriers” promote the visibility of women in sport and serve to inspire future generations of female athletes. These organizations, charters, and laws have pushed for the advancement of gender equality in sport and exercise. Today, with more women participating in sport and exercise, there is an increased requirement for researchers to contribute to the advancement of understanding women’s physiology and performance and the development and dissemination of effective strategies that optimize the health and performance of sportswomen.
More... fromHuman Kinetics.
15. 10 female athlete considerations for performance & training:
*spoiler - these considerations might not always be the same things as men*.
Recently there has been an increase in the number of women and girls participating in sport and exercise - both at a recreational and an elite level (see previous blog post).
Like their male counterparts, female athletes want to become faster, stronger, achieve PBs, and break world records. This means that there is a requirement for researchers, practitioners, coaches, and athletes themselves to better understand the female athlete, and how female athlete performance and health considerations might impact upon performance and training in sport and exercise.
Despite this growth in women's participation, the science and research related to sportswomen is still lacking. This means that most performance and training guides etc. are based upon the research on men. However, there are many physiological and psychological differences between the sexes, and indeed between women themsleves, which could mean that taking this approach might not always be the optimal route for female athletes.
More...from the Peiod of the Period.