1. Hydration is Power. Harness Yours:
Women heat up sooner, sweat less, and have hormonal fluctuations that impact how we keep our cool when we crank up our efforts.
I have been studying hydration my entire adult life (the basis of my PhD was sex differences in hydration in the heat!), both as an athlete myself in endurance running, Ironman triathlon, pro-elite road cycling, and CrossFit and as a nutrition and physiology researcher working in the lab and the field with elite professional athletes. There is no question in my mind that hydration is power.
You use the water in your body to get rid of the heat you produce and to cool you down while you’re exercising. When everything is working properly, it’s an amazingly efficient process. Your blood circulates to your muscles to deliver fuel and nutrients, as well as to sweep up the waste and heat that your muscles produce while they’re working. The blood then circulates to your skin to dump the heat through evaporative cooling (sweating).
Obviously, you need enough body fluids to keep that cooling mechanism running smoothly. If you slack on your hydration, you don’t have enough fluid in your body to keep your blood volume high enough to sweat efficiently and cool yourself. With less water in your blood, the blood is more viscous, so your heart has to work harder. Your heart rate goes up. Your power goes down. Your core temperature rises. All of that leads to fatigue, reduced performance, and the dreaded power decline at the end of a hard workout.
More...from Dr. Stacy Sims.
2. Norda 001 x Ciele Athletics Cooper’s Hawk Review:
What You Need To Know
Weighs 9.5 oz. (268 g) for a US M8.5 / 8.2 oz. (232 g) for a US W8
Limited-edition collab with Ciele, inspired by the return of the Cooper’s Hawk to Montreal’s Mount Royal Park
Full Dyneema upper and Dyneema-infused laces (basically indestructible)
Vibram SLE midsole and Vibram Megagrip outsole
Available now for $285 US
ROBBE: We love collaborations here at Believe in the Run, and the Canadian combo of Norda x Ciele may be one of our favorites to date. Of course, we’ve always had a soft spot in our hearts for Ciele, thanks to their exceptional running caps and past collabs with brands like Article One.
But we hadn’t heard of Norda until really just a couple months ago when we started seeing photos of the Cooper’s Hawk popping up. Obviously we were intrigued so we jumped on a call with the brand to see what they were about. Essentially it’s a husband and wife team with a couple other support staff members who keep the gears turning in the small operation. Based out of Montreal (like Ciele), they have an affinity for both road and trail, which comes into play with the Norda 001.
More...from Belive in the Run.
3. How to decide whether to DNS or push through and start your big race:
Good luck to anyone trying to remind British triathlon star Chrissie Wellington of that proverb when she was aiming to win her 4th IRONMAN World Championship title in 2011. Having won on Ali’i Drive in ‘07, ‘08 and ‘09, she was in amazing shape during the build-up to the race, setting MDot and Iron-distance world best times earlier in the season, before disaster seemingly struck.
She came off her bike during one of her final training rides, exactly 2 weeks prior to Kona. The crash inflicted some serious injuries to the left-hand side of her body, including a horrible road rash on her leg and hip that became infected in the following days.
In this situation, the old proverb would suggest Chrissie shouldn't have even tried to take her place on the start line and accepted a 'DNS' (Did Not Start) next to her name for fear of causing more harm.
But then deciding whether to start a race is never as straightforward as an old proverb might suggest…
4. Zone 2 Training for Endurance Athletes: Build Your Aerobic Capacity:
Almost everyone training with a goal and a purpose has some form of structured plan based on different training zones. While training in all zones is needed, zone 2 training should be one of the most important parts of any training program.
Almost everyone training with a goal and a purpose has some form of structured training which is based on different training zones, intensities and workouts spread through a week or a training block, something that could also be called microcycle and macrocycle. While training in all zones is needed, zone 2 training should be one of the most important parts of any training program. Unfortunately, many novice or young athletes barely train or are prescribed zone 2 training and therefore don’t develop a good “base”, thinking that the only way to get faster is by always training fast. By doing this they won’t improve nearly as much as if they trained zone 2 in large amounts.
For the past 18 years working with professional and elite endurance athletes like cyclists, runners, triathletes, swimmers and rowers I have been able to see that zone 2 training is absolutely essential to improve performance. By quantifying their training I have seen that their time dedicated for zone 2 training is somewhere between 60-75% of their entire training time. Very similar data across many different sports has been described by coaches worldwide as well as in the scientific literature.
More...from Training Peaks.
5. Burn, baby, burn: the new science of metabolism :
Losing weight may be tough, but keeping it off, research tells us, is tougher – just not for the reasons you might think
As the director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at Tufts University, Massachusetts, Susan Roberts has spent much of the past two decades studying ways to fight the obesity epidemic that continues to plague much of the western world.
But time and again, Roberts and other obesity experts around the globe have found themselves faced with a recurring problem. While getting overweight individuals to commit to shedding pounds is often relatively straightforward in the short term, preventing them from regaining the lost weight is much more challenging.
According to the University of Michigan, about 90% of people who lose significant amounts of weight, whether through diets, structured programmes or even drastic steps such as gastric surgery, ultimately regain just about all of it.
Why is this? Scientists believe that the answer lies in the workings of our metabolism, the complex set of chemical reactions in our cells, which convert the calories we eat into the energy our body requires for breathing, maintaining organ functions, and generally keeping us alive.
More...from The Guardian
6. Turns out, how far, fast and often has little to do with how likely a runner is to get hurt, suggests study:
There’s a rule of thumb for the prevention of running injuries that is simple, time-tested, and – according to a new review of the evidence – wrong.
The “10 per cent rule” suggests that you should avoid increasing the total time or distance you run by more than 10 per cent from one week to the next. It’s a numerical expression of the widely held view that most injuries are not the result of wearing the wrong shoes or landing on the wrong part of the foot, but are rather a consequence of trying to do too much, too soon.
“As clinicians, we have the perception that a lot of running injuries are linked with training errors,” says Jean-François Esculier, a physiotherapist who is the head of research and development for the Running Clinic and an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia. “But that’s not what we found.”
Esculier and colleagues from Université Laval and several other institutions pooled the results of 36 prospective studies with a total of more than 23,000 runners, about a quarter of whom developed new injuries. The review looked for links between who got injured and how far, fast and often they ran, including how quickly those parameters changed.
Morwe...from the Globe and Mail.
7. Athletes Aren’t Numbers: The Negative Health and Performance Impacts of Program-Wide Body Composition Monitoring:
A recent report in The Oregonian details allegations that the University of Oregon program adjusted training based on body composition readings in repeated DEXA scans. If true, that practice is medically dubious and physiologically wrong.
This article contains a discussion of topics related to fueling and body composition that may be triggering for some readers. You are amazing and you are enough, as you are, always. If you or a friend are struggling with mental health or disordered eating, you can call or text the National Eating Disorder Hotline.
Let’s start by acknowledging the elephant in the room. Training for performance at the edge of human capabilities is extremely complicated. Different things work for everyone, and that also applies to approaches with nutrition and body weight. While I am a fan of throwing out the scale entirely, other individuals may take their own approaches and have long-term success.
The keyword there is “individuals.” Individuals can do what works for them, ideally while working with an expert nutritionist. But when it comes to programs like high schools, colleges, and post-collegiate teams? There is absolutely no place in this sport for program-wide bodyweight and bodyfat monitoring that dictates subsequent interventions to hit arbitrarily low numbers. For performance, it’s questionable at best and disastrous at worst.
More...from Trail Runner.
8. Fitness: How aging athletes stay active into their 80s:
The most successful master athletes don’t let life’s challenges get in the way of their exercise routine, but there might be more to it.
When Keijo Taivassalo crossed the finish line at this year’s Boston marathon, it was the second consecutive time he’d finished the race at the top of his age group, ahead by more than 38 minutes.
Taivassalo, who hails from Thornhill, Ont., was pretty happy with his pace, averaging nine minutes and 33 seconds per mile (about 6:30 per kilometre). He even managed a finishing kick in the last mile, clocking in at four hours, 10 minutes and 23 seconds — despite tripping and falling four miles before the end of the race.
“A fellow runner helped me up and offered to walk with me, but I told him, ‘Sorry, I don’t have time to walk’,” he said.
Taivassalo has always been active. He cross-country skied in his native Finland before taking up distance running in his 40s when he moved to Canada. And he’s been running ever since: marathons, half marathons and the occasional 10K. Taivassalo’s latest Boston run was his 57th marathon.
More...from the Montral Gazette.
9. Here’s How Much Extra Energy a Gnarly Trail Burns:
A new study quantifies the effects of running on technical terrain
Here’s a new word for the trail running world: technicity. In a recent study on uphill trail running, the term ground technicity refers to roots and rocks, sand and mud, slipperiness, unevenness, and all the other characteristics that distinguish an interesting path from a plain old road or track. It’s borrowed from the French word technicité, meaning “technical quality or character,” and was first used in English in a 1933 newspaper report paraphrasing a dispute between two French socialist politicians. It’s a bit awkward, but I can’t think of any better alternatives. Technicality, for example, has a bunch of other connotations (like “loophole” or “meaningless detail”).
So, with the terminology settled, how does the technicity of a trail affect the way you run up it? That’s what François Nicot of the Université Savoie Mont Blanc and his colleagues at several other universities in France set out to determine, publishing their results in the European Journal of Sport Science. They had ten volunteers run up two trails, one with low technicity and the other with high technicity. Then they replicated those runs on a treadmill, matching the slope, distance, and speed in 100-meter (328-foot) increments, in order to figure out how their strides changed and how much extra energy the technical trails burned.
More...from Sweat Sceince on Outside Online*.
10. Powered by plants: elite athletes on the impact of a vegan diet:
Changing what you eat might not seem like an obvious solution to environmental sustainability. It doesn’t haven’t the immediacy of plastic reduction or avoiding fossil fuels. But there is increasing evidence that a shift to a plant-based diet can hugely reduce an individual’s impact on the climate, primarily with less energy required in food production from meat and dairy products.
A study from the University of Oxford found that people can cut their carbon footprint from food by up to 73% by switching to a vegan diet. Furthermore, the reclaiming of global farmland used for agriculture would revitalise wildlife conservation and hugely reduce extinction.
All of which makes fascinating reading for any ecological-minded athlete. But what are the implications on athletic performance? Nutrition is a fundamental element of performance at the highest level, so is it possible to help the environment and still succeed as an elite athlete on a vegan diet?
More international athletes are making the change and are proving that it is.
More...from World Athletics.
11. How Long Can We Play?
And what does that question even mean to you? Inside the quest to prolong athletic mortality.
Bob Myers was sprinting down a basketball court in the fall of 2017 when he felt a weird pain in his right leg.
At the time Myers was 42 and in his fifth year as the general manager of the Warriors. He loved his job—but what he really loved was playing the game. He’d starred in high school, walked on at UCLA and basically never stopped. Rec leagues, the YMCA, some dude’s driveway. Myers loved playing ball the way that some people love running or cooking or painting—with a deep, consuming passion that rushes up from the core. And in it he found not just joy but also identity and the escape that comes from a flow state, when the stress of life is muted and all that remains is the next possession or corner jumper.
Now that was threatened. When the ache spread to his hip, Myers chose the time-tested approach of athletes everywhere: He ignored the pain and kept going. And 10 years earlier that might have worked. The aging body, however, has a long memory. It didn’t matter that Myers was in ridiculously good health—he exercised daily, ate well and had the body fat of a greyhound. The invoice on all those years of sprinting and leaping had come due.
More...from Sports Illustrated.
12. 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:
Superficial Fascia, which is mostly associated with the skin;
Deep Fascia, which is mostly associated with the muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels; and
Visceral (or Subserous) Fascia, which is mostly associated with the internal organs.
More...from Stretch Coach.
13. Second act sensations! Meet the people who reached peak fitness – after turning 50:
I do sometimes feel like a cliche,” says Rich Jones. We’re in the cafe at his gym and he is in workout gear. It’s true, something about the language and the before and after pictures from his physical transformation – severely overweight to lean and chiselled – would appear familiar from thousands of adverts and magazine spreads, if it wasn’t for one thing; Jones got into the best shape of his adult life after he passed 50. “On 9 August 2019, I walked in here. I was 54 and 127kg [20st].”
He worked out at least six days a week, for 90 minutes or more at a time. “I immersed myself in everything, I did gym, I did classes, Pilates, I even did barre,” he says. Within eight or 10 weeks, he was able to stop taking painkillers for a shoulder injury. He now cycles and runs on top of his gym sessions. “It’s just a habit – I brush my teeth every day, I go for a run every day.”
This new, dramatic fitness coupled with a weight loss programme (Jones lost 43kg (6st 11lb) in eight months) has been transformative in ways that don’t show in pictures. “I enjoy the feeling of being able to walk upstairs and not getting out of breath, of being fit and strong,” he says. The effect on his self-image was equally dramatic: “It changed how I think about myself. I didn’t realise how you feel about the world, how you interact with people, is so tied to your body image.” Now on the dating scene after a separation, he is bursting with new-found confidence.
More...from The Guardian.
14. Cardio Before Weight Lifting May Help Boost Muscle:
Twenty minutes of cycling may prime muscles in the arms to grow more while lifting.
Riding or running before you lift weights could amplify the effects of the lifting, according to a helpful new study of the molecular impacts of combining endurance and resistance exercise in a single workout. The study, which involved eight physically active men, found that 20 minutes of intense cycling right before an upper-body weight routine alters the inner workings of muscles, priming them to change and grow more than with lifting alone.
The new paper, published in Scientific Reports, offers practical guidance about how you might structure a gym workout for maximal benefit. It is also a bracing reminder of how potent and wide-ranging the effects of exercise may be.
More...from the New York Times.
15. Why Sprinters Don’t Have the Fastest Finishing Sprint:
A mathematical model explains how endurance and speed come together to determine who will win a last-lap sprint
f you haven’t rewatched the epic finishing-straight duel between Paul Tergat and Haile Gebrselassie from the 2000 Olympics recently, do yourself a favor and click here. Okay, now you’re in the mood for one of the perennial running debates: where do amazing kickers like Geb get their amazing kicks from?
There are three main schools of thought. One is that sprint speed is the prerequisite for a fast sprint finish, an idea recently fleshed out by proponents of the speed reserve concept. A second is that the fastest finishers are simply those who are least tired at the end of the race, so great endurance is the key. A third is that it’s all in your head—that Geb’s ability to narrowly outlean Tergat nearly every time they raced is best explained by differences in self-belief rather than physiology.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.