1. How activists used a veil of secrecy to rewrite biology:
As feminists are vilified online and politicians try and fail to describe what a woman is, the rest of us are entitled to ask how we got ourselves into this mess and how we can navigate a sensible route out of it, says Lucy Bannerman.
What is a woman? And when did that become such a tricky question? For Jan Morris, the late, great Times correspondent, the question was profoundly personal and had little to do with labels or legal status. The writer spent the first half of her extraordinary life as male, breaking the news that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay had conquered Everest as James, before crossing the Rubicon with her gradual transition into womanhood that culminated in 1972 with a sex change performed by a Casablanca surgeon “who asked no questions and imposed no conditions legal or moralistic”.
By that point, as Morris reported in Conundrum, her evocative memoir, only about 600 people in the United States and perhaps 150 in the UK had braved the
More...from The Times.
2. Altra Vanish Carbon: First Look at Altra’s Zero-Drop, Carbon-Plated Racing Shoe:
What You Need To Know
Weighs 7.3 oz. (207 g) for a US M10.5 / 8.5 oz. ( g) for a US W8
Race day option that utilizes carbon plate with all-new Ego Pro midsole
Zero-drop shoe with 33mm stack height
Employs a rocker geometry for smoother transitions
Available April 12 for $240
The carbon fiber train has been chugging right along since the original Nike Vaporfly made its original splash back in 2017, and just about every brand has been following the sometimes-circus parade with their own super shoe. Nobody has to reach Nike race shoe status, but a few have come close (Asics Metaspeed Sky, New Balance RC Elite 2). Nevertheless, you gotta throw your hat in the ring.
And while some of those hats have been real Stetson-style winners, others have been moth-eaten costume props (we won’t say who, but you probably know).
More...from Believe in the Run.
3. The Power of the Squat:
It’s the one exercise most of us should be doing. But we need to do it right.
What is the single best strength-building exercise many of us could be doing right this minute but almost certainly are not? Consult enough exercise scientists and the latest exercise research, and the answer would likely be a resounding: squats.
“For lower-body strength and flexibility, there is probably no better exercise,” said Bryan Christensen, a professor of biomechanics at North Dakota State University in Fargo, who studies resistance exercise.
The benefits are not confined to the lower body. “It is really a whole body exercise,” said Silvio Rene Lorenzetti, the director of the Performance Sports division of the Swiss Federal Institute of Sport in Magglingen. “It requires core stability and trains the back.”
More...from the New York Times.
4. Your Marathon Training Plan: What to Expect:
Here’s your guide to time commitments, weekly structure, workouts, and more for your upcoming marathon.
Marathons are more than just two back-to-back half marathons. Many people will attest that the second “half” actually starts at mile 20. Racing a marathon requires you to manage your mileage, balance speed work and strength, and dial in a nutrition and hydration plan that will help you scale that seemingly insurmountable 20-mile “wall”. That means your training plan needs to be aligned with your time and mileage goals.
Time Commitments When Preparing for a Marathon
When it comes to marathon preparation, the faster you get, the more time you have to spend building and maintaining your fitness. For the average marathoner, you should expect to have at least one 40-mile week in your build-up. If you average 10-minute miles for the week, that’s 400 minutes or nearly seven hours of training, which breaks down to approximately one hour of running per day.
That one hour of running, however, is only a small part of your marathon training picture. Mileage and workouts alone do not create a sustainable training plan.
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5. Are Rubberless Shoes the Future of Running?
With input from its elite athletes, Under Armour built a new kind of trainer—without a rubber outsole—that blurs the line between speed and comfort
If you’ve bought a new pair of running shoes recently, you know that the range of styles, options, and performance characteristics has never been greater. Some shoes are sleek and lightweight. Others are chunky and cushioned. But no matter what, all are made up of the same basic building blocks—the upper, the midsole, and the outsole—right? Not anymore.
“Honestly, the first time I saw this shoe, I thought it was going to be weird,” says Will Leer, Under Armour’s performance specialist and a former professional runner. “But I ended up loving the experience.”
The shoe Leer is talking about is Under Armour’s new Flow Velociti Wind 2, which notably lacks a rubber outsole. Instead the shoe employs a dynamic foam with a geometrically laser-cut bottom—the midsole is the outsole—to shed significant weight and produce an altogether new running experience. “The feeling of running in a Flow shoe is incredibly lightweight,” Leer says. “It’s also incredibly responsive because you’re not going through all these different layers of material to get to the foot.”
How did Under Armour designers get from such a wild idea to a high-performance rubberless shoe? They asked elite runners like Leer for their input. “We were close to our athletes through every step of the journey,” says Doug Smiley, Under Armour senior product manager. “It’s really fun to create a new product when it’s been validated by these athletes at the highest level.”
More...from Outside Online.
6. I Tested Givego, the App That Wants to Replace Your Coach:
Can two and a half minutes of instruction turn you into a better athlete? Givego thinks so.
I’m biking as fast as I can down a mile-long ribbon of singletrack in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, navigating roots, lips, a miniature rock garden, and an abundance of turns—everything from big, swooping corners and twisty hairpins to fall-away berms. My breathing is heavy as I try to maintain my pace. When I arrive at the bottom, I check my time: a solid three minutes and 13 seconds, for an average speed of 17.8 miles per hour. But I want to go faster. And in a week or so, I absolutely expect to.
The day before, I downloaded Givego, an app that lets duffers like me get personalized tips and advice from world-class athletes and coaches. Users upload a 20-second video of themselves doing their activity of choice, then choose an expert to work with. The app can connect you to professionals in a range of different sports, including Alex Ferreira, a freestyle skier who won silver at the 2018 Olympics; Steven Nyman, a veteran World Cup ski racer and Olympian; and Shaun Murray, a member of the Wakeboarding Hall of Fame. Ask a question, and before long they respond with advice. The average price for a two-and-half-minute instructional video? Twenty bucks.
More...from Outside Online.
7. Is 30 Minutes of Exercise a Day Enough?
Science says you may need less exercise than you think to live a long and healthy life.
For anyone interested in the relationship between exercise and living longer, one of the most pressing questions is how much we really need to stay healthy. Is 30 minutes a day enough? Can we get by with less? Do we have to exercise all in one session, or can we spread it throughout the day? And when we’re talking about exercise, does it have to be hard to count?
For years, exercise scientists tried to quantify the ideal “dose” of exercise for most people. They finally reached a broad consensus in 2008 with the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which were updated in 2018 after an extensive review of the available science about movement, sitting and health. In both versions, the guidelines advised anyone who was physically able to accumulate 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, and half as much if it is intense.
More...from the New York Times.
8. One-Hour Workout: High-Cadence Recovery Ride:
ickstart your recovery with this relaxed ride.
With racing having returned with a bang this past weekend (in North America, at least), this week’s One-Hour Workout has a real recovery and rejuvenation feel to it, to help those athletes who might be feeling the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) get some life back in their legs. And, of course, if you haven’t raced recently, this is still a great workout to slot in after a hard ride or run to help flush the legs and kickstart your recovery.
It can be done on the trainer or outside on the road. You should be in your small chainring for all of the ride, keeping your RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) at a low level, think RPE 4/10. After 15 minutes of easy relaxed riding at your choice of cadence (but definitely no big-gear grinding please!), you’ll then look to hit approximately 30 minutes of high-cadence spinning on flat terrain (if riding outside) at a cadence of 90 to 110 RPM. Your effort here should still stay low (RPE 4/10); this should be a very comfortable and aerobic ride. Focus on keeping your pedaling smooth and relaxed, letting it flow. Once you’ve completed this 30 minutes of high cadence riding, just ride relaxed until the hour, still being mindful of turning over the pedals lightly and smoothly, with a cadence around 90 RPM. You should end the ride feeling better than you started and, if possible (and riding outdoors), choose a route that’s light on traffic and high on beautiful scenery—it’ll all help with the recovery and rejuvenation aspect of this ride. Enjoy!
9. Exploring the wall in marathon running::
The wall is an iconic feature of the marathon. If runners hit the wall, usually around the 30km (20mi) mark, their pace slows dramatically, leaving them to struggle to the finish-line. While the physiology of the wall is reasonably well understood – a critical combination of fatigue and a lack of available fuel as the body’s glycogen stores become depleted – its actual impact is less well studied. In this paper we present a large-scale data-driven study of how and when recreational marathon runners hit the wall. We do this by analysing the pacing patterns of almost 60,000 runners across more than 250 races. The main contributions are: (1) an operational definition of the wall by identifying its key pacing features; and (2) and analysis of hitting the wall for runners, based on their age, gender and ability, using this definition.
More...from IOS Press.
10. 100+ grams of carbs per hour: Deciphering Van der Poel’s ‘nutrition sticker’:
A table taped to Mathieu van der Poel's stem featured his nutrition plan for the Tour of Flanders.
When Mathieu van der Poel crossed the finish line at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, he celebrated by raising his hands off of handlebars held in place by a stem bearing some vital information.
As sharp-eyed viewers of the tech gallery that CyclingTips posted from the race may have noticed, a printed table affixed to van der Poel’s stem laid out his nutrition plan for the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
While the practice of printing course details on an easy-to-read guide on the stem is a time-honored tradition, putting a regimented nutrition plan there is less common – and all the more intriguing considering how the day played out for Van der Poel. In the wake of his victory, CyclingTips did some digging to get more details on Van der Poel’s nutrition plan for Flanders, and we came away with some fascinating insight into the Dutchman’s approach.
More...from Cycling Tips.
11. How This Simple Breathing Exercise May Improve Your Endurance:
*New research presented at the American Physiological Society annual meeting finds the benefits of certain muscles that control our breathing may extend to our fitness levels.
*High-resistance inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST) is a resistance training used to strengthen our breathing muscles.
*Originally conceived during the 1980s, it’s a way to strengthen the breathing muscles by inhaling through a handheld device that creates resistance – like inhaling through a straw.
When you’re working out, you may be neglecting one group of muscles that can be key to your performance: those that help you breathe.
New research presented at the American Physiological Society annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2022 finds the benefits of certain muscles that control our breathing may extend to our fitness levels.
12. Highly Cushioned Shoes Improve Running Performance in Both the Absence and Presence of Muscle Damage:
Highly Cushioned Shoes Improve Running Performance in Both the Absence and Presence of Muscle Damage. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc.,
Vol. 54, No. 4, pp. 633-645, 2022. Purpose: We tested the hypotheses that a highly cushioned running shoe (HCS) would 1) improve incre-
mental exercise performance and reduce the oxygen cost (Oc) of submaximal running, and 2) attenuate the deterioration in Oc elicited by mus-
cle damage consequent to a downhill run. Methods: Thirty-two recreationally active participants completed an incremental treadmill test in an
HCS and a control running shoe (CON) for the determination of Oc and maximal performance. Subsequently, participants were pair matched
and randomly assigned to one of the two footwear conditions to perform a moderate-intensity running bout before and 48 h after a 30-min
downhill run designed to elicit muscle damage. Results: Incremental treadmill test performance was improved (+5.7%; +1:16 min:ss;
P < 0.01) in the HCS when assessed in the nondamaged state, relative to CON. This coincided with a significantly lower Oc (-3.2%;
-6 mL·kg-1 ·km-1 ; P < 0.001) at a range of running speeds and an increase in the speed corresponding to 3 mM blood lactate (+3.2%;
+0.4 km·h-1 ; P < 0.05). As anticipated, the downhill run resulted in significant changes in biochemical, histological, and perceptual markers
of muscle damage, and a significant increase in Oc (+5.2%; 10.1 mL·kg-1 ·km-1 ) was observed 48 h post. In the presence of muscle damage, Oc
was significantly lower in HCS (-4.6%; -10 mL·kg-1 ·km-1 ) compared with CON. Conclusions: These results indicate that HCS improved
incremental exercise performance and Oc in the absence of muscle damage and show, for the first time, that despite worsening of Oc conse-
quent to muscle damage, improved Oc in HCS is maintained.
13. The flawed science of trans inclusion in women’s sport:
Advocates are embracing unreliable studies to justify unfair competition.
Following an embarrassing climbdown over the proposed inclusion of transgender cyclist Emily Bridges in a women’s elite race, British Cycling is calling for “a coalition to share, learn and understand more about how we can achieve fairness in a way that maintains the dignity and respect of all athletes.” There’s really no need. The UK Sports Council Equality Group did this work last year, and concluded it was not possible to “balance” trans inclusion in the female category with fairness and safety for females.
Multiple studies have shown that testosterone suppression does not change male physiological and anatomical characteristics by much. As described in peer-reviewed journals here and here, the measured effects are insufficient to eliminate male performance advantage and guarantee fairness for female sport.
More...from The Critic.
14. Should You Ice Your Injuries?
Few topics have gripped the therapy and performance world in the past few years more than icing. To be honest, I was one of those professionals and educators that was a proponent of icing injuries. As a college professor and a person who reads research and pounds the pulpit of evidence-based practice, I too was one of the millions of professionals who fell for the fallacy.
I remember explaining to athletes and individuals from the general population that ice slows inflammation and allows tissues not to become hypoxic (without oxygen). It makes sense that swelling in a muscle or joint should be removed and that ice should stop or slow swelling as it slows inflammation. However, there are a couple of glaring issues with that argument I ignored.
First, there is not consistent research on the effectiveness of icing injuries. A 2015 study found that men who regularly applied ice packs after weight training workouts developed less muscular strength, size and endurance than those who recovered without ice. Another review revealed that athletes who did ice baths after tough exercise regained muscular strength and power more slowly than their teammates who did no post-sweat chilling. And most recently, a new study in mice suggests icing muscles after strenuous exercise is not just ineffective, it could be counterproductive.
15. What is the optimal temperature for peak athletic performance?
The 2017 World Cross Country Championships held in Uganda were about as far from optimal race conditions as you can get. Female athletes in the under 20’s race were hauled away on stretchers and in the men’s event, Joshua Cheptegei went from enjoying a 12-second lead to staggering around the course as the extreme heat took its toll.
As the saying goes, ‘Mother Nature can be a cruel mistress’. But she can also provide conditions that help you produce your very best.
So, what do those conditions look like exactly?
How to find the optimal conditions for cycling
Cycling is a perfect example of the tug of war that can occur between environmental conditions and physiological circumstances. There’s a long and interesting formula which dictates the physics that control a cyclist’s performance. One of the factors within this formula is that of air density. If the air is less dense, then the level of resistance the cyclist is faced with reduces, and they would then go faster for the same effort as a result.
For example, there’s a choice between thicker or thinner air for athletes that compete for the cycling hour record. The record is essentially a simple one – how far can you ride in an hour whilst performing laps of a velodrome?
More...from Precision Hydration