1. How The Pros Train (And What We Can Learn From It):
From top level cyclists to world-class runners and speedskaters, pro training regimes offer a fascinating look into what it takes to count yourself among the world's best. Recent research among top-level athletes is also leading us to question entrenched training methods as sports scientists continue to learn more about the way the body adapts and reacts to exercise.
More...from the Science of Sports Podcast.
2. 5 Science-Backed Mental Tricks For Getting Through The Toughest Races:
In his new book, Chatter, Dr. Ethan Kross highlights new takes on psychological techniques for boosting mental toughness and positivity.
We’ve all been there. That moment in a race where you want nothing more than to quit, or have second thoughts about why you signed up in the first place, wondering whether you can finish. As much as we can prepare physically for races, if we don’t bring our mental A-game, things can go south quickly.
Luckily, there are some tried-and-true techniques we can incorporate into our daily training to build mental strength. In his latest book, Chatter, award-winning author, psychologist and neuroscientist Dr. Ethan Kross highlights new takes on known approaches to unlocking our mindset and regulating our emotions – on and off the trails.
3. The Norda 001 RZ is Super Juicy:
Last year, out of nowhere, entered Montreal-based Norda into the trail running scene. Founded by a husband and wife team with a couple other employees to help with design and development, they released their first shoe, the Norda 001 to wide acclaim.
The shoe was sturdy as a steel tank, featuring a virtually indestructible Dyneema upper (a material that actually is 15x stronger than steel at the same weight), in addition to a gnarly Vibram Mega Grip outsole.
It was also a shoe that was surprisingly capable on the roads; in fact, it was one of the best road to trail shoes we’d ever run in. This was no coincidence; based in Montreal, the brand wanted a shoe that could transition from a place in the city to the trails of Mount Royal Park. Once on the trails, the shoe excelled as well, with that aforementioned Vibram outsole that could take on just about any surface.
More...from Believe in the Run.
4. The Difference Between Pushing Yourself and Overtraining Syndrome:
Your body will tell you when you've pushed yourself too far.
As a marathon runner, I know what it’s like to push your body to its limits. I know the desire to tack on one extra mile when you’re feeling strong, or to squeeze in one last long run before a big race. I also know what it’s like to narrowly avoid serious burnout and injury due to insufficient fueling and recovery.
If you’re an athlete of any kind, you’ve probably seen warnings of “overtraining.” Some runners ignore the signs of overreaching until their bodies shut down in protest. While you’d be hard-pressed to find me in the weight room, Lifehacker senior health editor Beth Skwarecki points out that a lot of gym-goers say things like, “You can’t strength train two days in a row, or else you’ll be overtraining.” How does overtraining differ from run-of-the-mill fatigue?
5. How to Calculate Your Sweat Rate:
Determining your sweat rate is the first step to creating a successful hydration strategy. Here's how sweat rate testing works, and why it's so important.
Estimating your sweat rate can be a useful exercise when you’re trying to figure out how much and what you need to drink (in terms of fluids and electrolytes) during training and events. But sweat rate varies considerably from person to person, and it can also vary quite a lot for any given individual: Things like how hard you’re working; the ambient temperature and humidity; your clothing choices; genetics and heat acclimation status all play a role in determining how fast and how much your body perspires.
Sweat rate measurement is something that should ideally be done on a number of occasions and in a range of conditions if you want the results to help you in specific contexts, like planning your hydration needs for an upcoming race. Here’s a guide for collecting the data you need to get a reasonably accurate idea of your sweat rate. And then some ideas for what to do with the data once you have it.
More...from Training Peaks.
6. Why Cyclists Can Handle Heat Better Than Runners :
An analysis of power data from pro cyclists quantifies the effects of hot and cold air temperatures on performance.
Something is always lost in translation from the lab to the real world—a fact that’s captured in the concept of “ecological validity,” the extent to which the conditions in an experiment match those you’d encounter in the wild. One way around this problem is to skip the lab entirely and search for patterns in naturally occurring data. Cyclists, who gather extensive data about every pedal stroke with their power meters, make particularly good subjects for this kind of analysis, as illustrated by a new study in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance.
A team of Spanish researchers coordinated by David Barranco-Gil of the Universidad Europea de Madrid pooled eight years of data from 74 world-class cyclists (48 men and 26 women) and asked a simple question: how does air temperature affect performance? The answers offer some useful insights about the differences between cycling and running, and about the differences (or lack thereof) between how men and women respond to heat and cold.
More...from Outside Online.
7. How much do warm-ups and cool-downs matter to a workout?
Milling around before the start of last month’s Under Armour Spring Run-Off 8K with a few thousand other runners, I couldn’t help noticing all the different prerace rituals on display: jogging, sprinting, hopping, skipping and so on. The scene was a little different – more dynamic – compared to what I remember from my first road races two decades ago, when toe-touching and other sedate stretching poses were all the rage.
We’ve all been told that warm-ups and cool-downs are the crucial bookends to every workout – but ideas about what constitutes a “good” warm-up or cool-down have shifted over the years. Here’s a look at what the latest science says about how to start and finish your exercise sessions.
A warm-up generally has two main goals: to boost your performance, and to reduce your risk of injury or next-day soreness. For performance, surprisingly, “evidence for the effectiveness of warm-ups isn’t overwhelming,” says Kerry McGawley, a professor at Mid Sweden University’s Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre who studies the topic.
More...from the Globe and Mail.
8. A 63-Year-Old Runner Changed the Way I Think About Regret:
American culture is saturated with advice on managing regret — which generally amounts to pretending we don’t experience it. The Library of Congress lists some 50 books with “No Regrets” in the title. Hashtags with the same slogan splay across Instagram reels and pastel-painted particle board on Etsy.
The message is clear: Regret is self-defeating, backward-looking, a negative feeling to avoid at all costs.
But for Mariko Yugeta, regret has been a propellant. At 63, the Japanese athlete has quietly become the fastest woman in her age group ever to finish a marathon. She’s a sexagenarian who is beating the times she chased as a promising amateur athlete in her 20s.
After putting her athletic goals aside for decades to raise children and pursue a full-time career, in 2019 she became the first woman over 60 to run a marathon in under three hours. In January 2021, at age 62, she ran her fastest marathon ever, in 2:52:13 — meaning the world records she’s now breaking are the ones she set.
As Yugeta reclaims the dreams she once abandoned, she says her athletic breakthrough is “fueled by regret.”
More...from the New York Times.
9. The most physically active cities in the U.S.:
One interesting question for the months and years ahead is how the pandemic will permanently affect people’s habits and lifestyles. Many gyms, pools, and other recreational facilities closed or operated at limited capacity in 2020, and one study conducted early in the pandemic found that overall physical activity for adults was significantly lower than prior to the pandemic. Researchers ranked cities and states by the share of adults who self-reported engaging in leisure-time physical activity—such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise.
As COVID-19 cases decline again, many public health restrictions are lifted, and more of life returns to normal, one interesting question for the months and years ahead is how the pandemic will permanently affect people’s habits and lifestyle.One example is fitness and physical activity. With many gyms, pools, and other recreational facilities closed or operating at limited capacity in 2020, the early COVID-19 pandemic raised concerns that lockdowns would decrease levels of physical activity. One study conducted early in the pandemic found that overall physical activity for adults was significantly lower than prior to the pandemic.
More...from the Rapid City Journal.
10. A Zero-Drop Super Shoe? Meet Altra’s Vanish Carbon:
The brand took its time entering the super-shoe race, but its new, responsive model for marathoners was worth the wait.
More than two years after nearly every other brand entered the super-shoe fray, Altra has arrived on the scene with its unique entry into the modern marathon-racing genre. After ten runs in the Vanish Carbon, my initial assessment is that this light, peppy, comfortable, well-balanced, and smooth-riding shoe was worth the wait.
First, some background. The super-shoe craze started in 2016, when Nike launched the Vaporfly 4%. By 2020, Adidas, ASICS, Brooks, Craft, Hoka, New Balance, Saucony, and Skechers had all followed suit, launching their own models with lightweight, ultra-bouncy foam and curved, rigid plates. These components combine to provide superior cushioning with minimal energy loss, producing a lively ride that improves a runner’s economy in ways not yet fully understood. In other words, they let you run faster with less effort.
More...from Outside Online.
11. Breaking Up With Peloton:
The stationary bike’s convenience made it a pandemic winner, but some former fans are done working out at home.
in Chicago, used her Peloton every day. “It was a godsend,” she said. She could exercise in her spare bedroom between Zoom meetings without worrying about other people’s germs.
But lately the spark has gone out. Last month, Ms. Falzon, 39, listed the stationary bike on Facebook Marketplace. She paid $2,650 for her Peloton and accessories, but after a month of waiting for buyers, she begrudgingly sold it for $1,100.
More...from the New York Times.
12. Should you ditch your power meter during training and races?
In 1986, a German medical engineering student by the name of Uli Schoberer created a very agricultural looking bicycle crank. I wonder if he realised then that his creation would completely reshape how we train as athletes today...
The rise of the power meter
Schoberer’s new company at the time, SRM, subsequently launched its first commercial power meter a handful of years later and was further popularised when American cyclist Greg Lemond apparently used one for his training to help prepare for the Tour de France.
I bought my first power meter, albeit with slightly less success than Greg, back in 2006. It was from a now defunct company that measured power within a bicycle’s bottom bracket, took what you produced with one leg and then doubled it to tell you how much you were putting out overall.
When you consider that the human body isn’t symmetrical, I had no clue that my power meter was probably a random bingo number calling machine... but it was a game-changer for me at the time.
More...from Precision Hydration.
13. Omega-3: a fat lot of good for athletes!
New research suggests that omega-3 oils are even more important for health and performance than previously believed, and that most athletes don’t get anywhere near enough!
Let’s talk about fat – not body fat, but what goes into your mouth. Of all the macro-nutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat), fat nutrition is easily the most poorly understood. Contrary to popular belief propagated in much of the mainstream media, dietary fat is not necessarily ‘nasty’ and something to be avoided at all costs. Apart from the specific and essential biological functions of the essential fats, some dietary fat in the diet is desirable for a number of reasons:
Firstly, dietary fat tends to make food more palatable in the mouth, and therefore more enjoyable to eat.
Secondly, fat has a satiating effect; eat a completely fat-free meal and the chances are you’ll be hungry again before you know it.
Thirdly, at nine calories per gram (over double that of protein and carbohydrate) fat is a concentrated energy source, so is a useful addition to the diet when your daily energy expenditure is very high.
More...from Sports Performance Bulletin.
14. Exploring the limits of human performance:
We train our bodies in every possible way to be as efficient as possible, but there is a limit to what we can achieve.
Earlier in February, we looked at the impact the work of breathing has on performance. The body, in response to higher intensities, will redistribute oxygenated blood to muscles that need oxygen to produce energy. A lack of oxygen leads to lactate build-up and fatigue. So while locomotor muscle have to work harder with an increase in effort, respiratory muscles are forced to work at higher lung volumes due to a flow limitation. Thus significantly increasing the work of breathing. Essentially, the respiratory muscles will ‘steal’ oxygenated blood from the locomotor muscles, causing a limit in performance. We covered this in-depth in “Do your respiratory muscles ‘steal’ blood from your locomotor muscles?”
However, this phenomenon is more complex than just the respiratory muscles stealing oxygenated blood. There is another phenomenon at play called exercise-induced arterial hypoxemia (EIAH). (Definition of hypoxemia; an abnormally low concentration of oxygen in the blood.)
EIAH has been commonly used to describe an increase in the alveolar (lung)-arterial difference in oxygen. Meaning, there is less oxygen being diffused/transported into the blood than normal. This is thought by some to be due to an insufficient hyperventilation response to support increasingly high intensities. Thus resulting in lower arterial oxygen saturation.
More...from Triathlon Magazine.
15. What the Fitness Industry Doesn’t Understand:
A new generation of fitness instructors teaches simple skills that make a difference. Why is beginner-level exercise treated like a niche?
If you tried to imagine the perfect gym teacher, you’d probably come up with someone a lot like Hampton Liu. He’s a gentle, friendly guy who spends most of his time trying to figure out how to make the basics of exercise more approachable, and he talks frequently about how he never wants anyone to feel shame for their ability or skill level. In other words—and with apologies to good gym teachers, who almost definitely exist—he’s probably the polar opposite of whoever lorded over your middle-school physical-education class.
And Liu is a gym teacher of sorts. He has amassed millions of followers across YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok by teaching a remedial PE course for adults from his Arkansas backyard. In many of his videos, he wears a T-shirt and jeans instead of specialized athletic gear, and he uses little or no equipment. The most popular installments take viewers through super-common exercises—squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups—with variations tailored to many different capability levels. For someone who has never exercised at all, a push-up might start as—or might just be—lying on your back and “bench-pressing the air” in order to expand your range of motion
More...from the Atlantic.