1. The Chase for the Sub 4-Minute Mile and The Complexity of Success:
“Wes Santee has recently broken the world mile record in the time of 3:58.3, and it should stand for many years to come.” -1950
With the passing of Sir Roger Bannister, who in 1954 became the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes, we know the quote above is false. Where did it come from? Wes Santee, the Kansas miler, wrote it in his high school yearbook in 1950. Santee did not go on to run a world record in the mile, though he did in the 1,500m (3:42.8). He also did not go on to run a sub 4 mile, though he ran miles of 4:01.3, 4:00.6, 4:00.7, 4:00.5, and 4:01.3 in 1954 and 1955. In other words, Santee, a man who was in a 3-way chase to become remembered as the ultimate barrier breaker, never actually broke the barrier.
The sound bite version of history proclaims that Bannister won the chase to break the barrier via a combination of belief and precision-like execution of a task. The tweet-worthy version attributes it to Bannister realizing he could breakthrough. But the true story is more interesting and contrasts nicely with why Santee didn’t achieve his goals.
More...from The Growth Equation.
2. Reebok Floatride Energy X Review: Tempo Temptation, Race Day Runner-Up:
What You Need To Know
Weighs 9.2 oz. (260 g.) for a US M9 / 8 oz. (226.8 g.) for a US W7.5
Look out, all you half-sizers out there
Reebok has nailed the tempo shoe, but is it really race-ready?
It’s tough to complain about a sub-$200 super shoe
Available now for $170
MEAGHAN: A carbon-plated race shoe for under $200? Yep, Reebok just launched the Floatride Energy X for a mere $170. The brand’s latest addition to the Floatride line is here to make race day shoes more accessible to everyone.
BRANDON: Reebok’s been coming out with some pretty impressive tech lately. The Floatride Energy X is another one that surprised me — in a good way. This is Reebok’s premier race day super shoe. I have to be very clear and honest with y’all: It doesn’t live up to the hype of some of the other traditional super shoes out on the market. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad shoe or doesn’t have a purpose. The Floatride Energy X is a great shoe, especially for $170. Most super shoes and race day shoes are far north of $200, so it’s nice to see that Reebok is pricing its shoes at a more affordable point.
More...from Believe in the Run.
3. The Benefits of Training in the Heat and How to Do it Safely:
Research shows that training in the heat can boost performance even when racing in the cold. Here’s how to get it right.
Professional cycling fans among you will remember Lance Armstrong’s extraordinary 2003 Tour de France shortcut across a parched field. The now-disgraced American displayed impressive handling as he cut off a hairpin and avoided ONCE’s Joseba Beloki, who’d fallen on the descent. Beloki wasn’t so lucky. The Spaniard broke his femur, elbow and wrist, and all because of a sticky stretch of tarmac that’d begun to melt in the 50°C road temperatures. The organizers, ASO, now deploy water tankers to spray sections of road that are susceptible to melting.
Beloki’s undoing was the heat. It won’t be yours, as research shows that one of the key benefits of training in the heat is improved performance—even when the temperature drops. Let me explain.
Acclimatization for Physiological Adaptation
Acclimation, or acclimatization, is key to peak performance in the heat. (For reference, these aren’t the same. Acclimation’s where you naturally adapt to the heat; acclimatization is where you adapt to the heat by artificial means.) Research has shown that healthy adults exposed to conditions that elevate their core temperature by 1°C to 2°C for 60 to 90 minutes over a period of four to 10 days will elicit a lower resting core temperature, greater blood plasma volume and an increased sweat rate—all favorable adaptations to exercising in the heat.
More...from Training Peaks.
4. Untangling Running’s Shoe Cushioning Paradox:
Runners smack the ground harder—but get injured less—in more cushioned shoes. New research explains why..
Over the past four years, a new breed of heavily cushioned running shoes modeled on Nike’s Vaporfly line have rewritten the road-running record books. Soft-bottomed shoes, it turns out, can be exceptionally fast. But the hot new debate about the Vaporfly’s performance advantages has managed to push aside an older conundrum that should be of greater interest to 99.9 percent of runners: Does the cushioning in your trainers protect you from shin splints, stress fractures, and other impact-linked running injuries? Or, as barefoot runners insisted during their brief ascendency a decade ago, is it the cause of such injuries?
In the period following the 2009 publication of Christopher McDougall’s bestseller Born to Run, one of the key claims made by the barefoot and minimalist running movement was that the design of conventional running shoes was not evidence based. Elements like raised heels, pronation control, and thick midsoles might make intuitive sense, barefooters argued, but no one had ever tested their injury-prevention benefits in properly administered randomized trials.
Even shoe-industry insiders were forced to admit that the critics had a point. As a result, the past decade has seen a flurry of research centered on the contribution that shoe materials and construction make to running injuries, including a study published earlier this year that helped resolve a long-standing riddle about the role of cushioning.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online. [Members Exclusive]
5. Training Intensities with Dr. Stephen Seiler:
Dr. Stephen Seiler is an exercise physiologist and one of the world’s leading minds in the science of cycling. His work has influenced and catalyzed international research around training intensity distribution and the “polarized training model.” In this episode of Run with Fitpage, Dr. Seiler talks all about training intensities with our host Vikas Singh.
00:25 - About this episode
02:26 - Welcome Dr. Seiler to the show!
06:12 - Why should you run slow?
12:34 - The polarized/pyramidal training model
16:17 - How to place the training intensities?
20:44 - How hard should a quality workout be?
28:06 - 'If you try to go faster and farther both, it will be a disaster.'
33:04 - Is taking a random day off okay?
35:50 - How should one warm-up before a quality run?
40:13 - The gear progression to start a run
45:25 - Dr. Seiler's advice to runners
Listen to the Podcast.
6. Is B.M.I. a Scam?
It can be a helpful health measure for large groups of people, but it won’t tell you much about yourself.
There are few single measures in health care that seem to carry as much weight as body mass index, or B.M.I. We encounter it not just at doctor’s offices, but with online calculators and smart scales, at gyms and even when determining eligibility for the Covid vaccine.
Its formula is simple: Take your weight (in kilograms), and divide by the square of your height (in meters). The result, which slots you into one of four main categories, is meant to describe your body in a single word or two: underweight (B.M.I. less than 18.5), normal weight (18.5 to 24.9), overweight (25.0 to 29.9) or obese (30 or greater).
More...from the New York Times.
7. Want to Run Fast? Listen to Your Gut:
An overreliance on technology can make you slower. When it comes to training, it's time to rewind the clock and rely on our more primal instincts.
Prior to winning her third consecutive New York City Marathon—in a performance so dominant the New York Times called it “an extraordinary race of one”—Mary Keitany of Kenya was asked about her training during a prerace press conference:
How many miles or kilometers a week are you running?
Keitany: Per week? I’ve never counted because I’m doing twice. Once maybe 40 minutes in the evening, and right now in the morning, I do a one-hour workout. So, I never counted.
One hour in the morning, and how much in the evening?
Forty minutes in the evening. So sometimes there is a day of track and a day of workout. So you can’t tell how many per week because sometimes we run maybe Saturday like maybe 25, and then another day we go to the track to do like maybe speed work, like maybe 1,000 maybe times five or times ten.
And how long is your long run?
Yeah, maybe two hours or two hours, 20 [minutes].
Slow or fast?
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
8. How Strava Fame Became a Burden for Molly Seidel:
The star runner’s decision to be less public on the app illustrates how pro athletes have to find a tricky balance between privacy and exposure
Back in January 2018, the fitness app Strava got some unwanted publicity when its heatmap feature allegedly revealed the locations of covert military bases. Although there was no evidence that the safety of military personnel had been compromised, the media coverage at the time was damning. A Guardian article noted that the platform was potentially divulging “extremely sensitive information” about troops stationed in Syria and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, a Wired article suggested that the app made it easier to track the so-called “patterns of life” of the intelligence community. The Pentagon eventually issued a memo curtailing the use of GPS-enabled fitness apps in sensitive locations.
Needless to say, it isn’t only soldiers and clandestine operatives who have an interest in keeping their “patterns of life” discreet. Just ask Molly Seidel. Last month, the Olympic bronze medalist and longtime Strava user announced on Instagram that she would be making most of her runs private “to be more respectful of my own sanity.” This was news, in part, because Seidel is the embodiment of a successful distance runner in the social media era. Ever since her surprise second place finish in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials, she has accrued a considerable following on Instagram and Strava—220,000 followers on Instagram and 68,000 on Strava—supplementing her superhuman athletic feats with an affable, runner-next-door internet persona. When Seidel posted her Olympic bronze medal-winning performance on Strava (title: “full send in Sapporo”) it received the most “kudos” for a women’s activity in the history of the app. Canadian Running proclaimed that Seidel was “the new Queen of Strava.”
More...from Outside Online.
9. Proven muscle-building training principles:
This is an excerpt from Strength Zone Training by Nick Tumminello.
Over the years I’ve come to recognize and rely on a handful of basic, proven principles that allow everyone to maintain long-term, sustainable results. Stick to these and forget the fads.
The Best Rep Ranges
Mechanical tension drives muscle growth. Research shows that lifting a lighter load to failure produces gains in muscle size similar to those produced by lifting a heavy load to failure (1). The scientific evidence on rep ranges tells us that there’s no magical range for maximizing muscle size. You can use both heavy, low-rep (1-5) sets along with medium-load, high-rep (15-20+) sets if you’d like. But many people focused on building muscle are usually not interested in using weights so heavy that they can only do five or fewer reps with it. And that’s fine. Doing some sets in the six to eight rep range serves as a nice middle ground.
The amount of weight you’re using also determines the quality of reps you’re doing. If the load is too heavy, you may not be able to do good-quality reps. That said, at any given time at any big-box gym, you’ll see at least one guy doing biceps curls or shoulder raises, and he’ll have to thrust his lower back into it each time he brings the weight up. It’s easy to make this mistake. After all, you’re in the gym to lift weights, and everyone knows heavy loads are an effective stimulus for muscle growth, right? Well, sort of.
More...from Human Kinetics
10. How My Fitness Tracker Turned Me Against Myself:
The alarm was deafening. My coffin-shaped acrylics crawled from underneath the covers, searched for the stop button and quickly found my Apple Watch. I slapped the device onto my wrist before I washed my face, brushed my teeth or checked my phone. If I didn’t start tracking soon, I wouldn’t get credit for the calories I burned or the minutes I stood — the core metrics tracked by Apple’s signature “ring-closing” feature.
It was 6:02 a.m., and nothing else mattered. Snug against my wrist, my watch kept me company as I bounced from my bed, into the kitchen to turn on the tea kettle, and back into my bedroom to get dressed for the day’s first workout: power yoga. I tossed my digital companion aside while I showered, but it was affixed back in position before the water stopped dripping from the faucet. Every step, even those paced inside my apartment, counted.
More...from Five ThirtyEight.
11. Men, Are You Eating Enough to Fuel Your Exercise?
our unexplained fatigue may be due to calorie deficiency, with serious implications for your health and performance.
It used to be called the female athlete triad: a condition characterized by lost menstrual periods, a decline in bone density, and stress fractures resulting from taking in too few calories. For years, the condition was regarded as a concern only for women—and only those who lost their periods. Women who retained their periods weren’t considered at risk, and men, whose hormone systems are different, were thought to be unaffected.
In 2014, after an extensive review of the medical literature, the International Olympic Committee officially renamed the condition RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sport) and expanded the definition to recognize that the basic problem is consuming too few calories to support everything your body needs to do—a problem that is broader than the traditional female triad and can affect men as well as women.
12. The Basics of Arm Form for Runners:
Runners typically focus on their foot strike, cadence, or stride length when they are thinking about their running form, and while running is a leg-dominant activity, your arm swing also plays an important role in your running economy and pace.
Swinging your arms when you run helps propel your body forward, but the arm swing component of running form isn’t as simple as it looks. Various deviations from the ideal arm swing for runners, such as swinging your arms too vigorously, swinging them too far across your body, or not swinging your arms enough can compromise your running economy.
Why is Arm Swing Important for Running?
While your legs might be actually getting you from point A to point B when you run, your arms aid in balance and provide momentum and power to help drive your legs forward. Essentially, your arms propel you forward, help get your body airborne with each stride, and guide your overall running rhythm.
As such, good arm form while running can reduce the workload on your legs and your overall energy expenditure when you run. In fact, studies show swinging your arms when you run reduces energy expenditure from 3 to 13%.
More...from Women's Running.
13. Age no barrier: how Jo Schoonbroodt smashed the 70+ marathon record:
Age no barrier: how Jo Schoonbroodt smashed the 70+ marathon record
The 71-year-old from Maastricht started running in his 30s. He is now the fastest septuagenerian marathon runner in history
At an age where many of his contemporaries are winding down, the man they call the Grey Kenyan is somehow speeding up. On Sunday Jo Schoonbroodt, a 71-year-old from Maastricht, ran a marathon in a staggering 2hr 54min 19sec to become the fastest septuagenarian in history.
A few days later, when the Guardian catches up with him, his achievement is still sinking in. “I only started jogging at 36 because my doctor told me I had high cholesterol,” he says, chuckling. “But last year I ran 7,242 kilometres [4,450 miles], which is more than double what I did in my car.”
It also turns out that Schoonbroodt’s new 70+ world record, set at the Maasmarathon of Visé in Belgium, was inspired partly by an unlikely source: the Flemish crooner Eddy Wally. With a few miles remaining, he knew he was just ahead of the previous best, set by Gene Dyckes in 2018, because a friend was following him on his bike and barking out his lap times. But his legs were starting to get heavier.
More...from The Guardian.
14. Nail Your Golden Recovery Window for Optimum Health and Performance"
Post-workout fueling matters even more for women than men.
Low energy availability is extremely common in women athletes. A 2019 survey of 1,000 female athletes across more than 40 sports published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine estimated the risk of low energy availability in women athletes at more than 47 percent.
That means nearly half of active, performance-minded women may not be eating enough for their body to perform basic functions like making muscle, regulating metabolism, and maintaining homeostasis after accounting for the energy they use for training.
That’s bad for your health and performance. Exercise doesn’t work without the nutrition to support it. Fueling directly around your training can help you avoid going into low energy availability. While I’ve seen women become more in tune to their pre and during exercise fueling needs, one area that still falls short is recovery. I see too many women who admit to skipping their post-workout snack because they’re trying to lose weight. This is the wrong way to go about it—especially as a woman.
More...from Dr. Stacy Sims
15. How to Apply the Principle of Specificity for Exercise Gains:
Whether you’re looking to improve athletic performance, increase skill level, or boost overall fitness, applying the principle of specificity can help you get the results you need in a timely manner.
“Specificity brings training from extremely generic, like lifting weights or core work, to very distinct where an athlete or recreational exerciser practices their designated sport or activity,” says Keke Lyles, DPT, advisor, and head of performance at Uplift Labs.
While specificity is only one training principle, it is a critical component of any comprehensive athletic program or fitness routine.
Here, we take a closer look at the principle of specificity, how it’s applied, its pros and cons, and how it compares to cross-training.