1. Transgender Women Athletes and Elite Sport: Misleading at best, intellectually dishonest at worst:
This commentary by Jon Pike reveals why the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) report is one of the worst published papers on trans-inclusion in female sport.
The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) is an odd organization. On one hand, it is Canada’s National Anti-Doping Organization, funded by Sport Canada. Its task is to ensure fair sport. On the other hand, it behaves more like a think tank or academic centre, going way beyond regulation to argue for a conception of sport that ensures unfair sport for women. It does this is a way that is both militantly ideological, and also rather odd. Its latest publication, titled Transgender Women Athletes and Elite Sport: A Scientific Review (CCES 2022a), is an example of this second activity.
In a hotly contested field, the report has a good claim to be one of the worst published papers on trans-inclusion in female sport.
I want first to highlight the oddness of the paper. It argues, simultaneously, for three inconsistent views. The first is that it is fair for transwomen to compete in female sport. The second is to concede that it is not fair for transwomen to compete in female sport. The third is that we don’t know whether it is fair for transwomen to compete in female sport. You don’t need to be a professor of logic to see that this is a mess. I will take these in reverse order:
2. Two-Minute Bursts of Movement Can Have Big Health Benefits:
A new study confirms that you don’t have to do a hard workout to reap the longevity rewards of exercise
Dashing up the stairs to your apartment, weaving between commuters as you dart toward the train — those small snippets of exercise, if they’re intense enough, can add up, according to a new study. The paper is among the first to examine what many exercise scientists have long hypothesized: A little bit of physical activity goes a long way, even movement you might not consider a workout.
The paper, published today in Nature Medicine, shows that tiny spurts of exercise throughout the day are associated with significant reductions in disease risk. Researchers used data from fitness trackers collected by UK Biobank, a large medical database with health information from people across the United Kingdom. They looked at the records of over 25,000 people who did not regularly exercise, with an average age around 60, and followed them over the course of nearly seven years. (People who walked recreationally once a week were included, but that was the maximum amount of concerted exercise these participants did.)
More...from the New York Times.
3. Ignoring Biological Reality Puts Female Hockey Players at Risk:
A frightening injury at an NHL-sponsored transgender tournament in Wisconsin reminds us why women’s leagues should remain sex-protected spaces.
On November 22nd, the NHL made headlines when it tweeted that “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Nonbinary identity is real.” Predictably, this declaration was widely praised by progressives and just as widely mocked by conservatives. And yet, amid all this culture-war sound and fury, there was little news to be had about the event that had precipitated the league’s controversial gender diktat in the first place: an NHL-supported and -sponsored “All-Trans Draft Tournament” held in Middleton, WI—reportedly the first tournament of its kind in the history of hockey.
Aside from a tweet containing four photos of the November 19th–20th event, the NHL provided no substantive information about how the tournament unfolded. Nor did media outlets such as Hockey News, whose reporting consisted instead of cheery tournament summaries (“The arena was just buzzing with trans joy for two solid days”) sourced to the organizers’ social media accounts. Vice sent a five-person film crew to cover the tournament, including two cameramen, but so far hasn’t reported anything on what that unit filmed. So as far as I know, in fact, I’m the first person to publicly report the events described below.
4. Best Hoka Running Shoes of 2023: What We Know:
What You Need To Know
Our takeaways from The Running Event 2022 in Austin, Texas
Highlights from Hoka include the Rocket X 2, Tecton X 2, and Mach X
No word on Rincon 4 (we tried) and we did have some photos of the Mach X, but it’s under embargo until summer 2023
Not fully inclusive of all 2023 shoes (some FW shoes may still be under embargo)
Rearrange the letters in the Hoka name for a short summation of their recent lineup of running shoes: “OK, ha.” Such was the extent of our excitement of Hoka in 2022.
Call it a mixed bag, but the past 12 months of Hoka have seen an underwhelming string of releases (Kawana, Mach Supersonic), punctuated by some real bangers (Tecton X, Mach 5). But that’s okay, everyone has a down year, and we’re always willing to let bygones be bygones (except in the case of the Brooks Hyperion Elite 1… no forgiveness for that one). Anyway, let’s look forward to 2023.
On the first morning of The Running Event, we met with Rebekah Broe, Director of Product for Performance Footwear (formerly of New Balance and also our second-ever guest on The Drop podcast) to talk about what’s coming next year.
First, and certainly most exciting, was the elephant in the room, the big ol’ block of racing foam we’ve seen on athletes like
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5. Common Indoor Cycling Mistakes:
It can be tempting to do all your training indoors, but you may be better served by saving the trainer for a few focused workouts a week
Early spring can be a challenging time of year for cyclists, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, where unpredictable weather can ruin the best-laid training plans. Especially as smart trainers and gamified platforms like Zwift gain popularity, it can be tempting to avoid the weather altogether and do all of your training indoors. Unfortunately, for many cyclists, this can be a fast track to burnout and less-than-optimal adaptation. Here are three common indoor training mistakes to avoid, plus key workouts to structure your indoor training for success.
Three Indoor Cycling Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
1. Riding Too Long
In my opinion, it is impossible to effectively train your aerobic fitness only on a trainer. To get really quality aerobic work, you need to be riding 3-4 hours or more at a low intensity a few times a week — and this just isn’t sustainable indoors. Aside from taking a mental toll, sessions this long indoors can lead to electrolyte flushing, especially for people who are not prepared for it. The better option to build aerobic fitness is to cross-train or supplement your trainer rides with outdoor riding.
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6. Want To Encourage Young Runners? Here Is What to Do (And What to Avoid):
As youth running options expand, pro runners offer tips on how to encourage children and teens in ways that make them more likely to love the sport.
When the two-time Olympian Kara Goucher was a child, she was used to seeing her grandfather run five or six days a week, but she never thought of it as a sport because he did not race. She did not discover organized running until middle school.
“I fell in love with it, obviously,” she said.
While sports like baseball and soccer have organized youth leagues throughout the United States, there are fewer programs dedicated to running. Girls on the Run is one of the bigger ones, with 2.1 million girls participating since the nonprofit started in 1996. Before the coronavirus pandemic began, about 200,000 girls enrolled each year, based on numbers provided by the organization. The numbers have not rebounded to those levels, but there are about 142,000 girls participating this year.
More road races are adding children’s races, and more running organizations are providing options for local elementary and middle school students.
More...from the New York Times.
7. Can You Pass the Flexibility Test?
Having a good range of motion is essential for athletics as well as everyday life.
Bending down to put on your socks. Looking over your shoulder to change lanes. Reaching up to pluck a box of cereal from a high shelf at the grocery store.
When most of us think about flexibility, we imagine a yogi with their legs wrapped around their heads or a ballet dancer doing the splits. The truth is, there are countless everyday movements that require flexibility. And being able to do them takes maintenance.
“Flexibility is very much a case of use it or lose it,” said Dan Van Zandt, a flexibility coach and educator.
Instead of shying away from movements that are painful, Mr. Van Zandt said, you can work on your flexibility and improve your range of motion. Even though most of us won’t ever become flexible enough to do the splits, with time and patience we can squat a little deeper, reach a little higher and maybe even sit cross-legged on the floor.
More...freom the New York Times.
8. What is lactate threshold and how can you determine yours?
Running coach Tom Craggs gives the lowdown on this often misunderstood term – and reveals how you can utilise threshold training to unlock faster speeds.
Threshold work is one of the cornerstones of training for runners who are tackling distances from 800m to ultras. Your lactate threshold is the point at which lactate is produced and accumulates in the blood at a faster rate than it can be removed, which leads to fatigue. Threshold training is designed to raise this point, enabling you to run faster for longer.
When we exercise, we break down glucose to create energy. Lactate and hydrogen ions are produced as a part of this process and enter the bloodstream. At slower paces, your body clears these by-products (known as buffering) with ease and uses lactate as an energy source. As you run harder, these by-products increase in your blood above their baseline – this is called lactate threshold.
Lactate is generally measured in millimoles per litre (mmol/L) and lactate threshold usually occurs around 2mmol/L. If you continue to increase running intensity, your body’s ability to clear and reuse lactate can’t keep pace with the rate at which it’s being produced – this is your lactate turn point. Beyond this, hydrogen ions and lactate rapidly increase in your blood. The increase in hydrogen ions lowers the pH level of your blood, making it more acidic. This reduces your muscles’ ability to contract, slowing you down. This point often occurs around 4mmol/L of lactate. So while lactate itself does not cause fatigue, we can use it as a proxy measurement for the other changes taking place that do limit your performance.
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9. Is It Time We Just Accepted Doping as Part of Sports?
s"Harder, better, faster, stronger" has always been the goal. Is that so bad?
For a nation with a relatively small imprint on world sport, Kenya has at least racked up one impressive achievement: 25 of its athletes were suspended or provisionally suspended this year by the Athletics Integrity Unit, many for suspected doping. Small wonder the AIU ranks Kenya as one of seven Category A countries, meaning its athletes must undergo at least three tests in the 10 months prior to a major event in order to compete.
Of course, these Kenyan athletes are far from alone. Earlier this year the former world number one tennis player Simona Halep tested positive for a banned substance at the U.S. Open (she’s arguing it was a result of a contaminated food supplement). And the roster of sportspeople who have been caught doping over recent decades has included some of its best-known stars: Ben Johnson, Tyson Gay, Diego Maradona, Shane Warne, Roy Jones Jr. and, most famously of all, Lance Armstrong. They’re just a smattering of the 3,000 athletes who test positive for banned substances — which build muscle mass, improve oxygen uptake, or increase stamina — every year.
10. Why Ladders Are the Best Interval Workouts:
Moving from long to short efforts during a workout maximizes the training stimulus.
For years now, I’ve had a default workout format that I rely on when I’m looking for a good hard effort that doesn’t feel that hard: the descending ladder. The details depend on how fit I am and what I’m training for, but a typical example would be 5:00, 4:00, 3:00, 2:00 (with recovery jogs lasting half the duration of the previous interval) and then 1:00 hard/1:00 easy for as many times as I feel like. There’s something about the mental and physical trajectory of these workouts that hits a sweet spot for me.
So a recent study by Filippo Vaccari and his colleagues at the University of Udine in Italy, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, caught my eye. The study’s title talks about “optimizing oxygen consumption” and “the exponential reconstitution behaviour of D’,” but when you dig into the details, you realize it’s making a physiological argument for the magic of the descending ladder workout. Call it confirmation bias, but I find it pretty compelling.
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11. Does having clear urine really mean you're well hydrated?!
There's a common misconception among athletes and the general public that you're optimally hydrated if your urine is a clear colour. The colour of your urine can help you understand how your hydration status fluctuates on a daily basis, but drinking until your pee is clear is not the route to optimal health or performance...
Urine Colour Chart - What colour is your urine?
Every time I visit the locker room of a pro sports team I make sure I visit the restrooms.
Often this is genuinely just answering the call of nature, but even if I don’t really need to pee I will usually make my excuses to go and take a quick look out of professional interest.
Now, I know this all sounds a bit weird, but hear me out. What I tend to go looking for is an ‘Armstrong Chart’ pasted up on the wall above the facilities.
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12. Nike's 50th anniversary: How the swoosh has changed running forever:
Fifty years after the birth of Nike, it's impossible to imagine the running world without it. From record-breaking shoes to Olympic kit, via running crews and online ads, the swoosh is everywhere. And yet, implausible though it now seems, the Nike story began, unpromisingly, with a piece of college homework. In 1962, former college runner Phil Knight, finishing his MBA at Stanford, handed in a thesis on Japanese shoe companies being poised to enter the US. It’s not an obvious eureka moment. The Second World War is a fresh memory, and hostility to Japan lingers. So when Knight decided to pack a rucksack, fly to Japan and persuade a shoe company to let him import its shoes, it must have seemed like lunacy.
That, though, was the beginning of Nike, or rather of its precursor, Blue Ribbon Sports. Importing ‘athletic’ shoes from Onitsuka (later to become Asics), Knight sold them not with the slick campaigns and celebrity endorsements that would later follow, but from the back of his car, bankrolled by money borrowed from his exasperated dad.
13. What Women Should Know About Adaptogens:
How to use these powerful botanicals to feel and perform your best.
From coffee to green powders to capsules, teas, and tinctures, adaptogens are ubiquitous in the wellness world right now, with promises of strengthening immunity, increasing mental focus, boosting energy, reducing stress, and more.
While I’m a big fan of adaptogens and they can indeed provide all those benefits, it’s important to know what you’re getting and why you’re using it. There are numerous types of adaptogens, each with its own unique mechanism of action. Some are stimulating while others are calming. Some act as hormone precursors. Others increase immune system activity. And they’re not all safe for everybody. Women, as they are more likely to have thyroid disease than men, need to be especially aware of potential contraindications when they start using adaptogens.
What Is an Adaptogen?
Adaptogens are a class of medicinal or therapeutic plants that increase your body’s resistance to stress. They do so by targeting your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a neuroendocrine system that controls your reaction to stress and regulates various body functions, such as digestion, mood, temperature control, and immunity.
More...from Dr. Stacy Sims.
14. Using winter to identify your weaknesses:
Strength and conditioning coach Andy Kay explains why now is the perfect time to spot your shortcomings
This can be a crucial time of year for many track athletes. With the summer season quickly becoming a distant memory, it’s now when the important foundations are laid for what lies ahead next summer.
With training intensity a little lower to begin with, there is an opportunity to work on the extra elements which can prove invaluable further down the line. It’s where some backwards thinking away from the heat of competition can help you get ahead.
Morew...from Athletics Weekly.
15. How Important Is Stretching, Really?
And do you need to do it before and after every workout? Here’s what experts say about when to stretch and why.
Most of us have been taught from a young age that failing to stretch before or after exercising is akin to a mortal sin. Skip your stretching routine, the thinking goes, and you’ll be more prone to injury, soreness and a generally worse workout.
But is this wisdom backed by science? And do you really need to stretch before and after every exercise? “The simplest way to answer that question would be no,” said Dr. Samantha Smith, an assistant professor of clinical orthopedics and rehabilitation at the Yale School of Medicine.
But the longer answer, experts say, is that it depends on the type of workout you’re doing as well as your fitness goals. Here’s why.
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