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Runner's Web Digest -May 7, 2021 - Posted: May 7, 2021

The Runner's Web Digest is a FREE weekly digest of information on running, triathlons and multisport activities.
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Runner's Web Digest INDEX

1. Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 Performance Review
2. Training Plans v. Coaching: Pros and Cons
3. Why do humans sweat so much?
4. Is HIIT bad for you? The downsides of high-intensity workouts
5. Why Regular Exercise Is Still Important Even If Your Job Is Physically Demanding
6. The power of habit
7. COVID study another indication that exercise is medicine 
8. Why get skinny when you could get fast? Why a rebalancing of perspectives is needed in cycling
9. What You Need to Know about Ferritin Levels and Iron Deficiency
10. The Data Behind a Once-a-Week Strength Routine
11. Alison Bechdel Seeks Enlightenment via Fitness 
12. Why Exercise Can Be So Draining for People With Rheumatoid Arthritis
13. COVID-19’s exercise paradox 
14. 6 Principles for Navigating Challenges in Life
15. 6 Key Dehydration Symptoms You Should Know About
Should Transgender Athletes Be Eligible for the Olympics?
*	Yes
*	No
*	No opinion, don't care 
Vote here

Which of the following marathons would you run if you had an unlimited amount of time to train and cost was not an issue?
1 Berlin 	180  (4%)
2 Boston 	775  (17%)
3 Chicago 	384  (9%)
4 Honolulu 	214  (5%)
5 London 	818  (18%)
6 Los Angeles 	249  (6%)
7 Marine Corps 	104  (2%)
8 New York 	828  (18%)
9 Ottawa 	292  (7%)
10 Rotterdam 	635  (14%)
Total Votes: 4479

About Nicole
I grew up in Downers Grove, IL, a suburb of Chicago, playing every sport available. I wasn’t naturally inclined toward anything that involved a ball (I’m still not!), but the minute I was tossed into the shallow end of the pool, I rose to the top. I swear I have this memory of starting swim lessons when I was four years old and “graduating” all the way to the deep end in the very first lesson. Needless to say, swimming became my sport and the pool became my home.
In 1988, at age 16, I qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 100 meter breaststroke in Austin, TX. I remember warming up in the side pool and Matt Biondi jumped in my lane just after he broke another record. I was in awe! I didn’t make the Olympic team that day, but I became a highly recruited college athlete, and six years later I graduated from Yale University which was officially the end of my swimming career, and the beginning of the next chapter in my life.
With a degree in sociology from one of the best colleges in the country, but no idea what I wanted to do with it, I wandered back to Chicago for a little soul-searching. I didn’t settle on my lifelong career during that time, but I did settle on a new mantra, something that continues to form that foundation for my life.
More...from Nicole DeBoom.

Daniels' Running Formula-4th Edition Author: Jack Tupper Daniels Train for your next race with the man who has been called "the world’s best running coach." With more than 55 years of experience, Jack Daniels is a legendary figure in the running community. Named the National Coach of the Year by the NCAA and honored as the Division III Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Century, Daniels has mentored some of the greatest names in running, including Jim Ryun, Ken Martin, Jerry Lawson, Alicia Shay, Peter Gilmore, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, and Janet Cherobon-Bawcom. In Daniels’ Running Formula, he has shared training advice with hundreds of thousands of runners. Now in this updated—and definitive—fourth edition, he again refines his methods and strategies to help you run faster and stronger. Building upon his revolutionary VDOT system, Daniels incorporates new insights gained from studying participants in his unique Run SMART Project. You’ll be guided through the components that make the training formula work and then learn different types of training—including treadmill training, fitness training, and training at altitude or in other challenging environments—along with age-related modifications for runners from ages 6 to 80. Everything comes together with expert advice on event-specific training ranging—for runs ranging from 800 meters to ultradistance events and triathlons. You will find advice on setting up your own seasonal plan, or you can follow one of Daniels’ 31 proven training plans and workouts. You’ll even find four fitness running plans, from novice level to elite level, to get in shape or regain conditioning after injury. Join the thousands of runners who have relied on Jack Daniels to help them reach their peak running performance. Using the programs outlined in Daniels’ Running Formula, you too can achieve the results you seek every time you train and race. Buy the book from Human Kinetics.

For more books on running and Triathlon visit:,,, and


1. Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 Performance Review:
What You Need To Know
Weighs 7.44 oz. (211 g) for a US M10.5
ZoomX midsole and outsole remains the same
More room in the toebox for them wider foot people
Upper is as breezy as a downtown Chicago street
Releases May 2021 for $250
THOMAS: Here we go again. I don’t care what you think, the Nike Vaporfly has been the top marathon shoe since 2018. Period. Yes, there are more plated racers to choose from lately (like the ASICS Metaspeed Sky), but no brand has outright taken the mantle. With this latest update, Nike makes sure it doesn’t screw the pooch and employs the K.I.S.S. model (i.e. keep it simple, stupid). Now simple is all relative. There’s a lot going on with this shoe, it’s just that it’s mostly the same as the last version. What changes are we looking at? Basically some new upper material and some structural tweaks to the upper.
MEAGHAN: Of course I was excited about this shoe. It’s the OG of plated racers. The holder of marathon PRs. It may even be the mother of dragons. And now it comes in my favorite colorway, Tiffany blue? You can probably guess where this review is going.
More...from Belive in the Run.

2. Training Plans v. Coaching: Pros and Cons:
Ready to take your training to the next level? Then it’s time to find a training plan or a coach. Here are the pros and cons of each, and why you need them to reach your goals.
Are you excited to race? Like many others, you may be severely under-trained and under-motivated at the moment given the restrictions and seemingly endless cancellations brought on by the pandemic. The good news is that as things seem to be getting under control, races are slowly coming back. The bad news, or at least something to be aware of, is that you may be ramping up faster than you should. Many of you may be wondering whether you should get a training plan or a coach for this return-to-racing period and beyond. To help with this decision, I have outlined below several pros and cons of training plans and coaching.
Training Plans: The First Step Towards Meeting Your Goals
Training plans are offered by many coaching companies on TrainingPeaks, for example, but the athlete buying the training plan is not receiving any coaching.
More...from Training Peaks.

3. Why do humans sweat so much?
Very few mammals perspire so what are the advantages of sweating for humans? Sports Scientist Andy Blow looks at how sweating could be a result of evolution and explains why humans sweat...
The dangers of overheating
Humans are endotherms.
This is a scientific term for ‘warm blooded’ and means that we regulate our own core body temperature without relying on the external environment in the way that cold blooded creatures like reptiles are forced to.
We have to keep our core temperature in the range of about 97°F (36.1°C) to 99°F (37.2°C), as the dangers of Hyper- and Hypo- thermia lurk nearby if we deviate too far above or below this range.
There’s not a lot of wiggle room when it comes to overheating.
A core temperature over 104°F (40°C) can be life-threatening, although interestingly, a sustained temperature a little way north of this has been recorded in some elite athletes running in the heat.
As the heat generated as a bi-product of our internal metabolic processes increases our body temperature, we use several mechanisms to dissipate any excess to the environment.
During exercise, metabolic heat production rises largely in step with the intensity of work being done, so excess heat can be a significant problem when going hard, especially in a hot environment.
More...from Precision Hydration.

4. Is HIIT bad for you? The downsides of high-intensity workouts:
HIIT workouts promise better results in less time, but they can take a toll on your body.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has a lot of good going for it. Studies show that HIIT workouts can burn more calories in less time than other types of workouts, specifically steady-state exercise such as jogging. In fact, one study suggests HIIT can produce the same health benefits as moderate-intensity continuous exercise in half the time.
Other research proves HIIT to be a helpful tool for reducing resting blood pressure, increasing VO2 max, losing body fat and other benefits.
Given the benefits and that "lack of time" is one of the most common excuses for skipping out on exercise, it makes sense that HIIT has become a popular form of exercise.
However, as the saying goes, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
More...from CNET.

5. Why Regular Exercise Is Still Important Even If Your Job Is Physically Demanding:
our work activity probably can’t make up for the cardio benefits you get from your daily runs.
New research shows that if you have a physically demanding job but rarely exercise outside of those jobs, you may have a higher risk of a major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE), such as a heart attack or stroke.
Physically demanding jobs don’t tend to improve cardiovascular fitness the way a brisk walk or moderately intense run can do.
It’s important to find ways to fit in exercise—like going for a run during lunch, for instance—rather than assuming your work activity can make up for that kind of exercise.
If you have a sedentary job, a breadth of research touts the benefits adding some exercise into your day. But what if your job has plenty of physical activity already? Does that make going for runs more optional?
Although it may seem counterintuitive, moving all day for work doesn’t seem to let you off the hook for the type of benefits you gain from regular exercise.
More...from Runner's World.

6. The power of habit:
Louise Rudd talks us through the importance of our habits and how they can impact our running
Habits – we all have them both good and bad. When you woke up this morning what did you do first? grab a coffee, go to the toilet & check social media (you know you all have so stop pretending to be horrified), did you brush your teeth before or after your shower?
Back in 1892 William James who was an American philosopher & psychologist stated "All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits". This was backed up by a paper published in 2006 by Duke University that found more than 40% of actions people performed each day were not actual decisions, but habits.
More...from Fast Running.

7. COVID study another indication that exercise is medicine :
"We found that consistently meeting physical activity guidelines was strongly associated with reduced odds for severe COVID-19 among infected adults," said the research team.
What started as a catchphrase has become a movement that can no longer be denied. Physical activity has been prescribed by more and more physicians as a preventive measure against heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, depression, Type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancer, and a study published in April in the British Journal of Sports Medicine offered another important example of why exercise is medicine.
"We found that consistently meeting physical activity guidelines was strongly associated with reduced odds for severe COVID-19 among infected adults," said a team of researchers led by Robert Sallis from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in California.
More...from the Montreal Gazette.

8. Why get skinny when you could get fast? Why a rebalancing of perspectives is needed in cycling:
Cycling’s obsession with weight is doing untold damage, argues Joe Laverick as he calls for a rebalancing of perspectives on fuelling, physique and performance.
Whether it’s on Instagram, TikTok or TV, we’re constantly bombarded with images of perfect bodies. And it’s particularly relentless for us cyclists. The ideal body for us, we’re led to believe, is super-lean, if not super-skinny. This body image is reinforced by the pro peloton. Riders are pushing their body composition like never before, and it’s glorified on social media with images of vein-bulging, ripped legs beneath tiny torsos. Of course, this is what top-level cycling physiology looks like, but it has a dark side too.
There are an estimated 1.25 million people with eating disorders in the UK. That’s around one in 50. And the prevalence among endurance athletes is far worse, estimated at around 10 per cent of men and as many as one-quarter of women. From my own experience as a young rider, I’m willing to bet the figures are even higher among cyclists.
My suspicion is that almost every racing cyclist has had, or continues to have, a battle with food. I’ve had my own struggles. I was once told by a team doctor that I could lose an amount of weight that equated to 10 per cent of my body mass. In another team, I had to undergo monthly skinfold tests, the results of which the DS kept in a spreadsheet; if a figure wasn’t ‘right’, he would question our commitment. This is not a healthy state of affairs.
More...from Cycling Weekly.

9. What You Need to Know about Ferritin Levels and Iron Deficiency:
Poor performances and feelings of fatigue may signal a need to get your levels checked.
It’s common to associate a poor performance with low iron. "I had a bad race, maybe I should check my iron?" "I’m feeling fatigued during workouts—could it be my iron levels?" I get these questions from the athletes I work with a lot.
And while there are countless variables that can contribute to poor performances or fatigue, one thing we do know is that iron is important for runners. If your iron levels are low and you don’t do anything about it, you will eventually feel the negative impact on performance. Here’s what you need to know about both iron and ferritin levels.
What is iron and why is it important for athletes?
Iron is an essential mineral found in red blood cells that is important for oxygen transport in the blood and to muscles, energy production, cognition, and immunity. The reason many of us worry about our levels is that iron is lost in many ways: in the urine, through the menstrual cycle, blood loss in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, sweat loss, and the breakdown of red blood cells via the impact of our foot strikes. Plus, chronic use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen)—ones often used by athletes—and antacids can also lead to iron deficiency.
More...from Runner's World.

10. The Data Behind a Once-a-Week Strength Routine:
A new study plots the progression of thousands of people following an ultra-minimalist training plan. The results are impressive—at least initially.
There’s good news and bad news in a remarkable new multi-year study of nearly 15,000 people who followed an ultra-minimalist strength training plan involving just one short workout a week. The good news is that the training really works, despite taking less than 20 minutes a week all in street clothes. The bad news is that it eventually stops working, or at least gets less effective—a phenomenon that the researchers argue may be universal rather than specific to the training plan, and that has important implications for how we think about long-term training goals.
The study is posted as a preprint at SportRxiv, which means it hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed (though it is currently undergoing that process). It retroactively analyzed data from a Dutch personal training company called Fit20, whose motto (according to Google’s translation of its Twitter bio) is "personal health training in 20 minutes per week… no hassle with changing/showering." The model has been franchised in other countries, including the United States, with locations in Florida, Virginia, Utah, and Michigan.
More.... from Sweat Science on Outside Online.

11. Alison Bechdel Seeks Enlightenment via Fitness :
In her new memoir, 'The Secret to Superhuman Strength,' the 'Fun Home' cartoonist scrutinizes her quest for spiritual solace through 60 years of athletic obsessions
Last week, I texted a doctor friend a photo of my banged-up face, with the question: "So, do you think I need stitches?" It had happened hours earlier, during my fifth-ever surf lesson. After briefly catching a whopping one-foot wave, I toppled off my board and into the Pacific. My body somersaulted like it’d been thrown in the washing machine, along with my massive foam surfboard. Before I could cover my face, I felt it—THWACK!—a plastic fin to my eyebrow. I surfaced, dizzy, and touched my temple. The cut bled dramatically, as head wounds do, more bark than bite. As I paddled back to the beach, I heard a 12-year-old boy bobbing nearby yell, "Whoa! Holy shit!"
Surfing, I’m gathering, is 90 percent learning how to read the ocean and alter your actions to accommodate it. In no other sport does the track, court, or field change as the ocean does, on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis. Bleeding from the face felt humbling. Not just because the wave that caused it was one foot tall, nor because a 12-year-old clocked it. But because it reminded me how insignificant I am, barely a drop in the Pacific Ocean, completely subject to its whims. Maybe it was the blood loss-induced dizzies, but as I dragged my board to the beach, I felt like I’d lost my sense of self. It was freeing. I have a suspicion Alison Bechdel would understand the feeling.
More...from Outside Online.

12. Why Exercise Can Be So Draining for People With Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Even a gentle session of leg lifts set off an exaggerated nervous system reaction in older women with rheumatoid arthritis.
Exercise can feel more difficult and draining than usual if you have rheumatoid arthritis, and it’s not just because of the stiff and painful joints caused by this autoimmune disorder. In a groundbreaking new experiment involving older women and exercise, researchers found that even a gentle session of leg lifts set off an exaggerated nervous system reaction in those with rheumatoid arthritis. Light exercise also negatively affected the inner workings of their muscles and blood vessels.
The findings build on earlier research about rheumatoid arthritis and the nervous system and raise pressing new questions about the best and safest ways for people with this disorder or similar autoimmune diseases to become and remain active.
Anyone who has rheumatoid arthritis or is close to someone who has it knows the havoc it creates in the body. Immune cells mistakenly attack healthy tissue, especially in joints, causing swelling, pain and deterioration, along with full-body inflammation and fatigue. Rheumatoid arthritis also often results in cardiovascular disease, which initially puzzled doctors, since the misguided immune cells do not directly target the heart or arteries.
More...from the New York Times.

13. COVID-19’s exercise paradox :
Before the pandemic hit Ontario, Jennifer Heisz had been training for a triathlon. The director of McMaster University’s NeuroFit Lab calls the training "my own personal three-year journey from sedentary to Ironman, to show the benefits of extra exercise on mental health and brain health" — both focuses of her research.
Then, in March 2020, the province went into lockdown, shuttering the gyms and pools where Heisz worked out. "There was so much uncertainty. For me, this was extremely anxiety-provoking. It was extremely stressful," she says. "I couldn’t exercise at the same intensity I had been."
Heisz, an associate professor in McMaster’s Department of Kinesiology, wondered whether other people felt the same way. She also worried that the pandemic might cause some to forgo exercise altogether. That inspired Heisz and her team to launch a study into exercise and mental health during the pandemic. Published in April, it identifies a troubling paradox: many respondents who said they wanted improve their mental health via exercise also identified poor mental health as a barrier to doing so.
More...from TVO.

14. 6 Principles for Navigating Challenges in Life:
Constant adaptation is the key to lifelong endurance.
The world around us is constantly changing. And as the coronavirus pandemic has shown, much of this change is outside of our control. In an average adult life, a person experiences 36 significant disruptions, from switching jobs, to moving, to facing a significant injury or illness, to having a child, to losing a loved one. As the old adage goes, the only constant is change.
Even so, change, disruption, and disorder remain uncomfortable concepts for most people. Yet we can learn to survive—and even thrive—in their midst. If this seems unimaginable, it’s because we’ve been going about it all wrong. Common pitfalls around change include attempting to avoid it, refusing to acknowledge it, actively resisting it, sacrificing agency, and striving to get back to the way things were. The last point is particularly timely, as evidenced by the countless headlines pontificating on how long it will take to "return to normal" after the pandemic.
More...from Outside Online.

15. 6 Key Dehydration Symptoms You Should Know About:
It’s not just a matter of feeling thirsty.
Much like running itself, hydrating is one of those things that should be simple. (It’s the most natural thing in the world! You’ve been doing it for years! Your body craves it!) But, unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy.
"By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated," says Craig Horswill, Ph.D., clinical associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "But that doesn’t mean you should drink random, ungodly amounts of water. In fact, it’s probably better to be a little under-hydrated than over-hydrated."
That’s because the consequences of over-hydration are severe (read: death), and it’s important to note that everyone requires different amounts of water based on their personal physiology, and even the time of year/day that they’re running. (Here, Horswill explains how to determine the right amount of water for your needs.)
More...from Runner's World.

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Upcoming Races, Marathons, Races, and Triathlons May 1-10,, 2021: The Srengeti Challenge Virtual Run - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania May 8-9,, 2021: Gasparilla Distance Classic - Tampa Bay, FLA May 14-15, 2021:1 Mt. SAC Relays - Walnut, CA May 29-30, 2021: Ottawa Race Weekend - Ottawa, ON For more complete race listings check out our Upcoming Races, and Calendars. Have a good week of training and/or racing. Ken Email:

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