1. The $375 Trail Shoe: Speedland SL:PDX Review:
What You Need To Know
Weighs 10.6 oz. (300 g) for US M9.0 / 9.7 oz. (278 g) for US W8.5
Features an array of premium components including Carbitex carbon fiber plate, Dyneema upper, Michelin wrap outsole, and Pebax SCF midsole
The BOA Li2 Fit System may provide the best upper fit we’ve ever had in a shoe
And yes, it costs $375
TAYLOR: Trail shoe after trail shoe comes to our door. We test them. Some we love, a few we hate. What often stands out to me is that in almost every shoe, no matter the design or function, ‘x’ and ‘y’ are done really well, but ‘z’ gets neglected.
Companies defend the shortcomings by noting that particular models are made for a specific terrain or purpose; however, I don’t think that should necessitate a degradation in quality. The real deal is that many shoes are tied to dysfunctional large branding schemes, industry standards, and other guidelines. There are a few exceptions, but oftentimes, a shoe itself becomes so watered down to “fit” with the brand that it misses its mark on what trail runners want or need.
More...from Belive in the Run.
2. Yes, “Real Athletes” Eat Burritos (and Pizza, and Ice Cream, and Everything Else Delicious):
Of all of the takes currently floating around the internet, elite runner Sabrina Little argues that the worst is probably the one about how a professional runner would never eat a burrito.
One afternoon my sophomore year of high school, I was eating a snack before indoor track practice when a teammate chastised me. “I thought you were serious about running,” he told me. “You shouldn’t be eating that.” A couple of older teammates agreed.
Strictly speaking, he was not wrong, nor was it his intent to be malicious. Some foods better support athletic objectives than the snack I was about to consume, and I had not considered this before his comment. Really, this should have been a teachable moment in my development as a runner. Nutrition plays a considerable role in running—alongside rest, lifting, recovery, and hydration—in enabling us to stay healthy and to perform well over the long-term. It would be untruthful to suggest otherwise. Still, the way this comment was framed—that my abstention from certain foods was a testing grounds for my commitment to my new sport—was unhelpful to me. I did want to be serious. I was willing to do whatever it took, and to abstain from whatever I ought. This was the first time I remember wondering what exactly I should be eating as a runner. What mystical set of foods is running approved, if not the ones I had chosen for my afternoon snack? Which foods meant I was a serious athlete?
More...from Women's Running.
3. What should you eat during the hours before training and races?
Deciding how to approach nutrition in the few hours before a training session or race is one of the great fueling challenges for athletes. To help you hone your own pre-workout food intake, I've drawn on my MANY years of experience of honing my own strategy and looked at what scientific evidence says about what, how much and when you should eat before exercise...
Should you eat immediately before exercise?
I’m definitely a “Lark” to use a term borrowed from Matthew Walker’s brilliant book ‘Why We Sleep’. Because of my natural chronotype I have a tendency to start the majority of my workouts well before 7am, and occasionally before 6 (to the annoyance of my wife if my alarm is set too ‘loud’).
One knock-on effect of being an ‘early bird’ is that I tend to do most of my training on an empty stomach (except for a mandatory coffee) because both the thought and practicalities of eating anything significant before getting out of the door is quite unappealing at that time of day.
This approach works fine for me as most of my sessions are only up to about an hour long. Whilst I'm sometimes very ready for breakfast by the time I finish, it rarely feels like not eating beforehand is diminishing the quality or enjoyment of my training. I probably benefit from the fact that I’ve become habituated to this approach over many years, so physiologically and psychologically, it’s ‘normal’ as far as my body is concerned.
More...from (Precision Hydration.
4. Why Fitter People Drink More Alcohol:
Regular exercisers drink more, a new study confirms, but are less likely to be problem drinkers.
My second-favorite running T-shirt quote is usually attributed to the versatile New Zealander Rod Dixon, whose range stretched from an Olympic medal in the 1,500 meters to a New York City Marathon victory: “All I want to do,” he said, “is drink beer and train like an animal.” (My favorite is from Noureddine Morceli: “When I race, my mind is full of doubts. Who will finish second? Who will finish third?”) I don’t even like beer all that much, but there’s something appealing in the simple clarity of Dixon’s ambitions—something, it turns out, that seems to resonate with a lot of runners.
Many different studies over the years have concluded that people who exercise a lot also tend to drink more. This is mildly surprising, because in general healthy or unhealthy behaviors tend to cluster together: exercise buffs are less likely to smoke but more likely to eat a lot of kale, for example. Admittedly, alcohol is tricky to slot into the “healthy” or “unhealthy” category because there’s (much debated) evidence that light or even moderate drinking may confer some health benefits. But I don’t think Dixon’s taste for beer was driven by a desire to lower his blood pressure.
More...from Sweat Science @ Outside Online.
5. Beat Your Pre-Race Nerves:
Anxiety in the lead-up to your big race is common. But with these proven strategies, you can stay calm and race strong.
You know what it’s like in the lead-up to your big race. You can’t eat anything. You keep having visions of an over-crowded swim start or a mid-race puncture. You’ve been to the toilet 476 times. You snap at anyone who tries to talk to you. And you’re wishing you’d never entered the stupid race in the first place.
Yes, pre-race nerves are common in all endurance events, but there is good news. You can harness this pre-race tension to deliver your best racing performance — you just need to understand the reason you’re feeling this way.
Challenge or Threat?
When it comes to pre-race nerves, it’s all about how you perceive what lies in front of you. “Awareness and anticipation is a big thing when it comes to performance anxiety,” says sports psychologist Dan Abrahams. “You can see it through body language, that the individual is struggling to cope with what lies ahead.”
Abrahams’ words tie in with what’s called the transactional theory of stress. This model, outlined in Handbook of Behavioral Medicine, suggests that while we unconsciously assess the stressors and demands of an event, they’re not actually the problem. The real problem is how we appraise each of them and then decide whether we have the resources to meet the problems posed. These ‘resources’ include your ability, your previous experience, and your relevant skills.
More...from Training Peaks.
6. What’s more important, getting that workout in, or staying inside during air quality warnings?
During a family trip to Alberta last month, I got a taste of what millions of people across the country have been dealing with this year. One day it was bluebird skies and crisp mountain air; the next, it was so hazy that we couldn’t even make out the craggy peaks across the highway from our hotel in Canmore.
That presented my wife and me with a dilemma. Our phones were pinging with warnings to stay inside and avoid exercise due to the negative health effects of breathing wildfire smoke. But we wanted to run.
There’s no doubt whatsoever that breathing polluted air is bad for you, whether it’s the small particles in seasonal wildfire smoke or perennial irritants such as ground-level ozone and carbon monoxide from cars and factories. In fact, you can use daily air quality readings to predict the rise and fall of hospital admissions for conditions such as stroke and heart attack with remarkable accuracy.
More...from the Globe and Mail.
7. The Benefits of Daily Movement :
In this excerpt from his new book ‘The Practice of Groundedness,’ our Do It Better columnist Brad Stulberg explains how ritualizing exercise benefits your brain and body
In the 1640s, French philosopher René Descartes introduced what came to be known as Cartesian dualism, or the idea that although materially connected, the mind and body are separate entities. This thinking dominated for more than 350 years. It wasn’t until the turn of the twenty-first century that scientists began to prove that Descartes was mistaken: we do not have a distinct mind and body. Rather, we are an integrated mind-body system.
The bacteria in our guts and the proteins secreted by our muscles affect our moods. The neurochemicals in our brains affect how much pain we feel in our backs and how fast our hearts beat. When we move our bodies regularly we do a better job of controlling our emotions, we think more creatively, and we retain more information.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that exercise improves not only physical health but also mental health. A 2019 analysis out of King’s College in London examined more than 40 studies that collectively followed 267,000 people to explore the connection between exercise and depression. The researchers found that regular physical activity reduced the chances that someone would experience depression by between 17 and 41 percent, a substantial effect that was observed regardless of age and gender, and that held true across various types of movement, from running to lifting weights. Other research has found similar effects for anxiety.
More...from Outside ONline.
8. Why Does Coffee Sometimes Make Me Tired?
Lethargy, blood sugar and dehydration explain in part the paradoxical effects of coffee on our energy levels.
Caffeine, the main active ingredient in coffee, has a well-justified reputation for being an energy booster. But caffeine is also a drug, which means that it can affect each of us differently, depending on our consumption habits and our genes.
“The paradox of caffeine is that in the short term, it helps with attention and alertness. It helps with some cognitive tasks, and it helps with energy levels,” said Mark Stein, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington, who has studied the impact of caffeine on people with A.D.H.D. “But the cumulative effect — or the long-term impact — has the opposite effect.”
More...from the New York Times.
9. Evidence suggests inclusion comes at expense of fairness:
Trans women retain biological advantages of men even when they reduce testosterone levels, says Ross Tucker
To understand the physiological nuances of transgender women in sport, we must first understand the purpose of competitive sport. It exists to reward performance excellence, which is the result of physiological attributes that are optimised by preparation and environment. We recognise Simone Biles, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt as outstanding proponents of their crafts because they possess the optimal physiological hardware and software, harnessed through preparation, to win Olympic gold medals.
Katie Ledecky and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are worthy of the same recognition for their medals as Phelps and Bolt were for theirs. Yet Ledecky in swimming and Fraser-Pryce on the track are about 11 per cent slower than Phelps and Bolt. In other sports the male-female difference is even larger. Power is about 30 per cent greater in men than women, male upper-body strength advantages range between 30 and 60 per cent, and punching power is 260 per cent higher in men.
These performance differences exist because, unlike their male counterparts, female athletes never have access to high levels of so-called androgen hormones (literally “male-making” hormones, the most well-known of which is testosterone), that drive development of what are called secondary sex characteristics at puberty and into adulthood. These include longer and stronger bones, a narrower pelvis, a larger heart and lungs, lower body fat mass, increased muscle mass and vastly increased muscle strength.
More...from The Times.
10. Move for 3 Minutes, Every Half-Hour, to Counter the Ill Effects of Sitting:
Climbing stairs, doing jumping jacks or even taking as few as 15 steps during mini-breaks improved blood sugar control among office workers.
Sitting for hours at a desk can play havoc with our metabolic health, contributing over time to high blood sugar and high cholesterol, even in people who otherwise seem mostly healthy. But a practical though small new study shows that standing up and moving every 30 minutes for about three minutes may lessen the health impacts of over-sitting. The study found that climbing several flights of stairs, bopping through some jumping jacks or squats or even taking as few as 15 steps during these mini-breaks improved aspects of blood sugar control among office workers, without noticeably interrupting their work flow.
But the study, which involved 16 middle-aged, white-collar workers at high risk for Type 2 diabetes, also indicates that these bi-hourly, three-minute breaks likely represent the minimum amount of movement needed to protect metabolic health. While 15 steps twice an hour may be a good start, they should not be the only steps we take toward reducing how much we sit.
More...from the New York Times.
11. Technological doping: The science of why Nike Alphaflys were banned from the Tokyo Olympics:
Runners wearing Nike's Vaporfly shoes took 31 of 36 podium positions at major marathons in 2019. Do they give an unfair advantage? And could it ever be fair?
What running shoes have been banned from the Tokyo Olympics?
In October 2019, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge did what no human had done before and ran a marathon in under two hours. His 1:59:40 time came via an average speed of 21.18km/h (just try that for 30 seconds next time you’re on a treadmill).
But some argue the unofficial record partly derived from the Nike Alphafly shoes he was wearing. The Alphaflys, or “the shoe that broke running”, as sports scientist Dr Ross Tucker called them, contain tech designed to deliver greater energy return and speed.
Thanks to a trio of carbon plates and a cutting-edge midsole (the cushioning above the tread), peer-reviewed studies – albeit funded by Nike – claimed the shoe served up a 4 per cent increase in running efficiency and an estimated 3.4 per cent in speed.
More...from Science Focus.
12. Transgender Women in the Female Category of Sport: Perspectives on Testosterone Suppression and Performance Advantage:
Males enjoy physical performance advantages over females within competitive sport. The sex-based segregation into male and female sporting categories does not account for transgender persons who experience incongruence between their biological sex and their experienced gender identity. Accordingly, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) determined criteria by which a transgender woman may be eligible to compete in the female category, requiring total serum testosterone levels to be suppressed below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to and during competition. Whether this regulation removes the male performance advantage has not been scrutinized. Here, we review how differences in biological characteristics between biological males and females affect sporting performance and assess whether evidence exists to support the assumption that testosterone suppression in transgender women removes the male performance advantage and thus delivers fair and safe competition. We report that the performance gap between males and females becomes significant at puberty and often amounts to 10–50% depending on sport. The performance gap is more pronounced in sporting activities relying on muscle mass and explosive strength, particularly in the upper body. Longitudinal studies examining the effects of testosterone suppression on muscle mass and strength in transgender women consistently show very modest changes, where the loss of lean body mass, muscle area and strength typically amounts to approximately 5% after 12 months of treatment. Thus, the muscular advantage enjoyed by transgender women is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed. Sports organizations should consider this evidence when reassessing current policies regarding participation of transgender women in the female category of sport.
13. 5 Life Lessons Running a Marathon Can Teach You:
With fall marathons back on, we’re celebrating the return to racing—and the positive side effects it can have on our lives.
Runners tackle marathons for all sorts of reasons. We run them to commemorate milestones, to grow as athletes, and, in some cases, just to prove we can. Regardless of why you set out to run 26.2, one thing’s unavoidable: you’re going to learn something about yourself in the process. And maybe that’s the true reason so many runners aspire to this iconic distance. To dig a little deeper, we tapped two Tracksmith athletes and marathon specialists for their practical tips, sage advice, and lessons learned from running marathons.
1. You Need to Know Your “Why”
L.A. runner Rio Lakeshore first fell in love with easy, meditative running when he was just 12 years old, growing up in the Mojave desert, sometimes logging ten miles to get to school when he missed the infrequent bus. “My easy runs are my sanctuary,” he says. “Running cleans up the cobwebs and allows for a clear head so I can have more space to be able to handle other things in life.”
More...from Outside Online.
14. The Best Running Shoes for Fall 2021:
We piled miles on 78 different models this season. These 20 pairs came out on top.
Road racing has returned this fall, after an 18-month hiatus, and that means it’s time to lace up the fastest new shoes to test your fitness. But whether you’re racing or just enjoying your daily mileage, there are fantastic new models that leverage the latest bouncy foams and irritation-free uppers to ensure you get the most from every run.
To find this season’s best shoes, our test team and more than 250 wear-testers piled miles on 78 different models, with each tester logging more than 100 miles in their test pair. We examined how each shoe performed on the road or trail and evaluated key qualities like cushioning, flexibility, stability, and overall ride. After all that, these 20 pairs came out on top.
More...from Runner's World.
15. 20 states sue over Biden admin school, work LGBT protections:
Attorneys general from 20 states sued President Joe Biden’s administration Monday seeking to halt directives that extend federal sex discrimination protections to LGBTQ people, ranging from transgender girls participating in school sports to the use of school and workplace bathrooms that align with a person’s gender identity.
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, arguing that legal interpretations by the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are based on a faulty view of U.S. Supreme Court case law.
The Supreme Court ruled in June 2020 that a landmark civil rights law, under a provision called Title VII, protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment.
This June, the Department of Education said discrimination based on a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity will be treated as a violation of Title IX, the 1972 federal law that protects against sex discrimination in education. A legal analysis by the department concluded there is “no persuasive or well-founded basis” to treat education differently than employment.
More...from AP News.