1. Bone Health Basics For Runners: Build Them, Keep Them, Protect Them:
Everything female runners need to know about bone health through all ages of running.
Stamina, strength, mobility, and mindset fuel your running longevity. All of these hard-earned abilities, however, rely on their foundation’s integrity: your bones.
Stress fractures and low bone density are both major bone health issues that sideline runners. Approximately 25 percent of female runners experience stress fractures; by the age of 50, 54 percent of the U.S. adult population is diagnosed with low bone density.
Although bone health declines with age, your intentional inclusion of bone health in every decade adds up. Bone is like a retirement account. Your bone health investments accumulate until your early 30s. After that, your nutrition and exercise choices slow the rate of withdrawal.
Just as retirement account strategies change over time, bone health is not a one-size-fits-all approach; nutrition and exercise guidelines vary by lifespan stage.
More...from Women's Running.
2. When too much exercise is bad for your heart:
New research of nearly 1,000 long-time endurance athletes found that heavy training may contribute to an increased chance of developing atrial fibrillation
Exercise is, without question, good for our hearts. But can we potentially get too much of a good thing?
A growing body of science, including a new report of the health of almost 1,000 longtime runners, cyclists, swimmers and triathletes, finds that years of heavy endurance training and competition may contribute to an increased chance of developing atrial fibrillation, especially in men.
Atrial fibrillation, or AFib as it’s commonly called, is an irregular heart beat that can lead to blood clots and a higher risk of stroke.
This new science does not mean that any of us should panic and dial back our training, particularly if our exercise routines are relatively moderate. But it does hint that nobody is immune from cardiac concerns, no matter how fit we may feel.
More...from The Washington Post.
3. Separating Fact from Fiction for Female Athletes—with Dr. Stacy Sims:
When it comes to coaching female athletes there's an abundance of myths and misconceptions. Physiologist Stacy Sims sets the record straight.
When it comes to female-specific training and performance, Dr. Stacy Sims has been leading the charge in recent years to help educate athletes and coaches about the many differences that exist between male and female physiology. Coaching female athletes using protocols and practices that have only been researched on men can lead to poor performance, injury, illness, and burnout. Yet many of these protocols and practices still exist.
In this video, Dr. Sims talks through five of the most popular misconceptions that she still sees coaches and their athletes adhering to. They include:
Exercising in a fasted state
Linking menstrual irregularity or amenorrhea with “good” body composition
Avoiding racing during certain times of the menstrual cycle
Placing too much trust in data from wearable devices (which are largely based on male-derived data)
Believing being lighter is better and/or chasing a specific race weight
More...from Fast Talk Labaratories.
4. Transcend your running limits:
This is an excerpt from Breakthrough Women's Running by Neely S. Spence Gracey & Cindy Kuzma.
Working as a running coach has given me a front-row seat into athletes’ biggest dreams and desires. I get so excited about that first email, phone call, or meeting when a runner lays it all on the line.
Some want to qualify for the Boston Marathon or Olympic Marathon Trials. Others seek a personal best time, or to conquer a new distance, or to reintegrate running into their lives as mothers. In short, they’re looking to make a breakthrough of their own, and they’re asking for my help. What an honor!
I know that to open up about your audacious goals takes guts. I’m beyond grateful when athletes share, and from the moment we agree to work together, I feel invested in bringing their visions to life.
We all need big goals to fuel our efforts. Most of us are capable of far more than we think, provided we give ourselves the time and tools we need to succeed (much more on all that in chapter 2, page 13).
So if you’re a runner with a goal that lights you up, gets you out of bed in the morning, and makes you equal parts scared and excited, you’re in the right place. I get it; I’m thrilled for you, and I’m willing to work with you to make it happen
More...from Human Kinestics.
5. The Doping Dilemma:
Game theory helps to explain the pervasive abuse of drugs in cycling, baseball and other sports
[From a time when Scientific American was scientific]
An alarming number of sports—baseball, football, track and field, and especially cycling—have been shaken by doping scandals in recent years.
Among the many banned drugs in the cycling pharmacopoeia, the most effective is recombinant erythropoietin (r-EPO), an artificial hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells, thereby delivering more oxygen to the muscles.
Game theory highlights why it is rational for professional cyclists to dope: the drugs are extremely effective as well as difficult or impossible to detect; the payoffs for success are high; and as more riders use them, a “clean” rider may become so noncompetitive that he or she risks being cut from the team.
The game theory analysis of cycling can readily be extended to other sports. The results show quantitatively how governing bodies and antidoping agencies can most effectively target efforts to clean up their sports.
For a competitive cyclist, there is nothing more physically crushing and psychologically demoralizing than getting dropped by your competitors on a climb. With searing lungs and burning legs, your body hunches over the handlebars as you struggle to stay with the leader. You know all too well that once you come off the back of the pack the drive to push harder is gone—and with it any hope for victory.
I know the feeling because it happened to me in 1985 on the long climb out of Albuquerque during the 3,000-mile, nonstop transcontinental Race Across America. On the outskirts of town I had caught up with the second-place rider (and eventual winner), Jonathan Boyer, a svelte road racer who was the first American to compete in the Tour de France. About halfway up the leg-breaking climb, that familiar wave of crushing fatigue swept through my legs as I gulped for oxygen in my struggle to hang on.
More...from Scientific American.
6. Salomon Glide Max TR Review: Glidin’ to the Max:
MICHAEL: I was but a young lad perusing the buyers’ guides of Runner’s World, studying up on stack heights and midsole foams like any normal middle schooler would, when I saw an ad for the latest Salomon S/Lab trail racing shoes (probably the S/Lab Sense 2, worn by none other than Kilian, of course). It looked totally awesome, the colorway was sick, and immediately I associated the Salomon name with cutting-edge trail racing. A few years later, along came this little brand Hoka One One, and the trail running landscape was changed forever.
Since then, brands have adapted to the high-stack craze, and while somewhat slower to respond than others, Salomon is no exception. In 2021, it launched what we dubbed the brand’s first “true-comfort” option, the Ultra Glide, with a soft midsole, rocker geometry, and an accommodating fit. Two years later, Salomon is beginning to build on the success of the Ultra Glide… vertically.
With a sky-high 36/30 stack, the Glide Max TR is certainly Salomon’s thickest, softest offering to date, promising comfort for miles on end. Interestingly, the launch of the shoe has been rather understated. We first saw the shoe at TRE, and since then, it just quietly appeared on Salomon’s website and at Running Warehouse without much spotlight from Salomon’s marketing. Don’t let this fool you, however, as Salomon’s first-ish foray into ultra-high stack heights deserves attention.
More...from Belioeve in the Run.
7. Should Transwomen be allowed to Compete in Women’s Sports?
A view from an Exercise Physiologist
Gregory A. Brown Ph.D., Professor of Exercise Science, Physical Activity and Wellness Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences, University of Nebraska Kearney,
Tommy Lundberg Ph.D., Assistant Senior Lecturer, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Physiology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, SWE
Transgender women (transwomen) are individuals whose biological sex is male, but their gender identity is that of a woman. In 2003, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) released their initial policy on transgender athletes, in 2011 the NCAA adopted a transgender athlete inclusion policy, and in 2015 the IOC adopted a revised policy on transgender athletes. Starting in 2019 there were several high-profile cases of transwomen competing for championships in women’s sports (for example see these articles on ESPN.com, APNews, and the Washington Times). In response to these situations and concerns from athletes and the public, the International Olympic Committee, the NCAA, FINA, British Cycling, US Rowing, World Boxing, World Athletics and many other sports governing bodies have recently revised their policies regarding transgender athletes, particularly regarding transwomen. These policies vary considerably from the inclusion of transwomen in women’s sports based on self-identification as a woman, participation of transwomen in women’s sports if they meet testosterone suppression requirements, or participation in women’s sports allowed only for those who are recorded as female at birth.
More...from Center on Sport Policy and Conduct.
8. Why Is YouTube Obsessed with Running Marathons on Zero Training?
Social media influencers have started a trend of posting videos of them running long distances without training. Here’s why the science says it’s probably not a great idea.
I sat idly at my desk, scrolling through various social media apps, feeling sluggish and unmotivated. I had a six-mile run scheduled for that afternoon, but my brain was already constructing excuses to bail. I opened YouTube and noticed one of my favorite creators, elite Norwegian rock climber and popular vlogger, Magnus Midtbø, had a new upload. Something instantly seemed off upon inspection of the title thumbnail. He was running.
In it, Magnus gazed painfully into the camera. A long, desolate road stretched far into the desert behind him. The video was titled, I tried to run a marathon in the hottest place on earth *without training.*
More...from Outside Online.
9. Science of recovery: the importance of food, hydration and sleep:
Recovery these days is something that athletes simply do. In the past, recovery might have consisted of taking a day off from training, but it's now something that's actively undertaken.
In today’s day and age, there’s a recovery tool for every aspect of recovery - all delivered with guarantees of decreasing muscle soreness, aiding repair and facilitating a quicker bounce-back.
But we're taking a step back from the recovery gadgets and gizmos for this blog and focusing on the ‘core’ recovery practices of eating, drinking and sleeping.
Exercise depletes our muscles' glycogen stores (which is an important 'fuel reserve' for exercise) and it's well-established that consuming carbohydrates post-exercise plays an important role in replenishing these stores.
In the 1980s, Sports Scientist, John Ivy, proposed the idea that glycogen replacement could be enhanced by rapid post-exercise fuelling.
At the time, the importance of recovery was known but the role of nutrition in the process had not yet been properly considered.
More...from Precision Hydration.
10. 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.
11. Exploring the acute effects of running on cerebral blood flow and food cue reactivity in healthy young men using functional magnetic resonance imaging:
Acute exercise suppresses appetite and alters food-cue reactivity, but the extent exercise-induced changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) influences the blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal during appetite-related paradigms is not known. This study examined the impact of acute running on visual food-cue reactivity and explored whether such responses are influenced by CBF variability. In a randomised crossover design, 23 men (mean ± SD: 24 ± 4 years, 22.9 ± 2.1 kg/m2) completed fMRI scans before and after 60 min of running (68% ± 3% peak oxygen uptake) or rest (control). Five-minute pseudo-continuous arterial spin labelling fMRI scans were conducted for CBF assessment before and at four consecutive repeat acquisitions after exercise/rest. BOLD-fMRI was acquired during a food-cue reactivity task before and 28 min after exercise/rest. Food-cue reactivity analysis was performed with and without CBF adjustment. Subjective appetite ratings were assessed before, during and after exercise/rest. Exercise CBF was higher in grey matter, the posterior insula and in the region of the amygdala/hippocampus, and lower in the medial orbitofrontal cortex and dorsal striatum than control (main effect trial p = .018). No time-by-trial interactions for CBF were identified (p = .087). Exercise induced moderate-to-large reductions in subjective appetite ratings (Cohen's d = 0.53–0.84; p = .024) and increased food-cue reactivity in the paracingulate gyrus, hippocampus, precuneous cortex, frontal pole and posterior cingulate gyrus. Accounting for CBF variability did not markedly alter detection of exercise-induced BOLD signal changes. Acute running evoked overall changes in CBF that were not time dependent and increased food-cue reactivity in regions implicated in attention, anticipation of reward, and episodic memory independent of CBF.
More...from Wiley Online LIbrary.
12. Should We be Concerned with Nicotine in Sport? Analysis from 60,802 Doping Control Tests in Italy:
Nicotine is a psychostimulant drug with purported use in sports environments, though the use of nicotine among athletes has not been studied extensively.
The aim of this study was to assess the nicotine positivity rate in 60,802 anti-doping urine samples from 2012 to 2020.
Urine samples obtained in-competition at different national and international sports events held in Italy during the period 2012–2020 were analysed. All samples were from anonymous athletes that were collected and analysed at the WADA-accredited antidoping laboratory in Rome, Italy. Samples were analysed by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, with a cut-off concentration for nicotine of > 50 ng/mL. Results were stratified by year, sport and sex.
13. Inga Thompson — What’s Happened to Women’s Rights?
Inga Thompson is one of the most decorated cyclists in American history. She competed at the 1984, 1988, and 1992 Olympic games. Inga won silver medals at the world championships in 1987, 1990 and 1991, and placed third at the Tour de France in 1986 and 1989. She also won the U.S. National Road Race Championships in 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, and 1993. In 2014 she was inducted in the U.S Bicycling Hall of Fame and has since worked to advance women in sports, and as such serves on many advocacy groups and has her own Inga Thompson Foundation (ingathompsonfoundation.org) that advocates for women’s sports.
You might ask, besides being aware I’m something of a bike geek, why am I having a cyclist on the show? Well, we’re not here to talk about bikes or training diets.
We are here to talk about what happened to Inga when she spoke out in defense of women’s rights. Not against bible-thumping religious fundamentalists who think women belong in the kitchen and bedroom making dinner and babies, but against her fellow liberals.
Let me be clear: this is a sensitive and complex issue. Transgender individuals often experience body dysmorphia. Common treatments for dysmorphia include hormone therapy and gender affirmation surgery, which typically entails surgically creating a neovagina, breast implants, facial feminization, and sometimes hair transplants or alteration of the vocal cords.
These physical changes often help alleviate the symptoms, but they do not fundamentally change the physical advantages the transgender—born biologically male—athlete would have over biological women when competing in women’s sports.
This poses the challenge of conflicting rights, which is the subject of this conversation…
What should we do when transgender athletes, with all the physical advantages of being born male, compete against and defeat biological females?
If you enjoy the podcast, please show your support by making a $5 or $10 monthly donation.
Topics: biology, competition, cycling, identity politics, politics, Science Salon, sports, The Michael Shermer Show, transgender, women's rights
Listen to the podcast on the Skeptic.
14. Ready, set, go: New study shows how marathon running affects different foot muscles :
The study suggests that extrinsic foot muscles, which connect the lower leg and foot, are more susceptible to damage from marathon running
With the current trend of fitness consciousness, many people have taken up long-distance running as a part of their exercise regime. They also participate in various local, national, and global marathons. But marathon running can lead to muscular fatigue and damage in the foot muscles, which can in turn lead to chronic pain or injuries. At present, there is little information on the impact of marathon running on the various foot muscles.
Foot muscles are generally categorized as either intrinsic or extrinsic muscles. While intrinsic muscles originate and insert within the foot, extrinsic muscles originate in the lower leg and insert into the foot via the ankle. Both muscle groups help stabilize the medial (inner) longitudinal arch of the foot. Although some studies have linked muscle swelling caused by long-distance running to lowering of the longitudinal arch, it has, so far, been challenging to associate this with intrinsic and extrinsic muscle damage.
15. Getting Through Serious Injury:
All athletes fear the injury that takes years to recover from or permanently changes their lives. We talk with several experts on how to manage serious injury and find yourself again
If you’ve been in sport long enough, it is highly likely that you’ve suffered some sort of injury. In most cases that injury may mean a couple weeks on the couch and an awkward cast or brace. Sure, it’s painful, and every day you feel like your fitness is slipping away, but you’re back to your old self pretty quickly, and at worst only lose part of your season.
There is, however, another type of injury. The one that most athletes fear. The one that isn’t measured in weeks or months, but years, if not the rest of your life. This is the severe break, loss of limb, spinal cord injury, or lasting head trauma.
Severe injuries may take an enormous physical toll, but they take a mental toll as well. Sometimes an athlete’s body will fully recover, but their mental scars will keep them from ever performing the same way again. A serious injury can lead to losing a sense of self, losing one’s social network, and a decline in emotional health.
In this episode, we talk about the serious injury. We dive into what to do when you or someone you’re with experiences severe trauma, what the first few days after the injury can be like, and how to successfully navigate the years and months of rehabilitation that may be ahead.
More...from Fast Talk Laboratories.