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Runner's Web Digest - July 7 - Posted: July 7, 2023

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.Sex, Science, and Fairness in Women's Sports
2. Is Physical Activity Good for Bone Density? A New Study Reveals the Answer
3. Can You Mix Booze and Exercise?
4. Why Burnout Is More Complicated than You Think
5. Why Running at Night Feels Harder
6. 10 Years of Heart Rate Training: My Experience
7. When Ideology Trumps Science: A response to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport’s Review on Transwomen Athletes in the Female Category
8. How to Keep Muscles Strong as You Age
9. The Sneaker Bubble Is Bursting Around Nike
10. Carole Hooven, Review of T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone That Dominates and Divides Us
11. Two Golden Rules When Setting up Any Weekly Running Schedule 
12. A Male Coach’s Guide to Understanding the Unique Needs of Female Athletes
13. Asics launches the Gel-Kayano 30 – and it feels completely different to previous models
14. Are women ‘made’ for ultrarunning? Camille Herron seems to think so
15. Do you know your carbs? Current carb recommendations misidentified by over half of endurance athletes, study finds
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By Sharron Davies and Craig Lord
On the face of it, women's sport is on the rise, garnering more attention and grassroots involvement than ever before. However, the truth is that in many respects progress is stalling, or even falling back.
Sharron Davies is no stranger to battling the routine sexism the sporting world. She missed out on Olympic Gold because of doping among East German athletes in the 1980s, and has never received justice. Now, biological males are being allowed to compete directly against women under the guise of trans 'self-ID', a development that could destroy the integrity of female sport. This callous indifference towards women in sport, argue Sharron and journalist Craig Lord, is merely the latest stage in a decades-long history of sexism on the part of sport's higher-ups.
A strong fightback is required to root out the lingering misogyny that plagues sporting governance, media coverage and popular perceptions. This book provides the facts, science and arguments that will help women in sport get the justice they deserve.
Buy the book from Amazon.

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1. Sex, Science, and Fairness in Women's Sports:
As an Olympic medalist and eight-time U.S. National Cycling Champion, I've always been a big proponent of women's participation in sports, and that has led me to explore the complex and sometimes heated issue of transgender women competing in the female category of cycling. At first, I didn't know much about the topic, but I felt strong empathy for transgender women and wanted to support anything that would help them align their athletic experiences with their gender identity. I also became aware of some current professional female cyclists who feel like they can't speak up on the issue for fear of losing their jobs, and I felt empathy for them too.
In the pursuit of understanding, I dove deep into the scientific research, as I did not want to take the appearances of the situation at face value. As a board member of the Homestretch Foundation, which has been fighting hard for women's rights in cycling since its inception, I have a firm belief that we have a duty to uphold fairness in sport. If we were not concerned with fairness, every sport would just have one category of competition and both sexes would compete together. But that is not how our athletic system is set up. Instead, we acknowledge the clear biological differences between female and male post-pubertal individuals.
Before I bring in the science, let's examine gender. Gender is only part of the story of human identity. For many, "gender" seems to point to either male or female; however, when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones, or the range of other identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female—transgender male or female, transgender as non-binary, non-binary, gender-queer, or two spirit, to list some of the most common—the meaning of gender greatly widens.
More...from Prevention

3. Can You Mix Booze and Exercise?
You really shouldn’t drink alcohol before, after or during an intense workout. But if you do, here’s what to know.
You’re at brunch with friends, and mimosas are on the house. You’re tempted, but you also want to go for a run later. What should you do? Will drinking doom your workout?
Despite the popularity of boozy athletic events like Craft Brew Races and Bikes and Beers, exercise physiologists and nutrition experts strongly discourage drinking alcohol before, during or after exercise.
Not only can alcohol affect athletic performance, but “it can make your workouts feel much, much harder,” said Amy Stephens, a sports dietitian for New York University’s track and field team. “It’s like trying to do that workout uphill.”
More...from the
New York Times.

4. Why Burnout Is More Complicated than You Think:
When you consistently stress the body and the mind, you are changing your chemical makeup. Here’s what the latest science tells us about burnout.
Kieran Abbotts is a PhD student at the University of Oregon, studying human physiology. He earned his master’s degree in Metabolism and Exercise Physiology at Colorado State University. The lab where he now works studies exercise and environment and stressors on physiology. In other words, he’s an expert on how the chemicals in the body work during exercise, and what happens when things get out of whack.
“Essentially, there are two kinds of training. There’s functional overreaching, which means you stress the body with hard workouts and long runs. Then you provide adequate time to recover, and you induce adaptations,” Abbotts said. This kind of training is ideal—your body is getting stronger. “You want to be functionally overreaching as an elite athlete—so that you’re making progress and becoming a better runner, but also giving yourself adequate recovery.”
More...from Outside Online.

5. Why Running at Night Feels Harder:
How well you can see your surroundings matters, but subtle gait changes also burn more energy.
In the quiet pre-dawn hours, as I glide along the empty running path with shadows flitting past under the feeble light of the moon, I feel fast. My watch, however, tells a different story. My splits during these runs are usually slower than I’d expect based on my effort. It’s not just that I’m up earlier than usual, or running on an empty stomach. Running in the dark, it turns out, really is harder.
At least, that’s the message I take from an interesting new study by researchers at Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology, working with the Swedish military and colleagues in Slovenia. They’d noticed that soldiers on night marches seemed to burn more energy than would be expected from the physical demands of the mission, especially when wearing night-vision goggles that restrict peripheral vision. They wondered whether not being able to see forced the soldiers to alter their strides, sacrificing efficiency for stability, so they decided to test this theory.
Night Running and Optic Flow
The new study, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, had 15 volunteers do a series of ten-minute treadmill walks in four conditions: with and without a 56-pound pack, and with and without a blindfold on. The treadmill was set at a comfortable pace of around 30 minutes per mile, with a laser warning system to alert them if they were about to fall off the back of the treadmill.
More...from Sweta Science on Outside ONline.

6. 10 Years of Heart Rate Training: My Experience:
This is part one of a five-part series on heart rate training, written by Floris Gierman, co-founder of run apparel brand PATH Projects, host of the Extramilest podcast, and running coach. Over the last 11 years, he’s devoted his life to heart rate training and building a community of running through the MAF approach to running. Through the course of his training, he’s lowered his marathon time from over 4 hours to 2:44 and attributes his success to his focus on heart rate training and a holistic approach to his training, racing and life.
An Introduction To Heart Rate Training
Let’s talk about heart rate training, a helpful approach to endurance training that has been gaining mainstream attention in recent years.
Some of this stuff may all seem pretty obvious, but let’s start with the basics before moving on to the bigger stuff.
Your heart rate (i.e. the number of times your heart beats in a minute), is an important indicator of how hard your body is working during physical activity. Your heart rate reflects the amount of oxygen delivered to your muscles and the effort level needed to maintain a given level of activity.
More...from Beleive in the Run.

7. When Ideology Trumps Science: A response to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport’s Review on Transwomen Athletes in the Female Category:
The recently published ‘Scientific Review’ by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport about transwomen’s participation in female sport doesn’t deserve its name; it is wholly unscientific. This publication follows a familiar pattern. The body is not important anymore when it comes to categorisation and eligibility in sport; instead, it’s all about a psychological phenomenon: gender identity. This side-lining of the body (which makes the side-lining of female athletes and the inclusion of male-born athletes possible) is now reinforced by an attack on the bio-medical sciences. Their agenda is – allegedly – the oppression of minorities. Only the socio-cultural disciplines can give us the answers we are looking for (in sport), because only they understand the coercive nature of academic disciplines and institutions which focus on material reality, rather than on social identity. The CCES Review is another attempt to replace materially based eligibility criteria in sport with ‘social identity’ as a passport to inclusion. We (a group of scientists and humanities scholars) have written an expert commentary about the CCES Review, highlighting its shortcomings in methodology, and its sometimes incoherent, sometimes misleading argumentation. We argue understand the coercive nature of academic disciplines and institutions which focus on material reality, rather than on social identity. The CCES Review is another attempt to replace materially based eligibility criteria in sport with ‘social identity’ as a passport to inclusion. We (a group of scientists and humanities scholars) have written an expert commentary about the CCES Review, highlighting its shortcomings in methodology, and its sometimes incoherent, sometimes misleading argumentation. We argue that the CCES strategy is a continuity with the history of the exclusion and oppression of female athletes in sexist, misogynist, patriarchal sport structures whilst, at the same time, masquerading as inclusive, anti-sexist and anti-misogynist.
More...from Nordic Sport Science forum

8. How to Keep Muscles Strong as You Age:
Here’s why older adults naturally lose muscle mass over time and how regular physical activity and resistance training can help.
Almost everyone shrinks with old age. Many older adults have more difficulty gaining muscle than they did in their childhood and teenage years. And when it comes to maintaining that muscle, the phrase “use it or lose it” holds weight, says Michelle Gray, a physiologist and professor of exercise at the University of Arkansas.
“I work primarily with older adults who are trying to either build and/or maintain muscle throughout their life span, and really how that happens is you use it or lose it,” Gray says.
But she adds that not all hope is lost. “It really is the neurology, as well as the muscular system and the interactions between the two, that changes,” she says. “There's a fair amount of evidence that says all of those things are still there and [that] we can retrain them.”
Several factors contribute to involuntary age-related muscle loss. The exact age people start to see muscle mass decline varies, Gray says, but many begin to see noticeable changes in their 30s. Studies suggest that muscle mass decreases by about 3 to 8 percent per decade after age 30 and at higher rates after age 60. Losing that strength may not only be frustrating in keeping up with daily activities but can also have significant health consequences.
More...from Scientific American.

9. The Sneaker Bubble Is Bursting Around Nike:
Consumers are being more discriminating when it comes to spending, and expensive athletic footwear is pretty low on the list of priorities.
Few companies benefited from government largesse during the pandemic era more than Nike Inc. Stuck at home and with little else to spend their trillions of dollars in stimulus money on, consumers couldn’t get enough of what the athletic-gear maker was selling. In 2020, Air Jordan 1 Highs were going for a 61% premium on the resale market. Nike’s share price soared 40% in 2020 and as much as 25.5% in 2021, reaching a record high that November. Just four Wall Street analysts out of the more than 30 that covered Nike at the time had recommended investors “hold” the shares, which is often interpreted as a recommendation to sell.
Those heady days are long gone. Nike’s shares have tumbled 37% from their peak. The number of analysts with a “hold” rating on the stock has tripled to 12. In its fiscal 2023 earnings report last week, the company divulged that it’s sitting on $8.5 billion of unsold goods despite a slew of margin-busting promotions, a level some 23% above what it described as healthy inventory levels in 2021. Its outlook for sales in fiscal 2024 fell short of analysts’ estimates. Those Air Jordan 1 Highs? They are now selling in the resale market at a 2% discount. This leads to an uncomfortable question: is the $152 billion global “sneaker bubble” bursting? The answer, at least for Nike, may be yes.
More...from Bloomberg.

10. Carole Hooven, Review of T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone That Dominates and Divides Us:
In T, Carole Hooven presents evidence for the importance of testosterone (hereafter ‘T’) in explaining human sex differences in a number of domains, as well as the importance of this hormone for regulating changes in morphology, psychology and behavior within-individuals over time. As an overall assessment, I thought the book was very well-written and presented a clear, accessible and accurate review of major themes in the human testosterone literature. The book introduced little in the way of original arguments or perspectives on this literature, however, and so may be of limited interest to readers who already have expertise in human behavioral endocrinology. For lay audiences, or for scientists who are seeking an initial introduction to the evidence for the role of T in human behavior, I think the book will be thought-provoking and informative, and I highly recommend it.
It is clear throughout the book that Hooven is arguing against other scholars who have argued that T has little relevance to explaining human behavioral or psychological sex differences. A main objective of the book is thus to correct misrepresentations of the scientific literature from these other sources, and more generally to marshal the overall evidence for the important causal effects of T. I think Hooven largely succeeds in these objectives. In organizing the evidence supporting the importance of T, though, Hooven at times glosses over subtleties and complications regarding the role of T specifically in humans, which might be considered a limitation of the book. In what follows, I attempt to give a sense of the type of case that Hooven makes to support the importance of T to human behavior, but then point out subtleties in the human research that make for a more complicated but also potentially more complete account of the role of this hormone.
Weight Of The Evidence
In the opening chapters, Hooven reviews some of the most vivid and persuasive examples that argue for effects of T on the development and sexual differentiation of the bodies of humans and other species. These include early animal experiments involving removal and reimplantation of testes, the ‘Castrati’ (boys castrated to prevent voice deepening to allow them to sing as sopranos), imperial Chinese eunuchs and complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS). In CAIS, T is unable to act through the androgen receptor: individuals with XY chromosomes who have the condition develop a predominantly female-typical phenotype, providing strong evidence for the role of T in producing male-typical sexual differentiation in humans. These examples provide overwhelming and memorable evidence for causal effects of T, and it was likely a good strategic decision to begin with them as a type of opening argument. Doing so sets up a rhetorical question: Is it likely that the effects of T are restricted only to the body outside of the brain and that T does not also affect brain development?
More...from Oxford Academic.

11. Two Golden Rules When Setting up Any Weekly Running Schedule:
Running volume is important, but how you structure your training might matter more.
Runners love talking about weekly mileage, and for good reason. Your mileage—or total running volume—plays a big part in your success as a runner. Personally, every single breakthrough performance I’ve had occurred after a period of high-mileage running.
But like any skill, it takes patience and hard work to build over time, and that hard work is often viewed through the prism of total weekly volume.
An interesting recent study by Strava showed that those marathoners who qualified for the Boston Marathon ran more miles with more frequency. Here, the lesson is clear: if you want to run faster, it’s a good idea to run more. But while so many runners love discussing mileage, there also needs to be an important conversation around the actual structure of that mileage:
– How many hard speed workouts are run per week?
– How are those workouts spaced throughout the week?
– When does the long run happen (and how does it progress)?
– When are rest days planned, in relation to other runs?
More...from Ousdie Online.

12. A Male Coach’s Guide to Understanding the Unique Needs of Female Athletes:
It can be difficult for male coaches to know their role in helping female athletes navigate performance in context of the menstrual cycle and hormones. Coach Bevan McKinnon shares his experience and learning on this topic and some helpful tools.
Over my years of coaching a squad of athletes in New Zealand, I became aware that my coaching style often varied depending on whether I was interacting with my male or female athletes. It was largely a subconscious reaction to how I thought each athlete interpreted the information or responded to what we were discussing. This realization underscored the importance of understanding the subtle differences between the sexes and led me to read The Female Brain by Dr. Louann Brizendine.
How my coaching evolved to account for sex and hormone differences
The Female Brain explains how the female brain works and what’s unique about it when compared to the male brain. Dr. Brizendine explains that women’s behavior is different from that of men due, in large measure, to hormonal differences. As this pertains to coaching female athletes, I recognized that women approach various aspects of life differently from men, and these differences factor into training, competition, and the coach-athlete relationship. In general terms, here are some of those differences:
More...from Fast Talk Laboratories.

13. Asics launches the Gel-Kayano 30 – and it feels completely different to previous models:
The flagship stability shoe has been significantly updated with a brand new stability solution. We attended the launch in Berlin to talk to designers about the new tech and to take the shoe for a spin...
As far as shoe updates go, Asics’ 30th take on the Gel-Kayano is one worth talking about. The component-driven stability tech found in previous models – so the section of firm foam on medial side of the shoe which Asics called 'Litetruss' – is no more. Now, stability is delivered through the shoe's geometry. The idea is for the Gel-Kayano 30 to be more adaptive and appeal to a wider audience – not sure just your classic overpronating flat-footed runners.
Other standout differences include a fairly hefty increase in stack height (4mm) to 30mm in the forefoot and 40mm in the heel and the removal of the exposed visible midsole gel, which has now been replaced by an internal PureGel, to deliver a softer ride and better shock absorption.
So, how exactly does the Gel-Kayano 30 provide stability through geometry – and what difference does that make? And how do the changes to the shoe make it feel different – and perform differently – to its predecessor, the Gel-Kayano 29?
More...from Runner's World UK.

14. Are women ‘made’ for ultrarunning? Camille Herron seems to think so:
The ultrarunner, who plans to break the six-day running world record next March, believes women are 'made' to run long. But is that, scientifically, true – or just a compelling theory?
Last month, 41-year-old ultrarunner Camille Herron broke the men’s course record at a trail marathon in Texas. Back in March, she shattered the women's 48-hour record. And if that's not enough, she also holds the women's world records for 12 hours and 24 hours, and is the first athlete to have won all three road IAU World Championships for 50K, 100K and 24 hours. You could say there's no stopping her, which is why she’s now got her sights set on breaking the six-day world record next March, in an ultramarathon that kicks off on International Women’s Day.
The event is the culmination of Lululemon’s new ‘Further’ initiative, which hopes to demonstrate ‘how far women can go when they’re supported with resources and product innovations typically reserved for men’. The research programme, ran in partnership with the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, will see 10 women attempt to run ‘further than they ever have before’ and hopes to address the existing sex and gender gap within endurance running.
More...from Runner's World UK.

15. Do you know your carbs? Current carb recommendations misidentified by over half of endurance athletes, study finds:
Carb-loading proved a particular knowledge gap - check out how you’d stack up in the study’s questionnaire.
Although the risks and prevalence of under-fuelling in endurance sports (such as cycling) are quite widely discussed, much less is known about why athletes are under-fuelling.
Is it because they simply don’t know what the current carbohydrate intake recommendations are? Or are they instead struggling to put their knowledge into practice? Or, perhaps could endurance athletes be fully aware of the recommendations, but are choosing to disregard them for some other reason?
Well, those questions are the basis for Dr Gemma Sampson’s upcoming studies - the first step is identifying just how aware endurance athletes actually are of the current carbohydrate recommendations in the first place. Shockingly, Dr Sampson identified that there has been no “specific systematic analysis of […] endurance athletes’ knowledge of carbohydrate for competition” in the scientific literature.
More...from Cycling Weekly. HREF="

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