1. Does massage work for athletes?
A good rubdown is thought to bring a host of benefits – from aiding recovery and reducing stiffness to preventing injury – but how much does it really help? Paul Hobrough looks at the evidence
Massage has been used by athletes since the dawn of time. It’s a practice which has been ingrained into routines the world over yet there are arguments out there to suggest it may not bring all of the performance gains we might think. Let’s take a closer look.
Sports, deep tissue, trigger point therapy, Swedish, shiatsu, Thai… there are myriad options out there when it comes to massage. However, for the purposes of this article, we’re looking at one particular area.
When athletes talk about massage, they are referring to sports massage, not a gentle rub with essential oils designed to help you relax as part of a spa day. So, when we are looking at the science for “massage” we must be specific about what is actually being researched.
More...from Athletics Weekly.
2. Timing of caffeine intake in long races:
There is no question that caffeine can improve endurance performance. A large number of studies has confirmed this and the topic has been reviewed in several review paper including a recent one by Professor Lawrence Spriet (1). There are also dose response studies that seem to suggest that small doses can already have effects and larger doses are not necessarily better. It is important to note, however, that many studies used an exercise protocol of approximately 1 h duration and this seems to be an optimal duration for caffeine to have performance enhancing effects. In these studies caffeine is typically ingested 1 hour prior to exercise so that the caffeine concentration in blood peaks at the onset of exercise and stays relatively high for the duration of exercise. Recommendations are then extrapolated from these kind of studies.
3. The Science-Backed Way To Recover Before 2022:
Stop, put your hands on your knees, and take some deep breaths after an exhausting year. You earned it, and according to a 2019 study, it works
On my high school football team my sophomore year, we’d end most practices with shuttle runs for conditioning. Across the field and back, then repeat. As many times as the coaches wanted, usually until we atoned for whatever sins we committed during practice. It was terrible.
I remember every neuron screaming at me to quit football. Maybe those brain cells were ahead of the research on CTE. All of my teammates felt the same way. It has always been a rite of passage in football for a group of young people to be driven to hate their life decisions, but to do it together. Cool sport! And if our group-hatred had a soundtrack, it’d be one coach yelling: “GET YOUR HANDS OFF YOUR KNEES! DON’T SHOW WEAKNESS!”
More...from Trail Runner.
4. Ingebrigtsen Intervals:
The training philosophy underpinning Team Ingebrigtsen is unpicked by Matt Long after witnessing first hand the young Jakob’s domination in Dublin.
It’s the eve of the last December’s European cross country championships in Dublin. Gjert Ingebrigtsen sat down with sports commentator Jann Post for a podcast entitled ‘I det lange lřp’ (‘In the long run’). What he had to say has important implications for our understanding of interval training.
The coach of the terrific trio of Henrik, Filip and Jakob went on record as saying that, “I’m not that concerned if the intensity is too low, that’s more a discussion about speed, but you should definitely not have too high intensity in training because it affects the road forward and we have to make adjustments depending on recovery”.
More...from Fast Running.
5. Dynafit Ultra 100 Performance Review:
What You Need To Know
Weighs 310g for a US M9 / 270g for a US W8
A solid trail option from a classic skiing company
Excellent once you break it in at the correct size
Available in limited sizes at Dynafit for $140
TAYLOR: Dynafit comes to the trail running world with a plethora of mountain experience. Much like its European comrades La Sportiva and Salomon, Dynafit is a true mountain specialist who provides quality outdoor recreation gear but was born in skiing.
Their trail running goods are a pretty recent addition. If they follow suit with quality and performance as their ski gear, we’re all in for a treat.
The Ultra 100 is BITR’s first taste of what Dynafit has to offer. It falls into the “max cushion” category and focuses on foot comfort over anything else. This shoe is curated to perform ultra-distance events on trails. Let’s go!
More...from Believe in the Run.
6. Sometimes You Have to Hate Exercise Before You Can Love It Again:
By Bill Hayes
Mr. Hayes is the author of the forthcoming “Sweat: A History of Exercise.”
Another January is upon us, and with your holiday feasting over, you might be hearing the voice of an invisible trainer in your head, telling you to hit the gym, the pool, the track or the hiking trail, and hit it fast. But the guilt we may feel about putting it off is usually a waste of time. We need rest, too.
Sometimes it’s good to take a break from exercise — give your joints, tendons and ligaments a rest, and your mind as well. But sometimes a break lasts far longer than you had planned or ever imagined. This was my story for a while. And when I say I took a break, I’m not talking about weeks. It was about three years.
More...from the New York Times.
7. I used to associate gyms with vanity, until I realised they helped minds as well as bodies:
A desire to change my lifestyle post-lockdown led me to sign up – but it’s the mental benefits that have kept me going back
bodies and set fire to their cash. If you want to self-improve, read a book: and why, given the limited time slot granted to each of us to be alive, waste so much time in self-indulgent solitude? More sinister than that, gyms prey on insecurities fostered by a popular culture that worships unrealistic physical types: and as a gay man, I belong to a community in which body dysmorphia struts around the dancefloor with gleeful abandon.
That used to be what I thought, anyway, and even when I surrendered to gym membership, I felt like a tone-deaf singer signing up for a choir. Everyone else seemed to know what they were doing, flexing with free weights in all sorts of unlikely poses while I sheepishly faffed around with the treadmill and aimlessly tried the occasional weight machine hoping that grunting a lot was some sort of sign of progress. (It’s reassuring to know this did not make me exceptional: research suggests more than half of us don’t know what to do in the gym.)
More...from the Guardian.
8. 5 Reasons You Should Get a Training Plan:
Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a brand new one, the right training plan is an essential part of preparing for your next race. Here are 5 reasons why you should get a training plan now.
Signing up for a big race often elicits an equal amount of excitement and fear as you wonder how to start training for it. The good news is that you don’t have to figure it all out by yourself — a good training plan can help guide you to your goals by providing structure, accountability, and support that makes daily training seamless and stress-free. Here are five reasons why a training plan might be exactly what you need.
1. Structured Workouts Without the Guesswork
One of the major benefits of a training plan is that it’s designed to prepare you for a specific event. Plans are periodized into phases with the overarching goal of getting you to peak on the day of the event, so you don’t have to worry about how to structure your training, when to change phases, and what to do in each phase — training plans do all of that work for you. Good plans will also include a variety of workouts like cross-training and strength training so that you can improve your existing metrics and avoid plateauing.
2. Goal-Driven Outcomes
There are two major considerations to make when choosing a training plan: race distance and the length of the plan. The TrainingPeaks Training Plan Store provides customizable filters where you can enter things like the sport, event distance, number of weeks before the event, hours per week you have to train, and days per week you are currently training. Using these filters as thoroughly as possible will help you find a training plan that’s tailored to your training constraints and event goal. Many plans also offer a preview of a sample week so you can see if the plan would be enjoyable and practical for you.
More...from Training Peaks.
9. The Brain-Boosting Properties of Runner’s Blood :
The latest “exercise in a bottle” study finds that plasma from exercising mice makes sedentary mice smarter. But don’t throw out your workout gear just yet.
Whenever I donate blood, I like to imagine the lucky recipient suddenly perking up, feeling the vivifying effects of my runner’s hemoglobin-rich red blood cells. “Whoa, that’s the good stuff,” I imagine this hypothetical person exclaiming. (Hey, it gets me off the couch and to the donation center.)
Turns out I’ve been underselling myself, according to a cool new study that injects “runner plasma” from exercising mice into sedentary mice and sees a range of remarkable brain-boosting effects, including better memory and reduced inflammation. The study, published in Nature by researchers in the lab of Stanford University neurologist Tony Wyss-Coray, offers some exciting new insights about how and why exercise is good for the brain. It has also generated some media coverage along a predictable theme: “An exercise pill might one day produce health gains without the exertional pain,” as Scientific American puts it. Maybe so—but only in a very limited way.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.[Member Exclusive]
10. Building High-performance Culture: Part One:
A Melbourne Track Club origin story
The usually bustling Tokyo Olympic Village experienced a rare moment of quiet on the final Sunday night of the Games. After two weeks of incessant activity, a stillness loomed. The sound of people had vanished. All that could be heard was the wind-fuelled rattle of national flags lining the main pedestrian mall. Across town, at the closing ceremony, most athletes were celebrating. Marching, smiling. Closing a significant chapter of their lives. Blissfully unaware of a looming void: the eerie quiet that comes with the end of the Olympics.
In an 11th-storey living room in the Olympic Village though, there was a group of athletes and coaches who didn’t attend the closing ceremony. A rare sign of life disturbing the quiet. Huddled together, most of them with a drink in their hand, members of the Melbourne Track Club (MTC) let their hair down. Comfortable and content in their own company, away from the fanfare.
More...from Tempo Journal.
11. 5 Things Aging Runners Need To Do In Your 50s, 60s, and Beyond:
When I turned 50 I felt like an old man, just like that. While I know “age is just a number” there was something about the Big 5-0 that felt a bit different. Put bluntly, it felt to me that after 50 I was on the downhill side of life.
So, after being depressed about this realization for a little bit, I began noodling around with thoughts of what in my life gives me pleasure and how I can takes those things and find ways to maintain or enhance them in this stage of life. And, of course, running was close to the top of my list. It is certainly one of the most pleasurable parts of my daily existence and so, as both a runner and a running coach, I began to reflect on what things are most important to the aging runner. And, in the process, I came up with five key tips to keep running happily into old age. Here they are:
12. How the Apple Watch could turn you into a serious cyclist in 2022:
The Apple Watch is so much better for cyclists now, thanks to WatchOS 8. Let us count the ways.
Apple gave its smartwatches some cool new cycling features in this year's WatchOS 8 update, and you don't have to buy an Apple Watch Series 7 to try them (though we do love its bigger screen and durable construction). The new features, which include automatic cycling detection, fall detection and better calorie tracking when you're riding an electric bike, could make it easier to stick to your bike-related New Year's resolutions. They'll probably also make bike riding even more enjoyable.
I've been using the bike features on the Apple Watch Series 6 and Series 7 for a while, and though I don't think the watch is ready to replace a dedicated cycling computer just yet, it's now way more helpful for casual riders to track their workouts. Here are some of the new bike features on the Apple Watch and why they've changed my riding experience.
13. Is It Possible to Exercise Too Much?
And if so, how can I tell if I’m overdoing it?
Q: I hike seven miles per day, spend five to six hours per week in vigorous fitness exercise, and about four hours per week performing heavy resistance training. Is it possible to exercise too much? And how much is too much?
You’ve probably been told countless times that exercise is good for your health and fitness, and it’s tempting to assume that more is automatically better. But as with so many other good things in life, there comes a point of diminishing returns, and it’s possible to overdo it.
Exactly what constitutes too much physical activity, however, will depend on your individual situation.
More...from the New York Times.
14. Debunking the Science of Stretching:
How poor selection of scientific data and the misinterpretation of that data has lead to many myths, misconceptions, and false statements about stretching.
There’s one article that I’ve received more email, more Facebook comments and more inquires about than any other.
People are always throwing this article in my face, telling me that it proves stretching has no value. The article in question is titled Quite a Stretch: Stretching Hype Debunked, by Paul Ingraham.
For years I’ve politely explained my position and my beliefs about how stretching and flexibility training helps people of all ages and from all walks of life. But recently I’ve been challenged to “put my money where my mouth is” and address the claims made in the article.
The following is a logical, left brain, analytical assessment of the statements made within the article, and I’ll do my best to keep emotion out of my writing and simply focus on the facts at hand. If however, you feel I have “over-stepped the mark” in any of my comments below I invite you to contact me via the link above and point out where you feel I have erred.
15, 5 Insights from Training with a Continuous Glucose Monitor :
Our Sweat Science columnist spent two months measuring his blood sugar around the clock. Here’s what he found.
Last year, while reporting this article on the emerging trend of endurance athletes using continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), I tried it myself for two months. The initial article focused on the science (sparse though it is) behind claims that knowing what your blood sugar is doing at any given moment can help you fuel more effectively and perform better. But I figured it would be fun to share some of my actual CGM data—so what follows are five representative samples that illustrate some of my experiences.
To help me interpret this data, I called Kevin Sprouse, a sports medicine doctor in Knoxville who also serves as head of medicine for the EF Education-Nippo pro cycling team. Sprouse uses CGMs with his Tour de France cyclists (though not during competition), as well as with recreational athletes in cycling and other sports.
To start, I emailed him some workout data—which, it turns out, is totally the wrong approach. “It’s really important to look at the 24-hour period around the workout,” he explained when we talked. “Looking at just the workout is a mistake. It’s myopic.” Low blood sugar during a workout might be the result of a bad dinner the night before. High blood sugar might simply indicate that you didn’t get enough sleep. Without those contextual clues, the workout data alone won’t tell you much.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.