1. What Can We Learn from Keira D’Amato’s New American Marathon Record?
A new marathon record is, first and foremost, a time to applaud great achievement. Records don’t come easily in established sports like athletics, and particularly not in a long, tough, mass-participation event like the marathon. Keira D’Amato didn’t get lucky, didn’t catch a tailwind, and didn’t simply have a good day. She earned her record through years of hard training and 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 12 seconds of gritty, sometimes-painful racing.
Deena Kastor set the previous record, 2:19:36 in 2006–two years after her bronze medal in the Athens Olympic Marathon. D’Amato ran her 2:19:12 at the Houston Marathon on January 16 of this year.
It feels like I have known Kastor forever, since I’ve been reporting on her career for more than two decades. Beyond that, I first met her coach, Joe Vigil, more than 50 years ago.
I first interviewed and wrote about D’Amato, who recently turned 37, a little more than a year ago. She had a long dry spell in her career, and told me she faced plenty of naysayers. When she chose to chase her goals during Covid, some told her she was wasting her time. Her reply? “I told myself, ‘Heck, no, this is my dream, and I’m going to keep the pedal to the metal because that’s what makes me really happy.’”
2. Lanni’s Laces: Puma Women’s Deviate Nitro:
The first week into the New Year meant it was time to shake off the rust of December’s Honolulu Marathon and see what, if any, juice I had back in my legs. The plan was a small fartlek or broken tempo—which, in my mind, is actually just a fartlek by a different name.
Since the marathon, I had started back with some easy run-walks and built back up to regular easy runs. I noticed that the shoes I had been wearing for the majority of the late summer and fall were now cooked.
Now, it was time to check out my options for something new on my feet.
My contract ended at the end of March 2021, which means I have been able to play around and see what has changed in the shoe world while I’ve been sidelined. What I am a bit excited about is that I started out my career unsponsored and trying out different shoe brands and models.
Being back, unsponsored, and running for fun seems like a return to home and a fresh start.
3. Variety is the spice of life:
Olympian and former World Record Holder Aly Dixon tells Matt Long about variational and fractional running.
You will recall the first article in the series, coach Vince Wilson explained how he has adapted Canova’s principles around progression running with the work which he does with Team GB’s Sam Harrison.
The second article featured BMC Coach of the Year Phil Kissi in terms of his approach to ‘Special Block’ training effected with Tokyo Olympian Steph Davis and England international Rose Harvey.
Remember that purpose of this series of articles is not to give a detailed account of the famed Italian Renato Canova’s approach to periodisation. Those who want to understand his approach to the ‘General’, ‘Fundamental’ and ‘Specific’ stages should consult Arceli and Canova (1999).
In order to understand this one has to revisit the work of Canova (1999) in the context of what he referred to as ‘fractional’ and then ‘variational’ running.
Ever fond of typologies, Canova (1999) has broken Fractional running down into (1) Long, (2) Medium, (3) Short and (4) Mixed.
More...from Fast Running.
4. Puma Velocity Nitro 2 Review: The Big Cat is Back:
What You Need To Know
Weighs 10.2 oz (288 g.) for a US M10.5 / 8.5 oz. (240 g.) for a US W8.5
Ain’t no sophomore slump for the big cat brand
Pumagrip is still killin’ it, but that tread pattern looks familiar…
Retooled Nitro foam makes for an even smoother ride
Coming March 15, 2022, for $120
THOMAS: The velocity of an object is the rate of change of its position with respect to a frame of reference, and is a function of time. Velocity is equivalent to a specification of an object’s speed and direction of motion (e.g., 60 km/h to the north). Your velocity is how fast you can get from one place to another. — Wikipedia
The Puma Velocity is a daily trainer with Nitro foam and traditional EVA foam that will make running more enjoyable as you head in any direction. And while the Puma Velocity Nitro 2 isn’t a reimagining of the original, it’s a stellar refinement to one of our team’s favorite running shoes. So pick up your shovel cause we’re digging into the update.
More...from Belive in the Run.
5. Why Women Might Need Different Hydration Advice:
The physiological differences between men and women affect how much fluid they store, how they sweat, and how quickly they heat up. Does that matter?
The average man lugs around about 44 liters of water—nearly 100 pounds worth—tucked away inside his cells and filling the gaps between them, or coursing through his blood vessels. The average woman, in contrast, carries only 31 liters. Even when you consider that women are generally smaller than men, the difference persists: men’s weight is about 58 percent water, women’s is 49 percent. That’s mainly because men have more muscle, which holds more water than fat tissue.
The hard question, and the one that a recent review in the Journal of Applied Physiology grapples with, is whether this makes any difference to how men and women respond to exercise-induced dehydration. To skip ahead to the punchline, the answer is that we’re not sure yet, because most of the dehydration research has taken place on men. But the authors—Kate Wickham and Stephen Cheung of Brock University, Devin McCarthy of McMaster University, and Lawrence Spriet of the University of Guelph—make the case that there’s enough evidence that we can’t simply assume that there are no differences. The research needs to be done.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
6. Beware That Nocebo Strapped to Your Wrist:
Fitness gadgets are supposed to improve your health, but often end up making you feel worse.
Most people are familiar with the concept of a placebo, where merely providing positive information can improve perception of well-being. Yet the opposite also occurs, with negative data making people feel worse about their own health.
That’s a nocebo — Latin for “I shall harm” as opposed to “I shall please” for placebo. And there’s a good chance you have a nocebo strapped to your wrist.
7. Researchers Are Quantifying Cycling’s Mind vs. Body Debate:
A new study grapples with a familiar question: how much of athletic success is physical, and how much is mental?
Yogi Berra, who famously claimed never to have said most of the things he said, supposedly figured that baseball was 90 percent mental, and the other half physical. That’s the kind of math you get into when you start trying to apportion the credit for sports victories and the blame for defeats. It’s an unanswerable question.
But we enjoy asking it anyway, as I discovered after writing a book arguing that endurance, a seemingly simple physical parameter, is influenced by the brain. Pretty much every interview I did after it was published included some version of that question: OK, so the brain matters… but how much, exactly? I became an expert at dodging the question and hedging my answers. (“Well, it really depends on the context… which reminds me of a great but unrelated anecdote.”)
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
8. Fitness: How tough was your last workout? :
There are simple ways to measure exercise intensity, including chit-chat and nursery rhymes.
Would you describe your last workout as light, moderate or vigorous? Not sure which one fits? You’re not alone. It’s not easy figuring out exactly how hard you’re exercising. And since more and more fitness professionals are emphasizing intensity over time, it’s worth reviewing whether your workout is vigorous enough to deliver the kind of results you want.
It’s common for certain activities to be grouped by intensity. Walking, hiking, doubles tennis and golf fall into the moderate category, while singles tennis and hockey are examples of vigorous exercise. Then there are activities like running, swimming, brisk walking and cycling that can be labelled moderate, vigorous or high intensity, based on the amount of energy the exerciser expends — hence some of the confusion about what constitutes a light, moderate, vigorous or high-intensity workout.
More...from Montreal Gazette.
9. Eating for Performance Should Be Simple—and Cheap:
Overcomplicating sports nutrition wastes money and time. It also perpetuates privilege.
Eating well isn’t cheap. At least, not according to the sports-nutrition industry. For $220 a month, Renaissance Periodization will pair you with a credentialed coach who will tell you what and when to eat based on your body composition and training goals. For $100, you can have a fitness influencer set macro targets for you (which you can then track yourself for free via MyFitnessPal). And for a comparatively minuscule price of $20, you can learn to eat exactly like seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady—although his supplement bundle will cost you $147.
We’re constantly being marketed products that promise us better workouts, bigger muscles, improved circulation, and more. Caffeinated beverages, sugary gummies, and even vegetables have all been reformulated and rebranded as performance-supporting foods.
More...from Outside Online.
10. A Runner’s Guide to Visiting Boston:
The site of the world’s oldest annual marathon offers a welcoming running-club culture, unique New England running paths, and a snazzy microbrewery scene.
As the site of one of the most prestigious marathons, Boston boasts one of the largest and most vibrant running scenes in the United States. Sure, Boston is a bit more urban than professional training havens like Boulder or Flagstaff. But the city’s historical ties to the sport and large, active amateur running club scene give Bostonian running culture a uniquely warm and rowdy charm. The city’s deep, unconditional love for the sport is perhaps most evident during brutal winter months when hordes of runners can be seen braving snow, ice, and subzero temperatures. Come spring when racing fever hits, the community’s tremendous collective pride around its beloved marathon infiltrates the whole city.
Boston is home to the headquarters of several prominent running companies, including Reebok, New Balance, Saucony, Puma, Heartbreak Hill Running Company, and the New England apparel brand Tracksmith. The city is also the training ground for a number of prestigious running groups, including the Boston Athletic Association—one of the nation’s oldest athletic clubs.
More...from Outside Online.
11. New Study On The Menstrual Cycle And Athletic Performance:
The December 2021 study shows large amounts of individual variation across different phases of the menstrual cycle.
Back in August, we wrote about a fascinating study in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine that tracked heart-rate variability, resting heart rate, and respiratory rate from WHOOP devices to draw conclusions about how the menstrual cycle influences recovery. It found that hormone fluctuations generally led to increased recovery in the early follicular phase and decreased recovery in the late luteal phase. In summarizing the implications of the study, we wrote:
“Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s hard to know how much these metrics influence performance and actual recovery for activity. It’s possible that minor changes in RHR, HRV, and respiratory rate won’t have any significant impact on output during running or other sports (or possibly it varies based on the sport), or that it’ll be so minor that it’s overwhelmed by other factors.”
More...from the BBC.
12. Coffee is BAD for Flexibility and Soft-Tissue Injuries:
Both the good and the bad about coffee (caffeine) and its affects on health, flexibility, soft tissue injuries and tendonitis rehabilitation.
I normally avoid giving diet or nutrition advice (it’s not my area of expertise). But lately I’ve had a few inquiries from people who seem to be doing everything right but can’t improve their flexibility, or can’t get rid of those nagging little injuries.
And while I offer some basic nutritional advice in a few of my products, I don’t go into a lot of detail. In fact, my nutritional advice can be summed up by the following…
13. Jason Karp - The Physiology of Running and Athletic Performance:
At the age of twenty-four Dr. Jason Karp was one of the youngest college head coaches in the country and now he is the first American coach known to have moved to Kenya to coach Kenyans. Jason has written a dozen books including, Running a Marathon for Dummies and Running for Women and he has a passion for the science of athletic performance. In addition to being a coach and author, he’s an exercise physiologist, speaker and creator of the Revolution Running Certification, which has been obtained by coaches and fitness professionals in twenty-five countries.
Jason’s research has been published in many peer-reviewed journals and he’s also been an instructor for the USA Track and Field Level 3 Coaching Certification and four coaching camps at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. For Jason’s contributions to the industry, he has been honored with several awards, including the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, & Nutrition Community Leadership Award (twice).
Today, Jason and Whitney talk about the work he’s doing in Kenya, what it’s like for runners living there, and what his overall goal is while he’s over there. Dr. Jason provides some insights into nutrition, different types of training and his own experience as a runner. Finally, Whitney and Jason bust some common myths and misconceptions that are not backed by science like, ‘Does strength training really make you faster? And does your cadence actually matter?’
Listen to the podcast on the The Passionate Runner.
14. Coffee versus caffeine:
Caffeine has been shown to improve endurance performance. Studies showing this date back to the 1970s and the findings have been confirmed over and over. However, is this same effect seen when consuming coffee vs. caffeine alone? Read on to find out more...
What did the early research say?
Caffeine is used frequently by athletes in different amounts and in different forms: tablets, gels, drinks, chewing gum etc. However, the most common form in which it is consumed is coffee. Interestingly, however, when coffee was compared to caffeine ingestion in a study in 1988, caffeine improved performance but coffee did not. Several theories were developed and the one that seemed to stick was a theory that coffee must contain other compounds that counteract the effect of caffeine and make coffee less effective.
The most common form in which caffeine is consumed is coffee.
15. Be specific with paces:
Specific Endurance Repetition Runs
For Canova (1999) the speed of the repetition runs should be at marathon speed with float recoveries being effected which are not too far removed from this pace. He provides a binary distinction between (a) Extensive Specific Endurance and (b) Intensive Specific Endurance work, the former being characterised typically by a relatively lower volume of longer repetitions and the latter ordinarily involving a higher volume of repetitions over much shorter distances.
Extensive and Intensive Work
As an example of the Extensive mode, Canova (1999) cites the training of Gelindo Bordin, in the weeks before he won the marathon gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Bordin ran 3 x 7000m between 20m32 and 20m57s with his two 1000m float recoveries averaging 3m09s. The value of this session is that when both repetitions and float recoveries are aggregated we have a session of whose total volume exceeds 14 miles and whose average speed of 2m59s per km would see the athlete home in 2h05 mins if effected for the full 26.2 miles.
More...from Fast Running.