1. How The Pros Train (And What We Can Learn From It):
From top level cyclists to world-class runners and speedskaters, pro training regimes offer a fascinating look into what it takes to count yourself among the world's best. Recent research among top-level athletes is also leading us to question entrenched training methods as sports scientists continue to learn more about the way the body adapts and reacts to exercise.
More...from the Science of Sports Podcast.
2. Trying To Make Sense of World Athletics’ New Scoring Tables; Which World Records Are Worth the Most?
In January, for the first time in five years, World Athletics updated its scoring tables. The tables, which are used to determine performance scores for World Athletics’ World Rankings and more generally to compare performances across events, were created in 1982 by Bulgarian statistician Bojidar Spiriev and have been periodically updated over the last 40 years as results accumulate.
Notably, the last time before the tables were updated before this year was in January 2017, the very early stages of the supershoe revolution. While a few athletes, such as Eliud Kipchoge and Galen Rupp, had been able to compete in a prototype model of Nike’s Vaporfly road racing shoes in the 2016 Olympic marathon, the use of supershoes was not yet widespread in January 2017 and had not affected the performance data on which the scoring tables are based. In the ensuing five years, however, advances in road and track footwear technology have pushed times in those events down dramatically around the globe.
3. The Story of the First World Marathon Championship:
In this excerpt from his new book ‘Running Throughout Time: the Greatest Running Stories Ever Told,’ Roger Robinson surfaces an incredible bit of sports history: the Great Marathon Derby of 1909.
The first marathon to get the world’s attention was the 1908 Olympic race in London. Dorando Pietri, a resilient little Italian cake maker in a white shirt, baggy red shorts, and a knotted handkerchief on his head entered the stadium with a big lead. But the day was hot and Pietri had reached the edge of exhaustion. Staggering confusedly, he collapsed on the track. Helped to his feet, dazed and wobbling, he collapsed again, and again, six times in all, until the vast crowd thought he was going to die. Steered and supported by officials, Pietri reached the tape, but inevitably he was disqualified for “assistance,” and the Olympic title went to the coolheaded New Yorker Johnny Hayes. The elemental human conflict between Pietri’s physical weakness and his indomitable willpower caught the world’s imagination.
Pietri’s story is well-known. But the world has forgotten the era that his courage inspired. Suddenly, the marathon became big business and a worldwide craze. Highlighting this “marathon mania” was a series of spectacularly successful professional marathon matches. Held mostly in New York City, they attracted huge crowds and media interest and created a multinational generation of elite runners. Because they ran for prize money, with betting permitted, they are largely omitted from history books, which, dominated as they are by the Olympics, deal exclusively with the amateur sport. Thus their fascinating story exists only in brief newspaper references and family archives that have been unnoticed for generations, and has never been fully told.
More...from Outside Online.
4. I Tried (And Survived) the Most Difficult Running Workout Ever Created:
The legendary "Michigan" circuit requires power, patience and a willingness to go to a very dark place
Either cocktail napkins are an unlikely candidate for “survivorship bias” — they’ve reportedly given us Harry Potter, Pixar, Shark Week, the Super Bowl trophy and the first model of Chicago’s grid — or there really is some magic to scrawling an idea down at the bar at the end of a night.
At some point in 1975, the same year Steve Prefontaine died, a first-year track coach at the University of Michigan named Ron Warhurst sat down for a few beers and got back up with a blueprint of the most notorious running workout ever created.
Warhurst couldn’t stop thinking about a circuit that Coach Bill Dellinger — the man who took over for Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon — had apparently put Prefontaine through in Eugene mere weeks before the star runner’s fatal car crash. It involved running 1200 meters over and over on the track, yet, crucially, splicing each rep with a two-mile-plus tempo run on one of the trails around campus, right around a pace of five minutes per mile.
5. Asics Metaspeed Sky+ and Edge+ Are Improved In All The Right Places | First Look:
What You Need To Know
Updated versions of both the Metaspeed Sky for stride runners and Metaspeed Edge for cadence runners
More Flytefoam Blast Turbo in both midsoles
Adjusted the carbon plate placement to harness more energy for stride or cadence-specific running styles
Enough improvements that this should’ve received a definitive ‘2’ for the name
Releases June 2022 for $250
Let’s get some things out of the way before we go any further. This should be the Metaspeed Sky 2 and Edge 2. Enough has changed between the first version and this version that tacking a math operator onto the end of the name just muddies the water when communicating the updates and their use-case significance to the end-user. Luckily, that’s the only pet peeve I have with this shoe, but I just wanted to clear that up out of the gate.
Short backstory in case you’re not familiar with our coverage of the Metaspeed Sky: Last year’s Metaspeed Sky was the first legitimate super shoe offering that came close to the magic of the Vaporfly/Alphafly on race day. While Asics’ first carbon-plated racer (2020’s Metaracer) was visually clean, it still fell into the traditional racing flat category for us. The Metaspeed Sky changed all that. The Flytefoam Blast Turbo was incredibly bouncy and light, while the aggressive carbon plate paired with the rocker of the shoe to produce a snappy toe-off. I personally have only used the Metaspeed Sky on race day over the last year, from distances between the 5K and half marathon (PR in all events).
More...from Believe in the Run.
6. Are You Recovering Adequately Between High-Intensity Workouts?
There are many factors that affect your recovery and adaptation to a high-intensity workout, but some basic guidelines can help your triathlon training.
As racing season approaches, your training will need to include more specific workouts in terms of intensity. One of the big questions in training is about the allocation in the program of high-intensity sessions. How much time is needed to recover from these sessions? And when can you do another one?
This topic is fairly complex, with variables that are difficult to control. We are all different and the same workout will likely impact one athlete differently than it would impact another. Even for the same athlete, a very wide range of factors (like seasonality, environment, and recovery status) can cause different adaptations, even if the workout is the same.
However, some guidelines should be considered and applied in order to reduce the risks of pushing too hard or too soon after a high-intensity workout. Similarly, it’s important to avoid having too much recovery before your next high-intensity session. The intensity level of each workout is the major factor to consider when planning several high-intensity workouts over a span of days. So, let’s keep things simple and start there.
More...from Training Peaks.
7. How the Social Dynamics of a Training Group Can Hold You Back:
Scientists studying mice found that their competitive efforts depended on their social ranking rather than their strength or speed.
I have a vivid memory from my first high-school cross country season. Late in the race at the city championships, I caught up to the top runner on my team and tucked in behind him, elated that I was doing so well. But after a few hundred meters, I glanced behind me and realized that a few other runners were gaining on us. We needed to accelerate! But my teammate wasn’t responding. I started to panic, and I remember reaching a hand out to give him a friendly but impatient shove in the small of the back.
Then I had a brainwave. I could just pass my teammate. I swung wide and started sprinting. My friend responded in kind, and we pulled away from our pursuers. But I still remember those brief moments when I was frozen in limbo, unable to conceive of the possibility of breaking out of my position in the team pecking order.
More...from (Sweat Science on Outside Online.
8. Heart Rate Training: Why Is It Important for a Runner?
As a distance runner, you regularly trade information about your runs referring to pace and distance. However, you seldom hear any runner speak about what heart rate they averaged. Heart rate-based training utilizes information given by your heart rate, measured in beats per minute, to determine how hard you are working when training. Your heart rate is a great indicator of intensity. Besides, your heart rate gives you a lot of information that can help you train.
Here are some of the benefits of heart rate. These aspects can help you optimize your training.
What should your recovery runs feel like?
What should easy runs feel like?
What heart rate determines your work and rest period in a speed workout?
What kind of intensity are you running at?
Are you working in your aerobic or anaerobic zone?
How much fat or carbohydrate are you burning?
Your heart rate can tell you if you are going into overtraining
It indicates signs of fatigue when you run or race
It can guide you on intensity when you train at altitude or in the heat
9. The futile search for the optimal training method:
I originally became interested in sport science because as an obsessive athlete I really wanted to know how I could run faster. Surely a thorough understanding of how the body works and adapts to exercise would allow me to ‘work out’ the optimal way to train? In essence I was working under the assumption that the ‘recipe’ was out there awaiting discovery. Now I am less convinced – in fact I’m pretty confident it’s not.
In searching for the perfect training program, there are lots of things that need to be optimised. At the level of the individual session alone, consideration needs to be given to intensity, volume, recovery periods, time of day, nutritional status, mood, motivation, and probably a whole host of other factors. The magic of training doesn’t exist solely in the details of a single session though, and how they are put together is likely more important. This means we need to consider overall periodisation strategies, recovery between and sequencing of sessions, rate of progression, and again a whole host of additional factors.
10. RESISTANCE PROFILE: Canada’s Coach Blade – a leader in the race to save women’s sports:
ireless in her defence of women athletes against ideological cheaters, Canadian sport-performance coach Dr. Linda Blade isn’t about to let a man’s win of the 2022 NCAA Women’s 500-yard freestyle swim slow her down.
A champion in her own right (Canadian national champion, women’s heptathlon, 1986), Coach Blade has helped athletes improve their performance in more than 15 sports, including NHL hockey and Olympic skating. With World Athletics in the 1990s, Linda educated coaches in the Middle East, including Iran, where she delivered a ground-breaking course for female coaches. Coach Blade also holds a PhD in Kinesiology. Her thesis on growth and development of children informs her coaching, writing and advocacy today.
More...from Gender Dissent.
11. Running USA Launches 2022 Global Runner Survey:
Key industry research effort accepting responses now through May 27
(May 2, 2022) /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – Running USA, the non-profit trade organization for the sport of running, has relaunched its popular runner sentiment survey for 2022. Running events and businesses serving the endurance space are encouraged to share the survey for the widest possible response.
The 2022 survey edition will gauge how runners are returning to the sport as the pandemic wanes and includes new questions about event cost, spending on the sport, charity fundraising as well as recurring inquiries about participation, competing interests, brand preferences and more.
“We are excited to take the pulse of the running community as running events get back to full speed and capacity,” said Dawna Stone, CEO of Running USA. “We know these results are invaluable to events and running-focused vendors and continue to make research a priority of Running USA.”
More...from Endurance Sports Wire.
12. One-Hour Workout: The Norwegians’ Pre-Race Day Run Session:
Get a sneak peek at the workout that Gustav Iden and Kristian Blummenfelt will be doing the day before the Ironman World Championship.
With the Ironman World Championship just days away—and so many eyes on the Norwegian podium favorites Kristian Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden, this week’s One-Hour Workout gives us a sneak peak into the run session they’ll be doing on Friday, the day before the Big Dance. Famous for their threshold work and lactate testing, it is perhaps no surprise that that style of training is all done and dusted by now, as their coach, Olav Aleksander Bu said: “By now, the work is all done and the focus is on tapering. Last week, we kept it all very simple and relaxed in terms of measurements, and this week it is all about the athletes’ well-being.”
He said this run workout, which he described as having “universal applicability,” is highly race-specific and is designed to be done the day before race day.
13. How to Avoid (and Fix) a Bum Ankle:
Ankle instability is often the result of nerve and ligament damage. These exercises can help get you back on, and stay on, your feet.
When Chris Peterson sprained his ankle playing football in high school, he brushed it off as a minor injury. His ankle hurt for a couple days, but no one suggested he see a doctor, and soon enough, it felt better. “I got back to playing as soon as I could,” said Dr. Peterson, now a physical therapist at Washington University in St. Louis. However, although his ankle didn’t hurt, it just wasn’t the same afterward.
“I’d step wrong, and my ankle just wasn’t there,” which often led to falls, he said.
Sprained ankles are among the most common musculoskeletal injuries. Official estimates are that two million people in the U.S. sprain their ankle every year, but the real number is likely much higher, as many people never seek care for their injury.
More...from the New York Times.
14. The Impact of a Single Stretching Session on Running Performance and Running Economy: A Scoping Review:
One determining factor for running performance is running economy (RE), which can be quantified as the steady-state oxygen consumption at a given running speed. Stretching is frequently applied in sports practice and has been widely investigated in recent years. However, the effect of stretching on RE and performance is not clear. Thus, the purpose of this scoping review is to investigate the effects of a single bout of stretching on RE and running performance in athletes (e.g., recreational and elites) and non-athletes. The online search was performed in PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science databases. Only studies that explored the acute effects of stretching on RE (or similar variables) and/or running performance variables with healthy and adult participants, independent of activity level, were included in this review. Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria with a total of 44 parameters (14 performance-related/30 metabolic parameters) and 111 participants. Regardless of the stretching technique, there was an improvement both in performance variables (21.4%) and metabolic variables (13.3%) following an acute bout of stretching. However, detrimental effects in performance variables (28.5%) and metabolic variables (6.6%) were also reported, though the results were influenced by the stretching duration and technique. Although it was observed that a single static stretching exercise with a duration of up to 90 s per muscle group can lead to small improvements in RE (1.0%; 95% CI: -1.04 to 2.22), negative effects were reported in running performance (-1.4%; 95% CI: -3.07 to -0.17). It was also observed that a single bout of dynamic stretching only resulted in a negligible change in RE -0.79% (95% CI: -0.95 to 4.18) but a large increase in running performance (9.8%; 95% CI: -3.28 to 16.78), with an overall stretch duration (including all muscles) between 217 and 900 s. Therefore, if stretching is applied without additional warm-up, the results suggest applying dynamic stretching (for a short overall stretching duration of =220 s) rather than static stretching if the goal is to increase running performance. In general, only short static stretching durations of =60 s per muscle–tendon unit are advisable. One study reported that less flexible runners have greater benefits from stretching than athletes with normal flexibility. In addition, it can be suggested that less flexible runners should aim for an optimum amount of flexibility, which would likely result in a more economical run.
More...from Frontiers in Physiology.
15. How humidity affects hydration, endurance and performance:
During February of each year I like to take a refresher course in the massive difference between how ‘hot and dry’ weather differs to ‘hot and humid’ conditions when it comes to endurance exercise.
It’s around this of year time that I typically go to visit some of the Major League Baseball teams Precision Fuel & Hydration work with as the squads are starting spring training in either Arizona (the ‘Cactus League’) or Florida (the ‘Grapefruit League’).
I always travel with my running shoes and, when I’m not either sweat testing or dodging stray balls while watching batting practice, I try to log a few miles in both locations. In fact, one of my all-time favourite runs is up and down ‘The Camelback’ in Phoenix, Arizona.
Although I’ve raced and trained in all manner of environments over the years, what really strikes me each time I visit both places in quick succession is just how different the conditions are. The immediacy of the back-to-back experience of running in both environments really hammers the variation home for me.
Whilst I’ve experienced it getting as hot as 85F (29C) in Arizona in February (though the average is closer to 75F/24C) with humidity around ~20-30%, I generally find running quite pleasant and can run pretty hard without an issue, as long as I avoid heading out in the very middle of the day.
On the other hand, when I fly over to Florida, where the air temperature is similar to Arizona in that it tends to be in the mid-70s F (early 20s C), I find training so much harder as the humidity can be up at 70% or higher.
More...from Precision HHydration.