1. What You Do (and Don’t) Need in a Running Shoe:
It’s tempting to believe the right sneakers will help you run faster or avoid injury. Here’s what experts know.
Humans have run for hundreds of thousands of years, most without the benefit of cushy, brightly colored footwear. But take a stroll around a sporting goods store or scroll through a running website, and you’ll find a dizzying array of options. Some promise speed, others comfort and injury reduction — and nearly all carry hefty price tags.
To help you sort fact from fad — and stability shoes from super shoes — we consulted research and experts.
What makes a running shoe a running shoe?
Traditional running sneakers are designed to blunt the impact of hitting the ground and provide traction, said Geoff Burns, a sport physiologist for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee in Colorado Springs.
As with other athletic shoes, running sneakers are made of fabric, foam and rubber, but they’re engineered to meet the specific demands of the sport. For instance, they’re typically lighter and more flexible than basketball shoes, which are designed to protect your foot during lateral, stop-and-start movements.
More...from the New York Times.
2. How to decide whether to DNS or push through and start your big race:
Good luck to anyone trying to remind British triathlon star Chrissie Wellington of that proverb when she was aiming to win her 4th IRONMAN World Championship title in 2011. Having won on Ali’i Drive in ‘07, ‘08 and ‘09, she was in amazing shape during the build-up to the race, setting MDot and Iron-distance world best times earlier in the season, before disaster seemingly struck.
She came off her bike during one of her final training rides, exactly 2 weeks prior to Kona. The crash inflicted some serious injuries to the left-hand side of her body, including a horrible road rash on her leg and hip that became infected in the following days.
In this situation, the old proverb would suggest Chrissie shouldn't have even tried to take her place on the start line and accepted a 'DNS' (Did Not Start) next to her name for fear of causing more harm.
But then deciding whether to start a race is never as straightforward as an old proverb might suggest…
More...from Precision Hydration.
3. Review: Nix Hydration Biosensor:
This stick-on biosensor promises to give cyclists and runners real-time hydration advice by analyzing their fluid loss while they work out.
In a world where unmanned spacecraft have landed on Mars and artificial intelligence can read your mind, one would think someone would have figured out a precise way to measure how much athletes should drink while exercising. Hydrating, or replacing body fluids lost through sweating, exhaling, and eliminating waste, is essential. When 2 or more percent of body mass is lost through dehydration, the body can go haywire, with elevated cardiovascular strain, reduced aerobic exercise performance, and impaired thermoregulatory function. After losing 12 percent of body mass to dehydration, a human will die.
It’s rare for an athlete to exercise to the point of death by dehydration. But it’s also odd to consider that, for such an important physiological necessity, many athletes rely on thirst as their definitive guide to how much they should hydrate during exercise. The trouble with that built-in system is twofold. By the time your brain registers that you need water, your body is often already dehydrated. Also, it’s easy to alleviate your thirst before you’ve completely rehydrated.In a world where unmanned spacecraft have landed on Mars and artificial intelligence can read your mind, one would think someone would have figured out a precise way to measure how much athletes should drink while exercising. Hydrating, or replacing body fluids lost through sweating, exhaling, and eliminating waste, is essential. When 2 or more percent of body mass is lost through dehydration, the body can go haywire, with elevated cardiovascular strain, reduced aerobic exercise performance, and impaired thermoregulatory function. After losing 12 percent of body mass to dehydration, a human will die.
It’s rare for an athlete to exercise to the point of death by dehydration. But it’s also odd to consider that, for such an important physiological necessity, many athletes rely on thirst as their definitive guide to how much they should hydrate during exercise. The trouble with that built-in system is twofold. By the time your brain registers that you need water, your body is often already dehydrated. Also, it’s easy to alleviate your thirst before you’ve completely rehydrated.
4. Nike Vaporfly Next% 3 Review: King of The Course:
MEAGHAN: It’s been two years since Nike blessed us with the most recent edition of the Vaporfly, the supersonic jet of racing shoes. I was excited yet skeptical for this update after what happened with the Alphafly 2 (aka the Alphafly without the magic). Nike turned my dream race day shoe into what felt like an unfavorable uptempo trainer. But, we’re not here to talk about the Alphafly, so let’s keep moving.
The Vaporfly Next% 3 looks quite different from its predecessor, but the key components remain. A ZoomX midsole with a full-length carbon fiber plate feels consistent with V2, while the midsole shape itself has been redesigned. The outsole rubber has been thinned out to allow for extra millimeters of ZoomX underfoot while still keeping within the 40mm stack limit.
The upper is a Flyknit mesh that comes with an offset heel seam and internal padding to reduce irritation in the heel area. The off-centered lacing and flat, stretchy laces also remain.
More...from Believe in the Run.
5. The Return of Boston Marathon-Themed Shoes:
As spring rolls in, brands are again releasing flashy, limited-edition Boston Marathon versions of their speedy models.
Not long ago, during the 2010s, the coming of spring and the approach of the Boston Marathon would herald the release of a flock of flashy, marathon-themed shoes emblazoned with everything from lobsters to subway maps. Then in 2020, both the marathon and the shoes stopped, like many other things in our lives. Even when the marathon returned last spring, lingering uncertainty and supply-chain issues kept everyone from creating marathon-themed models. But this is 2023, the world is slowly righting itself, and once again spring has brought back the shoes of Boston. There aren’t as many as in the past, but here are four fun models you can buy to celebrate your run on the iconic route from Hopkinton to Boylston Street.
More...from Outside Online.
6. Unexpected Consequences: How Running Every Day To Escape Stress Can Actually Be Bad for You:
Researchers have discovered that utilizing running as a means of escaping from unpleasant experiences rather than as a way to attain positive ones may result in a dependence on exercise for runners.
While recreational running offers numerous physical and mental health benefits, some individuals may become addicted to physical activity in the form of exercise dependence, which can have adverse effects on their health. Surprisingly, symptoms of exercise dependence are prevalent among recreational runners. A new study recently published in Frontiers in Psychology explored the connection between running, wellbeing, and exercise dependence through the lens of escapism.
“Escapism is an everyday phenomenon among humans, but little is known regarding its motivational underpinnings, how it affects experiences, and the psychological outcomes from it,” said Dr. Frode Stenseng of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, lead author of the paper.
Running to explore or to evade?
“Escapism is often defined as ‘an activity, a form of entertainment, etc. that helps you avoid or forget unpleasant or boring things’. In other words, many of our everyday activities may be interpreted as escapism,” said Stenseng. “The psychological reward from escapism is reduced self-awareness, less rumination, and a relief from one’s most pressing, or stressing, thoughts and emotions.”
7. Exercise with a buddy. Your brain will thank you for it:
Regular social exercise by older adults may counter physical inactivity and low social participation, both of which contribute to about 40 percent of dementias worldwide, research findings suggest
Social exercise — working out with another person — has many advantages, and new research suggests it also may extend to your brain.
Having a workout buddy has been shown to help boost your motivation, sense of adventure and the likelihood of showing up. For older adults, the potential benefits are even more pronounced. Compared with those who exercise solo, people older than 65 who exercise with others are more physically active, have a lower risk of functional disability and suffer fewer falls.
A new study of 4,358 older adults in Japan has found that participants who worked out with others at least twice a week had a lower risk of developing cognitive impairment than those who did so alone or not at all.
More...from Washington Post.
8. How much dehydration can you tolerate before your performance suffers?:
The guidelines regarding how much dehydration an athlete can tolerate before performance deteriorates has changed over the years, but what level of dehydration is acceptable and is it possible to avoid dehydration?
Early guidelines for dehydration
Not all that long ago, the prevailing opinion in sports science was that you needed to replace 100% of your sweat losses to maintain your performance when exercising. In 1996 the American College of Sports Medicine stated that…
“During exercise, athletes should start drinking early and at regular intervals in an attempt to consume fluids at a rate sufficient to replace all the water lost through sweating (i.e., body weight loss), or consume the maximal amount that can be tolerated.”
Now, granted, these guidelines were not written specifically with long endurance events in mind. But if taken at face value the statement seems to imply that during an Ironman, ultra-running race or long sportive, some athletes should be aiming to drink as much as 2-3 litres an hour in order to replace 100% of their sweat output.
100% replacement of fluid losses during exercise just isn't realistic. That’s a hell of a lot of drinking. In fact, it’s beyond what is physically possible for most people.
That 1996 statement - along with the general “drink, drink, drink” marketing messages coming from the sports drink industry at around the same time - has been blamed for driving the worrying increase in cases of hyponatremia (ill health - or even death in extreme cases - caused by the over-consumption of fluid) seen in amateur sports. In fact, a study conducted at Ironman European Championships a few years ago found that as many as 10% of finishers had hyponatremia to some extent, which will have impacted upon their performance.
More...from Precision Hydration.
9. Want a healthy gut? New research shows how exercise can help:
Chances are, you’re familiar with the benefits of regular exercise. It elevates mood, reduces stress, sharpens mental focus and improves sleep.
Exercising regularly also guards against high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and depression. And it helps protect your bones and joints.
According to a new study from the University of Calgary, the health advantages of exercise also include improving your gut microbiome, the trillions of microbes, mostly bacteria, that reside in your large intestine.
What’s more, the results suggest that you don’t have to work out hard to bolster your gut microbiome. The key, it seems, is exercising consistently.
Why your microbiome matters
Your gut microbes extract energy from the foods you eat, help synthesize nutrients and activate protective phytochemicals, including polyphenols (e.g., berries, cocoa, tea) and carotenoids (e.g., leafy greens, sweet potatoes, orange bell peppers).
They also play an important role in regulating immune function, metabolism, appetite, glucose control and inflammation, as well as other bodily processes.
More...from tjhe Globe and Mail.
10. Strenuous Exercise May Not Lead to Cardiac Fatigue, U of G Research Suggests:
High intensity workouts are a great way to get in exercise quickly, even if they can leave your muscles exhausted. But can those workouts also tire out or damage the heart?
A growing number of studies in recent years has suggested that some forms of intense or prolonged exercise can temporarily fatigue the heart – an organ long known to never need a rest.
The phenomenon, dubbed “exercise-induced cardiac fatigue,” was thought to affect only the most extreme athletes in ultramarathons or other strenuous sports. But recent research suggests cardiac fatigue can occur even during shorter bouts of strenuous exercise.
Now, new University of Guelph research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology questions whether the heart “fatigue” others have observed is really fatigue at all or just a normal part of the heart adjusting to the demands of exercise.
11. Can carbon-plated running shoes cause injuries? Five Questions with Dr. Adam Tenforde, Mass General Brigham Hospital:
We found this interview timely. Dr. Adam Tenforde has done research on CFP shoes. He suggests that, like all running shoes, CFP shoes are equipment, and the body must be given time to get used to the effects and added stress on the body.
In new research recently published in Sports Medicine, Dr. Adam Tenforde, leading sports medicine physician at Massachusetts General Brigham, suggests that carbon-plated running shoes – the shoes that nearly every elite runner and most everyday runners use today – may be causing an increase in bone stress injuries.
Dr. Tenforde, Director of running medicine at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, one of the only centers in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of running-related injuries, and Associate Professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, studied 5 elite runners and found that all of them developed acute pain, later diagnosed as navicular bone stress injuries (BSI), during or after running exclusively in carbon fiber-plated shoes.
More...from Run Blog Run
12. New Balance FuelCell Propel v4 Review: A Budget Plated Prince?
MEAGHAN: The New Balance Propel has never been a favorite of mine — a little too firm and not quite enough stack, if you ask me. That said, I bear good news: the New Balance Propel v4 feels like a brand new shoe, featuring a TPU plate and an extra layer of FuelCell foam. New Balance also updated the engineered mesh upper and slapped on a little bit more rubber coverage on the outsole. What’s most impressive about this update is that New Balance kept this shoe light on price, coming in at just $110.
THOMAS: I need to set an expectation for this review. At a price point of $110, I’m comparing the New Balance Propel v4 to other offerings in that price point and my expectations for an entry-level shoe. I expect cheaper materials and an experience that’s usually slightly less exciting. I won’t tell you that there aren’t affordable shoes that get the job done, but usually, you’ve got to sacrifice something. Think of it like wine. Some expensive wines are trash, and sometimes the four-buck chuck gets the job done just fine. So raise a glass ’cause it’s time to dig into the New Balance FuelCell Propel v4.
More...from Believe in the Run.
13. Cutting Through the Confusion of Cycle-Sync Style Training:
Tracking and training with your menstrual cycle helps you dial in your fitness with your physiology.
It’s well known that I advocate tracking and when appropriate adjusting training and nutrition to align with the physiology of the menstrual cycle and the individual’s responses to her hormones. I came to that position over a decade ago from working with elite and professional athletes, and have been refining it ever since based on a wide array of female physiology research findings.
For example, did you realize your immune system has a significant shift at ovulation, moving to a pro-inflammatory response state, and the autonomic nervous system is affected by progesterone, increasing a woman’s sympathetic drive? Both of these decrease stress resilience after ovulation, in particular during the late luteal phase. From a training point of view, it would not be advantageous to push hard/over reach that stress resilience and expect positive adaptations. This is the prevailing pattern I have found during my years of working with elite and professional athletes (and being an athlete myself) and by looking outside of sport science research. I have been refining this style of training as science evolves and more women are open to discussing how their cycles affect them (physically and psychologically).
More...from Dr Stacy Sims.
14. How to train during your menstrual cycle:
How to train during your menstrual cycle.
Real talk. Real life. I get my period monthly. I have PMS monthly. There are days when I’m so fatigued that the world seems to be ending. It’s almost like I’m drugged. I’m not rational. The days leading into my period, I become irritable and frustrated at minor things. I get the body changes – enlarged breasts, water retention and bloating. I know in the back of my head it’s PMS, but it’s almost as if my rational brain is in a fog. On top of this, I often find regular workouts harder. My power is low, and I have low motivation for harder efforts.
Most women can relate to the above. Our hormones change how we feel physically and mentally. I have to be honest though, after all the research and using a phone app to follow my cycle (best thing I ever did), the effects of my period still surprise me
Not to go into depth here, but I feel it’s best to provide a general sense of the different stages of our hormonal cycle.
More...from Triathlon Magazine.
15. The Science of Fatigue:
Mental and muscle fatigue is part of every sporting endeavour. But what is fatigue? What happens in the body when we get tired and is it possible to push beyond our perceived limits?
Listen to the podcast on The Real Science of Sport.