1. After decades of neglecting women athletes, sport and exercise medicine is finally catching up:
When cyclist Alison Tetrick joined the sport’s professional ranks, she received the perks that come with the job — new bikes and clothing included. But she could never get comfortable on the bike saddles. After several years, Tetrick suffered so much damage to her genital area that she eventually resorted to surgery to trim excess skin from her labia. Tetrick wasn’t alone — the sad truth was that many of her female cycling peers had also required the procedure.
Since Tetrick’s experience about a decade ago, several cycling companies have developed women-specific saddles and cycling shorts, as amateur athlete and journalist Christine Yu writes in her new book “Up to Speed: The Groundbreaking Science of Women Athletes.” But Tetrick’s case is representative of a massive gap in science and exercise medicine, which has long neglected the study of women.
The repercussions of this gap are still playing out today, from sports gear that neglects to take into account physiological differences in women’s bodies to higher rates for injuries like ACL tears and bone stress fractures for women in sports like soccer and running. “Although female athletes constitute approximately 50% of the population, there are distinct knowledge gaps in areas such as sports performance, cardiovascular health, musculoskeletal health, postpartum physiology and lactation research,” the authors of an editorial in the journal BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine wrote this May, calling for greater representation of women as both study participants and as researchers in the field
2. Sweltering Sauna or Cold Plunge? Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable Can Boost Performance and Health:
The science behind ice baths and sauna sessions.
Extreme temperature treatments have been a hot (pun intended) trend for the past few years. Long time athlete Gabby Reece famously swears by super hot (up to 220 degrees F!) sauna treatments followed by icy cold plunges and Lady Gaga’s Instagram feed is peppered with her submerged in ice as part of her post-show routine that includes alternating between cold and hot treatments.
I’m not one to follow influencers, but both these women are correct that getting comfortable with getting uncomfortable in both hot and cold conditions can be good for your performance and your health—with women reaping some specific benefits.
The Science Behind Sauna
Cultures around the world have used saunas for health benefits for thousands of years, with good reason: a 2018 research round up reported that sauna use was linked to a reduction in high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, as well as pulmonary disease and neurocognitive diseases like dementia. It also appears to alleviate pain associated with inflammation and arthritis. Other research finds it reduces the risk of early death.
That’s likely because your body responds to sauna the same way it does to moderate- to high-intensity exercise: your heart rate goes up by about 30 percent, your body temperature rises, you break a sweat, and your body produces hormones like noradrenaline and growth hormone. So, you get health benefits similar to a good workout. The benefits are even better for people who exercise regularly. The study found that having high fitness levels from regular exercise plus regular sauna treatments provide extra cardiovascular benefits.
4. You’re probably running your easy miles too fast — here’s how to pace yourself:
Eliud Kipchoge is the fastest man in the world — at his 1:59 marathon in Vienna, he ran consistent splits between 2:48 min/km, and 2:52 min/km (around a 4:30 min/mile), yet when the Kenyan runner heads out for his training miles, his pace drops considerably. Clocking around 200km a week, the Kenyan runner does a lot of his miles at an ‘easy’ pace of 4:00-5:00 min/km, or 6:26-8:03 min/miles. So how slow should you be doing your easy miles? We asked two running coaches to find out more.
Easy miles form the backbone of most training plans, whether you’re training for a 5K, or a marathon. When running easy, slower miles, you will use mostly slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are important for building endurance. You’ll also work on your cardiovascular strength, which is essential for all runners, no matter how far you plan on running.
Whatever you’re training for, getting the right kit is essential. We’ve tested the best running shoes on the market here, as well as the best running watches for helping you keep an eye on your pace as you clock up the miles.
More...from Tom's Guide.
5. Running Pain: Should You Keep Running Through It?
NOTE: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any treatment.
Running Pain: Phantom or For Real?
We’ve all been there: that moment when you’re out on a glorious day, the sun is shining, and training is going beautifully. You’re in your groove, ticking away at your mileage, and then out of nowhere: pain.
Maybe it’s in your shin, your hip, your knee, or some place you never realized could even hurt. Like any runner worth their salt, you immediately rest and recover. Just kidding, you totally ignore it and tell yourself it’s not real.
First things first, you switch on your David Goggins audiobook for inspiration. You tell yourself it’s mental. Of course it’s mental– pain is in the brain!
But what if it’s also in the bone? Is that a bone or a muscle? Do I even have bones there?
More...from New York Times.
7. Exercise linked to higher pain tolerance – new study:
Many benefits come from regularly exercising, including stronger muscles, lower risk of disease and improved mental health. But a recent study suggests that exercise may have another unexpected benefit: it might make us more tolerant to pain.
The study, published in the journal PLOS One, found people who regularly exercised had a higher pain tolerance compared with those who hardly exercised.
To conduct their study, the researchers used data from 10,732 participants who’d taken part in the Tromsø study – a large study on health and disease that was conducted in Tromsø, Norway. The participants were aged 30 to 87, and just over half were women.
Every participant was assessed twice, eight years apart. During each assessment, they answered questions about their physical activity levels and took part in a cold pressor test. This is a common method used by researchers to induce pain in a laboratory environment. Participants place their hand in 3? water for as long as they can. The longer they keep their hand in the water, the greater their pain tolerance.
More...from Runner's World.
9. VO2 Priming Before Hard Intervals:
VO2 priming, also known as pre-conditioning, is a training technique utilized in sports performance to optimize aerobic capacity and enhance endurance. By engaging in brief, high-intensity exercise prior to the main training session or competition, athletes aim to stimulate physiological adaptations that improve the body’s ability to utilize oxygen more efficiently during subsequent exercise.
In this month’s toolbox article, we will be discussing a training technique known as ‘VO2 Priming’.
VO2 priming involves short bursts of intense effort followed by a recovery period, which serves to ‘prime’ the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and muscles. This technique aims to elevate oxygen uptake, enhance metabolic responses, and improve neurological readiness, ultimately leading to improved performance in endurance activities. While VO2 priming is typically employed by well-trained athletes, its protocols and integration into training programs should be tailored to individual fitness levels and training capacities for optimal results.
Understanding VO2 Max and its Significance
We have discussed VO2max in Toolbox articles before, but it never hurts to refresh. VO2max, or maximal oxygen uptake, is a measure of an individual’s maximum capacity to utilize oxygen during intense exercise. It represents the highest rate at which oxygen can be consumed and utilized by the body’s muscles during physical activity. VO2max is often considered a key indicator of aerobic fitness and endurance performance.
More...from PEZ Cycling News.
10. Does Hypermobility Make You More Prone to Sports Injuries?
Physicians and researchers weigh in on the benefits and disadvantages of having hypermobile joints.
At age 18, Kate Badgett was your typical young runner. She clocked about 20 miles a week, usually on the road, and took spin classes and did basic core work to cross-train. However, like other dedicated athletes, she soon experienced a femoral stress fracture, a hairline fracture of the thigh bone.
This type of injury is typically the result of overuse, but Badgett’s weekly mileage didn’t seem high enough for the two to be correlated. She started experiencing other pain, including partial dislocations of her shoulder. Badgett’s case suddenly felt anything but typical. Her physical therapist began to wonder if joint hypermobility, a greater-than-average range of motion in your joints, was at the root of the problem. Turns out, he was right.
More...from (Outside Online.
11. People Who Exercise Handle Pain Better, Study Finds:
A little bit of exercise can help keep pain in check, researchers in Norway have found. Their newly published study suggests that physically active people have a higher pain tolerance on average than those who are sedentary, while higher levels of physical activity might further increase people’s tolerance.
Unfortunately for anyone who hates sweating and chafing, exercise is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy. Research has also shown that it can help relieve pain. Exercising can release chemicals that act as natural painkillers; some exercises strengthen muscles and joints that are more susceptible to injury; and it’s a mood booster, which is relevant since our emotional state can affect our perception of pain. People with certain health considerations might need specially designed fitness routines, but many doctors nowadays will even recommend exercise as a way to help manage chronic pain.
While exercise can be a pain reliever, there are some things we don’t completely understand about this benefit. Researchers at the University Hospital of North Norway in Tromsø and elsewhere wanted to explore one particular aspect of the connection between pain and exercise: our tolerance for pain, defined as the most amount of pain we can handle before it’s unbearable.
12. Athlete Travel Tips: 6 things to consider when travelling to an international race:
As the world ‘re-opens’ and we rediscover a sense of freedom, many of us will start to travel to events again. For many in the Northern Hemisphere in particular, traveling internationally can mean anything from a few hours to a few days of transport and airport layovers.
For me down here in little, old New Zealand, travelling overseas is a rather big commitment, often including at least one long haul flight! So for this reason, alongside the fact I've been travelling internationally to compete in endurance events since 2009 (often with a wife and children in tow), I feel qualified to share some advice on how you can make your next trip one that helps heighten your chances of arriving at your event safe, healthy and ready to go.
The irony is that I'm writing this article from an aeroplane as I embark on my first international trip for a race since 2019. Spending the last week going back through a process that once felt so familiar and now seems so foreign was a handy refresher on how to prepare to travel and race...
More...from Precision Hydration.
13. University joins forces with UK Sports Institute on female athlete health:
Effect of the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraception on performance will be focus of research.
How the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraception affects female athletes’ performance will be investigated through an exciting new research partnership to provide better understanding and support for sportswomen and coaches.
Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Sport and the UK Sports Institute, formerly the English Institute of Sport, have signed the visionary partnership, which will focus initially on the influence of the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraception on performance.
There will be a particular focus on how to apply the research so that it positively impacts athletes and coaches.
Several high-profile athletes have spoken in recent times on the impact of periods on athletic performance, including long-distance runner Eilish McColgan and sprinter Dina-Asher Smith, and the need for more studies.
Hormones released during athletes’ periods have also been linked to ACL injuries in women’s football, where they are far more common than in men’s football.
It is widely acknowledged that more robust, high-quality research is needed to better inform the health and performance support of female athletes and this partnership will significantly enhance the University’s and UK Sports Institute’s (UKSI) leadership in this area, benefitting elite athletes, coaches and sports.
More...from Manchester Metropolitan University.
14. Molly Seidel’s Journey to Embracing Imperfect Mental Health Advocacy:
For Mental Health Awareness Month, the Olympian partnered with the New York Road Runners to share the message that when it comes to mental health, it’s about progress, not perfection.
Molly Seidel is a top-rated American distance runner with a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics and the American record at the New York City Marathon. While competing at the highest levels of the sport, Seidel has also been candid about her mental health struggles.
Seidel has been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), and eating disorders. After a career-defining run at the Tokyo Olympics that catapulted her to new levels of prominence in the running world, she dealt with relapse and was forced to confront the pressures that came with fame and a platform. Since then, Seidel has used her journey to de-stigmatize mental health for other athletes and demonstrate that struggle isn’t the opposite of healing—it’s an integral part of it.
Earlier this month, the 28-year-old Puma-sponsored pro led a New York Road Runners group run called “Open Run for an Open Mind,” to share her story and connect with the running community. One of her primary messages was admitting that, while the past year has been challenging, she’s eager to embrace her role as an imperfect advocate for mental health in the running community if it helps others on their journeys.
More...from Outside Online.
15. Lionel Sanders says “a lactate monitor doesn’t win a race” as he goes back to basics:
After a substantial period of time dabbling in a variety of different training methods, including a stint under the guidance of Norwegian coach Mikal Iden, Canadian long-distance star Lionel Sanders is going back to basics.
The two-time IRONMAN World Championship runner-up, who has struggled to reach peak condition in recent seasons, shared his newly-adopted philosophy for training moving forward in his most recent YouTube video.
Known for his transparency and honesty when it comes to the details of life as a professional athlete, Sanders held nothing back in his new vlog, as he brutally dissected the flaws of his previous approach.
“Two races I’d like to forget about”
After two tough races at IRONMAN 70.3 St George and IRONMAN 70.3 Gulf Coast, both of which were won by Sam Long, Sanders decided it was time for a change.