1. What my own "tempo runs" typically looked like:
By Kevin Beck.
After declaring two recent articles about tempo runs—one published by Runner’s World, the other by Trail Runner—to be some combination of uninformed and unserious attempts, as well as at least passively asserting knowledge in this area by repeatedly referring to an ancient article on the subject I wrote myself, I decided to review my own history of tempo runs. Runner’s World can electronically burn as much of my work as its mentally flaccid and ethically bereft “editors” choose, but I am busy weaving myself a pink, pudenda-shaped protest-hat and preparing to be nasty as I need to be in fighting for my right to describe things on virtually unknown Internet sites, personal and corporate-run alike.
This post was prompted by an ongoing e-mail exchange initiated by a reader that may develop into a discussion thread. It won’t be the only one of its kind dispersed to the public, although I expect future variants to be both less infectious and less likely to result in symptomatic memories. This one covers the highlights of what I remember in the general area of tempo runs and.
More...from Beck of the Pack.
2. New prison marathon documentary chronicles San Quentin’s 1,000 Mile Club:
A testament to the transformative power of running, 26.6 To Life documents the San Quentin Marathon, which takes place inside the walls of a maximum-security California prison
26.2 To Life, by San Francisco filmmaker Christine Yoo, documents the story of the San Quentin Marathon–a marathon that takes place every November inside the walls of a maximum-security prison, and which, for several men, has represented a path to rehabilitation and a new life. The film opens in U.S. theatres on Sept. 22.
coaches were given permission to start a running club in the prison 16 years ago, is called the 1,000 Mile Club–the idea being that interested inmates could rack up 1,000 miles during their period of incarceration. The club’s leader is volunteer coach Frank Ruona, a veteran of 78 marathons (including many Boston Marathon finishes) and 38 ultras. Other regular volunteers include Western States Endurance Run board president Diana Fitzpatrick and popular ultrarunner Dylan Bowman.
More...from Canadian Running Magazine.
3. GPS Watch? No Thanks. Top Runners Are Ditching the Data:
An increasing number of elite distance runners don’t wear activity tracking or GPS watches. They think they are better athletes because of it.
As a decorated college runner at Notre Dame and then at the University of Tennessee, Dylan Jacobs dabbled with a device that many of his teammates considered indispensable.
But on those rare occasions when Jacobs succumbed to peer pressure and slapped a GPS watch around his wrist, he almost immediately remembered why he had resisted the temptation in the first place.
“The runs just felt so much longer,” said Jacobs, 23, a three-time N.C.A.A. champion who recently turned pro. “That was one of my main problems with it. I wasn’t enjoying myself or looking around. Instead, I was kind of looking at the watch every quarter-mile to see how much longer I had left.”
GPS watches — popular brands are Garmin, Suunto and Coros — come equipped with satellite technology and heart rate monitors to produce a buffet of functions. Want to know how far and how fast you’ve run, or how many milliliters of sweat you dumped in Central Park last weekend? How about your average stride length? Your cadence? The list goes on.
More...from the New York Times.
4. Past Athletic Performance Doesn’t Guarantee Future Results:
A new study of athletic career trajectories finds that early success is less meaningful than you’d think.
My favorite rags-to-athletic-riches story is Reid Coolsaet, a Canadian ultrarunner from near where I grew up who’s a few years younger than me. As a high-schooler, he was mediocre. In university, he started to improve—and didn’t stop. Starting in 1998, when he turned 19, his annual 5K bests were: 15:56, 15:16, 14:39, 14:28, 14:12, 13:53, 13:31, 13:23. By that time, in 2005, he was representing Canada at the world track and field championships, and he went on to run (and place in the top 30) in two Olympic marathons.
I’ve always loved Reid’s success because of how unlikely it seemed, given his humble start. But a new study suggests that I may have been misjudging him, and falling into a common trap in my assumptions about what’s “typical” for athletes who ascend to the highest levels of the sport. Published in the journal Sports Medicine by a team led by Arne Güllich of the University of Technology Kaiserslautern in Germany, the new review argues that athletes who succeed in junior age categories are, for the most part, completely different from those who succeed in adult competition. For anyone coming to the end of their high school or university sports career and assuming that they’ve maxed out their talents, that’s a pretty important message.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
5. What parents and guardians need to know to create positive youth sport experiences:
Parental behaviour has the potential to either positively or negatively impact youth athletes
>BR> Current sporting contexts that frequently foster negative parental behaviour include parents “living vicariously” through their kids, the rise of youth sport professionalization and the high financial cost of youth sport
This SIRCuit article offers practical tips for both parents and youth sport organizations to foster positive parent-athlete relationships
In Canada, youth sport is often coupled with incidences of poor parent or guardian behaviour. News reports of parent or guardian arrests and verbal as well as physical altercations around their children’s youth sporting events are, unfortunately, common (Bell, 2020; Crosier, 2022; Kaufmann et coll., 2019). Further, for many young athletes, dealing with pressuring, loud, and aggressive parents or guardians (both their own and others) can be embarrassing, stressful and may lead them to consider quitting sport at an early age (Cumming & Ewing, 2002; Smoll et coll., 2011).
Likewise, many youth sport coaches and the parents and guardians they work with experience a variety of conflicts, struggle to effectively communicate with one another, and often fail to establish common goals (Erdal, 2018; Horne et coll. 2022). Youth sport referees also describe experiencing negative interactions with parents and guardians Opens in a new window. Some officials cite parent and guardian behaviour to be one of the leading causes of referee attrition, due to concerns around safety and abuse (Ackery et coll., 2012; Warner et coll., 2013).
6. How understanding your motivation can drive your performance:
What’s really motivating you to perform? Understanding what motivates you is a crucial component of performing well, and when it comes to what motivates you in competitive situations, there are two aspects of personality that are worth exploring: a Need for Achievement (NA) and a Fear of Failure (FF).
NA refers to how naturally competitive we are and how we actively seek out challenges in our sport.
FF explains the way we perceive the possibility of defeat. None of us enjoy losing and sport in general is highly achievement oriented, yet for some, the thought of defeat is more damaging than for others.
Many see defeat as ‘failure’ which results in self-doubt and can affect self-esteem (so is personally damaging and a reflection of our ability). This in turn, can bring on a sense of hopelessness, and have a negative impact on motivation.
More...from Precision Hydration.
7. The Future of Fitness Wearables: How Whoop, Oura, Garmin Are Innovating:
Founders and executives from the top fitness wearable companies spoke with Athletech News about what’s to come
Though it seems like just yesterday that wearables came on the health and wellness scene, activity trackers as we know them have been around since 2014, when users could first view their steps, walking speed, heart rates and sleeping patterns.
Wearables have evolved drastically in the last nine years, with more offerings than ever before. But where is the wearables industry going? Could wearables become more accepted and used by healthcare professionals to enhance and improve wellness?
Consumers use wearables for varying purposes: getting fit, losing weight, and meeting–or beating–athletic goals. Increasingly, however, people are using wearables to monitor their health. New hardware, software and apps have allowed wearables to act more like personalized health clinics. Heart rate monitors are standard on most wearables, and some have FDA approval for detecting abnormalities like atrial fibrillation, a major cause of strokes. Wearables are also increasingly monitoring other metrics like blood oxygen saturation (SpO2). During the pandemic, consumers, not surprisingly, purchased more wearables than ever before.
8. Samsung and the University of Michigan team up on smartwatch technology for runners:
The eight-month long study will use Samsung Galaxy Watches to measure data.
In 2016, the University of Michigan launched the Exercise & Sport Science Initiative (ESSI) to, as it put it at the time, "optimize physical performance and health for athletes and exercisers of all ages and abilities." The initiative has four main areas of focus, including injury prevention, diagnosis, and management, along with performance analytics, improving physical activity, and sports technology.
It's with that last one in mind that ESSI announced a research partnership with Samsung Electronics on smartwatch technology. Together, the two companies are looking to help runners manage their health and physical activity, and to provide them with more reliable and accurate data.
The eight-month long study, in which participant enrollment and data collection have already begun, is being overseen by The Michigan Performance Research Laboratory (MiPR), ESSI’s core research lab, using the Galaxy Watch series, specifically the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Watch6 and Galaxy Watch6 Classic, to estimate the VO2 max and sweat loss of participants as they run.
These devices feature personalized fitness coaching, advanced sleep management and health monitoring, along with a Personalized Heart Rate Zone feature that provides five running intensity levels based on each individual's capabilities. Another feature, called Track Run, helps runners record their runs while on a running track; Galaxy Watch provides analysis including asymmetry, regularity, and ground contact time to help improve performance and reduce injury.
The study will compare reference data against smartwatch data from both indoor (treadmill) and outdoor running trials of different distances, from 2.5km to 20km.
More...from Vator News.
9. When Your Workout Stops Working:
Fitness progress can stall. Here’s how to get over the hump.
The first weeks of a new exercise routine can be hard — your muscles tremble, your lungs burn, your heart races. But after a month or two, it gets easier: You’re running faster and longer, or lifting weights with more ease. Then suddenly, progress slows or stalls. You’ve hit a workout plateau.
Such periods, when you stop seeing fitness improvements despite continuing to train, are common, said Chris Perrin, a personal trainer and co-owner of Cut Seven, a gym in Washington, D.C. “I’ve yet to meet a fitness enthusiast who hasn’t hit one.”
Plateaus can happen once the body adapts to a new workout. After just a few training sessions, the brain can become more skilled at telling muscles to move. And, usually over the course of weeks or months, the body itself changes.
For example: “The heart gets stronger and better at pumping blood to the muscles,” said Jeff Horowitz, an exercise physiologist at the University of Michigan.
More...from the New York Times.
10. The Age of Data Overload—What’s True and What’s Actually Worth Knowing?
We are inundated with training data, opinions, and information. But that overwhelm makes it hard to get at what is actually true. Our hosts share their thoughts on cutting through the noise.
There was a time when athletes when athletes guided their training by solely speed or pace. If you wanted to find a single article on endurance sports training, it meant spending an hour rummaging through the local library. Information was in short supply and most athletes trained by feel or by trying to emulate the local hero.
Those days are behind us. Now there is so much information and data, an athlete could end up spending more time analyzing their training and reading about training than actually training. This information overload poses a new challenge – how do you cut through all of the noise and get to the truth?
In this summary episode, we give our thoughts to do just that and find answers that you can trust. And what we have to offer may surprise you. First, the truth is grey and often contradictory. If things seem very clear and fit almost perfectly with what you want to believe, you probably shouldn’t trust it. You’re getting closer to the truth when it’s nuanced, complicated, but seems to work when you put it into action.
Likewise, be careful of the N-of-1 effect – seeing something work for one person and assuming it will work for all. But even at this point there is a contradiction. When it comes to your training, N-of-1 is all you actually care about – because it’s about what works for you. You just need to always keep in mind that research provides averages, and your physiology may not fit well with the results of that study or the advice in the article you just read.
More...from Fast Talk Laboratories.
11. Learn more about recovery with heart rate variability (HRV):
This is an excerpt from Heart Rate Training-2nd Edition by Roy T. Benson & Declan Connolly.
Thanks to new understanding of data about cardiac health, heart rate variability (HRV) is a new tool that can provide athletes and exercisers more insight into recovery. In the past, an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine was needed to measure HRV by tracing the electrical activity of the cardiac muscles to measure the actual interval between heartbeats. But now the cheaper technology of chest and wrist heart rate monitors and new apps for smartphones make measuring and using HRV possible and more practical.
Cardiologists have long used HRV, variation in the interval between heartbeats, as a measure of cardiac health. HRV scores range from 0 to 100, with low scores (little variation) indicating poor health, and high scores (greater variation) reflecting good health. HRV scores tend to peak between 20 and 30 years of age and decline thereafter. Average HRV scores for healthy individuals tend to be about 60, but again it is age specific.
So, what does this mean? Generally, HRV indicates the body's health, fitness, and ability to handle a workload. Low HRV indicates poor fitness and the body's inability to adapt to stress, whereas high HRV indicates fitness and that the body is able to tolerate stress or has recovered from a previous stressor. During your recovery periods, when you are not working out and while sleeping, you want to see variations in your resting heart rate response. Tracking this variation in the intervals between heartbeats provides useful data to be used in conjunction with your average resting heart rate. Measuring HRV is becoming widely used in both clinical populations and among competitive athletes and is helpful in determining how well the body has recovered from training. Although it requires a little more daily analysis, it is worth the effort because it allows you to more effectively adjust your training sessions depending on whether you are recovered or not.
More...from Human Kinetics.
12. Parity Announces Parity Locker, An Immersive E-Commerce Platform to Help Close the Gender Income Gap in Pro Sports and Create Unprecedented Fan-Athlete Connections:
Parity, the sponsorship platform dedicated to closing the gender income and opportunity gap in professional sports, today announced the launch of Parity Locker, an innovative e-commerce platform that offers a curated selection of one-of-a-kind memorabilia from prominent professional women athletes across sport. Parity Locker celebrates the achievements of notable women athletes and bridges the gap between them and their fans by providing a unique opportunity to bid on game-worn gear, signed items, personal keepsakes, experiences, and more.
Launching today, Parity Locker offers a highly customizable experience for both women professional athletes and brands, with the ability to personalize landing pages and customize items that hold significant historical and sentimental value. Athletes/merch currently on the platform span 10 sports including basketball, motorsport and lacrosse with plans to expand further, and committed athletes include 2x Olympic Gold Medalist Natasha Hastings (Track & Field), racecar driver and rising star Toni Breidinger (Motorsport), Olympic steeplechaser and middle-distance runner Colleen Quigley (Track & Field), and Karlie Samuelson and Katie Lou Samuelson of the WNBA’s LA Sparks (Basketball), among others. Each item offered on Parity Locker is guaranteed to be authentic and verified by the athlete, ensuring both product uniqueness and connection with the fan.
More...from Runner's World.
14. How To Measure VO2 Max And Why It’s Important:
Your VO2 max is a useful gauge of your cardio fitness, and we took a VO2 max ramp test and compared it to the measurements from sports watches.
There are a lot of different ways to assess your fitness, including how out of breath you feel when you walk up a flight of stairs and how fast you can run 5K. But to accurately quantify your fitness potential, it’s worth measuring your VO2 max. In the simplest terms, your VO2 max measures your aerobic capacity and while you can get estimates from most of the best sports watches these days, the most accurate way to measure it is by a maximal-effort test wearing a gas analyzer.
For more information on how to measure VO2 max we spoke to Livvy Probert, head of science and co-founder of HAWQ, a company that provides personalized health and wellbeing assessments including VO2 max tests. I took one of these tests and was able to compare my result with the VO2 max scores estimated by Garmin, Polar, Coros and Apple watches.
15. Do You Need a Multivitamin?
After years of science failing to show the benefits of multivitamins, research has found multivitamins may benefit older adults and athletes.
In 2013, a group of five physicians from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Warwick Medical School in the U.K. made a bold statement:
“We believe that the case is closed—supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful. These vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention. Enough is enough,” they wrote in an emphatic editorial in Annals of Internal Medicine, one of the most popular medical journals in the US.
Their declaration was based on decades of large-scale studies that found no evidence multivitamins reduced the risk of heart disease or cancer, prevented memory decline, or lowered heart attack rates.
More...from Outside Online.