1. Guns and Needles: The Murky World of Sports Doping:
Respected sports journalist and writer Clinton van der Berg talks about his journey writing his book 'Guns And Needles: A Journey into the heart of South Africa's sport's steroid and drug culture." Van der Berg shares how he managed to get sports people, accused and convicted of doping, to tell their story; how he found out about the shocking incidences of doping in school and junior sport and why both young and old are susceptible to the performance benefits of illegal supplements and drugs. It's a cautionary tale for amateurs and professionals alike no matter what country you come from.
Listen to the podcast on The Real Science of Sport.
2. Adidas Unveils 2023 Boston Marathon Celebration Jacket:
What You Need To Know
Jacket to celebrate the 127th Boston Marathon on April 17, 2023
Made from at least 70% sustainable materials
Sand and stone colorway as a nod to the intersection of nature and sport
Available February 15 for $120
A must-have for any participant of the Boston Marathon, the celebration jacket is a symbol of accomplishment and pride for those running the most iconic marathon of all-time. Each year, the design differs, but the theme remains the same– the unicorn emblazoned on the back and the words ‘Boston Marathon’ up close and personal.
With just over two months until the 127th Boston Marathon on April 17, Adidas unveils this year’s version of the jacket, with a design focused on sustainability and minimal environmental impact.
Eschewing the traditional blue and yellow color palette of the race, Adidas went a bit more muted with a sand and stone colorway for this year’s ensemble. The jacket is made with a minimum of 70% recycled content and the colorway is a “nod to the intersection of nature and sport.”
More...from Believe in the Run.
3. What to do if you've strained your hip flexors running:
Caused either by an unexpected movement straining the muscle, or overuse, strained hip flexors can cause big problems for runners. Here's everything you need to know about hip flexor strains – and how to treat and prevent them.
The iliopsoas (pronounced ILL-ee-o-so-AS) is the combination of the psoas and iliacus muscles (the hip flexors). They are seriously underrated muscles. They don’t get nearly the press that hamstrings, glutes and quads do, but they’re equally as – if not more – important when it comes to everyday movement, as well as explosive athletic movement.
Why? First, consider the sheer size of the iliopsoas. They attach to the vertebrae in your lower back, one on either side, and run down through the pelvis to attach on the inner side of the femur. A well-developed iliopsoas can be several inches thick. These are big muscles.
Their role is twofold. First, they help support the spine. They help you bend forward at the waist (which is why a tight iliopsoas can cause lower-back pain). And second, they’re your hip flexors, meaning that they help you draw your knee up to your chest. An injured iliopsoas is very bad news for an athlete...
More...from Runner's World.
4. The Seven Most Common Ways Runners Get Injured and How to Avoid Them:
A physical therapist details what usually brings runners into his office and lays out strategies to keep you injury-free.
For such a simple activity, runners excel in getting injured or sidelined from training due to pain. In many cases, simple changes could have averted the problem. As a physical therapist who’s made a career out of migrating runners out of the medical system and towards running enlightenment, I’ve come to appreciate the common denominators that exist among runners who enjoy consistent and healthy training, which is where the magic lies.
Over the years, I’ve distilled the seven most common mistakes I see runners make, and developed a practical fix for each to ensure you stay on the right side of the pain and injury fence.
Top Seven Running Mistakes
Relying on Mileage and Pace
Running Too Fast Too Often
Not Listening To Your Body
Poor Decision-Making About Pain
Skipping Warm-ups & Cool-downs
Relying Solely on Bodyweight Strength Training
More...from Outside Online.
5. The Anti-Aging Secret of Ceramides: Scientists Discover Potential Key to Slowing Muscle Decline:
As they age, both mice and humans tend to become less active and lose muscle mass and strength. Scientists led by Johan Auwerx at EPFL have recently discovered that aging mice have an accumulation of ceramides in their muscles. Ceramides are commonly used in skincare products and are a type of sphingolipid, a class of fat molecules that perform various cellular functions rather than being used for energy production.
The researchers found that, in aging, there is an overload of the protein SPT and others, all of which are needed to convert fatty acids and amino acids to ceramides. “The sphingolipids and ceramides are complex yet very interesting fat class, and there is high potential to further study their role in aging, as they perform many diverse functions,” says Dr. Pirkka-Pekka Laurila, a medical doctor and the lead author of the study.
Next, the scientists wanted to see whether reducing ceramide overload could prevent age-related decline in muscle function. They treated old mice with ceramide blockers, such as myriocin and the synthetic blocker Takeda-2, and used adeno-associated viruses to block ceramide synthesis specifically in muscle. The ceramide blockers prevented loss of muscle mass during aging, made the mice stronger, and allowed them to run longer distances while improving their coordination.
6. Exclusive: We Tested the Nike Vaporfly 3:
The “original super shoe” got an overhaul. Here’s how it performs after four months of workouts and racing.
Look at the lead pack of any major marathon and you’ll see a sea of Vaporfly. Even though Eliud Kipchoge wore the $275 Alphafly to break the two-hour barrier, most runners—from the elite wave back to BQ hopefuls—reach for the Vaporfly. But, in the recent Majors, the third version was nowhere to be seen. We didn’t see a single VF3 prototype among the top 10 shoes across the finish line at the New York City Marathon. The Nike-sponsored elites were still lacing up the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2.
(As of February 3, 2023, there’s still no “Vaporfly 3” listed on the World Athletics list of approved shoes, but there are two Nike “development shoes” highlighted in blue that have been given clearance for competition. You can find the PDF list under Manuals & Guidelines on the World Athletics website.)
By then, though, I already had a pair of the Vaporfly 3 for testing. The shoe won’t be available for purchase until March 2023, but I’ve had the shoe for nearly four months of workouts and racing, and I can report that the third iteration feels just as lively and fast as the previous two, while delivering better stability. Let’s jump into what’s new and how it performs.
More...from Runner's World.
7. Does consuming more salt mean you'll have saltier sweat?
We've conducted thousands of Sweat Tests over the years and one of the questions we're regularly asked is "will eating more salt result in a higher sweat sodium concentration?".
So, does more in equal more out?
There's been some interesting (and quite extreme) studies that have researched the effects of dietary salt intake upon the concentration of the sodium in your sweat and these are a great place to start looking for answers.
And the big takeaway from a recent paper by Dr. Alan McCubbin is that your dietary sodium intake needn't fundamentally influence your nutrition and hydration strategy. Here's why...
Does restricting sodium intake impact how salty your sweat is?
Early studies in this area were published either side of the Second World War. Rather than looking at sweat sodium concentration in response to an excess of dietary sodium, they focused heavily on restricted sodium intakes and the effect this had on sweat composition.
More...from Precision Hydration.
8. Ice baths are hot on social media. Here’s how they affect your body:
These days, the coolest thing on social media may be celebrities and regular folks plunging into frigid water or taking ice baths.
The touted benefits include improved mood, more energy, weight loss and reduced inflammation, but the science supporting some of those claims is lukewarm.
Kim Kardashian posted her foray on Instagram. Harry Styles has tweeted about his dips. Kristen Bell says her plunges are “brutal” but mentally uplifting. And Lizzo claims ice plunges reduce inflammation and make her body feel better.
Here’s what medical evidence, experts and fans say about the practice, which dates back centuries.
9. High Highs and Low Lows: Dealing with Emotional Swings:
Coach Vanessa Foerster offers five steps to regulate your emotions.
Have you ever found yourself reveling in confidence from a breakthrough in training one day and then completely devastated when you can’t hit the mark the next? That’s because performance and emotions are intertwined.
Emotional swings happen, but for some the swings can become more volatile. If you regularly experience higher highs and lower lows, those peaks and valleys can become disruptive to your training and performance. When emotions spin out of control, you may notice it harder to get motivated for your next training session. That emotional volatility is a sign to work on controlling your emotions through emotional regulation.
What is it?
Emotions are part of the human experience. We feel nervous before a race. We feel frustrated when training partners show up late to group runs. We feel disappointed when we don’t hit race goals. Emotions by themselves are not a problem. The problem arises when those emotions impact behavior negatively or cause you to make choices that are not in line with who you are or your goals.
More...from Women's Running.
10. Time of Day May Determine the Amount of Fat Burned by Exercise:
A new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark shows that mice that did exercise in an early active phase, which corresponds to morning exercise in humans, increased their metabolism more than mice that did exercise at a time when they usually rest.
The results are published in the journal PNAS.
Physical activity at different times of the day can affect the body in different ways since the biological processes depend on the circadian rhythms of the cells.
To ascertain how the time of day at which exercise is done affects the burning of fat, researchers at Karolinska Institutet and the University of Copenhagen studied the adipose tissue of mice after a session of high-intensity exercise performed at two points of the daily cycle, an early active phase and early rest phase (corresponding to a late morning and late evening session, respectively, in humans).
11. The Future of Strength Training:
Army researchers assess the evidence on what makes you stronger, and speculate about new approaches that might work even better.
Getting stronger is simple: lift heavy stuff, put it down, and repeat. According to a new review led by researchers from the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, you should use heavy weights that you’re capable of lifting one to five times through a full range of motion, and repeat for two to three sets a few times a week. That’s it. The rest is details.
Of course, the details are sometimes interesting—especially if you’re really trying to max out your performance, or returning from injury, or deployed somewhere far from the nearest gym. That’s what motivated the new review paper, which is published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research by a team led by Barry Spiering, who was at USARIEM but has since moved on to a position as lead physiologist at New Balance’s Sports Research Lab. He and his colleagues tried to sum up what we currently know about how to get stronger in order to imagine how we might do better.
12. Are ‘super shoes’ worth the money? It depends on your running skill:
A new study compared the Nike Vaporfly ‘super shoe’ to a more conventional shoe to find out if they really help runners of all abilities move faster.
So-called “super shoes," which are high-tech sneakers that companies claim help wearers run faster, have taken over the running world. Professional and elite runners say the shoes have helped them break records, and amateur marathoners buy them in hopes of running a personal best.
One of the best-known super shoes on the market, the Nike Vaporfly line, can sell for $250 or more. Now a team of exercise scientists has authored a study that aimed to answer the question: Should average runners bother with these shoes?
“Most of the research that had been done was on people and paces that would be relevant to people who were running like sub-three hour marathons, which is a really small fraction of runners,” said Dustin Joubert, the study’s lead author. “And yet these shoes are marketed to everybody.”
More...from the Washington Post.
13. Yes! You are an athlete. No! You shouldn’t practice Intermittent Fasting:
I sat down with 8x U.S. Champion Steeplechase runner and Olympic bronze medalist Emma Coburn for Episode 5 of Nuuness TV, a Nuun-sponsored YouTube series devoted to women in sports.
It didn’t take long before the topic turned to my scientific impressions of current diet trends. Of course, I jumped right in with my thoughts on intermittent fasting (IF) and the ketogenic diet, both of which I would like to see out of the athletic population—especially among women!
If you missed it, I’ll gladly summarize here again, because it’s important and so many women are still getting the message that IF and keto are the way to go for mental focus, high performance, and weight loss. And it is simply not true.
As I’ve said many times, from a health standpoint, intermittent fasting is useful. This is particularly true for the general population who are not very active and struggling with metabolic diseases. However, when you dig deeper and look at longevity data in terms of both intermittent fasting and exercise, they’re both beneficial, but you do not garner any additional benefits from layering intermittent fasting on top of exercising (which I know you all do!)
So if you’re already exercising, it’s not particularly helpful. And if you’re a woman who is adding athletics on top of intermittent fasting, it can be harmful to both your performance and your health.
More...from Dr. Stacy Sims.
14. This Was the Hardest Workout Class I’ve Ever Done—But Not For the Reasons You Think:
I was forced to tap into my muscles, mind, and breath.
I’m dripping with sweat. But I can’t reach for my towel because I’m currently holding 15 pound dumbbells in my hands during a High Lunge. “Stay low,” the instructor reminds us. “Thirty seconds to go. Connect to your breath. Remember your breath.”
Expletives fill my head. These lunges will, inexplicably, be the death of me. I’m going to die in a CorePower yoga studio. I’m already reconsidering my decision to attend this Strength X class.
To humor myself, I do it. I take a measured breath, returning to the long inhalations and exhalations that exist exclusively in my restorative yoga class. Something settles. My heart rate calms. My body eases up—and the weights don’t feel quite as torturous. What is happening?
I practice yoga on a regular basis. I try—and often fail—to meditate. I work out several times a week. Although I love a sweat-dripping hot yoga class, my asana practice and my workouts are separate. When I’m doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT), sprinting on a spin bike, or throwing around heavy weights, I want to tune out. But when I shift from Downward-Facing Dog into Plank Pose, I want to tap into my breath.
More...from (Outside Online.
15. Shoe Review: New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite, v3:
After running through the gamut of rock ‘n’ roll shoes, the carbon plate—dare we even say it?—seems to have lost some of its allure. Like the Tesla when it was the only car that was electric, carbon plates—a revelation in energy return used to propel momentum, lift the heel and offer midsole support—are now somewhat ubiquitous. Most major shoe brands offer some variation of more or less the same thing.
This is what makes the SuperComp Elite v3 from New Balance a revelation. We no longer instantly feel a jolt when brandishing these once nearly-outlawed shoes. The jolt must now come from the actual sneaker and the New Balance SuperComp Elite v3 feels like the start of something new. Light and peppy and low to the ground, the men’s sized 9 sneaker weighs 229 grams and has a 4mm drop. The ride is responsive, cushioned and propulsive. It’s aerodynamic, but here’s the thing: even after 35K, the lightweight trainer still provides adequate ankle support. Far from flimsy, somehow the SuperComp Elite v3 from New Balance has achieved the running shoe holy grail: light, but substantive; fast, but cushioned enough to lend a tired marathon runner support.