1. Yes, Even Slow-Twitchers Can Build Bigger Muscles:
New data finds that endurance- or speed-oriented muscle fibers don’t determine how you respond to strength training
There are a bunch of different reasons that serious endurance athletes generally don’t have big pipes. The most obvious one is that they spend a lot of time running and pedaling and so on, and very little time pumping iron. There may also be an “interference effect,” in which endurance training directly counteracts some of the effects of strength training. And it may be that marathoners simply aren’t wired to get big: researchers have long suspected that slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are most plentiful in endurance athletes, don’t respond to training in the same way as fast-twitch fibers.
This last idea is of particular interest to people like me, who after long years of endurance training have grudgingly accepted that their long-term health would likely benefit from packing on some more muscle. I’ve included strength training in my routine pretty consistently over the past decade, but I’m in no danger of needing to buy bigger T-shirts. So I’m interested to know whether my muscular profile is ill-equipped to add mass, and if so, whether there are any particular training strategies that would work best for me.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
2. Should you be using sodium bicarb for training and racing?
Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) is a salt composed of sodium ions and bicarbonate ions and is commonly known by all good bakers, including my nan, as baking soda.
It’s been used selectively in sports for decades, and is actually even banned in horse racing, where the ‘milkshakes’ given to horses before a big event supposedly helps them maintain speed through the home straight.
Research into the performance-boosting effects of sodium bicarbonate for humans has been going on for nearly a century, but recently there’s been a resurgence of interest in its supposed benefits for endurance athletes and it’s something we’re getting asked about a lot in our free video consultations with athletes.
So, we’ve pulled together the key things you did to know about sodium bicarb to help you decide whether it’s something you should be incorporating into your strategy…
More...from Precision Hydration.
3. Nike Vs ASICS Running Shoe Comparison:
Comparing Nike vs ASICS running shoes could largely be described as a difference in fit and feel, along with some company philosophy if you care about those things (which a lot of you do in this case). Nike might be a behemoth in the sports world, but ASICS is no slouch.
ASICS is well known for their sponsorship of many large marathons and long partnerships with athletes like Deena Kastor.
In the last 20+ years of running and writing shoe reviews, I’m happy to say that I’ve run in a WIDE range of shoes from both brands. There are models I hated, ones I loved and a bunch in between that were just fine, but not my perfect shoe.
Both brands provide high quality shoes and offer a variety of models to suit different needs like overpronation, cushioning, and trail running.
Today, I’m going to give you a breakdown with an overview of features and then we will compare shoe models side by side.
More...from Believe in the Run.
5. The secret to getting more out of exercise? It’s not what you do – it’s when you do it:
Current science suggests that chrono-activity or adjusting our regimes to suit our body clocks, plus short, sharp workouts, are the key to a beneficial exercise routine
Thousands of us have started 2023 with new exercise programmes promising to get us fit, muscle-bound and slim. But the latest science of chrono-exercise (sometimes called chrono-activity) suggests that what really counts isn’t what we do, or even how we do it, but when we do it.
Of course, moving at any time of the day is good. But we now know that our bodies and brains change over the course of 24 hours, with chemicals, proteins and hormones ebbing and flowing almost hour by hour. So perhaps it’s hardly surprisingly that a string of new studies suggests that timing our exercise to optimally match our body’s circadian rhythms could reap additional rewards. And that means faster results – and less time in the gym.
A new study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology found that, for those of us wanting to fend off heart disease and stroke, the optimal time of day to move is between 8am and 11am. And preferably closer to 11am: “The late morning seemed to be the most ideal timing,” explained study author, Gali Albalak.
More...from The Guardian.
6. Why How We Select Young Sporting Talent Is Probably All Wrong:
Around the world, the way that young talent is identified is often done without an understanding of how young athletes develop. We talk to Norwegian researcher in the field, Eirik Halvorsen Wik, PhD, from Cape Town's Institute of Sport and Exercise Medicine at Stellenbosch University, for a close look at the challenges faced by young sporting stars, why there may be a better way to make selections at youth level and how to ensure the best athletes are given the best chance at long term success. Wik has previously worked at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre.
Listen to the podcast on The Real Science of Sport.
7. Nike Motiva: Tried and tested:
An all-new Nike shoe designed to help you move more – but is it any good for running?
A little bit of background on this shoe – a few years ago, the Nike team noticed that the majority of women logging their first workout on the Nike Run Club app were averaging a 13-minute mile (that’s equivalent to roughly an 8-minute km, or a 40-minute 5K). The data showed that these women weren’t running non-stop from the start of their run to the finish. Instead, they were fluctuating between walking, jogging and running – stopping and starting. This shoe is aimed at those women: women who perhaps don’t classify themselves as a ‘runner’ but want to experience the benefits of getting outside and placing one foot in front of the other.
According to Dominique Debnam, Senior Director of Fitness and Women's Footwear at Nike, the Motiva targets three key features: comfort, a rocker geometry (more on this later) and fit.
More...from Runner's World UK.
8. Study: when should you stop strength training ahead of your goal race?
Research says reducing or eliminating your strength workouts ahead of race day may improve performance.
It’s well-known that strength training alongside a good running or triathlon regime can improve your running performance, but as you approach your goal race, too much strength work can do more harm than good. Research has shown that reducing or completely eliminating strength training from your routine in the days and weeks leading up to a race can benefit performance, but is there a sweet spot? That answer is less clear.
In this 2021 study published in the journal Sports, researchers had eight runners follow an eight-week training program that included either plyometric or dynamic strength training alongside their running routine. After the eight-week period, the runners stopped strength training for four weeks. The participants performed a series of tests before the study, after the eight-week training protocol and after the four-week cessation period. These tests included an energy cost of running (Cr) test, a VO2 max test, a lower-body maximal power test, countermovement jumps and a 3,000 m time trial.
More...from Triathlon Magazine.
9. Why Active Women Need Creatine:
It might be the most important supplement many women still aren’t taking.
There are few supplements I recommend across the board. Creatine is one of them. A growing body of research shows it can help increase strength, power, and athletic performance in females, and it’s also good for your brain health and maybe even your mood.
Yet, many women I talk to still don’t think creatine is for them because they don't want to become big and “bulky” like a bodybuilder. Or they’ve heard it causes bloating (and, to be fair, nobody wants bloating). I’m here to assuage those concerns. You can get strong without being “bulky,” and you can take creatine and get the benefits without the bloat. But first, let’s take a look at those benefits.
Creatine for Strength and Performance
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found in your muscle cells that helps them produce energy during high-intensity exercise and heavy lifting.
Your body stashes creatine in your muscles in a form called creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine (PCr). When you need to generate extra force like for that deadlift PR or high-intensity sprint, your body separates the phosphate molecule from the rest of the compound, which it uses to create a muscle-powering energy molecule known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
More...from Dr. Stacy Sims.
10. Increasing breast support is associated with altered knee joint stiffness and contributing knee joint biomechanics during treadmill running:
Greater breast support has been associated with improved running performance as measured by oxygen cost and running economy. Several candidate mechanisms have been proposed to underlie breast support-related improvements in running performance including increased knee joint stiffness. Greater knee joint stiffness has been associated with improved running performance (speed and metabolic cost), though the influence of breast support on knee joint stiffness has not been previously investigated. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of increasing breast support on knee joint stiffness and its constituent components during treadmill running.
Thirteen recreational runners performed a 3-min running bout at their preferred running velocity in each of three breast support conditions: bare chested (CON), low support (LOW) and high support (HIGH) sports bras. Three-dimensional kinematics and ground reaction forces were collected simultaneously using a 10-camera motion capture system (240 Hz, Qualisys Inc.) and instrumented treadmill (1,200 Hz, Bertec Inc.). Visual3D (C-Motion Inc.) was used to calculate knee joint excursions, moments, powers and work while custom software (MATLAB) was used to calculate knee joint stiffness and breast displacements during the stance phase of running in each experimental condition. A series of 1 × 3 repeated measures analysis of covariance with post-hoc t-tests was used to evaluate the effect of breast support on knee joint biomechanics during treadmill running.
11. The easiest way to improve your triathlon performance:
This drink can improve performance by three per cent, regardless of the sport or distance.
performance have changed significantly. In the past is was believed to be a diuretic, beneficial in high doses primarily for marathoners, and most effective when consumed an hour pre-event. Almost every aspect of those ideas has been replaced with newer knowledge, according to Louise Burke PhD. Australian Catholic University and Ben Desbrow PhD, Griffith University, Australia. The two were presenters at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting held in San Diego last month. Here are some of the highlights from their presentation with some tips on how you can improve your performance:
Caffeine is not just for endurance athletes; it offers a three-percent improvement in performance in many real-life sporting events including shorter races and team sports. In addition, caffeine may help athletes such as body builders train harder.
Caffeine offers similar benefits whether you take it one hour pre-workout or only during a long workout. Even low doses of caffeine (as in a gel or caffeinated gum) are effective when consumed just prior to the onset of fatigue.
Caffeine can help runners and triathletes train better when they are jetlagged or when their circadian rhythms are out of line.
More...from Triathlon Magazine.
12. How to Spot—and Correct—Aerobic Deficiency Syndrome:
Is your heart-rate high even on easy runs? Aerobic Deficiency Syndrome might explain why. Here’s how to fix it.
About a decade ago, I was coaching a new runner who was formerly a sedentary, pack-a-day smoker. Nonetheless, she was talented. Her first few races indicated a lot of talent, and I was excited about helping her achieve her potential.
But as we continued working together, I realized that her heart rate was abnormally high during easy runs. In fact, it was hovering near a lactate threshold or tempo effort for almost all of her running—even during her easiest recovery runs.
Needless to say, I was concerned. When heart rates are persistently high over long periods of time, the risk of over-training syndrome or suffering a running injury increases. Plus, having a heart rate approaching an anaerobic zone most of the time is just not effective for long-term improvement. It could also be the sign of bigger health concerns.
13. The Best Minimalist Running Shoes in 2023, According to a Podiatrist:
A podiatrist breakdown how minimalist running shoes can strengthen your feet and calves.
MANY SERIOUS runners swear by ultra-cushioned running shoes, which they claim offer an incredibly comfortable stride. But some believe that the less cushioning and support there is, the better. Enter the best minimalist running shoes.
The concept behind minimalist shoes for running is that they can help your ankles and feet get stronger, promoting overall lower body strength and stability. Strengthening the muscles in your feet can also help to protect from injuries up the chain (hello, constantly sore backs).
Shoes in this category are made with a wide toe box, allowing your toes to splay and flex naturally, and the laces are fully adjustable for a customizable fit. They also have a zero-drop sole, meaning that your heel and forefoot are at the same distance from the ground, promoting a natural running form.
More...from The Guardian.
15. Everything You Know About Muscle Cramping is Wrong:
Cramps are the bane of every triathlete's existence. Scientists are uncovering new reasons why we cramp during races - and what can be done to relieve the discomfort.
Triathlete Pam Moore was running her third marathon in 2006 when it happened: she cramped up hard. The seasoned athlete had been through a lot of difficult circumstances while training and racing, but she wasn’t prepared for the debilitating, stabbing pain that suddenly announced its presence in her calf. She was only nine miles in, but figured she could tough it out. She pushed on, but soon the cramp spread: first, up from her calf into the then, then across to the other leg.
“It turned into a mental battle of, ‘Can I just make it one more step?’” she recalls. “It was excruciating.”
Ever mindful of her pace, she pushed as much as her body would allow, but “it was just like a death shuffle.” In the end, she says the whole experience was “miserable.”
Ask any endurance athlete who has experienced cramping during training or a race, and they’ll have a story similar to Moore’s. Cramps can be mild or severe, fluttery or full-on, located in one muscle or many. And while one triathlete may swear they’ve found the solution, another might find that solution makes their cramps worse, not better. So why do these happen, and what can science tell us about avoiding this deeply uncomfortable fate?