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Category Archives: Science

How Elite Runners Train When They’re Pregnant

When Elle Purrier St. Pierre, the 27-year-old Olympic miler and multiple American record-holder, announced her pregnancy a few weeks ago, fans were surprised. I was too, even though I recently wrote about a study suggesting that pregnancy doesn’t alter the career trajectory of elite runners. Old habits die hard, and the knee-jerk assumption that motherhood […]

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The Illusion of Progress in Sports Technology

A few years ago, I spent a week cycling through the Italian and French Alps with a deluxe tour group whose selling point was a pre- and post-ride dose of electric brain stimulation. Protocols were based on what the Bahrain Merida cycling team was trying at the time, zapping neurons to enhance performance and recovery. […]

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Why You Should (Sometimes) Ignore Your Training Plan

The techno-utopian vision of the future of endurance training is that on any given day, your workout will be perfectly calibrated for how you’re feeling, how your body responds to different stimuli, and what your current goals are. Wearable tech will track your workout and monitor your recovery around the clock, and the algorithm will […]

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How Caffeine Boosts Endurance

Compared to, say, ice baths, it doesn’t take a lot of convincing for people to embrace caffeine as an essential performance aid. After all, there’s plenty of favorable research, and 90 percent of people already guzzle it daily. Rebranding your morning brew as a pre-race supplement isn’t a big lift. But caffeine’s ubiquity sometimes obscures […]

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Sex Differences in Running Are More Complicated Than We Thought

A pretty good rule of thumb is that women, on average, tend to be about 10 to 12 percent slower than men across a wide range of running distances. That used to be an uncontroversial observation. But these days, with debates swirling about the participation of transgender athletes and those with differences of sexual development […]

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I Supercharged My Productivity by Wearing Shorts at Work. You Can, Too.

Malcolm Gladwell and Peggy Noonan are concerned that many of you want to keep working at home, now and in the future, whether there’s a pandemic going on or not. I agree that you should start thinking about a return to the office, but I suggest that, before giving in, you deliver a nonnegotiable dress-code ultimatum […]

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Two Promising Updates on Heart Health in Endurance Athletes

Reporting on emerging science can sometimes feel like watching live coverage of an ultramarathon. Sure, there’s the occasional dramatic move, but for long stretches of time it feels like nothing is happening. Beneath the surface, though, the action continues. Fatigue mounts, blisters begin to form, an aid station is missed… the evidence gradually accumulates, and […]

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Drafting Isn’t Just for Elite Marathoners

The numbers have been out there for decades. Drafting behind another runner, the data suggests, could save an elite marathoner as much as six minutes. It’s scarcely believable—which is probably why most of us don’t really believe it. After all, the most famous and influential study on drafting in runners, published back in 1970 by […]

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An Unconventional Training Idea for Older Women

A new paper in the Journal of Sports Sciences, in setting up what turns out to be a highly unusual and interesting experiment, casually drops this little fact-bomb in its opening sentence: “The cardiac phenotype of a substantial fraction of the population, i.e., mature women, is mainly unresponsive to endurance training.” Wow. The hearts of […]

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