Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:41:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.2 http://running.competitor.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2017/06/cropped-android-chrome-512x512-32x32.png Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com 32 32 What Shalane Flanagan Can’t Run Without http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/shoes-and-gear/what-shalane-flanagan-cant-run-without_167325 Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:41:09 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167325 Olympian and Nike Bowerman Track Club athlete Shalane Flanagan shares physical and mental must-haves for success on every run.

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Photo: PhotoRun.net

Continuing with our weekly “Can’t Run Without” series, four-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan weighs in on her must-have items (the physical and the mental) before she hits the road.

HOTSHOT: I take an hour before I compete. It’s my insurance that I won’t have any issues cramping while out on the marathon course. It also wakes me up with its sassy spice and ginger kick.

Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%: These bad boys were built for speed and the roads. It’s a marathoners dream flat. It’s great cushion and responsiveness make them super fun to race in!

RELATED: Why I Run With Shalane Flanagan

Good advice: My coaches, Jerry and Pascal are with me almost every day in training so when I go to race I love getting a pep talk from them to give me an extra boost of confidence before I race. They lay out a plan and specifics for me so that I feel prepared and less nervous.

Run Fast. Eat Slow. cookbook: I cook and eat from my own cookbook daily. I love indulging in nourishing food that I know will give me great energy and help me recover for all my hard training and racing.

RELATED: Healthy Recipes From Shalane Flanagan’s Cookbook Run Fast. Eat Slow.

Nike Women’s Pro Indy Strappy Sports Bra: I love the feminine design and fun straps that adjust.

The right motivation: My Bowerman Track Club race kit. I believe that you get more out of your performance when you run for something bigger that yourself. I dig a little deeper when it starts to hurt when I think of all the people who helped me to get there! Slipping on my BTC kit I get extra energy knowing that I’m not just representing myself.

Nike Fleet sunglasses: Great for hanging out, training and racing. Protects my eyes so I don’t squint. It’s been proven that if you squint you tense you shoulders which in turn causes you to run less relaxed which wastes more energy.

More Athletes Share What They Can’t Run Without:
Alex Varner
Colleen Quigley

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5 Foods Runners Should Consider Taking A Break From http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/nutrition/5-foods-runners-consider-taking-break-from_167310 Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:04:27 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167310 If you're experiencing issues such as poor digestion or trouble sleeping, there are foods you can remove from your diet that can help.

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Nutrition is a vital part of our performance and recovery, but you also have to consider how it affects your body in other areas not related to training, as well. Though looking at foods as ‘bad’ or ‘good’ can be problematic, if you are experiencing certain issues—such as lack of sleep or poor digestion—there are some foods you can remove from your diet to help.

We talked with Brandice Lardner, nutrition coach at Grace Filled Plate, to find out what foods may be causing runners some issues and just how long you should remove them from your diet.

If you’re dealing with blemishes…take a break from dairy for one month.

Runners do a lot to protect their skin—sunscreen during every run is a must—and skin issues can lead to greater issues. It is important to always check your skin for unusual blemishes, moles and more as they can be a sign of skin cancer. As you treat your skin, there is more you can do besides topical treatments and face wash.

“While experts disagree about the ties between dairy and acne, acne sufferers frequently report an improvement in skin condition after removing dairy from their diets,” admits Lardner. “Dairy is believed to cause acne due to the hormonal components in milk. Try removing dairy from your diet for 30 days and see if you notice an improvement.”

RELATED: The New Rules Of Carbs For Runners

If you have poor digestion and are bloated…take a break from FODMAPs for six weeks.

As Larnder explains, FODMAPs, which stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, and Mono-saccharides And Polyols, are fermentable carbohydrates that are found in foods and can cause digestive issues.

“By avoiding FODMAPs for six weeks you can determine if these foods are problematic for you,” she notes. “For many, they can re-introduce some of all FODMAPs back into their diet in limited quantities without a recurrence of symptoms.”

Lardner adds that many FODMAP foods are quite ‘healthy but because they are complex they may cause symptoms during digestion. Some of these foods include garlic, onions, mushrooms, apples, sausages, bran cereals and more.

If sleep is poor…take a break from caffeine for one week.

Sleep is vital to your performance and recovery and a lack of it can affect your daily life, as well. Skipping your coffee in the morning can actually help you sleep better at night.

“While caffeine has been to improve athletic performance when taken prior to a workout, caffeine can affect sleep quality for many individuals,” explains Lardner. “Genetically, we each metabolize caffeine at varying rates. If you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, try removing caffeine from your diet for one week and monitor if your sleep quality improves.”

If sugar cravings are causing you to eat more sugar…take a break from sugar for three weeks.

This one seems like a doozy, I know. However, sugar has addictive properties and can leave you wanting more and more of it.

“Over time, our taste preferences become wired to prefer more sweet foods than aligns with our health and fitness goals,” notes Lardner. “By taking a break from sugary foods like candy, cakes, cookies and soda, you give your taste buds a chance to recalibrate so that you can to enjoy the natural sweetness found in nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables.”

Not convinced? There’s more. A recent study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that overweight children and adults who gave up sugar for just nine days significantly saw increased metabolic function. So even if you aren’t overweight, taking time off from sugar can help you add more foods into your diet that your body can properly metabolize.

RELATED: The Straight Dope On Sugar In Sports Drinks

If performance or fat loss has stalled…take a break from alcohol for one month.

You may have heard the recommendation that many doctors make calling for a daily glass a red wine, however, Lardner reminds us that consuming alcohol on a regular basis can have a negative effect on your health and weight loss efforts.

“When you drink alcohol, those calories are burned preferentially by the body, meaning your body stops burning fat (meaning, your body stops burning stored fat and glycogen),” she explains. “Also, when we consume an alcoholic drink, this drink is often in addition to our daily calorie intake. These are extra calories that you would not have consumed otherwise and it can have a negative effect on your body weight.”

Lardner recommends taking a ‘dry month’ and eliminating alcohol to see if you being to see progress again. Once that month is over, limiting how much you drink can help keep that momentum up.

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What You Need To Know If You Are Traveling To A Race http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/tips/traveling-race-know_161400 Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:22:48 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=13983 If you are traveling to a race there are some steps you need to take for your body's health.

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What You Need To Know If You Are Traveling To A Race

Destination races have become the way to vacation. Flying one hour, five hours, or even all over the world has become commonplace. Some runners are even doing seven races in seven days on seven continents. But did you know that if you are traveling to a race, there are some steps you need to take for your body’s health?

Pre-Race

Make sure you drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Bring an empty water bottle to the airport and fill it after security. Or purchase a big bottle before you get to your gate.

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes so you can move freely. If you are traveling far, wear compression sleeves or socks. This will help reduce inflammation especially if you are stuck on a plane changing altitudes for a couple of hours.

Post Race

Do not drink alcohol. Or at least wait until your are hydrated and fed.

Drink plenty of water and beverages with electrolytes. Tablets containing electrolytes are easy to pack in your carryon and your race day bag.

Eat a post-race meal containing protein and carbohydrates to help rebuild the muscle you just used. If you can’t consume a lot of food after a tough race, try a drink like chocolate milk. Consuming 200-300 calories right after your race is essential to recovery. Then you can eat a bigger meal later in the day.

If you can, take a cool bath. This can help reduce swelling and decrease inflammation, which will ultimately help flush out the muscles due to constriction of blood cells.

In Flight

Book an aisle seat so your legs can have space. Also hydrated runners may need to get up to use the bathroom more often than usual. If you are stuck with a middle or window seat, sit with your legs open and store your bags in the overhead compartment to give your feet more room.

Make sure you move around on the plane. This will help prevent blood clots. It also increases blood flow to the legs and feet to reduce stiffness. Also try not to sleep for hours. There is a higher chance you won’t move around as much if you do sleep. If you do feel a dull pain and it persists, see a doctor immediately. Blood clots are something you do not want to mess with.

Once again, wear comfortable clothing and compression sleeves. If you would wear it post-race, wear it on the plane. No one will care about your fashion statement. Drink plenty of fluids and eat your protein.

Have fun at your racecation but remember these tips when you decide to fly.

Related: Hotels Get Creative To Help Guests Stay Fit

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Chicago Hot Chocolate Race Will Give Away Diamond Accented Medals http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/news/diamond-medals-chicago-hot-chocolate_167280 Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:31:41 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167280 To celebrate their 10th anniversary, the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K/5K will be giving away 10 diamond accented medals to lucky participants.

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Photo: RAM Racing

In honor of their 10th anniversary, the MB Hot Chocolate 15K/5K is offering up a chance for runners to win a little bling on their race medals. Ten runners will be randomly selected to win a diamond-trimmed race medal, valued at $1,000. The special race souvenirs are decorated with 150 accent diamonds.

Runners are automatically entered into the drawing to win one of the medals when they register for the 15K. However, RAM Racing, the company behind the Hot Chocolate racing series, has teamed up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to offer runners more chances to win. By meeting certain fundraising goals and sharing them on social media, participants can gain more entries into the contest. The contest details are outlined on hotchocolate15k.com.

In addition, 500 runners who register for the 5K and 15K will be randomly chosen to win a diamond accented finisher keychain in the shape of Chicago’s Bean sculpture.

hot chocolate chicago diamond key chain
Photo: RAM Racing

“We’re ‘Blinging’ in our 10th Anniversary in a sparkling and memorable way,” assured Steve Ginsburg, RAM’s CEO. “Over one million previous Hot Chocolate runners know our goody bags are independently acknowledged as the best in the endurance industry but for this special 10th Anniversary celebration, we wanted to do even more.”

In addition to the giveaways, RAM Racing announced a new Legacy Program for returning runners. Ten participants who have run every Chicago Hot Chocolate race will receive special keepsake rewards and entry into a future race. They also plan to introduce a gift program for individuals running their 3rd and 5th consecutive Hot Chocolate race in their chosen city. Over 70 percent of the 40,000 runners at the 2016 Chicago race had participated in a previous year.

The Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K/5K takes place Oct. 29. The 5K has been the largest race in its distance for 6 years in a row.

RELATED: 7 Must-Do 5Ks In The United States

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How To Run The Perfect Pace Without A GPS Watch http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/training/pace-without-gps-watch_161445 Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:00:29 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=13755 With all the dependence on technology these days, many runners have no sense of pace.

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I’ve been running for 17 years. Therefore I “grew up” as a runner long before the days of high-tech, GPS-guided running. And you know what? I can almost always tell you the pace I am running without needing to look at a watch. I had the benefit of learning the feel of paces before technology interfered with that ability.

These days, I think many runners struggle to learn pacing because they always have a watch to get instant feedback. However, as much as you might love the feedback your watch gives you during a race, guess what? It’s rarely going to be accurate to the race’s mile markers. And those are the mile splits that count. It’s more helpful to know what your ideal race pace feels like and then check it against the official mile marker.

Also technology can fail. Ever had your Garmin die during a race? Or not pick up satellites in an urban environment? How about trails? Odds are you can’t always depend on your GPS.

Pacing correctly matters because when you race, you want to make sure you aren’t going out too fast. Consider the fact that going just six percent too fast in the first mile of a 5K is pretty much going to sink your race.

So my advice: Learn how to pace. How, you say? A little less reliance on your GPS is a good place to start. Next time you set out on a run, try running the first mile without ever looking down. When you get that mile marker beep, take a look at your split. How did that mile feel compared to what you see? Try adjusting your pace up or down. Then check again at the next mile marker and make note of the difference in feeling.

Going to a track, wearing an old-fashioned chrono watch, is another great place to practice. Run mile repeats and only check your splits at the quarter mark. Or practice running on a course where you know the approximate mile markers using an old-school watch. Note how you feel with each mile split.

You aren’t going to learn to pace overnight, but as with anything, practice makes perfect. Choose one or two runs per week to dedicate to the skill. Before you know it, you’ll be dialed in to every pace you run.

RELATED: The Case For Going Gadget-Free On Your Runs

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Usain Bolt Makes The Switch To Soccer And Manchester United http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/news/usain-bolt-soccer-manchester-united_167273 Thu, 17 Aug 2017 16:57:09 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167273 For one night, Usain Bolt will see his lifelong dream to play for Manchester United realized in a charity game against Barcelona.

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Photo: A.RICARDO / Shutterstock.com

Usain Bolt, who has officially retired after the recent IAAF World Championships—where he took silver in the men’s 100m final and was unable to complete the men’s 4x100m relay due to injury—is making the switch to soccer…for one night.

Bolt will join his beloved team Manchester United—injury permitting—in an all-star charity lineup, reports FourFourTwo.

The 11-time World Champion sprinter holds world records in the 100m and 200m, but will have to run for quite a bit longer than usual, up and down the field in the charity game against Barcelona.

Bolt has shared his desire to play for Manchester United in the past in multiple interviews, including one with The Guardian in November 2015. ““For me, if I could get to play for Manchester United, that would be like a dream come true. Yes, that would be epic.”

Dream achieved. Bolt will play with former Manchester United players including Edwin van der Sar, Paul Scholes, Denis Irwin, Dwight Yorke and Phil Neville.

This isn’t the first time that Bolt is making a sports switch. He played in the NBA All-Star Weekend Celebrity Game in 2013 and scored a few points.

RELATED: How Well Does Running Fitness Translate To Other Sports?

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This Mother Runner Is Out To Prove Anybody Can Be A Runner http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/news/mother-runner-prove-anybody-runner_167141 Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:17:24 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167141 Sarah Greim went a bit race crazy, but her community rallied around her. This mother runner's story will inspire you to join the race.

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Sarah Greim returned to running in a way that is familiar to many people in their mid-30s. She spent her teens and early 20s active in sports, including hopping into a few races with her mother. However, as she got older, life got in the way of athletic goals. So after the birth of her son, Greim signed up for a couch-to-5K program.

But she wasn’t content to just run one 5K. Along with her mother and her best running friend, Greim set a goal to run 14 5Ks in 2014.

“We actually did 25 5Ks,” she says. “But then it just kind of snowballed from there.”

Greim, 38, who lives in Davenport, Iowa, has since turned to longer distances, completing 10 half marathons and one full marathon. She has her sights set on five more 13.1s this year. Throughout those races, Greim’s positivity and determined attitude has allowed her to connect with fellow runners.

RELATED: Meet The Women Who Started The Mother Runner Movement

During her first half marathon, Greim met a new friend at mile 1. Over the course of the race, they shared life stories, pushed each other and crossed the finish line with arms overhead.

Before Greim’s first marathon—last year’s Haunted Hustle in Wisconsin— her training partner backed out of the race. That’s when a group of friends she met through the organization Fellow Flowers came together to support her. Greim dressed as a “Runaway Bride” with a special shirt and white tutu. Her friends threw a pre-race party, wore matching bridesmaids shirts and jumped in at various parts of the race to give her a boost. The hilly course was tough and Greim was the last person to cross the finish line. However it made her realize how many people wanted her succeed.

“It was the worst run experience I’ve ever had because the course and how grueling it was,” recounts Greim. “But at the same time, it was the best because of the people supporting me through it.”

As much as running has given to Greim, she pays it forward as a chapter leader for a Moms Run This Town group. She is a mentor for new runners at her local Fleet Feet. Recently, she made a deal with her stepsister: Greim would pay the race entry if she joined the couch-to-5K group. They trained and ran a Race for the Cure.

Greim has countless friends who have told her that she has inspired them to become runners.

“I would get messages like ‘Sarah, you really inspired me. Now I’m doing couch-to-5K.’ And for a long time that was really hard for me,” says Greim. “But in the last few years, I started to own it.”

As she continues to complete her own racing goals while motivating others, she wants to set the example that anybody can be a runner.

“I am a slow runner. I am not an elite runner. I am not fast,” she says. “As much as I try to be fast, I am still a solid 12-to-14-minute-per-mile runner. That shows people you don’t have to be some super-fast elite runner to run a half marathon or run a full marathon.”

Greim has a busy race schedule for the second half of 2017. She is running the Remix Challenge at Rock ’n’ Roll Chicago, the Madison Mini Half, the Quad City half marathon and the Detroit International half marathon. And she still has her eye on a few more races.

Tip for New Runners

Find a training group, says Greim. “It’s the accountability of other people. They know what your goals are and they are not going to let you back down. If you have enough people in your corner, you can’t use it as an excuse not to do it.”

What Happens When You Finish Last?

Despite being the final finisher in her first marathon, Greim is already thinking about another—mainly because of her amazing support group. “This time we’re going to do it together,” she says.

RELATED: There’s No Shame In Crossing The Finish Line Last

Why Parents Should Run

Her advice for busy parents worried about their schedule is to just do it. “It doesn’t matter how old your child is. They are always watching you and always learning from you.”

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Can You Run If You Have Bunions? http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/injury-prevention/bunions-runners-pain-advice_167259 Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:12:03 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167259 At best bunions are an annoyance when finding the best running shoes. At worst, they are very painful.

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Any runner who has bunions knows it can be a major impediment to training. A bony growth that protrudes from the joint of the big toe, bunions can cause many issues. At best, they make finding the perfect running shoe a bit difficult. At worse, they can cause significant pain while running—or even just walking. There are a few steps runners with bunions can take to make sure their miles are pain-free.

Does running cause bunions?

The short answer—no. People without bunions will not suddenly develop them when they start a training program.

“It’s not that running causes bunions. If you have bunions to begin with, running can perpetuate that deformity,” says Dr. Richard T. Braver DPM, a sports podiatrist located in Fair Lawn, Riverdale and Englewood, NJ.

Many bunions are formed because people are genetically predisposed to them. People with a more sedentary lifestyle may never notice a foot issue or find pain in everyday activities. However, the force running places on the foot can bring about discomfort more quickly. Improperly fitting shoes and poor running form can exacerbate any issues.

A majority of runners with bunions also tend to pronate, meaning they roll inward every time their foot strikes the ground. Instead of pushing straight ahead, the big toe angles towards the adjacent 2nd toe, causing stretching and pain to the bunion joint.

RELATED: The 5 Most Troublesome Running Injuries

Treatment Options For Runners With Bunions

“The most common complaint we hear is pain at the side of the bunion where it’s really very prominent, the side which is bulbous, tends to rub on the shoe and it causes pain, ” says Dr. Braver

Addressing the fit of a shoe is often the first conservative approach for runners. Dr. Braver suggests creating a small opening on the side of their running shoe where the bunion protrudes. Put the shoe on, feel the area where the bone is most prominent, mark it with a pen, and then cut a small X in the center. This allows the big toe to have more room to move while running.

The big toe isn’t the only part of the foot that can experience irritation. Many runners also don’t realize that bunions can shift the bone of the big toe inward, causing pain in other areas of the foot.

“The second metatarsal underneath the ball of the foot may also hurt when they push off,” says Dr. Braver “And that’s because when a bunion gets out of position, it’s not taking its fair share of weight. What happens is that weight is then transferred to the next bone.”

Runners with more moderate foot pain often turn to orthotics. Getting fitted for an orthotic relieves pressure on other parts of the foot and helps restore correct running form. While it won’t heal a bunion, it can help prevent it from getting worse.

When a bunion becomes severe, the answer is typically surgery. It’s important for runners to find a sports podiatrist who has familiarly in treating athletes. The surgical procedures of sports podiatrists can vary from traditional methods, with an emphasis on minimizing scar tissue and allowing for a greater range of motion. Runners should expect to miss anywhere from 8-12 weeks of running. Even then, the build up to a normal training plan takes a while. Dr. Braver suggests alternative low impact exercises to his patients during the recovery period to keep them cardiovascularly fit. This may seem like a long time to be off your feet. However it is a much better option that experiencing severe discomfort while running.

“People get to that point when they say ‘I’m not going to cut every pair of shoes I have. It hurts when I’m running. It hurts when I’m walking. The bunion throbs.’ Then we say you don’t have to live with this pain. We can fix it,” says Dr. Braver.

Advice To New Runners With Bunions

All runners who are starting a training program begin at the same place—a specialty running store. Getting fitted for the proper shoe is very important, especially since so many runners with bunions pronate. A supportive shoe in the proper size will help to minimize any pain. A bunion may require a shoe in a wider width (2E or 4E), which most running specialty stores can quickly order if they don’t have it in stock.

Dr. Braver also recommends that new runners visit a sports podiatrist if they begin a training program and experience foot pain.

“More than likely they will need orthotics to stop the bunion from getting worse and worse. The orthotic can’t fix the bunion like surgery can, but it can slow down the progression.”

This should not discourage anyone with bunions from trying to start a running program. Just be aware of your body, increase mileage slowly and take action at the first sign of pain.

RELATED: New Runners—Everything You Need To Know To Get Started

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Bear Grylls Creates Survival Challenge To Debut In Los Angeles http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/news/bear-grylls-survival-challenge_167254 Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:03:29 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167254 The famous survival expert and UK Chief Scout has designed a challenge course that will put your survival skills to the test.

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Image: facebook.com/RealBearGrylls

A new fitness survival challenge is in the works and it is being developed by IMG in partnership with survival expert Bear Grylls, called the Bear Grylls Survival Challenge (BGSC).

Grylls gained international notoriety for his show Man vs. Wild, which aired from 2006-2011 and followed the UK Chief Scout through some of the world’s most dangerous and remote locations, armed with only his experience. He has completed a number of famed expeditions, including climbing to the summit of Mount Everest (at the age of 23), circumnavigating the British Isles on a jet ski and crossing the Atlantic unassisted in an open rigid inflatable boat.

RELATED: Trail Running Survival Guide

Grylls put adventure expeditions on the map and now athletes in the United States and Europe will have the chance to put their own wiles to the test. The inaugural BGSC will take place in Los Angeles at Blue Cloud Movie Ranch April 28 and 29, 2018. The course will take participants on a 4-mile, off-road journey filled with 18 unique survival scenario challenges. The course will be made up of five environments that athletes will have to navigate: apocalyptic highway, cave complex, deserted village, mountain ascent/descent and snake infested swamp.

“I developed this course with one simple principle in mind: being fit is one thing; but the true test of strength is in survival,” said Bear Grylls in a press release. “This is a natural progression for endurance sport. Seeking to test not just our physical capabilities, but also our mental agility, resourcefulness and never-say-die spirit in real-life survival situations.”

RELATED: Tips On Surviving An Obstacle Course Race

Athletes will be provided with a Bear Grylls Survival Pack with everyday items that can be used on course, and upon completing the race will be awarded a Bear Grylls Survival Score to help them check their rank among other finishers. A finish line festival including music, merchandise and food/drink vendors will cap off the event.

Registration for the first event opens September 2017 at beargryllssurvivalchallenge.com.

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This New Online Primary Care Service Focuses On Runner’s Health http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/injury-prevention/online-primary-care-service-runners_167255 Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:40:06 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167255 Runners are turning to SteadyMD, an online primary care service, that provides a personal physician in tune to the needs of active people.

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At the end of June, suffering from a sore Achilles, 31-year-old Stephanie Jones sought out advice from a primary care physician. He recommended she take a few weeks off. Jones questioned him about treatment while she rested, wondering about foam rolling and other techniques to speed recovery. But the physician dismissed her inquiries and ignored her knowledge of potential approaches, leaving her frustrated.

Jones’ experience was not unlike that of many other runners, who often lament the fact that there aren’t many physicians who “get” them and their specific needs.

Like Jones, Adam St. Pierre, a 35-year-old endurance coach from Boulder, Colo., has also experienced frustration from the healthcare system, although for different reasons. “Living in Boulder, we have a good network of physicians who understand runners,” he says. “But getting an appointment quickly isn’t easy, so you end up waiting to address the issue.”

St. Pierre, however, has found a modern-day solution to the problem, a recently launched online primary care system called SteadyMD. The best part, he says, is that among the areas of care is one designed just for runners.

The new primary care service, which is just beginning to onboard running patients, is the brainchild of Yarone Goren, COO, and Guy Friedman, CEO. The two launched the site last winter as a boutique service that allows patients to develop long-term, preventative care relationships with physicians who understand their particular needs. Niche platforms include fitness and lifting, functional fitness, strength training and power lifting, LGBTQ, and most recently, running. Triathlon is lined up for the near future.

Leading the running vertical for SteadyMD is Mark Cucuzzella, a family physician and professor at West Viriginia School of Medicine, an elite marathoner, and director of the Natural Running Center. “Mark will serve as a consultant to the site,” says Goren. “Our treating physician is Josh Emdur, a family physician and sub-three-hour marathoner. Both of the doctors understand runners, their lifestyles, goals and needs.”

RELATED: Should I See A Doctor About My Running Injury?

St. Pierre wasn’t suffering from a potential injury when he first connected with SteadyMD, but rather, wanted to establish a baseline of health and consolidate all his medical details in one place. “It was time for me to get all of my basic tests, referrals and information in one place,” he says. “And since I’m a runner, it’s probably a given that I will need a physician in the future, so it’s nice to work with someone who understands the sport.”

In particular, St. Pierre likes the idea that if he does have something amiss, Emdur is less likely to simply say “don’t run” than another physician who isn’t tuned in to the sport. “That’s never what a runner wants to hear,” he says. “I want someone who is going to look at various treatments other than rest.”

The SteadyMD experience begins with an initial, two-way video chat. Patients spend about an hour with their new primary care physician, discussing medical history, family history, diet, exercise and any other pertinent topics. Together, patient and physician can connect through apps and devices so that the physician can see feedback like heart rate, blood sugar, workouts and more. Membership costs $79 per month and requires a 12-month membership. Once in the system, patients can access physicians via text, phone-call appointments, and video chats.

“We keep the number of patients limited so that the physicians can offer them dedicated attention and easy accessibility,” says Goren.

Of course, there will be times when patients will need to see a physician in the flesh. “We look at this as more of a preventative service,” says Goren, “but when a patient needs to see someone in person, we will have a network of local physicians, PTs and the like where we can send them.”

As a coach who works with many of his clients remotely, St. Pierre appreciates and understands this approach. “There are many parallels here, especially with the need for a high-level, back-and-forth commitment,” he says. “So far, it has worked well for me and has been very simple and intuitive. I think it’s a useful model.”

RELATED: 7 Injury Prevention Strategies For Pain-Free Running

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The 10 Weirdest Things We Have Ever Seen On A Run http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/funny/weirdest-events-run_161434 Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:00:12 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=7328 We have all witnessed something or someone while running that made us laugh out loud or scratch our heads.

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Sometimes even the most unexpected events can happen on your usual running route. A few runners share the weirdest people, items and occurrences they have seen while on the run.

  1. “My oddest thing was a gentleman breaking out in song to a Whitney Houston favorite. Was he a Whitney fan or just trying to gain attention? Overall, quite the entertainment.” —Erin Lockwood
  2. “On a three-miler around the neighborhood this morning, some tool called out to me asking me to pick him up and take him home. Many girls don’t like tools, but I do, so home with me he came. (And by tool, I mean a literal wrench.)” —Erica Gminski
  3. “I saw a woman vacuuming a horse (yes a horse!) with one of those outdoor vacuum hoses, when I was out on a training run! Not sure if that’s a common grooming practice, but it looked very, very weird.” —Allie Burdick
  4. “Salmon running upstream to spawn. Every year, a group dresses up as salmon and run in the opposite direction during the Bay to Breakers race through San Francisco.” —Christine Yu
  5. “In Upstate New York, I was chased by wild turkeys. They ended up following a cyclist, and I ran in the other direction.” —Hollie Heimer
  6. “The day before Thanksgiving, I ran by a turkey who appeared to be hiding. I’ve seen turkeys before. However, this turkey was alone, behind a fence, and surrounded by brush. He was looking very nervous, eyes darting back and forth. I laughed to myself, imagining he knew the date and was hiding until Friday when no one would want to eat him.” —Adam Roberts
  7. “A man running in a full bulletproof vest and combat boots during a half marathon. And no, he was not a policeman, or in the armed services.” —Caroline Trenary
  8. “In the Australian Outback a few years ago, I was camping with a friend in the middle of nowhere. I got up early to run. About 2 miles in, I realized I was being followed by several black parrots in the distance. If I turned, they would turn. If I slowed down, so did they. I started to get a little nervous when their flock started gaining members, and by the time I got to my turnaround point, there was probably about 30 birds following me back to the campsite. As soon as I crossed whatever invisible line that marked their space, they left me alone, and I finished my run in peace. I later found out that black parrots are notoriously territorial and sometimes vicious toward people and animals that wander into their area.” —Sarah Monk
  9. “I love weird, crazy spectators in costume. It perks me up to see crazy outfits, people on stilts, people shouting at you on megaphones. But what takes the cake was the green Army Man soldier in the Princess Half Marathon this year. He was shouting at us like a drill sergeant, and berated me for taking a picture. It was hilarious and totally fun.” —Cynthia Steele
  10. “A dude running in nothing but shoes and a thong.” —Erika Howder 

 

RELATED: The 5 Worst Smells Encountered While Running

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10 Pieces Of Gear To Stash Your Stuff In On The Run http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/shoes-and-gear/pieces-gear-stash-stuff-run_167164 Tue, 15 Aug 2017 22:35:08 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167164 We can’t be the only ones who are psyched to find these pieces of running gear with unexpected storage for a key, ID, phone or fuel.

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We can’t be the only ones who are psyched to find these pieces of running gear with unexpected storage for a key, ID, phone or fuel.

SCOTTeVEST Performance T-Shirt, $35 Amphipod Xinglet Pocket Plus, $40 Nathan VaporKrar WaistPak, $60 Outdoor Voices Runner’s High Short, $65 Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 600, $29 Oiselle Roga Cap, $34 New Balance Lite Packable Jacket, $120 Banjees Armband by Sprigs, $24 Smartwool PhD Seamless Strappy Bra, $60 Altra Performance Skort, $60 Underfuse Plus, $15 ASICS Shoe Wallet, $6

RELATED: 6 Places You Should Never Carry A Phone While Running

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Your Allergies May Actually Be Acid Reflux Instead http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/health/allergies-acid-reflux-instead_167213 Tue, 15 Aug 2017 21:52:18 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167213 The symptoms of acid reflux are so similar to allergies that they are often misdiagnosed. Here's how to know the difference.

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Allergy sufferers take note: your allergies may actually not be allergies. It actually turns out that more than half of Americans have been misdiagnosed as having asthma and allergies when the real issue is acid reflux.

“One in five people have heartburn and indigestion (also referred to as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD),” notes Dr. Jamie Koufman, director of The Voice Institute of New York and author of Dr. Koufman’s Acid Reflux Diet: With 111 All New Recipes Including Vegan & Gluten-Free. “However, what is more common is respiratory reflux, with symptoms that often include post-nasal drip, throat clearing, and trouble breathing.”

RELATED: How Runners Can Combat Spring Allergies

These symptoms are actually what lead many doctors to misdiagnose acid reflux as allergies, which Koufman explains is due to the fact that many doctors don’t know much about respiratory reflux.

“Often, respiratory refluxers (those who often reflux silently throughout the night) wake up with allergy-like symptoms since there are similarities,” she adds. “Therefore, they never realize the real issue is acid reflux.”

When it comes to treating acid reflux, it is a mistake to think that medicine alone will fix it. This is why Koufman instead advocates for sufferers to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle to treat symptoms. She notes that staying away from acidic beverages, fatty meats, chocolate, and peppers is part of that diet. Additionally, having your last meal no later than four hours before you lay down to go to sleep can help reduce chances of reflux throughout the night.

So how do you know if what you are experiencing is actually reflux? Paying attention to your body during exercise may actually give you a clue.

RELATED: Runners and GI Issues—An Overview

“Many people suffer from exercise-induced reflux, which often occurs when they start to run. If you have trouble getting air in, this is acid reflux, and if you have trouble getting air out, this is when you suffer from reflux and asthma,” explains Koufman. “Often, after 30 minutes of running many people’s acid reflux improves. To help ensure you don’t have reflux symptoms during your workout, make sure you stay away from acidic beverages—stick to water—and don’t eat a large meal before exercising.”

If you feel like you still need medication, Koufman suggests Zantac or Pepcid to relieve symptoms. If you think you may have been misdiagnosed, check with your doctor.

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Austin Runners Set New Women’s Record For Wonderland Trail http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/news/new-womens-record-wonderland-trail_167202 Tue, 15 Aug 2017 21:08:31 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167202 Austin runners Allison Macsas and Mallory Brooks ran the 93-mile trail completely unsupported in just over 29 hours to take the new record.

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Mallory Brooks (left) and Allison Macsas (right) on the Wonderland Trail.Mallory Brooks (left) and Allison Macsas (right) on the Wonderland Trail.

Yesterday, runners from Austin, Texas, Allison Macsas and Mallory Brooks set off on the Wonderland Trail, leaving the Longmire trailhead at 6 a.m. Today, they arrived at the end of the roughly 93-mile trail that circumnavigates Mount Rainier in Washington in just over 29 hours. Completely unsupported along the way—with a team tracking them only via GPS—they have broken the previous Wonderland Trail women’s unsupported speed record of 31 hours, 11 minutes and 56 seconds set by Candice Burt in 2012.

There of course were obstacles along the way on the single-track trail that has over 22,000 feet of elevation gain and loss. This includes a hard river crossing 64 miles into their journey at South Mowitch, where the bridge has been washed out and the water is waist-deep. Macsas and Brooks successfully crossed the river at 12:04 a.m. in the middle of the night, as reported by Macsas’ fiancé Gabe Steger, who co-founded running tour company Rogue Expeditions with Macsas, and has led the charge in updating the Austin running community about the duo’s progress. Brooks is the founder and race director at Spectrum Trail Racing based in Austin.

brooks and macsas 2Mascas (left) and Brooks (right) relaxing at the finish point. 

Earlier this year, Macsas won the Austin Marathon in 2:48:17, over 10 minutes faster than the second place female. In 2016, the Skechers athlete finished 22nd at the United States Olympic Marathon Trials. Brooks is no stranger to Mount Rainier, as the trail runner summited it, along with Mount Baker, Grand Titan, Mount Whitney and Pico de Orizaba. She coaches runners at both Rogue Running and Pure Austin Fitness. The athletes spent time training at elevation in order to prepare for their Wonderland Trail Fastest Known Time (FKT) attempt.

Brooks and Macsas’s goal was to break 30 hours on the trail as reported by the Austin American-Statesman. They finished with a final time of 29:12:25.

RELATED: 3 of America’s Top Trail Running Towns

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Under Armour CEO Steps Down From Presidential Business Council http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/news/under-armour-ceo-steps-down_167197 Tue, 15 Aug 2017 17:21:52 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167197 UA pulled out of the presidential business council after President Trump failed to condemn the violent protests in Charlottesville.

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Apparel and shoe giant Under Armour is one of three companies that have pulled out of a presidential business council after President Donald Trump failed to issue a stronger response to the violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend that left one dead and dozens more injured.

CEO Kevin Plank issued a statement Monday saying: “I love our country and our company and will continue to focus my efforts on inspiring every person that they can do anything through the power of sport which promotes unity, diversity and inclusion.”

His announcement followed a similar move from Kenneth C. Frazier, chief executive of the pharmaceutical company Merck. Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, also withdrew from the council late Monday night.

Plank has received criticism in the past for ties to the Trump administration following a television appearance in February where he categorized Trump as “a real asset for this country.” His comment came at the time when many were protesting Trump’s controversial travel ban. Several high-profile Under Armour athletes—most notably NBA star Stephen Curry— criticized Plank’s comments.

More than a week later Plank walked-back his remarks in a full-page ad taken out in the Baltimore Sun, explaining that his comments “did not accurately reflect my intent,” while publicly denouncing the travel ban.

Plank’s move Monday comes two weeks after the company announced $1.1 billion in revenue in the second quarter, adding that they planned to cut 2 percent of its workforce—280 jobs globally.

Here is the full statement from Plank:

“I joined the American Manufacturing Council because I believed it was important for Under Armour to have an active seat at the table and represent our industry. We remain resolute in our potential and ability to improve American manufacturing. However, Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics.

I am appreciative of the opportunity to have served, but have decided to step down from the council. I love our country and our company and will continue to focus my efforts on inspiring every person that they can do anything through the power of sport which promotes unity, diversity and inclusion.”

Trump responded Tuesday morning, slamming the three CEOs via Twitter and writing: “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should note have gone on. JOBS!”

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3 Ways That Running Has Majorly Benefited My Life With A Chronic Illness http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/training/chronic-illness-running-life_161439 Tue, 15 Aug 2017 17:02:09 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=15603 If you think you can't run because of chronic illness, one runners shows that it can be done.

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Go ahead, call me crazy. You wouldn’t be the first (or the last). But if to be “crazy” is to want a better life, to believe in a better life, and to work for a better life, then I proudly claim “crazy.” Let me back up a bit. I have a chronic illness. I have lived with Crohn’s Disease, an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, since 2001, when I was diagnosed at 13. This was long before I ran for pleasure, or even as part of a fitness routine. In fact, when I was first diagnosed (and even for some time after, until I was stable), I had a doctor’s note to excuse me from certain running requirements in P.E. because of the stress it would place on my body.

So why do I continue to run? And why do I think that you might benefit from pursuing your own running and fitness program? Here are three ways that running has majorly benefited my life with a chronic illness.

Note: Please consult with your personal doctor and specialists before commencing any exercise or fitness programs. This is why running has worked for myself, but my body is my own. Therefore, you must take care to treat your body’s particular circumstances!

Health Benefits

There are a great number of studies that support the health benefits of responsible running. The key is responsible running. That means adding in cross-training, doing yoga, not over-exercising, and fueling properly, among others. Many of us with chronic illnesses have also frequently been put on steroids, which make us increasingly susceptible for osteoporosis. Strength training and weight-bearing exercise is excellent for slowing that process down. Furthermore, cardiovascular fitness, maintaining a healthy weight, and the numerous other results of a proper and responsible program helps your body work more efficiently and in a more balanced manner (hormones and circulatory systems included!). Though many people might fear you will lose weight, training actually helps me with putting on weight through proper nutrition, muscle building, and hunger!

Body Awareness

As a Crohn’s patient, I don’t have the luxury of ignoring my body’s cries for help, from the smallest whimper to the largest wail. As a marathoner, I don’t have the luxury of ignoring my body’s cries for help, either! Marathon training and fitness has taught me to be an incredible listener to my body, from hunger cues to when it is crying wolf. That doesn’t mean that I always interpret those signals perfectly. However I am pretty darn good at it!

Mental Fortitude

Living with a chronic illness is as much a mental game as it is physical, just like the marathon. Few experiences demonstrate just how interconnected the mind and body are like chronic illnesses and marathon training. In both cases, the two must be working in sync for optimal results. When one is off, the other likely follows suit. And yes, if you were wondering, you will reach “walls” in both treatment and races. But the mental toughness that you have developed during your training will help you push through to a winning result. On another note, marathoning in many ways helped me to push past some major fears of my body.

Now, a marathon might not be the answer for everyone. But any physical pursuit that involves that kind of dedication, structure, and just enough boundary-pushing will yield some similar results. So what are you waiting for? Get out there, surprise yourself, and live beyond expectation.

RELATED: Get Tough With These 5 Mental Race Strategies

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About the Author

Susie Lemmer is the blogger behind Suzlyfe, a health, fitness, food, and life blog that focuses on living beyond expectation with a sense of humor and a pause for reflection. A NASM Certified Personal Trainer, 3-time marathoner, yogi, and former competitive horseback rider, she lives with her doctor husband and crazy cat in Chicago.

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Sponsored: A beer, a bet, and a bowtie http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/sponsored/sponsored-beer-bet-bowtie_167036 Tue, 15 Aug 2017 16:40:08 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167036 Seth and Pete set up an interesting bet before they ran their first half together. Watch to see how these friends prepare for their race.

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Seth and Pete set up an interesting bet before they ran their first Half Marathon together – watch to see how these friends prepare for their first race, who crosses the finish line first, and how they celebrate post-race!

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Combat Injury With This Resistance Band Workout http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/injury-prevention/resistance-band-workout_167162 Mon, 14 Aug 2017 23:28:25 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167162 A resistance band workout can allow you to better target certain muscle groups above and beyond what you could do with free weights.

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Resistance bands are among the easiest and cheapest ways to get in a strength workout. Not only is the elastic tubing inexpensive, it’s easy to throw in your car or pack when you travel and can be used just about anywhere.

What’s more, research has shown that resistance band workouts are comparable to traditional weight training in terms of both boosting muscle strength and zapping body fat. In fact, they can allow you to better target certain muscle groups above and beyond what you could do with free weights. This comes in handy for not only improving strength, but also addressing injury rehab and prevention.

RELATED: How To Lateral Squat Walk With A Resistance Band

This workout is tailor-made for runners who are looking to improve muscle- and connective-tissue strength and combat injury.

Use a flat and thin band: Ankle Dorsiflexion Hip Adduction Lateral Band Walk resistance band workout Standing Chest Press Seated Row Lat Pulldown

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Why Coconut Oil As A Fat Source For Athletes Is Overrated http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/nutrition/coconut-oil-athletes-overrated_167186 Mon, 14 Aug 2017 23:18:31 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167186 A recent report on coconut oil's effect on cardiovascular health raises the question on whether or not the oil is actually healthy.

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Coconut oil is a pantry staple among the clean eating, paleo and Bulletproof crowd and there are no shortage of online sources waxing poetic about its supposed health benefits. Increasingly, athletes have also become smitten with the tropical fat, believing it can trim the waistline and supercharge workouts. Yes, fat is back in and coconut oil’s stock has skyrocketed.

So when the American Heart Association (AHA) recently released a report on the role dietary fats play in cardiovascular health that included a small but decisive section encouraging people to lay off coconut oil for better heart health, feathers were ruffled. “Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of cardiovascular disease, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil,” the report reads, in part.

For some, it was like declaring kale a nutritional villain and coconut oil boasters were quick to deem the scientists as stodgy crocks. But when you separate the science from the sales pitch, coconut oil’s awesome-for-you rap is largely overblown and not supported by good data.

Coconut oil is made by pressing the fat from the white flesh inside the giant nut. About 84 percent of the calories in the resulting oil hail from saturated fat. That makes coconut oil denser in saturated fat than most other oils and solid fats—14 percent of the calories in olive oil are saturated, whereas 63 percent of the calories in butter hail from saturated fats. Hence, why it has been historically demonized by many nutritionists and health organizations including the AHA.

Coconut oil raised LDL cholesterol, a so-called “bad” form of cholesterol, about as much as other oils high in saturated fat like beef, butter and palm oil in the existing research reviewed by the AHA for its advisory published in the journal Circulation. And that can be bad news for your ticker. But there is a catch. Coconut oil boosters rally behind studies suggesting it also raises levels of HDL cholesterol, a form of cholesterol deemed “good.” (Unlike LDL, HDL cholesterol is thought not to build up on artery walls and increase this risk for a heart attack or stroke). Research, however, is inconclusive as to the impact that coconut oil has on the total cholesterol-to-HDL ratio as well as blood triglyceride numbers, which can be more significant predictors of coronary woes than straight up HDL numbers. And many other factors including inflammation, arterial calcification and genetic mutations can also play a role in heart maladies.

“People are kidding themselves if they think that eating coconut oil alone is enough to improve their health,” says sports dietitian and Ironman competitor Marni Sumbal. “The research we have still suggests that we should not be using coconut oil as a substitute for other high-fat foods like olive oil, avocado, and nuts that have more proven health benefits.”

Researchers at Harvard reported that replacing 5 percent of the saturated fat calories in a diet with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated calories can slash heart disease risk by 25 and 15 percent respectively. Now to be fair, that also includes other forms of saturated fat found in items like meat and dairy, and replacing saturated fat with processed carbs like white bread and sugar brings about no improved health measures.

RELATED: An Easier Way To Become A Better Fat Burner

Though the science remains a bit cloudy at this point, let’s say that, at best, coconut oil may have a neutral impact on your beating organ. It likely won’t improve your heart health, but it appears not to definitively increase your risk for heart disease, either. “More so if your daily diet doesn’t consist of spoonful’s of coconut oil and instead focuses on other disease-fighting foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and seeds,” notes Sumbal. “The big concern is people who are using coconut oil in excessive quantities believing it’s the magical panacea when it’s anything but.”

Lower down from the heart, the reason coconut oil is trumpeted as helping in the battle of the bulge is largely due to its higher proportion of saturated medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) than most other fats like olive oil or butter. The human body handles MCTs like lauric acid in coconut oil differently than long chain fats and prefers to burn them off for energy rather than storing them as flab.

But you should know that studies like the ones from the early 2000s in which  researchers at McGill University in Canada found that MCTs did a better job at increasing thermogenesis (burning calories) and fat oxidation (breakdown of fat for energy) than long chain fats in overweight men and women have been wildly misinterpreted. Those researchers used oil designed to contain 100 percent MCTs— not coconut oil, which is made up of only about 15 percent MCTs. You need 15 to 20 grams of purified MCT oil to experience an uptick in metabolism.

The upshot is that huge amounts of coconut oil would have to be consumed for a metabolic effect to occur. Smaller doses of MCTs—like what you would find in coconut oil—have not been shown to noticeably raise metabolism. And a recent study found that a meal containing virgin coconut oil made people feel hungrier than a meal containing extra virgin olive oil. Add enough coconut oil and it’s 116 calories per tablespoon added to your diet to get the MCTs you need to rev metabolism and Sumbal says you will surely gain weight not lose it. “Sorry to be a downer, but coconut oil is a weight-loss dead end.”

Beyond the belief that it helps maintain race weight, athletes may turn to coconut oil under the assumption that the MCTs it contains also delivers a rapid source of energy for working muscles and can reduce the reliance on carbohydrates. Again, studies pertaining to athletic performance have used 100 percent MCT oil which provide a much greater dose of these fats than you would get from coconut oil.

“Besides, even lean athletes have enough fat stores to power hours and hours of moderate exercise, so spooning up coconut oil for this purpose is fairly pointless,” notes Sumbal. She adds that when you pick up the pace you actually want to rely on carbohydrates as an energy source since they are much more efficient at powering muscles during high intensity efforts than fats. “There was a time when MCT supplementation was gaining steam with athletes, but then GI issues started to arise and its use started to wane.”

The Bottom line: It’s not that coconut oil is some kind of diabolical, disease-causing dietary evil—it’s just that the available evidence suggests that it is undeserving of a health halo and shouldn’t be the number one fat source in your diet. If you like its flavor or the moistness it adds to baked goods, go ahead and include small amounts—say no more than a tablespoon daily—in your eating plan and keep loading up on better-for-you fat sources and whole foods.

RELATED: Carbs Versus Fat Fueled WorkoutsWhich Is Better?

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Why People Are Running A Mile In Their Blue Jeans http://running.competitor.com/2017/08/news/people-running-blue-jean-mile_167182 Mon, 14 Aug 2017 22:23:48 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167182 How a joke on a running website turned into a viral sensation.

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Rory Linkletter has ran one of the fastest blue jean miles in 4:16. Photo: Courtesy of BYUPhotos

The blue jean mile started as a joke. When Citius Mag contributor Paul Snyder posted a tongue-in-cheek editorial about how to drum up interest in track and field, he really didn’t think anyone would take it seriously.

“Honestly, it wasn’t given a ton of thought,” laughs Snyder. “I was riffing on the age-old question: How can we get people to care about track?”

The typical suggestions pundits give—incorporating drinking or gambling to meets, for example—are copied from other racing events such as NASCAR or the horse track, says Synder, and don’t quite work for a human sport. Absurdity begets absurdity, so Snyder proposed a different solution to track’s popularity woes: make people run in blue jeans.

“I didn’t think anyone would actually want to do a blue jean mile, because I sure as hell don’t. I just thought the image of people running really hard in just blue jeans was really funny—like some perverse Bruce Springsteen video outtake.”

The rules of the blue jean mile, as outlined by Snyder, were simple: provide video evidence of breaking 4:00 (for men) or 4:36 (women) for the mile while wearing blue jeans (real, true, denim blue jeans—no lycra-blend jeggings).

“In the interest of bringing positive attention to the sport we all love,” Snyder wrote in the post, “I’m putting my money where my mouth is and coughing up $200 toward a prize purse.”

As soon as the article went live, complete strangers came out of the woodwork, accepting the challenge or offering to contribute money to an even bigger prize purse. Snyder was surprised that so many were willing to invest their money and/or lap splits toward the joke. Even more surprising was that the blue jean mile was already a thing:

“I didn’t know this when I wrote the article, but there was already a group of Kansans who for years have held a semi-annual blue jean mile, but with less fanfare. There was a race in New York City in July that attracted some tri-state people; probably a ton of other low-key ones. It’s incredibly odd.”

But odd is refreshing for track and field, a sport that has been burdened with criticism for years: meets are boring, TV coverage is even more boring, and few people actually watch track and field outside of the Olympics. But the blue jean mile? It’s gone viral. People love it. More than 100 videos have been submitted, and even more are talking about the stunt on social media.

As of press time, no one has broken the time barriers to claim the prize purse, which has grown to $1,200. There have been a few close calls, however. Utah’s Rory Linkletter, runner-up at last year’s NCAA 10,000-meter championship, ran a blue jean mile in 4:16:00. Heather Wilson, a professional runner for the New Jersey/New York Track Club, recently ran the first ratified women’s sub-5 blue jean mile, going 4:58 in North Caroliina.

As for Snyder’s time? “I have not, nor will I ever take the challenge.”

He does have some advice for those willing to take it, though, “We’re still learning a lot about this event and how the human body performs under pressure while wearing denim, but based on what we’ve seen so far, I’d recommend the following: Go with something a little more billowy—maybe not straight up JNCOs, but you want some room to operate so leave the skinny jeans at home. Definitely wear something comfortable yet protective like running shorts under said jeans. And if you know your body is prone to inner thigh chaffing, it can’t hurt to slather on a little Vaseline down there.”

If you’ve got what it takes to win in your Wranglers, better get cracking. “We hope to shut the socially acceptable blue jean mile window on Labor Day. You know, make it like wearing white… you can do it between Memorial and Labor Day, but outside of that stretch of time, give it a rest.

RELATED: 6 U.S. Mile Road Races To Test Your Speed and Go All Out

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