April 13, 2023

 Here’s your free but abridged version of the Run Long, Run Healthy newsletter for April 13, 2023.

Click here for details about subscribing to the complete, full text edition of “Run Long, Run Healthy.”

NOTE: “Run Long, Run Healthy” will not publish next week. It’s a Boston Marathon recovery week. You’ll get your next newsletter on Thursday, April 27. AMBY

When the going gets tough, the tough recite mantras

I sometimes quip that no one can actually run 26 miles. It’s way more than the mind and body can handle. The only way to get there is to run 1 mile 26 times.

During those 26 “intervals,” different runners use a variety of tricks to help them stay in the game: mantras and mental tougheners. Here are 6 evidence-based ways to stay mentally tough, including “Reframe your pain” and “Smile like you mean it.” More at Substack/Ashley Mateo.

Mantras seem cheesy. Heck, let’s just say it: They are cheesy. But they can also be very effective. In a marathon, you could recite the Gettysburg Address for motivation. Or you could keep repeating something short and punchy like, “Yes, I can.” The latter will serve you better. More at RunStreet.

What you need to know about alcohol & sugar consumption

Two nutrition-health stories made headlines around the world recently. The first was the biggest ever study of alcohol consumption and mortality. The second looked at the health effects of added sugars. Here are brief summaries along with links to the original journal articles.

The alcohol report, a systematic review and meta analysis, looked at 107 papers that included 4.8 million subjects. It was trying to determine if low-to-moderate alcohol consumption had a protective effect on mortality risk, as so many of us have believed for so long. It found no such association. 

That doesn’t mean that low/moderate drinking will kill you. But it won’t help you live longer. And higher levels of alcohol consumption are definitely a bad thing. “There was a significantly increased risk of all-cause mortality among female drinkers who drank 25 or more grams [about two drinks] per day and among male drinkers who drank 45 or more grams per day.” More at JAMA Network Open (free full text).

The sugar research reviewed 8601 articles that investigated possible links between “dietary sugar consumption” and various health outcomes. It uncovered “significant harmful associations between dietary sugar consumption and 18 endocrine/metabolic outcomes,10 cardiovascular outcomes, seven cancer outcomes, and 10 other outcomes (neuropsychiatric, dental, hepatic, osteal, and allergic).” Whew! Pass the unsweetened salad dressing.

High sugar consumers (vs low consumers) had higher body weight, more belly fat, and more coronary heart disease. Conclusion: “High dietary sugar consumption is generally more harmful than beneficial for health, especially in cardiometabolic disease.” A good goal: Reduce daily sugar intake to below 6 teaspoons per day, and limit sugary drinks to less than one per week. More at British Medical Journal (free full text).

The reality--and limitations--of foam rolling

Foam rolling is probably the warmup and recovery exercise of choice for many runners, Also, several studies have indicated it “showed more favorable effects compared to stretching on performance parameters,” at least in certain circumstances. 

However, a new meta analysis and systematic review that includes RCTs doesn’t support that outcome. It concluded that foam rolling “showed no significant changes in performance when FR training is applied for several weeks.” 

The paper also noted a possible Catch 22. “Although a decrease in muscle stiffness has the potential to decrease injury prevalence, such a decrease might also accompany a decrease in force production”--that is, your ability to train and race fast. More at International J of Environmental Research & Public Health.

A similar report reviewed foam rolling for its effect on “myofascial tissue stiffness and muscle strength.” After assessing 20 studies that investigated this question, the researchers found mixed evidence for foam rolling. It “increased knee extensor concentric torque, but it did not acutely change the myofascial tissue stiffness and isometric muscle strength.”

The quality of many studies was low. Conclusion: “Both qualitative and quantitative analyses showed no effects of FR on isometric muscle strength, eccentric torque [except at the knee], and rate of force development.” More at J of Strength & Conditioning Research.

SHORT STUFF you don’t want to miss

>>> See it, believe it: 6 ways to visualize success in your running

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. See you in two weeks. AMBY


NOTE: If you were a subscriber to the complete, full-text version of RLRH for $4/month, you would also have received new articles about:

# Speed test: Minimalist shoes vs traditional shoes

# How to stay young and fast as you get older

# What to believe--and not believe--about “dry needling” for muscle strains

# Do you need protein with your post-workout carbs?

# Why the Boston Marathon should accept more older runners

# A great “heart and mind” quote from Eliud Kipchoge

Click here for details about subscribing to the complete, full text edition of “Run Long, Run Healthy.”

And remember: “I spend HOURS searching the Internet for the best, most authoritative new running articles, so you can review them in MINUTES.” Stay well. AMBY