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The Outdoor Athlete’s Guide to Strong Shoulders

In endurance sports, your lower body tends to get all the glory. But the truth is that your upper-body muscles—especially your shoulders—play a huge role in your success. Your shoulder marks the spot where your upper arm connects to the rest of your body (the glenohumeral joint) and the point at which all arm and some back movements begin (the ...

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Ranking the Hardest Winter Olympic Sports

In the United States, the Winter Olympics suffer from an unfortunate enthusiasm gap compared to its summer cousin. In the 2016 Summer Olympics, NBC suffered from unusually low ratings, with an average of 27.8 million viewers. To put that in perspective, that’s still 20 percent higher than the 2014 Winter Olympics. But why? First, there’s the barrier to entry: On ...

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The Curiously Elastic Limits of Endurance

On a frigid Saturday night in the university town of Sherbrooke, Quebec, in February 1996, I was pondering—yet again—one of the great enigmas of endurance: John Landy. The stocky Australian is one of the most famous bridesmaids in sport, the second man in history to run a sub-four-minute mile. In the spring of 1954, after years of concerted effort, centuries ...

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Your Hungry Brain Is Making You Fat

Millions of years of evolution have hardwired us to seek out sugary, fatty, and salty foods. (Courtesy of Stephen Guyenet/Flatiron Books) If you’ve ever beaten yourself up after eating an entire pint of ice cream, know this: it’s really not your fault. According to obesity researcher and neurobiologist Stephen Guyenet, author of The Hungry Brain and founder of the wellness and ...

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Pacers Are Ruining the Marathon

Last week, the London Marathon announced its elite athlete fields. Once again, the English capital did justice to its reputation for hosting the world’s most competitive annual marathon. Kipchoge. Keitany. Bekele. Dibaba. Farah! Are you kidding me? No disrespect to Boston, but, when it comes to bringing in high-wattage talent, the London Marathon is in a separate class. This year, the ...

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A Brief Primer on All Those Nordic Sports

Perhaps it’s the metric system, or maybe it’s the spandex onesies, but Americans have some trouble grasping the different types of Nordic skiing. It gets confusing, because “Nordic” skiing is an umbrella term for four different disciplines: cross-country, biathlon, ski jumping, and Nordic combined. This month, the U.S. team has good chances to medal across the board, so you’ll want ...

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The Stop-and-Frisk Approach to Anti-Doping

On July 8, 2016, in the obscure town of Zhirovichi in Belarus, two Iranian hammer throwers had the best day of their lives. Neither had ever come close to the Olympic qualifying standard of 77.0 meters before, but at a track meet on this day they both managed to heave their implements to massive personal-best distances a hair’s breadth beyond ...

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5 Athletes on How to Turn Toast into a Power Meal

For many runners, stomach pain is a nagging constant, and the culprit is often food. “Runners with GI distress don’t necessarily have weak stomachs. They’re just eating the wrong things in the wrong amounts and at the wrong times,” says Tara Dellolacono, an ultrarunner, registered dietitian, and nutritional strategist for Clif Bar. Here’s the deal: Carbs are the body’s best ...

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When, Exactly, to Schedule Your Workouts

You’ve probably heard the expression that timing is everything. Sometimes broader context and other events—often those that are outside your control—can exert a significant influence on a desired outcome. Like when it storms with gale-force winds on the morning of your marathon, or when you finish your massive business proposal only to find out a colleague in another department just ...

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What Is “Running Power,” Anyway?

A long-running debate flared up again a few months ago on Twitter, when tech reviewer Ray Maker posted a comparison of three devices—from Stryd, Garmin, and RunScribe—that promise to measure how much “power” you’re generating during a run. “Anybody got any insights into why people think estimating mechanical power during running is useful?” asked Max Donelan, a neuromechanics professor at ...

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