Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finland bans smoking

Finland has become the first country in the world to make giving up smoking a goal of the state enshrined in the country’s laws. The new strict non-smoking laws will come into effect on October 1, 2010.

That's an excellent start. The next logical step would be making marathon running obligatory for all adults. And tax cuts for those who can finish it in under three hours!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

10 Surprising Secrets of Kenyan Endurance Runners

An interesting article by Owen Anderson for about Eating practices of the best endurance athletes in the world (ie. Kenyan runners) reveals the following ten surprising facts, based on a study of 10 elite Kenyan runners over a period of seven days (in 2004):

  1. The Kenyans were very lean and light, their weight averaging at 58.6 kg (129 lb).
  2. They ate a relatively limited variety of foods.
  3. Approximately 86% of their calories came from vegetable sources (corn 'ugali', bread, rice, potatoes, porridge, cabbage, beans, etc).
  4. They were not taking supplements of any kind.
  5. They spent 1.2 hours per day running, with only a third (23 mins) of this consisting of quality training.
  6. Their diets were extremely rich in carbohydrates (about 77 %, or about 10 g of carbs per kg of body weight).
  7. Their protein (10%) and fat (13%) intake was quite modest, but adequate.
  8. Their water intake was modest, just a little over a liter a day.
  9. They drank lots of tea with milk, actually slightly more than plain water.
  10. A fifth of their daily calories came from plain sugar.
Of course, in hindsight, it could be said that perhaps the most surprising secret of Kenyan elite distance runners is that they don't seem to have any secrets at all! Maybe they are just excellent runners by nature, due to the location where they live.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chris Lieto's More Than Sport

Ironman triathlete Chris Lieto's More Than Sport is based on simple math: 2.4 mile swim + 112.0 mile bike + 26.2 mile run = 141 lives changed.

The Competitor's Radio Show Kona Countdown: Chris Lieto.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Eau de Paris

Eau de Paris - seems like a cool idea to pre-empt the need for buying bottled water.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Strawberries & Cream

Strawberries & Cream, originally uploaded by Myles Noton.
We all have been told over and over again that coronary heart disease is associated with diet.

However, although nutritional recommendations are frequently provided, actually few long term studies on the effect of food choices on heart disease are available. Until now that is.

Food Choices and Coronary Heart Disease: A Population Based Cohort Study of Rural Swedish Men with 12 Years of Follow-up found out that daily intake of fruit and vegetables was associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease when combined with a high dairy fat consumption, but not when combined with a low dairy fat consumption.

This simple scientific result could have quite astonishing consequences if people paid any attention to it.

Interestingly, choosing wholemeal bread or eating fish at least twice a week showed no association with the outcome.

So now I have a pretty good idea how to stay healthy - eat tons of fresh berries with whipped cream!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

iPod nano 6G: RIP

The new i-gadget announcements at the Apple event last week were surprising, but not in a good way. Some were expecting Jobs to kill iPod Shuffle, but he reserved that questionable honor to my trusty workout buddy iPod Nano.

Check out this great video review by PCMag analyst Tim Gideon: iPod Touch (iPhone without the phone) and Shuffle (2 Gb screenless) are still ok, but the 6th Generation Nano gets a RIP-rating.

I'll hang on to my 5G iPod Nano (the only Nano with a video camera) as long as it lives. It's great for listening to podcasts, audiobooks and music while exercising or trying to sleep in a hotel room before a race.

I haven't been using the pedometer feature with Nike+ connection for a long time though. It never quite achieved what was expected/promised.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Great trail running video of CCC 2010

Ultra-chaos is the word that comes to mind with the reports from mostly cancelled 2010 Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc.

With thousands of people involved in several simultaneous mountain trail running events, it's never a piece of cake for anyone. This year the rainy weather forced the organizers to make dramatic decisions.

Also it shouldn't be ignored that the main event UTMB was sabotaged by someone stealing the lighted course markings between 40-50 km, which would have been critical for safe navigating through the first night - thus deliberately putting lives of runners in danger. I've never heard of such terrorism against sports events in the Alps before. Perhaps not all of the local people agree that running around Mont Blanc in masses is such a great idea?

I'm sure the organisers did their best in those extreme circumstances. It's no use getting angry and blaming them for what happened. They will probably be able to make some improvements in the future events.

And as the excellent video composition depicting the CCC (Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix) shows, many runners managed to get something worthwhile out of these chaotic adventures. At the very least, after experiencing some extreme difficulties on trails, everyday life will seem a lot easier.

Another positive outcome of the cancellation is that Scott Jurek will be able to run 246 km in sunny Greece: Spartathlon on September 24-25. He showed what pro ultrarunners are made of by tweeting:

"UTMB is cancelled, hasn't sunk in yet. Now what? How does 246 km in Greece sound? Pretty darn good when it's pouring down rain in the Alps!"