JUN 2, 2023
Minute 1: Learn from one of America’s most sensational runners
For legendary track star Steve Prefontaine, running was more than just numbers on a clock – it was a form of self expression. His bold and fearless style of racing captivated fans and transformed American running culture. With Pre as the poster boy, running was hella cool in the U.S. He’s been the subject of two Hollywood features, and he’s commemorated every year at one of the most prestigious track meets in the U.S., the Prefontaine Classic. Last Tuesday marked the 48th anniversary of Pre’s death, and to honor of his memory, we’re sharing the “Best running quotes from Steve “Pre” Prefontaine.” Steve once said that “A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into an exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.” It’s quite an empowering perspective, and it reminds us of a topic we covered in Minute 2 of this issue: A study out of MIT found that a runner’s mentality and headspace had a significant effect on their performance. Pre didn’t care who was fastest on paper. It was all about who could handle the pressure when it came time to race, and it’s that attitude that allowed him to defeat competitors of equal or greater physical ability. That’s not to say Pre didn’t have a diligent training routine, though. If you want to “Train Like Steve Prefontaine,” we’ve got just the workouts for you. On the road to the 1972 Olympics, Pre ran 4 x 1200 meter intervals and 3 x 1 mile intervals with a 400 meter jog between each rep. The goal was, start near 5k race pace and work your way down to 1 mile race pace.
Minute 2: Should you train based on time or distance?
Like our favorite Cake song says, endurance sports competitions are usually centered around going the distance. A lot of runners assume that training should be framed in the same way. You set out to run X number of miles, rather than aiming to run for a set amount of time. But will that yield the best results? Some coaches don’t think so, and that’s why we’re investigating “The Pros and Cons of Running for Time or Distance.” By setting your goal based on time, you allow a greater degree of flexibility in each run. You can adjust the intensity level as needed. That way, slowing down won’t necessarily compromise your daily goal. Running for time, however, can make tracking progress difficult. A combination of both methods can work well, and if you need help deciding when to use each approach, check out: “Why Running for Time, Not Distance Might Be Best For You.” The article notes that whether you’re a beginner, or an experienced runner getting back into shape, running by time can be a useful way to acclimate to your training load. Disconnecting from the numbers and focusing on your effort level each run can improve your recovery, reduce injury risk, and even help you enjoy running more. That’s what one runner realized when her tracker broke: “When my running app broke it was a revelation: ‘being better’ is about taking care of yourself.”
Minute 3: Tips for a more satisfying smoothie
We’ve all had days where getting our daily dose of fruit and vegetable servings doesn’t go so smoothly, but that’s why we have a Vitamix on our kitchen counter. If you want to avoid the trap of blending smoothies with too much sugar and not enough quality fuel, check out: “How to Make a Healthy, Satisfying Smoothie.” You’ll want to start with a liquid base, and some popular options include coconut water or a non-dairy milk substitute like oat milk. Then, add fruits and vegetables to maximize the nutritional value. If you’re not sure what to pick, it doesn’t get much healthier than blueberries, according to: “7 Science-Backed Benefits of Blueberries.” Blueberries have some of the highest antioxidant and polyphenol content of any food, period. That’s useful for slowing aging, reducing your risk of various diseases, and fighting inflammation. If you’re wondering what kind of blueberries are best, you may want to read “Are Wild Blueberries More Nutritious Than Farm-Raised?” The answer is a bit complicated. On one hand, wild blueberries seem to have greater polyphenol content when compared to their farm raised counterparts. However, they perish quickly, so unless you live close to a local source, your best bet is buying frozen berries. Finally, you can add protein to your smoothie to aid in muscle recovery. Protein power is a popular option, but if you’d rather avoid supplements, consider: “10 Ways to Add Protein to Smoothies Without Protein Powder.”
Minute 4: Shoe Review: ASICS Magic Speed 3 ($160)
Last week, Brian Metzler reviewed three of his favorite carbon-plated shoes that are perfect for fall marathons. Today, Brian provides an analysis of the new ASICS Magic Speed 3 that is a good choice for shorter races and even everyday training. With a price tag significantly below the top marathon shoes, this new model from ASICS will almost certainly become a very popular choice. You can check out Brian’s full review of these excellent carbon-plated shoes on our website, but the highlights are below.
This revamped model utilizes a rigid carbon-fiber plate embedded in a midsole made of a soft, hyper-responsive foam. However, the Magic Speed 3 isn’t quite as light, isn’t quite as maximally cushioned and the plate isn’t quite as curvy as the ASICS MetaSpeed Sky+ racing model. It is nonetheless more durable, softer and arguably more comfortable, and it costs $90 less than the top-tier racing shoes. Ultimately, the Magic Speed 3 is part of the democratization of shoe technology trend, allowing middle-of-the-pack runners to enjoy high-end performance that is optimally appropriate for their paces. The bottom line is that if you’re a 3:30 or 4:30 or 5:30 marathoner, you can save a lot of money by investing in a shoe that’s going to help you get through your race better than a top-tier pro model shoe that costs $250.
What’s New: Several key improvements make the Magic Speed 3 one of the best updates of the year. The new version of this shoe has a full-length carbon-fiber propulsion plate (embedded in a two-layer FlyteFoam Blast+ midsole) that acts as a firm lever as the foot rolls forward to the toe-off phase of the stride. (The Magic Speed 2 had a slightly more flexible plate made from carbon-fiber and TPU and only a partial segment of FlyteFoam Blast+ foam.) The Magic Speed 3 also features the ASICS MotionWrap upper, which comes from its high-end racing models and does a better job of securing a wide range of foot shapes down to the chassis for better control and proprioceptive feeling for the ground. The bottom of the midsole/outsole has also been sculpted out more, giving it enhanced contraction/propulsion capabilities. The best part, though, is that the new version is also more than a half-ounce lighter than the previous version of the shoe.
Why It’s Great: It’s a fun, cushy performance training shoe that’s capable of fast tempo runs, long intervals and all sorts of racing. The full-length FlyteFoam Blast+ midsole provides a good amount of softness (especially when your foot hits the ground) that blends well with the forefoot responsiveness served up with the carbon plate. If you like the feeling of the semi-rigid nylon-plate of the Saucony Endorphin Speed performance trainer, you’ll appreciate the Magic Speed 3 for its similar soft, energetic flow, but also because it’s a touch more energetic. I’ll definitely use this for 5K to half marathon races, but I probably wouldn’t wear it for a full marathon.
For a deeper dive into these excellent summer shoes, you can check out Brian’s full review here.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
June is here, and we hope you’re ready for all the summer fun you can squeeze into your calendar. Don’t forget to pack some sunscreen as well, unless you want to be dealing with burns all season. The first step to making sure you’re well prepared is to take this quiz and find out: “What's Your Sun Safety IQ?” Once that’s taken care of, you can brush up on your sunburn care with “What to Do (and Not Do) When Your Sunburn Starts Peeling.”
Do you know what happens if you stretch every day? Some research suggests it can improve your circulation, brain function, mental health, and sexual health, and it only takes about 10 minutes of your day. If that has you intrigued, check out the routine shown in: “Here’s Why a Daily Stretching Routine Is *So* Darn Helpful for Your Overall Health.” If you want to fine tune your stretching to your specific needs, you should take a look at “Yoga Vs. Stretching: Understanding The Differences.”
We’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is, taking just two weeks off from training will start to produce a decrease in fitness. The good news? Getting back in shape is much easier than starting from scratch. That’s because of muscle memory. It’s a neurological phenomenon in which the neural pathways used to control your muscles remain, even after a layoff period. If you want to better understand muscle memory, as well as learn how to use it to your advantage, check out: “Muscle Memory Explained: What It Is + How It Works.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
When we learned about the term “skyrunning,” we thought the name sounded deceptively pleasant for such a difficult activity. If you aren’t aware, skyrunning is competitive mountain running in which the average vertical incline is 6% or more and at least 5% of the course has an incline of 30%. Recently, one skyrunning competition known as “Zegama-Aizkorri” took place in Spain, and as if the massive uphills weren’t hard enough, wet weather conditions made parts of the trail a muddy mess. Despite the added difficulty, trail runners persevered, and if they slipped and fell, they were quick to get right back to their feet. You can see just how determined these runners were in the wipeout highlights below.