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11 reasons why squats will make you a better runner


Minute 1: Traveling for the holidays? Use this guide to stay in shap

With all the food, travel and last minute errands around the holidays, your exercise habits may disappear faster than family comity at a dinner table political debate. Realistically, you probably won’t have enough time to log your typical mileage or workouts during these last two busy weeks of the year. For some holiday survival ideas whether you are at home or on the road, check out: “Top Tips for Working Out While Traveling.” Step one is to make a realistic gameplan. If you know longer runs will stretch you thin, aim to do more HIIT or tempo work to cut down on the time commitment. Be conscious of the space and equipment you’ll have access too as well. Going to a place where running is out of the question? Make use of these “9 Moves for a Cardio Workout at Home—No Equipment Required.” When you’re away from home, options are key, so try out one of the many workout videos you can find online for free, like this one that leaves you with no excuses: “10 Minute Cardio Workout at Home (Intense & No Equipment).” Last, be sure to keep your nutrition in mind. Here’s “How to eat healthy while traveling? 8 real-life tips that can help.” Keeping plenty of high fiber snacks and water on hand will keep you feeling full so you are less likely to overdo it come mealtime. For more ideas, check out this helpful list from Noom: “17 Tips to Enjoy a Healthy Holiday.”

Minute 2: Why runners should do squats

Many of our running buddies tell us they have no interest in leg day at the gym. “My legs get a workout six days a week, banging out miles,” they say. “I really don’t need more than that.” They might as well be saying that they have no interest in improving performance or preventing injury. This new story reminded us that you should never skip leg day: “11 benefits of squats to improve your overall fitness.” If those 11 reasons don’t convince you, this story offers a few more: “Leg Workouts for Runners and Why You Need Them.” To perform a basic barbell squat, you have to engage your core and back muscles quite a bit. That works wonders for your posture, which translates into better running form and endurance. Squatting also improves your mobility, especially in your hips, knees, and ankles. That’ll improve your stride and reduce your likelihood of injury. Certain squat variations can improve your balance as well, like the Bulgarian Split Squat. That’s a one-legged move that can be performed with or without added weight, and it’ll help you reveal and correct muscle imbalances in your lower body. For a good how-to manual, check out: “Change Up Your Leg Day With These 10 Unique Squat Variations.” In a similar vein, wall sits are an isometric counterpart to squats that can be performed just about anywhere you go. There was a time when static exercises like wall sits were frowned upon, since they didn’t make you go through a full range of motion. The pendulum has swung back, and fitness professionals now extol the: “8 Amazing Benefits Of The Wall Sit: How To Do It Correctly.”

Minute 3: How and why to hack your circadian rhythm

Is it possible to make your circadian rhythm march to the beat of a different drum? If you can tweak it, will your athletic performance improve? Circadian hackers think that the answers to those questions are “yes” and “yes.” Using a combination of tech, tracking, and lifestyle changes, they aim to sleep better and work smarter: “How ‘circadian hacking’ can help with far more than sleep.” Sally Howard faced a 5-month period of insomnia in 2018, prompting her to look for ways to alter her sleep hormones. She found that paying attention to her “light diet” (the amount and intensity of light to which we’re exposed), helped her get on track. In the evenings, she blocks the harmful effects of screens that emit blue light with special glasses. If you’re curious about trying a pair, check out “The 6 Very Best Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses.” Training Peaks provides advice for surviving the short days of winter in this piece: “How Circadian Rhythm Affects Peak Athletic Performance.” One theory about why most athletes perform better in the morning, according to Training Peaks, is that our core body temperature is typically lower in the morning than late in the day. If you want more details on this idea, check out: “What’s the Best Temperature for Sleep?” One expert says that between 60℉ and 67℉ is the ideal range, though it can vary depending on your age and other factors. Our circadian rhythms impact all sorts of hormones in our body. A healthy circadian rhythm can help improve your focus, productivity, and appetite. For more on that, read “Circadian Rhythm and Weight Loss.”

Minute 4: Kipchoge is preparing to take on Boston

The Boston Marathon was one of the last big marathons to offer prize money to its runners. Prior to 1986, world famous runners still came to Boston because of the race’s legendary history and high profile in the media. These days, a winner pockets $150,000 and also earns the prestige of the laurel wreath. Perhaps that’s why Eliud Kipchoge chose to run Boston next April, despite the near impossibility of achieving his goal of a sub 2:00 marathon. Clearly, the guy likes big hills and big challenges: “Eliud Kipchoge says STACKED Boston Marathon will be his ‘hardest race ever’.” Kipchoge has never run Boston before. He expects to win, but he is not aiming for a course record. (That would add $50,000 to his pay day.) Kipchoge expects the course’s hills and lack of a pacesetter will make the race especially difficult. Given that Boston is the oldest annual marathon, Kipchoge sees a podium finish as an important step in cementing his legacy. In addition to the infamous Heartbreak Hill, Boston has many other challenges for runners: “The toughest miles of the Boston Marathon course, according to runners.” Despite the change in course difficulty when compared to flat races like the Berlin Marathon, Kipchoge says he’s keeping his training the same as always. If you plan on participating in Boston or any other marathons in 2023, you might want to check out “How Eliud Kipchoge Trains for a Marathon.” It’s a wonderfully simple approach that can be mirrored by competitors of all levels.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Anyone who’s practiced the run-walk-run method will know, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes, you’ll get carried away and forget to slow down. Other times, the temptation to keep walking is a bit too much. An interval training app can help to keep you on track, allowing you to set timers, track distance, measure elevation change, and more. They can signal to you when it’s time to change the pace as well, so if that sounds like something you need, download one of the “Apps for Training With the Galloway Run-Walk-Run Method.”

  • The Achilles tendon was the weak point of Greece’s greatest warrior, and unfortunately, it’s a vulnerable spot for lots of modern runners too. It’s not just middle aged dudes playing hoops at the Y who suffer achilles injuries, especially if athletes don’t spend any time developing their achilles strength. That, combined with excessive mileage, the wrong footwear, and challenging terrain can cause damage, which is why you should consider: “Four Exercises to Injury-Proof Your Achilles.”

  • With a big winter storm racing across the U.S. right now, our hats, gloves, and snow shovels are coming out of storage. This type of weather drives many runners onto a nice warm indoor treadmill, but it’s possible to enjoy a fresh air run if you prep properly. Check out: “The Cold Weather Hater’s Guide to Getting Outside a Little More This Winter.” There, you’ll discover ideas on how to stay safe, find the right gear, and appreciate the unique experiences wintertime has to offer for lovers of the outdoors.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

It’s been said that the Great Wall of China is so big, you can see it from space. That turned out to be mostly untrue, but in fact the wall is pretty dang big, spanning over 13,000 miles. You’d have to be dedicated, well-conditioned, and perhaps a little out of your mind, to traverse it on foot. Well, don’t say that to brothers Tommy and James Lindesay, who are planning to run the length of the wall. What’s even more remarkable is that they’re following in their father’s footsteps. William Lindesay is an English author and conservationist who ran about 1500 miles of the Great Wall back in 1987. To get a glimpse of the brothers’ journey so far, check out some highlights from BBC news below.


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