JUL 12, 2023
Minute 1: These amino acids could improve recovery time
We used to be addicted to Thanksgiving leftovers. We had to quit cold turkey. Bad recovery jokes aside, there’s nothing funny (punny?) about bouncing back from a marathon. There are some proven ways to both relieve soreness and return to serious training, according to: “A Deep Dive into the Science of Marathon Recovery.” Researchers looked at the effect of running long distances on our metabolites. Included are the various substances like glycogen or amino acids that impact our recovery process, and a few of these appeared to be particularly important. Luckily, they’re pretty easy to add to your diet. Among them were two amino acids called phenylalanine and tyrosine, which you can learn more about in “What to know about phenylalanine” and “Tyrosine.” Both articles list some potential sources, and if you want an even broader approach to getting all your essential amino acids, you can try some of these “15 Amino Acid Rich Foods for a Healthy You.” Poultry products, fish, and cottage cheese contain both amino acids mentioned above, so they could be a good place to start.
Minute 2: Wildfire smoke can harm more than just your lungs
North America’s air quality has reached historic lows this summer, affecting our respiratory systems and endurance sports performances. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there, because “Wildfire Smoke Might Be Wreaking Havoc on Your Mental Health.” Recent studies have looked at residents of the most polluted cities in the world, uncovering a strong association between poor air quality, anxiety, and depression. Researchers from China found that exposure to high levels of fine particle pollution, the kind of pollution most associated with wildfires, resulted in a 29% greater likelihood of experiencing anxiety. If you live in the United States, some cities experience worse pollution than others, and you can get an idea of the conditions where you live from the American Lung Association’s list of the country’s “Most Polluted Cities.” What can we do about it? Finding the right kind of air purifier is a good place to start for indoor health, and you can learn more about that in: “Do Air Purifiers Really Work?” Different filters will be effective for different sized rooms, and the type of filter they use will impact the kind of pollutants they can remove. Once you’ve identified your needs, take a look at these “8 air purifiers to consider in 2023.”
Minute 3: How training has changed for runners across history
Philosopher George Santayana once observed: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That’s true of world history and running history alike. Along the way to the physiological understanding we’ve amassed today, runners have tried countless methods to reach their full potential. Some have worked well, while others have flopped. If you want to avoid the running mistakes of the past, there’s a lot to learn in this piece from Trail Runner: “The Evolution of Running Training Theory.” In the early 20th century, running looked quite different from where it is today. That’s obvious to anyone who’s ever watched this training montage from Chariots of Fire. The clothes were different, and so were the training modalities. In 1954, Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute barrier in the mile. The training routine that got him there would shock most modern coaches, given its lack of low intensity aerobic volume and constant use of fast-paced interval work. If you want to see what we mean, you can check out workouts used by Bannister and other past champions here: “Training Regimens from Racing Greats.” Roger’s methods were a far cry from today’s fastest milers, like Jakob Ingebrigsten, who used the Norwegian Method of training to develop speed and endurance all at once. If you want to follow in his footsteps, you’re going to need a solid understanding of this concept: “Lactate thresholds made simple – by Rob Bridges.”
Minute 4: Cross-train with kayaking and paddleboarding this summer
Kayaking is not just a ticket to cheap airfare – it’s also an excellent way to crosstrain this summer, according to: “Why Kayaking Is the Ideal Summer Workout With Its Heart-Healthy, Core-Strengthening, Mood-Boosting Perks.” Along with paddleboarding, a kayak outing allows you to build your cardio without burning out your legs. Instead, the bulk of the effort is done by your arms, core, and back, which can even improve your running form over time. Additionally, kayaking can provide a significant mental health boost, thanks to the “blue space” effect. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, check out: “The surprising benefits of blue spaces.” Blue spaces emerged as a concept back in 2013, when the University of Sussex surveyed 20,000 people on the topic of where they felt happiest. Overwhelmingly, marine and coastal environments provided the greatest mood boost, which is part of the reason why water sports feel so fun. While we’re on the topic, we should mention “The Benefits of Paddle Boarding for Runners.” Like kayaking, paddleboarding is another low impact cross-training activity that can develop your core and upper body. Additionally, it will put your balance and stability to the test, and can even be tracked on Strava, making it one of our go-to summer training activities.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
They say that “diamonds are forever,” but we think that a more accurate slogan would be “plastics are forever.” The unfortunate reality is, a lot of the plastics we’ve made have seeped into the environment, and therefore, into our food and water supply. That has many scientists worried about their effects on the human body. We still have a lot to learn about PFAS and the risks they pose, but if you want to get up to speed, as well as learn about ways to filter your water effectively, check out: “You Can't Avoid 'Forever Chemicals,' but You Can Lower Your Exposure.”
Improving your running form can be difficult, since it’s hard to measure objectively. The way your foot strikes, how upright you stand, or how your arms swing will all have an impact on your performance, but they’re things you have to feel out over time. There are some aspects of form that are a bit more calculable, however, which makes them a good place to start while dialing in changes. Included is your cadence, which is a measure of how frequently you step, and you can learn how to optimize your own cadence from: “Running Cadence Explained + Tips to Improve.” For years, the gold standard was that runners should take 180 steps per minute. A more modern idea is that since every runner is built differently, a better goal is to seek an increase of 3-5% in your base cadence.
Longevity experts know that the way you start your day sets the tone for everything that follows, which is why a healthy breakfast can have such a big impact. So, what’s the best breakfast option out there? One researcher says oatmeal is the way to go, and to find out why, you can read: “‘I’m a World Leader in Longevity Research—This Is the Easy Breakfast I Eat Every Morning for Healthy Aging’.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
If you’ve showed up to your fair share of group runs, you’ll know it’s only a matter of time before you’re hit with the question: “What are you training for?” Let’s face it, if you currently don’t have a good answer for them, it can be a little embarrassing and damaging to your street cred. Fortunately for us, @lauramcgreen has all sorts of replies to nip that conversation in the bud and get back to having fun on your run. Her video is sure to give you a laugh, and it just might get you out of an awkward conversation one day as well.