Minute 1: Is Peloton gloating over its pandemic success?
Has the loud music cranked during Peloton workouts made the company a little tone deaf? Last holiday season, Peloton generated controversy with a TV ad featuring a fit woman whose husband gave her a $2,000 stationary bike. It reminded us of this cringey scene in “Knocked Up” where the Catherine Hegl character is "gifted" a gym membership and is reassured: “We didn’t say lose weight. I might say tighten.” Now a new How I Built This podcast featuring CEO John Foley tells us that the view from atop a $21 billion fortune is just fine, thank you, despite a global pandemic. Foley shared a few nuggets like these on the podcast:
“The challenges that we faced which were many over the last several months including working from home but also an exploding business. It was really fun to watch everybody triage and rise to the occasion. It’s been weirdly fun to be honest.”
“In a wild way it feels like Peloton was built for this moment of helping people connect virtually. It’s a really beautiful thing that we’ve experienced.”
The podcast host, Guy Raz, is a kind interviewer and tried to steer Foley away from celebrating Peloton’s good fortune while fellow Americans are dying and losing their jobs in record numbers. “Most small, medium and large businesses are in crisis in the U.S.,” says Raz. “How do you grapple with the reality that this crisis is a public health crisis but you guys are actually really doing well and growing? Your stock has doubled from where it was in September. I mean of course it’s great for Peloton but is part of you conflicted about that?”
“Absolutely,” Foley replies, but then immediately pivots to not-so-humble bragging about how they have kicked butt on their earnings calls and proven “narrow-minded investors” wrong about the company. “Oh gosh, we don’t want to be vilified for being profitable,” Foley says, while reminding himself to stay humble “from a psychic positioning perspective.”
Somewhere a Peloton PR rep is cringing while somewhere else another Mercedes Sprinter van is social-distantly dropping off a new bike on a freshly-painted back porch. On balance, we are big fans of the company, but hope they can align themselves with the times a little more carefully.
Minute 2: Outside magazine blows up running myths
How do you know what you know about endurance training? A Runner’s World article from 7 years ago? A buddy from your Sunday morning group? A high school coach? A book you read while training for your first marathon? Like a bad fashion trend from your younger days, you may be holding onto info that is dangerously outdated. Fortunately, Outside just interviewed a respected expert and published “17 Training Myths, Addressed by a Running Coach.” We appreciated #7 (Vegetables are good for you.) and #10 (If you sweat a lot, that means the training is working.) Their take is sometimes tongue-in-cheek, but helpful nonetheless. As for one cornerstone of every serious runner’s training, we liked this new story in Triathlete magazine: “How Important Is the Weekly Long Run?” Short answer: very useful when deployed in moderation. Another coaching guide hit the wires this week: “7 Ways to Run Faster, According to Expert Running Coaches.” Even if you already know the differences among tempo, interval and fartlek runs, there are likely a few good refreshers in here for you. #MythBusters
Minute 3: Our readers are wary of virtual races
How would you answer the following SAT question: Outdoor running is to treadmills as big fun road races are to _______ ? If you filled in the blank with “virtual races,” we are drinking from the same CamelBak. If you absolutely can’t have the real thing, then you’ll consider a session on the hamster wheel or a GPS tracker race. A surprising number of our readers have no interest in a virtual race and are holding out for the real thing (next spring???) Nearly 4,000 of you responded when we asked: “What factor is most important when choosing a virtual race?” Here is how the answers broke out:
43% - Sorry, I have zero interest in doing a virtual race
18% - Community -- I like the idea of being part of an event
18% - Swag -- It’s all about the t-shirt, medals bibs and finisher certificates
14% - Charity -- It is worth picking a race raising money for a cause I believe in
7% - Competition -- Running in my neighborhood is more engaging when there are placements on the line
If you are among the 57% of readership who are interested in a virtual event, we have found that the large marathon organizations tend to produce a high quality online engagement with good swag and easy tracking integrations. You may consider checking out the virtual options from the organizers of these marathons: Boston, New York, Marine Corps, London and Chicago. #SurveySays
Minute 4: Tour de France is rolling
The Tour de France is now underway and has already generated crashes and drama during its journey to the Champs Elysees on September 20. For the casual fan looking for some endurance sports inspiration while channel surfing, here is a helpful guide: “What do the Tour de France jerseys mean?” Everyone knows that the yellow chemise belongs to the leader, but this story will enlighten you as to how the combativity prize is awarded each day. Fans are being asked to stay off the big mountain pass roadways where typically hundreds of camper vans and thousands of screaming fans wait hours for a chance to see their favorite riders in peak agony. Sadly, NBC Sports will be without the services of legendary commentator Paul Sherwen who passed away in late 2018, but the equally legendary Phil Liggett will still have the call. #Allez
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
If you are looking to expand beyond the same pre-workout stretches you’ve been doing since high school, you may want to check out 5 Dynamic Stretches Before Running. You may not only find new ideas, but also an answer to the question of whether you should stretch pre-run or not.
When was the last time you heard “pandemic” and “good news” in the same sentence? According to a story in the New York Times, endurance athletes will be happy with the news that a good aerobic base should increase the positive effects of an eventual Coronavirus vaccine. Check out: “Exercise May Boost Your Vaccine Response” which cites 2 studies of elite athletes.
From our gear locker, we continue to offer our Six Minute Mile t-shirt at a price point tailored for viral marketing rather than our Aspen retirement house account. We have also begun curating products of interest to our readers from around the interwebs that we find to be quirky or different from the black/medium/bland fare of most online gear stores. If you promise not to chuckle at the very beta version of this site, check out a few of our new favorite products here. And while you’re there, don’t forget to unleash Brian Metzler’s latest gear guide: “Budget-Friendly Shoes” in which he uncovers 12 shoes that won’t break the bank.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Courtney Dauwalter is one of the most accomplished trail runners in the world, having stood atop the podium at epic events like the Western States 100 and the UTMB in the Alps. The former nordic ski racer is sponsored by Salomon and known for baggy clothes and huge smiles when faced with difficult conditions. Working with Salomon, she put together this video on the Tahoe 200, a 205-mile race that circumnavigates Lake Tahoe with inhuman quantities of ascents and descents. There is excellent inspiration for all of us in Courtney’s video below.