AUG 2, 2023
Minute 1: Should your runs have breaks?
We have to admit, we’re guilty of taking our running a little too seriously from time to time. It’s a symptom of wanting to reach our full potential, but every outing doesn’t need to be a record-setting performance. For perspective, we like this new piece from Outside: “Why You Should Stop in the Middle of Your Run.” It may sound a little silly, but why not head into a boutique or sit on a park bench during your run? It’s the summer, after all, and the high temps and direct sunlight often make it too difficult to maintain your typical mileage and pace goals. Not only that, but becoming a running tourist can give you the kind of experiences that help you fall in love with running all over again. It’s those moments that pay what one author calls “memory dividends” – “Why ‘Memory Dividends’ Are the Best Asset You’ll Ever Earn.” According to Bill Perkins, author of Die With Zero, memory dividends are what you get when you seek out experiences that are gratifying to remember over and over again. It seems simple at the moment, but that little detour on your run could lead you to an event that energizes and inspires you for years to come.
Minute 2: What does it really mean to peak, and when does it happen?
Watching all the incredible up-and-coming runners compete can be a little bittersweet. It’s inspiring to watch them raise the bar in their sport, but it can be a cold-shower reminder that many of us feel like we’re past our days of PRs and podiums. If you can relate, we want to remind you that sometimes, wisdom trumps youth, but don’t just take our word for it. Find out why in: “Your Athletic Peak Is Longer Than You Think.” Sure, sports that require a lot of explosiveness are better suited to younger competitors. When it comes to sprinting or Olympic weightlifting, most athletes peak around 25 years old. But in events like marathons or ultramarathons, athletes often do their best in their late 20s, or even their late 30s. It’s also important to remember that when we “peak” is mostly a measure of when we’re most suited to adapt to an activity. Just because it’s harder to do doesn’t mean we can’t grow faster or stronger in our middle years; it simply takes a bit more time and effort. If you want to turn in the best performances of your life, you can give yourself the best shot by mastering “The Difficult Art of Peaking for Running Races.” A common mistake runners make is dropping off too much training volume. Yes, it can be effective to taper off your distance in the weeks before a race, but it should be in the ballpark of 10 to 30 minutes shorter than your typical runs.
Minute 3: What is a “bad” carb, really?
By now, the message is pretty widespread and accepted – if weight control is your goal, cut back on simple carbohydrates and added sugars. That’s due in part to the fact that these foods aren’t very satiating, making it easy to overindulge. That’s not to say that all carbs are bad, though, and in fact, some carby foods can even be a useful tool for slimming down: “The #1 "Bad" Carb You Should Be Eating to Lose Weight, According to a Dietitian.” Lauren Manaker, an award-winning dietician, says that whole-grain and whole-wheat bread is A-okay for most of us. That’s because they’ve got a healthy dose of fiber and nutrients that come from the bran, endosperm and germ of a wheat grain. Those are removed in the process of refining white flour, which leaves white bread with a whole lot of carbs and not much else. Speaking of nutrient-dense sources of carbs, there are a few included on this list of “7 Potassium-Rich Foods.” Dried apricots, lentils, sweet potatoes, and bananas, are all sources of carbs and potassium, which is essential for heart and kidney function, muscle contraction and nerve transmission. If you’re worried about your potassium intake, look for signs of deficiency, including muscle cramps, fatigue, irregular heart rate, and constipation.
Minute 4: Shoe Review: Hoka Mach X ($180)
We are big fans of Hoka running shoes, and so is our favorite shoe reviewer, Brian Metzler. Today, Brian jumps into the new Hoka Mach X, which is an everyday trainer with a Pebax plate instead of a carbon fiber plate. That distinction makes a big difference at the cash register and in how this show can be used on a daily basis, instead of just on race day. We have shared Brian’s highlights below, but for the full story, please see this link.
There’s an emerging class of training shoes with plastic propulsion plates (nylon, Pebax, etc) that offer a high level of responsive energy return and plenty of stable cushioning without that sharp race-day feeling. The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 has been the class of the crop since it launched three years ago, but that’s a performance trainer and sometimes speedier than what you need or want for everyday training efforts. That’s where the Hoka Mach X enters the picture. Launched this summer, the Mach X is a neutral-oriented maximally cushioned training shoe with a Pebax plate that gives enough pop to put a spring in your step without running your feet and lower legs ragged. (If you’ve ever trained too many days in a marathon racing shoe, you know what I mean!) It’s like a utilitarian e-bike for your daily commuting or simply a comfy cruiser of a training shoe. The bottom line is that it gives you a little bit of extra oomph on long runs and recovery runs while also serving up a lightweight, soft, stable and smooth ride.
What’s New: The Mach X is a brand new shoe, but it takes some of its design inspiration from the fast, light (and unplated) Mach 5 performance trainer in the Hoka line. It has a thicker, softer and more responsive midsole than the Mach 5, thanks to its top-tier ProFlyX PEBA and EVA foam compounds. The semi-firm propulsive Pebax plate, which is made from 65% bio-based material, is embedded between the two densities of foam (and exposed in a channel that opens up the midsole/outsole under the arch). The creel jacquard upper is airy and breathable (but also slightly reinforced), while three sections of rubber comprise the outsole. The Hoka Mach X is made from several sustainable materials, including the recycled polyester and nylon upper and the recycled polyester strobel board under the sockliner.
Why It’s Great: It’s great because it provides a certain amount of liveliness that most high-off-the-ground training shoes have lacked. Unplated maximalist shoes tend to feel mushy and sluggish, both in general and in the latter miles of a long run, but the Mach X feels almost like a mega-sized performance trainer. It’s not hyper responsive and snappy or bouncy like some of its race-ready cousins, but it offers enough pop to help you feel livelier at any pace.
Why You’ll Love It: For a high-stack shoe, the Mach X is more versatile than most. If you’re used to wearing cushy, high-stack training shoes, you’ll love the familiar cushiness, but you’ll really appreciate the extra energy it provides. That extra responsiveness can give your legs some much-needed spark during long runs, and it will help your recovery run feel easier and less fatiguing. It’s nicely capable of doing medium to long tempo runs and spontaneous fartlek runs and could even be a marathon shoe of choice for a middle-of-the-pack or first-time marathoner who is focused more on comfort than all-out speed. (My favorite workout in the Mach X consisted of alternating between 3-minute hard efforts and 3-minute jogging segments for about 30 minutes.)
Those are a few of the highlights on the new Hoka Mach X, but for Brian’s full review, please click this link.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
If you’ve lived to 101 years old, you know a thing or two about aging well. It doesn’t hurt to study neuroscience as well, which is why we’re all ears about the advice Howard Tucker has to offer. He’s had a long and active career, and in fact, that's one of the reasons he has lived so long. An engaging job can provide purpose and keep you energized well into your golden years. To hear the rest of his tips, read: “A 101-Year-Old Neurologist Shares His 3 Nonnegotiable Tips For Longevity.”
We’re always surprised at just how much there is to learn about running. That’s true for things even as simple as drinking water. Some folks have strong intuitions about when and how much to drink, but if you’re not sure you’re getting what you need, take a look at: “Running Hydration: Complete Guide from a Run Coach.” One piece of advice is to always consume about 16 ounces of water before you start a training run or race.
If you’re looking for tips on avoiding injury as a runner, who better to ask than an expert steeplechaser turned trail runner. Those are both punishing and unpredictable events, and it’s led Allie Ostrander to develop some key habits that reduce wear on her body from running. Things like running uphill to increase difficulty while decreasing impact. For the full list, read “Pro-runner Allie Ostrander’s 5 tips for avoiding injuries.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
We’ve all been here before: you’re making your way along your favorite trail or road after a rainfall, enjoying the cool damp air, and come upon a massive puddle in your path. How do you proceed? You can turn around and find another way, or try your luck at jumping over the mini pond. For @all_run_and_games, the answer is all of the above, and more. We got a kick out of watching him navigate the obstacle, and it’s a fun reminder not to take things too seriously when trouble comes your way. It just might be an opportunity to add some fun into your run, and if you want to see what we mean, take a look at the clip below.