MAY 24, 2023
Minute 1: How plyometrics boost running efficiency
If we told you there is an easy way to improve your running economy by about 4% – and it doesn’t involve a new pair of $250 shoes – you’d probably want us to hum a few bars of that happy tune. This new piece from Trail Runner says that plyometric exercises could be the key to improving your economy: “The Quest for a Simpler Way to Boost Running Efficiency.” Moves like box jumps and single leg hops can increase tendon stiffness, which many experts believe is a driving force behind running efficiency. That’s just the start of what they have to offer, according to the “9 benefits of doing plyometrics workouts no matter how fit you are.” Explosive exercises can increase the maximum force your muscles can generate instantaneously. That translates to a higher top speed for runners. For more ideas, check out this video: “5 Drills to Build Athletic Explosiveness.” Just be sure you don’t overdo it during a plyometric session, because less is more: “How many reps for Plyometrics?” To get the most out of your plyo, you want to be close to your max output with every rep. That means a quality over quantity approach could be most effective, and these moves aren’t the kind of exercise you should be performing to failure all the time.
Minute 2: Exercise can reduce food cravings
Looking for a way to crush your unhealthy food cravings? The solution could be a perfectly timed run. If you’ve ever experienced a temporary loss of appetite after running, you aren’t alone, according to research: “Just one run changes how your brain reacts to food, new study shows.” Researchers looked at the brains and behaviors of 23 participants before and after 60 minutes of exercise, and what they found confirmed that individuals feel less hungry during and immediately after working out. That means if your sweet tooth is aching for a bite, moving around can make it much easier to resist the temptation. While you’re working out, you might want to grab some extra water too: “Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight.” Like exercise, drinking water can suppress appetite by signaling satiation. Not only that, but a study found that drinking water can help jumpstart your metabolism, especially if the water is chilled. It makes sense, since the body needs to expend energy to maintain a healthy temperature. Most experts agree that adopting habits like exercise and a balanced diet is most effective in the long term for healthy weight loss, but there are undeniable medical benefits for some folks using the latest generation of diet medications: “Weight loss drug reverses obesity for nearly half of teens in study.” Ozempic can produce impressive results, but it’s quite expensive, and scientists suspect you’ll need to keep taking it indefinitely if you want to maintain long term benefits.
Minute 3: Mood boosting hacks you need to try
In Minute 4 of this issue, we asked you to break out a dictionary and learn some new running vocab with us. Well, we hope you’ve still got it handy, because we’re adding a new term to the lexicon today: myokines. What the heck are those? You can find the answer in “The Best Way to Increase Your Supply of ‘Hope Molecules’.” Myokines are a kind of protein created by our muscles after performing any sort of movement. They travel through the bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier. From there, they act as a kind of natural antidepressant, reducing stress and inflammation, improving mood, boosting brain function, and more. The simple conclusion is that movement builds optimism, and it’s one of many ways your behavior can improve your mental health. Combine that with the right diet to a double dose of mental boosting: “7 Brain-Supporting Foods To Load Up On For Mental Health Awareness Month.” Seafood that’s low on the food chain, like anchovies or mussels, are high in brain-boosting Omega-3s, while minimizing your exposure to mercury and other potential contaminants. Also on the list are lentils, thanks to their high folate (vitamin B9) content. Low levels of B9 have been associated with depression and dementia, so be sure to get plenty of lentils, asparagus, and other folate-filled foods on your plate for a healthy mind.
Minute 4: What is your favorite place to run?
When your runs start to feel boring, runners are quick to change up the way they’re training. We like to say that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and there could be an even easier solution to your problem: Change where you’re running. It’s never been easier to map a new route, and you can see the best apps and websites to chart your course in: “How to Create a Running Route: Best Apps to Try.” Anyone can be a modern-day Magellan thanks to features like Garmin Connect. In the Garmin app, you can plan a new route by dropping multiple waypoints, or simply select a start and end points, letting the app do the rest by recommending popular routes from other users. In fact, we want to know what your favorite hometown run is. Email us a link to your favorite Garmin, Runkeeper, or Strava route, or even just send a screenshot. We'll start by publishing a few of the best submissions in an upcoming issue, with the goal of eventually ranking the best training runs across North America. (Don’t worry, we won’t publish your times!) Once you’ve found a new pathway, make sure you're running in the safest way possible: “Which Is Safest, Running With Or Against Traffic? + 6 Road Safety Tips For Runners.” In most situations, running against traffic will give you the greatest awareness of your surroundings. Choosing to run at low traffic times, keeping your music level down, and wearing high visibility clothing can make a big difference for your safety as well. For a few more tips, particularly for solo female runners, take a look at “Running Safety Tips & Best Personal Safety Products for Runners.”
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
When a high school track & field team wins a state championship, that’s an impressive accomplishment. Well how about winning a team championship with only one athlete on the team? It sounds impossible, we know, but don’t tell that to Juliette Laracuente-Huebner. This Ohio athlete competed in the long jump, high jump, triple jump, and 60-meter hurdles, among other events, cementing herself as one of the greatest multi-taskers in high school track & field history. If you want to see how she single handedly won the meet, take a look at “Ohio high school senior wins state team track title all by herself.”
As fun as racing can be, it’s important to remember that it takes much more out of you than a normal training day. There’s a finite amount of time you can be in peak racing form each year, and that’s something to consider when building your schedule and entering races. If you want to read about one racer’s struggle to find self control in the face of enticing competitions, read: “Pick Your Battles.”
If you’re the kind of person who’s always up on the latest trends, there’s a good chance you’ve picked up a pickleball paddle recently. The game has exploded in popularity since it’s a fun way to socialize and exercise. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started, you can probably make use of these “8 Pickleball Tips to Improve Your Game, According to a Pro.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Motor neurone disease (MND) is a rare but devastating condition that limits the body’s ability to perform muscular activity. It is related to ALS and affects about 270,000 people globally, including former Leeds Rhinos rugby player Rob Burrow. Since being diagnosed in 2019, the rugby star has lost the ability to speak and walk, but he is still leading the fight against MND in the UK. Recently, his former teammate Kevin Sinfield pushed Rob’s wheelchair along the course in the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon. Sinfield has raised about $10 million on behalf of his friend over the past few years. When the duo approached the finish line, Sinfield stopped and hoisted Rob out of his wheelchair. He kissed his friend on the cheek and said: “You’re not going to beat me, Rob, we are finishing together.” You can see a clip of the historic moment in the link below.