OCT 18, 2023
Minute 1: Does your gait need a checkup?
Short of explaining how to find true love or (better yet) giving out the winning Megabucks number in advance, our readers’ favorite content on Six Minute Mile is advice on running form. Many runners use their GPS watches, WHOOPS and fitness trackers religiously, but fail to leverage gait analysis technology that has made big strides in the past decade. This new story provides a good overview: “Do You Need a Running Gait Analysis?” One rule of thumb to consider is that gait analysis is most essential for those with an existing problem. If your running is causing you pain, sensors can help identify where your body is overloaded so you know how to modify your form. It’s important to remember there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy for proper running form, and each person’s ideal will differ depending on your fitness level, body type, and other factors. If you’ve decided you want to analyze your gait, these “15 Running Sensors” can help. After testing 15 of the most popular sensors, this author determined that Stryd, Running Dynamics, RunScribe, and MilestonePod are their top products on the market. For another look at the pros and cons of various sensors, take a look at: “The best running pods and sensors to measure your cadence and running skills.”
Minute 2: How to build mental resilience
If we ask you not to think about a pink fire truck in the next five seconds, only the Zen masters and amnesiacs among our readers can avoid that thought. Sadly, the same is often true of negative thoughts on the starting line about our fitness, preparation and likely results. It doesn’t have to be that way. As runners, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to develop physically, but we can also train for mental fortitude. They go hand in hand, after all, and a strong mind will allow you to unlock the full potential of your body. One of the most effective ways to boost mood and energy is to reduce negative thoughts, according to these: “5 Tips to Help You Build Resilience, According to a Psychologist.” By focusing on positive thoughts and reframing negative ones in a more optimistic light, you’ll better equip yourself to take on internal or external challenges. One of our newest sponsors, BetterHelp, offers some specific advice in this blog post: “Understanding Thought Stopping Therapy For Mental Wellness.” Successful techniques include consciously replacing a negative thought with a positive one. This can also take the form of visualization, in which you picture a calming or happy scene from your life. “Thought stopping is not about ignoring or suppressing thoughts entirely but learning to better manage them,” BetterHelp explains. “With thought stopping, we can balance our thoughts by redirecting our attention to more productive ideas.” Some therapists recommend the concept of a worry circle, in which you draw a small circle around the worries you can control, and a larger circle around it of things you can’t. Before a race, for example, sticking to your pacing plan would be in the small circle, while the long run you missed because of injury would be in the larger circle. Athletic competitions can be a lot more stressful than life’s ordinary challenges, which is why athletes have to develop skills to manage negativity: “How Do Top Athletes Manage Negative Thoughts?”
Minute 3: You wouldn’t expect these benefits of strength training for runners
Strength training builds strength. (Thanks, Captain Obvious.) And while most runners have a vague sense that they should supplement their work on the roads with work in the weightroom, many are not sure what to prioritize. This story from Canadian Running has some answers: “4 unexpected benefits of strength training for runners.” Since compound lifts like the squat require large ranges of motion, the lift can actually improve your mobility and strength at the same time. Done correctly, weightlifting can be a form of dynamic stretching with added resistance. Strength training can also improve neuromuscular performance, increasing the amount of power and explosiveness a runner generates. That’s good news for athletes looking to finish with a bang, and by pairing it with these “7 Tips to Develop Your Kick,” you can cross the finish line faster than ever. Lifting weights can also develop your balance and coordination, especially moves that engage your core muscles like the military press. For more info on that, check out: “What Muscles Does The Military Press Work?” Since the military press is performed in a standing position, your body needs to work to keep itself upright and stable. That translates to a stronger ability to maintain proper running form. Of course, the military press also works your arms, shoulders, and chest, which can be helpful when you need to generate a bit more power by pumping your arms as you sprint.
Minute 4: Fight flu season with these foods
As much as we love fall, we sure could do without the increased risk of transmitting the flu. That’s especially the case after learning about “long flu” symptoms that we mentioned in Minute 5 of last week’s issue. Apart from getting a flu shot, is there anything that can be done to bolster your immunity? Some nutritionists think diet is the solution, and they recommend these: “10 Best Foods To Boost Your Immunity.” Topping the list are berries, which have some of the highest concentration of antioxidants and vitamin C of any food group. Some dieticians recommend “eating the rainbow,” since a variety of bright colors on your plate is an effective way to ensure you’re getting a variety of polyphenols and anthocyanins to support immune function. It turns out that garlic can repel the flu just as well as it can fight off vampires. We’ll be sure to keep our pantries stocked this October so we can reap the benefits of the “5 Ways Garlic Boosts Immunity.” Research suggests that consuming garlic can boost the number of T-cells in your bloodstream. Garlic can also help your body absorb zinc, which can aid immune function as well. Try pairing zinc-rich whole grain bread with a “Garlic Infused Olive Oil” for the 1-2 combo that will give your flu a first round knockout!
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
We’re suckers for quickie fitness tests. Like who knew that: “Lack of hand grip strength may indicate premature aging?” Now we’ve found a mobility check that can reveal all sorts of issues: the yoga squat. For some folks, this position will feel like home. For others, you may experience heel lift, spine rounding, or other breakdowns in form. That’s okay, because the way in which your form is compromised will let you know what areas you need to work on, and you can see the details in: “Can’t Do a Yoga Squat? Here’s What Your Body’s Trying to Tell You.”
Nothing will stress a runner out quite like a stress fracture. They can be hard to see coming, but once they’ve occurred, you sure won’t miss it. If you want to learn the warning signs before it’s too late, you can read: “Running Stress Fracture Types, Causes, and Treatments.”
In Minute 1 of this issue, we looked at the growing trend of precision nutrition. By using tests and analysis to uncover your nutritional deficiencies, you can cater your diet and supplement intake to consume exactly what you need. Some of these nutrition screening services even offer a companion app to help reach your daily goals, but there’s concern that they encourage obsessive behaviors when it comes to eating. To learn about the potential downsides of precision nutrition, read: “Personalized Nutrition Programs Are Making People Feel Weird About Food.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
If you’ve ever attended a cross country meet, the odds are you’ve seen an overenthusiastic parent in action. Stressing, cheering, whooping it up, offering unsolicited advice. Heck, you may have been the one making your teenager cringe. Whatever your connection to XC is – or any youth sport – we bet the recent video from @lauramcgreen will hit home for our readers. She hits the nail on the head on what it’s like to be an XC parent, and the video is as accurate as it is funny. Watch the clip below to see if you can relate.