JAN 20, 2023
Minute 1: Running and music have a lot in common
Someone once asked an athlete friend of ours whether he could perform under pressure. “I’m not sure I know all the lyrics, but I’ll try,” he deadpanned. This guitar-playing runner wasn’t just taking the question too literally, but he was also inadvertently emphasizing how his two favorite activities might overlap on a Venn diagram. Both skills are greatly enhanced, for example, by entering a “flow state” where you’re completely engaged with the task at hand. It’s something commonly experienced during exercise and creative work alike. That’s just the start of the similarities between running and music according to this new piece from Outside magazine: “What’s the Connection Between Running and Playing Music?” When studying the brains of runners and musicians, researchers discovered an increase in functional connectivity. In other words, both activities promoted communication between separate parts of the brain, improving our ability to plan, make decisions, and switch easily between tasks. It makes sense, then, that lots of professional musicians are runners themselves, like Ben Gibbard of the band Death Cab for Cutie. He says that his introduction to trail running mirrored his early career as a musician. Both began as a grassroots, community-based activity that was motivated by personal enjoyment rather than external rewards. Of course there’s another connection between running and music as many people find motivation and distraction in listening to music while out on the roads and trails. If you’re looking for ideas to load into your next playlist, check out: “Best Running Songs: The Top 100 Tunes That Make You Want to Move.”
Minute 2: Tips to prevent race day slowdown
As any “4-Hour Workweek” disciple can tell you, it’s better to work smart, not hard. The hard truth, however, is that most runners need to do both if they want to turn in a successful race day performance. There’s a lot that can go wrong on the road to the starting line, according to: “How to Avoid Slowing Down During a Running Race.” To start out, lack of training or overtraining are common mistakes, and it can be difficult to strike the perfect balance between intensity and downtime as you approach competition. To make sure your body is ready for your goal marathon speed, consider the guidelines listed in “The Long Run Part 2: M pace workouts.” M pace is short for marathon pace, and you should begin to get yourself comfortable holding it a few miles at a time. As your training progresses, you can aim to hold M pace in your workouts for upwards of 14 miles at a clip. Be sure to balance those workouts with recovery days, or else you might start to see these “19 Signs of Overtraining: How to Avoid Excess Fatigue and OTS.” Increased frequency of illness and injury, trouble sleeping, or difficulty concentrating are a few of the symptoms you can expect if you’re experiencing overtraining syndrome. Once the training is done, you’re still not in the clear, because there are lots of curve balls race day can throw at you. To prepare for whatever comes your way, follow this gear advice from Fleet Feet: “Marathon Checklist: Essentials, Upgrades, and a Splash of Luxury.” Their list includes anti-chafe lotion, NipGuards and a change of clothes.
Minute 3: Eat like the world’s oldest person
How can we live past the age of 100? Perhaps the answer can be found by examining the life of Sister André who passed away at the age of 118 last week. To tap into her somewhat unconventional wisdom when it comes to health and longevity, you will find some answers in this story: “Sister André, world's oldest person, dies at 118.” She says she indulged in a bit of dark chocolate and wine every day, which are both high in antioxidants and act as anti-inflammatories. These items are both fairly common on the dinner table of the longest-living people on earth according to: “Blue Zones Diet: Food Secrets of the World’s Longest-Lived People.” It’s believed that wine helps our bodies absorb certain plant based antioxidants, but not everyone is convinced the pros outweigh the cons. For instance, this story just emerged this week: “Canada’s New Guidelines for Alcohol Say ‘No Amount’ Is Healthy.” Wherever you stand on booze, one thing’s for certain: alcohol should be consumed in moderation, if at all. For more advice from the Blue Zone, check out these: “9 Foods The Longest-Living People In The World Eat Every Day.” Olive oil, avocados, and salmon are quite common in blue zones, and it’s believed that their high omega-3 fatty acids are instrumental in lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Minute 4: Gear Review: Adidas Sport Eyewear SP0063 ($99)
Our shoe expert, Brian Metzler, opens our eyes to a new gear category this week – sunglasses for runners. Brian raves about the Adidas Sport Eyewear SP0063 Sunglasses. They are rugged and versatile, meaning you will love them on the trail and the road alike. We summarize why these glasses meet Brian’s high standards here, but please click to see the full review on our website.
There are nearly a dozen models in the 2022-2023 Adidas Sport Eyewear line and I especially like a couple of them for running – most notably models SP0057 and SP0063. Oddly named, for sure – it’s a European thing – but the quality and performance of these spectacles are exceptional. My favorites are the performance-oriented model SP0063 sunglasses, which have a lens with a fast-acting photochromic application that adapts almost instantaneously to changing conditions. It also features a special curvature that extends the visual field and improves optic sensibility, offering fewer surface points for UV rays to penetrate. Running over the red rock terrain of Sedona, Arizona, through the lush green trails around Portland, Oregon and the exposed high-altitude routes of Boulder, Colorado, these shades gave me a crisp, unimpeded field of vision without fatiguing my eyes. I have also used them while mountain biking on gray, overcast days, snowshoeing in extremely bright conditions and driving into low-angle early morning sunshine.
The lightweight rim frame has rubber-end tips with no contact points along the temples, plus adjustable nose pads, that combine for an ideal, near-custom fit that hasn’t slipped once for me. They also seem to be very durable, especially because the frames bend but won’t break. They haven’t fogged up, they haven’t left any indentations in my face and they’ve never constricted my vision. And with a list price of just $99, they’re pretty affordable.
For the complete rundown on these Adidas shades, check out Brian’s full review here.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Our friend Dara Zall Kelly chatted with Brian Metzler recently for some advice about the ideal shoe for her Boston Marathon training and racing. After years of running in the well-regarded Brooks Ghost, Dara wanted to see if maybe another shoe would serve her better. Her latest blog post walks us through a decision-making process that every runner can relate to. For the full story and the final decision, click here, but here are a few excerpts: “I happen to have a neutral foot, on the wider side (thanks, pregnancies!), and have a midfoot strike. And a heel strike when I get tired. I know. It’s not pretty. Brian and I discussed the options and after much deliberation, I was sent off to Marathon Sports with a list in hand. My mission was to try on three different types of shoes, each with a different heel drop, cushion, and style. But each COULD feasibly work with my body. The Brooks Ghost, the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, and the Altra Torin. All amazing shoes. But which one would get me to the finish line without injury? And faster. Because despite all this I’m still holding out hope that one of these shoes has a secret rocket that will make me go faster.”
It’s become clear that nobody is safe from the rising inflation rates that have persisted over the last few months. It started in the grocery store, but now it’s moving into the tech space, as “Strava Lays Off Employees Ahead of Raising Prices. Here's What Your Subscription Will Cost Next Month.” The app’s premium service is moving from $7.99 to $11.99 a month, and we sure hope it stays put for the foreseeable future since we are (otherwise) happy Strava subscribers.
In Minute 1 of our last issue, we looked into the effect of microbiome health on athletic performance and motivation. The findings were pretty remarkable, and we’ve been on the hunt to find ways to improve our gut health ever since. Well, we came across an unlikely method that shows promise: meditation. Check out “Meditation could have positive impact on gut and overall health.”
As we saw earlier in this issue, dark chocolate could be a secret weapon for those seeking to improve longevity. The key is, not all chocolate brands are alike, and a recent study uncovered the brands with the lowest heavy metal content around. To avoid higher levels of cadmium and lead, choose one of these “5 Safest Dark Chocolate Brands, According to a Study on Heavy Metals.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Most of us are probably familiar with the experience of showing up to a race, only to find out we’ve got a much bigger challenge ahead of us than we expected. The course might be packed with hills, or the weather turned scorching hot. We don’t think, however, that we’ve ever heard of a situation as tricky as this one. One well-intentioned husband signed his wife up for race day, thinking he chose the 10K application, but soon realized she had been signed up for a marathon. Against all odds, the runner rolled with the punches and completed the full race. We hope she shows mercy on her significant other in the wake of the event, but we’ve got to say, this happy accident has us feeling inspired to take on whatever life throws at us. Check out the story in the Instagram clip below.