DEC 9, 2022
Minute 1: A new take on carbo-loading
If your carbohydrate loading routine consists of eating a big bowl of pasta and calling it a day, the ‘80s are calling and they want their nutrition plan back. If you want to build up a proper glycogen storage to power you through a long run or a marathon, you should take a look at this new story from Marathon Handbook: “Carb Loading for Runners: How to Carb Load + Common Mistakes.” The story contains good background info on how proper nutrition can help avoid hitting the wall or bonking. For the best results, carbo loading should be a multiday affair. Some people like to start 3-4 days out from race day, while others think a full week is best. In any case, the increase in carb intake should be gradual, until the morning of your race. Dieticians say you should aim to eat 1.5-2.5 g of carbs for every 1 kg of body weight about 3 hours before the gun goes off on race day. If that differs from your normal routine, you should probably do a trial run of carb loading before your actual event to see if it will upset your stomach. Some studies have shown that short, intense bursts of cardio followed immediately by a carbohydrate-heavy meal can produce major increases in glycogen storage. That’s according to research in “Does Carbo-Loading Really Work?” The article also notes that for events going well beyond 2 hours, fat loading might be the superior dietary adjustment. If you’re ready to load up, but need some recipe inspiration, check out: “Shalane’s Favorite Marathon Week Fuel.” These snacks and meals come out of Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky’s books Run Fast. Eat Slow. and Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.
Minute 2: We need kinship to be healthier and faster
A dinner shared with good company has a remarkable ability to lift your spirits, but it does more than affect your feelings. Researchers think that our socialization keeps us young. It’s important to maintain these social connections for yourself and those you care about because “America Is Increasingly “Kinless.” It’s Killing Us.” People who have limited access to family and friends have become an increasingly large demographic in the U.S, only made worse in the wake of the pandemic. The result is an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, depression and cognitive decline. That’s pretty grim, but the good news is, it’s all pretty reversible. Reaching out and building those social connections can improve your health, and even your athletic performance. Take a look at these “6 Reasons Running With A Friend is Amazing.” Running as a pair or with a group improves your safety by increasing your visibility and deterring would-be harassers. It can also make you push yourself, especially if you’re chasing down a more experienced runner. That’s because of the “Köhler effect.” Studies have shown that when working in a group, slower members have a natural inclination to increase their effort to keep up. For the faster runners in the group, pairing up with a slower companion is a good way to ensure a workout that doesn’t over-tax the body. #FeelBetterTogether
Minute 3: ClassPass can unlock fitness experiences
We’re living in a fast-paced and chaotic world, and some of us need a gym membership plan that reflects this new reality. ClassPass was founded nine years ago to offer its members more flexibility. Instead of joining just one gym, ClassPass promised its subscribers access to multiple gyms and boutique group fitness classes for a lower price than a “normal” membership. Over the years, ClassPass has evolved its model, often addressing controversy along the way: “ClassPass Said Angry Studios Are a ‘Vocal Minority’.” The basic complaint has been that ClassPass drives down profits for the gyms, delivering too good of a value to athletes. In a post-Covid world, the company has evolved and offers more flexibility and options. That has attracted high-end spin studios to now use the platform: “Embattled SoulCycle opens up to ClassPass subscribers in bid to drum up new members, months after closing a quarter of its studios.” For the end user, plans range from $19 to $159 a month, and depending on what you choose, you’ll be given a certain number of credits to exchange for services like yoga, pilates, barre, cardio workout classes, and more. Sports Illustrated provided the details in this new piece: “ClassPass Review: Is ClassPass Worth It?”
Minute 4: Shoe review: Brooks Ghost 15 ($140)
Our resident shoe expert, Brian Metzler, weighs in this week with a review of the Brooks Ghost 15, one of the most popular shoes of all time. The excerpts below will give you a feel for the shoe’s evolution, but if you want all the pluses and minuses, please click to see the full review on our website.
It’s no surprise that the success of the Ghost parallels the rise of Brooks to the No. 1 spot among brands sold at running specialty stores over the past 12 years or so. Back around 2008, most brands were focused on creating the ultimate minimalist shoe during the “Born to Run” era. Brooks certainly dabbled in that area, too, but the Ghost arose from the need for a well-cushioned, do-everything workhorse built with a modern design ethos. The Ghost might not stay on top forever – running shoe technology, materials and trends are changing all the time – but it’s a legacy shoe that’s earned a place in the pantheon of memorable models. Certainly, no runner would do wrong by having a Ghost in their quiver.
What’s New: The newest aspects of the Ghost 15 are the introduction of the new DNA Loft v2 midsole cushioning and a refined 3D Fit Print air mesh upper. The new foam is softer, lighter and a little bit springier than the original composition. It’s soft enough to be comfortable and responsive, but it’s also firm enough to be stable. The stretchy upper is soft and seamless, offering a great deal of comfort as it forms around the unique shape of a runner’s foot and has just enough structure to contribute to the shoe’s locked-down security.
Why It’s Great: It’s great because it’s a comfortable, smooth-riding and reliable shoe that doesn’t have any major flaws. And, for the considerable durability it offers, the price tag ($140) is a relative bargain. It can be a go-to everyday training shoe for casual runners and marathoners alike, no matter what your mileage or pace might be. It can also be a great easy-run shoe or faster, for advanced runners. It’s not as soft and plush as the Brooks Glycerin 20, but it also doesn’t have the higher price tag ($160) of that premium-level shoe. The bottom line? The Ghost is a versatile shoe that can chop the wood and carry the water necessary for a lot of your running needs.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
We’re nearing the end of the year, and Google has put out its annual review of trending searches. It’s a good way to find out what the most culturally significant sporting events and figures have been in 2022, and USA Today has all the info laid out for you in: “Philadelphia Phillies, Antonio Brown highlight Google's top trending sports terms of 2022.” Sadly, there’s a noticeable absence of endurance sports athletes topping the charts, and we’re hoping the sport gets the recognition it deserves next year. We suppose that’s partly good news, since some searches spring from controversy. If you’re curious about the top Google searches across all categories, you can find the list here.
When it comes to speed workouts, timing is key. If you’re able to track splits and measure specific distances in your workouts, more power to you. What about those of us who want to develop speed without tracking a dozen metrics? One solution is effort-based workouts that use perceived exertion or heart rate zones. That way, you can cut out a lot of distracting variables and focus on how your run feels, not just how it looks on paper. Try out some of these “Stamina-Based Workouts.” Of course if you want to inject a little science into your training, Polar explains another way to measure your exertion levels in this blog post: “Heart Rate When Running: What is Normal?”
Have you ever tasted a diet or sugar free version of a food and thought it was a little too good to be true? Your gut reaction just might have been right. Research has shown a negative impact on blood sugar levels and microbiome health after consuming sweeteners like sucralose and saccharin. Check out: “The price of ‘sugar free’: Are sweeteners as harmless as we thought?”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
In 1987, Joan Benoit Samuelson ran the Boston Marathon while three months pregnant. At the time, it created quite a stir, with many questioning her decision. The social norms were a little different back then, only 20 years after Kathrine Switzer was tackled in the same race for daring to run as a woman. The first official female athlete didn’t cross the line on Boylston Street until 1972. We have written before about new research suggesting women may become faster after giving birth in Minute 1 of this issue. But what about running while you’re pregnant? For avid runner and coach Kristin Stokes (@k_stokes829), there was no stopping her marathon plans. She completed a race in April, only to realize she was in the early stages of a pregnancy. To her surprise, she’s found that running a marathon and pregnancy have a lot in common, and you can get her take in the Instagram post below.