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Are gyms about to reopen?, BostonStrog, and resetting race goals

Minute 1: Are gyms about to reopen?

Although the 45th President of the United States polarizes public opinion, most Americans can agree on one thing: The Donald doesn’t seem like a SoulCycle kind of guy. Sure, he may follow gorgeous instructors like Charlee on Instagram, but soccer moms in Range Rovers and Brooklyn dudes with creative facial hair shouldn’t worry about the Prez stealing their seat any time soon. That’s why it was a little surprising that Trump put gyms on the top of his list for establishments that will re-open soon. That, of course, prompted many publications to point out the sweaty, Petri dish nature of gyms and ask: How Safe Is It to Go to One? According to the White House, gyms across the country could reopen as soon as May 1. Georgia, famously, has opened the doors to its gyms already and many other states are poised to follow their lead ahead of May 1. The story behind Trump’s decision to include gyms in the first wave reveals that he may not be helping SoulCycle and Equinox as intended. Trump added gyms to the Phase 1 list the day after a lobbying phone call that included an old NYC financial buddy, billionaire Stephen Ross. Is the 79-year-old Ross a gym rat? Not exactly. He made his fortune in real estate and now owns SoulCycle and Equinox. It’s possible this move could backfire on Ross and his gym holdings. Last summer when Ross hosted a fundraiser for Trump in the Hamptons, celebs and Stepford Wives revolted and organized SoulCycle boycotts. Revenue dropped more than 12% in a month and even Miami Dolphins players joined the protest, despite the fact that Ross owns the team. #NotEnoughCloroxWipesInTheWorld

Minute 2: # BostonStrog

We’re going to file this one away in the folder labeled “It’s the Thought That Counts.” The Boston Marathon obviously did not go off as planned last Monday, but that didn’t stop one Boston runner from getting in her 26.2 miles -- and trying to send an uplifting message in the process. Hospital nurse Lindsay Devers thought that the long perfectly rectangular blocks of Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood provided a perfect place to spell out “Boston Strong” using Strava.

What could go wrong?

Turns out a lot. Devers weaved her way up and down Back Bay trying to trace out Boston Strong. Only problem was -- she forgot one letter, spelling out “Boston Strog” instead. We’re going to give Lindsay the benefit of the doubt for a few reasons. One -- she ran a marathon in 3:46:37. And two -- who among us hasn’t plotted out the perfect running route only to go disastrously off course in the last miles? As Lindsay’s run flashed across her Strava screen, she couldn’t help but think, “I’m an idiot.” We disagree, Lindsay. We disagree.

Minute 3: Resetting race goals

Every spring goal race has been put on hold as the country continues to fight the Coronavirus. For plenty of Americans, that’s meant a grassroots running revival when all of their favorite gyms and exercise classes closed. For competitive runners, losing our spring (and probably summer) racing seasons, has left us in a bit of a state of limbo. With nothing on the calendar, it’s going to come down to our own personal ambitions according to a good piece in DyeStat. Think to yourself:

  • What am I actually trying to get out of my life as a runner?

  • How do I measure myself in this sport without numbers on a clock?

  • Is there a way for me to better myself without an actual race?

  • What am I grateful for as a runner?

It’s likely you’ll be able to come up with answers to those questions pretty easily, and those answers will help inspire your new goals without a race on the horizon. An excellent blog post from Strava pointed out that we can all “Get Better at Running By Setting Meaningful Goals.” If you’ve always pledged to make more of a commitment to stretching or strength training, make that a new goal. That’s a part of the process that will bring you through this whole thing as a better runner. And remember, even Olympians like Molly Seidel are struggling with what to do next. #MovingTheGoalposts

Minute 4: Shoe guide a big hit

Earlier this week we launched the Six Minute Mile gear guides “Professional Edition” and apparently y’all loved it. We are a little bummed out that our old methodology of comparing shoe and gear notes over a post-run beer just got lapped in the first mile of the race. But mostly we are fired up that our friend Brian Metzler brought a professional approach and about 20 years of experience to the new Six Minute Mile gear reviews. Brian’s first installment, a list of 8 Top Running Shoes for Spring wound up being the most-clicked article in the history of Six Minute Mile. Maybe that shouldn’t have surprised us since Brian literally wrote the book on running shoes as the author of the very well-reviewed “Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture & Cool of Running Shoes.” Not to brag or nuthin’, but we are now making dozens of dollars every issue from our gear guides. #GearsOnUs

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • According to data from Garmin, endurance athletes are starting to venture back outside. Maybe it’s the facemasks or maybe it’s sheer treadmill boredom, but the Garmin shows that runners are running and cyclists are cycling. Their first study of U.S. athletes two weeks ago showed a sharp drop in overall steps and a steep climb in stationary bike and treadmill activity. The follow-up study released Friday showed European athletes heading back outside – except for in Italy and Spain. One hidden benefit of wearing an activity-tracking watch is that new studies are showing they can be an early detector of Coronavirus infection.

  • Former Georgia Tech miler Jeremy Greenwald let himself out of quarantine confinement last week in order to set a new world record for the mile. Well, at least the fastest mile ever run in handcuffs. Greenwald, who ran a 4:01 mile in college and now works as a civil engineer, ran a full mile with his arms handcuffed behind his back in 4:52 to shatter the old record. Pretty amazing considering how important our arms are for keeping us balanced while running. For more from Jeremy on his new world record, check out this interview on the Running Things Considered podcast.

  • One virtual event we mentioned earlier this week has really gained some traction. This Sunday, April 26, was supposed to have been the 40th running of the London Marathon. The race organizers launched a charity drive that encourages people to do something around the number “26.” It could be a 2.6 mile run, 26 push-ups or doing a Zoom workout with 26 friends. Check out the details of the 2.6 Challenge here. The hashtag #TwoPointSixChallenge is trending on social media.

  • The Berlin Marathon has become the first major fall race casualty thanks to the German government’s decision to ban all gatherings of more than 5,000 people until the end of October. Last year, more than 62,000 people ran in the event. If there is one positive note, it’s that the government is still on board with the idea of letting up to 5,000 people get together to run the race. So, while that’s bad news for Oktoberfest, there’s a good chance we may still be able to get back to smaller road races by the end of the summer. Fingers crossed (and dipped into the holy water of Purell) that the other fall marathons go off as planned.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

OK, so we’re feeling a little guilty about reminding folks of President Trump’s association with SoulCycle back in Minute 1. We admire the company and have written before that we loved the How I Built This podcast featuring co-founders Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler. To appreciate their offerings during the quarantine, you may want to check out the Instagram account of Charlee Atkins, the incredibly popular instructor who has launched some excellent indoors workouts off the bike. We liked the simplicity of this 5-part HIIT and Core workout she posted recently:


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