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Are racing flats faster than carbon plated shoes?

JUL 27, 2022

Minute 1: Does anyone still wear racing flats?

For footwear to earn a name like “super shoes,” those kicks must be good enough for a DC Comics character or a 1:59 marathoner. In the latter category, carbon-plated running shoes like the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 have pushed the boundaries of performance, but they are not necessarily the fastest way to the finish line. In many cases, old fashioned racing flats may be a better choice according to this new piece: “Will racing flats help you crush that PB?” Before the mechanical advantage of a super shoe, the theory was that the less material you could wear while still protecting your feet, the better. That’s exactly what racing flats aim to do, keeping weight low for a quick stride and natural foot strike. Years later, research more or less confirms theory. Adding about 100g of weight to your shoe worsens running economy, translating to about a 1% slower mile time, according to this “Running Shoe Weight & Performance Calculator.” This tool lets you input your own shoe style and size to see what impact a different pair could have on your races. If you track “The History of the Running Shoe,” you’ll see that we’ve been trending toward lighter, smarter materials in recent years, allowing us to build shoes that offer more support without weighing you down. That’s certainly a factor worth considering as you search for your perfect racing shoe.

Minute 2: Should you walk or run after eating?

Chances are, you’ve been warned at some point in your life to wait an hour after eating before swimming. The reason: some claim digestion diverts so much blood from your muscles that you’d be at risk of drowning. Well, we’re relieved to report this myth has been busted, according to “Is Swimming After Eating Really Dangerous?” It’s about time we set the record straight, since we know that advice has been around at least since 1908. That got us wondering, how long should we wait after eating to perform various kinds of exercise? What we found is that in the case of walking, you might benefit from not waiting at all. Check out “Does walking help digestion?” Moderate walking after a meal can change the rate at which food digests, reducing heartburn, reflux, and bloating. Additionally, walking after a meal can suppress glucose increases after a meal and burn off excess energy, which is great for those looking to improve weight loss or avoid rushes and crashes that often come from processed carbs. A post-meal walk is worth trying, but what about more intense forms of exercise? That’s a different story, according to “How Long Should You Wait to Exercise After Eating?” If you’re doing fast cardio after a meal, it’s recommended you wait 1-2 hours to let things settle, or 30 minutes after a snack. Otherwise, you may experience nausea, bloating, cramping, and more. Of course, if you are running an ultra, you really don’t have the luxury of waiting for your mid-race food to digest. That has prompted many participants to describe the sport as an eating competition with some running mixed in. To understand how to eat on the run, check out this piece from iRunFar: “Ultras or Eating Competitions: Eating for Ultramarathons.” You don’t have to be planning a 100-miler to benefit from the analysis in this story. #WorthTheWait

Minute 3: How to exercise safely in a heat wave

It wouldn’t be a proper American July without fireworks, BBQ grills, and at least one heat wave. The flaming temps associated with those three summer phenomena are generally good for outdoor fun, but bad for runners. The extra heat adds a dimension of difficulty as your body works to adapt and maintain a normal temperature. If you want to continue to perform well while avoiding extra risks, you should read this new piece: “How to Exercise Safely in the Heat.” Some tips are obvious, like drinking extra water, wearing light clothes, and avoiding the hours of 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. However, if you’ve got no choice but to work out at the hottest times of the day, experts recommend slowly acclimating to the heat if possible. Your body’s ability to cool off can be developed like any other physical skill, and by starting small, you’ll begin this process of reducing risk. Another important part of ensuring your safety is “Understanding Heat-Related Illness -- Symptoms.” In that article, you’ll find a list of symptoms for heat cramps, exhaustion and stroke, and it’s important to understand the differences, as each requires a different level of medical attention. Last but not least, if you want a list of activities well suited for warm weather, then read “The Best Workouts to Do When It's Hot Out.” Swimming and the related exercise known as aqua jogging are a great place to start, and you can learn more about pool workouts here: “Aqua Jogging for Runners: Workouts, Technique, and Benefits.”

Minute 4: Shoe review: Hoka Bondi 8 ($165)

Brian Metzler absolutely loves the latest version of the Hoka Bondi. This is the shoe that helped bring maximally cushioned shoes into the mainstream and is now significantly improved in version 8. Brian hits the highlights below, but if you want all the pluses and minuses, please click here to see the full review on our website. Here is Brian’s take:

Since Hoka unveiled the original version more than a decade ago, the maximally cushioned Bondi has redefined what soft, comfortable running shoes are all about. The just-released eighth edition sets the bar even higher when it comes to interior plushness, high-stack cushioning and a smooth-rolling ride. It’s a top-tier, neutral-oriented daily trainer that provides what many runners call the consummate “Hoka cushioning experience” in every stride. If you appreciate max-cushioned training shoes, the updated Bondi 8 is off the charts when it comes to cruisy comfort for long runs and recovery runs. What’s New: The Bondi has been entirely overhauled since last year. The most significant updates to the Bondi 8 are a new EVA-based midsole chassis that’s lighter, softer and bouncier than the previous edition, with a new extended heel that creates a bigger, more shock-attenuating crash pad. Cleaner aesthetics, a stretchy but supportive engineered mesh upper, and partially gusseted padded tongue provide a supremely comfortable fit. As updated shoes go, Hoka knocked this one out of the park. Why They’re Great: Like all current Hoka shoes, the Bondi 8 features Meta-Rocker design geometry and a slightly beveled heel that combine to create a rolling effect as the foot transitions from touch-down to toe-off, instead of a distinctive flexing movement common to many shoes. The midsole is soft but still somewhat firm like the previous Bondi models, meaning it’s not mushy soft and won’t compress as much as other thickly cushioned Hoka shoes like the Clifton or Rincon models. The widebody platform — which is slightly wider in this edition — gives it reliable inherent lateral stability without getting in the way of your running gait. Fit-Feel-Ride: The Bondi 8 fits true to size with a medium/narrow volume that provides a comfortably snug feeling in the heel midfoot with just a bit of extra room in the forefoot for your toes to wiggle. (It comes in multiple widths for runners with wide feet.) These comfy cruisers feel luxuriously soft and reliably secure the moment you lace them up, thanks to a cushy heel collar, rigid heel counter, thickly padded tongue and premium footbed. But this shoe is all about a best-in-class maximally cushioned ride, and what gives this shoe considerable juice is the newfangled combination of its thick, energetic midsole and the amazing step-in creature comforts For more pros and cons on the Bondi 8, check out Brian’s full review here. #Bondi…HokaBondi

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Eating vegan is good for the planet, your heart, and your waistline – but as a runner, it may take some effort to get enough calories and protein in your diet. Many professional runners out there have proven a vegan diet can work at high levels of competition, so if you’re looking to give it a try, check out: “10 Easy Vegan Recipes For Runners.”

  • Sometimes, we find the answers to our toughest questions in the last place we’d think to look. For Rachel, a fitness enthusiast in her 30s, that place was a Jazzercise class. We know, that’s a word you probably haven’t heard since the 80s, but believe it or not, those classes are still out there, and they’re lots of fun. In fact, having fun is the central idea in Rachel’s story. After speaking with some of her older classmates, she realized the key to a lifetime of fitness is to do what brings you joy. If you want to uncover this gem of wellness motivation, read "The 80-Year-Olds in my Jazzercise Class Taught Me That Joy Is the Key to a LTR With Working Out.”

  • Have you ever heard of Peruvian beans? Regardless of your answer, we’re willing to bet you can guess where they're from. That’s about all we knew about them until coming across this article, which is too bad, because they’re a good source of energy for runners with their 3:1:1 ratio of carbs to fat to protein. Beyond that, they're a good source of dietary fiber, and have been shown to improve heart health. Details are in this new story: “Why You Should Add Peruvian Beans To Your Diet, According to a Dietitian.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

The world of professional sports can be a bitterly competitive place, full of scandal and underhanded tactics. That’s perhaps not surprising in a career that involves beating other humans to make more money for your family. Nevertheless, one of the many things we love about competitive sports is the occasional display of remarkable sportsmanship. The video clip below features Tadej Pogačar’s scary crash in stage 18 of the Tour de France. But instead of taking advantage of his opponent’s wipeout, Jonas Vingegaard slowed down to allow him to catch up. The 2 shake hands and carry on, and it's a moment cyclists and all other athletes should appreciate.


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