Minute 1: Why your arm swing might be wrong, and how to change it
For a species that is Born to Run, it is surprising that so many athletes have poor running form. If our ancestors evolved and survived by running after their prey, you would think we’d be hard-wired to run efficiently. Not so. The same athlete who spends years perfecting a golf swing or ski turn often ignores technique training for their running. Wiser runners pay attention to footstrike, core, posture and cadence in order to run more quickly and efficiently. But even many of those folks ignore one of the most overlooked aspects of running form -- arm swing. Conventional wisdom says you should bend your elbows 90 degrees and swing your arms straight from front to back. CompleteEnduranceRunning.com explains this common running form well in “4 Ways To Improve Your Arm Swing. Running technique expert Jae Gruenke is challenging that theory, however, and argues that this common arm motion can hamper your speed and performance. At BalancedRunner.com, Gruenke says you should “Keep Your Hands Close to Your Heart.” Gruenke, who has worked with dozens of elite and non-elite athletes, explains that “The movements of your arms have a powerful effect on your footstrike, the action of your legs, and your ability to lean forward when you run, and if you’ve been struggling to do any of those you’ll get more benefit from changing your arm swing than from anything you intentionally try to do with your feet or legs.” She recommends keeping your hands close to your body with your elbows sticking out as much as necessary, depending on your body proportions, with your hands moving diagonally from your chest to your sides. Canadian Running Magazine examines Gruenke’s technique more closely in “A runner’s guide to proper arm swing.” There are many different theories on upper-body motion, but most agree that your arm swing is critical, as MapMyRun points out in, “How Arm Swing Affects Running Efficiency.” best course of action.” For more on the subject and some tips for figuring out your best arm swing motion, check out “Running form: Proper arm swing and 5 ways to improve it.” #SwingOfTheRoad
Minute 2: How banana peel tea can help with anti-aging
We’ve all done it. While out on a trail, we finish munching on a banana and instead of finding a garbage can, we just toss the peel into the woods, thinking it will just decompose, adding healthy nutrients to the soil and environment. This may or may not be good, as sites like TreeHugger.com argue in “Don’t Toss Apple Cores and Banana Peels on the Ground.” There is another option, though: Tuck that banana peel into your pocket or pack, take it home, and brew banana peel tea. Along with a banana’s many nutritional values — potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, amino acids and antioxidants — the peel has additional vitamins and nutrients that have valuable anti-aging benefits. Dermatologist Dr. Mamina Turegano recently shared the strange brew on her Tik Tok page and explained how banana peel tea has helped her mother combat signs of aging and “look and feel amazing” at age 72. Though some people brew the tea with only the banana, Turegano says using the whole fruit has even more benefits because of the peel’s additional vitamins, potassium, amino acids and antioxidants. ForWomenFirst.com recently touted the benefits of Turegano’s creation in “Banana Peel Tea Can Help Heart Health, Soothe Bloating, and Ease Stress.” While green tea is a much more popular brew for its numerous health benefits, medical experts also recommend banana tea, with some suggesting it for improved sleep. WellAndGood.com backs this advice with “Sorry Chamomile, but Banana Peel Tea Is The Brew You Should Sip Before Bed.” For more on the overall nutritional value of one of nature’s most popular fruits, check out “6 Good Reasons to Eat a Banana Today.” #TeaShot
Minute 3: Big news for On Running
Few professional athletes have been more closely associated with a shoe and apparel brand than tennis great Roger Federer, who has been wearing Nike clothes and shoes since he was 15 years old. That changed last week, though, as Federer said goodbye to Nike and debuted his own On Running brand in the ATP Qatar Open. Federer, the former world No. 1 who has won a record 20 Grand Slam titles, departed Nike in 2018 to become co-owner of On Running, the Swiss brand that has been gaining popularity in the running world and is sure to gain ground in tennis as well now that Federer has helped design and launch The Roger Pro. On Running was founded by Swiss duathlon athlete Olivier Bernhard and has seen the brand raise its profile as a “sleeper choice” for runners. Bernhard’s roots in the Swiss Alps are legit and he still uses those mountains as his R&D lab. On Running continues to make inroads and plans to unveil a new recyclable sneaker subscription service later this year. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact Federer's marketing prowess can bring to the up-and-coming brand. #GameOn
Minute 4: How self-efficacy can become your new ‘running superpower’
To Jason Fitzgerald, running is an “intensely mental sport.” According to the popular USA Track & Field coach and creator of StrengthRunning.com, the barriers to achieving your running goals are often “mental roadblocks.” Fitzgerald explains his theory in “Breaking Mental Barriers: How to Run Dramatically Faster.” Many of his disappointing race performances, he says, “were failures of the mind, not the body.” What even the fastest and most accomplished runners sometimes lack is not only mental strength, but also self-efficacy, or the belief in your ability to accomplish a task or reach a goal. IRunFar.com calls self-efficacy your “running superpower,” and examined the issue this week in: “The Science of Your New Running Superpower.” As IRF points out, running long distances, especially ultrarunning, is “80% mental” and there are always moments when you simply don’t think you will make it. What you are lacking, it says, is self-efficacy. “Its presence or absence in us affects how we perform in ultra-endurance sports.” IRFdives deep into the science of self-efficacy and examines how you can “make it your running superpower.” Fitzgerald’s StrengthRunning.com is one of your best sources for building mental strength and confidence. Check out its posts “Mental Strength for Runners: Build it and Thrive” or “Mental Toughness Training: The Allure of Mastering Your Mindset.” Our partners at FleetFeet.com also offer some good advice with “How Long Runs Build Physical Fitness, Mental Toughness.” #HeadCheerleader
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
If you’ve had a Covid vaccine, you know that one of the side effects is arm soreness. According to Nature.com, 75% of people who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have experienced some pain at the vaccination site, while 27 percent experienced swelling after the second dose, with the pain usually more intense than with a flu shot. There is an easy way to combat this and minimize the pain, however, as Livestrong.com points out in “6 Gentle Exercises to Reduce Arm Soreness From the COVID-19 Vaccine.” The exercises are endorsed by the CDC, while a physical therapist recommends starting them before you get the vaccine or immediately afterward.
If you work out regularly, you have probably experienced that that alarming crunching sound in your knees or back when you kneel, squat or stand up. Though it’s not quite as annoying as nails on a chalkboard, it can give you a start and possibly serve as a warning sign that something might be wrong. One physical therapist explains, however, that there’s no need to panic. Those noises probably don’t signal a major injury, but they just mean your muscles and joints need a little TLC. In “If Your Joints Crunch When You Stand, Here’s What’s Going On,” Well+Good explains that the crunching and cracking sound means there are air bubbles between your bones that release when you move. It can also be caused by your tendons moving over your joints, and then popping back into place, “like guitar strings.” Well+Good recommends stretching and offers this “20-Minute Full Body Stretch.” If you’re experiencing back pain, The Run Experience recently offers tips to help in “Lower Back Pain When Running - How To Prevent Back Injuries.”
One of our favorite new podcast interviews was with John Bingham, aka The Penguin, who has run more than 40 marathons and none of them very quickly. You can make a living in the endurance sports industry despite a slow pace if you are as funny and engaging as Bingham. For years he was one of the most popular columnists in Runner’s World and has penned several books on his favorite sport. In more SMM news, hundreds of rabid fans have been picketing our offices demanding that we release more of our popular Six Minute Mile t-shirts. Who are we to deny our friends the right to look sharp as the weather forecast changes from “jackets & tights” to “shorts & t-shirts?” And while you’re in the mood to exercise your credit card, please don’t forget to check out the Six Minute Mile Professional Edition. We are cramming more information into every issue. Several of you have asked if you can sample the goods before subscribing. The finance folks have said “heck no” so far, but if you respond to this email with a request along the lines of: “C’mon, guys. Ben and Jerry’s gives out free samples,” we will sneak it past the accounting department while they are out at a boozy lunch.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
The Boston Marathon and runners across the world lost a legend this week when Dick Hoyt passed away at age 80. Dick was a fixture at the Boston Marathon for more than 30 years as he pushed his son Rick in a wheelchair along the course. Rick has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk or speak. But through a specialized computer program, Rick can communicate and once told his father: “Dad, when we're running, I don't even feel like I'm handicapped anymore.” The Hoyts ran more than 1,000 races together, including full-length Ironman triathlons in which Dick towed Rick in a rubber raft. Another legend of our sport, Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray, knows the Hoyts better than almost anyone outside their family. Dave shared some poignant thoughts this week which you can read in full here. “Dick was one of the very first to participate in the Boston Marathon FOR A GREATER PURPOSE, not just for himself,” McGillivray writes. “He was one of the first to introduce this into our industry and pave the way for thousands to believe in themselves and participate by giving back. He helped crumble the walls of intimidation.” A video tribute to Team Hoyt is below.