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Biggest running day of the year, intermittent fasting, and holiday gear

Minute 1: How does weight affect running speed?

Many endurance athletes have now heard the disturbing story of Mary Cain. She is the Nike-sponsored runner who was constantly pestered by her coach to lose weight, despite her world class results. Cain described her ordeal in a now-famous New York Times opinion piece entitled: “I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I joined Nike.” It is easier to find a hen’s tooth than a supporter of Alberto Salazar’s coaching tactics with Cain. He has been roundly criticized by fellow coaches and superstars like Kara Goucher on Twitter. Goucher’s husband, Adam, also ripped Salazar and shared a story about how Salazar said Kara needed to lose weight … right after finishing a 2:24 Boston Marathon … which was 6 months after having a baby.

Something about Adam’s post jogged our memory, so we went to our bookshelf for a worn copy of Running with the Buffaloes, the story of Adam’s first NCAA XC championship with the University of Colorado. There was a quote from CU coach Mark Wetmore in the book that was hard to forget: “You want skinny, Gouch? You should look like a skeleton with a condom pulled over your head.” Ouch. So why is Salazar so obsessed with cutting weight? Unfortunately, like a U12 soccer dad screaming at the refs, he may have a point, but his presentation skills are counterproductive. There has been a rule of thumb kicking around for years that if you drop 10 pounds, you will improve your 10K time by 2 minutes and your marathon time by 9 minutes. Runner’s World did a nice job this week explaining the benefits and risks of weight loss for runners. #scalesofjustice

Minute 2: Is intermittent fasting good for athletes?

In a moment made for People magazine, NBC Today hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager weighed themselves on air in this video, didn’t like the results and pledged to follow a weight loss regime of intermittent fasting. They plan to eat no food from 6:00 pm until the following morning at 10:00 am. People has the full story here. In weightier news this week, a new study was released that detailed some of the benefits of intermittent fasting, including improved heart health. But is this new diet regime good for endurance athletes? As a relatively new diet, hard data is somewhat limited, which opens the door for opinions on both sides. You can determine your own views after reading Why Intermittent Fasting is Worthless for Endurance Athletes or a more positive view from Training Peaks. Triathlete magazine cites a study showing that fasting can lower heart rates and increase tolerance for work loads. If you’re thinking of giving it a shot, check out Healthline’s Intermittent Fasting 101 – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide.

Minute 3: The biggest running day of the year in the U.S.

This is changeover season in the running world as fall marathons give way to turkey trots. Sunday’s Philly Marathon is the last big city race of the year and 4 days later 1,000,000 Americans will pre-burn their Thanksgiving calories in 1,000 turkey trots. If you’ve ever wondered how Thanksgiving Day wound up being the busiest road race day of the year, the New York Times provides the answer in this piece. According several studies, that transition from marathon to 5K/10K turkey trots is something we should all consider anyway. Discover magazine lays out the anti-marathon case with a provocative story: The Many Ways Running a Marathon Destroys Your Body. Views on how marathons may damage kidneys are here and even the American Heart Association points out the health risks:  Is Long-Distance Running Good for the Heart? #TalkingTurkey

Minute 4: Holiday Gear Round-up

The only thing more American than sharing turkey and family gossip next week is swiping credit cards on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you’re like us, you often fall into the retail trap of “one for my family, one for me” shopping behavior. Whether you need gift ideas for the athletes in your life or more gear for your own closet, there are a few early guides out there to show you the way. We like this Best Pre-Black Friday Deals on Outdoor Gear featuring 20 ideas from 4 top e-tailers. Podium Runner compiled an excellent list of 13 gifts for runners. Adidas is already live with its Black Friday 2019 deals while New Balance offers its Holiday Gift Guide. Finally, Outside magazine offers a Gym Rat’s Ultimate Wishlist with 15 items for fitness enthusiasts.

Minute 5: Eating our way toward a healthier planet

Five nutrition experts were asked to list their go-to foods for providing protein, fiber, vitamins, anti-oxidants and other health benefits. They didn’t all agree, but the most common answers were compiled earlier this month in: 10 Superfoods to Eat Daily for Optimal Health. One of the top picks was whole oats. We were glad to see oats in the #2 spot as we’ve recently added oat milk to our fridge alongside our almond and cow’s milk. (Yeah, we like cereal.) Oat milk is the new “it girl” at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s as it packs double the fiber and protein over almond milk. A good comparison of the benefits can be found in Is Oat Milk the New Almond Milk? Both are typically rated healthier than cow’s milk and are better for the environment. With the large amounts of water required to grow almonds in parched California, oat milk usually wins the blessing of sustainability experts in that head-to-head matchup. A good review of all dairy substitutes and their carbon footprints is here

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

If you’re an endurance athlete and haven’t experienced knee point at some point in your journey, consider yourself lucky. Most of your peers have struggled at some point with patellar tendinitis, IT band issues or “runner’s knee.” We are always on the lookout for ways to both prevent and treat knee issues. We like the video below that outlines 7 exercises to improve the health of our knees. The full description of the exercises is here, but the video does a good job of summarizing.


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