Minute 1: Anabolism vs. catabolism
One of the guilty pleasures of regular running is planning our refueling with another mile or 2 still ahead of us on the road or trail. Our run sometimes provides the excuse to refuel with whatever is handy or whatever tastes best in the moment. As Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray has explained, “I figured if the furnace was hot enough, it would burn everything.” Even an epic pavement pounder like McGillivray learned the hard way that the furnace won’t completely burn the stuff that can lead to clogged arteries. Many of us rely too heavily on our furnaces and believe that our metabolism will keep us healthy and trim. We learned a lot more about how human metabolism works last week in this piece from the Cleveland Clinic: "Anabolism vs. Catabolism: The Role They Play in Your Metabolism." Anabolism takes nutrients, cells, etc., and bonds them to make bigger structures, promoting healing. Catabolism is akin to digestion, breaking down the foods you consume and using the fuel produced immediately while storing the remainder for later (fat). The takeaway is this: anabolism = anaerobic, catabolism = aerobic. Understanding that a combination of targeted exercise can impact specific aspects of your metabolism will help you keep it on track. Dr. Chih-Hao Lee of Harvard explains that you can trigger your metabolism to work harder in this story from earlier this year: “The truth about metabolism.” Your personal metabolic rate and healthy weight loss is impacted by the “right'' type of exercise (think intervals, weight training, and drinking green tea). All of this ties into what you've probably heard of as "fast or slow metabolism" which really is an individual's basal metabolic rate (BMR). If you're curious about your BMR, you can use this calculator to estimate it for you.
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Minute 2: Finding your form
One of the most debated aspects of running efficiency is a runner's form. Nearly every major running and fitness publication has published articles discussing it. This new one from Men's Health, "How to Master Your Running Technique," is a good reminder of the fine-tuning of your body mid-run. 2020 London Marathon champion Jonny Mellor advises that good posture all starts with your head, keeping eyes locked in about 15 feet in front of you. He also discusses arm swing, hand positioning, and shoulder rigidity. One note from Mellor is his belief that no matter how your foot strikes the ground (midfoot or forefoot), the rest of your body continually adapts to an efficient strike and focuses on your upper body to improve form. Mellor’s tips are in line with this article, "Want to avoid running overuse injuries? Don't lean forward so much, says CU Denver study.” The story explains "trunk flexion," or the angle of which a runner leans forward. That angle impacts the amount of force you are driving into the ground. Improper flexion can lead to injuries and also impacts your stride length, which in turn affects your cadence and stride turnover, ultimately impacting your speed. #WhatTheForm
Minute 3: Test Yourself With A Track Classic
If you're one of those runners with a track and cross country background, you've got a mental drawer filled with some of your favorite speed workouts from your coaches. Maybe there were intervals, fartleks, tempo runs - whatever it was, you loved something about it and never forgot. Perhaps you've even integrated it into your regular training routine. (Ahhh, the 10-10-10 workout). "The 65 Special Running Workout: A Test of Speed and Endurance" popped up recently and reignited our internal speed demon desires. If you haven't heard of this one, the gist is this. On a track, you run in lane 1 for 400m and finish in 65 seconds (yes, we know that's very fast, but stay with us). You then move to lane 2 and rerun it in 65 seconds, but you've run a bit farther this time. You repeat this all the way out to lane 8, where you'll now be running 453 meters. This time translates to a sub-4-minute mile, so the recommendation is to obviously adjust the pace to your 5k pace to start. For example, if you're aiming for a 20 minute 5k, your lap splits should be 1:36. Easy jog a lap between intervals. By the end of this, you'll have run over 2 miles at a blistering pace, challenging yourself for consistency. And don't forget to warm up and cool down too. If you've got a favorite workout, share it with us, and maybe we'll highlight it in a future issue. #65Special
Minute 4: Legend Hal Higdon, 90 and Still Going Strong
If you need evidence that working out keeps the mind as fit as the body, we would offer Hal Higdon as Exhibit A. We spoke with him recently on our podcast, and we came away thinking that this was one of the sharpest 89-year-olds we’ve ever met. And now he’s the sharpest 90-year-old we know. The New York Times profiled the legendary runner in honor of his 90th birthday, "Hal Higdon Has Trained Millions of Runners. At 90, He's Not Slowing Down." Here’s a brief history of Hal. He competed 8 times in the Olympic Trials; he's run 111 marathons (including a 5th place finish in Boston in 1964); his website provides training plans for millions of runners around the world; and his book, Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, is a bible of sorts, now in its 5th edition. Hal’s website is home to training plans for every type of race and every type of runner and he's a prolific tweeter. Hal is still active every day, riding his bike more and embracing lower impact workouts. All in all, Coach Higdon is a terrific ambassador for the sport and an advocate for all runners of all abilities, So, Happy 90th Birthday, Coach! Here's to many more. #HappyBirthdayHal
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Supply chain issues around the world continue to slow the delivery of consumer goods to store shelves. This has affected everything from home building materials to running gear. Nike reported this week that they are at risk of running out of their sneaker supply from Vietnam. As a small country, it may not seem important that production is down in Vietnam, but that nation accounts for 49% of seaborne import products to the US for Nike, and 89% of their sneaker production. This is all due to a Covid outbreak that shut down two suppliers in Vietnam. Nike isn't the only shoe manufacturer feeling the impact. Brooks Running Company estimated that their shipping cycle is 80-days, up from 40 pre-pandemic. As the new breed of runners from the pandemic continues in the sport, the wait may increase for certain apparel and gear.
If you are the coin-operated type who appreciates financial incentives for achieving goals, there’s a new app that brings that mindset to fitness: “Cadoo gets $1.5M to gamify fitness with betting challenges.” You can win or lose money while you join a fitness challenge. If you meet the challenge, you get your money back and a split pot of those who fail. It's been described as DraftKings for fitness.
Following a pandemic hiatus, Colorado’s Shambhala Mountain Center has re-emerged with its mindful running sessions. If you're not familiar with mindful running, check out "’Mindful running': Paying attention to your body, breathing, thoughts and feelings." Session leader Michael Sandrock explains that mindful running "involves a change in mindset to where you pay attention to yourself, your body, breathing, thoughts, attitudes, emotions, and feelings while running and in life. It is noticing what is going on in the moment and not trying to ‘run away’ from sensations when they become uncomfortable." He shares an example of Boulder resident and running legend Frank Shorter and how his 1976 Montreal Olympics experience was impacted by mindful running.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Speaking of Frank Shorter, it was 49 years ago that he brought home the Olympic gold medal in the marathon. What many have forgotten about that day, however, is that another male runner had pulled a Rosie Ruiz of sorts and jumped onto the Olympic stadium track ahead of Shorter and tried to steal his glory. The video and color commentary from ABC at the time is classic stuff. “It’s a fake, Frank!” “Throw the bum out!”