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Can human aging be reversed?

Minute 1: Are you and I gonna live forever?

Amidst the bleak, dark motifs of the ‘90s rock scene, Oasis stood out like Pollyanna in a mosh pit when they sang “You and I are gonna live forever.” According to new research, maybe Oasis wasn’t so off key after all. We loved this piece that came out last week from the Fitt Insider describing how to slow or even cease the aging process: “Issue No. 147: The Quest to Live Forever.” Everyone agrees that researching cancer and other age-related diseases is valuable work. Longevity scientists, however, argue that there’s a more efficient solution to these problems. By slowing the aging process itself, you take away the main cause of many of these terminal conditions, which will save humanity lots of time, money and heartache. Researchers often frame the problem in terms of chronological vs. biological age. The former is contingent on the inevitable passage of time, but the latter can be altered with diet, exercise, and biological intervention. To understand the details, check out “Defining Chronological and Biological Age.” That’s all good in theory, but for those of us who can’t afford cutting edge sci-fi operations to reduce our cell’s age, what can we do? Find all sorts of practical answers in “10 Ways to Hack Your Biological Age to Look & Feel Younger.” Companies like Thorne or Base will analyze a blood sample to determine your biological age/make-up and ideal nutrition plans. In addition to nutrition and sleep, certain workouts appear to impede aging more than others. Adding to the growing list of HIIT benefits, research shows those workouts boost mitochondria regeneration up to 69%, slowing cell aging significantly. There is also a new piece out this week in The New Yorker that provides some perspective: “Costa Ricans Live Longer Than Us. What’s the Secret?” The Central American nation spends less per capita on healthcare than the U.S., but produces better outcomes by tightly coordinating public health with medical treatment. #ForeverYoung

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Minute 2: Ditch these foods before you run

Last week we dished out some advice on carbs & fat loading, and provided a list of foods to avoid pre-run. Now, we’re taking it to the next level with a detailed breakdown of why certain foods slow your roll, and giving you examples of healthy substitutions to make. Take a look at “Are These Foods Making Your Runs Slower?” from Polar. The first tip is to remember the “3 B’s,” and no, that’s not an obscure reference to The Office. The B’s we’re talking about are beans, broccoli, and berries. They’re all nutritionally dense foods you should have in your diet, but they’re high in fiber, which digests slowly. Save these B’s for after your run to avoid stomach cramps. You should also steer clear of dairy, a common culprit of stomach problems. An estimated 70% of adults have some level of lactose intolerance, and while symptoms are often minimal, running has been known to exacerbate the problem. Some people may have read “carbo-load” and thought sugar is the way to go. Sugars are a type of carb, and sports drinks like gatorade are tailor made for athletes, after all. The problem? Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that gives rapid energy, followed by a crash. That’s the last thing you need mid run. The article lists a few other categories to avoid, but now it’s time to answer the question “What Are Good Foods to Eat Before a Run?” The article has lots of simple recipes that make use of toast, honey, and nut butter. These ingredients, along with the other snacks they list, provide long lasting energy without disrupting your gut. Ryan Hall also weighs in with this piece: “Distance Running Legend Ryan Hall Shared 6 Keys to Eating Before a Big Race.”

Minute 3: Go beyond your typical running distance

In the classic new runner cliche -- couch to 5K -- we are just thrilled to complete 3.1 miles without stopping. Even that short race can provide a big sense of accomplishment, while whetting our appetites for longer distances. Wherever you are on your running journey -- new rookie or seasoned veteran -- you should consider the “7 rules for running longer” from Canadian Running. It’s easy to get overly ambitious as you define a new goal. You might be tempted to carry over the same speed as you train for a longer distance, but patience will serve you well as you make the transition. Focus on simply finishing longer training runs first, then worry about pace. You’ll encounter less injury and fatigue as a result. Another key to upping the mileage is fueling your body properly. Read “How to Feed a Runner” from the NYT, serving up nutritional knowledge, distilled into 6 sections. They advise runners to focus on eating carbs as they prepare for a run, and then switch to protein-heavy foods shortly after to aid muscle recovery.

One of the World's Fastest Half Marathon returns!

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After a 12 year hiatus, The Philadelphia Distance Run is back! The PDR welcomes runners to the City of Brotherly Love with a course that is flat, fast, and full of Philly flair. All runners receive a Brooks shirt, medal, bib, and a cold beer from local brewery Yards Brewing at the finish. Registration closes at the end of the day on Thursday, September 16th.

Minute 4: How the pandemic changed running and nutrition

If you shake up a snow globe, some folks will see the result as a Christmas miracle in miniature. Other observers will shiver involuntarily, thinking about the upcoming frigid winter. In a way, that small toy is analogous to larger systems, where shaking things up yields big changes, both good and bad. What happens when our globe gets shaken up by a pandemic? In a few cases, runners got a miracle of their own. Read all about it in “Why Were So Many Running World Records Broken During the Pandemic?” The article lists about 17 broken records. That's remarkable for a year with a record low number of competitions. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that the downtime may have been the key to success. Long interim periods between competition gave athletes flexibility to plan and train, providing more time to adjust to their workload, experiment with new methods, and taper off for race day. Additionally, the pros didn’t need to focus on Olympic qualifying, so all the gaming and strategy that comes with trying to secure a spot disappeared. The Olympic rescheduling lowered the stakes immensely, and with no medals on the line, athletes simply ran the fastest race they could, drama free. The pro’s performances may seem irrelevant, but we think 2020 revealed valuable lessons for us all. If you race, consider dropping the number of competitions you enter, extending your training period instead. Focus on running your own race, regardless of the competition. Go in with a plan and a pace you know will work for you. For every yin there’s a yang, however. In this case it’s dieticians worried that Covid may have worsened our eating habits. Check out “These are the Nutrition Basics We Forgot During the Pandemic, According to a Sports Dietitian.”

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • If you think the last mile of a marathon is bad, be thankful you never had an extra 500 meters to run on top of that. Unfortunately for participants in the Brighton Marathon this past week, they’ve all learned what that experience is like. Due to an error setting up course boundaries, everyone ran too far in the race. Read about the recent gaffe, as well as some related cases, in “Marathon organizers apologize for making course 500 meters too long.”

  • 15% of us suffer from severe headaches, and if you’re among those who do, yoga might be the medicine you’re looking for. In a recent study, it was determined that practicing yoga resulted in a 48% reduction in headaches, as opposed to just 12% that medication alone provided. For a look into the research, as well as tips on how to combat migraines with yoga, read “Yoga could reduce your headaches by almost 50%.”

  • What’s better than learning straight from a pro? Not much, which is why we’re grateful to be able to peek into the training journal of marathon runner Jarrod Ward. He uses some uncommon but effective practices for distance runners, like weight training and resistance bands. He also advocates for recovery runs as a time to “run by feel.” Forego dictating the pace, and instead, use the time to measure your progress and condition intuitively. For even more tips, check out “What Marathon Training Should Feel Like.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

It’s been way too long since a major marathon was open to runners of all speeds and ages. One of the great aspects of distance running is that weekend warriors get to compete in the same race and on the same course as the world’s elite. That really hasn’t taken place for almost 2 years, but we are finally being rewarded with the busiest fall marathon season in history this year. To get fired up for the fall -- but also to remind us to respect the full 26.2 distance -- we are sharing the video below of 5 of the top marathon finishes in history. The athletes in this clip sprint, crawl and stagger their way onto the podium.


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