JUL 18, 2022
Minute 1: Are you fit enough to pass these military entrance tests?
If you don’t train well for a marathon, you might wind up exhausted or embarrassed. If you don’t train properly in the military, the stakes are much higher. The more you train during peace, the less you bleed during war. Physical fitness can mean the difference between success and failure, so measuring ourselves against military entrance exams provides a good benchmark. Let's start with one of the most competitive sections of the Navy: “What is the Navy SEALs Entrance Exam?.” As a part of the seafaring branch, swimming ability plays a big role in SEAL training. To be considered, you have to swim 500 yards in under 12:30, and to be competitive, you’ll have to clock in under 8:00. Beyond that, they list some pretty difficult standards for push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups. A 1.5 mile run must be completed in less than 10:30, but the preferred standard is in the 9:00 range. The SEAL standards are all about speed and strength, but for a test that’s a bit more endurance-minded, check out “Are You Fit Enough to Be a Marine?” The Marines’ test shares some similarities, but they add a 3-mile run time trial with a minimum standard of 24:51 and advanced 20km Recon Ruck run that must be completed with a loaded backpack and 15-pound service rifle in 3 hours. To meet the minimum standards for Army Ranger school, you must perform several strength moves, along with running 2 miles in 15:12 and 5 miles in 40:00. There are tips to prepare for these tests within each article, so you may find drills you can add to your own training. #FightingShape
Minute 2: Posture is key for pain relief
We learned in this recent issue that icing and anti-inflammatory meds can provide pain relief, but they aren’t without their downsides. If you’re looking for natural pain remedies to one of the most common ailments among amateur athletes – back pain – adjusting your posture can help. There are some good stance-related ideas in this new story: “Is walking good for lower back pain?” Looking at the ground too much, slumping your shoulders, and stepping heavily are all common culprits for poor posture development. Think about standing up straight and stepping gently, maybe starting with short walks on a comfortable, flat surface to get the hang of it. Experts recommend walking for about 10 to 20 minutes at a time and performing back strengthening exercises a couple times a week. Not only is walking posture important, but running posture can have a huge impact on pain levels and injury rates too. In fact, proper running posture is 1 of the 3 most important considerations regarding running form, according to “3 Simple Tricks for Proper Running Form.” The advice here is to “Run tall to run right,” meaning that you want a straight back and upright shoulders. Of course, you need to stay somewhat relaxed, and gently leaning at the ankles is a good way to build forward momentum. For more ideas on posture and other form issues, check out: “8 Tips for Proper Running Form.” #PutOutToPosture
Minute 3: How to run uphill on a road or trail
Thanks to Stranger Things’ incorporation of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” the 1985 song finally topped the charts for the first time in its history last month. We can’t think of a better track to add to your hill running playlist, but don’t get too carried away in your workout without reading “Why Is Running Uphill So Hard – A Guide To Uphill Running.” Aside from the obvious answer (gravity), running uphill puts pressure on your muscles differently than flat ground running. As you begin developing these areas, your quads and glutes are going to experience a major uptick in their required output, making those first hill runs exceptionally tricky. If you stick with it, uphill workouts will develop your strength, as well as allow you to quickly up the intensity while keeping your impact level low. For more advice on the topic, check out: “The Ultimate Guide to Uphill Trail Running.” It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that if you’re a serious runner, you should never slow down or walk. The truth is, walking can sometimes result in your fastest overall times, especially across longer distances and hilly terrain. Another way to boost your efficiency uphill is to make sure you’re carrying only the bare essentials. Every extra pound you’re carrying will essentially be multiplied while traversing a steep incline, so before you head out, take inventory of what’s in your pack and cut out any inessential gear. For some additional inspiration, check out this video of the infamous Valtellina stair run competition in Italy which has been called the hardest kilometer in the world. #KeepRunningUpThatHill
Minute 4: Shoe review: ASICS Noosa Tri 14 ($130)
Brian Metzler dives into an old favorite from ASICS that has been updated and improved. The ASICS Noosa Tri 14 is a versatile trainer that has been loved by triathletes and runners for years. But let’s face it, the coolest part of these shoes is the bright and provocative color scheme that screams: “Damn right I’m confident enough to wear something this loud!” 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:
A running shoe model always known for its outlandishly bold color motif and a heritage in triathlon, the ASICS Noosa Tri 14 is a fun and functional update to a classic light and fast high-performance training shoe. It might take some sartorial confidence to rock these outlandish-looking speedsters every day, but you’ll appreciate both the flashy colors and considerable giddy-up on hard workout days. They come in several different zany color patterns for men and women. What’s New: The biggest update to this neutral energetic trainer is the combination of a new, stretchy engineered mesh upper and fully gusseted tongue that create a foot-wrapping, sock-like fit. They also feature a slightly reconfigured midsole/outsole chassis that incorporates a lively formulation of Flytefoam midsole material and ASICS Guidesole Technology for a soft but notably propulsive sensation. Why They’re Great: They look fast and they feel fast! And they’re comfortable, agile and stable. What else do you want in a running shoe? Even though it doesn’t have a carbon-fiber or composite plate embedded in the midsole, it’s a shoe that inspires quick-cadence running and will put a distinct burst of energy into every stride, especially at faster paces. That makes them ideal for your hardest workouts of the week — like tempo runs, interval sessions and fartleks — and also have enough long-haul comfort for your next 20-miler. For more pros and cons on the latest Noosa, check out Brian’s full review here. #LookingTightInTheNoosa
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Pistol squats are not for the faint of heart – or the clumsy. They require lots of strength, mobility, and balance to perform. But even if you can’t do one yet, just practicing the movement or doing it with a reduced range of motion will develop your fitness in a variety of ways. Find out “Why Pistol Squats Are So Hard (and How to Do Them Anyway).” And if you want to see a real pro at work, we’re throwing it back to one of our most popular videos ever: Jessica Biel doing weighted, raised pistol squats.
Speaking of multi-joint exercises like the pistol squat, those movements are a great addition to micro-workouts for burning a lot of energy in a short period of time. Exercising with a moderate to high intensity for as little as 7 minutes can have a significant impact. Are they the best way to get in shape? Probably not. But will they transform your health if you’re someone who’s short on workout time? Absolutely. If you find yourself in a time crunch but want to stay active, read “3 Ways Quick-Hit, 7-Minute Workouts Can Help You Get Fit.”
Plantar Fasciitis is no fun, and it accounts for an estimated 8% of all running-related injuries. If you’re experiencing any kind of foot pain, it’s one of the first things you should investigate. We hope you haven’t come down with a case, but if you have, you’ll want the right pair of summer footwear to avoid worsening the problem. For that, read “The 10 Best Sandals for Plantar Fasciitis.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Of all the marathons out there, perhaps one of the most beautiful, yet challenging of them is the Marathon du Mont-Blanc. Located in Chamonix, France, the course covers 26.2 miles of varied terrain – from flat streets to mountainous cliffs. Cumulatively, there’s 8,333 feet of elevation gain, meaning this marathon is quite a bit slower than a typical road race. This year, Jonathan Albon took gold for male competitors, crossing the line in a time of 3:35:20. Sara Alonso took gold among female runners with a time of 4:14:49. A good write-up of the race is here and you can watch the winners’ spectacular finish in front of a cheering crowd in the clip below.