Minute 1: Is the mile run the perfect distance?
If you’re chatting with a non-runner at a BBQ this summer, chances are they will ask you one of two questions: (1) Have you ever run a marathon? or (2) How fast can you run a mile? Most of us have a quick answer for the first question, but the second answer is more complicated. We typically run a lot more miles for time in training than in races. In our opinion, that shouldn’t be the case. Mile races can be both fun and challenging. They are short enough to require some sprinting capability, but long enough to put your VO2 max to the test. As a result, training for the mile can be difficult, and the race itself becomes a tactical battleground where pacing and positioning are key. If this sounds like a fun challenge to you, read this new piece from Outside: “What It Takes to Run a Fast Mile.” According to the article, about 80% of your energy comes from aerobic respiration, or in other words, the energy your body makes on the go after initial sources are depleted. That’s why you need endurance to be successful. On the other hand, that means 20% of the time your energy is anaerobic, like you’re running a sprint. Developing both at the same time is tricky, so to understand the differences, check out “Aerobic vs. Anaerobic: How Do Workouts Change The Body.” Each kind of exercise has its own benefits, but luckily as a miler, you get the best of both worlds. The final piece to the puzzle is your gameplan, so follow this guide to hit perfect splits: “Running Your Best Mile - Race Day Strategy.” Chances are, you’ll want to start a little quicker than you’d expect, which is why developing your anaerobic speed is so crucial. If you’ve set a good pace for the first lap, and you’ve put in the work to build your endurance, you’re on the right track to impressing your dinner party companions. Sadly, our favorite mile race of the year, the Fifth Avenue Mile, isn’t happening this year, but there are plenty of other opportunities to compete at this distance, including the Fleet Feet Liberty Mile in Pittsburgh on July 23. You can find a full calendar of 1-mile races at Bring Back the Mile. #NothingLeftToDoButMileMileMile
Minute 2: Celebrate Father’s Day with olive oil & ecommerce
Like your favorite celebrity chefs, we’ve got an obsession with olive oil these days. Not just for the flavor, though. We’re excited about some major health benefits after reading “Why olive oil is an incredible anti-aging solution, and how to use it.” The idea is that alongside reduced calorie intake and exercise, olive oil activates pathways in your cells that fight age-related disease. The theory comes from researchers at the University of Minnesota who found that a compound called resveratrol is the source of these benefits. Olive oil can help you live longer and get slimmer, and the best way to get lots of it is with the Mediterranean diet. Check out “The Mediterranean Diet For Athletes'' to see why it's not just a fad, and determine if it will work for you. One advantage over other diets is the ease of reaching your protein requirements. If you’re not at the age where you’re concerned about lifespan, maybe you’d like to forward this story to an older loved one (like your dad) to help him continue to celebrate many future Father’s Days. And it wouldn’t be an American holiday without some commerce and commercialism attached. If you’re in the market for a last-minute gift for the running dad in your life check out the guide we put together: Six Minute Mile Father’s Day Gift Guide. You may also find some inspiration from our friends at Gone For A Run who specialize in gifts for runners. Check out their Father’s Day recommendations here. Fleet Feet weighs in with their Running Gifts for Dad here. #OliveMyDad
Minute 3: The kids aren’t alright: Stop inhaling pre-workout
After living through 2018’s “Tide Pod Challenge,” we figured we’d reached the bottom of the barrel for viral eating habits. Recently, TikTok has descended to similar levels of stupidity. Find out how in “Dry scooping is trending on TikTok, but it’s riskier than it looks.” The dry scoop encourages TikTok users to instantly consume a full serving of an undiluted pre-workout supplement powder instead of sipping it in beverage form. That’s like snorting a few espresso shots all at once, likely to lead to heart palpitations, or in one woman’s case, a mild heart attack. On the bright side, the incident has shed some light on the risks of pre-workout supplements, and it's a good time to ask “Are Pre-workout Supplements Good Or Bad For You?” In most cases, the answer depends on the exact supplement you choose, and the amount you consume. They typically contain some well known ingredients like caffeine and creatine, but can also include any number of unproven or unhealthy additives. It’s out of your control when you buy a proprietary blend, so we’d recommend researching the individual supplements you’d like to take, and consuming quantities according to recommended safety guidelines. #SupplementalIntake
Minute 4: Break through walls with this new research
Hitting a mid-race wall is a known problem among marathoners. You might be working your way up a difficult hill, or burning the last calories provided by your pre-race meal, when a sudden wave of fatigue comes over you. As a runner himself, data scientist Barry Smyth wanted to get to the bottom of bonking and learn how to “Power Through the Finish: New Research on Hitting the Wall Could Help You Avoid It.” When a runner fully depletes their stored glycogen, the average marathon finish is slowed by more than 30 minutes. If you want to avoid this setback, the solution starts with proper nutrition, and specifically by “Understanding Glycogen, Your Body’s High-performance Fuel.” The simplest way to increase glycogen in your body is by eating carb heavy foods, meaning that the tradition of a pre-race pasta dinner is a science-approved way to fuel up. The math of adding and burning glycogen, however, doesn’t favor athletes in races that last more than 2 hours. You see, a typical marathoner begins the race with about 360 grams of stored glycogen and will then burn about 180 grams per hour, meaning a bonk at the 2-hour mark. With careful planning, you can consume and process about 60 grams per hour during a race. That math leaves very little margin for error and will cause you to hit the wall at around 3 hours in almost any case. The other variable within your control is pacing, so that you can try to drop the 180-gram burn rate. For a list of useful foods and techniques, check out “How to Restore Glycogen.” #AbsolutelyBonkers
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Peanut butter gets most of the shelf space among nut-based spreads, but is it the best option out there for runners? There may be a few less popular options to consider, including espresso almond butter, which packs a bit of caffeine for a pre-run boost. Read about all the available choices in Runner Click’s “The Best Nut Butters for Runners.”
Sometimes having fun is the best way to work out. You may have written off jumping rope off as a silly way to pass the time at recess, but it's actually quite effective at developing cardio and foot muscles. On top of that, it's a piece of equipment that’s cheap, and can be brought just about anywhere. So if you’re looking for some fun along with your cross training, take a look at “A Jump Rope Workout To Improve Strength And Foot Speed.” If you need more inspiration, check out the incredible jump roping skills of Floyd Mayweather in this video that’s been viewed more than 11,000,000 times on YouTube. Sorry, Rocky, but this is much more impressive than swallowing raw eggs and running up museum stairs.
Muscle cramps can be a swift end to your workout, if not dealt with properly. Common wisdom says that eating a banana is the best inoculation, but is there enough science to back that up? It may in fact be just what the doctor ordered according to this article from The Oregonian: “Dear Doctor: Does eating bananas really stave off extreme muscle cramps?
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Few American runners have had as much of an impact as Alan Webb. His high school 1500M record stood for 20 years, until finally being broken by Hobbs Kessler a few weeks ago. To this day, however, Webb still holds the American record in the mile run with a time of 3:46.91. After accomplishing so much in his discipline, he finally decided to retire from running the mile professionally in 2014. To hear his story and see the final victory lap of his career, check out the short documentary below, courtesy of USATF.TV.