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Do morning runners have an edge?

Minute 1: Why you should run in the morning

There are 2 types of people in the world: those who drizzle ketchup on their fries and those who make a pile next to their fries. For runners, there are also 2 basic types: pre-work runners and post-work runners. If you fall into the latter category, you may want to check out a new story in Canadian Running: “Survey finds that morning exercise can boost creativity, productivity at work.” When faced with an upcoming work day of Zoom calls and solo projects in your sweats, an a.m. workout can get you through the day better than an extra cup of coffee or a Stuart Smalley pep talk from SNL. If you’ve ever hit the gym or gone for a run before work, you already know what we’re talking about. There is something invigorating about clocking into work knowing you’ve already moved your body. The lack of a morning commute means cutting down on parking expenses as well as excuses not to workout before 9:00 am. If you’re looking for more guidance, check out this analysis of Morning vs. Evening Workouts. If you’re looking for perspective on the best time for more intimate exercise, you may want to sneak a peek at this article from Psychology Today. #Don’tPressSnooze

Minute 2: Help for ailing knees

Ever since Skechers lost a $40 million lawsuit in 2012 for falsely claiming health benefits from their shoes, athletic footwear companies have carefully avoided bragging about injury prevention. That doesn’t mean some shoes don’t help you avoid new pain points or alleviate old ones, it just means that they can’t advertise those benefits. Nonetheless, our personal experience is that running in large cushioned shoes like Hokas, reduces stress on our knees, hips and lower backs. That’s why we liked this new review of the Hoka Clifton 7: “If you’ve ever given up on running due to occasional knee pain, we’ve got a shoe for you.” In the small world department, we just spoke to someone today who is paid to run in another brand, but confessed to wearing Hokas on most training runs. Two other positive Clifton reviews are here and here. OK, they’re still kinda dorky-looking and don’t pair well with $150 leggings, but would you rather have looks that kill or knees that work?   #NumberOneOne

Minute 3: Training for an ultra with only 2 runs per week

Running an ultra-marathon typically requires a strong “why.” For accomplished endurance athlete Kate Spotz, she is motivated in large part by “striving for the impossible” when she does things like row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, ride her bike across America, or race ultras. For her latest outing -- an attempt to be the first person ever to run 137 miles non-stop across the state of Maine -- Spotz also drew on a passion for her favorite cause, providing clean drinking water to underserved communities across the globe. With an excellent endurance base and a strong mental foundation,  she used a somewhat unexpected training program for her Maine run. Spotz did only 2 runs per week, a 10-15 mile outing and a 30-40 mile long run. In between, she mixed in lots of core and stability work like lunges and 1-legged deadlifts. More detail on her workouts and remarkable adventures is here. #WaterBreak

Minute 4: Backcountry tragedy

With runners and hikers flocking to the woods to avoid congested cities, a story out of the Smoky Mountains this week reminds us that we are not always compatible with the local residents. Authorities euthanized an adult black bear last weekend after it was found eating the remains of a 43-year-old hiker. The sad tale reminded us of a trail runner last year who was forced to strangle a mountain lion with his bare hands to avoid being killed in Colorado.  Here is good advice on avoiding mountain lion attacks and tips for co-existing with bears in the backcountry.  #SharingTheTrail

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • South African runner and obstacle course racer Trish Ekseen isn’t letting a pandemic stand in the way of new challenges. The 42-year-old woman just broke the the world record for most consecutive days running a half marathon. In fact, she may just be running as you read this, since she isn’t stopping at her new 75-day record, she is going for an even 100 before taking a break. Part of her motivation is to inspire those who may struggling emotionally and mentally during difficult times.

  • Most endurance athletes focus on nutrition that fuels their workout days, but many fail to pay attention to rest day meals. Research has shown for years the correlation between nutrition and athletic performance. Runner’s World just surveyed sports nutrition experts who offered their Top 5 Tips for What to Eat on Your Rest Days.

  • With no end in sight to the new normal of pandemic life, we are always looking for ways to relieve stress. (And no, we don’t advocate a popular t-shirt circulating among parents: “It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a vineyard to homeschool one.”)  A new article by the New York Times shares how sticking to our regular exercise routines can help us manage and bounce back during these stressful times. And if you must resort to sour grape juice, the Mayo Clinic points out that red wine is in fact a heart-healthy beverage.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Some stories grab us by the heart rate monitor and never let us go. For years we have been fascinated by the story of Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially complete a marathon in the U.S. Our pulse races every time we learn something new about her story, swinging us from anger at the indignities she suffered to the elation of watching someone transform history. By avoiding a hostile race director at the Boston Marathon in 1967 (thanks in part to a body block thrown by her boyfriend), Switzer cleared the path for female distance runners, who were believed to be too fragile to compete over long courses. She didn’t just stop at the finish line on Boylston Street. Switzer went on to lobby successfully for greater acceptance of female runners. She was a key contributor to the L.A. Olympics offering a women’s marathon for the first time in Olympic history in 1984. (Yes, pretty shocking that it took that long.) Switzer continues her upbeat promotion of women’s running to this day, and gracefully agreed to appear on one of the very first episodes of our Six Minute Mile podcast. Please keep that under your hat, since we won’t launch officially until next week. While you’re breathlessly clicking refresh on our website next week, you can tide yourself over with a brief retrospective of Switzer’s career and thoughtful interview of the revolutionary woman produced by the BBC a few years back.

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