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Do stretch, don’t overdo it

Minute 1: Are new carbon-plated shoes unstable, causing wipeouts?

Peres Jepchirchir set a new mark in the women’s half marathon last month, but it wasn’t just world records tumbling that day. A surprising number of accomplished runners took wipe-outs, including top contenders Joyciline Jepkosgei and Netsanet Gudeta. (Photos here.) When several other runners hit the deck that day, analysts wondered if there was a connection between the falls and the fact that more than 90 percent of elite runners are now wearing some form of carbon-plated shoes. (A complete chart of the most popular models from the men’s world championships is here.) Canadian Running magazine explores the issue in this piece: “Are carbon-plated shoes causing wipeouts?” Though stack heights vary in carbon shoes, they are usually taller than traditional running shoes, potentially causing instability. Nonetheless, the promise of improving race times by several minutes just by lacing up a new pair of shoes is irresistible to many runners. The two most popular carbon-plated models among the elites, the Nike Next% and the Adidas Adizero Adios are sold out at many outlets. That’s good news for one of our favorite competitors, the Hoka One OneCarbon X, which has received very positive reviews. #CarbonCopies

Minute 2: You say ‘boo’ to energy bars, but love your candy

Stranger things happen on Halloween. One of the strangest occurred when we drove into a drive-in movie theater Saturday night and the ticket attendant handed us three Clif bars. Maybe she was out of Snickers or Reese’s. Or maybe she thought we would need the energy to sprint out of the facility in terror after watching the movie “Spell.” Or maybe she had received our Six Minute Mile candy survey earlier in the day and bought dozens of boxes of Clif bars. After all, more than a quarter of our nearly 3,000 respondents prefer Clif bars over other brands of energy bars. Kind bars finished second, preferred by 19.1% of participants. Plenty of running and exercise websites have touted the benefits of energy bars, like, which tested the 10 Best Energy Bars For Runners, or’s Top 6 Energy Bars for Runners. But a lot of you apparently aren’t buying it as 11.75% surveyed prefer something other than the top brands, while 12.44% declared they wouldn’t dare eat energy bars. (OK, but don’t blame us when you can’t escape from a voodoo-possessed demon.) While your affinity for energy bars is mixed, there is no doubt of your love for traditional candy. More subscribers responded to that portion of the survey, and the final results were a photo finish, with Snickers (25.5%) nipping Reese’s (25.1%). Kit Kat captured the last spot on the podium with 9.2%. Maybe the Snickers victory is a residual effect of its award-winning 2015 Super Bowl ad. As you ponder the “Most Popular Candy Bars in America,” here are the complete results of our survey:  Favorite energy bars for runners: 

  • Clif Bar 25.37%

  • Kind 19.91%

  • GU 9.57%

  • Larabar 9.19%

  • RxBar 7.22%

  • PowerBar 4.53%

  • Other 11.75%

  • I wouldn’t eat energy bars 12.44%

Favorite traditional candy bar among our readers:

  • Snickers 25.58%

  • Reese’s 25.14%

  • Kit Kat 9.26%

  • Twix 8.98%

  • Hershey’s 6.45%

  • 3 Musketeers 4.60%

  • Other 12.65%

  • I wouldn’t put any of these in my body! 7.24%

Minute 3: New data may help average runners with marathon training

We love it when “World Class Runners Share Their Secrets to Success.” We eagerly embrace tips like “4 Fast Tweaks to Run Like the Elites,” and we gobble up advice like “Run, Think and Eat Like an Elite Runner.” But much of that advice doesn’t help much if you’re a chugging mid-pack runner. And it might not push you over the top if you’re trying to hit a qualifying standard for entry to the Boston Marathon. But this new post from Triathlete magazine has advice for the average runner: “Big Data Reveals New Marathon Training Approaches.” The new study used “big-math research” to discover links between training techniques and marathon performance. Experts studied large databases from digital companies like Strava and analyzed the training logs of thousands of marathon runners. One researcher used “recommender systems” similar to those used by Netflix to predict movies you might like. The findings offer some helpful advice, like training at a slower pace and tips for how hard you should train. #DataPace

Minute 4: Do: Stretch, Don’t: Overdo It

Stretching before a workout is like washing your hands before dinner. It’s not very exciting, but you gotta do it to get to the main course. Stretching doesn’t burn calories, build endurance, or improve speed. So what’s the point? If we wanted to stretch, we’d do yoga and meditate on why we hate stretching. But like flossing or calling your mom, you really should stretch every day. It’s important before and after your run, which is why you should develop a good routine. If you don’t have one, try these “6 Stretches Every Runner Should Do Before And After A Workout.” A good pre-run warmup, like these “5 Dynamic Stretches,” loosens your muscles and lubricates your joints. Post-run stretches are just as important to jumpstart the recovery process, help avoid soreness, and prevent injuries. But physiologists also offer some caution: be careful not to overstretch. In the post, “The One Mistake a Stretching Expert is Begging Runners Not to Make,” physical therapist Corinne Croce stresses that overstretching can have an adverse effect, causing injury by straining the joints and muscle tissues. “Any stretch that forces or pushes you to extreme ranges [of motion] is the worst stretch for a runner,” she says. And while you’re re-committing yourself to stretching, you should also consider these “10 Foam Rolling Moves for Your Entire Body.” There are plenty of cheap foam rollers out there, but we are huge fans of the Hyperice Vyper 2.0 that embeds a strong vibration motor inside its roller. That innovation improves results and cuts the time required for an effective roller session. #StretchingTruth

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the fitness industry, and has changed how people exercise, with many going to virtual workouts and online classes. Some contend that all the gym closures have hurt public health and the economy. Whatever views you have on re-opening, we are probably facing more closures and restrictions as winter sets in. There are lots of options for training at home, but one offering we like for its simplicity is Sworkit. They offer 400 workouts, many of which don’t require any equipment. They also offer a free trial which is a nice feature given stock market turmoil recently.

  • It’s been a tough year for the big marathons with the London and Tokyo Marathons being run in an elite-only bubble, and the big races in Boston, Chicago, New York, and Berlin all being postponed and then going virtual. And the future is still uncertain as it was announced last week that the 2021 Boston Marathon won’t be held in April, and has been postponed until a yet-to-be-determined fall date. All the disruption and postponements prompted ESPN to pen an in-depth piece asking “What does the future of road racing look like?

  • !!!Shameless self-promotion alert!!! We don’t think it’s cool to be the last athlete in your neighborhood to step outside without a Six Minute T-Shirt or the Six Minute Mile Podcast playing through your headphones. We guarantee that you will look chic and get smarter in the process. If you’re not happy, we will refund the full price of your Six Minute Mile subscription.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

For 35 years, Pete Monsanto has watched his father fight to get out of prison and return home. “He hasn’t given up,” Monsanto says. Neither has his son, who ran the New York Marathon because his father couldn’t. Monsanto began running to support his father who was convicted of drug-related crimes and sentenced to life in prison. Pete is seeking to raise awareness for children of incarcerated parents. After training on the streets of Mount Vernon, N.Y., he ran New York last year. He was inspired, he said, by his father, who has been incarcerated since his son was 5 years old. “He would always say, ‘If you take care of your body, your body will take care of your mind,’” Pete said.  In a new GQ Sports documentary, “Run For His Life,” Monsanto discusses his own journey from living in shelters to a celebrated career as a celebrity photographer. Check out his remarkable story below.


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