MAY 20, 2022
Minute 1: Steal these form tips from a running legend
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Quentin Tarentino subscribes to that theory, noting that he steals “from every single movie ever made.” If it works to improve your artistry, then why not your running? Studying the methods of accomplished runners around the world can be quite rewarding, and you can start with these “5 Important Tips Runners Can Learn from Eliud Kipchoge.” Kipchoge is a midfoot striker, keeping ground contact time short and foot elasticity high. Keep in mind, we’re not suggesting everyone copy this technique, but rather, adopt the habit of being mindful of your form, and discover what method will work best for you. To help guide your process, read “Footstrike: Should I land on my forefoot, midfoot or my heels?” Another aspect of form worth considering is stride length. A proper stride will minimize excess force applied to your knees, ankles, and hips. To know if you’re overstriding or not, take a look at “How to Identify, Understand, and Fix Overstride in Running Form.” For more info about cadence, limb stiffness, and upper body movement, read the “5 Tips” article and see what else you can borrow from Kipchoge’s toolbox.
Minute 2: Race day hydration do’s and don'ts
Have you ever found yourself mid-race on a hot day, coming upon a water station, and grabbing a cup simply because it’s offered? You probably don’t stop to drink in the middle of your short training runs, so why make a sudden change for competitions? Does it help at all? You can find an answer from Canadian Running in “Are water stations useless for 5Ks and 10Ks?” One curious race volunteer questioned how many of the top runners grabbed a cup during Toronto’s Sporting Life 10K. The answer was none. It seems likely that as long as you’re adequately hydrated beforehand, shorter races won’t deplete your fluids, except in extreme cases of heat. One study, cited in “Do You Need to Drink During a One-Hour Run?” found that even in a 15K trial, there was no difference in pace between runners who drank on their run versus runners who rinsed their mouths every 3K. For longer events, like half marathons and beyond, mid-race hydration is a good idea. Take a look at “Fueling Before, During & After a Marathon.” It’s recommended you drink at least 16 oz of fluids before your race. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to drink about 0.5 oz of water per pound of body weight during a marathon, but on hotter days you can go upwards of 0.75 oz. Some runners find salt tablets useful to maintain electrolyte levels, but they can cause complications if taken in excess, so read “What to Know About Salt Tablets” if you’re curious about using them. #H2OToGo
Minute 3: Use your senses for a healthy eating hack
If we asked you to think about food, and then tell us the sense that came to mind, most of us immediately jump to taste. Think about it for a moment longer, you may realize there’s a lot going on with sights, smells, sounds, and texture, as well. One food expert thinks our other senses play a huge role in our enjoyment and behaviors around food, and you can learn why in “How to trick your brain into better eating habits.” Charles Spence studies psychology at Oxford University, and his research has brought him to some interesting conclusions around the way we eat. Take coffee, for example. So much of its flavor comes from smell, yet by drinking it out of a cup with a travel lid, you’re blocking yourself from a major part of the experience. As a result, you’re less likely to slow down and really enjoy the cup, and you might find yourself rushing through and grabbing another to try and reach satisfaction. Appearance also plays a role in our perception of flavor. Picture 2 kinds of salad: one is a uniform bowl of spinach, and other greens, and the other is a mix of bright peppers, leafy greens, and orange carrots. Those eye-catching colors signal flavor to our brain, and it makes choosing a salad over less healthy snacks a little easier. That’s one of many ways to limit unhealthy snacking, and you can see more in “How to Stop Eating Junk Food: 10 Tips to Control Your Cravings.”
Minute 4: Owning a pet can make you healthier
To all our dog owning readers out there, we understand wanting to bring your canine companion wherever you go. Be honest, has the thought ever crossed your mind to get a “Companion Dog” vest for your pup so you can take them just about anywhere? We’ve got our hand raised. Though we decided against the vest thing, we have always enjoyed running with our dogs, in moderation, of course. Dogs have twice as many legs as us, enabling many breeds to be great runners. For a few helpful suggestions on how to make it work, read “5 Tips From a Professional Dog Runner if You Want To Start Running With Your Pup.” Dogs need to build up to longer distances, just like humans. If you’re just getting started, consider using the run-walk-run method to ease them into it. See how in “The Magic of Run Walk Run: A Q&A With Jeff Galloway.” By the way, we’ve spoken to Jeff on the Six Minute Mile Podcast, and it’s a good listen if you want a deep dive on this training method. Another important consideration to make is your dog’s breed, age, and weight. Almost every dog can run, but how far or fast will depend on these factors, and it’s worth checking with your vet if you have any concerns about their ability. The good news is, running together will help both of you live a long and healthy life. Here is “The Relationship Between Pet Ownership and Longevity.”
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Thank you to all of our loyal readers who checked out the new SMM Gear Store we launched earlier this month. There are now hundreds of runners out there representing the brand in some new apparel and fielding 1 of 2 comments: (1) Dang, I didn’t know you were that fast; or (2) Dang, I thought you were faster than that. The proper response, of course, is: “It’s a state of mind, not a stated time.” We hope that all of you brand ambassadors will then share our store link with your friends and family so they can enjoy a summer of sartorial splendor.
Fish get a lot of love from nutritionists, and that’s for a good reason. They’re packed with omega-3’s, protein, and vitamins. We often hear about tuna, salmon, and mackerel, but there’s an often overlooked choice that’s just as healthy as the rest. So “Don’t Scoff at Sardines — These Little Beauties Are Nutritional Badasses.” Understandably, not everyone enjoys the flavor, but you can make meals anyone can enjoy if you follow the tips in “How to Turn a Can of Sardines Into 7 Delicious, Protein-Rich Meals That Don't Taste Fishy.”
Is a good night’s sleep as simple as getting 8 hours? Probably not. There are a lot of factors that influence how much sleep an individual needs, from age, to genetics, and more. The quality of your sleep will affect your rest as well, so to figure out what works for you, read “How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?”
To anyone that says downhills are the easy part of running, we’d suggest that you run the Boston Marathon, where Heartbreak Hill gets all the headlines, but it’s the 450 feet of net downhill on the course that really get your goat. Whether you're planning to run Boston or just want to perform better in fun runs, you can train to improve your performance and ability to withstand the impact of downhills according to Trail Runner: “The Science Of Downhill Running.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
No disrespect to the title of this publication, but running a 4 minute mile is 1 of the most famous milestones in all of sports. The vast majority of those sub-4 miles have been run in competition with someone setting the pace or close on the leader’s heels. And the vast majority of that vast majority have been run by someone over the age of 18. Well Gary Martin defied those odds last week when he clocked a time of 3:57.98 while representing Archbishop Wood High School in the Pennsylvania Catholic League Championship. Martin says he only realized he was on pace for something special about half way through the race. He hopes to compete in the Olympics some day, but for now, we’re excited to watch the video capturing his historic race finish.