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Do you need a personal running coach?

AUG 10, 2022

Minute 1: Many runners become faster after having a baby

Before Kathrine Switzer became the first officially-registered woman to finish the Boston Marathon 1967, many “experts” believed that if women ran a marathon, their uterus would fall out. Switzer helped to bust that myth by running 3:21 and beating ⅔ of the men in the field. (And the men didn’t have to deal with the race director trying to tackle them on the course, as Switzer did.) 55 years later, we are heartened by news this week that another myth about female endurance athletes just imploded. You see, the “experts” had persisted in a more subtle campaign of misinformation that once a woman had a baby, she was unlikely to ever regain her top form. Brave women like Allyson Felix risked their careers by going public with stories about Nike cutting sponsorship dollars to pregnant athletes: “My Own Nike Pregnancy Story.” Nike eventually reversed their foolish policy and this week we learned that science is actually on the side of Felix and her fellow females. This new story from Women’s Running, “How Pregnancy Affects Your Marathon Time,” describes a study that looked at the 150 fastest female marathoners of all time. Among the 37 runners in that group who’d had a child during their career, 26 ran faster times after their first kid. It is possible that pregnancy has a permanent and positive impact on the amount of blood your cardiovascular system can pump. On average, female long distance runners perform best at age 32. Many of the elite runners observed in this study had their children before that age, and were able to pick up right where they left off when the time was right. So while pregnancy may not directly improve your speed, it doesn’t seem to do anything to decrease it in the long term either. Of course, during a pregnancy, many women continue to train and race. For more info on how to do this safely, check out WebMD’s: “Is it Safe to Run While Pregnant?

Minute 2: Could AI be the future of coaching?

It seems like every day, there’s a new use for Artificial Intelligence that makes us wonder, is there anything a human can do that a computer can’t? So far, humanity has a comfortable lead overall, but AI is giving us a run for our money when it comes to driving cars, creating images, and coaching athletes. Yes, you heard us right: the future of coaching could be computer-driven, and if you want to know the latest developments, read “TriDot, The First Successful Application of AI in Endurance Training.” The idea came to Jeff Booher while using Excel sheets to track his athletes’ progress. He realized how useful it could be to automate the data analysis, and he began developing an AI algorithm to do so. His idea grew to become TriDot: a coaching tool that can prescribe exercise, nutrition, and wellness advice, tailored to an individual’s needs. Most of us runners don’t work with coaches, digitally or otherwise, but a good coach can help beginners and professionals alike. If you are considering a human coach, check out this piece: “Should You Hire a Running Coach?” Runners who struggle to find the motivation and maintain consistency can benefit from having a trainer who will hold them accountable for their activity. On the flipside, runners prone to overtraining can be reeled in and kept healthy by coaches who can spot the signs of fatigue and strain early on. #CompuCoach

Minute 3: Kettlebells, dumbbells, and resistance bands: Which should you choose?

Getting stronger and fitter may be priceless, but gym memberships and home gym equipment come with very clear price tags. Barbells and machines with stacked weights are the weapons of choice for most athletes, and that ammo doesn’t come cheap. Dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands, on the other hand, are all cheaper and more convenient tools for resistance training. If you’re new to these workout accessories, we have a few ideas for you, starting with “5 Kettlebell Swing Alternatives to Build Strength for Any Fitness Level and Goal.” Kettlebells are effective at engaging multiple muscle groups at once with swinging motions that challenge your stability. The standard kettlebell swing targets your back, core, and shoulders. Mix things up by combining it with a clean, squat, and shoulder press motion and you’ll see results for your arms and legs too. Most kettlebell moves are compound exercises made to build functional strength, but the simple dumbbell has its niche too according to: "Dumbbells vs. Kettlebells for Strength Training.” Generally speaking, dumbbells are cheaper and more readily available. They’re easy to hold and work great for simpler motions like curls and lateral raises. You can perform the more complex kettlebell swinging exercises with a dumbbell, but it won’t go as smoothly, since they’re not as compact. Our other entry in the “simple but effective” category are bands, and you can see how they work in: “This eight-move resistance band workout builds muscle without weights.” Resistance bands are probably the cheapest of the 3 options, and they double as an excellent tool to improve mobility.

Minute 4: Shoe review – Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 ($250)

Brian Metzler has great things to say about the new Brooks Hyperion Elite 3. Like other carbon-plated shoes that don’t have a swoosh or three stripes on their uppers, the new Hyperion Elite can go toe to toe with its more famous competitors. 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: Since the advent of marathon racing shoes with carbon-fiber plates, Brooks hasn’t gotten nearly as much hype for its shoes as Nike, HOKA, Adidas or Saucony. It’s partially because Brooks hasn't had a lot of high-profile runners finishing on the podium at major marathons, although, c’mon, Desi Linden is still an elite athlete worth watching and she swears by the Hyperion Elite 3. She clocked a 2:28:47 (5:41 per mile) in a pair of them at this year’s Boston Marathon and also wore a similar pair en route to setting a new 50K world record of 2:59:54 (5:47 per mile) in 2021. But the reason Brooks hasn’t gotten the same attention for its Hyperion line of shoes is also partially that they have never been known for the bouncy pop as some of its marathon racing contemporaries. That much hasn’t changed, but the third edition is vastly improved and, if you haven’t run in any of the Brooks Hyperion models since 2020, you’ll likely be impressed as I have been with this model for its speed, consistency, stability and versatility. It’s a unique shoe among the high-end racing shoes, but it’s definitely worth a look.

What’s New: Several significant updates to the Hyperion Elite 3 can all be found above the modestly energetic midsole platform and each one is a welcome improvement to the predecessor version of this shoe. There’s a new stretchy, breathable knit upper material, new and improved serrated laces. Brooks also added a more breathable and less obtrusive, semi-gusseted tongue, along with a new overall aesthetic with a seafoam green color motif. Even with the same midsole-outsole chassis, those updates make the third edition of this shoe a vastly improved model. The upper provides a more comfortable and supportive feeling and the heel and heel collar feel more secure and comfy, but the new upper design has also made the toe box feel considerably more spacious. (The biggest improvement is that it is much easier to put on your feet and lace up than the first two versions.)

Why It’s Great: The Hyperion Elite 3 is great for the same reason the second edition was great, namely the combination of the light and lively nitrogen-infused DNA Flash midsole cushioning enhanced with a carbon-fiber plate. It retains the same rocker geometry with a quick transition point just after the midfoot (known as Rapid Roll Technology) that feels uninhibited and provides a smooth and consistent rolling transition from heel to toe-off.

For more pros and cons on the Hyperion Elite 3, check out Brian’s full review here.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • No matter your age, a world tour will leave any performer exhausted by the time the curtain closes. That’s why Paul McCartney has earned our respect all over again, because at 80 years old, he’s managed to pull it off night after night. He attributes much of his health and longevity to his yoga and meditation, so if you want to learn the details of how he continues to walk the long and winding road of a touring musician, read “Paul McCartney, 80, Has a Strong Fitness Game and We Should Take Notes.”

  • In Minute 1 of this issue, we raised some concerns about the quality of ingredients used in certain popular nutritional supplements. Well, if you cleared out your cabinets and are looking for smarter alternatives, there are a few go to supps that have you covered. It’s important to remember that no supplements are a silver bullet, and if they’ve got unbelievable claims associated with them, they’re probably too good to be true. If you keep it simple, like with a scoop of whey powder here and a creatine drink there, you’ll get a nice reasonable boost to your workout results. Here are “5 Fitness Supplements That Are Proven to Work.”

  • This summer, temperatures continue to break records, and we sure are feeling the heat. As we sweat it out and await cooler months, it’s a good time to take stock of some of the causes of dehydration. Some of them are obvious and easily detected, but others may be unfamiliar to you, so read “8 Under-the-Radar Factors That Could Make You More Prone to Dehydration.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

We are running and fitness nerds, but we also feed off passion and inspiration from other sports, too. So today we are substituting our standard fare of drool-worthy trail running videos and helpful running tips with a story from the Little League World Series that left us a little verklempt. In a game earlier this week, a young pitcher from Texas unintentionally beaned Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Isaiah Jarvis with a fastball. Jarvis went down and was sprawled on the dirt for about a minute, grasping his head. Clearly a tough kid, Jarvis eventually got up and trotted down to first base where he noticed that the Texas pitcher was crying on the mound, upset that he’d come so close to seriously injuring another boy. That’s when Jarvis decided to do something baseball fans had ever seen before – he walked to the mound and gave a big hug to the player who had just hit him with a pitch. The Today Show picked up the story and this remarkable display of sportsmanship put a lump in our throats. A terrific video account of the scary play and the hug is below.


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