JUL 19, 2023
Minute 1: What kind of periodization will work for your goals?
Lots of great runners go through phases. No, not like your teenage child being sullen or adopting alternative hair styling. We’re talking about a phase of an exercise cycle which can allow you to control when you reach your athletic peak. The method is known as periodization, and broadly speaking, there are two ways to go about it – traditional periodization and reverse periodization – according to: “Reverse Periodization: Key Principles For Your Next Training Program.” Periodization was first developed by the Soviet Olympic training machine in the 1950s, and it works by breaking up your annual training schedule into different blocks of time. In each of those blocks, the nature of your training will be different, and it typically starts with a phase of high volume and low intensity. That allows an athlete to build their foundation early on, and then transition to building speed and power in a later phase of high intensity, low volume work. The traditional method of periodization works well for races like a 5K, which are run at a high intensity level. For some endurance races, however, athletes have found success with reverse periodization. For instance, marathon training plans often begin with shorter, faster runs, and then gradually boost the mileage as race day approaches. Volume goes from low to high, and intensity goes from high to low. If you want tips on designing the perfect periodization training routine of your own, you can follow the guidelines in “Training periodization for long-distance runners: a guide to your new Personal Best.”
Minute 2: Runners can get stronger too by following these tips
Back in the early days of SNL, Chevy Chase starred in a fake ad for “Shimmer - A Floor Wax and a Dessert Topping.” Sometimes two great things don’t go great together. For many years, we’ve heard that developing strength and cardio simultaneously may seem like a case of having your floor wax and eating it too. It’s a frustrating rule, since many of us don’t feel comfortable with the slow pace and low heart rate of a gym session. Fortunately for us and our can’t-sit-still-for-long friends, now some experts have challenged the conventional wisdom: “How Do You Combine Strength Training And Running Program?” Why would you want to mix them in the first place? Well, research has shown that in many cases, pairing strength and cardio exercise can result in lower injury risk, greater performance, and a higher overall fitness level. The first step to getting the mix right is deciding when you’ll do each type of workout. Alternating between cardio one day and resistance training the next is a popular choice. Others prefer to do both in the same day, and if that’s the route you choose, consider doing the type of exercise that’s your #1 priority first. That’s according to Aja Campbell, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, and you can read about that and other tips from experts in “What Is the Right Balance of Strength Training to Cardio?” When it comes to the intensity level of your cardio and strength workout pairings, Campbell recommends picking one high intensity activity, and one low to allow for ample recovery. However, there’s a bit of debate on this topic, because the “high-low method” popularized by sprint coach Charlie Francis says to do just the opposite. If you want to learn more about that, check out “Should You Combine Cardio And Strength Training?”
Minute 3: Finding healthier breakfast foods
Nutritionists have put out an all points bulletin: beware of cereal killers. That’s because most cereals are high in added sugars, which can slow down your athletic career faster than a visit from Jeff Gillooly. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative that’s still convenient, you may consider these “8 High-Protein Cereals That'll Remind You of Your Childhood Favorites.” If you’re a highly active person, you’ll need plenty of protein to facilitate muscle growth and repair. Starting the day with a protein-fortified cereal can help you get a jump start on your needs. Not only that, but protein-rich meals can also help you manage your weight, since it’s one of the most satiating macronutrients. If you want to get away from cereal entirely, this piece asks and answers this question: “Is Cereal or Oatmeal Better for Breakfast?” (Spoiler alert: it’s oatmeal.) Many cereals have oats as a primary ingredient, but there can be quite a difference in impact on your health when you eat oats in their unprocessed form instead. That’s because the structure of our food changes its impact on our body. For instance, the thin, processed oat flakes found in cereal will digest rapidly, causing a spike in blood sugar, while oats in their natural state are lower on the glycemic index. That’s why a bowl of oatmeal will leave you feeling fuller than a bowl of cereal with an equal number of calories.
Minute 4: Standing for a long time can be difficult, but is it a workout?
We’re all familiar with the surprisingly exhausting feeling of standing around for a long time. Whether you’re watching a concert, waiting in line, or toiling at work, the act of standing up for hours can leave you as tired as a workout would. Does that mean it’s as beneficial as exercise? You can find the answer in: “Standing for Several Hours Certainly Feels Like a Workout… But Is It?” While standing is a more physically demanding position than sitting, it won’t ever raise your heart rate to levels that challenge your cardiovascular system. Likewise, there’s never going to be an increase in resistance forces necessary to promote muscle growth. It may make your back, legs, and feet sore, don’t expect muscle mass to grow. That being said, there are still benefits to standing: “9 True Health Benefits of a Standing Desk.” There is a noticeable increase in our daily metabolic rate when we spend a lot of time on our feet, which is why some office workers like to switch between sitting and standing throughout the day. It can be an easy way to burn a few extra calories. Not only that, but the act of changing your position frequently is enough to improve circulation and lower your chances of back and neck pain. Both sitting and standing can be perfectly healthy for you, as long as they’re broken up with movement between stints. For more on that, you can read: “Is Sitting the New Smoking? A Harvard Professor Debunks the Myth, With 1 Catch.”
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Cybersecurity experts have warned that our lack of privacy on social media could be our downfall, but we didn’t know just how literal that prediction could be. That’s because “Russian commander killed while jogging may have been tracked on Strava app.” Trackers like Strava are an incredible tool for athletes, but this story underscores how important it is to understand and utilize the app’s privacy settings. If you’re a Strava user, it might be time to head over to the “Profile Page Privacy Controls” so you can make sure your info is only visible to those you trust.
Who doesn’t love a good Top 10 list – or for that matter, a Top 20 or Top 23 list? We came across two good lists this week. “Easy does it: 23 nifty fitness hacks for busy lives.” Included are quick and easy challenges to up your fitness level, from learning to do a handstand to finding ways to include mini workouts throughout the day. Pair those activities with these “20 Fitness Products Reviewers Said Helped Motivate Them To Work Out” and you may find a new approach to the way you stay active.
If you’re a runner who wants hips that won’t quit, we’ve got the exercises for you. Grab a resistance band, find an open space, and try out these “3 exercises to strengthen your hip flexors.” They can improve your stride power, fix muscle imbalances, and reduce injury risk. According to Runner’s World, tight hips can sink championships: “How strengthening and releasing your hip flexors will help you run faster.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Avid runner @immrsspacecadet says that proper running form all starts in the knees. She’s on a mission to improve her movement so she can run as injury-free as possible, and her most recent breakthrough has taken her feet from shuffling to striding with grace. All you have to do is lean forward slightly and focus on picking up your knees a little higher. It may sound simple, but as you can see in the video, the results speak for themselves. Her form immediately looked stronger and more fluid, so if you’re seeking a way to improve your stride, follow along with the clip below.