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Four reasons you should race an 800M

MAY 26, 2023

Minute 1: Distance runners can benefit from racing an 800 meter

If you’ve ever run an 800 meter race, we bet you can still remember the burn in your legs and the fire in your lungs as you crossed the finish line. It’s an event that will put your speed and endurance to the test and can turbocharge training for longer events. We encourage you to check out this story from Canadian Running: “4 reasons all runners should consider racing an 800M.” For marathoners, an 800 is an excellent opportunity to develop a faster race pace. After the first lap of a track, your body will have produced lactic acid as a byproduct of anaerobic respiration. You can expect quite a bit of discomfort, but being in that state helps train your lactate threshold. For more on that, read “Lactate Threshold Training For Runners: How To Measure and Improve It.” A higher lactate threshold will make your running more efficient, increasing the time it takes for you to become fatigued. 800 meter training and racing can push your lactate threshold, but so can the mile run. That’s part of the reason why one group of passionate runners wants to “Bring Back The Mile: America’s Distance.” If you’re looking for a mile race to compete in, that link offers a calendar with just about every one-miler worth checking out.

Minute 2: Can diet and exercise boost your attention?

Living with ADHD can be difficult, and to make matters worse, finding the right medications and strategies to cope is no walk in the park. If you’re someone who struggles with focus and concentration, you might be happy to learn that exercise can be a highly effective remedy: “New study reveals link between physical fitness and mental health in adults with ADHD.” The study supported existing research that suggests adults with ADHD had higher instances of depression, anxiety, and stress. However, higher cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with a reduction of these issues in adults, whether they have ADHD or not. Now, you might be asking yourself: “What's the Best Exercise to Manage ADHD Symptoms?” Experts believe that outdoor exercise could be more effective at producing positive mental effects. Additionally, complex activities like martial arts, rock climbing, and gymnastics challenge the brain in a healthy way to improve cognitive function. While you’re building a workout routine to improve fitness, you should consider changes to your diet too. Let’s start by asking: “Can Green Tea Matcha Really Help ADHD?” Researchers have found that a cup of Matcha tea is less effective than typical ADHD medication. However, there is promising data from one ingredient in particular, known as L-theanine, which could produce positive effects on work performance and attention when supplemented in higher doses.

Minute 3: Outdoor workouts to find your flow

After spending a winter spinning on treadmills or heavily bundled on the roads, we are truly enjoying the long, warm days of spring. Sure, it’s nice to simply be running in shorts, but we are always looking for new ways to break a sweat outside. That’s why we appreciate this new piece: “5 Outdoor Workouts That Are Actually Really Fun.” First on the list is mountain biking, which can help develop your quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, and calves. In addition, taking on the most ambitious trails could bring the greatest rewards, according to this moving story: “How the perils of mountain biking helped me cope with my brain tumour diagnosis.” Doctors discovered a brain tumor inside Tracey Croke six years ago, but she found that the high levels of concentration demanded by her mountain biking habit put her mind at ease and allowed her to find peace in the moment. She says it’s all about getting into flow state, when your mind and body are fully engaged at the limit of their capability. If you want to find your own flow, but don’t know what activity to try, consider one listed in these: “Warm Weather Workouts: 13 Outdoor Workout Ideas.”

Minute 4: Gear review: 3 great carbon-plated shoes not named Nike or Adidas

Brian Metzler follows up last week’s review of six everyday summer trainers by calling out three high-end race-ready shoes. Most of the attention within the new generation of carbon-plated shoes is centered on models from Nike and Adidas, but those shoes may not be the best option for your particular feet and running style. You can check out Brian’s full review of these excellent carbon-plated shoes on our website, but the highlights are below.

Just as not all marathon courses are the same, neither are the high-energy marathon racing shoes that have carbon-fiber plates embedded in hyper-responsive midsoles. Because no two midsole foams are identical, and each curvy propulsion plate has a slightly different shape, the shoes all feel and ride differently at marathon race pace. You know what else is different? The individual movements of your specific gait pattern. Some of these shoes produce a lively and bouncy sensation, while others feel smooth and energetic as your foot rolls subtly from footstrike to liftoff. Based on running shoe industry data and my own observations, the best-selling and most prolific marathon supershoes at races in this year have been the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3.0, ASICS Metaspeed Sky+ and Nike Vaporfly 2. (The new and improved Vaporfly 3 just hit stores, too!) But buying a race-day shoe by brand name or its popularity among top finishers at big marathons is not a great strategy, because there’s no telling whether your stride and foot movement patterns will align with the characteristics of a particular shoe.

Under Armour Flow Velociti Elite ($250)

The Under Armour Flow Velociti Elite is a shoe that feels like a more traditional racing flat than a maximally cushioned modern marathon racer. That’s because it’s not quite maximally cushioned and doesn't feel high off the ground. Its dual-density midsole platform is semi-firm, though slightly more flexible than most supershoes. The top layer of foam is a soft, moderately bouncy layer of Pebax foam, while the bottom is a layer of Under Armour’s proprietary Flow foam, a hyper-light nitrogen-infused supercritical material that provides both a springy and stable sensation under foot. Because there is no rubber outsole, the Flow Velociti Elite serves up a soft, buttery smooth and very flowy ride with exceptional proprioceptive feel for the ground. The design is unique and it feels different, but the performance value has enormous proof-of-concept authenticity from Sharon Lokedi’s victory in last November's New York City Marathon.

Hoka Rocket X 2 ($250)

The long-awaited Rocket X 2, with a highly responsive near-maximal full PEBA midsole and a “barely there” featherweight upper, has definitely climbed to the top of the pedestal with the best marathon supershoes of those other brands. What makes it so compelling is the combination of the extremely energetic ProFly X midsole combined with a very aggressively shaped plate and the shoe’s overall rocker geometry. It’s one of those shoes that feels like it’s doing the work for you because as soon as you get two-thirds of the way through the heel-to-toe roll-through, if feels like your forefoot drops off the edge of the shoe and you get a burst of propulsion that ignites the toe-off of your next stride.

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v3 ($229)

Technically this is one of the fastest shoes in American history, as Emily Sisson wore a pair en route to setting a new U.S. women’s record of 2:18:29 while finishing second at last fall’s Chicago Marathon. This updated race-day shoe (which is an revamped version of the FuelCell RC Elite 2 under a new naming convention) includes a redesigned max-stacked, high-energy FuelCell midsole with a split or hollowed-out heel that shows a portion of the revised EnergyArc Carbon Plate. Those new components provide a unique mix of softness upon impact but a firm, snappy ride as you roll from foot-strike to toe-off. The new sock-like upper and modified lacing system provides a secure wrapping fit, but the biggest change is that it’s about a half ounce lighter than the previous version.

For a deeper dive into these excellent summer shoes, you can check out Brian’s review here.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Where do you draw the line between young and old people? 40s, 50s, 60s? If you’re 102-year-old Dr. Gladys McGarey, the number is a lot higher than most expect. She says 99 is the cut off, and there are a few life lessons she’s learned that help her feel youthful to this day. Things like learning whenever possible, moving every day, and defining a purpose. For the details, check out “Doctor, 102, who still works and has a 10-year plan offers simple tips for long life.”

  • From the moment you wake up, you’re presented with choices that will either help or hinder your well-being. A good morning routine can actually bolster your bone strength by eating calcium rich foods, performing bone strengthening exercises, and getting sunshine. The details are in this new piece from LIVESTRONG: “7 Things to Do Every Morning for Stronger Bones.”

  • For some, watching the calorie burn counter on a treadmill or other cardio machine can be a powerful motivator. It can be fun to watch your hard work get translated into a tangible metric of progress. We’ve always been a bit skeptical, however, of just how accurate those machine stats are. Everybody’s body and metabolism is unique after all, which alters your individual burn rate, according to: “How Accurate Are Calorie Counts on Cardio Machines?

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Last issue, we covered the benefit of plyometric exercise, which can improve your running economy just as much as a high-end racing shoe. If you’ve been inspired to add some plyo to your own routine, but are still searching for ideas on what exercises to do, look no further than this video from Belgian Olympic sprinter @naomivdbroeck. Naomi isn’t content to do her hops on flat ground, so she ups the intensity by working her way up a flight of stairs. Those conditions that will keep the quality and intensity of your movements high. Having run many stadium stairs over the years, we can appreciate the beauty of an elite athlete doing it much better than we can.


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