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How coffee makes you live longer and run faster

JUN 3, 2022

Minute 1: Drink coffee, live longer

Howard Schultz is not worried about paying for his next cup of coffee. The Starbucks founder is worth about $4 billion, but he still soaks us for $3.50 most mornings. It turns out that our small contribution to his bottom line may be priceless for us as well. According to a respected new study, people who like their daily grind have shown a mortality rate reduction of as much as 30%, compared to their peers. “It’s huge. There are very few things that reduce your mortality by 30 percent,” said Dr. Christina Wee, a Harvard Medical School professor and editor of the scientific journal that published the study. The NYT provides more detail here: “Coffee Drinking Linked to Lower Mortality Risk, New Study Finds.” While the study doesn’t identify the precise reasons for the benefits, scientists hypothesize that because coffee beans are rich in antioxidants, drinking Joe helps to break down inflammation-causing free radicals. There is also a theory that coffee drinkers are getting their caffeine fix from a relatively healthy beverage, versus reaching for high-sugar energy drinks and sodas. It’s all well and good to live longer, but what about the really important question of whether this will make us run faster? Good news there, too, as described in this story from last year: “Everything runners need to know about caffeine.” Benefits extend beyond just an energy boost and include better pain tolerance and a 2-4% endurance capacity boost.

Minute 2: Sad news

We have been following the tragic story of Anna Moriah Wilson, a 25-year-old rising American cycling star who was murdered on May 11. Mo, as she was known to family and friends, enjoyed early success as an alpine ski racer before finding her calling in the grueling sport of gravel racing, a hybrid of mountain biking and road cycling. Wilson was in Austin, Texas, on May 11, staying at a friend’s house and preparing for a nearby 150-mile gravel race when police allege that Kaitlin Armstrong, a local yoga instructor and amateur cyclist, entered the home and shot Wilson multiple times. Despite a nationwide search and highly publicized pleas from U.S. Marshalls to surrender, Armstrong has eluded capture for weeks: “Suspect still at large three weeks after cyclist Moriah Wilson's murder.” In a bizarre twist, police had Armstrong in custody briefly, but released her due to a clerical error. A short time later, Armstrong flew from Austin to Houston before flying to New York where the trail went cold. Armstrong was apparently driven into a rage because her boyfriend, gravel racing star Colin Strickland, had spent time with Wilson earlier on the tragic day. Strickland, who is not a suspect in the murder, has reportedly gone into hiding and has endured backlash from the cycling community: “Sponsors Cut Ties with Colin Strickland Following Death of Moriah Wilson.” Perhaps the only ray of hope shining on this dark tragedy is how Wilson’s fellow gravel racers have responded with touching tributes: “Gravel racers flock to Unbound as community grieves for Mo Wilson.”

Minute 3: A hot new HOKA model reviewed

Brian Metzler is reviewing a new shoe this week from one of our favorite brands: HOKA. We’re giving you an appetizer here, but for the full meal, please click here to see it on our website. Here is Brian’s take:

Since its inception a little more than a decade ago, HOKA has made its mark by pushing the envelope of running shoe design. Initially it was known for maximally cushioned shoes for road and trail running, but then it created lightweight road racing models and eventually became the second brand to jump on the carbon-plated marathon racing shoe trend.

Now it’s making a splash with some innovation meant to boost efficiency and energy return out on the trails. The HOKA Tecton X is the best of a small but growing new breed of trail running shoes enhanced by carbon-fiber plates embedded in their midsoles. But the plates aren’t entirely about energy propulsion and high-cadence running like its road running cousins. In addition to helping create a lively vibe, the plates also provide stability and help smooth out the ride on bumpy surfaces.

What’s New: Everything about this shoe is new, but what’s especially unique is the set of parallel carbon fiber plates that run the length of each shoe. Sandwiched between a high-rebound super-critical foam on the bottom and a softer, more absorbent foam on top, they provide a noticeable jolt of propulsion at the front end of every stride, but, perhaps more importantly, they also contribute to the shoe’s stability on uneven terrain and defend against poke-through stingers from sharp rocks and jagged roots.

For more pros and cons on the new Tecton, check out Brian’s full review here.

Minute 4: Should hikers wear boots or trail running shoes?

Park rangers are expecting another record summer of Americans searching for their inner Grandma Gatewood as the pandemic hiking boom continues. CNN advises preparing in advance if you want to hit the trails this year: “Want to visit a popular US national park this summer? Start planning yesterday.” You will also need to prepare by donning the proper footwear, prompting this classic question: “Hiking shoes vs trail running shoes: which is best for you?” Generally, purpose-built hiking shoes offer more protection and better grip in wet conditions. Trail runners will of course be lighter, and a little less dorky looking. One of our favorite annual surveys may provide some guidance as you make your decision: “The Top Footwear on the Appalachian Trail: 2021 Thru-Hiker Survey.”

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Global Running Day around our office is basically like [insert your favorite gift-giving holiday here]. So forgive us if we continue to celebrate for the next few issues. Like most Hallmark/social media/completely made-up holidays, GRD presents opportunities to score on great shopping deals. Our sister company, MarathonFoto, is not going to let a good holiday go to waste, so they are offering a 30% discount on the largest collection of endurance race photos on the planet. With their photographers idle during the worst of the pandemic, the team at MarathonFoto uploaded more than 240,000,000 old race photos to the cloud. Most of those hadn’t been seen in more than a decade. If you want to find photos of your glory days, head to their site and just enter your email address (or an old address you used to register for the race), and automagically your vintage photos will pop up. To receive the 30% discount, just enter the code GRD30 at checkout. This offer is only available for the next few days so run, don’t walk, to their site.

  • Geopolitical tensions continue to impact world athletic competitions according to the Washington Post: “Russians out of track worlds barring unexpected end to war.” When we read this story, we couldn’t help thinking about Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics when Adolf Hitler refused to shake his hand after Owens won his gold medals. A good PBS video summarizes the incident in 2 minutes: “Jesse Owens in Hitler's Germany.” Owens showed not only athletic prowess, but also class and dignity in how he handled the incident, becoming a front-page sensation back in the States.

  • We’re a little late on spring cleaning but we need to make room for all the sweet Six Minute Mile gear we just got in. Our pals at Fleet Feet are hooking up two lucky readers with Mizuno Running Jackets. For a chance to win, simply follow Fleet Feet and Six Minute Mile on instagram, and then like this post. Good luck!

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

We saw a survey years ago that showed that 85% of American men consider themselves to be among the top 20% of American male athletes. Sounds about right. Based on the performance of men over the age of 40 at wedding receptions and bar mitzvahs, we would say that dads tend to also overestimate their dancing talents. Despite having 2 left feet, they hit the dance floor with overbites and outdated moves. Not so for the dad in our featured video below. Continuing our theme of mid-race dance sessions from last week, today’s dad not only crushes an Ironman, but he also shows some good dance moves coming down the home stretch. Nailing the Griddy at the Ironman World Championships means this proud papa deserves something extra on June 19.


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