Minute 1: Pool workouts for endurance athletes
As a kid, this was always the saddest week of the year. We had to face the brutal reality that days spent swimming in local ponds and bombing around the neighborhood on a Schwinn Varsity would soon be distant daydreams while staring at a classroom clock, praying for it to move faster. (And why did those clocks sometimes tick backwards before advancing?) For runners who aren’t quite ready to surrender their summers, we came across some good advice this week for making the most of late summer pool activities: "5 Pool Workouts to Do When It's Hotter Than Hell." Fear not, ye who do not enjoy swimming laps, these workouts are geared more for runners than swimmers. Knee hugs in chest-deep water offer resistance and strength training, wall kicks provide weightless sprinting-like feeling, and dynamic bobbing can act like plyometrics for explosive development. Back in June we talked about deep water running and its benefits. This new article, "Take the plunge: Get in great shape with deepwater workouts" describes how simply treading water can be a great workout, according to a retired Navy SEAL. Just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity treading water can burn over 400 calories. Water polo pros make treading water look like it's easy, but they are doing a specific style called the eggbeater which is a big challenge, as shown in this video. If you’re looking for a good upper body and core workout on the water, check out this new article: "Everything You Need to Know About Paddleboarding."
Minute 2: America’s sugar problem
Americans consume 2 billion Pop-Tarts and spend more than $11 billion on candy bars every year. While the country is starting to cut back on sugary drink consumption, the average American still consumes 44 gallons of the stuff every year. That equates to about 12 teaspoons of sugar every day if regular Coke is their poison of choice. All that fructose is literally killing people. According to a recent study, nearly 1 out of every 7 Americans currently has diabetes. The problem is so acute that health experts are now telling a new category of people to get screened for the disease. The NYT details the problem and the new recommendations in: “Overweight Adults Should Be Screened for Diabetes at 35, Experts Say.” The reason for screening is that more than 100 million Americans have dangerously elevated levels of blood sugar, but are not yet diabetic. Once you’ve reached that crisis point, the most effective therapy is weight loss and 150 minutes of exercise per week. That’s more time exercising than many avid runners we know, highlighting the fact that it takes a lot more effort to undo health problems than to prevent them. As for active endurance athletes, it is often OK to eat simple sugars before or during a workout, but the balance is still tricky. Fleet Feet provides a helpful guide (“How Much Sugar Should a Runner Eat?”) while Runners Connect weighs in with: “The Truth about Sugar for Runners.”
Minute 3: The resurgence of roller skating
Two of the things we miss the most from the ‘80s and ‘90s are the music of Prince and the fun of Rollerblading. Well, a new Prince album just dropped and roller skating made a surprise comeback during the pandemic, so what’s old is new again. As long as you don’t count an occasional skinned knee or tweaked wrist, roller skating or blading is actually good for you. In this new story, "Turns Out Roller Skating Isn't Just Fun—It's Also a Solid Workout," we learn that it is low-impact, offers excellent lower body and leg driving motions, and can get your heart pumping upwards of 140-160 BPM. Rolling on the paving offers a 50% reduction in joint impact compared to running. According to the NYT, you don’t need neon tights and leg warmers to participate in the most recent iteration of the craze: "New Yorkers Are Crazy About Roller-Skating (Again)."
Minute 4: How mushrooms are magic
Mushrooms aren’t just for pizza slices and Dead shows. According to WebMD, the “Health Benefits of Mushrooms'' stem from the fact that they are high in potassium, antioxidants and zinc. Potassium in particular, is a friend to runners, aiding in digestive health and serving as an important electrolyte. In this new story, "Where Do Athletes Get Their Fuel? Two Ultrarunners Share Their Diets," both men featured in the piece acknowledge the role potassium plays in their athletic nutrition. If you’re not crazy about the taste of mushrooms, you should consider these "5 Mushroom Supplements That Are Actually Worth Buying," including one powder that can stimulate nerve growth and improve brain function. Other mushroom-based supplements include Cordyceps which has been shown to improve both athletic and sexual performance. Researchers found that 3 grams a week for 6 weeks increased VO2 max by 7% in one study. If you started reading this section because you thought we were talking about the other type of shrooms, check out this story on the growing phenomenon of using psilocybin to improve daily living: “Can Microdosing Psychedelics Improve Your Mental Health?”
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
With clear eyes, full hearts, and tired legs we are another week closer to the busiest fall marathon season in history. If you haven’t signed up for a race yet, you are lucky you procrastinated. We have 8 courtesy bibs to give out to some of the best races in America. At the top of the list is the Marine Corps Marathon, which takes place on October 31 in D.C. Thanks to our sister company, MarathonFoto, we have 2 bibs to give away and 2 more for the 10K operated by the Marines the same weekend. Continuing with the military theme, we also have 4 gratis bibs up for grabs for the Army 10-Miler taking place on October 10th at the Pentagon. We know what you’re thinking: That’s a hella good deal, but do I have enough time to prep for a marathon? According to Podium Runner, the answer is “yes.” They just released a marathon training plan for those working with a time crunch. The program will get you over the finish line on just 8 weeks notice instead of the typical 12-14 weeks. To enter the giveaway, just follow the simple instructions on our Instagram post. Winners will be announced in the next issue so don’t procrastinate!
Tragedy struck the iconic Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc race this week when a Czech runner fell on a difficult section of the race through the Alps. He was competing in the 145km TDS race which was halted for everyone behind the stricken runner while those ahead of him were allowed to finish. Despite a quick response from rescuers onsite and a helicopter evac team, the runner perished, marking the first death in the 19-year history of UTMB. American trail runner and writer Doug Mayer, who lives in Chamonix, said: “This is a tough section of the course. You’ve just climbed 2,000 meters in about 10km, then need to hold on to chains on the other side. They have a rescue group right there at this spot, always. It’s the most technical moment of the race.” Trail Runner magazine has the details in “Czech Runner Dies From Falling During UTMB’s TDS Race In Chamonix.”
There is a new documentary coming out called “The Last Milestone” which chronicles 2X Olympic marathon champion, Eliud Kipchoge. "Kipchoge Says He Hasn't Passed His Last Milestone Yet" profiles the champion and offers fresh insights into his past, his present successes, and his future; as well as his successful attempt to break 2 hours in the marathon in Vienna in 2019 (not officially recognized as a world record though). The film was released on August 23rd and you can find ways to watch it here.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Mount Washington (NH) and Pikes Peak (CO) share some similarities beyond being meccas for tourists and hikers. Both mountains offer a cog railway to the summit and iconic running races, the Mount Washington Road Race and the Pikes Peak Marathon & Ascent. This year the mountains even shared a common champion, as the phenomenal Joseph Gray won both the MWRR and the Pikes Peak Ascent. The mountains also have one more thing in common -- they each host a white knuckle auto race to their summit. While this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was shortened due to a July snow storm, the Mount Washington Auto Road saw a new course record set by Red Bull/Subaru driver Travis Pastrana. The video below has some remarkable footage of Pastrana cranking up this hill at more than 100 MPH despite a lack of guardrails and a gravel surface on the upper reaches of the road.