Minute 1: How to stay motivated to run every day
“I run to burn off the crazy,” explains a popular running t-shirt. For the past year, running experts have documented “How Running Can Help You Cope During the Pandemic.” Running is the great escape, explains a new post called “Why running is so good for your mind and body (especially during a lockdown).” Still, with no major races on the horizon, some of us struggle to stay motivated to run when winter weather sets in and vaccinations take longer than expected. Canadian Running has some helpful tips with “5 ways to get yourself excited for every run,” including heading out for a trail run or exploring local streets you’ve never run before. There’s even a website to help you run every street in your city. Another tried and true tactic is to write down your goals and progress. Though we love digital tools like Strava, many top runners document their journeys the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper. The Wired Runner says using digital tracking devices can be “cold and clinical” and recommends using a running journal instead. Check out its ranking of the “Best Running Journals in 2021.” For more ideas, check out these “10 easy ways to motivate yourself to run.” #FirstStepIsTheHardest
The North Face Hits the Trails
With outdoor activities becoming our only activities, trail running has seen a massive spike in interest over the past year. It turns out the mental benefits of trail running rival the physical ones. Speaking of trends, carbon plated shoes have taken the industry by storm. This week The North Face launched the Vectiv Collection, including the first carbon plated shoe for trail runners. Our friends at Fleet Feet sat down with Michael Thompson, Senior Product Director of Footwear at The North Face to chat about the Vectiv. (You can check it out below.) In summation: it's really cool. The North Face combines new technology across three different models, maximizing energy return and helping athletes run longer. We are so excited, we convinced Fleet Feet to give us a pair! We thought about cutting them up 500k ways, but decided on a contest instead. To win a free pair, just give a follow on Instagram to Fleet Feet Sports and Six Minute Mile, then like our giveaway post.*
Minute 2: Steph Curry can show you how to improve your running form
It appears that not everyone agreed with our observation last issue that Tom Brady is the GOAT. One of our readers chimed in with a letter to the editor that may double as her application for a Barstool Sports writing gig. A PG version of the note reads: “Fu[dge] Tom Brady and his (cheating on his pregnant wife with a supermodel and leaving her) a$$. What a total fu[dging] d[...] bag who deflates balls to throw because his own are so completely gone. I don’t use this often, but he’s a little b[word].” Oh my. Insert pearl-clutching emoji here.
At the risk of more “fan mail,” we will try again with another connection between endurance sports and big-time American pro athletes. Stephen Curry is widely regarded as the greatest shooter in NBA history. As a high school sophomore, Curry’s shot was so unorthodox, his peers frequently asked: “Who are you, and why are you playing basketball?” Thanks to countless hours in the driveway, Curry perfected the imperfect art of shooting and eventually became one of the game’s very best. Running coach and author David Roche uses Curry’s story as an analogy for changing your running form. In “5 Running Form Tips” at TrailRunning.com, Roche explains that, just like with Curry, it can take years to change or refine your technique, but it can have a big impact on your running economy. Roche, co-author of “The Happy Runner,” says he went from a runner “with crappy form” to a more experienced runner with acceptable form through “tons of little changes.” His tips include running tall and relaxed through the hips; leaning slightly forward; and being light on your feet. Though you may not become the next Steph Curry (or David Roche), making small changes over time can make you a better and more efficient runner. For more advice on how to improve your running form, check out “Proper Running Technique: Six Ways To Run More Efficiently” or “How to Improve Running Form & Stride.” #FormBetter
Minute 3: Avoiding the dreaded side stitch
You’ve done everything right. You trained hard, ate well, and hydrated properly. You paced yourself wisely for most of the race. Now you are headed for the finish line and about to execute your finishing kick when you suddenly feel a sharp stabbing pain in your side. Like a pimple on yearbook photo day, “It’s not fair!” you say to yourself. The familiar cramping near your rib cage and abdomen is so intense you are forced to slow down, leading to a disappointing finish. You have been felled by the dreaded side stitch, or in scientific terms, Exercise-Related Transient Abdominal Pain (ETAP). According to a study in Sports Medicine journal, 70% of runners experience side stitches, with 20% suffering from them during race events. Though the cause is widely unknown and long-debated, it is believed to be a result of stress on the visceral ligaments that support the liver and stomach and can be caused by things such as poor posture. Women’s Running examines the issue and offers some tips for prevention and treatment in “Here’s How You Can Get Rid of the Dreaded Side Stitch While Running.” For more help preventing the nagging annoyance, check out “12 Tips To Avoid A Side Stitch When Running” or “Dealing With Side Stitch Pain While Running.” #StitchFix
Minute 4: Improving your mood one bite at a time
As we mentioned in Minute 1, exercise can materially improve your mood, even during a global pandemic. That’s a good thing, as some studies estimate that depression in the U.S. has tripled during COVID-19. One of the easiest ways to combat the onset of anxiety and depression is with “good mood food,” or foods that can improve your mental health. Nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and fish can reduce the inflammation that often triggers anxiety, while sugar-loaded drinks, refined carbs, processed foods, and even alcohol may exacerbate depression. Nutrious Life has some helpful tips with “6 Foods to Eat to Fight Anxiety & Depression.” And while you’re prepping for your next trip to the supermarket, you should also add foods rich in potassium to your grocery list. When your muscles start to cramp or twitch after a long run, it’s probably because you are running low on potassium, one of the most important minerals in your body. Potassium helps your body function properly by regulating body fluid and muscle contractions and sending nerve signals to your brain. Studies have shown that potassium decreases high blood pressure, reduces the risk of stroke and prevents such things as kidney stones and osteoporosis. While bananas are one of the most popular potassium-rich foods, there are plenty of other options that provide even higher levels of potassium. RealSimple.com recommends “7 Foods Higher in Potassium Than Bananas — and Why Nutrition Experts Want You to Eat More of Them.” The list includes avocados, sweet potatoes, spinach and watermelon. (Grammar nerd alert: Here’s why the plural of potato requires an “e,” but the plural of avocado doesn’t.) For more potassium-rich foods, check out Healthline.com’s: “15 Foods That Pack More Potassium Than a Banana. #BananaLit
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Humor writer and runner and Brendan Leonard’s new book is now available for pre-order on Amazon: “I Hate Running and You Can Too.” Leonard’s book is a tongue-in-cheek look at how to get started and perfect your “irrational passion.” In this week’s Outside magazine, Leonard applies his satirical gifts to “Optimal Methods for Never Recovering After Your Workout.” His sarcastic take actually provides healthy reminders of why the cooldown is as important as the warmup. If you’re seeking more ideas, check out “The 8 Best Recovery Foods and Drinks, According to a Dietician” or “The “Golden 9 Recovery Rules for Runners.”
While most runners are anxious to return to live, in-person events in 2021, they are not necessarily optimistic about their prospects. Running USA’s 2020 Global Running Survey questioned runners in November and December last year, and 87% of respondents believe that COVID-related restrictions will affect at least some of their planned races in 2021. On a brighter note, one UK race is setting ambitious goals for a return to racing. As reported this week, “London Marathon organizers hope to set 100,000-runner world record” with 50,000 in-person competitors and another 50,000 participating virtually this fall.
Reminder: It’s simply not cool to horde all of this good endurance sports info and hide it from your friends. Unlike spouses and toothbrushes, Six Minute Mile is meant to be shared. Please forward this email to your running buddies with a note that reads something like: “Subscribe now or I’m going to tell you what I really think of your new running tights.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Our friends at Fleet Feet were kind enough to offer up a free pair of the new North Face trail running shoes above. They were also kind enough to put together a mini pump-up video to encourage all of us to get out the door this year. If this one doesn’t get you at least a little fired up to run, may we suggest this Knitting for Beginners video instead.