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How to make sure your new running shoes last

Minute 1: What to do when you’ve reached your PR

Country music legend Porter Wagoner wrote and performed the song “I’ve Enjoyed as Much of This as I Can Stand.” Although he moved on to the Grand Ole Opry in the sky more than a decade ago, we think he may have penned that song with 2020 in mind. As 2020 mercifully comes to an end, we are thinking about fresh perspectives and new goals for 2021. For many runners, that means chasing a personal record. With fewer races this past year, more runners were going after PRs, or personal bests. (Some can’t decide if it’s “personal best or personal record.”) One runner even kept chasing her PR after “She spent a night in the ER with COVID-19.” But for those whose speediest days are behind them or who have a more nuanced approach to goal-setting, there are plenty of other ways to stay motivated. Run To The Finish has some great advice with “10 Non-PR Running Goals: Stay Motivated Without Races.” One of our favorites is pacing a friend, or helping a running buddy reach their training goals. Check out these “8 Reasons to Run With a Partner” or “6 Reasons Running With A Friend is Amazing.” RTTF also recommends trying a new running style or a new distance, like the “10-Mile Road Race.” Or maybe it’s time to hit the trails and explore the “10 Benefits of Trail Running.” Men’s Journal endorses that challenge by adding “How Trail Running Can Transform Your Body.” #AnnusHorribilis

Minute 2: Why you should run alone ... and join a running group

In one of our favorite SMM podcast interviews of the year, Dr. John Ratey shared with us his perfect formula for mental and emotional betterment through running. His ideal brain-building triple play is to (1) exercise; (2) in nature; (3) with good friends or family. His neuro research has proven that this combination can actually grow brain cells, even later in life. Group running also provides competition and motivation, which are 2 of the “Reasons Why Running Clubs Are Becoming More Popular.” But with many group runs shut down due to the pandemic, what’s an athlete to do? Fear not and enjoy the “6 Hidden Benefits of Solo Running.” If you aren’t waiting on a partner or group, you can run whenever you want, early morning or late at night. And you can set your own pace, becoming the master of your own fate. You can focus on your form, your goals, and your mental strength. Or, you can crank up your favorite tunes or an SMM podcast and enjoy some quality alone time. When the vaccines finally get us to herd immunity, we can return to enjoying the benefits of a running club. It is often more fun and typically safer than running alone. Canadian Running weighed in on the topic last week with: “Running alone vs. running with a group: why you should do both.” They profess that “Doing some of your runs alone and some with a group will make you a stronger, happier runner.” #GroupTherapy

Minute 3: Prolonging shoe life and saving olfactory nerves

We hope you found brand new running shoes under the tree or menorah this year. If you did, you’re probably enjoying the fresh aroma of new rides that are as sweet as that new car smell. Sorry to be Debby Downer, but unlike cars that can be refreshed with a piece of scented cardboard dangling from the rearview mirror, pretty soon you may find yourself “Fed Up with Smelly Shoes,” as Road Runner sports describes the phenomenon. Sweat is bacteria, and the soles of your feet have more sweat glands than any other part of your body. With each foot containing 600-700 glands per square centimeter, keeping your shoes dry and stink-free is a constant battle, particularly in hot, humid climates. The problem is so prevalent that Women’s Running devoted a story to it with “5 Steps to Remove Smell From Running Shoes.” The post has some interesting tips, including putting your foul shoes in the freezer. In another recent story entitled “How Long Do Running Shoes Last?” Runner Click recommends replacing your shoes every 300-500 miles. Rotating a couple of pairs will make them last longer, help keep them dry, and combat the stench. For more help with that malodorous task, everyone from running sites to foot bloggers to housekeeping pubs have tips for “How to Clean Smelly Shoes.” Even Bob Vila has some ideas. #SmellsKitchen

Minute 4: Vitamin D to the rescue

While studies have shown that cardiovascular fitness lowers the risk of COVID, research also shows that running long distances or a high volume of running can adversely affect our immune systems. One way to combat that is with a vitamin supplement. Canadian Running magazine explains this well in “Why runners should take a vitamin D supplement.” Vitamin D strengthens the immune system and has proven to be a strong combatant against the flu. And recent studies have shown that it can help protect you against COVID. On top of Vitamin D, check out these “15 Foods That Boost the Immune System.” Our personal (and unscientific) experience has taught us that if mild symptoms of a normal winter cold appear, running often helps flush the ailment through our system more quickly. That obviously doesn’t apply to clear COVID symptoms, but you may want to check out this story: “Can I Run With a Cold?” or this one: “3 Things to Consider Before Running While Sick.” #D-Students

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Noted author Malcom Gladwell has famously written that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a legitimate expert at any task or activity, and that includes running. An emerging school of thought in running is that just logging miles and intervals isn’t enough -- it’s important to practice mindfully and deliberately. Trail Runner examines this theory in “It’s Not Just If You Train, But How.” This approach enhances both mind and body in the process. “Continuing to do something that you already know how to do (even if you do it more!) does not challenge the brain in the same way. Continuously putting yourself in uncomfortable or challenging training situations is the key to consistent improvement.”

  • With the weather turning cold and nasty in much of the country, it’s left us searching for tips on “Running in Cold Weather.” There are plenty, from “How to Dress for Winter Running” to “12 Common Winter Running Mistakes.” The Run Experience has one of the most comprehensive posts on winter running, offering everything from winter stretches to what to wear for a range of temperatures. Check out their “Best Winter Running Tips” video here.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Like most Americans, we are glad that the silly season of the Presidential Election is behind us. Any time we’ve touched the third rail of endurance sports newsletters (expressing political views), we’ve seen our unsubscribe rate jump. So at the risk of losing readers, we can’t resist our very last political post of the year. This one is too good not to share and has a legit running angle to it. In fact, one of our readers shared this to show what we all missed in the November election. Forget Trump and Biden, we could have had Tom Cruise, it seems. The guy who created this 2 minute video does a better Tom Cruise impersonation than Tom Cruise. He is running constantly in this spoof and shows pretty good form, streaking through the desert. Especially for someone wearing a tailored $2,000 suit. Enjoy. (And please don’t hit the “unsubscribe” button!)


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