Minute 1: Registration deadlines for two iconic marathons
One spring during final exams, we called a friend to ask if he wanted to go for a multi-day hike in the NH White Mountains that fall. “You’re just procrastinating studying for finals, aren’t you?” Well, yeah, but we all need something to look forward to beyond our current misery, right? If you need a little hope beyond face masks and Zoom calls, why not set your sights for something really ambitious? Normally the London Marathon takes place in April, but race organizers have already announced that the 2021 version will be on October 3. If you are interested in running, you will need to submit an entry into the lottery before the end of the day on Friday, October 9,. 2020. Can we be sure everything will be back to normal by then? No. Will everything ever be back to “normal”? Who knows? But 11+ months does seem to leave a lot of time to flatten the curve.
If you are in shape and want a more immediate test of your fitness, we recommend the virtual version of the iconic Venice Marathon to be held on October 25th. Click here to sign up for either the 42k (marathon) or 10k race. Italian-designed t-shirts and finisher medals await. For the most realistic experience, virtual runners may want to run the last mile or two in the shallow end of your local pool. Yup, that’s a reference to the 2018 Venice Marathon, where runners braved knee-deep floodwaters for miles of the race, as shown in this video. We are still waiting for lotteries to open up for the other world major marathons, but in the meantime, you may want to check out or guide to our favorite upcoming virtual races. #LotteryTicks
Minute 2: Amelia Boone inspires by addressing her eating disorder
Amelia Boone is one of the strongest and toughest runners in the world. She has won the World’s Toughest Mudder three times. She was the 2013 Spartan Race World Champion, and she’s finished the “diabolical” Death Race three times. One of the best obstacle course racers in the world, Boone has such a high tolerance for pain and suffering, she’s been dubbed the “Queen of Pain.” But it is a well-documented eating disorder that she calls “the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.”
In this inspiring story, Boone says her 2019 battle with a 20-year eating disorder was “terrifying, extremely hard, and humbling as shit.” An attorney at Apple, Boone went through the Opal Food & Body Wisdom program in Seattle. After completing the program, she moved to her new home in Golden, CO, where she was confronted with another terrifying challenge — the coronavirus. Isolated from her friends and support group, Boone had to overcome another old demon — an obsessive-compulsive disorder. She’s doing well now, training for a return to the world’s most grueling events and recently signing a partnership with Addaday, a world leader in injury prevention and recovery technology.
Boone is not the only elite runner to battle an eating disorder. Eating disorders have long been a problem among female distance runners. The issue attracted national attention last year when former American middle-distance star Mary Cain revealed she had been pressured to lose weight by disgraced trainer Alberto Salazer and the infamous Nike Oregon Project. Another running star, Olympic marathoner Molly Seidel, also recently opened up to ESPN about her own struggles with the illness.
Fortunately, there are dozens of programs that can help. Runner and author Rachael Steil developed an eating disorder from binge eating and is now helping athletes through her Running in Silence program and her book with the same title. There are plenty of other great resources as well, including these tips from the National Eating Disorders Association.
Minute 3: Can’t run with your wife? Try carrying her.
If your idea of an ideal “date night” with your spouse is to head off on a long run together, you may enjoy these tips for running together. There are some things you should just never do. Like trying to carry on a conversation while your partner is out of breath. Or sprinting up a hill, and then waiting for your spouse to huff and puff their way to the top. Or giving unwanted encouragement, like, “Run Forrest Run.” In fact, some runners think couples should never run together. It’s like playing mixed doubles with your spouse; there are just too many opportunities for a double fault.
As an alternative to running together, you could consider the North American Wife-Carrying Championship. The 21st annual event at Sunday River Resort in Newry, Maine, will take place this weekend with Covid protections in place. Teams participate with the wife flipped upside-down and her legs wrapped around her husband’s head. (Aaaawkward.) The couple must climb over a log, run over a sandhill, and then navigate the “Widow-Maker Water Hazard” over the 250m obstacle course. “It can be a bit stomach-turning,” a female competitor said. Ah, but it’s well worth it. The winner takes home his wife’s weight in beer (6 cases in 2019) and 5 times her weight in cash. Oh yeah, you also qualify for the World Wife-Carrying Championship in Finland, which is even kookier. Speaking of Finland, a hilarious spoof video of the Maine event features a Finnish couple out for blood and beer against their American hosts.
Minute 4: Fall and winter workouts
As you prepare for the winter running season and plan to crush your winter goals, many runners are logging plenty of long runs in cool fall weather. We were intrigued this week by a way to spice up the normal LSD routine by doing an “Alternating Miles Long Run.” California running coach Cory Smith says changing up your pace toward the end of long runs keeps your body from becoming stagnant and fights off boredom. And while you’re considering training staples, you may enjoy this new piece: “Why You Need to Master the Tempo Run.” Although High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a little bit sexier these days, Outside magazine reports that a humble tempo run can help you sustain pace for extended periods without exceeding your lactate threshold. “If interval training is about feeling the burn,” Martin Fritz Huber writes, “tempo runs are meant to increase the time you can spend close to the fire without getting too hot.”
If you’re downshifting to “recover and maintenance” mode until spring, it’s a good idea to continue with strength training routines like this Perfect 15 Minute Strength Workout for Runners. Plyometrics build explosive muscle power, improving speed and reducing injury risks when done properly. If you’re planning to take a break, here are some other tips for what to do during the offseason.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
The virtual London Marathon was so plagued by heavy rain and flooding some of the 45,000 runners needed a kayak to complete their runs. Sounds like a tired, old rain joke, right? Actually, no, it’s not a joke. Not to the 30 runners who got a lift from kayaker Mike Izzard. Izzard, a rail enthusiast from Hatfield, was taking pictures of a St. Alban rail line when runners approached the flooded section of the Great Northern Railway. He paddled them across the flooded area, helping them complete the race despite more than 18 inches of rain in three days. “I was just in the right place at the right time,” he said. “People thought the free ferry service was fantastic, and the laughter was brilliant.”
You love hashtags. We all do. They’re a great way to tell the world a little about yourself and connect with people on social media who share your interests. That’s why we love them. You probably wake up every morning and tag an Instagram post with hashtags for runners, like #JustRun or #EatSleepRunRepeat. If you love running and its associated hashtags, you’ll love the new StatMaps that Strava just rolled out. The system allows you to create color overlays over your GPS map and track different metrics while you run. But the best thing about Strava StatMaps is, you guessed it, hashtags. Type in #PaceMap or #SpeedMap or #HeartrateMap and it will change the map with an overlay to track that activity.
Crystal Rosales has only been running for about a year, but she’s doing it for more than just physical fitness. The Chicago native says running is part of her “sobriety tool kit.” “I use it when I’m having a hard day or I feel triggered,” she says. Rosales, who battled alcohol addiction for 10 years, now runs about 50 miles per week. Her race medals, she says, are proof of what she has overcome. She plans to run the October 11 virtual Chicago Marathon and is using her achievements to inspire others in the Hispanic community. Studies have shown that the power of running is a great tool for addiction recovery. Rosales’ journey is an example of how running can help people recovering stay sober.
Thanks to your support, our Six Minute Mile podcast is off to a great start. We have released 6 episodes that provide a range of perspectives from the first woman to officially complete the Boston Marathon to a midwestern track coach who just set the world record for running a 5:30 mile backwards. Don’t risk embarrassment at your next group run or socially-distant BBQ when everyone else is talking about the podcast and you are left scratching your head.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
There are few athletic events more challenging than the Ironman Triathlon. It’s 140.6 grueling miles of swimming (2.4), running (26.2) and biking (112). Leading up to Roderick Sewell’s attempt in 2019, no above-the-knee double amputee had ever finished the challenging Kona course of the Ironman World Championships. His friend and mentor, Rudy Garcia-Tolson, had finished Ironman Tempe 10 years earlier, but missed the bike cutoff time by 8 minutes at Kona and was forced to withdraw from the World Championships. Rudy worked as crew for Roderick at Kona in 2019 and helped his friend accomplish the feat that had eluded him back in 2009.
Having no legs was not the only life challenge Sewell had to overcome. Born with a birth defect that left him with no tibias, his mother had to decide between having Roderick spend his life in a wheelchair or have his legs amputated so he could be fitted with prosthetics. After choosing amputation, his mother had to give up her job to seek government health insurance, leaving them homeless in San Diego when Sewell was 8 years old.
With help from the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Roderick was inspired by a Paralympic swimmer. “I came to know I could do anything. I knew I wasn’t restricted by anything,” he said. Before long, Sewell was swimming, running, cycling, and training with the U.S. Paralympic team. And eventually winning gold medals.
Sewell’s story, as told in the video below, is a remarkable tale of perseverance and relentless positivity.