Minute 1: Is your neck gaiter a public health risk?
Do we really need to cram stretchy neck gaiters in the back of the drawer with our mismatched socks and two left-handed running gloves? Must we look like awkward extras from a General Hospital episode instead of athletes on our runs and rides? According to this headline in the Washington Post a few days ago, that’s exactly what we have to do: “Wearing a neck gaiter may be worse than no mask at all, researchers find.” Dang. There is a lot to love about gaiters. They are more breathable than hospital masks. They are easy to pull down when traveling empty routes and pull up in advance of passing others. They look much sportier than other mask options. Since news of the study broke earlier this week, several critiques have emerged of both the underlying science and how it was over-hyped in the press. Science News just published “4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Trash Your Neck Gaiter Based on the New Mask Study.” It turns out that the original study described in the Post story was intended only to explore a new testing methodology of masks rather than the masks themselves. Researchers used only one test subject speaking one sentence while wearing a mask to see if a laser and mobile phone contraption could measure particulates. As one of the authors of the study told Wired, “It’s not a guide to masks. It is a demonstration of a new, simple methodology for quickly and somewhat crudely visualizing the effect of a mask.” Buff, one of the most popular brands of neck gaiters, has always urged caution about using its original products as Coronavirus protection. Instead, they have released a filter mask that “blocks 98% of airborne particulates.” NPR published a helpful “User’s Guide to Masks” last month that describes the benefits of each type of mask. The bottom line is that any mask comprised of a single layer of fabric is not ideal, but as Quartz writes: “Don’t give up on your buff just yet.”
Minute 2: How body type affects your running
Some athletes build muscle, lose fat, and improve performance more easily than others with the same amount of training. (Yeah, we hate them, too.) Although we can’t alter our genes, it is important to understand our body types so that we are working with our natural tendencies, not fighting them. Runner’s World just published a good summary of these dynamics: “Running and body type: Which one are you?” In general, body types fall into one of three categories: Ectomorph (long-limbed), Endomorph (roundish and stores fat easily), or Mesomorph (proportional build, easy to create muscle mass). Understanding which category you fall into is key for both performance goals and weight loss plans. It can also determine which sports are best for you, as described in this article: “Body Type for Sports Selection.” While it’s true that most elite runners are below average height and weight (Kipchoge stands 5’ 6”), training, diet and grit typically go further than what you inherited from your mom and dad. We like this treatment of the issue: “A Runner’s Body Is Not the Physique You See in a Magazine.” #BodyOfWork
Minute 3: SoulCycle reopens outdoors
On our morning coffee run last week, we passed a new sight in the strip mall parking lot -- a huge tent filled with dozens of Lululemon-clad folks on spin bikes. SoulCycle is back. We captured the scene in the iPhone shot below and went to the Google machine for more info. According to one story, the outdoor version will “make you feel like you’re back in the studio.” Barry’s Bootcamp also released an outdoor version along with socially-distanced indoor editions amidst plexiglass dividers. Both studios are known for cranking tunes during workouts, but instead of driving neighbors crazy, they are providing wireless headphones to participants. Does the re-emergence of these popular workouts account for the 10% drop in Peloton’s stock price? Probably not, as there’s a much bigger force at work there. As in the biggest force in the world: Apple. Reportedly, the $2 trillion tech company is planning to release its own line-up of fitness apps to compete with Nike, Peloton and others. CNBC has details here.
Minute 4: T-Shirt battles
The fur was flying this week when our finance folks and our marketing maestros battled over SMM t-shirt pricing. Lucky for you, the Green Eye Shades lost in OT to the Brand Awares and we decided that it was more important to have legions of readers sporting Six Minute Mile t-shirts than to wring out every last penny of profit. Quicker than you can say “Crazy Eddie,” we dropped prices on our already popular Six Minute Mile t-shirts to $14.99 from more than $20.00. The dark heather gray fabric is tailored to look equally good on a long run or your next Zoom call. Some of you may question our business acumen, but as this SNL skit on First Citiwide Change Bank explains, “All the time our customers ask us: ‘How do you make money doing this?’ The answer is simple: volume.” #FamilyFeud
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
We are big fans of our namesake distance -- the mile. As most in-person events have been cancelled this year, some creative race directors are figuring out ways to hold shorter events with plenty of social distancing, including Nebraska’s Lincoln Mile that went off last weekend. The race gained national fame instantly because 75-year-old Lynn Rathjen shattered the U.S. age group record by clocking 5:59:18. He told Runner’s World that he rarely does long runs, sticking to 4 miles a few times a week in an effort to avoid injuries. If someone out there knows Lynn, please email us with his contact info. We need to send him some Six Minute Mile merch. (Seriously!)
If you don’t already have enough conviction that exercise is transformative, check out this new story in Outside magazine: “If You’re Diagnosed with Cancer, Don’t Quit Exercising.” The piece is filled with both scientific data as well as personal emotion, as the author was diagnosed with breast cancer last year at age 36.
Women runners are twice as likely as men to suffer stress fractures, according to a new study. Cross-training and slow increases to weekly mileage are two good ways to avoid the injury, according to this story from Well + Good on the new study.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Nike has crushed it again with the third installment of its “You Can’t Stop Us” ad campaign. Narrated by Megan Rapinoe, the 60-second ad provides motivation and perspective on the difficult times in which we live. Whether you agree with their politics or not, Nike and its agency, Wieden+Kennedy, always produce some of the highest quality media on the planet. They combed through 4,000 pieces of video to compile these 36 pairings of athletes. Check it out below.