Minute 1: What can we learn from a 43-year-old quarterback?
In less than 2 weeks, Tom Brady will appear in his 10th Super Bowl. He will take the field at an age when professional athletes spend more time cutting ribbons at new car dealerships than carving up opposing defenses. Over 21 seasons in the NFL, Brady has actually become stronger, faster and less susceptible to injury. His transformation from a doughy college kid who was picked 199th in the draft to one of the fittest players in the NFL is legendary. He has authored a best selling book on his transformation that initially drew chuckles for suggestions like avoiding tomatoes (nightshades are bad) and eating avocado ice cream. No one is laughing at the TB12 Method now. In fact, a Sports Illustrated writer once immersed himself in Brady’s program and quickly lost weight, slept better and improved his performance on a Ragnar Relay: “Therapeutic pajamas? Vibrating foam rollers? Brain games? One writer takes on the famed TB12 method and finds that Tom Brady’s life isn't as crazy as you may think.” Brady’s diet recommendations are to drink electrolyte water by the gallon and eat lots of eggs, chicken salad, fish and vegetables. If you indulge in caffeine or alcohol, you need to make amends by consuming even more water. Strawberries and bell pepper are no-nos because they are inflammatory. Brady’s physical workouts focus on pliability rather than traditional weightlifting. His head trainer explains the difference between pliability and flexibility in this brief video. Men’s Health dove into the TB12 Method a few years ago and concluded: “Tom Brady's Fitness Routine Sounds Intense, But It Actually Makes A Lot Of Sense.” And that was before he won his 6th Super Bowl and earned a shot at his 7th ring this February. #GOAT
Minute 2: Jammed fall marathon schedule
Menu options for race-starved marathoners have grown from virtual snacks this spring to real-life feasts this autumn. Boston just announced that it has secured Monday, October 11, as the new date for its postponed April event. And Los Angeles issued a press release this week pushing its marathon from April 2021 to the fall, explaining that “We are currently exploring available dates with our host cities and venues. This process will take some weeks and a decision regarding new dates will be announced as soon as possible.” That means that after a full year of no major city U.S. marathons, the fall line-up is now stacked with big hitters. If you want to crawl deep into the pain cave, you could log a lot of racing miles by signing up for the following prestigious races in the western hemisphere:
September 26 - Berlin
October 3 - London
October 10 - Chicago
October 11 - Boston
October 25 - Marine Corps Marathon
November 7 - New York
“Fall” - Los Angeles
We are confident that some endurance athlete with a verified Instagram account will attempt to run some or all of these in a 6-week span. #EmbarrassmentOfRaces
Minute 3: The cause of that annoying pain on the outside of your leg
Our bodies are like a pogo stick. The constant bounding, up and down, strains our lower bodies, from the hips on down. And if your hips are weak, physical therapist Dr. Alice Holland says, “They are not going to be able to support your pelvis as you are running on one leg.” That persistent pounding strains the iliotibial band, or IT band, which connects from above the hip to just below the knee on the outside of your leg. The tightening or inflammation of the band can cause pain or extreme discomfort as it rubs against your thigh bone. IT Band syndrome is caused by overuse, with too much running on imbalanced hips and glutes. The strain causes the band to fray, which leads to the inflammation or scarring of surrounding muscles. That can cause injuries and pain everywhere from the hips to the quads and hamstrings. It can also cause swelling around the outside of the knee, which is often mis-diagnosed as a lateral knee injury. According to TrailRunning.com, the injury is more than just uncomfortable. “It’s annoying and painful, tingling and achy,” TR says in “How to Treat IT Band Syndrome.” The best cure, of course, although be prepared for a long wait. The injury can take up to two months to heal. TR also recommends massage therapy, foam rollers and strengthening your stabilizer muscles. The best ways to prevent IT band syndrome are always warming up before exercising and making sure you are wearing the right kind of shoes. For more prevention tips, check out VeryWellFit’s “8 Ways to Prevent IT Band Pain.” #ITmanager
Minute 4: Why running barefoot in the snow is not recommended
One of our favorite running experiences is setting out for an early morning jaunt with 1 or 2 inches of fresh snow atop a firm road or trail. The new snow both quiets and cleans up the route. Assuming there is no ice lurking below the snow, it also provides a pleasant cushion for our footfalls. In pursuit of that Currier & Ives bliss, 2 New England trail runners had a very different winter experience last week. On a popular mountain trail, they encountered several feet of soft snow, 40 mph winds and single-digit temperatures. The duo had to be rescued on snowy Mount Lafayette in New Hampshire after they lost their way on the descent. They were airlifted off the mountain after one of them lost his running shoe and tried to continue running barefoot in deep snow. After they could no longer continue “due to frozen extremities,” they wrapped their feet in their backpacks and waited to be rescued by local officials and the New Hampshire Army National Guard. We hope for a full recovery, but we also hope they are prepared financially for what’s about to welcome them after leaving the hospital -- a large bill from the N.H. Fish and Game search and rescue crew. N.H. has a strict law that allows rescuers to bill lost hikers, runners and hunters. The fees can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, as was the case in 2019 when a Dartmouth student was lost in the woods and racked up a $19,000 tab. In general, running barefoot in the snow is possible, but is not recommended unless you have specifically trained for it. Running through even moderate snow and ice can be dangerous, which is why many trail running experts recommend using traction spikes on your shoes. Canadian Running Magazine suggests “Winter running with Kahtoola traction spikes.” Their spikes are available for both the trail and road. For more tips on winter running in snow, ice and other treacherous winter conditions, check out Fleet Feet's “5 Reasons to Run Outside in the Cold.” #SnowFlakes
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
The best way to spread Six Minute Mile is by singing aloud for all to hear, just like Will Farrell in Elf. If crooning in public isn't your thing, we have plenty of other ways to spread the word about SMM. You can start by simply forwarding this email to a friend and suggesting they sign up. Or check out our new Share Page that is loaded with tips and links to help make you a sharing pro. You love Six Minute Mile, why not share it with your running buddy, too. (Get it? Elf...Buddy???) You may want to check your email storage limits, however, since you are likely to get thousands of messages saying: “Thanks, dude. That newsletter is excellent.”
Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray will finally be back on the Hopkinton to Boylston Street route next October 11. In the meantime, he is doing his part to ensure runners and other Massachusetts residents will be fully vaccinated by next fall. McGillivray is putting his organizational talents to work by staging a mass vaccination site in Gillette Stadium with a goal of 5,000 vaccinations per day. Don’t bet against McGillivray, who is one of the smartest and most determined runners we know. For more details on his remarkable life story, check out our podcast interview with him here.
And speaking of the Six Minute Mile podcast, we just went live with one of our most interesting conversations yet. Dane Rauschenberg is a successful author and motivational speaker. He is smart, engaging, and just a little bit obsessive when it comes to outrageous goals. He once ran 52 marathons on 52 consecutive weekends. Those weren’t quirky basement treadmill sessions or Strava-measured runs with friends. They were real, live organized marathons spread across the country. One of the most remarkable parts of his story is that rather than having his body gradually break down, he actually got faster and ran a form of negative splits, with his last marathons being among his quickest. Check out his interview here.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
As we mentioned in Minute 4, running in the snow has its disciples. But when those runners venture forth without microspikes after a live local TV interview, the result can be not only painful, but also an embarrassing viral wipeout video. They seem like very nice folks and we trust they bounced back quickly with only their pride badly bruised.