Minute 1: London Marathon cancelled
Organizers of the London Marathon did their level best to follow Sir Winston Churchill’s famous edict to the boys at Harrow: “Never give in, never, never, never, never.” After shifting the race from April to October this year, even the stiffest of upper lips couldn’t pull off a 45,000-runner event in the midst of a pandemic. This week London announced that for the first time since its founding in 1981, the race would be cancelled for all but a few elite runners on October 4. London had been the last of the 6 Abbott World Marathon Majors to remain on the calendar. Boston, Tokyo, Berlin, Chicago and New York had all cancelled their 2020 editions. London had explored technology measures that would keep runners socially-distanced throughout the race, but in the end, the burden on emergency services and the safety of spectators forced organizers to reduce the field to a few elite runners doing laps on a closed 1.5-mile course. But oh what a field it will be. The 2 top male marathoners in the world, Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele are the favorites as Kipchoge set the world record of 2:01:39 in the 2018 Berlin Marathon which was only 2 seconds faster than Bekele’s PR. Kipchoge famously broke 2 hours last year as part of the Nike Breaking2 project on a closed course in Vienna. London will be an opportunity to crack 2 hours in an official race that would be recognized as a world record. The fastest woman in the world, Brigid Kosgei, will be running London with an eye toward breaking her own world record set in Chicago last year. London also announced that the 2021 edition of the race will take place in October rather than on its traditional April date.
Minute 2: Workout do’s and don’ts
Much like that crazy friend from college who now serves as a cautionary life tale, sometimes we can benefit from instruction on the wrong way to do things. Two stories jumped out at us like a streaker at a keg party this week: “2 of the Worst Exercises You Can Do for Your Spine” and “2 Calf Exercises that Are a Waste of Time.” According to one chiropractor interviewed in the first article, strengthening the core can help avoid lower back issues, but old-fashioned military sit-ups and “Superman” holds do more harm than good. Instead, she recommends curl-ups instead of sit-ups and Cobra yoga moves rather than Superman. As for calf exercises, LIVESTRONG recommends ditching standard calf raises and substituting things like a single-leg box jump. #HoldMyBeer #WatchThis
Minute 3: How body type affects your running
With actual races now harder to find than a white cat in a snow storm, many runners have turned to virtual competitions and attempts at quirky records. Earlier this month, American Allison Grace Morgan broke the world Beer Mile record by downing a beer per lap in a 1-mile track race. Her time of 6:16 shaved a second off the previous record. Perhaps a more wholesome combination of skills led another American woman, Sydney Masciarelli, to break the world record for dribbling a basketball while running a mile. If this sport ever gains Olympic status, Masciarelli will surely be the first gold medalist. She scored more than 1,000 career points for her high school basketball team and won the Foot Locker national HS XC championship in 2018. That race featured the most dramatic finish in the history of the prestigious event. (Fast forward to the 17:00 mark of this video to see the final moments of the race.)
Minute 4: Better sleep habits
A child knows that putting their tongue across the top of a 9 volt battery is a bad idea… but they often do it anyway. That mild shock kids feel is similar to what happens to our brains when we watch one last video or send one final text before we drift off to sleep. But we do it anyway. The Cleveland Clinic has described “how using your phone at night can impact your health.” Ideally, we should avoid the blue light of our iPhones for a full hour before bed. If you are among the 25% of adults who experience some form of insomnia, you may want to check out this new story from Men’s Health: “This ‘4-7-8’ Breathing Technique Will Help You Fall Asleep Faster.” It involves inhaling for 4 seconds, holding that breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. Elite athletes like LeBron James and Michael Phelps say they sleep 10-12 hours per day. To see how sleep can impact your health and training, check out “Three Reasons Why Sleep Is Important for Athletic Performance.” #ZZZZZZZ
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
As gyms slowly re-open and the mercury climbs throughout the Northern Hemisphere, you may be considering a return to your favorite treadmill. A new article this week explores “The key differences between running on a treadmill and running outside.” We are big fans of the outdoor option, but treadmill benefits include reduced impact on your joints and a better control over pacing and inclines.
With just about every marathon across the globe cancelled, many of our friends are turning to virtual races. If the idea of running 26.2 miles without the encouragement of fellow runners and cheering sections isn’t your thing, you may consider going for a PR at a shorter distance. One common benchmark for runners is to crack 20 minutes in a 5K. While that’s not quite as fast as the title pace of our newsletter, the 6:26 required is still impressive. To help you get there, check out “Workouts to break 20 minutes in the 5K.” If you have a faster or slower pace in mind, Strava’s Pace Calculator is a handy tool.
The Guinness Book of World Records just officially recognized Hiromu Inada as the oldest man ever to complete the Ironman World Championship. Inada was 85 when he finished the 2018 Kona event in 16:53:49.
Our Six Minute Mile t-shirts just have become more popular summer apparel than trucker caps and flip flops, according to a new study by the SMM Institute of Knowledge. The dark heather gray fabric is both slimming and breathable. Please don’t embarrass your family and Sunday run-mates by trotting around the neighborhood in yet another tattered race t-shirt. Check out what the cool kids are wearing here.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
As Pat Sajak and Vanna White might say: Let’s buy a vowel. We are diverging from our usual inspirational sources to offer some bubble gum for the brain. We are suckers for these video highlights of incredible cliff jumps, trick shots and impossible workout maneuvers. What’s wrong with mixing in a little Dan Brown with your Tolstoy and Austen?