Minute 1: Paula Radcliffe’s mental resilience
The biggest story of the Tokyo Olympics was that of Simone Biles taking her mental health seriously. In our view, Biles did the right thing, not only for herself, but for her team. And despite some backlash, she was never a quitter. The sight of Biles taking bronze in the balance beam was a picture of resilience. Someone who can relate to that struggle is running legend Paula Radcliffe. She was interviewed shortly after Biles pulled out of the all-around to talk about mental health. "How I fought back against 'quitter' label: Long-distance running legend on Simone Biles" gave Radcliffe plenty to discuss. Her own struggles and being forced to drop out of the 2004 Athens Olympic marathon, a race in which she was the clear favorite, make a comparison with Biles easy. "Neither one of us quit. Our bodies just weren't able to do it," Radcliffe told CNN in a phone interview. "Very few people actually understand the relationship between your mind and your body ... particularly in something that's really physically, or mentally -- or both -- taxing, you really need to know when to push through it and when to listen to your body, and it's what has made her the great champion that she is," she said. If you'd like to hear more about Radcliffe and her life, we were lucky enough to speak with her on the SMM podcast back in February, and you can hear that episode here. #NeverNeverNeverGiveUp
Minute 2: Team USA Raced Away With Lots of Gold
16 days of Olympics seemed to pass faster than Allyson Felix rounds the track. While the games were an overall success for the United States, they won the most golds (39) as well as most medals overall (113); there were some issues in Tokyo and at home - like figuring out how to watch it. When track and field finished, Team USA had raked in 26 medals, including 7 gold. The biggest story was that of Allyson Felix, who collected her 11th medal, pushing her past Carl Lewis to become USA Track and Field's most decorated Olympian. "Team USA Track and Field Recap at Tokyo Olympics" provided an excellent highlight of the major victories for the team, including the likes of hurdlers Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad. Athing Mu became the first American woman to win gold in the 800m since 1968, and she did so at just 19 years old. Unfortunately, the US men's track team failed to win a single gold in any individual race. As for the distance squad, Courtney Frerichs won silver in the women's steeplechase, Paul Chelimo won bronze in the men's 5000m, and last but not least, Molly Seidel won bronze in the women's marathon. Considering the competition, 3 medals for the distance crew is a nice haul. You can view the medal winners from all events here. Surprising virtually no one, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya defended his Olympic marathon title in a time of 2:08:38. American Galen Rupp was not able to recapture another medal like he did in 2016 Rio, and finished 8th. #AmericanHaul
Minute 3: Testosterone grows muscle and lowers body fat
When you hear the word “testosterone,” images of bodybuilders, football players, and Tour de France cheaters probably come to mind. Increasing your testosterone is often associated with building massive amounts of muscle and increased aggression. But the fact is, all of us have testosterone, women included. (Check out “Can Women Have Low Levels Of Testosterone?” from Healthline for more info.) For both genders, increasing testosterone can bring a number of benefits. Fitandwell.com uncovered all sorts of useful info when they asked: “Does high testosterone really make men healthier and more successful?” Muscle growth, energy levels, and lower body fat are just a few of the advantages you can expect to see. How do you go about increasing it? The first thing you can do is incorporate heavier compound lifts into your exercise routine. Deadlifts and squats are perfect examples, but here are the “7 Best Exercises to Naturally Increase Testosterone In Men” you can use to fill out your routine. In addition to exercise, controlling your diet is a good way to keep testosterone levels where they should be. These are the “8 Testosterone-Boosting Foods” you can pair with weightlifting to see significant gains. Seek out foods high in vitamin D and zinc, as both are believed to play a role in testosterone levels in the body. Oysters, shellfish, and beef can all help you reach your recommended daily zinc intake of 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women. Tuna, egg yolk, and milk have got you covered for vitamin D needs. #PassingTheTestosterone
Minute 4: Marathon Speed
Most marathon runners believe their training should be mileage-based, grinding on the roads to build an endurance base built around a Sunday long, slow run. Typical marathon training plans call for isolated speed days that are outside of the normal routine, but a new school of thought advocates for mixing road and track work. "Speedwork for marathoners: the fast-finish long run" suggests a different approach that can be incorporated into your training regimen. The idea is this in a nutshell: during one of your long runs, adjust your speed for the last 30 to 90 minutes to marathon race pace or faster. This trains your body to perform on tired legs. It should be noted that this workout is not something marathon beginners should tackle. It's for seasoned runners should be done no more than every other week on a single run. Obviously, incorporating this workout into your routine eliminates the need for a different speed day. If you're finding yourself crunched for time, it can be a great alternative for a busy week. And if you need some course correction on your training plans, take this article: "Most of Your Workouts Should Be Easy. Here's Why," which follows the Rate of Perceived Exertion (REP) method that many athletes swear by. When you're reviewing your plan for the week, take a moment mid-run to consider how hard it feels at the moment, listen to your body. Remember that training for any race is like a marathon itself. It's about pacing. #RacePace
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Wow. Our readers are chasing down the last few spots in October’s Marine Corps Marathon like the bulls of Pamplona pursuing tourists wearing red pants. As we mentioned last week, due to some scheduling anomalies, one of the most popular marathons in the world has bibs available for the first time in years. We just checked and it looks as if a few slots are still open. Unlike most major marathons that rolled their 2020 registrations over into 2021, the Marines decided to refund the fees from last year and then re-opened a fresh registration window for their October 31, 2021, edition. That means bibs are still up for grabs for a limited time. Registration link is here.
Speaking of fall marathons, Boston and London just announced their fields of elite runners and they are among the fastest in history. London will be headlined by Olympic silver medalist and defending champ Brigid Kosgei (Kenya) along with the men’s defending champ Shura Kitata (Ethiopia) who was forced to withdraw from the Tokyo marathon due to extreme heat. In Boston, 11 men in the field have run sub-2:07 while the women’s race will feature several prominent Americans, including Jordan Hasay, Des Linden (2018 Boston winner) and Molly Huddle. Let’srun.com has the full Boston preview here. Sadly, men’s Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge will not participate in any fall marathons.
If you watched any footage of the Olympic marathons, you probably saw flashes of pink on many of the leaders’ feet. We've talked quite a bit about Nike's Zoom Vaporfly shoes before; whether it is competitively fair, and how much of a difference it makes (it seems significant). "What’s Next For Nike's Much-Debated ‘Super Shoe’?" gives a glimpse into the future, courtesy of Nike's head of design, John Hoke. If you think that carbon plates are the standard and there's not much else Nike can dream up, think again. Hoke and Nike have a full pipeline of innovation for the future.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Olympic sprinter Allyson Felix just collected a record-setting 11th Olympic medal by winning gold in the women’s 4 x 400 relay. In addition to her historic running skills, she is also personable, engaging and funny. We hope she is considering a broadcast career since this humorous analysis of running technique and form in Hollywood hit movies is really entertaining. Check out what she thinks of stars like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Stephan James and Sylvester Stallone in their running scenes.