MAR 2, 2022
Minute 1: Explaining Norway’s Olympic success
Norway, a nation of only 5.4 million citizens, produced an avalanche of success at the Beijing Olympics. Their 34 total medals meant that 1 out of every 146,000 Norwegians stood on the Olympic podium. By comparison, the U.S. produced 1 medal for every 13 million citizens. It turns out that Norwegians excel not only on ice and snow, but also on dry land – they are reigning Olympic champions in triathlon and 1,500M. The success of these athletes is based on more than just Viking genes and pickled herring. According to a comprehensive new study, Norway is relying on quality, not quantity, to produce results. An excellent summary of their methodology is here: “How to train like a Norwegian.” There’s been a growing body of evidence that suggests most of your training should be at a low intensity for the best results. Norwegian runners break down training into 3 zones: zone 1 is easy running, zone 2 is moderate training below the lactate threshold, and zone 3 is high intensity workouts. Only a small portion of these athletes’ schedules involve zone 3 training. Another factor that sets them apart is the inclusion of 2 training sessions per day. Splitting up your training workload further reduces the intensity of each session, while keeping volume high in order to build a strong aerobic base. If you’re curious about the benefits, check out “Can You Workout Twice A Day? 10 Easy Health Tips, Benefits & Risks” to see if it’s the right method for your needs. There are more details in this piece if you really want to geek out: “The Norwegian model of lactate threshold training and lactate controlled approach to training.” While the Norwegians have the spotlight this week, you can also learn from their rivals, the Swedes: “Bikes and ice cream: Nils van der Poel posts extensive training guide after 10k win.” van der Poel is a dominant speed skater whom we have highlighted before. His unconventional methods of training apply to runners and other endurance athletes, at least for their refreshing point of view.
Minute 2: Microvacations are a small break with a big payoff
Have you ever found yourself in need of a break, but the thought of planning a vacation seems to cause even more stress? Trips can be expensive, time consuming, and intimidating, but there might be a better option to help you unwind: “‘Microvacations’ Can Help Prevent Burnout—Here’s What They Are and How To Take Them.” Microvacations let you get away from the hustle and bustle for a few hours to a day. They’re done in the living room, your local cafe, or anywhere nearby you’d like to be. That means no stress of airport security or keeping up with a strict itinerary. Unlike a regular vacation, where you’re seeking out new experiences and locations, microvacations are about giving yourself space to reset by scheduling things like a “boredom day.” Clear your schedule for unstructured playtime, says mindset coach Hana Jung. Pick a day to wake up when you like, see (or don’t see) whomever you want, and put work and other chores aside. If regular vacations are like a full night’s rest, then microvacations are like a well-earned nap, which are another great way to ease your burnout. Check out “Napping: 3 Proven Health Benefits.” There’s a clear connection between sleep and memory, so taking a nap after learning a new skill can help to lock it in. #ByeToBurnout
Minute 3: How healthy is celery?
There’s an often circulated myth that celery is so low-cal that it contains fewer calories than you’ll burn while eating it. We’ve got to break the bad news: that’s not the case. It is true, though, that celery jams some surprising health benefits into a low calorie package: “Celery: Health benefits & nutrition facts.” First of all, it contains lots of fiber and water: 2 things that should be on every training table. Celery is also a good source of phytonutrients, which have anti-inflammatory properties. For the deets, check out: “What Are Phytonutrients? Types and Food Sources.” By itself, celery is great, but for a more substantial option that’s still nutritionally dense, pair it with a dip. There are some great options in “6 Healthy Dip Recipes to Make at Home.” By substituting your dip’s base for low fat Greek yogurt, you can add protein to the humble celery stick. There are even a couple suggestions for dessert dips that pair well with fruit.
Minute 4: Sprinting isn’t just for Olympic athletes
Most of us don’t give much thought to sprinting, apart from those crucial 10 seconds every 4 years when we crown an Olympic 100M champion. Sometimes we watch the pros do their thing and think, “I’m going to tear my hamstrings off the bone if I do that.” Fear not. When done properly, sprinting can be a safe and useful tool for any runner, and you can see why in “11 Benefits of Sprinting (+ Tips for your Workout).” The most obvious benefit will be an improvement in your speed, but not just over short distances. Incorporating the occasional sprint workout into your routine is good even for 10K races and beyond, as sprints promote muscle growth and cardiovascular function. Sprinting also brings a lot of benefits in a short amount of time. It only takes a few minutes of sprinting to experience the same reduction in stress associated with daily jogging or walking. For some athletes, sprinting is best practiced on occasion, but for others, it could be the staple of your routine. That’s what Tony Holler promotes with his “Feed the Cats” philosophy. Take a look at “10 Common Misconceptions About Feed the Cats.” FTC is about low volume, high quality sprinting exercise where you spend a good amount of time at your maximum velocity. Traditional programs usually keep you below your fastest speed until the day of competition. Coach Holler thinks the best way to improve top speed is to reach for it a few times a week in practice.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
In a recent issue, we covered the story of Nims Purja, who summited every mountain above 8000 meters on the planet in record time. His achievement shook up the mountaineering world, and it got us fired up to test our own climbing ability. Of course, it’s not so easy to acquire all the necessary gear and make your way over to Everest, but luckily, trail runners have come up with a way to simulate the challenge at your local mountain or hill. It’s called “Everesting,” and it’s performed by running up the same trail repeatedly until you accumulate an altitude gain equal to Everest’s summit. It’s not for the faint of heart, but you can get inspired by watching ultrarunner Hillary Allen take on the challenge in the video from Strava: “Segment Stories: Hillary Allen.”
A sprained ankle can leave you off your feet for a matter of days, or even weeks, depending on how severe it is. The last thing you want to do is rush your recovery, return to running early, just to reinjure yourself and have to start the process all over again. To protect yourself from additional damage, an ankle wrap can be helpful not just for football players, but also for runners. Here’s “How To Tape An Ankle: Materials, Steps & More.”
National Parks in the U.S. have become increasingly crowded over the last few years, requiring advance planning for your summer vacations. To combat this issue, parks are using reservation systems to ensure evenly spaced visits. If you’d like to plan a trip this summer, Outside has put out a guide for each park so you can learn how to book, the cost of each ticket, and other considerations. Check out “These National Parks Will Require Reservations in 2022.” If you’re looking for more inspiration and information, you can also research your backcountry outings on All Trails.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
To run a sub-4:00 marathon, you will take somewhere around 34,000 steps. That means a 150-pound runner will generate about 10,000,000 pounds of landing impact on their feet. While we tend to care for our large muscle groups pretty well, many runners neglect that first line of defense – their feet. Strengthening the metatarsal muscles of your feet can have a dramatic impact on performance and injury prevention. Toe curls and jumping rope are good places to start, but @AltaBrio, a triathlon training provider, provides a breakdown of how and why foot strength is so important in the Instagram video linked below. BTW, they are a pretty good follow if you want quick hits of training advice.