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One bad burrito, one million questions

Minute 1: Deep water running

There’s been plenty of good news for runners over the past 2 months. Races are re-opening, the weather is better, and mask regulations are lifting faster than Marilyn Monroe’s dress over a subway grate. That’s the good news. The bad news is that more miles logged often means more injuries to address. A good way to both avoid and recover from injuries is to cross-train, as described in this new story: “Runners need to vary their workouts.” The piece highlights one particular workout that is a great addition to any runner’s cross training regime -- running in water. Another story, “How Deep Water Running Works,” explains the basics of the workout. It isn’t treading water, it’s running in deep enough water that your feet don’t touch. You may need some equipment for this, including an aqua belt to keep you afloat. (Check out these “5 Best Water Jogging Belts” at reasonable prices.) Speedo has a good how-to video that shows proper form and how to use a simple aqua belt. Not only can deep water running help with injury rehabilitation and prevention, but it’s a great resistance, low-impact workout to complement your regular running. It’s been used to treat things like osteopenia, a condition in which the body doesn’t make new bone as quickly as it reabsorbs old bone. So, the next time you’re at the pool swimming for fun or laps, grab yourself a pool noodle or buoyancy belt and start sprinting. #BeltAndSuspension

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Minute 2: One bad burrito, a million questions

If you’ve paid attention to Olympic news over the past few weeks you likely heard something about a runner named Shelby Houlihan, a burrito and a positive-PED test. If you missed it, here’s the story we provided to our Six Minute Mile Professional Edition subscribers last week: “U.S. Olympic Trials open with a dark cloud over Nike’s Bowerman Track Club.” Houlihan, a 2-time American record holder in the 1500M, tested positive in December 2020 for a drug called nandrolone which she claims she got from eating a burrito containing pork offal. That’s not a joke. Things get real murky when you combine the stories from Houlihan, her Nike coaches and supporters at Bowerman Track Club, and then the many cases brought before various courts to clear her name. As it stands now, Houlihan is banned for 4 years, meaning she’ll miss the Tokyo Olympics as well as the 2024 games in Paris. “16 Questions That Need To Be Answered In The Shelby Houlihan Case” was published on Let’s Run this week and the story sheds additional light on the more perplexing parts of this case. Houlihan maintains that she is innocent in all this and a huge mistake has been made. “Why Shelby Houlihan Blamed a Burrito for Her Positive Doping Test” talks with experts in the field and tries to further understand what is happening. The takeaway at this time is that no one really knows what is going on, who is telling the truth, or what will happen other than the fact that Houlihan will now miss the US Olympic Trials and the hopes of an American medalist in the women’s 1500M possibly goes with her. #BadBurrito

Minute 3: Giving Your Heart A Lift

A recent conversation with a 6-year-old addressed the question of which is more important: your heart or your brain? The kid’s excellent analysis concluded that “The brain is like the king and the heart is like the queen and they rule over your body.” Let’s go with that. If we’re lucky, our heart will reign as long as Queen Elizabeth II has. One way to help this is not just through cardio, but also (news to us!) through strength training. “‘I’m a Cardiologist, and These Are the 5 Best Strength-Training Moves For Boosting Your Heart Health.” That story from Well and Good explains heart health from the perspective of an expert, and then highlights a few weight bearing exercises focused on strength and joint health. Cardiologist Satjit Bhusri says that “Your heart doesn’t know what exercise you are doing—it’s a pump and it’s built to meet supply and demand -- so the higher the demand, or intensity of the exercise, the more blood that is needed to meet those demands.” In short, as long as you’re making your heart work at least 150 minutes a week, you have a shot at outliving the Queen. And if you’re in the market for strength training that will directly impact your running, check out this new piece from Trail Runner: “Put Strength In Your Stride With This Powerful Workout.” #QueenOfHearts

Minute 4: Maintaining a lean, mean, aging machine

This conversation is never easy. Your body is changing, and as you get older things happen. The machine just can’t run at the same RPM level after age 40 as it could at age 20. With a few of our editors and writers past the big 4 Oh, we paid attention to this new story out last week: “Secret Tricks for Getting a Lean Body After 50, Say Experts.” It explains why weights are now your best fitness friend at home and the gym. Your muscles peaked in your 30s, your metabolism got a little shaky in your 40s, but now that you’re 50, sorry to say that your muscle mass is going to begin decreasing, especially in women. Your muscles and tendons are going to start losing their elasticity. But if you’re willing to change your routines and do free weight exercises, body lifts, and lots of flexibility training, you can extend your athletic career and enjoyment well past middle age. Feeling a random ache or pain in a joint? Don’t assume it means surgery. It could be a mechanical issue, treatable with the right exercise and PT. For stats and advice on what your realistic goals should be, check out: “How much does age affect running performance – is it all downhill after 40?” from Runners Connect. #NiftyFifty

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • We may age, but as runners we hope to never feel old. Eric Spector, 74, is hoping to demonstrate the translation from hope to reality as he competes in the Western State 100 trail race, aiming to become the oldest finisher in race history. It’s the world’s oldest 100-miler and one of the hardest too. In order to complete the race, he’ll have to complete it in under 30 hours after which the race stops recording finishers. Read a wonderful profile about Spector from Podium Runner before the race kicks off this weekend with hot conditions expected.

  • The mile is an amazing race and we love it unabashedly, as you can tell by the name of this newsletter. It’s a brutal race, like the 800M that demands a proper balance between speed and endurance. Understanding how to run one at speed is one thing, but training to be elite in the race is another challenge altogether. So much so that researchers conducted an entire study on the science behind training world-class 800M and 1500M runners. Outside Magazine broke down the study to better understand “What It Takes to Run a Fast Mile.” One interesting tidbit comes from the metabolic difference between mid-distance runners and long-distance runners. Consider us fully inspired to run a fast mile. See you on the track.

  • Summer is officially here, even though much of the country has felt the summer heat much earlier than usual. As we’ve been outside and deep into our training already, sometimes we find ourselves in a bit of a workout rut. Maybe it’s tied to running the same route too many times, or getting bored with the plan we’re adhering to. There are lots of helpful ideas out there to destroy the rut and monotony, like getting creative in your yard for workouts. If you need some more considerations, this list “The Tiny Little Thing That Got Me Out of a Fitness Rut“ has as many logical ones as it does obscure. Maybe a bit of obscurity is what is needed! And finally, this idea to run odd intervals might just be enough to excite your next speed day.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

It may have been Father’s Day last weekend, but this one is about a daughter and her mom. A few weeks ago, Elly Henes won the 5000M NCAA national championship for NC State. She did it 30 years after, and on the same track, and the same race that her mother won for the same team. Elly’s mother, Laurie, was there to embrace her daughter after the winning race, and has been there throughout her life as she’s been coaching her too. Then last week, Elly raced in the 5000M at the Olympic Trials, placing 6th, an impressive feat as she was the only collegiate runner in the race. She’ll be after an Olympic berth again this weekend in the 10000M.


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