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Running with our furry friends

Minute 1: Steel yourself for success

With a naive sense of optimism, we drove over to Harvard Stadium last Wednesday at 6:00 am for a November Project workout that includes running up and down 37 sections of stairs. Unfortunately, the website hadn’t been updated in a while, so when we arrived, the gates were locked. As with most pandemic disappointments, we improvised and followed a couple of athletes who were running up and down an outdoor flight of stairs on an adjoining building. We returned home tired and happy, only to discover a new article explaining how we could have gotten more out of our workout. Writing for GearJunkie, running coach Cory Smith details how “This ‘Legs of Steel’ Workout Will Make You a Faster Downhill Runner.” His main point is that most of us consider the upward part of a hill workout to be the meat and potatoes, with the downhill portion used to cleanse our palate and catch our breath. Smith suggests that we flip that routine and run easy uphill and hard downhill. Done safely, this should strengthen your legs without damaging your knees. Having completed a shortened version of this workout recently, we can report that you'll feel impact on the balls of your feet, your quads, and your calves as you power down the hill. Don't fear the speed as gravity pulls you down at the same time you intentionally sprint hard. After some practice, while everyone else is pulling back on the downhill, you'll be using gravity and your newfound skills to pass the competition. This advice arrives in plenty of time for your Boston training. Veterans understand that course creates just as much heartbreak on the downhills as on the famous uphills through Newton. #RunsOfSteel

Minute 2: What is the future of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series?

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series played a major role in the running boom of the 2000s. They took an event length known for stoic suffering and injected live music, colorful graphics and a flair for media. Since its heyday, the Rock ‘n’ Roll series has been through a few twists and turns, but is offering a robust calendar. Last week, Brian Metzler provided an in-depth update on the series in our Six Minute Mile Professional Edition. Against our CFO’s advice, we are sharing his full article gratis as a way to showcase some of the additional content you’ll find at SMM Pro. Rock ‘n’ Roll Series rebrands, retools with 17 events beginning in September By: Brian Metzler In case you missed it, Rock ‘n’ Roll show is heading back to the main stage of an international tour. In an announcement on March 25, Elizabeth O’Brien, Managing Director of North America for The Ironman Group, unveiled the new look, locations and vibe of the freshly renamed Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series. The series that has been known for lavish finisher medals and infusing live music and entertainment into recreational running races since 1998 will be decidedly different going forward. Story Continues.

Minute 3: Running with our best friends

One of the very best parts of being home for the past year has been getting to spend more time with furry family members. Maybe it's a pet curled up at your feet while you're working, a cat perched above your keyboard, or those behind-the-ear scratches you dole out in the middle of the day. During the past year, pet adoption numbers have skyrocketed, with shelters and rescue shelters trying to meet the demand of placing pets in new homes. It's a beautiful problem that so many families want to welcome new forever friends to their home. Many of us are lucky enough to have a dog that's a loyal running buddy, which some have taken to calling "canicross." Whether you're a seasoned pro, or one of the new pet owners, there are good and bad ways to run with our friends as outlined in this new story: “Here are some tips and tricks for canicross.” Some of the tips included in this piece are making sure your dog is at least a year old, using a chest harness instead of a collar, and protecting paws by selecting safe running surfaces. Training is an important part of the process, so make the efforts to help your dog understand how to run instead of drag you down the sidewalk at a full sprint. Best of all, enjoy the wonderful happy sight of a dog with its tongue hanging out and tail wagging. #PetProjects

Minute 4: Should you skip the post-run brunch?

Spring has arrived, restaurants are re-opening, and you may have switched out that post-run banana for an all-you-can eat buffet. Don’t feel guilty -- research has shown that brunches and active lifestyles can co-exist. In one study, runners were split into 3 categories: those who ate a large breakfast without exercise, those who ate breakfast and then ran, and those who ran and then ate. The “breakfast-after-exercise group had almost no increase in weight despite eating a daily diet that was both high in calories and fat.” So if you put in the work with an early run, go ahead and reward yourself with brunch. If you’re searching for inspiration, check out “The definitive ranking of post-run brunch items” from Canadian Running. Bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns, they write, just might be the perfect trio, given their balance of macronutrients. Plenty of protein to help build muscle, but enough carbs and fat to fuel you for the rest of the day, and tomorrow’s run as well. As for recovery fluids at brunch, instead of OJ, consider “Reasons to Drink Tomato Juice After Physical Activity.” Does that mean a Bloody Mary is good for you? Asking for a friend. #OneOfEach

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • One of the most popular links we’ve shared over the past few months has been to this lifespan calculator provided by a major insurance company. By answering a few targeted questions, they can tell you how long you are likely to live. Go ahead and take the test, and then read this new article from LIVESTRONG to add a few years to your predicted life span: “4 Habits This Octogenarian Aging Expert Does Every Day for Longevity” We like his approach that emphasizes happiness over measuring foods gram by gram.

  • Our guess is that large running events may return a little more slowly in New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. That’s because they were among the 5 states that have accounted for nearly half of all new Coronavirus infections according to Johns Hopkins University. The 5th state, Florida, is already open for business (for better or worse) so racing is likely to return there in earnest more quickly. Meanwhile, overall Covid deaths have declined to dramatically lower levels according to the CDC, while the number of new infections remains largely unchanged, reflecting vaccine effectiveness among older Americans and younger folks avoiding serious illness (typically) even if infected.

  • A provocative new study has concluded that most of us shouldn’t imitate elite athletes, since our training goals are likely to be so different. In this new piece, “Why You Shouldn't Train Like a Pro,” a Dutch study is cited that shows remarkable improvement can be made in strength training on just 20 minutes per week. As you might imagine, your progress will plateau with this approach, but the principle underscores the idea that your training should match your overall goals. Unless you’re trying to become the next Kipchoge, you probably shouldn’t follow his plan.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Jason Cohen stepped on a scale 10 years ago and watched the number climb to 297 lbs; just 3 lbs shy of its max range. He decided to make a lifestyle change and began his weight loss journey with modest bike rides around his neighborhood. After a few years of cycling and a plant-based diet, Cohen began a light jogging routine. Early into his progress, however, he set his sights on the Leadville race series, which hosts events ranging from 10Ks all the way up to the iconic Leadville 100 ultramarathon. As Jason lost pounds, he upped the miles, eventually competing in the Leadville half marathon. Crossing that finish line opened his mind to the possibilities of how far he could go with running, so he surrounded himself with a team of supporters and began training for the Leadville 100. Trail Runner provides an excellent overview of Cohen’s story and the film “Heavy as Lead” chronicles Jason’s path to completing the full Leadville 100. If you need a little “quitting is not an option” inspiration today, check out the film at the link below.


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