MAY 4, 2022
Minute 1: Why you should vary the types of protein in your diet
As athletes, we know that protein is good for us, in much the same way that a Russian weightlifter knows human growth hormone is essential to their success. The right amount of consumption at the right time can produce big results (temporarily, at least, in the case of doping). Protein, the old-fashioned way to build and repair muscles, can also deliver major benefits to your heart health: “Study: Getting Protein From a Wide Variety of Sources May Lower Risk of High Blood Pressure.” Researchers found that those eating 4 or more different sources of protein had a 66% lower risk of high blood pressure. That’s a big deal, since heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S, and high blood pressure can be a contributing factor. It’s important to note, just eating more protein in general won’t bring these benefits, especially if you’re consuming lots of red meat or poultry without any plant-based protein. Try incorporating protein from peas, seeds, and beans, like some of the supplements listed in the “8 Best Protein Powders for Runners.” Also important are dairy-sourced proteins, like some listed in this Training Peaks post: “The 3 Best Types of Protein for the Endurance Athlete.” Whey protein is a common ingredient in protein supplements, since it’s fast absorbing and high in BCAA content, making it perfect for aiding in recovery.
Minute 2: Thru hiking will change you
Like having a kid or starting a new job, no amount of training can fully prepare you for the 2,200-miles of the Appalachian Trail. Ready or not, however, hikers who stick with it experience remarkable adaptations to their bodies. If you want to see how long hikes can change you for the better, check out: “‘I’m a Thru-Hiker, and This Is What a Months-Long Trek Does to Your Body—and Mind.’” The beginning stretch of the Appalachian Trail pulls no punches, confronting you with several thousand feet of elevation change right away. That difficulty is exactly what transformed Shilletha Curtis and her body. By the time she arrived at the White Mountains in New Hampshire, not even the 25-pound backpack she wore could slow her journey toward Mount Katahdin in the next state. Whether you hike long or short, hiking builds strength and endurance in the legs, core and back as you stabilize yourself over uneven terrain. If you’re preparing for a hike of your own, you might want to try some of these “Core Exercises For Hikers.” Hikers are often surprised to find their skin feels healthier than ever, assuming you protect it as you go along. Covering yourself with UV-blocking clothes, sunscreen, and bug repellant are essential practices on the trail, and the reduced frequency of bathing can actually help preserve your skin’s natural oils and healthy bacteria. For more on that, read: “How Often Should I Shower?” #FactsHike
Minute 3: What are the real benefits of arm sleeves and compression socks?
Arm sleeves are not just for NBA stars and marathoners with 4% body fat. They’ve actually been growing in popularity among runners of all abilities and body compositions: “Why Do Runners Wear Arm Sleeves? A Complete Guide.” The most obvious benefit arm sleeves bring is a quick and easy way to adjust for changing temperatures. If your race has an early morning call time and things haven’t quite warmed up yet, you’re going to want something to cover your arms to avoid losing body heat. Then, if you’re working up a sweat or the temperature increases, just pull them off, tuck them in a pocket, and feel the breeze. That’s not all they’re good for, since compression sleeves are known to support your muscles and increase blood flow, helping you perform better and recover faster. Don’t just stop at sleeves, though, or else you’d miss out on the “Benefits Of Compression Socks For Runners.” The article notes that it’s important to check the compression rating, which is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). They range from 15 mmHg on the low end, made for relief from standing or running for a long time, to upwards of 30 mmHg, the medical grade compression often used to promote circulation after surgery. For a list of options, check out: Fleet Feet’s Compression Product Guide.
Minute 4: A wandering mind can be healthy and inspiring
If you were ever a daydreamer as a kid, chances are that behavior was drilled out of you by your teachers long before you reached adulthood. Perhaps they didn’t realize that Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and Mark Twain were all famous daydreamers. While letting your mind wander freely can fuel creativity and invention, it is best to find a balance between this unstructured brainstorming, and putting your ideas into action. Learn the details in this new story: “Why It’s Essential That Adults Let Their Minds Wander Throughout the Day.” Studies have shown mind wandering can provide a mood boost, help you to form memories, and encourage reflection, among other benefits. Running can be a great time to allow yourself to daydream, but chances are you’ll have to turn the music down to get into the right headspace. If you haven’t gone on a run sans headphones in a while, you should read “I Tried Running Without Music – This Is What I Learned.” First of all, you’ll become more connected to your body, and the pace at which it wants to move. Listening to music, we’re often inclined to match our cadence to the BPM of the song we’re hearing. If it happens to be the right tempo, that’s great, but more often than not, you’ll shuffle to a song that's too fast or slow, and your rhythm will be thrown off.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
It wasn’t so long ago that Kathryn Switzer had to literally fight for a woman’s right to participate in marathons and other major running events. While we’ve certainly made progress toward inclusivity in the world of running, we still have a ways to go. Nonbinary athletes like Jacob Caswell are finally getting the space they deserve. Events like the Brooklyn Marathon have opened a division for nonbinary athletes to compete alongside men and women, receiving equal recognition for their efforts. If you want to read about this victory and Jacob’s back story, take a look at “‘Nonbinary Runners Have Been Here the Whole Time.’”
They may look funny, but there’s nothing comical about the impact toe socks can have if you’re experiencing foot trouble as a runner or hiker. Hammer toes, blisters, and other maladies can all occur from high mileage and unnatural footwear, and they can cause a misalignment that lowers your stability and weakens your gait. For Grayson Currin, the solution was toe socks and shoes that featured a wide toe box, giving his feet the space they needed to spread out. To see if you might also benefit, read “Thru-Hiking Messed Up My Feet. Here’s How Toe Socks Came to the Rescue.”
Spring is here, as are the flowers and rain showers, and that means it’s almost time to celebrate Mother’s Day. If you’ve got a running mother in your life that deserves something special, you’ve come to the right place, because “Mother’s Day 2022 Gift Guide: Our Favorite Gifts for Runners” is packed with awesome gifts that are as fun as they are useful. If you need more ideas, check out the Mother’s Day Gift Guide from Gone for a Run.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
As grueling as hiking the Appalachian Trail can be, there isn't an age requirement for those looking to take on the challenge. Take 83-year old M.J. “Sunny” Emberhart, also known by his trail name “Nimblewill Nomad”, who in 2021 became the oldest person to ever complete the trail. Battling through a couple spills, scrapes and self-admittedly slower reflexes, were nothing for Nimblewill, who once hiked from Florida to Newfoundland. In the same year of 2021, Harvey Sutton, or “Little Man” to his fellow hikers, became the youngest to conquer the AT at only 5 years old (he was 4 when he started). Accompanied by his parents, Harvey started training by taking mini-walks since he was just two and credits his boosts of energy to a steady diet of peanut butter and Skittles. On Harvey’s first day of kindergarten when everyone shares their “What did you do last summer?” stories, we imagine that no one is going to top “Little Man’s” account of 209 days on the trail. Check the video below for the NBC News account of his adventure.