MAR 3, 2023
Minute 1: These tools are so affordable and convenient, you won’t be able to resist
Despite their name, you’ll face little resistance finding a good set of bands that are easy to use, store, and even travel with. Resistance bands can be a simple and powerful tool for runners seeking to activate muscles that don’t get worked properly by merely running. And these tools mean you don’t need an expensive gym membership to diversify your leg strength. If you’re intrigued, check out this new story: “Build lower-body strength with this seven-move resistance band leg workout.” To strike a perfect balance between quads and hamstring growth, try resisted leg extensions and hamstring curls. Simply loop the band around your ankle and perform each move, either seated or lying down. You can also mimic the motion of a deadlift by doing the banded pull through. Loop the band around an object, pull between your legs, and pull forward as you hinge at your hips. This move will hit your glutes, core, and back muscles. If there are any doubters out there, you might want to read: “Why Use Resistance Bands: 17 Persistent Myths Shattered.” Bands have a reputation of being used for therapy, not strength training, but that’s undeserved. With proper technique, bands can offer serious resistance that rivals dumbbells or barbells. That’s why plenty of professional athletes make use of them, including 95% of NFL teams and some standout players like Gronk: “Rob Gronkowski Just Shared a Look at the Resistance Band Workout He Used to Stay in NFL Shape.”
Minute 2: Take flight by participating in a stair climb race
Running on roads and treadmills can often feel like you’re on a plateau, literally and figuratively. By setting your sights on a higher target, you just might reach the next level of fitness. That’s why we are intrigued by races that include running up the stairs of a skyscraper. If you’ve ever wondered about these challenging events, check out this list of “Upcoming Stair Climbs in the USA.” Participants of these races are called vertical runners or tower runners, and there’s a lot that goes into their training to prepare for such a demanding challenge. It takes lower body strength and explosiveness to propel yourself up each story, and you can learn about developing those skills in: “How to Train for a Stair Climbing Event.” Obviously, you’ll want to include stair workouts in your training, but most experts recommend building a base of aerobic endurance through lower intensity exercise first. As your competition date approaches, you can start to incorporate more stair work and taper off the overall volume of distance traveled. The good news is, when you’re finished with the stair climb, a lot of those skills will transfer over into other endurance activities. Here is a “Guide to Running Stairs: Why and How Runners Should Try It.” Running stairs will force you to develop power over a greater range of motion than normal running. When you switch back to flat ground, that increased mobility can help improve your form and reduce the likelihood of injury.
Minute 3: Researchers trying to make bad knees a thing of the past
We’re living in an exciting, rapidly changing landscape of technology unlike anything the world has ever seen. AI can code better than a lot of humans, cars can (almost) drive themselves safely, and now, doctors can refurbish your knees with artificial cartilage that’s stronger than the original. Well, it’s only in the clinical trial phase, but this “Groundbreaking artificial knee cartilage will outperform the real thing, study finds.” Developed by a team at Duke University, the material is called hydrogel, and it’s made of water-absorbing polymers that are three times more resistant to wear and tear than the natural cartilage it replaces. Clinical trials are expected to start in April, meaning that it’s probably only a matter of time before this tech becomes widely available. Until that time comes, you’d be wise to protect your knees with these “10 Exercises to Help Relieve Knee Pain.” Low impact moves like the quadricep stretch, half squat, and prone leg raises can make a difference for achy knees, and that’s a lot of us – as many as 18 million Americans per year visit the doctor for knee pain.
Minute 4: Shoe Review: Atreyu Daily Trainer ($110)
The new Atreyu Daily Trainer is a little like a Leatherman tool – looks cool and is ready to tackle many different tasks. According to our SMM shoe expert, Brian Metzler, you can use this shoe for everything from trail running to sipping a cappuccino. The highlights are below and you can check out Brian’s full review on our website.
If you’ve read some of my shoe reviews for the Six Minute Mile newsletter over the past year, you’ll know that I’ve become a fan of the small upstart shoe brand known as Atreyu. Part of the reason I like this company from Austin, Texas, is that I like cheering for the underdog, but it’s mostly because they make smart, sensible and affordable running shoes. Their latest release is a shoe called the Daily Trainer, which is exactly what you think it is – a lightweight, versatile shoe you can, more or less, wear every day of the week. OK, it’s not quite that simple, but it does have a cool story. Follow along to see why I like it.
What’s New: The Daily Trainer is an entirely new shoe, one that sort of combines the look and feel of Atreyu’s original Base Model and the Base Trail shoes. Yes, it’s a ‘tweener, so to speak, one that you can wear for moderate mileage on the roads, light, low-tech trails and, perhaps most importantly, just about everything else – going to the gym, riding a cruiser bike, walking around town and even light hiking. It is built on the same moderately energetic Supercritical EVA compound midsole platform as the other two shoes, has a full-length gum-rubber outsole that provides a smidge of traction when you need it and features an airy/breathable upper with typical Atreyu fashion smarts.
Why It’s Great: It’s great because you can wear it for everything you want to do from a performance to casual perspective and everywhere in between. But don’t take my word for it. REI picked it up at select stores around the country this winter as soon as it launched for those exact reasons, and frankly that’s a very big deal. As more and more people are getting into running, the lines have been blurred between what a traditional running shoe and an athleisure shoe looks and feels like. REI believes the Daily Trainer is an ideal blend of both sides of the spectrum, one that will appeal to runners who fall into the weekend warrior crowd that REI serves so well.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
What time is it? Time to check out the latest development in Garmin’s lineup of excellent running watches. The Forerunner 265 and 965 are GPS-equipped trackers boasting an improved AMOLED display and greater battery life compared to their predecessors. For a full breakdown of what these watches have to offer, take a look at: “Garmin Forerunner 265 and 965 are finally here – and they look fantastic.”
We’re all about simple equipment that delivers big results, like the resistance bands we mentioned above. If you want a cardio-boosting tool to go alongside them, we’ve got a solution that puts the fun in function: “10 Jump Rope Workouts For Runners.” If you need some motivation to jump into that routine, check out how Rocky, arguably the most famous jump roper in history, did it in his prime.
Oakley have been delivering some of the highest quality athletic sunglasses on the market for several years, but they’ve never catered to the running community specifically. Well, that’s changing with their launch of the Corridor and Actuator glasses. They’re lightweight and durable without compromising on style, and if that sounds like something you’re looking for, learn more in “Oakley Has Launched Its First Running Sunglasses And I Am Excited.” We like this evolution by Oakley because they aren’t just offering space-age wraparounds, but have models that you’d actually wear driving or watching youth soccer.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
In preparing for a marathon, you’ll log hundreds of miles and think a lot about your sleep and nutrition. But you may not be giving enough thought to an important part of the race that can boost your performance if done properly, but can also kill your momentum if you botch it. In events like a marathon or triathlon, water and snack breaks are necessary part of racing. Lucky for all you endurance athletes out there, we’ve got pro triathlete @cody.beals on TikTok to offer some tips. Double-fisting a water and sports drink keeps glycogen levels up while maintaining hydration. On a hot day, he’s happy to throw a few ice cubes down his tri-kit to fight the threat of overheating. That can often lead to some unintended consequences, but at least Cody seems to have a good sense of humor about it. Watch the full clip below to pick up new ways to run through a water stop.