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The difference between fartlek, tempo and interval runs

AUG 25, 2023

Minute 1: Can red meat ruin your diet?

Someone once told us that we should protect our enthusiasm from the negativity of others. One of our great passions in life is the joy of eating good food – and sometimes overeating good food. When that passion occasionally collides with a desire to lose 5-10 pounds, we’re reminded that a lot of the discourse around dieting is focused on the practice of cutting foods out. Right away, that puts you in a confrontational mindset, like you’re at war with your own cravings. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Some research suggests that adding healthy foods can improve your wellbeing and even protect your body from the risks of “unhealthy” foods. To see what we mean, let’s take a look at: “New Research Challenges Advice To Limit High-Fat Dairy Foods.” A diet filled with fruits, vegetables, full-fat dairy, nuts, legumes, and fish have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, but interestingly, the addition of unprocessed red meat to this well-rounded diet had little to no effect on that risk. It led researchers to conclude that the inclusion of protective foods in your diet could be more effective than restrictive eating habits for improving your wellbeing. It’s findings like these that are supporting a growing trend known as “The Non-Diet Approach.” Non-diets are a way to remove the pressure to change your weight or figure while you pursue a holistic approach to healthy eating. When you’re following a “non-diet,” no foods are strictly off limits, and you’re free to follow your intuition to help you decide what foods to eat and when to eat them. #NoLimits

Minute 2: What kind of speed workout is right for you?

Scandinavians seem to have wellness down to a science. Whether they’re developing elite level runners via the Norwegian method, or simply being the happiest place on Earth, it’s clear we’ve got a lot to learn from their cultures and behaviors. Experienced runners will be familiar with the Swedish import of the Fartlek run, but if you need a refresher course, you should check out: “Fartlek Training Is a Fun and Effective Way to Run Faster. Here's How to Do It.” Translated as “speed play,” Fartleks are an unstructured kind of workout that allow you to push the pace while listening to your body. They’re a fun way to introduce intensity into your routine, and by running a few miles with some shifts into race-pace sprinkled throughout, you can improve your speed and endurance significantly. The benefit is that they’re easy to adjust on the fly for a lighter or heavier workout, but some runners may find that lack of precision confusing. If that’s the case, you might want to understand: “What's the difference between fartlek, tempo and interval runs?” Interval and tempo runs have the benefit of a more concrete pacing target, allowing you to more easily track your progression. Intervals are often short and intense, making them suited for developing top speed. On the other hand, tempo runs are more consistent, and runners use them to grow their lactate threshold.

Minute 3: A guide to repairing muscle strains

A wise athlete should be in constant conversation with their body, and if one listens attentively, muscle strains are the way a body shouts: “I need a break!” Of course, there are varying degrees of a strain that require a different sort of response, and if you need help figuring out what to do about your soreness, take a look at “How To Speed Up Muscle Strain Recovery In 5 Proven Steps.” First, you’ll want to identify the grade of strain to determine the length of your recovery period. Grade 1 strains are minimal stretches and tears of muscle fiber, and can often be addressed with active recovery. In other words, you don’t need to stop exercising entirely; just turn down the intensity for a couple of days or weeks. Grade 2 and 3 strains are a different story. They’re a partial or complete tear of a muscle, and they can take as much as 6 months to repair. It isn’t always easy to know the degree of severity for a running injury, but this article can help: “Is That a Running Ache or an Injury?” Sharp, stabbing pains or pain that lasts for more than three days are a sign that your condition is beyond a typical muscle ache. Whatever kind of strain you’ve experienced, experts recommend you get plenty of rest days, cross training, light strength training, and sleep to speed up recovery. For a few tips on cross training, check out “The Secrets to Success of Cross-Training for Trail and Ultrarunners.”

Minute 4: Shoe Review: Craft Nordlite Ultra ($160)

Because someone has to live his life, our shoe reviewer, Brian Metzler, is in Chamonix this week for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc trail running festival. He has been test-driving the Craft Nordlite Ultra over the past couple of weeks and he notes that the Swedish company that got its start in high performance apparel now enjoys some buzz in the trail running community for its high quality shoes. We share Brian’s highlights of the Craft Nordlite Ultra below and you can read his full review on our website.

What’s New: The Nordlite Ultra is a brand new shoe from Craft, but it takes cues and uses materials from several of its recent models. It’s built with a highly cushioned midsole made of Craft's supercritical Cr Foam, which allows the shoe to serve up a soft, bouncy but inherently stable ride. That’s a unique mix that’s made possible by a carbon midfoot shank embedded in the middle of the midsole. It has an extremely light and breathable perforated upper that creates a well-ventilated feeling of airiness but also conforms to a variety of foot sizes and shapes to help provide a locked-down fit. It has a low-profile, multi-lugged tread pattern on the three-piece rubber outsole that helps it adhere to most wet and dry surfaces without inhibiting the natural flex and movement of your feet.

Why You’ll Love It: I love it because it’s versatile for just about any surface, almost any pace and almost any distance. Although it’s not built for extremely rugged, technical rocky trails – and let’s face it only a few shoes are – the semi-firm feeling of the midsole foam gives it the stability necessary to run on semi-technical terrain. A lot of my runs in Boulder, Colorado, start from my house, so I’m running on paved roads for a mile until I get to a trailhead. The Nordlite Ultra is one of those shoes that feels good (or good enough) running on hard surfaces without any awkward sensations from the outsole lugs. From there, I’ve typically encountered a wide variety of trail terrain ranging from hard-packed dirt to moderately rocky terrain. The thickness and relatively firm but longitudinally flexible midsole moderates foot movements without being tippy and keeps underfoot protuberances at bay. I was able to feel the trail pretty well for such a high-stack shoe, while also benefiting from considerable cushion and protection.

For Brian’s full review of the new Craft Nordlite Ultra, check it out here.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Nothing lasts forever, and that’s especially true for your favorite pair of running shoes. Every shoe has a finite amount of mileage before they give out, and depending on the terrain and conditions you experience, their lifespan can differ significantly. If you need help finding out if it’s time to replace what you’ve got, take a look at: “When to Replace Running Shoes: Tips from a Run Coach.” Most modern shoes should last 300+ miles, but you should watch for signs such as the shoes feeling a little flat as well as lingering aches and soreness to let you know it may be time for a replacement pair. As an added bonus, if you want to squeeze a bit more life out of your white sneakers, check out: “How to Clean White Sneakers.”

  • In the fast paced, tech-driven world we live in today, it can be hard to keep track of all the progress your favorite apps make. You might have access to features you’ve always been waiting for without even realizing it, and according to a recent post from Strava, they’ve made 14 new updates this year alone: “2023's new features & updates…so far!” The integration of FATMAP has been a fan favorite, enabling rich 3D mapping of your ski routes, cycling climbs, hikes and trail runs.

  • In Minute 2 of this issue, we took a look at heat shock proteins, or HSPs for short. We discovered that they’re effective at lowering risk of Parkinsons and dementia, among other benefits. One way to develop your HSPs is through the use of infrared saunas. To learn more about that technology, check out: “These are the different types of infrared saunas — find out which one is right for you.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

After belonging to the running community for long enough, you start to develop a sixth sense for picking other runners out of a crowd. They just might become your new teammate or friend, after all, so it’s nice to sharpen up your sleuthing skills while you’re out and about to expand your running social circle. @fuelmyrun is quite the detective herself, and she points out the three signs to confirm that you are looking at a fellow runner. Take a look at her hilarious clip below or click here to watch.


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