These foods and vitamins can boost your immune system



Minute 1: Taking time off from running can be a good thing


Most avid runners would rather listen to a Justin Bieber playlist on repeat for a month than take a prolonged break from training. But just like a little bit of Bieber can be a good thing (c’mon do you really hate “Sorry” that much?), a short break can help your physical and your mental stamina in the long run. As we documented recently, research shows that experienced runners can take a break of up to 8 weeks without their fitness level taking a big hit. Now there’s even more encouraging news. Running coach David Roche says taking a break from running can lead to improved performance. In “Why Downtime May Lead To Breakthroughs,” Roche writes that every athlete he has coached has followed a layoff with their best performance. Whether the layoff is due to injury, illness, pregnancy or a mental health break, taking time off, he says, is not a failure. “Breaks can lead to exponential growth processes that reset what you could have never thought possible before the layoff,” he writes at Trail Runner. Roche cites research in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that shows that endurance performance can be maintained for up to 15 weeks on as little as 2 training sessions per week, or when volume is reduced by as much as 66%. Similar findings apply to strength training as well. If you are returning from a long layoff, VeryWellFit recommends easing backing into your routine and offers tips for how to do this with “10 Spring Training Tips for Athletes.” Also check out “How To Start Running Again After A Long Break,” or this “Guide To Return To Running After Injury.” We also like these “6 Steps to Return to Running After Injury” from The Mother Runners. #BreaktimeBreakthrough


Minute 2: Trail running continues to grow in popularity


Flagstaff, Ariz. has long been a popular training destination for distance runners due to the lure of high altitude. A few hours away in Tucson, which is surrounded by the beautiful Mesquite Canyon and White Tank Mountains, runners have been flocking to the trails during the pandemic, which has led to a high demand for in-person trail racing. After a recent live trail-running event, the Tucson Sentinel reported that in-person trail races are on the rise in Arizona and beyond. “I think people are getting a bit more comfortable, and seeing how being outdoors and spread out, it can be done safely,” says Jamil Coury, owner of Aravaipa Running, an outdoor training group that has been organizing in-person trail runs since August. With running on the rise across the board because of Covid, the pandemic has had a positive impact on trail running, with 3/4ths of respondents in one survey saying they have been seeking out new trails. If you’ve been sticking mainly to the track and roads, Canadian Trail Running Magazine recommends venturing off road to mix things up. It offers “5 reasons it’s time to give trail running a try.” If you’re wondering whether nutrition differs for trail running, I Run Far has some good tips with “Fuel Up: And Introduction to Fueling for Trail Running.” For more help, check out Fleet Feet’s “5 Trail Running Workouts to Tackle This Spring.” And the American Trail Running Association is always a great source with its weekly “How to train for trail running” tips. If you’re looking for a trail race near you that doesn’t involve 100 miles of black toe nails, check out Spartan’s trail race series. No, these events are not going to impress an ultrarunning purist, but Spartan gets high marks for producing fun trail events with no obstacles, with distances starting at 10K and working up from there. #LightTrail


Minute 3: These foods and vitamins can boost your immune system


While research shows that moderate running and exercise can boost your immune system, there are also studies that say intense training can sometimes have a negative effect on your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and viruses. VeryWellFit recently examined the difference between the impact of moderate and intense exercise in “Can Too Much Exercise Decrease Your Immunity?” If you’re getting a sniffle, health and fitness experts recommend avoiding over-training, getting plenty of sleep, and eating a healthy diet. One of the best ways to strengthen your immune system through diet is by getting plenty of Vitamin C from foods like garlic, bell peppers and, of course, a healthy portion of fruits and vegetables. The Run Society recently published its list of “5 Vegetables To Eat For A Strong Immune System.” According to the National Institutes of Health, men need 90 milligrams of Vitamin C per day, while women require 75 milligrams. LIVESTRONG examines the importance of Vitamin C and offers “24 Foods High in Vitamin C for a Healthy Immune System.” LIVESTRONG also includes foods that are rich in Vitamin C and other vitamins on its list of “19 Foods That Can Improve Your Mood.” For more information on how to protect your immune system with exercise, check out “How To Boost Your Immune System Through Running.” #ImmuneShot


Minute 4: Author finds humor in running by poking fun at himself


Ultrarunner and author Brendan Leonard wrote a book called “I Hate Running And You Can Too.” His mock hatred hasn’t scared him much, however, as he once ran 52 marathon-length distances in 52 days. Leonard’s hilarious look at the sport of running has drawn rave reviews for its “laugh-out-loud advice” that includes “7 truths every runner will recognize.” Leonard has followed up his book success with a new list of “26 Useful Facts About Running.” His “semi-rad nonexhaustive list” offers another tongue-in-cheek look at the sport and features some gems like “one hundred percent of the participants in the first marathon died upon completing the event.” Part of Leonard’s schtick is to poke fun at himself and other ultrarunners. Running is only one component of ultrarunning, he says. The others include “hallucinating, being sad, losing toenails, bleeding, despair, blisters, talking nonsensically, shuffling, and socializing with nice people who live in the forest next to folding tables displaying snack foods.” Perhaps his best observation for our times is that “If you’ve been running regularly but would like to find someone to tell you that you’re doing it wrong, you can find them on the internet.” If you’re in the mood for more running satire, check out this piece from The Onion last week: “Marathon Runner Collapses A Little Early To Be Compassionately Helped Across Finish Line.” For more nerdy running humor, check out these “17 Funniest Running Memes.” #LaughTrack


Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • You’ve had your morning coffee, you’re well hydrated, and you’re ready to start your first marathon in over a year. And then, less than a mile in, you suddenly have to pee. You went to the bathroom before you left home, and again right before the race, yet here it comes, that irritating pressure on your bladder signaling you will soon need to duck into the woods or find a porta-potty. Why do you have to pee every time you start a race or run? Run To The Finish recently examined this annoying issue in “Peeing While Running | Causes and Solutions.”


  • As spring finally arrives in the northern half of the country, concerns change from keeping warm enough to keeping dry enough. That applies not only to April showers, but also increased temperatures that cause us to sweat -- really sweat -- for the first time in months. Whether that applies to you or whether you’re “asking for a friend,” Runner Click seemingly just published a piece on the topic: “Why Do I Sweat So Much When I Run?” RC examines why some people perspire more than others, how to determine how much you sweat, and what to do about it. It also has some encouraging advice for the drenched shirt crowd: “Honestly, being an excessive sweater is more likely to damage your self-esteem than your body.”


  • As we documented above, getting back into a routine after a long layoff can be challenging. Personal trainer Anthony Crouchelli has a good tip for getting back in rhythm by synching your steps to a music playlist organized by BPM (beats per minute). In a recent Tik Tok video, Crouchelli recommends checking your steps per minute on your fitness tracker, and then finding songs or a playlist that matches your cadence, allowing you to maintain your pace by running to the beat of the music. Other personal trainers say the exercise could also boost your performance and help you avoid burnout and injuries. Bustle.com says “This Running Hack Will Totally Change The Way You Work Out.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration


With the Tokyo Olympics just 4 months away and spring track season about to kick into high gear, it seems like a good time to remember the GOAT in Olympic track and field. Usain Bolt holds the world record in the 100M and 200M. An 8-time gold medalist, he is the only sprinter ever to win the 100 and 200 in 3 straight Olympics (2008, 2012, 2016). Just watching Bolt run should be motivation enough for any athlete, but MisterFilOfficial is reminding runners that Bolt was once a beginner too and started his amazing journey “with one step, one mile.” Check out their inspiring motivational video on the world’s fastest man.