DEC 28, 2022
Minute 1: Set the right kind of New Year’s resolutions
Will 2023 be the year you make a New Year’s resolution and stick to it? We sure hope so, but don’t look at the stats around NYR success rates if you want to stay optimistic. The second Friday in January has earned the nickname of “Quitters Day,” since it’s when a lot of us give up on our resolute commitment to health. For a bit of history and background info, read: “Quitters Day – January 13, 2023.” If you want to avoid the pitfalls of Quitter’s Day, you should keep in mind these “5 Realistic New Year's Resolutions Fitness Experts Want You to Set.” One of the easiest additions to make to your exercise routine is more stretching. It’s a low intensity activity that can boost your mood when you’re tense from increased stress. Adding an additional day you exercise each week is highly attainable as well. Increasing frequency can be a gentler change compared to increasing the length or intensity of your current workouts. That’s ideal for your health, according to some research that suggests the more regular your exercise is, the better. Read more on that in “Are short bursts of daily exercise or longer, less regular sessions better for your health?” If you’re still looking for the perfect resolution to try out, look no further than this list of “New Year’s Resolutions That Will Actually Make A Difference.”
Minute 2: Get all the nutrition you need, even on a busy schedule
We’re often forced to choose between eating healthy, and eating fast and affordable meals. For a select few that have cracked the code, they can have their cake and eat it too. Maybe we should rephrase that, because you certainly won’t find much cake in the nutrition plans of those listed in “What Fit Guys Really Eat.” The article features seven athletes who’ve managed to strike a balance between work and fitness, and it’s largely because of the choices they make preparing and filling their plates. Don’t underestimate a packed lunch, says Jason Hardrath, a PE teacher and an accomplished ultrarunner. He’s a big proponent of making salads with added protein like nuts, seeds, and quinoa. Scott Tompkins is an elite age-group triathlete and his method is all about flexibility, aiming to take in fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and proteins as much as possible. When it isn’t available, he doesn’t stress, as long as he does his best to follow healthy diet principles most of the time. That means you can learn from the “Best Diets Overall 2022,” picking and choosing what works for you while maintaining the freedom to break the rules here and there. Looking into the new year, you can expect to see “EatingWell's Top 10 Food & Nutrition Trends for 2023” have a big impact on health. Expect to see more alternative coffees, sea plants, and adaptogens throughout 2023. #DietsForDoers
Minute 3: Strava’s Year in Sport shows marathon finishes doubled in 2022
As we end the year, it’s a good time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, and we’re certainly impressed by the endurance sports community after reading through Strava’s “Year in Sport 2022.” The first big takeaway we found is that we did a lot of running, biking, and hiking together, and went further and faster as a result. We wrote about the power of running together in Minute 2 of this recent issue. According to Strava’s numbers, cyclists and hikers experience an even greater increase in performance by pairing up. We’re talking >50% increases to time and distance in some cases. Running with friends was also popular with people hitting the trails. Running, biking and hiking on trails are 50% more likely to be done in a group rather than solo. 2022 was a big year for first time marathoners too. In fact, the share of runners on Strava who ran a marathon practically doubled from last year, and if you’re among that group, we’d like to offer our congratulations. If you’re inspired to join the ranks of marathoners, or want to continue your streak, be sure to check out “The 20 Best Marathons To Run in the USA in 2023.” It also looks like we had a thirst for adventure in 2022, because Alpine skiing, snowboarding, and rock climbing were among the fastest growing sports. If you’re looking to plan your dream getaway to a mountain or resort, these “11 Coveted AirBnBs Near Ski Areas Around the World” will fill you with inspiration.
Minute 4: Shoe review: Top 3 Running Shoes of 2022
If you have been following the reviews of Brian Metzler this year, you know that our friend is an absolute shoe dog. Nothing makes him happier than unboxing a new pair of running shoes and taking them for a few test drives. He has been impressed with many models in 2022, but we asked him to pick his absolute favorites to share with our readers. His top three shoes of the year are described briefly below, but to get the full reviews and to see all of the runners up, please click here.
Best Training Shoe of 2022 — Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 ($170)
The Endorphin Speed 3 is not only better than the two previous incarnations, in my humble opinion, but it’s also hands-down the best running shoe of the year. Saucony has continued to improve this shoe in small, but significant ways that have made it a better everyday training shoe. It still has a curvy flexible nylon propulsion plate embedded in the midsole that provides an energetic zest in every stride, but the plate has been updated with flared-out wings on each side for added stability. Plus, there’s a slightly thicker, wider and softer full-length layer of PWRRUN PB foam in the midsole that makes it even more comfortable, more accommodating and more responsive.
Best Trail Running Shoe of 2022 — Hoka Tecton X ($200)
This year several shoe brands began putting carbon-fiber propulsion plates into trail running shoes, but in my experience the Hoka Tecton X is one of only two shoes that really got it right. (Speedland’s SL:HSV is the other.) The challenge with putting stiff carbon-fiber plates into the soft midsoles of trail running shoes is that it limits the lateral stability on technical terrain with rocks, roots and uneven surfaces. Hoka solved that problem by inserting two parallel carbon plates inside the high-rebound ProflyX midsole foam of the Tecton X, which allows only a portion of the shoe to bend in a lateral direction while still providing forward propulsion and protection.
Best Road Racing Shoe of 2022 — ASICS Metaspeed Sky+ ($250)
Since the advent of carbon-fiber plates embedded in high-stack midsoles, there have been a lot of great racing shoes. Finding the one that works best for you is no small task, since they all fit, feel and ride differently. For me, the best of the bunch is the ASICS Metaspeed Sky+. The updated Metaspeed Sky+ has 4 percent more energetic FF Blast Turbo foam material, a new, more pliable engineered mesh upper and an updated shape and positioning of its carbon-fiber propulsion plate. The responsive vibe of the Metaspeed Sky+ comes from the chunky foam, dramatic forefoot rocker geometry and stiffness of the plated midsole. I like the light and energetic sensation (6.2 oz. women’s 8; 7.2 oz. men’s 9) it serves up in every stride, but what’s most compelling is how the plate and midsole are shaped and positioned specifically for my long-striding gait. (If you’re a quicker-cadence runner at faster paces, you’ll want to opt for the ASICS Metaspeed Edge+.)
For the complete rundown on the best of the best and the best of the rest, check out Brian’s full review here.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Cold fronts and blizzards have swept the nation in the last few weeks which has forced runners to ask themselves this question: “When Is It Too Cold to Run Outside?” The scientific and medical communities generally agree that running in temps below 5 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous. In addition to being very cold, the air hitting your airways at those temps is extremely dry. That can cause damage to a system that wants to be moist and lubricated. In addition to your lungs, you should also protect your muscles, ligaments and tendons in cold weather. To learn how, check out: “A Winter Warm Up For the Coldest Days.”
With cold weather comes cold, flu, and Covid. We learned a lot about how to reduce the spread of disease during the pandemic, but for a refresher course, consider this story: “I’m an Infectious Disease Doctor, and These Are the 5 Things I Always Do During Cold and Flu Season.” Washing your hands, sanitizing phones, and avoiding crowds when possible can all have a big impact, and we hope you stay safe and healthy through the rest of the season.
In Minute 1 of this issue, we looked at the cutting edge of AI and its impact on fitness coaching. There’s a lot to be excited about, but computers are not likely to replace human ingenuity and coaching any time soon. This new story does a good job of explaining the limits of AI fitness tech in its current state: “I let my Coros watch train me for a marathon, here's how it went.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Merry Christmas to all our readers who celebrate that holiday. We hope Santa found his way down your chimney with everything you wished for. We know it can’t be easy for the big guy to cover all that distance in one night and one curious runner wanted to see just how hard it would be to go for a run in Santa’s outfit and beard. So Erchana Murray-Bartlett suited up and put it to the test. She’s been running a marathon every day for more than 100 days and counting, but even that level of fitness wasn’t enough to make this holiday run easy. Watching it has given us a newfound respect for St. Nick’s mobility, and you can see what we mean in the clip below. Happy Holidays!