Minute 1: Forget ice and Ibuprofen, your spice rack can help fight inflammation
A long run or intense workout often sends us straight to the medicine cabinet or freezer when we return home. Advil and frozen peas are as much a part of our routine as tying our shoes and uploading to Strava. A better treatment for the pain you are feeling, however, might be in your spice rack. Most running injuries and post-workout pain are caused by inflammation, with muscles, joints and tissues swelling due to overuse. Some studies have questioned whether reducing inflammation with medication or even physical therapy is really the best way to treat running injuries. In “How to Reduce Inflammation: 3 Tactics to Run Pain Free,” StrengthRunning.com recommends plenty of sleep, a diet heavy on vegetables and carbs and light on sugar, and a strong recovery process. Ignoring the warning signs can lead to chronic inflammation, which in turn leads to even more pain and other health-related problems. Healthline.com says you may have everything you need in your spice cabinet to break this cycle: “9 Herbs and Spices That Fight Inflammation.” Spices like black pepper, garlic, ginger and cinnamon are effective for fighting inflammation, as are herbs like ginger, rosemary and green tea. There are also plenty of other foods that can help fight inflammation. For more tips, check out WebMd’s “Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Foods That Reduce Inflammation.” #ISaidSpiceNotIce
Minute 2: Rehydrate like a winner
For many years our favorite post-race rehydration plan centered on the beer sponsor’s tent. The trend continues with many craft beers now sponsoring endurance events. Proponents say that the alcohol in beer gets carbs back into your bloodstream quickly. That idea may fly with 10K weekend warriors, but not with the GOAT. We recently wrote about the nutrition plan that helps 43-year-old Tom Brady win Super Bowls. He didn’t celebrate his 7th ring on Sunday with beer or champagne, but rather with electrolyte-infused water, his go-to beverage. We are unlikely to follow all of Brady’s recommendations, but we do subscribe to his ideas on hydration. Brady drinks about 200 ounces, or 25 cups, of water per day, and explains on his TB12 website “Why Electrolytes Are Essential For Recovery.” Electrolytes treat and prevent muscle fatigue and cramping. The combination of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium is also good for the digestive, cardiac, muscular and nervous systems. Runners’ Connect explains why electrolytes are so important in “Electrolytes for Runners: The Definitive Guide.” For more sources for electrolytes, check out “The 10 Best Electrolytes for Runners of 2021.” Our personal favorite for endurance athletes is the Nuun line of electrolyte products because they taste clean, without lots of syrupy sweetness. #ElectrolyteOrchestra
Minute 3: Treadmills vs. outdoor running: Which is better?
The pandemic sent the sale of treadmills and other home fitness equipment soaring during the lockdowns, and many believe the home-workout revolution may be here to stay. Peloton hopes the good times continue as their stock is up 5X over the last 12 months. Some gyms are now renting fitness equipment, with one article recently declaring: “Goodbye To The Gym. Hello To The Dumbbell Library.” Just as people are working out more often in their basements and spare bedrooms, they have also discovered the joys of sweating outside. According to Strava, outdoor activities increased dramatically in 2020. So that dichotomy raises an important question: Which is better for you — running at home on your own treadmill, or running outside? A new story examines the issue in “Treadmill vs. running outside: The pros and cons of each.” The treadmill is a great option during inclement weather, or if it’s too dark or unsafe to run outside. It also provides shock absorption that can be kinder to achy joints. Treadmills can also help with pacing if you are following a specific workout. Otherwise, this new post highly recommends running outside, largely for the psychological benefits. “I personally can’t weather more than 20 minutes on a treadmill without feeling like I’ll implode mentally,” author Amanda Capritto says. Many others have examined this issue, with most also championing the wonders of outdoor running. VeryWellFit analyzes the pros and cons in “Treadmill vs. Outside Running,” while Men’s Health contributes to the debate with “6 Unexpected Benefits of Running Outside.” If you are thinking of investing in a treadmill to avoid icy streets and sidewalks this winter, Runner’s World provides this analysis: “The 15 Best Treadmills for Every Type of Runner.” The list includes our all-time favorite Woodway which at $13,000+ makes the Peloton model look cheap at $4,300. #TreadBills
Minute 4: Mental prep for fall marathons
Outside Magazine this week provides a thoughtful essay on the optimism required to register for big races this year: “Will Major Marathons Actually Come Back This Fall?” Runners are heartened by the continued decline in Covid cases in the U.S. over the past few weeks to pre-Thanksgiving levels, according to the CDC. The Outside essay quotes running coach Ben Rosario, who says runners should continue training whether their scheduled races will be run or not. “The psychological benefits of pre-race anticipation are also very real, even if the race itself gets called off.” If you are in search of inspiration, check out FindMyMarathon.com’s “List of 2021 Marathons that are Still Scheduled.” And if you are interested in one of our favorite races, the Marine Corps Marathon, we goofed on a recent post and listed the incorrect race date. The 2021 event will take place on October 31, if pandemic conditions allow. Registration will open for military members later this month and for the general public on March 10. #MarathonPlan
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
The pandemic has adversely affected many things in our lives over the past year. While not as serious as some consequences, Covid has not been good for our posture. New work-from-home routines have left many people sitting for long spells at desks, in front of computers, and binging Netflix. Insider.com examines the issue and offers some help in “5 exercises to fix your posture — and why good posture is crucial for your health.” While bends, stretches and neck presses are good ways to treat bad posture, there are also plenty of gadgets and devices on the market to help, including posture alarms and apps. Check out Wired.com’s “The 6 Best Posture Correctors to Put a Stop to Your Slouch.”
Another annoyance with being a good citizen during a pandemic is that wearing a face mask tends to fog up your glasses. If you like nerdy life hacks, this USA Today video offers a pair of effective solutions. If you’d prefer to shop your way out of the problem rather than acting like a home MacGyver, check out this list from Men’s Health: “The 19 Best Face Masks for People Who Wear Glasses.”
If you want some visual inspiration for your next workout, check out this new list of 10 amazing triathlon photos just shared by World Triathlon. In January, Strava published an even more remarkable endurance sports collection based on their annual photo contest that saw more than 30,000 entries this year. Check it out here.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Chris Hemsworth is currently filming “Thor: Love and Thunder” in his native Australia. The 4th edition of Marvel’s Thor franchise will once again feature Hemsworth as an ultra-fit version of the title character. There’s only been one problem so far. Hemsworth’s stunt double is having trouble keeping up with the actor’s recent muscle gains. If you can’t figure out whether it’s a leg day or an upper body day, maybe you can replicate Hemsworth’s workout below and do both in one intense set. Your body double may hate you for it.