Minute 1: How to win the New Year’s Resolution Bowl
The typical New Year’s resolution ends more quickly than a Hollywood marriage. According to Strava, ambition, and self-control evaporate by January 19 when 80% of people abandon their goals. Strava has dubbed that date “Quitter’s Day.” Last year, 3 of the top 5 U.S. resolutions for 2020 were to lose weight (#1), exercise (#3), and eat healthier (#5). Apparently, the pandemic has dramatically changed goals according to a recent survey that determined “Most Americans Are Ditching Traditional New Year's Resolutions for 2021.” New goals include saving money for the future, learning a new skill, and focusing on experiences rather than possessions. Whether your resolutions include fitness, finance or friends, according to another new study, there is a simple mindset tweak that can dramatically increase your chances for success. Instead of listing things that you will stop doing (eating junk food, overindulging on Saturday night, etc.), participants in the study were much more likely to succeed if they framed their resolution on adding something to their lives. E.g. “I will eat more vegetables.” or “I will run longer on Sundays.” #ElizabethTaylor
Minute 2: ‘No pain, no gain’ may be bad advice for female runners
“No pain, no gain” is one of the most popular workout mantras in sports, uttered in gyms and run clubs across the world. Despite wild popularity of its usage in Jane Fonda’s workout VHS tapes in the early ‘80s, it was never meant to be taken literally. Particularly by women. A new study shows that among runners, “Women have an increased risk of stress fractures.” The study, recently published in Physical Therapy in Sports, researched the factors contributing to the risk, including nutrition and bone density, but found that most stress fractures occur when warning signs of pain are ignored or misinterpreted. Here are 7 common symptoms of stress fractures. “There needs to be more guidance from healthcare providers for women runners on how to prevent stress fractures,” said Dr. Jeremy Close, one of the lead authors and physicians of the new study. Others have warned about this as well, with VeryWellFit explaining why “‘No Pain, No Gain’ Is Bad Advice.” #StressTest
Minute 3: Get ready for a holiday-themed virtual race
The pandemic has changed everything from holiday shopping to whether Santa is bringing a Plexiglass divider to the mall. It’s also having an impact on popular holiday-themed races, with many now going virtual. So if you’re dying for an excuse to run around your neighborhood in a Hanukkah sweater or goofy reindeer-horned hat, check out this list of “Holiday-Themed Virtual Runs To Sign Up For Before the New Year.” Many of them offer not only a good excuse for an Instagram post, but also much of the swag you’ve grown to love. Holly Jolly Jingle Bell 5K Christmas Virtual Race, for instance, comes with a seasonal medal, race bib, and an energy bar to keep you going. Our local favorite requires a little more courage -- the Santa Speedo Run. It involves prancing around downtown Boston wearing nothing but a skimpy bathing suit and a frosty smile. #FreezingForTheGram
Minute 4: Try refueling with some ‘real food’
When we need a mid-workout energy boost, we typically reach for an energy bar, sports drink, or gel. While those are the most common supplements, they are not the only refueling options. Everyone’s body is different and there’s plenty of flexibility when it comes to drink and food options. Women’s Running examines this issue in “How to Fuel Long Runs with Real Food.” As nutrition coach Monica Gonzales points out, “real food” can be just as good as commercial sports products for refueling your body. She recommends foods like bananas, raisins and potatoes. Harvard’s School of Public Health does a good job in this article explaining the differences among processed ingredients, processed foods and ultra-processed foods. In general, the less processed, the better. For more tips on healthier food for your workouts, check out “How to Fuel Your Running with Real Food,” or “Fueling Your Run with Whole Foods.” On a related note, Running Unlimited recently pointed out the benefits and popularity of bananas in its post, “Why Do Runners Eat Bananas?” #CrudeFood
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
According to a new study from West Virginia University, taking glucosamine supplements is just as effective as exercise in reducing mortality rates. Normally prescribed for joint pain, glucosamine offers side benefits for heart health and fighting inflammation. The study’s authors warn against using the supplement as a substitute for exercise, but recommend combining the two positive forces.
With Covid cases rising, temperatures falling, and days getting shorter, it’s getting harder to run or exercise outdoors. As Dr. John Ratey told us in our recent podcast interview, exercising outdoors has deeply positive impacts on our brain health and growth. But when you really can’t hit the roads safely, consider this new piece from Gear Junkie: “Distance Runners: Here’s the Best Treadmill Workout You Can Do This Winter.” (Incline tempos!) If the boredom of the treadmill is getting you down, consider loading a flick from one of these lists during your indoor run: the “Best Running Movies: 10 To Help Find That Mojo,” “The Best Running Movies Ever,” or the “Best 12 Inspirational Running Movies.”
Speaking of safety, whether you are an experienced pro or a couch-to-5K newbie, it’s important to pay attention and remain conscious of your surroundings at this time of year. Tips for night running include the “Best Running Headlamps” and “The Best Reflective Running Gear of 2020.”
If you haven’t checked out our Instagram feed lately, then it’s no wonder your requests to join a group run have ground to a halt. Well, OK, maybe that has something to do with the pandemic, but when your phone eventually dings with new texts asking you to head out for a run, you don’t want to get lapped by inside jokes and winking references to what SMM just shared on the ‘Gram. Part of our improved social media presence is derived from an extensive demographic and psychographic analysis of our readership. Most of our improvement, however, is due to hiring a new social media director who is under the age of 25 and has creative facial hair. If you don’t want to invest $14.99 in a Six Minute Mile t-shirt to improve your street image, following us on Instagram is the next best thing.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
In 2016, Greek-American long-distance runner Alexi Pappas made history, setting a record in the 10K for Greece. But after she returned to Los Angeles, the runner/actor/filmmaker came crashing down with clinical depression. The former Dartmouth College NCAA All-American had been trained to take care of her body. Now she wonders what would have happened had she been equally trained to take care of her mental health. She ponders this question in an op-ed video for The New Times called, “I Achieved My Wildest Dreams. Then Depression Hit.” Pappas asks a critical question: Shouldn’t sports — and society — devote the same amount of time and resources to mental health as they do to physical training? Her story is complex but is summarized well in the 5-minute video below.