FEB 10, 2023
Minute 1: What to do about bad posture
We need to work on our stand-up routine. No, not our bad puns and Dad jokes. We’re talking about our posture and excessive slouching over a keyboard. It’s becoming increasingly common for “knowledge workers” to develop back pain or muscular imbalances thanks to an overdose of Zoom calls, memo drafting and “researching” stuff online. If you sit at a desk most of the day, you need to read this: “‘You stand like an overcooked prawn!’ Why bad posture is the key to back pain – and 10 ways to improve yours.” Maybe you’ve got a habit of hunching over to look at your phone, poor ergonomics at your desk, or an unaddressed injury that’s causing misalignment. Failing to sit up straight can do more than just offend your mom, according to this piece: “How Bad Posture Affects Your Run.” Desk jockeys often experience hamstrings that are too tight in some spots and too stretched out in others, for example. To help you run faster and smoother, consider these “Tips for Maintaining Proper Posture at Your Desk.” Adjusting your monitor height and distance can prevent unnecessary neck strain. Align the top of the monitor with your eye level and sit about an arm’s length away so that you don’t have to crane your neck. Having the right desk and chair height can make it easier to hold a healthy posture. There are even devices designed to track and correct your posture like this one: “Upright GO2 Posture Trainer Review.” The device and app pair and prompt you to select a goal. The options include improving overall well-being, relieving back pain, preventing future back issues, and more. Then, you calibrate it by taking a healthy posture, and the device will vibrate when it detects you slouching or breaking upright form.
Minute 2: Check your training progress with these workouts
Running a race without a well thought-out goal pace is a bit like driving at night with your headlights off. It’s easy to get (dangerously) off track. If it’s your first time running a certain race distance, or if you’re returning from a long layoff, it can be difficult to know what pace you’re capable of. For those of you in the dark, this workout can help shed some light on the situation: “Marathoners: test your aerobic fitness with this moderate distance workout.” The workout is fairly straightforward: 5 reps of 3K at your goal marathon pace, taking 3 minute jogs between reps. By performing this workout about halfway through your training cycle, it should give you a good idea of your progress. If you’re able to maintain your goal race pace without much difficulty, you’re probably on track to hit it on race day. If this workout is a struggle, it might be time to recalibrate your goals or switch up your training methods. The 3k intervals aren’t the only way to find the right pace, according to: “How To Do Yasso 800s.” Invented by Bart Yasso, the workout has you run 10 repeats of an 800M interval. If your goal marathon pace is 3 hours, aim to finish your last 800s in 3 minutes. 4 hours? Do your last 800s in 4 minutes, and so on. Not only will the workout inform you of your race readiness, but it can also build your speed and endurance.
Minute 3: Why you should run a half marathon
A few years ago, we “jumped into” a half marathon and ran into an old running buddy at the starting line. Since our race paces in the past were similar, we spent the first five miles running shoulder-to-shoulder. A few minutes later we painfully realized that he had clearly jumped into training while we had only jumped into the race. He left us in the dust and we spent the last eight miles watching other runners stream by us and muttering to ourselves: “You didn’t respect the distance!” That may sound like a strange lead-in as to why we love half marathons so much, but often you learn more at rock bottom than you do at the mountain top. The half marathon is long enough that you have to train for it to enjoy it. But unlike its 26.2-mile sibling, training and recovery won’t really control your life. Our instincts were reinforced when we came across this story: “7 reasons why the half-marathon is better than the marathon.” Half marathons take less preparation time – let’s say 10 weeks instead of 16 weeks. And while it’s common to need a week off after a marathon, most runners are back in action 2-4 days after a half. If you’re considering a 13.1 this year, you may enjoy this new story: “How to Run a Half Marathon: Tips for All Levels.” If this is your first attempt at a half or if you are in the “golden years” of your running career, we are fans of the Galloway run-walk-run method described in “Half Marathon Training.” RWR is designed to get you to the starting line with less stress, but it can also yield good results on race day. If you already have a half or two under your belt and are PR hunting, check out this practical guide from Fleet Feet: “How to Run a Faster Half Marathon.” Their advice ranges from cross-training to skipping water stations on race day.
Minute 4: Shoe Review: Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 Runshield ($160)
As we say in New England, even as the days get longer, the cold gets stronger. That means we have many weeks still ahead of us battling winter conditions. Today’s review from shoe expert Brian Metzler explores a new generation of water-resistant running shoes from Saucony that are perfect for slogging through snowy and sloppy runs. The highlights are below, but you should check out Brian’s full review on our website.
Truth be told, despite running in harsh conditions every winter, I have rarely been a proponent of waterproof shoes that have a Gore-Tex or eVent lining. For me, it’s often too much protection. Yes, those shoes keep your feet warmer and drier, but they’re not quite as breathable and they can make your feet feel excessively warm in mild temperatures. Also, the uppers on those shoes are often rigid or inflexible. But running all week in the Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 Runshield shoes has served up the ideal blend of weather protection, comfort, cushion, breathability and smooth-riding fun.
What’s New: All of the shoes in the Saucony Runshield pack – including the Endorphin Shift 3 Runshield – have a durable, water-resistant nylon upper that’s flexible but not crunchy or overly stiff. That’s the main difference (and the reason for the $10 upcharge compared to the regular Endorphin Shift 3) that sufficiently winterizes these shoes over the regular versions. Runshield helps your feet feel more comfortable through snow, slush and frigid temperatures. That doesn’t make them waterproof, but if you understand what water-resistant means as a runner, you know that you can splash through puddles without soak-through wetness impeding the rest of your run.
Fit/Feel/Ride: The Endorphin Shift 3 Runshield fits true to size with a narrow-to-medium interior volume from heel to toe. It has a slightly narrower volume in the arch area, extra room in the toe box and a snug, locked-down feeling in the heel. The step-in feeling is soft with a modestly appointed interior, but it has a decidedly firm sensation as you start running. The smooth-sided upper and the softly padded, partially gusseted tongue contributed to a secure fit, while a reinforced plastic heel clip hugs and supports the rear of your foot as you transition from heel to midfoot to forefoot. The shoe features Saucony’s SpeedRoll Technology (a design element borrowed from the speedy Endorphin Speed and Endorphin Pro shoes) that creates a rockered geometry and provides an energetic rolling sensation in every stride. Meanwhile, the EVA/TPU midsole foam compound allows the shoe to feel both slightly springy and also very stable.
Why It’s Great: It’s great because it’s everything the original Endorphin Shift 3 is, only with a protective weather shield to keep wintry elements at bay during a run. It’s a midweight stability trainer for runners who appreciate a touch of support to help offset mild to moderate overpronation, even if only in the later miles of a long run or race when your form starts to fatigue. Soft, cushy and supportive, it’s a versatile training shoe for running in winter conditions. It’s best for long runs, tempo runs and recovery runs, especially in cold or wet weather.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
We are biased, but we think that our friend Dara Zall Kelly publishes the best Boston Marathon training blog on the Interwebs. Dara delivers once again this week with lots of humor and humility on every runner’s most loved/dreaded weekend activity – the long run. She hits on the serendipitous joys of discovering a construction site Porta potty along with the less-than-helpful plumes of weed smoke at the top of Heartbreak Hill. We laughed, we cried, we clicked the link to the full story. Read all the details here.
For every yin there’s a yang. We’re with Dara on the benefits of the old school long run, but finding the balance between rigorous training and ample rest is tricky. Ultramarathoner Camille Herron, who is 40-something, provides a slightly different view in this new story: “Camille Herron’s Advice For Ultra Athletes: Skip the Long Run.” She doesn’t ignore 20-milers entirely, but she tries to use them less frequently, relying instead on cumulative weekly volume rather than big one-shot dosages.
A lot of the messaging around healthy eating describes it as a subtractive process. That is, you have to cut out foods that are considered unhealthy. OK, that sounds reasonable, but it’s easy to overdo it and end up losing vital nutrients in the process. If you want some practical advice when starting a new approach to eating, read “The Biggest Mistakes People Make When Trying to Eat Healthy.” One casualty of eating clean is often a decline in protein intake.
Anyone who’s experienced anxiety knows that it starts in the mind, but can quickly extend to physical symptoms in the body. We often notice how stress affects our sleep quality, but we too often ignore the other physical manifestations. We boosted our awareness on the topic with this new piece: “How anxiety affects the body: 5 physical symptoms, according to science.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
In Minute 2 of this issue, we uncovered the history and benefits of burpees, of which there were many. For some folks, the simple version of this bodyweight exercise is not challenging enough. One of those people is Devon Levesque, who is Instagram famous for this feat: “'Overcome the impossible': Man bear-crawls 26.2 miles to honor veterans.” Devon’s burpee is tame by comparison, but we still like the extra spice it adds to an old favorite. @devonlevesque raises the ante by including a lateral jump over a tennis net as part of his routine. You’ll be impressed by the video below, even if you have to modify his idea to jump laterally over something more modest like a cone or a rolled up mat.