NOV 18, 2022
Minute 1: High and low temps can both slow your roll
To most New York City residents, a 74°F day in November is a blessing. For endurance runners, it’s just the opposite, and that’s made clear by the average NYC Marathon finishing times from earlier this month. The typical finisher was about 12 minutes slower in ‘22 compared to ‘21 when temps were in the 50s. You can see just how much the heat slowed down runners in the Big Apple in this Instagram post from Strava. We’re sure the race day scorcher has runners praying for cooler temps in the future, but we’re here to remind you to be careful what you wish for – extreme cold isn’t ideal for runners either: “The science behind cold weather and running performance.” Our muscles work best when they’re fairly warm. That’s part of the reason why we literally warm up before intense exercise. When the weather drops below about 50°F, you can expect to see a reduction in muscle power, VO2 max, and cardiovascular efficiency. Not only that, but cold weather can cause you to burn energy faster. The body diverts resources away from muscular output so that it can maintain core body temperature. All that shivering will burn through glycogen stores at nearly six times the normal rate. As the temps drop this winter, try out a few of these “Weird winter running tricks that work” to stay as warm and safe as possible.
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Minute 2: Comparing athletic performance of twins provides advice for all of us
Any parent can tell you that two children raised in the same home can have remarkably different personalities and physical attributes. We’d like to believe that hard work can dramatically impact things like athletic abilities, but is nature more important than nurture? Recently, a study seemed to demonstrate that our exercise can make a difference, and you can see how in “What Happens When One Twin Exercises and the Other Doesn’t.” The study was fairly small, looking at only 17 pairs of twins from Finland who met a rather uncommon criterion. Twins usually exhibit similar levels of activity in their lives, but these participants were selected because the opposite was true. What did researchers find? The more active twin in each pair had a higher VO2 max, smaller waists, and lower body fat (nearly 3% less on average). The study suggests we have a moderate amount of control over our physical development, but there are other stories that put into perspective just how significant genetic factors are. Take a look at these “Twins Separated at Birth: Growing Up Continents Apart.” Despite having different cultures, diets, and experiences, these twins had remarkably similar appearances. Even their body languages and speech mannerisms were alike, and it’s a reminder that we need to be realistic about how much our PRs depend on our DNA. #StudyTwinsForTheWin
Minute 3: There are pros and cons to running late in the day
Lots of us swear by exercising first thing in the morning. It jumpstarts our day and gets our brain and body active for work, school and parenting. Despite those virtues, afternoon workouts can bring some pretty remarkable benefits, especially for those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to “Working Out Later in the Day May Better Help Control Blood Sugar.” Insulin is a hormone created by your pancreas that’s responsible for your cell’s ability to absorb glucose and use it for energy. When our bodies develop high insulin resistance, this process is disrupted, and it can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes. The good news is, exercising between noon and midnight was shown to reduce insulin resistance by up to 25% among participants of 1 study. If you want to try it out, make sure you’re aware of the added challenges late workouts can bring: “Why Running at Night Feels Harder.” It turns out, when we move in low visibility conditions, we have a natural tendency to shorten our stride and lift our feet higher. It makes us less likely to trip and fall, but it can increase our oxygen consumption by up to 20%.
Minute 4: Shoe review: ASICS SuperBlast ($220)
If there’s one thing that modern running shoes have in common, it’s that almost every model has loads of cushy foam. Why? Well, two reasons. First, runners like the comfy and responsive sensation that thick foam midsoles provide. And secondly, modern foams are so much lighter and perform so much better than the standard EVA foams were the predominant midsole cushioning material in most shoes from the mid-1970s until about the mid-2010s. It’s almost unthinkable that the running shoe industry went through a minimalist phase, but perhaps we only got here from experiencing all of that. Hoka started (or reignited) the maximalist cushioning trend a decade ago, but now a few brands are developing super-maximalist models. Below are the highlights but for Brian's full review click here.
What’s New: This is an entirely new shoe, one that takes design cues from some other ASICS everyday trainers and its souped-up racing models. Its most exceptional feature, obviously, is that it has an almost cartoonish midsole that has enormous stack heights—the height from the bottom of the outsole of a shoe to the top of the interior footbed—of 45.5mm under the heel and 37.5mm under the forefoot. That’s a lot of foam! The idea of a super-max training shoe has been in the works for several years, even though the official World Athletics competition guidelines state that no racing shoes can have a stack height over 40mm. These new super-max models aren’t meant for racing—however, an amateur runner could wear them in a race—but mostly they’ve been designed to offer copious amounts of cushioning, endless comfort and a good amount of energy return on moderate to long training runs. The super-maximal cushioning trend is starting to gain momentum this year as models like the Adidas Adizero Prime X Strung (49.5mm/41mm) have started to shake things up.
Fit/Feel/Ride: The ASICS SuperBlast fits true to size with a medium volume that provides a comfortably snug feeling in the heel and midfoot with just a bit of extra room in the forefoot for your toes to wiggle. The first thing you notice about the SuperBlast shoes when you slide your foot in and lace them up is that they’re very high off the ground. Very, very high off the ground! But the second thing you notice is that they’re extremely light. Very, very light! You’ll also immediately understand that there’s a lot of material laced up on your feet, but the success of this shoe is tied to the super-stuffed midsole and the somewhat minimal upper and outsole that do their job without adding excess weight. For Brian Metzler's full review click here. #BlastOff
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
If you want to try out the superfood flavor of the month, that’s all well and good. Just remember that lots of our basic, healthy staples earned that reputation for a reason. The truth is, it’s hard to go wrong with fruits and vegetables of any kind, and getting caught up in what’s the “healthiest” of them all is missing the point, according to one personal trainer: “If You're Worried About Which Vegetables Are 'Healthier,' You're Overthinking It.”
Over centuries, running has proven to be one of the most effective ways to live longer, feel better and improve your mental acuity. A new study in Israel is adding to this body of evidence, as researchers identified a 72% reduction in cases of metastatic cancer among high intensity runners. The researchers’ hypothesize that intense exercise reduces the amount of glucose available for tumors to feed upon, since our muscles have to use most of it up to get adequate energy. Check out the details in “Running can reduce risk of metastatic cancer by 72%, new study shows.”
When you work out, where is your mind? Focusing on the music you chose or thinking through a problem you’re facing? If so, you might be killing the quality of your exercise, because some experts believe our mind-muscle connection is essential to a workout’s efficacy. The next time you lift weights, concentrate on the muscles you’re aiming to recruit to find out “How a Strong Mind-Muscle Connection Can Take Your Workouts to the Next Level.” When we’re running, it sometimes feels as if our calf muscles are along for the ride, not really propelling us forward. We have tried to concentrate attention in this area as we run. This short video offers an easy way to figure out if your lower legs need more focus: “The Simple Test for Weak Calves that Saved My Running.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Exercising is a luxury that we usually take for granted. We go for a run, ride, or swim and tend to never consider that this could very well be our last time enjoying the activity we love. Today's daily inspiration comes from Instagram account @teresaforehandfitness as she shares the amazing story of her husband, Cody, as he regains his strength following a traumatic brain injury. Over the course of 265 days since his accident Cody relearns to walk, powers through physical therapy and makes his way back to the start line. It's an important reminder to appreciate the small things in life like going for a run.