Minute 1: Cardio before weight training may stimulate muscle growth
They say you should never sail on two boats -- focus on 1 thing at a time if you want to be successful. We will see that idiom, and raise you a pair of walks and 3 pieces of gum. New research suggests that mixing strength and cardio training can provide a full house of benefits. Aerobic exercise contributes to muscle growth in a way we didn’t expect, according to this new piece in the NYT: “Cardio Before Weight Lifting May Help Boost Muscle.” Believe it or not, 20 minutes of intense cardio before strength training signals your body to release the proteins associated with building endurance, but not just in the muscle group that was used. You could go for a run and work out your legs, and when following up with an upper body weightlifting session, the same endurance building proteins will get to work in your arms as well. By making use of this hybrid approach, you avoid excess muscle fatigue while experiencing a broader enhancement to your strength and stamina. We know this works on a molecular level, but how can you implement it practically? For that, check out “How to Combine Strength and Endurance Training.” The key is to align the kind of resistance training you do with your main form of cardio. For runners, that usually means higher rep ranges and an emphasis on explosive movement. #DoubleShift
Minute 2: NYC Marathon stories of triumph
There were two former marathon champions who ran the TCS New York City Marathon with no intention of competing for prize money. We are happy to report, however, that both runners demonstrated in striking fashion that there is more to a runner’s life than PRs and laurel wreaths. Tommy “Rivs” Puzey completed his journey from a coma in an ICU unit last year to crossing the finish line in the dark in Central Park Sunday. His time was quite a bit slower than his winning effort at the 2019 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Las Vegas, as Rivs finished New York in 9 hours and 19 minutes. He posted on Instagram: “Oh my goodness. That was the single most difficult athletic achievement that I’ve ever accomplished.” The NYT provides all the remarkable details in this piece: “Cancer Nearly Took His Life. But the New York Marathon Awaited.” Shalane Flanagan joined Rivs as another runner who ran much slower than her winning 2017 NYC time, but was thrilled nonetheless. Shalane completed her 6th World Major Marathon in 6 weeks, including Chicago and Boston on back-to-back days in October. Her “slow” race of the fall was Chicago, where she ran 2:46:39, holding back for Boston the next day. She saved her best for last, electrifying the finish line crowd in New York with a 2:33:32 (5:52/mile pace). She absolutely shredded her goal of running all 6 races in under 3 hours. She told CBS News that “The city made me fly.” #SlowGood
Minute 3: If I’m not happy with my new shoes, can I return them after a few runs?
You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive, right? Similarly, you don’t want to pick your next pair of running shoes without getting the chance to try them on. That means you’re best off shopping at a store with knowledgeable staff that can help you find the right pair. If you aren’t willing to give up the convenience of online shopping, you’re going to want to know what you’re getting into, so “Here’s Where You Can Return Running Shoes, Even If You’ve Already Run in Them.” Nike offers the chance to return after 60 days if you buy directly from their site. Brooks will let you go up to 90 days before returning. For any other brand of shoe, Fleet Feet has got you covered with up to 60 days to return online orders. Buy ‘em and try ‘em, but do not hesitate to send your shoes back if something feels off. How do you know you should return a shoe? Look out for these “9 Signs Your Running Shoes Are the Wrong Size.” A common mistake runners make is picking a shoe that's rather snug when they first try it on, not realizing their feet will swell up by the middle of their run, potentially resulting in bruising and the dreaded black toenails. Be sure to pick a shoe that’s a little looser than your everyday sneaker, especially if you’re on a high mileage schedule. #ShoeTrying
Minute 4: How to keep your hormones healthy
No, it's not only your teenagers who need to worry about their rapidly changing hormones. Adults can experience shifts in mood due to hormonal signals too, and your diet is often the cause. It’s not to be taken lightly, either, as hormonal fluctuations can lead to fatigue, weight changes, anxiety, and issues with hair and skin. Learn what to do about it in “How to balance your hormones.” Vitamin deficiency is a common culprit, with the B vitamins being of particular importance. B12 can be found in fish, meat, eggs, and milk products. If you’re vegan, plant-based milks should do just fine. Gut health is also tied to hormonal fluctuation, and fermented foods can offer a major microbiome boost. Remember the 3 K’s: kimchi, kombucha, and kefir. If you haven’t heard about the wonders the drink can offer yet, check out this new story: “5 health benefits of kefir, a beverage that packs more probiotics than yogurt.” It’s believed to improve blood sugar stability, fight pathogens, and contribute to bone strength. The last thing you can do to stabilize hormone levels is get a good night’s sleep. Be mindful of your exposure to blue light from screens, as they can disrupt your body’s natural cycle of melatonin release, making it difficult to fall asleep. #HormoneHarmony
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Imagine you’re watching a race between 2 runners, and they’re neck and neck going into the last lap. One is known for a high top speed, while the other is an endurance expert. Who do you think will win? Remarkably, researchers have developed a formula to predict such outcomes, and they’ve had some impressive success stories in real world applications. More importantly, their findings help teach us about how to play to our strengths when it comes to pacing a race for the best possible finish. Learn all about it in “Why Sprinters Don't Have The Fastest Finishing Sprint.”
Registration just opened for the 2022 Boston Marathon which will be back on its traditional date of Patriot’s Day (April 18, 2022). You have until 5:00 pm on Friday, November 12, to submit your application. As most of our readers know, Boston requires a reasonably fast qualifying time in order to register. For a 40-year-old woman, you must have a 3:40:00 race result since September 1, 2019, while a 40-year-old man needs to hit 3:10:00. Full qualifying standards for all age groups are here. Please remember that hitting the qualifying time doesn’t guarantee entry. In recent years, the race has been so popular that the times that actually get into Boston are several minutes faster than the minimum standard.
If you’ve ever told yourself you aren’t young enough to get in top shape or to set any more personal records, we invite you to read a few stories from The Guardian, highlighting some health nuts who all got their start after their 50th birthday: “Second act sensations! Meet the people who reached peak fitness - after turning 50.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
If you need reassurance that generosity and good will among strangers still thrives in the United States -- and even on the tough streets of New York -- please spend a few hours at the finish line of a marathon. You will see total spectators screaming from the side of the road, encouraging runners they have never met. Those cheers grow particularly loud for the athletes who are struggling the most. One runner in New York on Sunday, needed a little more than just cheers to complete the marathon. He had grown very unsteady about 200 meters from the finish line, but 2 strangers halted their own race, each grabbed an arm, and boosted the ailing runner across the line. Yes, the crowd loved it.