Minute 1: An early run makes you more productive when WFH
One of the questions we ask every guest on our Six Minute Mile podcast is whether they like morning or evening workouts. Almost all of these accomplished athletes say they’d rather run pre-coffee than pre-beer. It turns out that their morning routines don’t just produce podium finishes, but also more productive days mentally. A piece by Fortune’s Geoff Colvin this week explains how a morning run can help amateur athletes in their day jobs. Check out “Running Is the Best Strategy for Staying Productive While WFH.” Colvin admits he’s not an elite runner, but he tries to run 5 miles before breakfast 6 days a week. His early-morning runs make his mind sharper, his mood sunnier, and his judgment sounder. It also gives him more energy and allows him to eat more. His findings are in line with scientific studies on “How Exercise Affects Your Brain.” As he points out, studies also show that exercise can enhance the immune system and help protect against the Coronavirus and other infections. One of the few benefits of the pandemic is that there’s been a resurgence of outdoor running during lockdowns. And there have been plenty of studies that show how running can help you get through the pandemic. In addition to the Forbes article, you may want to read this University of Pennsylvania article on the importance of “Staying Active While Working From Home.” For some additional simple hacks, we liked this list of “21 Ways to Stay Fit When You Work From Home.” Practical suggestions include keeping small dumbbells near your desk, doing one-legged body balances while on a conference call, and walking up and down stairs between tasks. #WorkingOutFromHome
Minute 2: Running on fear
How do you know it’s almost Halloween? Because the same horror-movie-themed Geico commercial seems to be on a perpetual loop. You know the one where 4 terrified people are running from the scary man in the hockey mask, and the only smart one in the bunch says: “Why can’t we just get in the running car?” (Because it’s a horror movie and you have to “Hide Behind the Chainsaws!”) The scariest movies of all time always feature someone running from something. They give you a start just watching them, causing your heart to race. That’s called adrenaline, or epinephrine, the same hormone that gets you going while running, improving your strength and performance. With the scary season upon us, Women’s Running breaks down “The Science of Running on Adrenaline.” The story explains how adrenaline makes us run faster, and why it makes your heart race when you’re scared. For a comic view of this phenomenon, check out the hilarious “inspirational” video at the bottom of this page. #It’sWhatYouDo
Minute 3: You need to eat more vegetables, and here’s how
At the end of a long run, we’re usually not thinking about a healthy reward. A whopping brunch or a slice of pizza come to mind much more often as we head for home. The last thing we want to eat immediately after a long run is vegetables. Carbs and protein, after all, are among the Top Marathon Recovery Foods. Veggies aren’t even a good choice before you run, but they are important for runners, providing the nutrients, vitamins and fiber your body needs. Yet about 70 percent of Americans don’t eat the daily recommended amount of vegetables (2 ½ cups). So how do you make yourself eat more veggies? Women’s Running has some great tips in this new post: 8 Easy Ways To Eat More Vegetables Every Day. The key, they say, is to break out of your “vegetable avoidance habits” and “hack your current routine.” There are plenty of other recommendations out there, like these 10 tips to “Add More Vegetables to Your Day,” or “17 Creative Ways to Eat More Vegetables.” #VeggieMight
Minute 4: Who’s faster: trail runners or road runners?
One of our favorite niche publications of all time, Trail Runner, was just acquired by Pocket Outdoor Media. Co-founded by our friend Brian Metzler in 1999, the magazine has spoken with an authentic voice for more than 20 years. Normally we would be concerned that they’d lose their way under a larger corporate owner, but Pocket has proven to be a positive force in outdoor publishing by breathing new life into titles like Velo News and Women’s Running. With very few in-person marathons to train for during the pandemic, many runners are making the switch from pavement to dirt. Like Krista DuChene, the third-place finisher in the 2018 Boston Marathon. After training on roads for 10 years, DuChene decided to hit the trails to try something new and check off a goal on her “running bucket list.” She offers some tips in 5 lessons road runners learn when they move to the trails, like forgetting about pace and mixing in some walking during trail races. While DuChene just wanted to mix things up, some road runners use trail running to train for standard marathons. A runner who trained for the New York City Marathon by trail running talked to several coaches and athletes for some tips on “How to Train for a Road Race on the Trails.” This subject has made for friendly debates in post-race beer gardens about which surface produces better runners. Outside explored the debate in this piece called: “When You Pit Trail Runners Against Road Runners, Who Comes Out On Top?” #TrailFun
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Strava teamed up with Stanford University and released a study last week on the impact of Covid on elite endurance athletes. There were some positive effects like an increase in average daily workout time from 92 minutes to 103 minutes. But the downsides were concerning, like a big financial hit to athletes from lost races and appearances, as well as significantly higher emotional stress. A good overview of the study is here.
Tommy Hughes is a walking — or running — miracle. A recovering alcoholic, Hughes says “I near killed myself” by drinking. “Without running, I could’ve been 6 feet under,” he said. Instead, the Irish runner used his addiction as motivation, winning the Dublin Marathon in 1991, Belfast in 1988 and ‘98, and making the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. In September, he set the world record for the Over-60 Half Marathon. Now he has struck again, breaking the Over-60 World Marathon record. His time of 2:30:02 broke the previous mark by almost 6 minutes. Not bad for a guy who says running “kept me on this planet.”
Some studies have shown that running ultra-long distances can reduce the risk of cancer and help you live longer. But it can also be dangerous. With so many ultra athletes pushing themselves to the limit, Triathlon Canada magazine explores this week the impact ultra-endurance can have on your health. A 2020 study called Frontiers in Physiology found that ultra running can cause delusional hyponatremia, which is caused by over-hydrating. The study also shows that 50-60% of participants suffer leg injuries to the knees and ankles, or shin splints. So before you head to the trail for an ultra-long run, do your research. A good place to start is these secrets of the world’s top ultra-marathon runners.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
It’s Halloween, time to get in touch with your biggest fears -- like a villain with a chainsaw or creepy clowns. For a hilarious twist on those phobias (and the Geico ad mentioned above), check out Comedy Central’s “Scared Sh*+less Fitness”, the workout routine fueled by fear. “While other guys focus on hard work and dedication to see results, our fear-based models guarantee that even a lazy sack of sh*+ will get a full-cardio workout before sunrise,” says faux founder Mike Franklin. If irreverent humor isn’t your thing, here’s a link to some classic Stuart Smalley affirmations on SNL. If you prefer a spicier brand of inspiration, you will love Comedy Central’s take below.