APR 19, 2023
Minute 1: Boston Marathon highlights
We spent about 7 hours Monday hunched under an umbrella taking pictures of soggy runners on Heartbreak Hill for our sister company, MarathonFoto. Every year, we are surprised at how fast those 7 hours whoosh by, focusing on 35,000 different faces, telling their stories in smiles and grimaces. This year, we were also surprised to see the men’s favorite, Eliud Kipchoge, hit Heartbreak Hill well behind the lead pack. The Kenyan star is the fastest marathoner in the world, but he finished a disappointing 6th on Monday, well behind countryman Evans Chebet, who won for the second straight year. It appears Kipchoge made the classic rookie mistake at Boston – he went out too fast in the early downhill miles of the course, grinding his quads, and then paid the price when he hit the hills of Newton. “Eliud Kipchoge Says Upper Leg Issue Bothered Him at 2023 Boston Marathon; Vows to Return & Win.” According to the NYT, Kipchoge has won an astounding 15 of the 18 marathons he has entered, but wins in Boston and New York still elude him. The NYT offers more detail in: “Eliud Kipchoge Was Supposed to Win the Boston Marathon. What Went Wrong?” By the time Kipchoge passed our photog station on Heartbreak Hill (about mile 20), his face looked calm and even content with his position in the race. Reporters asked him if he considered dropping out of the race and his response may resonate with the 35,000 runners who did not podium in Boston: “I said, ‘Hey, I can’t quit.’ They say it’s important to win. But it’s great to participate and finish.” Kipchoge may have been acting as an unwitting spokesman for our favorite marathon blogger, Dara Zall Kelly, when he made that observation. Dara had a good race Monday, despite the fact that she was more than an hour off her Boston PR. In her marathon recap, Dara shares personal details about why this race meant so much to her, even if it wasn’t a sub-3:00 performance. Dara narrowly avoided the marathon bombing 10 years ago, but watched the aftermath from her hotel window near the finish line. She also watched her husband, an ER doc, rush out of the hotel to help the injured. If you don’t believe in fate or karma, check out Dara’s full story here, where she describes a sign held by a stranger on Monday that read: “26 Miles for 26 Years.” It turns out that Dara met her husband on the bus to the Hopkinton starting line exactly 26 years ago. You will also find out why Dara titled this piece “From ICU to 26.2.” #RaceFinishers
Minute 2: These plyometric exercises will keep you light on your feet
While the meat and potatoes of endurance training are lots of miles at a slower pace, sometimes a little treat at the end of the meal can deliver some pop. Developing your speed and explosivity pay dividends beyond just a fast finishing kick. By improving your overall speed, your body will eventually handle a faster pace over longer periods. In other words, you can’t run a 6-minute mile until you can run a 3-minute half mile. If you feel the need for speed, check out these: “10 Plyometric Exercises for Speed: Tips from a Run Coach.” Plyo exercise improves your muscle power, as well as aiding in proper form so that you’re less prone to injury. Start with something simple and classic like squat jumps, and when you’ve developed your technique, turn up the intensity and altitude with box jumps. Plyometrics can put a lot of stress on your body, so you may want to warm up with an exercise like easy strides: “Running Strides Guide: Benefits + How To Run Strides.” Not only will they ease your muscles into more explosive movement, but strides can improve your running form and speed too. They can act as your foundation for speed training, and you can follow them up with some workouts in “Speed Training for Long Distance Runners.” This article makes the point that our bodies can only reach peak performance a few times a year, so be sure to plan your speed work thoughtfully. You want to hit your top speed around your most important race dates.
Minute 3: Take the plunge - everything you need to know about ice baths
Winter may be over, but athletes should still find ways to get into the cold from time to time. Cold therapy and ice baths may not be the most comfortable experiences, but they do carry benefits: “Ice Baths for Fitness: Do They Really Work?” Ice baths are quite a bit warmer than cryo-chambers. Somewhere around 50℉ seems to be the sweet spot. Beginners can aim to plunge for 3 to 5 minutes at a time, but once you’re used to the temps, feel free to stretch it out 10 to 15 minutes. Recent studies have found that ice baths can decrease muscle soreness, lower inflammation, strengthen the immune system, and improve mental health – assuming you’re physically fit to plunge. Those who have blood pressure or heart-related conditions, take certain medications, have sensitivity to cold, or are pregnant or breastfeeding might be better off keeping their baths warm. So be sure to check with your doctor before giving it a try. There’s one big question remaining: if you don’t have access to cryotherapy equipment, how do you take an “Ice Bath at Home: How to Take an Ice Bath.” Despite what you might have heard, you don’t need to fill the tub completely with ice; just two or three bags dumped into cold water should do it.
Minute 4: Want a healthier heart? Go nuts
If you had to guess, what do you think the leading cause of death in the U.S would be? If you said heart disease, you’d be right, which is why it’s so important to build a diet that supports your heart health. To that end, we’ve got “21 Foods for a Healthy Heart” to keep things ticking. In addition to living longer (a good thing), since the heart is the engine room for endurance athletes, these foods can also improve performance. First on the list is salmon, since it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They’re known to reduce the risk of arrhythmia, limit plaque buildup in your arteries, and lower fat levels in your blood. If eating fish isn’t your thing, fish oil supplements can offer many of the same benefits. Next, let’s move onto nuts, since they have their fair share of healthy fats too. Not only that, but they also contain plenty of fiber and vitamin E, which can lower cholesterol. Among the healthiest nuts are cashews, and you can read why in “Are Cashews Good for You? 12 Science-Backed Effects of Eating Them.” Not only can they help your heart, but they also can support bone health as well, thanks to their vitamin K content. Of course, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, and if you want to know how many nuts are too many, check out: “Can You Overdose on Nuts?” Most are pretty difficult to overindulge in, given how many you’d need to eat to see negative side effects. However, brazil nuts have a ton of selenium, and excessive amounts can result in a condition called selenosis. Some dieticians feel one or two brazil nuts a day should be the limit.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Swing is in full spring, and you should be too. Dumbbell swings, that is. It’s an exercise that builds strength, coordination, and stability all at once. It works your upper body and lower body at once, making it highly applicable for runners and cyclists who want to bolster their leg strength. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, check out “Let's Bring Back the Dumbbell Swing.” For runners specifically, we have always liked the kettlebell squat clean since it hits legs, core and some upper body. For proper technique, check out this video.
We’re willing to bet most of you know a thing or two about the IT band. That’s because it’s a common problem area for runners. Yes, a foam roller can help, but that’s just step on according to this new story: “Should You Foam Roll Your IT Band? + 6 Exercises To Loosen The ITB.”
Runners looking to get into trail running can often feel overwhelmed. The terrain is uneven and inclined compared to what your regular pavement runs offer. You may need different gear as well. Remember, trail running is supposed to be a relaxing endeavor, not a stressful one, so to make your transition easier, you should remember that “If you can walk on it, you can run on it: a beginner’s guide to trail running.” Once you’ve gotten through that advice, consider these “19 Trail Running Tips for Beginners, Pros, & (Really) Anyone.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Another year, another remarkable day of racing at the Boston Marathon. We’d like to extend our congratulations to the winners Evans Chebet, Hellen Obiri, Marcel Hug, and Susannah Scaroni for their incredible performances, despite rainy conditions and a mild headwind. We’d also like to extend a shout out to Emma Bates, who became the 2nd fastest American woman in Boston Marathon history. We’re still reliving the excitement of the race, and if you want to catch the instant replay with us, take a look at the video links below.
Here is Chebet’s sizzle reel:
And Obiri’s highlights:
Plus a video shout-out to American Emma Bates: