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Why hiking is booming in the US

Minute 1: Why hiking is booming in the US

Parking lots at many trailheads last summer looked like the entrance to Walmart at the start of Black Friday. We instinctively knew that more people have been hiking during the pandemic, and now there is statistical data beyond just the eye test. AllTrails and conducted a joint study on the growth of hiking and found that “Hiking in the US has never been more popular.” Their research found that there were 171.4% more hikes logged in 2020 than in 2019, while the number of hikers increased by 134.7%. The number of hikes per user jumped by 52.1% in 2020 compared to the prior 4-year period. If you add in trail runners, those numbers would likely triple. The spike in hiking has led many to debate “Hiking Boots vs. Hiking Shoes vs. Trail Runners,” according to the Appalachian Mountain Club. Many hikers are now citing these “5 Reasons To Ditch Your Hiking Boots.” If you’re looking to hit the trails and considering switching to trail runners, check out the “Best Trail Running Shoes 2021,” according to our friends at Fleet Feet or this collection of trail runners from New Balance. #TrailOrPark

Minute 2: How to run a race during a pandemic

Even though U.S. Covid cases have dropped dramatically in the past 30 days, race directors around the country are still figuring out how to safely resume in-person races. The Colfax Marathon near Denver recently ran its Super Bowl 5K with some unique safety restrictions, answering the question, “How do you have a running race in the middle of a pandemic?” The Denver Post explains how race officials started 2 runners at a time, 6 feet apart, every 5 seconds until all runners crossed the starting line in 8 waves of 75. The last wave began more than 3 hours after the first. The race was approved for 600 runners and local officials have already signed off on 700 runners for the March 14 Runnin’ on the Green, which kicks off the Denver racing season. Colfax Marathon Director Creigh Kelley called race officials from around the world before implementing the new health and safety precautions and believes the strategy works well for small and medium-sized events. “In all my friends in all the states and all the countries that I have spoken to, there has yet to be one reported Covid-19 issue at any race. Not one,” Kelley told the Denver Post. The 16th annual Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon implemented similar COVID safety measures last weekend, starting 20 runners at a time, 6 feet apart, with a new wave starting every 10 seconds. With masks and social distancing required when not running, there were no gear checks and no awards ceremony. Runners and race directors around the country are asking the same question: “What does the future of road racing look like during a pandemic?” Colfax and A1A provided at least a partial answer this week. #SocialDistanceRunning

Minute 3: How to take your partner on a romantic ‘rundezvous’

If your idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day included a run with your significant other, we hope your relationship survived and you remembered to provide something more than just a sweaty embrace after your outing. If sharing the road proved to be a little challenging, however, you should check out Canadian Running Magazine’s “4 tips for running with your partner.” Though the post is endorsed by St. Valentine, it offers great advice any time you run with a loved one. Some warn against couples running together, while others espouse the joys of running with your spouse. Advice like developing a pre-run plan and determining who is going to set the pace is crucial. So is keeping the conversation and banter light and breezy. The best advice we’ve read is to remember to praise and compliment your partner. Comments like “I love those new tights” or “You look strong today” will probably fare better than “This slow pace is killing me.” Even marriage experts support running together, with tips like “3 Keys to Running With (and Not Away From) Your Spouse.” If you’re interested in adding a little fitness to your love life, or spice to your running life, also check out “The 6 Rules of Couples Running.” #4LeggedGrace

Minute 4: How Harrison Ford, 78, ramped up his fitness

Indiana Jones went to great lengths to save the Lost Ark and the Holy Grail. Sometimes that meant chasing a military tank on horseback, swinging from a rope bridge above a river of crocodiles, or fighting his way through of a pit of snakes. (“Why did it have to be snakes?”) Now Harrison Ford is grabbing his famous hat and whip for a 5th Indiana Jones movie and at age 78, he may just be in the greatest shape of his life. recently documented “How Harrison Ford stays fit at 78: The diet change keeping him in movie-star shape.” And he didn’t do it by eating chilled monkey brains. Ford revealed on The Ellen Show last year how he cut meat and dairy from his diet and now eats only fish and vegetables. “I just decided I was tired of eating meat. It’s not good for the planet, and it’s not good for me.” He has also worked with a personal trainer on his conditioning, reflexes and core strength, making him one of GQ’s examples for “How To Stay Fit Over 50.” While Ford’s fitness routine may not help you defeat a gifted swordsman, it could help you stay healthy and active into your late 70s. #VeggieMight

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • While not quite at the Manchester United/Arsenal level, the London Marathon and its Manchester counterpart enjoy a friendly rivalry. They don’t mind having some fun at each other’s expense and their latest squabble created a spot of bother on Twitter that Runner’s World says could run and run. On the day the London Marathon announced its entry ballot results, the event’s website crashed, prompting Manchester to offer runners a guaranteed spot in “one of Europe’s most popular marathons.” London countered with a “savage blow,” chiding Manchester for its course being too short in 2013-2015, leading to race times being declared invalid. This led Manchester to remind the Twitterverse that London once had a runner dressed as Big Ben get stuck in the gantry trying to cross the finish line.

  • Laura Lajiness is a former ballet dancer with balky knees and a loss of stamina, who’d seen her running ebb and flow over the years. But Lajness says she found her “secret sauce” for taking up the sport again — winter running. In a new post, Lajiness explains how “My Running Skills Are Finally Improving, & I Attribute My Success To The Cold Weather.” Despite a regular routine of pilates and yoga, Lajiness was feeling run down and exhausted. She snapped out of it with one winter run on a frosty day in New York’s Central Park. “The pandemic made an outdoor athlete out of many of us, but for me, it took crisp winter air and a need for layers to rev up my running engine,” she writes. Lajiness was stunned by how good she felt after just one 1.58-mile run. Her knees no longer hurt and her energy level spiked. “Soaring high, I felt amazing.” Fascinated by her running resurgence, Lajiness consulted a running coach and personal trainer to explore the advantages of winter running. Like many during the pandemic, she discovered the “Surprising Benefits of Running in Cold Weather.”

  • Many runners seeking to shed a few pounds have been counting calories consumed and calories burned as part of a New Year’s resolution. The number of calories you burn depends on several factors, including age, weight, fitness level and the intensity of your workout. There are also many ways to increase that burn, from ramping up your speed to adding weights to your training. has some tips in “How many calories you burn while running and 4 tips to burn more.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Health and fitness buffs typically groove on motivational videos and inspirational stories that drive them to go farther and faster. But not everyone’s mind works that way. Some of us kinda resent getting “kudos” on Strava for a slow 2-mile jog. If you’re not the type who responds well to upbeat faux praise, you’ll love SNL’s new skit called “Pelotaunt.” Poking fun at Peloton, Pelotaunt uses “negative reinforcement and relentless criticism” as part of its “patented passive aggression” program. The new breed of online workout employs “emotional manipulation” and “snotty disdain.” Pelotaunt promises “no corny inspirational speeches here. Just withering judgment sure to get your heart pumping and your brain thinking: ‘Am I bad?’” For the full non-motivational experience, check out the video below.

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