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Why it’s important to protect your gut health

Minute 1: Could race events require COVID tests, vaccines?

The Boston Athletic Association announced Monday that the field for the 125th Boston Marathon will have 20,000 entrants for the Oct. 11 race, down from a normal field size of 35,000. That’s still more than many expected and a good sign for runners anxious to get back to live in-person racing. The window for registration will be open from April 20 - 23 and will require runners to submit a qualifying time. Unlike many other major marathons, Boston favors the fastest applicants rather than using a random lottery drawing. For a 40-year-old woman, that means you must have run a 3:40 marathon or better since September 15, 2018. For the same aged man, the standard is 3:10. The full list of qualifying times is here. While Boston will have plenty of new safety protocols in place, they do not appear to be requiring a vaccination to race. That is one strategy being pursued by the Glass City Marathon in Toledo, Ohio. The April 25 race is one of the fastest in the country, with more than 20 percent of participants qualifying for the Boston Marathon. The race is attracting national attention because it will require vaccinations or negative COVID tests for runners. This year’s race will allow 7,250 participants across several distances, but each runner must have a negative Covid test 72 hours prior to the event or provide proof of a full vaccine at least two weeks prior to the race. Sporting events and concert venues have been debating for months whether they can require Covid tests or vaccines as a way to bring fans back, while meeting planners are considering the legality of mandating Covid vaccinations for attendees. The Tokyo Olympics will not make vaccinations compulsory, but are encouraging athletes to be vaccinated and have already banned foreign spectators from attending. The Toledo decision does not come without complications, but as Running With Miles points out, other events will be eyeing the Glass City Marathon to see if similar protocols can be introduced throughout the year. #ShotMaking

Minute 2: Why it’s important to protect your gut health

The term “gut health” is a trending topic in the nutrition field, but it still leaves many people wondering exactly what that means and how it affects athletic performance. No, it has nothing to do with avoiding a Colt .45 shot to the gut as in this video compilation of the 10 Best Western Gunfights. Gut health and gut shots do enjoy similarities in that what enters your gut can have a major impact on your overall health and longevity. Simply put, gut health refers to microorganisms like bacteria, yeast and viruses that live in your digestive system. Some are beneficial, or even essential, while others can be extremely harmful. Since your gut is responsible for such vital bodily functions as breaking down food and nutrients, producing energy, and disposing of waste, the right balance of bacteria is essential to helping you digest food and prevent infection and inflammation. Poor gut health, on the other hand, can harm your immune system and lead to chronic illnesses, including endocrine disorders, skin conditions and even cancer. It can also lead to mood and mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression (kind of like getting gut shot). One noted study on gut bacteria in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology shows that having a wide variety of good bacteria can improve your immune system, helping fight problems like obesity and depression. Gut health is extremely complex and has been a topic of increasing research in the medical community, as explains in “What’s an Unhealthy Gut? How Gut Health Affects You.” Eating a variety of nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables can enhance your good bacteria and improve your gut health. has some good recommendations in “These Are The Best Vegetables for Gut Health, According to a Doctor.” Medical News Today also has some great advice with “10 ways to improve gut health.” And, as it turns out, a gut shot is not always a bad thing. This aptly-named product from Farmhouse Culture uses probiotics from fermented organic vegetables to improve your gut health. #AimHigh #ProtectYourGut

Minute 3: How to prepare for those April showers

April showers can bring more than May flowers, as Des Linden proved in the 2018 Boston Marathon. Most observers believe that Des prevailed that day in part because she was able to handle the torrential downpour and horrible weather that year. Now a new story from says that “Running in the rain may improve your performance.” According to Audrey Springer, a running coach with Relentless Runners, it is generally safe to run in the rain unless there is lightning, a really bad storm or a downpour. And though rain may put a damper on your performance expectations, it can also have some benefits, like lowering the temperature on hot days and making your efforts less strenuous. Springer says running in the rain can also help you prepare for adversity on future race days. “It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter a race day in the rain so training in all conditions can be beneficial,” she says. VeryWellFit also recently weighed in on running in wet conditions with “12 Tips For Running in the Rain.” Wearing the proper clothing, like running shoes with good traction, is crucial. Saucony’s blog has some sound advice in its 7 tips for running in the rain. It’s also a good idea to be prepared for any kind of spring weather, including fluctuating temperatures. That means packing a rain jacket, extra shirts and other wet weather gear. has some good tips for this in “What Should I Wear for Spring Running?” As running coach Springer notes, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.” #StormSurge

Minute 4: Goggins Challenge pushes tennis great to limit

Tennis great James Blake was known for his speed and endurance on the court. His remarkable athleticism helped him become the No. 1 ranked player in the United States and vaulted him to No. 4 in the world, a ranking justified when he upset Roger Federer in the Beijing Olympics. But Blake met his match recently when he accepted a challenge from David Goggins, the Navy SEAL who became a record-setting ultra runner and triathlete after retiring from the military. Goggins is the creator of the infamous David Goggins 4x4x48 Challenge, a brutal workout that requires participants to run four miles every four hours for 48 straight hours. The annual event is so daunting that numerous running sites have posted stories on “How To Survive the 4x4x48 Challenge.” Blake, who made 24 singles finals in his career, recently completed the ultra fitness challenge, and declared it the toughest test of his career. Blake is no stranger to marathons. He completed the 2015 New York City Marathon in 3:15:19 and ran the virtual NYCM in 2020. Nothing compares, however, to the Goggins Challenge. “Thank you for coming up with this challenge and putting me to the test,” Blake said in a Twitter post. “I dug deep plenty in my career to win tennis matches, but nothing like this.” #WinningIn4Sets

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • For athletes who don’t have 20/20 vision, running while wearing glasses can be annoying, especially if you are wearing a face mask. The aggravation has caused many runners to opt for poor vision by leaving their glasses at home, an issue The Wired Runner recently examined in “Should You Go Running With Glasses Or Without?” There’s some new data, however, that provides an important reason for wearing your glasses while exercising and in general. New research shows that people who wear glasses are 2 to 3 times less likely to get Covid. The study compared 304 patients who wear glasses to the general population and found that touching and rubbing the eyes with contaminated hands may be a “significant route of infection.” Researchers concluded that people touch their face an average of 23 times an hour and their eyes 3 times an hour. “Touching one’s nose and mouth is significantly reduced when wearing a face mask properly, but wearing a face mask does not protect the eyes,” the study says.

  • In addition to logging more miles on Strava and other tracking apps in 2020, athletes also purchased more fitness hardware devices last year. According to IDC, the purchase of wearable devices climbed 28.4% in worldwide in 2020, topping 444 million units. More than 153 million people purchased new digital devices in the fourth quarter alone, a jump attributed to more than just holiday shopping and the rising popularity of new electronics. IDC says the pandemic has been “good for the market as it has put health and fitness at the forefront of many consumers’ minds.”

  • Once again, we are enormously grateful to the rush of subscribers to our newest publication, the Six Minute Mile Professional. We noticed for several years that the endurance industry lacks a “trade journal” like most other business sectors. We decided to correct that problem by providing a single source of the most important financial, career and gear updates available. We are also publishing longer original industry analysis by talented writers like Brian Metzler who has tackled subjects like whether fall marathons will really return, the carbon shoes/spikes controversy, and how the Chicago Marathon in particular will handle their return to racing in October. You can still be one of the cool kids if you don’t subscribe, but the odds are much higher that you’ll be the envy of your professional colleagues and running buddies if you sign up for SMM Pro today. A free steak knife set, S&H Green Stamps, and total consciousness will be provided to our 2,000th subscriber.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

As we get fired up for the Tokyo Olympics, we asked Sherman to set the Wayback Machine to 1972 and the Munich Olympics. Dave Wottle’s performance in the 800M final is still considered to be one of the best American Olympic moments of all time. Wearing his signature golf cap during the race, Wottle was trailing the entire pack heading into the last lap, but fired up a kick for the ages. With only 50 meters left, Wottle caught Mike Boit and Robert Ouko of Kenya, but still trailed the pre-race favorite, Yevgeny Arzhanov of the Soviet Union. In a last burst, Wottle pulled off the seemingly impossible and snatched Gold from Arzhanov by nine inches and .03 seconds. Almost overshadowed by his incredible feat was the medal ceremony afterward where Wottle forgot to remove his famous good luck cap. What many saw as a protest to the conflict in Vietnam was later explained as merely a forgetful lapse on Wottle’s part.


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