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Why runners should ditch sit-ups

Minute 1: How long is your best running streak?

Dave Obelkevich is a streaker. No, he’s not racing across the quad in his birthday suit like Will Farrell. The 78-year-old Obelkevich holds the record for the greatest number of consecutive New York Marathons completed. When he crossed the line in November 2021, it extended his streak to 45 NYC Marathon medals in a row. Consistency, above all else, is the most essential component of progress. That’s why so many runners are challenging themselves to go streaking – racking up as many consecutive days of running as possible: “The Rise of Daily Run Streakers. No, Not Those Streakers.” Hellah Sidibe is a former pro soccer player who challenged himself to run every day for 2 weeks straight. That was back in 2017. The thing is, he liked it so much he just kept going, and now, he’s on a 1,700-day streak. You’d think after all those miles, one would get sick of it. After pushing through bad weather and injuries along the way, he says the experience actually led him to appreciate just how much of a privilege it is to run. Running every day offers benefits beyond just a low resting heart rate: “What Really Happens to Your Body When You Run Every Day.” Your body will adapt to the workload, improving bone density and joint health, which lowers your risk of developing arthritis. Your breathing will become more efficient too, as you strengthen your diaphragm to allow for deeper inhales.

Minute 2: So long, sit-ups: Here are some superior core workouts

Mom always told us that appearances are overrated; it’s what’s on the inside that counts. For core strength, Mom was right on target. Looks can be very deceiving, since having 6-pack abs has a lot more to do with your body fat percentage than your actual strength. To develop functional core strength, look past the hyper-specific isolation exercises like crunches, and instead, choose movements that engage your core alongside the rest of your body. Take a look at “How to get strong abs without sit-ups.” Although they’re mostly associated with leg strength, squats and deadlifts engage your core stabilizers considerably. Whether you use kettlebells, a barbell, or just bodyweight, these compound movements hit the whole body, allowing your muscle groups to work together to move the weight. When we hear core, we think abs, but don't forget about the other half of the equation: your erector spinae. That's just a fancy way to say lower back muscles, which are essential for maintaining proper form when you run. To see some great ways to work your back in a safe way, read “Best Core Exercises For Runners to Improve Performance.” Try out the superman back extension, where you extend one arm and one leg simultaneously while engaging the back for stability. You’ll hit every major muscle group needed for running while keeping the impact level to a minimum, making it the perfect exercise to use on a recovery day. #AbSesh

Minute 3: Grandma knows best: Keep nutrition simple to stay healthy

Thanks to the internet, we all have more menus available to us than a Zagat’s reviewer. It is easy, however, to get indigestion from the large buffet of nutritional information at our fingertips. You can cut through the noise by tuning into the wisdom of those with the most experience: "Nutrition advice from your Grandma that applies to runners.” It's the simple, time-tested rules that form the foundation for healthy eating, like having an abundance of home-cooked meals. Grandmas often push you into grabbing that second or third helping, and that’s exactly what a runner needs to avoid underfueling: “How Underfueling Impacts Performance—And How to Prevent It.” Grandma says to slow down, enjoy your food, and the company of family at each meal. She’s right again, because of these “5 Powerful Reasons to Eat Slower.” Slower meals improve your digestion, allowing your body to extract more nutrition from food. It’s also an opportunity to practice mindfulness. In a world obsessed with rapid progress and instant gratification, it's important to take whatever opportunities you can to pause and reset.

Minute 4: How to perfect your long runs

Our 16th President once said: “If you give me six hours to chop down a tree, I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” That’s good advice not just for a lumberjack, but also for an endurance athlete contemplating an extra long run over the weekend. Usually limited to once a week, your long run is the time to take it slow and steady to maximize the mileage. There’s a delicate balance you have to strike, though, as it’s easy to get carried away and put too much strain on your body without being properly prepared. So this week, we’re answering this important question: “How Long Should My Long Run Be?” First, consider how your previous days’ runs have gone. If you’re fresh off a speed workout or tempo run, you should limit the LSD intensity, avoiding severe inclines and keeping a gradual cadence. Let your heart rate and breathing guide you to a sustainable pace. As far as timing goes, that will depend on the kind of event you want to complete. The story from Triathlete linked above includes a handy chart of recommendations for all ability levels, but if you’re training for a marathon or longer, you should consult “How Long Should Your Longest Marathon Training Run Be?” For most runners, including one long run of 16-22 miles during training seems to do the trick. For 5K and 10K runners, take a look at “How Long Should My Long Run Be For 5K Training?” They recommend doing 30% to 40% more miles than your average daily run.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • If you feel the burn when you run, you know you’re doing something right. That is, assuming it's your muscles burning, not heartburn. Acid reflux is quite common among runners, since exercise draws blood flow away from the digestive tract and potentially causes a buildup of food. If you’ve ever experienced heartburn during or after a run, check out “Heartburn and Acid Reflux After Running – Causes & Prevention.”

  • Nothing makes the discomfort of exercise more tolerable quite like a motivating soundtrack or podcast. What’s the most hassle free way to listen as you run or work out? Wireless headphones. Luckily, there’s been an explosion of development with these products in recent years, and now there are great options to choose from at a variety of price points. Find a pair that will work for you in “Best running headphones 2022.” Our friends at Fleet Feet are big fans of the Aftershokz headphones which don’t actually insert into your ear canals. Instead, Aftershokz headphones sit outside your ears and use bone conduction technology—think mini vibrations—to deliver music and podcasts to your inner ears. The result is premium sound without sacrificing the safety that comes with hearing your surroundings.

  • A few issues ago, we took a look at Strava’s year-end data. Now, Polar has published some analytics of its own. They report the average running workout was 7.69k (4.78 miles) and 51 minutes long, giving Strava’s user base a run for their money. See the full analysis from Polar to see if you followed this year’s trends, or did things differently: “A Year in Sports Report: The Return of Running Events.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

We’ve told you all about the benefits of running streaks, but if you still aren’t sold, listen to Göran Winblad’s first hand experience. He’s a Norwegian YouTuber who has run every day for 2 years straight, and he says it's been one of the best decisions of his life. He dishes out a lot of great tips on how to make this schedule work, and what benefits you can expect to see. Göran is a quirky and engaging narrator and videographer who will at least make you go: “Huh. I wonder how long I could keep a streak alive?”


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