JUL 21, 2023
Minute 1: Running is better with guidance; here’s how to find it
To paraphrase the great coach and orator Yogi Berra, "Running is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical." Whether you agree with Yogi’s math or not, there is little doubt that a good running coach can help you with both the mental and physical aspects of becoming a better athlete. If you’re wondering if that’s a good option for you, check out this piece from Run Street: “Where to Find a Running Coach.” Some good places to start your search are in the USATF and Road Runner’s Club of America databases of certified coaches. They’ll have the credentials and expertise to train you safely and effectively, and you can search by location based on your state or zip code for easy access. Once you find a suitable trainer, you’ll want to ask them and yourself some questions. Things like what is your goal for your sessions, what style of coaching works best for you, and what specific challenges are you trying to overcome? If you find the right match and work well together, you may experience first hand the “5 Reasons To Hire A Running Coach.” Athletes who’ve worked with personal coaches tend to experience fewer injuries, have better form, receive motivation, undergo quality rehab when needed, and experience overall boosts in performance. So if you’re considering a change in how you train, remember these other wise words from Yogi: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." #TeamBuilding
Minute 2: Know the history of health supplements if you want to pick the right ones
It’s probably not a coincidence that as endurance sports have cracked down on illegal substances, the number of approved performance-boosting supplements have multiplied like rabbits. They seem to dominate the shelves of health food stores and the advertising space of your favorite fitness sites. Athletes have been trying to gain an edge through supplements since the ancient Olympics. Throughout their history, we’ve found a few things that work well, and even more that are a total flop. If you want to know which supplements to avoid, you should take a look at this analysis from Training Peaks: “Those Supplements Likely Don’t Work and Might Be Harmful for Athletes.” If you’ve ever purchased a health supplement, it likely contained a label stating that its claims haven’t been evaluated by the FDA. That signals a suboptimal level of oversight in the manufacturing process, and your powders and pills may have been made with low quality fillers or banned substances. One thing you can do is look for third party certifications from trustworthy institutions like the National Sanitation Foundation. Another useful tip is to buy supplements with simple, well-established ingredients like caffeine. For more on that, check out: “Can Caffeine Improve Your Athletic Performance?” Studies have found that caffeine can increase your VO2 max, quicken reaction times, and increase fat burning. It’s also worth noting that taking caffeine during exercise can shorten the duration of its effects, but even so, it can take several hours for it to clear your system. That means it’s not the best idea to take caffeine for your afternoon run, since it may disrupt your sleep.
Minute 3: Do you experience runger?
You probably don’t need a tween to explain what “hangry” means, but how about “runger?” Even though we just heard this expression for the first time recently, we have experienced the phenomenon of being super hungry after a run for many years. Sure running burns a lot of calories, but there is more the story than just that simple fact according to Marathon Handbook:
“Runger Explained: Why Runners Get Hungry, A Lot!” Sometimes runger is explained by a lack of pre-run hydration. Other times it signals that you haven’t eaten enough in the hours leading up to your run. Either way, it can lead to some bad nutritional choices as you satisfy your cravings with whatever food is at hand. To learn more about the concept of satiating your appetite in general, check out this story from CNN about a new study: “Curb hunger with a big breakfast but don’t count on it for weight loss.” Some foods are good for you and also help curb unhealthy cravings. These include foods with the following characteristics:
High in protein
High in fiber
High in volume (contain lots of water or even air)
Low in energy density (few calories relative to the food’s weight); and
Whole, unprocessed foods
Minute 4: Shoe Review: Saucony Triumph 21 ($160)
Our shoe reviewer Brian Metzler is a student of not only the technical aspects of a running shoe, but also the business models behind those kicks. The new wave of carbon-plated shoes has meant some gold-plated financial results for their parent companies as $250 price tags have become the norm. For those of us who don’t want to drop that much cash on an everyday trainer, Brian strongly recommends the new Saucony Triumph 21. The shoe is very capable and is also one of the most comfortable models ever created. Brian hits the highlights below and you can read his full review of the Triumph 21 on our website.
In the modern world of running shoes, the new (and expensive!) models with carbon-fiber plates seem to be the only ones highlighted on the marquee with neon lights these days. And for good reason. Not only have carbon-plated racing shoes changed marathon running by helping us run faster and recover more quickly, but also now everyday training shoes with carbon-fiber (or even high-rebound nylon) plates are also a hot commodity. That fancy plate technology, however, comes with a fancy price tag of $170 to $250.
But what about shoes without plates? Does the mere suggestion of wanting to buck the system suggest a regression back to the early to mid-2000s when shoes didn’t provide such a notable spring in your step? Believe it or not, there are a lot of great lively training shoes available without plates, starting with the Saucony Triumph 21. Compared to some of the modern everyday trainers with plates, it’s less expensive, more durable and considerably more comfortable. Compared to a lot of non-plated, high-mileage trainers you’ve trained with in the past – maybe even the shoes you wore last year – they’re a godsend of comfort.
Why It’s Great: Rarely does a new upper change the feeling and performance of a shoe the way this one has. The new lacing system and stretchy upper provided one of the best, locked-down and connective fit sensations I’ve ever felt in a shoe, and it made me wish all of my running shoes fit and felt that way. I dug out my pair of Triumph 20s from last summer and ran a few miles in those, then transitioned back to the Triumph 21s for a few miles, and it was a night-and-day difference. Last year’s shoe was very good but not great, so the enhanced fit and feel of the Triumph 21 make a world of difference and allow it to hearken back to the premium opulence that previous models of the Triumph were known for back before modern foam midsoles came into play.
Pro: If you’re looking for a high-mileage daily trainer as you prep for a fall marathon or half marathon, this is definitely one to consider. I’ve run my two longest road runs of the summer in this shoe and have no complaints at all, given that I’m still early in my marathon build-up phase. It’s not a featherweight shoe, but it’s light enough to feel good and never heavy or clunky. The smooth, consistent ride felt responsive enough for the 9-minute mile pace and, perhaps most importantly, my legs felt fresh and recovered the next day. I’ll continue to keep this shoe in my quiver as my longer runs get slightly longer in the coming weeks.
For Brian’s full review of the new Saucony Triumph 21, check it out here.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
It’s rare to find an athlete who can run a sub 3-hour marathon. Similarly, not just any gym-goer can deadlift 405 pounds. The odds of finding someone who can do both? Slim to none, which is what makes hybrid athlete Nick Bare so interesting. He’s accomplished both of those feats and shares his methodology in this new piece: “The Benefits of “Mildly Uncomfortable” Endurance Workouts.”
It’s no surprise that running can improve your body and mind, but what about your community and country? We happen to believe that when you participate in races, you’re helping to build a community, challenging yourself to become virtuous, and connecting with the land we inhabit. Those are all cornerstones of citizenship according to Ancient Greek philosophers like Plato, and for a deeper discussion on that topic, you can read this new story from iRunFar: “Running and Citizenship.”
“What is the best type of workout?” is a nearly impossible question to answer. That’s because it depends on the individual and their goals, so finding out your personal answer is best done by asking yourself what you want most out of your exercise. Getting in shape quickly, aging well, enjoying the outdoors, and sharpening your mind are all valid answers, and if you want a few ideas for each, you can try out: “Our Favorite Workouts So Far This Year” from The New York Times.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
In Minute 2 of our last issue, we took a look at how runners can combine cardio and strength training for the greatest benefit. You may have been surprised to learn just how synergistic they can be, and if that has you curious to try your own strength building routine for runners, we’ve got just the video for you. @jonnyrdavies has been running and lifting together for three years. We think his results speak for themself. By using a combination of isometric holds, force absorption work, and good old fashioned weight lifting, Jonny builds strength that improves his running, rather than inhibiting it. He’s an engaging teacher who energetically demonstrates his moves in this video.