Minute 1: Why you may want skip your workout after getting COVID vaccine
Back in 2015, Oregon All American Tanguy Pepiot was nearing the finish line in a big 3,000 meter steeplechase race at Hayward Field. Leading comfortably with about 50 meters to go, Pepiot slowed down to wave his arms and encourage the home crowd to cheer his imminent victory. In a moment that Pepiot wishes had never been captured on YouTube, a University of Washington runner passed him at the tape to create a video that will live on in Internet infamy. When we think about the pandemic, we are reminded of Pepiot’s cautionary tale. We are so close to the finish line, we don’t want to screw it up now. According to the CDC, cases are dropping and more than 65,000,000 vaccines have been administered in the U.S. This bodes well for public health as well as for fall races. In addition to wearing masks and social distancing, we also need to be cautious as we receive our vaccines. You have probably read about vaccine side effects, especially after the second dose. Though the symptoms only last a day or two, doctors are now advising athletes and runners to take a break from working out right after getting the vaccine. According to Men’s Health, the fitness app Whoop sampled 1,200 members who reported getting the vaccine in January and found that many experienced a double-digit change in elevated resting heart rate, and a depressed heart rate variability. Details are here: “How to Time Your Workouts Around Your COVID-19 Vaccination.” While most Whoop members showed no effect from the vaccine, 21.6% saw their resting heart rates rise by 10% or more, while 28.9% reported a decline in heart rate variability of at least 20%. According to Whoop, the data is a good thing. “It’s a sign the vaccine’s working. It wouldn’t create antibodies if it didn’t trigger a response,” Emily Capodilupo, VP of data science at Whoop, said. Dr. Purvi Parikh, an immunologist and allergist with Allergy & Asthma Network, also recommends athletes “avoid working out right after the COVID-19 vaccine.” In an interview earlier this month, Parikh says working out before getting the vaccine is fine but says exercise afterward could exacerbate any adverse reactions. "Exercise should be avoided after the vaccine and can resume when feeling back to normal the next day or day after," Dr. Parikh said. Whoop recommends getting plenty of rest before getting the vaccine and planning a training recovery day for afterward. #HomeStretch
Minute 2: How COVID is improving our nutrition & changing the way we eat
A year ago, most of our friends were rushing through life like a tour bus crowd 10 minutes before the all-you-can-eat buffet closes. We were zipping from work to gym to restaurants to school events. Too much of everything was just enough. Now all of those activities are happening under our own roof, especially eating. We feel badly for our friends in the restaurant business, but for the next few months, home cooking will continue to be the norm. That has had a positive effect on our nutrition, and we’re not alone, apparently. VeryWellFit documents the phenomenon in: “One Year Later: How Has COVID Affected Our Nutrition.” They cite an August 2020 survey that found 94% of Americans cooking more, with 3/4 of respondents enjoying more family meals together. The International Food Information Council reports that 60% of Americans are cooking at home more during the pandemic. The surveys confirm what many health experts have been saying for years about “Why the Family Meal Is Important.” More than 70% of people who have been eating more in-person meals say they feel more connected to family and friends, while 40% said they ate healthier than when eating alone. This confirms research by both nutritionists and family experts. In “The Importance of Family Mealtime,” The Family & Children’s Center cites a Harvard study that shows that families who dine together tend to eat much healthier. And in “The Importance of Family Dinner,” the Food Network highlights the impact family meals have on the emotional and mental health of your children. It’s not all good news, however, as Dietician Kim Rose-Francis says stress caused by COVID has led many to engage in unhealthy eating habits, leading to high blood sugar, high blood pressure and other health problems. The good news? “My patients come to me with a desire to take control of their health,” she said. As we head toward year 2 of the pandemic, many doctors and health experts are reminding patients about “The Importance of Good Nutrition” and “The Top 10 Benefits of Healthy Eating.” It’s also a good idea to check out “How to Combat Stress with Good Nutrition.” #HomeWok
Minute 3: Strava’s most active runner shares his secrets
If you’ve participated in the running challenges on Strava, you may have seen the name David Simon near the top of the leaderboard. No one on Strava ran more last year than Simon, who logged more than 8,000 miles and 2,000 hours. It’s no big deal for the 61-year-old Simon, who has been going on 20-mile runs for nearly 40 years. Men’s Health recently interviewed Simon for a post called “Strava’s Most Active Runner Shared the Secret to Running 20-Mile Days at 61.” Simon started running in high school and loved it so much he began running every day. “Running truly changed my life: I got fit, healthy, more confident, and happier,” he said. “Now if I miss a day, I bounce off the walls.” Simon ran his first marathon in 1984, finishing the L.A. Marathon in 4:20. After 10 more marathons, he lowered his PR to 3:20 in the Chicago Marathon. His most unique race, though, was an accident. In 2013, Simon was working in Las Vegas when he decided to go for a run. When he got to the street on the Las Vegas strip, he heard gunfire and saw thousands of people running toward him. Next thing he knew, he was running in the Las Vegas Marathon. “I felt bad when they gave me a medal, but they said it was okay when I fessed up, and I had a great time.” Simon has continued to run during COVID and participates in Strava’s monthly distance challenges. His goal now, he says, is to keep on running. “As I tell my family, when I can’t run anymore, I’ll walk. When I can’t walk, I’ll roll. And when I can’t do that, I’ll have to figure out a new activity.” Simon’s commitment to running is so inspiring he may just belong on Run Reviews’ list of “Most Influential Runners in the World.” #IfItAin’tOnStrava...
Minute 4: Avoid ‘Heartbreak’ by training for vertical gains
Our luxurious corporate HQ is only ½ mile from the top of Heartbreak Hill, the infamous section of the Boston Marathon that has ruined the hopes and dreams of many marathoners. That’s how Heartbreak Hill got its name. If you’re training for the October 2021 edition of the “toughest miles of the Boston Marathon” -- or any other course that features a steep incline -- you need to start by training for vertical elevation gain, or “vert.” As trail runner Tayte Pollman points out in “What’s The Buzz on Vert?” the term has become a buzzword in trail running because apps like Strava and Garmin Connect now help runners track their vertical gain. The new Garmin Enduro smartwatch even comes with an ascent planner that provides real-time information on upcoming climbs and elevation gains. Designed for trail runners, it also has a battery life Garmin says can last for up to 80 hours, or as NewAtlas.com says, “as long as ultrarunners.” Trail runners use such technology to measure how much “vert” they achieve in workouts, but as Pollman points out at the American Trail Running Association’s TrailRunner.com, vertical training is not just for trail runners. Road runners who face a steep uphill climb in an upcoming race should implement vertical training into their workouts. “In order for your body to handle vertical terrain on race day, you need to train specifically for it,” Pollman says. “Similar to how you prepare your body for race day by performing workouts at paces and distances specific to your race, vertical terrain should also be a focus if this is one of the features of the race course.” For more tips, check out “How to Get Better at Running Uphill” or check out Red Bull’s “5 best hill running sessions.” Also keep in mind that downhill running can be just as challenging as uphill and is often harder on your quads and knees. TrainingPeaks also has tips on “How to Train for Downhill Running.” Or check out “How To Run Downhill | Training Tips to Save Your Knees & Quads” at Run To The Finish. #HillYeah
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
We have an exciting announcement to share. Next week, we are launching a new publication -- the Six Minute Mile Professional Edition. This new weekly newsletter is geared toward industry professionals, but it will include content that any avid endurance athlete will enjoy. We will explore topics like new shoe releases, venture capital investment in fitness companies, and curated listings of dream jobs in the industry. Each edition will feature a longer original story that explores an important issue facing the endurance industry. If you’re a race director, specialty run shop employee, or endurance brand marketer, this is must-read stuff. If you just love endurance sports (or want to support our humble free version of SMM) you, too, should subscribe to SMM Pro. It’s only $6 per month or $60 per year. I know, right? Too good to be true. For less than the price of a Starbuck’s for you and your significant other, you will get smarter, faster and cooler. If you have ideas about particular content we should cover or want to be part of our exclusive VIP launch group, just reply to this email with your ideas or a “Heck yeah, I’m interested!”
Endurance trainer Kate Ligler says that it’s better to do strength training barefoot than in your running shoes. Even a pair of minimalist shoes or flimsy Chuck Taylors would be better, she says in “What Kind of Shoes Should I Be Wearing for Strength Training?” Ligler, who works with runners and triathletes, says wearing running shoes or traditional footwear dulls proprioception, or body awareness, of the ankles, feet and toes, leading to less activation and total body connectivity. She compares it to trying to tie your shoes in gardening gloves. If you’re not comfortable going to the gym barefoot, or if you’re afraid of dropping a heavy dumbbell on your foot, check out Shape.com’s “The Best Shoes for Strength Training.”
One year ago this week, Ahmaud Arbery was jogging through a quiet residential neighborhood in Georgia when he was shot to death in cold blood. By June 2020, 3 white men were indicted on murder charges and are awaiting trial. We have come a long way in this country over the past 60 years, but not far enough. As fellow runners and athletes, we commemorate this solemn anniversary and pledge to do better.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration We are big believers in the runner’s wave. As we pass a fellow athlete on the roads or trails, we give at least a friendly head nod if not a full wave. Sometimes we run into a friend who is overly anxious to share their run and opinions. Celebrity impressionist Brent Pella recently had some fun with this concept in a hilarious new video called “How runners talk about running.” It features a male and female runner who meet on the trail and immediately start oversharing. The man points out how he recently got divorced because his wife called him “a jogger” and things spiral from there. Pella’s video is a hilarious look at how some runners take their sport a little too seriously.