Minute 1: 5,280 feet of fun
In case the name of our publication didn’t tip you off, we’re mile nerds. It’s an iconic distance that is humbly defiant in the face of the metric world. If you’re a runner, the first two questions that people are likely to ask you are: “Have you run a marathon?” and “What’s your best time for a mile?” Studies show that in the history of American cocktail parties, no one has ever posed the question: “What’s your 1,500 meters PR?” (Go ahead and Google it.)
So when a reader sent us a link to an even more devoted group of mile nerds, we were hooked. Huge shout out to the folks who created the “Bring Back the Mile” website. They provide a good history of the event along with a full calendar of upcoming mile races. Even our most devoted running buddies don’t race the mile nearly as often as they should. Podium Runner provides a list of their Top 6 U.S. Mile Road Races. Shape chimes in with a list of The 10 Best Mile Races in the U.S. Both lists include two of our personal favorites, Boulder’s Pearl Street Mile and NYRR’s New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile. If you’re wondering how many people can meet our namesake standard, about 33% of men and 6% of women cracked 6 minutes out of 9,276 total runners on Fifth Avenue. To finish in the top 25 of their age group that day, a 40-year old woman needed to run 6:27 last year while a 40-year old man needed to run 5:10.
The 2019 elite men’s race provided one of the most dramatic finishes in history. If you don’t want to watch the entire race, scroll forward to the 5:00 minute mark of the video below to watch the battle down the home stretch. Guaranteed to make you start looking for a mile race near you.
Minute 2: Faster is better than longer
If we didn’t sell you on the fun and virtues of running more mile races, a new piece from Outside Magazine may help convince you that going faster is more productive than going longer. We have written before about how interval training typically burns more fat and boosts fitness levels more than long, slow outings. The Outside story describes the “unexpected benefits from super-short intervals and even shorter recoveries.” The study they describe involves cyclists who are asked to do multiple sets of 13 sprints for 30 seconds with limited recovery. The cyclists did the workout 3 times per week for 3 weeks. The sprinting cohort showed 3X the improvement over a peer group that did 5 minute chunks of intense work rather than 30 seconds. While the study involved cyclists, the benefits almost certainly translate to other endurance sports.
Minute 3: Why February resolutions are better than January
At some point next week, 80% of our good intentions for 2020 will have been abandoned according to U.S. News and World Report. By February 14, cheat meals become just meals, work-out streaks yield to just work-outs, and reducing IPA intake means only on nights other than Thursday, Friday or Saturday. For endurance training resolutions, the surrender date has already come and gone. According to Strava, January 19 was “Quitters Day” when the peak number of newbies spawned back upstream to their couches. Many productivity experts believe that January is nothing but a bunch of amateur hours, anyway, and the real work doesn’t start until the current month. We like this piece from Lifehack: Why You Should Start Your New Year in February. (Cliff Notes summary: we’re all too dang tired in January.) If you need a little counterintuitive motivation, Chicago’s Goose Island brewery is offering $10,000 to people who commit to a healthier lifestyle in 2020.
Minute 4: Can we move the Tokyo Olympics???
During every Olympics in recent memory, the media loves to publish stories about how many condoms are distributed in the Olympic Village. (That number was 37 per athlete in Korea in 2018, thanks in part to Tinder.) In Tokyo this summer, that number is likely to be dwarfed by how many face masks are passed out. There was a significant development today as the CEO of the Tokyo Olympics shared this with reporters: “I am seriously worried that the spread of the infectious disease could throw cold water on the momentum toward the games.” While the IOC and the Tokyo committee continue to say that they won’t cancel the games because of the Coronavirus, today’s statement is the most concerning yet. The prospect of 11,000 athletes who all travel extensively piled into the Athlete Village is an epidemiologist’s worst nightmare. Already, other international track and ski racing events have been cancelled in Asia. Is the Rose Bowl free this July?
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
- If you are a runner, you’ve probably been injured. In our experience, the mental frustration usually hurts more than the physical pain. That’s why we were pleased to find this runner’s version of the Kubler-Ross stages of grief: The 8 Emotional Stages of Injury courtesy of our friends at Canadian Running magazine.
- Gear spill in aisle 10. It’s that time of year when e-tailers are trying to clear out their inventory mistakes from winter warehouses. Our favorite winter sales include these ones from Backcountry.com, REI, and JackRabbit.
- Attention SoulCycle, Peloton and Flywheel veterans – and those considering a move to the stationary bike class craze. You may enjoy this summary of “5 Indoor Cycling Myths that Instructors Would Like to Shatter.” (Sorry, hardos, but instructors want you to know that you’re not really racing your classmates.)
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
A few months ago, a good friend was lucky enough to sneak in a workout at Under Armour’s incredible corporate HQ gym. He asked one of the trainers who’d worked there for years which athletes cranked out the most intense workouts. The UA trainer didn’t hesitate in his answer: Ski racer Lindsey Vonn. Pretty impressive when you consider the UA stable of athletes includes folks like Tom Brady, Steph Curry and Bryce Harper. Since it’s ski season in the northern hemisphere, we thought you’d appreciate this sampling of Vonn’s workouts below under the headline “Lindsey Vonn’s Training Regimen Will Wreck You.”
Get faster, get stronger, get inspired.