July 27 Six Minute Mile

Minute 1: How record summer heat affects endurance athletes

Regardless of your political views, it’s getting hotter out there. Maybe it’s just God huggin’ us closer, as Tina Fey/Sarah Palin told us on this classic SNL sketch, but global warming is really starting to tick us off. It’s one thing to shorten ski seasons, but now a record-setting heat wave is canceling endurance races and that ain’t cool with us. The latest victim was last weekend’s NYC Triathlon. Organizers pulled the plug in the face of forecasts approaching 100F. At the Tour de France, riders have resorted to wearing ice vests to survive the soleil-powered new heat records. The Washington Post just ran a piece entitled “Athlete vs. Heat” that describes how heat is hurting endurance athletes.

If you’re not the quitting type or hate air-conditioned treadmills in summer, one respected running coach just shared a detailed account of “Cooling Techniques in Endurance Running.” She includes some fascinating advice including pre-event cooling with ice slurry drinks, but avoiding them during an event. She also describes how a splash of cold water to the head or neck may feel good during a race, but it could potentially lower your perception of how much you are overheating, thereby increasing risk.

Minute 2: Healthier steak and eggs

Unless you’ve been living under a McDonald’s, you already know that the biggest trend in healthy eating this year involves plant-based “meats” like Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger. These fake steak products have exploded into multi-billion dollar companies while saving the lives of more cattle than Chik-fil-A. They are buzzword compliant (non-GMO, Gluten-free, etc.) and taste pretty dang good. Check out this story from Wednesday: “How Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat Convinced Meat-Lovers to Eat Plant Burgers.” 

Some dieticians have questioned, however, whether these meat substitutes are really healthier. They cite high levels of sodium and saturated fats while dinging the products as highly-processed rather than whole foods. Those critiques haven’t slowed down the progress of another new plant-based trend – veggie eggs. Tim Horton’s, the Canadian donut and coffee shop giant, just announced that they will begin serving a breakfast sandwich made with JUST Egg, an egg lookalike made from mung bean protein. 

Minute 3: Eating simpler

It makes sense that cooking your own dinner from whole foods is healthier than nuking something that you bought in plastic packaging from the frozen food aisle. Surprisingly, the scientific data to back up our instincts has been harder to find than a low-cal meal at Shake Shack. Until now. The Washington Post just published an excellent article on “How Processed Food Makes Us Fat.” A big part of the reason is that processed food jams in more calories per gram than its home-cooked cousins. Here is a good list of 10 Processed Foods to Avoid that may surprise you with items like granola bars and dried fruit. On a more positive note, here are 17 Processed Foods Nutritionists Approve Of.

Minute 4: Gear round-up

If your credit card survived Amazon Prime days last week, there are still plenty of good bargains out there and new product releases during the dog days of summer retail. Left Lane Sports, one of our favorite discount gear outlets is taking an additional 25% off its normal bargain prices in this promotion. Backcountry.com is offering up to 75% off sunglasses and 70% off last season’s Patagonia gear. While it’s not technically a gear idea, if you need some inspiration for your beach reading list, check out our 6 Favorite Running Books that include our all-time faves.

Minute 5: Our favorite podcasts

Tired of your same old music playlist on your run, ride or indoor workout? Looking for a little life/work/sports inspiration while you get your sweat on? How about mixing in some podcasts to supplement your music mixes? Could 100 million commuters and power-walking suburban moms be wrong? (Are we ever going to stop writing sentences that end in a question mark?) We have been nerding out hard to a few different podcasts recently. Even if you’re not quite sure which country hosts the Tour de France, you will love Lance Armstrong’s commentary on this year’s TDF which some are calling the best Tour ever.

We are also devoted listeners of the NPR series on entrepreneurship called “How I Built This.” We particularly love their episodes on the founding of Peleton and Soul Cycle. Finally, we just discovered that our favorite run/ride tracking app is now in the business of podcasts, too. Strava’s “Athletes Unfiltered” provides inspirational stories of pro and amateur athletes, while also giving you a link to their Strava training logs to see how they’ve reached their goals. Don’t be the only person on your Sunday group ride/run who doesn’t listen to the Strava podcast!

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

14 years ago, Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy was killed in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor. Ever since, CrossFitters have paid tribute to the SEAL by imitating his favorite workout and renaming it the Murph. A mix of running (2 miles), air squats, push-ups and pull-ups, we can tell you from firsthand experience that the Murph is worthy of its namesake. If you are looking to shake up your usual routine with something challenging this weekend, here’s the info on how to do the work-out. An intermediate should be able to complete a Murph in under an hour.

If you want something a little shorter, but also intense, try the Cindy, which basically calls for as many air squats, push-ups and pull-ups you can do in 20 minutes. You may also want to check out the 10 Best CrossFit Workouts to Improve Your Endurance from Men’s Journal. You can check out a motivational video on the Murph below.

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