Minute 1: What are the limits of human endurance?
Nike believes that science, nutrition and (of course) running shoes with a swoosh on them can propel a human runner to break a barrier once believed to be unbreakable: the sub-2-hour marathon. (They partnered with NatGeo for an excellent documentary on the quest.) But what about the extreme outer limits of human endurance? How fast can an athlete run, cycle or hike for days or even weeks at a time under difficult conditions?
Researchers just published a study that answers that question. It turns out that once we get past an initial burst of energy that can last for an entire marathon, no human can burn calories at more than 2.5 times their resting metabolic rate. That means that if you are completely sedentary and burn 2,000 calories per day, you won’t have the energy to burn more than 5,000 calories per day. It turns out that your digestive system – not your heart and lungs – limits your performance over ultra-long endeavors. Humans can crank up their burn rate to 15X their resting rate for a marathon, but everyone eventually crests at 2.5X over time. If you can’t process external fuel, your body eventually begins to consume itself. Interestingly, pregnant women run very close to the red line by burning 2.2X their sedentary rates for months throughout their pregnancies.
If you’re wondering about what type of fuel NOT to use in your next event, check out this list of 7 Foods That Will Kill Your Endurance and Stamina from Men’s Journal. On the other hand, the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico — made famous by Chris McDougall’s book Born to Run – relies not just on good genes, but also on a clean diet of local foods. Check out the trailer to an award-winning documentary on the Tarahumara runners below.
Minute 2: Will a dog keep you fit?
Ever wonder why you can’t get more than 10 pages into Outside or Runner’s World magazines without seeing an ad for dog food? That’s because there’s a big correlation between dog owners and people who exercise in fresh air. A new UK study is getting lots of coverage because it provides some of the numbers behind this trend. Dog owners spend about 300 minutes per week walking their dogs, compared to about 100 minutes per week of walking time for Fido-less folks. Overall, dog owners are 4X more likely to meet standard weekly exercise goals. Whether you are thinking of adding a furry friend to your family or want to see how your current pooch stacks up, check out the 20 Best Dog Breeds for Runners from Outside magazine.
Minute 3: What happens if you stop drinking for a year?
Ever notice how spooky-well targeted the ads are in your Instagram feed? We get a steady stream of running shoes, workout apparel and outdoor gear in our scroll. That’s why an ad caught our eye last week for One Year No Beer. Hmm. Is Mark Zuckerberg trying to tell us something? (Strava reports that runners associate more with beer while cyclists crave coffee.) The premise of the OYNB organization is to get athletes and civilians to quit drinking for a year. The idea germinated in a 2015 UK study that showed the positive effects of spending just four weeks on the wagon. Of the participants in the study, 82% reported improved sleep, 92% said they were much happier and 73% lost weight.
If you’re wondering if this could be for you, check out a story by a fitness journalist in the Chicago Tribune: 8 Things That Resulted from My Year Without Beer. For the millions of runners who will continue to reward themselves with a cold one after a long run, you may be interested in a program just announced by Michelob Ultra to reward “plogging.” Derived from the Swedish term “plocka upp,” the goal is to pick up litter while you’re running. If you send Mich Ultra a photo proving your love of running, beer and Mother Earth, you could be rewarded with one of 95 bibs they are giving out for free to the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon.
Minute 4: Gearing up for summer
As the virtual mercury climbs in your iPhone Weather app, we hope you are now fully weaned from the indoor cardio machines. To celebrate the season in style, we have gathered a few helpful links to gear for the roads and trails. We love the Gear Junkie crew who put together these lists of The Best Men’s Running Shirts of 2019 and The Best Women’s Shirts of 2019. Here are our own lists of our 3 Favorite Hydration Vests and 8 Favorite Running Socks. Runner’s World chimes in with their always dependable list of The 13 Best Trail Running Shoes.
Minute 5: Shedding another layer for summer
Maybe just saying no to beer and upgrading your wardrobe are not enough of a boost to your personal image of a healthy summer. So here are a couple of nutrition and diet news items that will get you into the spirit of the season. If immediate rewards (or an imminent beach weekend) are your thing, check out this article in Men’s Health: The 3-Day Military Diet Says You Can Lose Up to 10 Pounds in a Week. It is guaranteed to leave you hungry, but lighter. To shake up your normal salad routine while adding in some protein, check out 12 Salads That Would Love to Be Topped with Chicken. LIVESTRONG just published a list of 10 Quick, Easy 200-Calorie Snacks You’ll Actually Enjoy Eating.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Next time you’re thinking of adding some plyo reps to your workout, head outside your comfort zone by adding these lateral moves to your typical standing box jumps. Devon Levesque will eventually kill himself with some of his workout moves, but until he does, enjoy the show!
Get faster, get stronger, get inspired.