SIX-MINUTE MILE NEWSLETTER

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Six Minute Mile is an (occasionally) daily email blast bringing you news, ideas, inspirational stories, and special deals for runners and fitness enthusiasts. We are athletes ourselves. Runners, CrossFitters, Barry’s Boot Campers, skiers, cyclists, and mud racers. We like to sweat. If you’re reading this right now, the odds are pretty good that you do too. Let’s have some fun together in under six minutes.

Latest Six Minutes

December 9 Six Minute Mile

Minute 1: Banking on Spartan

If you win the New York Marathon, you get a check for $100,000. If you win the Ironman World Championship, you add $120,000 to your bank account. But if Jon Albon wins this weekend’s Spartan Ultra in Iceland, he will pocket $1,000,000. That would be the biggest prize of any endurance athlete in history. When Spartan founder Joe DeSena came up with this crazy idea, he probably never thought anyone actually had a chance of making him $1M poorer. DeSena threw out a challenge stating that if someone could win three of his biggest, toughest races in one year, they would earn the million bucks.

Albon has already won the first two legs in North Lake Tahoe and Sparta, Greece, and only needs another “W” this weekend to rack up the biggest payday in endurance sports. Trouble is, that last leg is an absolute bear. He needs to run 100 miles of laps on a challenging obstacle course in Iceland in less than 24 hours. Last year’s best performer only made it 71 miles. If Albon hits the mark, it’s unlikely he will go all Hollywood on us. “We have a simple lifestyle so we don’t need much money,” he told Runner’s World. “We could pay off the house loan and my wife’s student debt and just live comfortably. A cabin in mountains to go skiing would be cool to buy.”
#stealjoe’smillion

Minute 2: Spartan without the obstacles

Speaking of Spartan Race, they just announced a new option for athletes who like to run outside, but don’t like fire jumps, monkey bars and mud crawls. In 2019, Spartan will offer at least 10 trail runs spread across the U.S. The races promise the production values, swag and expo village hoopla of a Spartan obstacle race. Pricing for the 10K distance is about $55, while the 21K elite wave will set you back nearly $100. If your loved ones (and fans) want to cheer you on in person, they will need a $20 spectator pass.

Cleverly, Spartan partnered with Trail Running magazine and two well-respected names in the ultra community to lend more trail cred to the operation. (Check out Trail Running’s preview of the race series here.) Of course when you mix a new commercial venture with ultra purists, you are bound to see a few brush fires break out. One ultra podcaster has already weighed in with this thought about the pricing: “I get the feeling that Luis Escobar and Charlie Engle were hired and paid to market the series prior to them knowing about this participant fee.
#nogooddeed…

Minute 3: Zen & the art of foam rolling

We all know that foam rollers are the miracle cure of the last decade. Their popularity has exploded in every gym and CrossFit studio in the world. In addition to self-myofascial release, however, new research shows that foam rolling can help your state of mind as well as your muscles. Done properly, foam rolling can act as a form of acupressure and calm the nervous system. One of the leading authors on the subject has just released her list of 6 foam roller exercises for keeping stress in check.
#chillingwithmyfoamies

Minute 4: The Super Bowl of high school running

The best high school runners in the U.S. compete in the most important race of their young careers this weekend. The Foot Locker XC Championships will crown a boys and a girls champion on a 5K course in San Diego. The event is packed with college coaches and success can mean scholarship offers and a mini burst of fame. The list of runners who have podiumed in the past reads like a U.S. running hall of fame roll call: Jenny Simpson, Jen Rhines, Ryan Hall, Alan Webb, Molly Huddle, Adam Goucher, etc. (Shalane Flanagan somewhat famously blew up at the regional qualifier her senior year and never made it to the national event, despite being a favorite for the U.S. title.) Competitor.com provides a good sense of the history, drama and color behind the event.
#superbad

Minute 5: Holiday Cheer

We continue to scan the “best of” lists and holiday shopping guides for our endurance and work-out friends. We like these new lists that emerged this week. Here are the 14 best gifts for trail runners and the 7 best fitness books to buy in 2018. We also love this deal from Reebok that expires this weekend: get 50% off on orders over $150.
#shoppingforsweaters

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

We are suckers for stories about finding slivers of victory in every defeat. The story of Derek Redmond at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics is an epic tale of perseverance and humility. The favorite going into the 400M finals, Derek tore his hamstring midway through the race. Instead of quitting, he gutted out a finish with some help from his dad, who’d busted through security to lend a hand. Cheesy music? Check. Grainy video? Yup. Still gets us every time? Absolutely.

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November 30 Six Minute Mile

On today's issue: Running marathons and saving lives, running a marathon behind bars, and more.

Minute 1: Strava’s State of Endurance Report

Based on its new annual report on endurance sports, Strava apparently knows more about our activity uploads than even the best Russian bots. They make fitness data geeks very happy every year with nuggets like: runners drink more beer than cyclists and working out with friends makes you go longer and stronger. We also appreciated these insights from their report released this week:

  • The most active day of the year in the U.S. is July 4. The most active day for just running is Thanksgiving.

  • Women and men average about the same pace on runs and rides. Men tend to ride 5 minutes longer than women, while they run 1 minute less than females.

  • Highest number of selfies uploaded per activity: Snowshoeing

  • Most popular day of the week to work out: Tuesday

  • Uploads from bicycle commuters are up 43% this year

Unless they begin sharing our data with the “Lose 5 Pounds of Belly Fat” advertisers, we are very happy to contribute our work-outs to the Strava analysis.
#hardbodydata

 

Minute 2: NCAA bans a gay woman from competing after a GoFundMe campaign

Emily Scheck was enjoying the hectic life of a D-1 student athlete on the Canisius College track and XC teams. The sophomore was working hard in school and on the trails this fall, after putting up some strong results her freshman year. Emily even had time for a romantic relationship. And that’s where the trouble started. Through social media, her parents discovered that her significant other was another female student and they blew a gasket. They booted her out of the family, cut off all financial support and dumped all her stuff from home into her car at school. So that happened. But then things got worse before they got worse. When her friends rallied behind her with a GoFundMe campaign to pay for basics like health insurance and food, the NCAA blew the whistle on her and banned her from competition because she had accepted improper support. Any sane person would realize that rules designed to prevent SEC football boosters from buying a tailback a Ferrari didn’t apply to Emily. The NCAA, however, went even more insane than Emily’s parents and stuck to their interpretation. Once again, Emily’s friends rallied to her defense with an online campaign. Check out the full story in the Washington Post to see how it all turned out.
#N$AA

Minute 3: How do you make fitness a habit?

Most endurance athletes and gym goers we know suffer from two chronic conditions: dreading the “same old” routines and not having enough time in the day. That’s why we liked this new piece from Under Armour: 10 Tips for Better Fitness. Released this month, the suggestions help overcome both chronic ailments. They include practical plans for motivation and explain how even a 10-minute work-out can produce results.

#justdoit (oh wait, wrong company)

Minute 4: Mikaela Shiffrin’s diet and why you shouldn’t fear a few grams of carbs

We are big fans of Mikaela Shiffrin, America’s best ski racer, in large part because of her work ethic and emotional honesty. We would kill for the quad strength she shows in this training video. She also pays a lot of attention to her nutritional intake, which includes plenty of carbs. As much as we admire her, can we really trust carb/no-carb advice from someone who is sponsored by Barilla? Well a major new study reported by the New York Times agrees with Mikaela (and her Italian spaghetti sponsor). The Best Foods for Athletes story includes interviews with leading sports medicine/nutrition experts who weigh in on the holy trinity of carbs, fat and protein.
#everythinginmoderation…includingmoderation

Minute 5: Making a list and checking it twice…

Because our holiday shopping usually begins in a panic around December 23, we have resolved to get a jump on the action this year. We’ve found a couple of idea lists we like, including these 16 gift ideas for fitness lovers. And for the endurance or outdoors technophile in your life, we like this suggested list from Backcountry.com that includes solar chargers, headlamps, watches, speakers and headphones.
#procrastination

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

We have written before on the unfairness of life as personified by Sydney McLaughlin. Why is one human being blessed with stunning athletic ability, a huge $$$ contract with New Balance, and stunning good looks? Her work ethic and humility make her a hard person to hate. We love this new highlight video she just dropped in her Insta account:

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November 21 Six Minute Mile

On today's issue: Running marathons and saving lives, running a marathon behind bars, and more.

Minute 1: Are you running tomorrow?

Thanksgiving is the most popular running race day in America. More than 1 million folks will pin a bib to their chest tomorrow and compete in about 1,000 Turkey Trots and Gobbler Gallops. But how did Thanksgiving become associated with running in the first place? After all, tomorrow it will be cold and rainy in Seattle, 39 degrees in Chicago and below freezing in New York with gusts to 30 MPH. The New York Times explains why more people run on Thanksgiving than play football. There are a couple of good reasons, including pre-burning the upcoming feast and contributing to local charities. While weather will test the commitment of many runners around the U.S., fortunately California is getting some good news.  A couple of storms have helped clear the air of forest fire smoke, so most races tomorrow are expected to go off as planned.
#MakeRoomForStuffing

Minute 2: Best low carb diet explanation we’ve seen

The average American weighs 25-30 pounds more than in 1978. Our love handles persist despite spending $66 billion per year on dieting and $27 billion per year on gym memberships. A new study explains why this is happening and how to alter your diet to lose weight and be healthier. The main thesis is that an obsession with low fat diets took root in the ‘70s and actually packed on pounds instead of shedding them. Dr. David Ludwig argues that all calories are not created equal, so the simple math of burning more calories than you consume doesn’t work for many people. As we switched from fats to carbs, our insulin levels grew and that added more fat cells. Those fat cells tend to be very hungry critters who selfishly grab calories for themselves. That leaves the rest of our bodies deprived of calories and also makes us very hungry.
#passtheprotein

Minute 3: Thanksgiving survival plan

Even if you’re not concerned with weight loss, do you want to gain weight during Thanksgiving? If you answered “yes,” scroll down to the next story. If you answered “no,” you may be in need of a strategy. Turkey Day, after all, has evolved into a giant excuse to overeat. There are enough complicated theories and formulas about the proper ratio of stuffing, gravy and pecan pie to warm the heart of an MIT professor. We like this simple advice from a dietician who outlines 3 simple tips for Thanksgiving survival.
#GobblingCalories

Minute 4: Turkey with a side of discounts

We prefer the quiet efficiency of Cyber Monday over the human crush of Black Friday. This year there are some excellent deals emerging for endurance athletes and fitness enthusiasts. We generally like great deals from great brands more than spectacular deals from C+ brands. Here are a couple that caught our eye. A new deal from ClassPass gives you a 30-day free trial if you sign up between Friday and Monday. That means free work-outs next month at places like Flywheel and Barry’s Boot Camp. We also like this 25% off plus free shipping from New Balance if you are a member of their free rewards program. Reebok is offering 50% off all apparel. Dick’s Sporting Goods is offering 25% off plus free shipping for the holiday weekend.
#whatabargain

Minute 5: The ultimate expert opinion on trail running shoes

If you spend four months hiking the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail, you wind up with excellent outdoors cred and very strong opinions on footwear. Thru-hikers used to wear big, clunky boots, but almost all have converted to trail running shoes these days. With hiking season now ending, The Trek website just did a survey of AT finishers to determine their favorite brands. Nearly 2/3 of hikers chose Darn Tough socks, but preferences were mixed on their favorite shoe brands. There are a few surprises on the list of top 8 trail running shoes chosen by AT hikers.
#walkingthewalk

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

A quick shout-out to our favorite Thanksgiving movie of all time: Planes, Trains and Automobiles. A classic John Hughes-directed comedy featuring Steve Martin and John Candy. We could attempt a tortured analogy to running and fitness, but… Here’s a link to the best scene in the movie when John Candy unwittingly drives his car on the wrong side of the highway:

 

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November 18 Six Minute Mile

On today's issue: Running marathons and saving lives, running a marathon behind bars, and more.

Minute 1: Is it possible to run a marathon without humble-bragging?

In the heart of the fall marathon season, Comedy Central just polished up the best running spoof of all time: “The First Person to Run a Marathon Without Talking About It.” This is cringe-worthy stuff for any of us with a prior record of humble-bragging offenses. Self-congratulatory Instagram post, perhaps? Storing your finisher medal in a conspicuous location? Or maybe just boring strangers at cocktail parties with updates on your hill repeats? Against this backdrop, Comedy Central created a mockumentary celebrating one courageous woman who dared to ask: “Why would I have talked about something that’s not interesting to anyone else?”

Minute 2: Paradise lost & found

The California wildfires actually generated a positive story about running this week. One of the top boys on the Paradise H.S. cross country team missed the state championship qualifier because his home was totally destroyed. For several harrowing hours, he and his dad lost all contact with his mom and sister. Figuring his high school running career was over, Gabe Price began focusing on how to move forward despite the destruction caused by the fires. Instead, his coach at Paradise arranged a special one-runner race a few days later just to give Gabe a shot at qualifying for states on the same course everyone else had just run. He expected to run alone against the clock – always a tough task – but Gabe was shocked to find a crowd waiting for him on race day. Rival Chico High School sent their entire squad to cheer him on and even had their top runner pace Gabe. Check out the full story here to see if there was a Hollywood ending or just a nice touch of sportsmanship amidst the chaos.
#ChicoAndTheKid

Minute 3: Motivation to train outdoors as the days get shorter

When daylight hours shrink this time of year, so do our chances to train outdoors. Don’t be afraid of the dark, fellow endurance athletes, embrace it. One way to make nice with the night is to sign up for a race that takes place after sunset. We like this list of The 10 Best Races After Dark just released by Shape. We particularly like the idea of doing one of the New Year’s Eve races on the list. Wake up a little tired and sore rather than hungover to start the New Year.
#MidnightRun

Minute 4: This little piggy stayed warm & dry

Wet, slushy snow kicked open the door to winter in many parts of the U.S. this week. As we shoveled our driveway in Boston this morning, we wondered why we hadn’t invested in a quiver of waterproof socks yet. The technology in this apparel has improved steadily over the past few years, allowing sweat to breathe out while rain and snow stays away from your feet. Here’s a good overview of how these socks can help you and here’s a good selection from REI of some popular models.
#NoColdFeet

Minute 5: Blowing up some “buzzy” sports training trends

We are always fascinated by the intersection of sports performance and mental stamina. A provocative new article by a coach in the USC Performance Lab examines trendy topics and dispels some popular myths, hacks and tricks. Check out his analysis of 3 common sports performance strategies and whether they are valid or not. It may change how you look at “mindfulness.”
#deepthoughts

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Killian Jornet is the most successful and audacious trail runner ever. He has won every major ultra race on the planet and did something even more superhuman last year: he climbed Everest twice in one week. As Killian says in a very cool Catalan accent, “I think ultra runners, we are probably much more stupid than other athletes.” Check out the trailer to “Path to Everest,” the movie released this year showing his “much more stupid” Everest exploits.

 

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November 14 Six Minute Mile

On today's issue: Running marathons and saving lives, running a marathon behind bars, and more.

Minute 1: Is it too early for a New Year’s Resolution?

Pay no attention to the calendar, apparently New Year’s Resolution season is now open. We’re already seeing stories on how to shed that pesky 5 pounds or run a bucket list trail race in 2019. We tend to formulate our goals at a family New Year’s Eve dinner, but that’s probably not a wise strategy. According to data from Strava, the average resolution hits the wall in the second week of January every year. That’s when most “this is the year” optimists turn into “wait ’til next year” realists. To help you prove Strava wrong, we like this new collection of 10 running resolutions for 2019. Many of their recommendations match what Strava data shows about successful resolutions: working out with a group and signing up for a big event later in the year will help you stick to your goals. We also like this story from Fast Company that shares the 6 secrets of people who keep their new year’s resolutions.
#noprocrastination

Minute 2: Sports bra controversy

Sports bras busted out in controversy at Rowan University this month. When the women’s cross country team took off their t-shirts to train in hot weather, the football coach thought that was more than his players could handle. He complained to the University president who initially sided with the coach, banning female athletes from working out in their sports bras. After protests erupted, the university regained its sanity and now allows its athletes to do what millions of women do worldwide. One of the leaders of the protest, Hannah Vendetta, is an all-conference runner as well as a Miss New Jersey contestant. Apparently she also has a future in politics. Her Instagram post in front of the White House includes this observation: “A woman’s place should be wherever she wants to be whether it be the White House or on the track in a sports bra!” Run, Hannah, run!

Minute 3: How to make your smoothies healthier

Last week we reported some bad news for people who start their day off with OJ. This week we are happier to share news that smoothies are actually quite good for athletes, as well as quite tasty. Time magazine provides this helpful guide on how to make healthy smoothies. One key is to avoid overloading the blender with fruit. Instead, look toward fats and proteins from ingredients like yogurt and coconut oil, as well as veggies like cauliflower and spinach.
#blendambition

Minute 4: California fires cause race cancellations

The tragic wildfires in California have devastated towns and families in record numbers. Now the blazes are even shutting down races throughout the state. Among the cancellations for next weekend are the Berkeley Half Marathon and the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. Hats off to the race directors who are stepping up to accommodate their runners. Typically, the fine print on your race sign-up form says that you forfeit your registration fees if the event is cancelled. North Face has already given runners a free entry into a race of their choice next year. Berkeley is scrambling with city leaders to run the race in early 2019.
#notfiredup

Minute 5: Quick intervals

  • How much caffeine is too much? Caffeine helps endurance athletes, but what is the right dosage? The New York Times answers these questions and many more in an excellent overview of how Starbucks can affect our performance and our health. We didn’t know that caffeine urges our bodies to produce more cortisol, best known for firing up our “fight or flight” instincts. That probably applies more to dealing with a difficult boss or client than actually fighting for our lives, but it does still kick in for athletic competitions.
  • If you needed more evidence that New Yorkers are brash risk takers (and a little bit rude), check out this hilarious video montage from last week’s TCS NYC Marathon. It depicts everyday Gothamites cutting off 10 lanes of runners to make their own – and presumably more important — dash across the street.
  • Women’s Running just published a very nice tribute to Peter Ciaccia, who just organized his last New York City Marathon. Peter has been with NYRR for 18 years and is now running into the sunset. Peter has helped more than one million runners find their way through the streets of New York in iconic, bucket-list events throughout the years.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Thor wasn’t just born looking like Thor. And Thor doesn’t stay looking like Thor by chillin’ on the couch with a bag of Dorito’s and a couple of cold ones. Actor Chris Hemworth puts in hours of work to prepare for his role in the Avenger series. His work in the gym and his work on the set have made him very rich and very ripped. Check out highlights of a new military-inspired workout below:

 

We’re glad to see you’re interested in our content. Check out the Six Minute Mile website or subscribe.

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November 10 Six Minute Mile

On today's issue: Running marathons and saving lives, running a marathon behind bars, and more.

Minute 1: Running marathons and saving lives

Earlier this week, we reported on the wackiest story to emerge from Sunday’s TCS NYC Marathon: a raging controversy over a Mile 16 marriage proposal. Today we can report a much happier tale that feels less like an election year debate. Coming over the Queensboro Bridge, a doctor running his 25th NYC Marathon came upon a woman screaming for help. Her friend had just collapsed and she was foaming at the mouth without a pulse. Dr. Theodore Strange immediately began CPR and helped administer a defibrillator. The woman’s heart started beating again and Dr. Strange continued to the finish line, albeit about an hour slower than his typical time. The full accountcontains all the harrowing details.
#HeartRateTraining

Minute 2: Running a marathon behind bars

Most marathons are run in front of adoring crowds of friends, family and partiers. The San Quentin marathon, however, attracts only suspicious prison guards and members of rival gangs. The race is produced every year and requires the inmates to complete 105 laps around the prison yard to earn their 26.2 sticker (or ball point pen tattoo???). USA Today just profiled the prison event which typically has 20 finishers – most of whom are serving life sentences. The course record holder, Markelle Taylor, has run a 3:16 which is almost good enough to qualify for Boston. The back stories and photos in the USA Today piece are fascinating. The story reminds us of an Emmy Award winning movie from the ‘70s called Jericho Mile.
#210LeftTurns

Minute 3: Athlete gift ideas

It’s beginning to look a lot like…Cyber Monday. We admit that most of our holiday shopping outings wind up including a little something for the shopper as well as the shoppee. That’s why we like these two new gift guides crammed with good ideas for the outdoor and endurance athletes in our lives. The Outside Magazine list of 26 gift ideas under $50 is a good place to start. The Runner’s World list of 15 gift ideas might strain your credit card a little more, but there are some good ones on their recommendation sheet.
#RunUpABill

Minute 4: A trail run a day keeps the doctor away

We are big fans of trail running, mostly because our dog gets to trot along with us, leash-free. (BTW, we just double-tapped this new Instagram collection of 4-legged trail-runners.) Our love for the trails grew a little stronger this week, when we read this new article explaining the 3 main benefits of trail running. Who knew that running in the woods has been proven to reduce illness?
#rootsrock

Minute 5: Quick intervals

  • So you’d like to run the 2019 NYC Marathon, but you feel as if you’d have a better chance winning the Megabucks lottery? Self magazine just published a helpful guide with 4 ways to get into the 2019 marathon. The odds of getting in through the lottery are less than 15%, but there’s still hope. One course to the starting line that many people forget about is by running a qualifying time at a half marathon, instead of a full marathon. Sure you have to be pretty speedy (40-year-old women need a 1:37 half to qualify), but you don’t have to train for and run a full marathon to meet the standard.
  • Under Armour is trying to clean up its towel-snapping culture with a new proclamation this week: you can no longer swipe your corporate card at strip bars. The Wall St. Journal reported on other shenanigans at the company which included stocking corporate VIP parties with only the best looking women at the company, gambling and hooking up with female subordinates.
  • Did you ever wonder how astronauts stay in shape during months-long missions without full gravity? (Even if you never wondered that, would you like to know anyway?) The Washington Post just published a story that explains how to maintain muscle tone and heart rate when even a child bench press 400 pounds inside a space station. Astronauts are required to work out 2 hours per day. One woman even ran a virtual Boston Marathon thanks to a special harness that kept her tethered to a treadmill.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Many of you share our love of skiing and snowboarding. And yup, there’s snow in the Rockies right now. Even if you don’t love the “white room” as much as we do, this video will still amaze you. We guarantee you will mutter at least one “WTF” when you watch this 11-year-old boy huck himself off cliffs and shred the pow of Jackson Hole. His mantra is: “How far can I push it and not make my mom scared?” Sorry, kid, but I think you broke your own rule about a dozen times in this clip.

 

We’re glad to see you’re interested in our content. Check out the Six Minute Mile website or subscribe.

Get faster, get stronger, get inspired.

November 2 Six Minute Mile

On today's issue: Can Shalane Flanagan repeat in NYC this Sunday?, Get leaner & fitter with a couple of nutrition tweaks, and more.

Minute 1: Can Shalane Flanagan repeat in New York Sunday?

Last year, Shalane Flanagan did something no American woman had done in 40 years. She won the TCS New York City Marathon. This year, Shalane will be joined in the chase for the podium by Des Linden. Des Linden, another American woman, pulled off a surprise victory in the 2018 rain-soaked Boston Marathon. The overall women’s winner will receive $100,000 and the top American will receive another $25,000. Both women share their preparation and their lives in the unlikely media spotlight currently shining on U.S. womens’ distance runners. After all, when was the last time you saw kids dress up as an endurance athlete for Halloween, like these adorable girls did this year in their Shalane costumes? This video recap from Shalane’s hometown TV station captured the strength and emotion of her 2017 triumph:

Minute 2: Get leaner & fitter with a couple of nutrition tweaks

“Work out a little more; eat a little smarter.” OK, that’s not exactly material for a Tony Robbins inspirational t-shirt, but that’s basically what we tell ourselves at the start of most weeks. We bookmarked a couple of new stories this week that help in the “eating smarter” category. First, who knew that adding a little cinnamon to our favorite beverage works as an anti-inflammatory which aids fat loss? In a similar vein, taking a Vitamin D supplement can work as an anti-inflammatory as well as controlling fat-storing insulin. We also liked Prevention’s new list of 7 healthy foods that provide a clean energy boost.
#smartfood

Minute 3: What are the most popular running brands?

Competitor Running just released its annual reader survey which tries to understand the motivations, brand preferences and wallets of dedicated runners (4 runs per week on average). Strava was the most popular fitness tracking app. 38% of readers used it compared to 30% for MapMyRun, 11% for Runkeeper and 18% for Fitbit. Brooks was the most popular running shoe brand with Asics, Nike, New Balance and Saucony rounding out the top 5. Oakley was the most popular sunglasses brand (33%). If you really want to geek out on the data, you can download the full report here.
#brandsontherun

Minute 4: Should you run without headphones?

It seems most runners believe their headphones are almost as important as their running shoes. Runner’s World reports that nearly 2/3 of runners plug some form of entertainment into their ears. Music, podcasts and news distract us from the effort to lift and land our feet. That’s good, right? Well, not so fast, writes avid runner and NPR reporter Peter Sagal. Once a religious headphone wearer, Sagal pulled the plug a few years ago. He says he has never been happier on his runs.

If you need evidence that there’s no zealot like a convert, Sagal is Exhibit A. His account published this week in the New York Times explains why it is much better to run earbud-free. He’s a real runner and a gifted writer, who shares gems like: “Our sport seems mindless only to people who never run long enough for any thought to form other than ‘When can I stop running?’ But the only way to succeed as a long-distance runner is to do it mindfully, to be aware of the body and the world it is moving through.”
#canyouhearmenow?

Minute 5: Quick intervals

  • Peloton and Mirror are generating terabytes of buzz in the world of high-tech work-out systems, but now a new competitor is emerging. Designed by a Silicon Valley tech engineer, Tonal is using software and an innovative magnetic system to create a digital weight lifting system. The magnets can duplicate the resistance equivalent of 200 pounds of weights. (Without the actual bulk creating a sinkhole in your living room floor, thankfully).
  • We are big fans of high impact interval training. Our neighborhood Barry’s Bootcamp is a little bit overpriced, but a lot awesome. A new article in the New York Times describes how even a very brief burst of all-out cardio – as little as 10 or 15 seconds — can provide real benefits.
  • Athletigen, a DNA analysis company, is applying advanced genetic science to improving athletic performance. For $199, the company will do a deep dive on an athlete’s DNA and recommend training based on that individual’s propensity for muscle gain, fat retention and sensitivity to legal stimulants.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Did you ever wonder how fast you’d have to run to keep up with a world class marathoner? Right before the Chicago Marathon, Runner’s World set up a huge treadmill. The challenge was for amateur runners to keep pace for as long as they could. The video results are humbling and hilarious.

We’re glad to see you’re interested in our content. Check out the Six Minute Mile website or subscribe.

Get faster, get stronger, get inspired.

October 31 Six Minute Mile

Minute 1: Strava provides virtual qualifying for 2019 TCS New York City Marathon

We used to think that running “virtual races” was kinda silly. The Betamax version of this idea was to run a 10K on your home treadmill or along your local roads and pretend that you’re actually running an iconic race like Bolder Boulder or Bay to Breakers. Maybe you could suspend  10% of your disbelief because you were watching a pre-recorded video of the course while you slogged along remotely. Like we said, kinda silly. But the new engagement created for this weekend’s TCS NYC Marathon by Strava has changed our opinion of virtual races. NYRR will allow 500 runners to compete for real finisher medals by logging 26.2 outdoor miles on Strava during the first four days of November. And here’s the kicker, those 500 runners will bypass the 2019 lottery and will be automatically entered into next year’s real marathon.
#HowAboutItBoston?

Minute 2: How do you say “steeplechase” in Italian?

The weather forecast for New York this weekend calls for much drier conditions than what swamped runners in last weekend’s Venice Marathon. High tides and torrential rains washed over portions of the course causing runners to slog through ankle deep water. While times were understandably slower than normal, runners can still humblebrag about finishing what may have been the longest steeplechase in history. The photos in the Washington Post’s account of the race are remarkable. So is the video below from the The Guardian.
#raindelay

 

Minute 3: Fastest growing HIIT studios

Last week we wrote about the exploding popularity of home work-out systems like Peleton and Mirror. A new review of F45 gyms published today suggests that humans still enjoy working out with other real live humans. (Good for the gym business and good for continued procreation of the human race.) F45 may be the fastest growing functional training gym in the world. With more than 1,000 gyms worldwide and 80 in the U.S., the chain’s popularity is driving growth faster than you can say: “HGH.” Another 275 are projected to open in the next 12 months in the U.S. alone. Participants like the varied functional circuits and High Intensity Interval Training.  Check here to see if there is one in your neighborhood yet.
#HIITingItDeep

Minute 4: Halloween candy addictions

We know it’s bad for our teeth and even worse for our love handles, but we can’t seem to keep our hands out of the candy dish on the receptionist’s desk or our kids’ goodie bags later tonight. That’s not just because we lack some will power or crave a quick energy boost. Classic Halloween candy contains an unholy triumvirate that borders on addictive: sugar, fat and salt. Our friends at Well+Good explain how we get tempted along with 6 healthier candy brands if we really can’t just say no.
#unreal

Minute 5: Quick intervals

  • Kenyan men continue to push the boundaries of human performance. We wrote last month about the new marathon record of 2:01:39 set in Berlin by Eliud Kipchoge. Now his countryman, Abraham Kiptum, just broke the 8-year-old half marathon record by clocking 58:18 in Spain last weekend. That’s a 4:26 per mile pace. If you can run a lap around the local high school track in under 1:06, just keep that pace up for another 100 laps or so and you’ll set the new record.
  • Even if you’re not running New York this weekend, you may enjoy some of the new shoes designs rolled out for the big event. Most of these feature NYC-related graphics and are among the brands’ top performance shoes. Check ‘em out here.
  • Speaking of running shoes, controversy continues to swirl around the Nike Vaporfly because some runners complain they are just too darn fast. Eliud Kipchoge wore them to set a new marathon world record in Berlin this month. At issue is a carbon fibre plate inside the shoes that helps to store and release energy with every stride. Strava analysis has shown that the shoe can improve runners’ times by as much as 4%.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Instagram work-out phenomenon Devon Levesque is at it again with another aggressive treadmill video. The last time we posted one of his videos, it generated more views and more feedback from our readers than anything in the history of Six Minute Mile. (What, not everyone has their buddies slam medicine balls into their abs when they step off the treadmill in the gym???) Devon’s latest treadmill work-out is tamer, but may still trigger a “no mas” reaction from some of our fans.

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October 19 Six Minute Mile

Minute 1: Is Fitbit feeding us bad calorie data?

Why should I go for a walk if I don’t have my Fitbit on? Our healthy/not healthy addiction to step tracking will likely grow to $70 billion annually by 2022. Many athletes rely on all types of fitness trackers to shed a few pounds by moving a little more and eating a little less. A major new study, however, shows that calorie count measurements are often way off the mark. You can read about the most accurate and least accurate devices here. Before you go back to your old school Timex in frustration, take heart in this: the study shows that most devices give you too little credit for the calories you burn while exercising. That means if your calories burned and calories consumed are equal according to your device, you’ll actually be losing weight. BTW, because so many folks are addicted to their fitness trackers, hundreds of hilarious memes have emerged.
#walkitoff

Minute 2: Saying “I Do” in the middle of a marathon

Getting engaged at the finish line of races has been a thing for decades. Just after winning this year’s Ironman World Championships, for example, Patrick Lange proposed to his girlfriend. (The video of him proposing and collapsing in happiness is priceless.) Two runners in Sunday’s Detroit Marathon, however, are actually tying the knot during the race itself. The avid runners from Michigan will pause for 5-7 minutes at the halfway point of the marathon to say their vows and will finish the race with a little extra hardware on their left hands. The back story is just as remarkable as their choice of altars. The groom has been on a fitness journey that helped him lose 130 pounds. The bride was told she would never walk again after a car accident 14 years ago, but is now poised to finish her first marathon.The “awwwww factor” is pretty darn high in the video below of the cute couple discussing their plans.
#marathonbliss

Minute 3: “No grazie” to spaghetti dinner training meals

Most amateur competitors believe that carbo-loading is almost as important as logging miles. Pasta dinners before a race are just as obvious as getting a good night’s sleep. Even if we ate like we were filming a Barilla ad, however, many of us bonked the next day anyway. New research is confirming what we feel. Gorging on pasta, rice and bagels leaves us feeling bloated, lethargic and a little chubbier. Well + Good just published a story describing how to eat more protein and healthy fat to fuel for endurance training and races. Don’t skip the pasta aisle entirely, but filling your cart with protein and veggies will help train your body to burn fat and run more consistently.
#BibLettucePickup

Minute 4: Laughing your way to success

Everyone loves the warm inner glow of crossing the finish line, hitting a fitness goal or getting a promotion at work. All of those peaks, however, are only reached after months of slogging uphill with a backpack loaded with monotony and grunt work. The difference between who gets the fist bump and who throws a pity party is usually mental. That’s why we love this new article about how to put yourself in the right mental state for winning the tiny daily battles. Check out 7 Tiny Habits to Find Daily Happiness. Most of the guidance is tailored to our professional lives, but every habit also applies to our personal fitness goals, like 30-day challenges, laughter and daily gratitude rituals highlighting what went well.
#happier=faster

Minute 5: Quick takes

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

“I didn’t come this far to only come this far.” -Tom Brady

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October 12 Six Minute Mile

Minute 1: Ironman 40.0

Some of the fittest athletes on the planet will compete in the 40th annual Ironman World Championship Saturday. The first race field included 15 participants. 12 of them finished. To commemorate the event, Ironman put together a video that captures the rough and wild roots of the race. No one knew if the three events could actually be finished in one day. “Brag for the rest of your life” was listed on the entry form as a reason to endure the pain and risk. 40 years later, some things haven’t changed. As for this year’s edition, we have our eyes on first year Kona participant Javier Gomez and 3-time defending women’s champ Daniela Ryf. Beginning at 12:30 pm EDT Saturday, you can check out the action live on Facebook at this link.
#hotlava

Minute 2: Nike’s most unlikely endorsed athlete

Nike spending more money promoting the running program at the University of Oregon is not news. Nike sponsoring an Oregon distance runner who can’t break 2 hours in a half marathon is news. Justin Gallegos is the unlikely hero of a new Nike ad campaign. He was born with Cerebral Palsy, but has a passion for sports and running that rivals anyone we know. The video below shows the moment when a Nike rep totally surprises Justin with his endorsement contract. (I’m not crying, you’re crying. I just have something in my eye. It’s fine.)
#MakingPreProud

Minute 3: 70,000 folks fell for this running spoof

Are acorns on the sidewalk tripping you up on your autumn runs? Did you know that the word “gullible” is not in the dictionary? If you answered “um…no” to both questions, then you probably didn’t fall for the nerdy hoax that lit up running circles in Minneapolis this week. A prankster posing as a barefoot runner complained online that neighbors should be more considerate of shoeless runners and sweep acorns off their sidewalks. 70,000+ earnest Midwesterners took him way too seriously and the post went viral. Kudos to Buzzfeed for cracking this caper and highlighting the copycat criminals ranting about unicyclists not taking their craft seriously enough. While the story is a little (a)corny, the memes it spawned got us laughing out loud.
#giantoak

Minute 4: How to tell the difference between pain and injury

What was that? My Achilles/hamstrings/shins feel a little tweaked all of a sudden. Should I bail on my run and summon an Uber or suck it up and ice later? Trail Runner Magazine published a very helpful and practical guide to 10 common running pains. Preview: Top of the foot pain = very bad. Bottom of the foot pain = keep going.
#healthyself

Minute 5: Quick takes

  • We are impressed with Garmin’s new release of a rugged GPS watch meant for endurance athletes and outdoor adventurers. In addition to top features on your lust list, the watch also bucks the ugly trend of silly prices for GPS watches. The Garmin Instinct comes in under $300 – less than half the price of Garmin’s priciest model.
  • Two new studies are reversing the current medical wisdom of proper levels of exercise for pregnant women. Most doctors had recommended about 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise like brisk walking. But the new studies show that athletes pursuing elite marathon training or even lugging heavy loads to Everest base camp on average have healthier deliveries than women following the old standards. The New York Times account of the studies is here.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Thanks to one of our readers, we learned about one of the most inspiring stories out of Kona this week. Glenn Hartrick is the only man in history to finish the New York City Marathon on two feet, on a hand cycle and in a wheelchair. Glenn was an accomplished runner and triathlete when a negligent driver knocked Glenn off his bike on a training ride in 2014, paralyzing him from the chest down. Less than a year later, he finished his first half marathon on a handcycle. Tomorrow Glenn will make his debut in the Ironman World Championships. We dare you to watch his uplifting video below and ever complain again. About anything.

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October 11 Six Minute Mile

Minute 1: CBD for athletes

The explosive growth of the cannabis industry is captivating more than just slackers and Deadheads. Endurance athletes, coaches and trainers are now exploring whether cannabis products can be safely and fairly used by competitors. Boulder’s iKOR just signed up former Ironman champion Craig Alexander who claims that using their CBD products has helped him with training and recovery. WADA recently changed its drug testing rules to allow the use of certain hemp products, but continued its prohibition on marijuana. Apparently with a straight face, iKOR reports that “Sales reached a new high last month…” Earlier this year, Outside Magazine did a good job explaining how CBD may benefit athletes without the buzz of its sister compound, THC. Former Tour de France champion Floyd Landis has launched his own line of CBD retail stores that even sponsors a cycling team. (Insert doping joke here.)

Minute 2: Celebrity running sightings

Autumn is bringing out more than brightly colored leaves this year, as a long list of bold-faced names signed up for fall marathons and road races. Not only are they better dressed than the rest of us, but they also generate a whole lot more Likes when they post their race photos. They also bring out some pretty interesting back stories. Kevin Hart was on pace to break 4 hours at Chicago last Sunday, but a combination of leg cramps and the sight of two women pooping in their pants slowed him down. No really. It’s all in his Instagram video. We can’t resist a little (porta) potty humor, but in fairness to Kevin, he also raised a bunch of cash for college scholarships.

Jared and Ivanka took time out from the West Wing to run the Army 10-Miler in D.C. They finished together at a 10:43/mile pace and uploaded some pictures of greeting their kids along the course to their social media channels. As you might expect, online reaction was swift and polarized. (#politicalbarbie competed with “You guys are too cute!”)

Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Chase Carter is planning to run the NYC Marathon next month. Carter apparently has an athletic background, but forgive us a little snarkiness after checking out her training video on Instagram below. It doesn’t appear to be inducing any perspiration. But hey, she’s running New York and we’re not.

Minute 3: Kinda kooky, kinda amazing fall marathon news

Among everyday athletes, three more fall marathon stories caught our eye this week. First, 15-year-old Tierney Wolfgram just ran 2:40 to finish 6th among all women at the Twin Cities Marathon. She was actually leading the race at the 10K mark. The 10th grader posted one of the fastest times for any 15-year-old in history. Her description of her race tactics sounded like a happy teenager just goofing around with no clear plan. Believe it or not, some running commentators criticized her for doing the race in the midst of her high school cross country season. Lighten up, boys.

Second, it was strange enough that pooping women slowed down Kevin Hart, but when was the last time that a deer attack cost a runner 10 minutes in a half marathon? Christina Sanchez was wiped out by a buck that dashed across the course at mile 10 and knocked her to the ground. After a brief check by medical personnel, she hoofed it to the finish line with a tale for the ages.

Finally, runners in a Portland, Oregon, marathon were stopped in their tracks when a freight train unexpectedly crossed the race course. Several runners who were on pace to qualify for Boston were steaming mad. The delay cost some runners more than 20 minutes.

Minute 4: How to lose weight while chowing down Mexican food 

As big fans of Mexican cantinas, street food and tequila, we are grateful to LIVESTRONG for publishing a guide to indulging a little while sticking to your training and weight loss goals. Hint: the taco salad is not your friend with as many as 800 calories and 50 grams of fat. Here is their list of the 10 healthiest things to order at your next Taco Tuesday fiesta.

Minute 5: Jackets for fall

For anyone fighting off the depressing change of wardrobe from shorts and t-shirts to tights and winter hats, this might cheer you up. Runner’s World just compiled their list of the 10 best new lightweight jackets for fall training. We like this list since there really isn’t an ugly entry on the board.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

So you think you’re pretty special because you can crank the incline up to 8 and still hit 10 MPH on your treadmill? No offense, but Devon Levesque could probably do that in a side shuffle with a weighted vest. The fitness instructor just posted this insane treadmill work-out on his Instagram account. Don’t try this at home. Literally.

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October 5 Six Minute Mile

Minute 1: Is sitting really the new smoking?

When the founders of Varidesk switched from making holiday decorations and novelty gift items to manufacturing standing desks, sales were pretty sluggish at first. Then Dr. James Levine at the Mayo Clinic came out with a new study claiming that “sitting is the new smoking.” $100 million in sales later, the Varidesk guys should stand up and type out a nice thank you note to Dr. Levine. Beyond coining a catchy and scary phrase, was Doc Levine right? New evidence points out that while sitting for prolonged periods is in fact unhealthy, standing around brings its own risks. Blood tends to pool in the legs while standing at work, raising pressure on the cardio vascular system. A doctor who has studied the data recently explained “why sitting ISN’T slowly killing you.” And the New York Times let us all sit down again, guilt-free, with an article last week. They explain that human brains are naturally wired toward sitting and chilling rather than rising and exerting.
#standingisthenewsitting.

Minute 2: Pittsburgh Marathon running into unexpected controversy

Marathon protesters are squawking about one of our favorite guilty pleasures: Chik-fil-A. When the fast food chain signed on as a sponsor of the Pittsburgh Marathon, LGBTQ groups objected because the founder of Chik-fil-A has donated to groups supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit”and espousing some pretty last-century views. The battle lines are taking somewhat predictable contours, with Fox News weighing in on the marathon dispute and LGBTQ bloggers explaining their protests. Not sure the Pittsburgh Marathon folks expected this backlash. It appears they are trying to balance the sponsorship dollars which benefit their kids’ sports programming against providing an open door to all runners.

Minute 3: Chicago Marathon’s most personal stories

We realize that even a huge marathon would lose a ratings war to an NFL pre-season game. But we’re still suckers for all of the personal stories that emerge from these events. Among the 45,000 who will compete in Sunday’s Chicago Marathon, here are a few of our favorite stories.

First, keep an eye on Gwen Jorgensen, who owns an Olympic gold medal in triathlon. She walked away from a lot of money (adios, Red Bull contract) and fame as a triathlete to pursue her true love – running. She has been proving doubters wrong her entire career as she bounced from collegiate swimmer to collegiate runner to Olympic triathlete. We like this video of her prepping for Chicago which showcases not only her work ethic, but also the stunning facilities at Nike/Bowerman HQ. (We dare you not to smile when her 1-year-old son steals the show.) We also love this well-written profile of her career evolution in Outside Magazine.

We are also watching Joan Benoit Samuelson, another Olympic gold medal winner, who is running Chicago at age 61. She will be trying to break the world record of 3:01:30 for 60+ women set in 2010. Finally, we will be rooting for Leesa Drake. Like Joanie, she has run Chicago before. In fact, this will be Drake’s 102nd marathon. The 51-year-old mom finished last year’s Chicago marathon with her noggin totally bald from chemo treatments. She has survived breast cancer as well as a bike accident that resulted in a diagnosis of: “You’ll never run again.”
#FCancer #thewomenarestronger

Minute 4: Don’t kick sand in Ryan Hall’s face

Ryan Hall owns the fastest American marathon time in history (2:04:58). He may have also just set the record for being the strongest elite distance runner in American history. Hall just posted a video on his Instagram account of deadlifting 405 pounds. Yeah, he looks a little bulkier than in his 2:04 days, but this is still impressive. As Hall says, this video is meant to hush the haters who tease marathoners for “not being able to lift their bags off the conveyer belt at the airport.” With apologies for the hostage video production quality, it’s worth checking out his post.
#runs&guns

Minute 5: Quick takes

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Looking for a little classic inspiration for your weekend work-outs? Why not fire up Netflix to watch our all-time favorite running movie, Chariots of Fire. Abrahams: “If I can’t win, I won’t run!” Gordon: “If you don’t run, you can’t win.” Even the trailer will get you off the couch:

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