Minute 1: New York Marathon
Our Commander in Chief walked out on the Big Apple this week, but runners are still in a New York state of mind. More than 50,000 of them will compete for a $100,000 first prize and social media humble-bragging rights on Sunday. They will be cheered on by 1,000,000+ New Yorkers, most of whom don’t know that Mary Keitany and Lelisa Desisa are the defending champs. Funny thing about this sport – more than 50,000,000 Americans run for fitness and nearly 20,000,000 enter an organized race every year, but the New York crowd will likely be cheering louder for retired New York Giants great Tiki Barber (running his 6th NYC Marathon) than for the lead pack. (Fun fact: Mary Keitany has more NYC Marathon wins than the Giants and Jets combined have this season.)
One of the runners we will be rooting for is Kikkan Randall, the first-ever American Olympic gold medalist in women’s Nordic skiing. We profiled her breast cancer battle a year ago when she was diagnosed only six months after her Olympic victory. Showing the determination that earned her the nickname “Kikkanimal,” only a year later she is cranking out 6 minute miles and aiming for a sub-3:00 marathon. She is also running in support of AKTIV against Cancer, a charity organization founded by 9-time NYC Marathon winner Grete Waitz. FOMO alert: Mark your calendars now because the lottery for the 2020 NYC Marathon opens January 30, 2020.
Minute 2: Another Nike controversy
Maybe money can’t buy you love, but it can buy you time. At least according to Nike. For about double what an average pair of running shoes costs, the new Nike Vaporfly Next% shoes improve the performance of runners by an average of 4%. The five fastest men’s marathon times in history have all been run in Vaporfly’s in the past 13 months. Eliud Kipchoge wore his Vaporfly’s last month when he ran the first sub-2:00 marathon in history. That track record is causing some elite NYC Marathon runners to complain that the carbon plate technology is just too good. The Brooks marketing department probably cringed when their sponsored athlete, Des Linden said: “We should find out who the best athlete is and who can cover 26.2 better than the other person. Not who has the best technology.” We suppose that means the 2018 Boston winner thinks the Nike technology may be better than what’s inside her own sneakers.
Minute 3: On the watch list
Men’s Health magazine released its list of The 10 Best Outdoor Watches for Any Budget this week. We like their picks because they include a few dedicated endurance sports watches, but also models that are tuned for skiing, hiking, and everyday wear. Compare and contrast with the Six Minute Mile list of Our 12 Favorite Fitness Trackers. Sadly, none of the reviews rank the watches by how easy they are to reset for Daylight Savings Time. If you’re looking to gear up for cooler weather ahead (and don’t mind wearing last year’s models), we always appreciate the running bargain bin at Backcountry.com’s Steep and Cheap site.
Minute 4: Warm-up routine
By now you probably know that you shouldn’t try to stretch cold muscles. You may also be aware that static stretching can be counterproductive before a run. Given a choice between stretching or warming up, choose door #2. Other than a quick jog, what should we be doing before a training run or a race? We like this recommendation from Nike+ run coach Britt Moran: 5 Moves You Didn’t Know You Needed To Do Before a Run. If you’re not sure what the difference is between a march and a B skip, click and learn.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
- For farm-to-table disciples, we liked this piece released this week on 10 Healthy Fall Vegetables You Should Eat. This group tends to not only pack a lot of nutrition but also keeps well if you’re the stockpiling type. Our favorites on this list include Brussel sprouts and turnips.
- We have written before about how mantras improve endurance sports performance. We were interested in a new piece this week from Amby Burfoot, winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon, describing how top American marathoners Sara Hall and Jared Ward will use mantras in New York this weekend. “Run the mile you’re in” is a Sara Hall favorite. Need help coming up with your own? This list of 22 sports mantras may inspire you.
- Our friend Brian Metzler is a self-described shoe nerd and running junkie. We were happy to see him quoted in some of the stories this week about the Nike Vaporfly controversy. Brian has literally written the book on the subject of running shoes. His new work Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture & Cool of Running Shoes, has received positive reviews for its analysis of the Vaporfly along with a terrific look at the history of the industry. We recommend pairing Kicksology with another of our favorite running/business books, Shoedog, which chronicles the early years of Phil Knight’s Nike.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Despite our Minute 1 statement that most New York spectators care more about the NFL than the IAAF, the race has produced some amazing finish line drama over the years. Even if you’re not sure what IAAF (or even NYRR) stands for, you will appreciate these top five moments in NYC Marathon history:
Get faster, get stronger, get inspired.