September 19 Six Minute Mile

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Minute 1: The hardest trail race in the world

While our HQ staff spent the week ruining our posture and eyesight staring at computer screens, our co-founder was making a different assault on his body. “Diesel Bob” is currently on course at the Tor Des Geants, a 205-mile running race through the Italian Alps. Runners must scale 24,000 meters of elevation — basically running up and down Everest three times. Check out the contrast of alpine scenery with the exhausted faces in this highlight video. The race began last Sunday and all participants must complete the course within 150 hours, meaning Saturday at 6:00 pm local time. (And yes, there have been some heartbreaking stories of near misses over the years.)

Diesel Bob, 62 years old, was faring well in last year’s event when he took a nasty spill on slick rocks and injured his back. As of press time, he was 85% of the way through the race along with 432 other runners still on course. 340 folks have already dropped out while 184 have finished, including the fastest male, Oliviero Bosatelli (72 hours), and fastest female, Silvia Trigueros Garrote (85 hours). The TDG Insta page has some excellent shots of the action and scenery.

Minute 2: Fitness notecards

No, we’re not asking you to find a stack of 3×5’s and hit your local library, though, as “Animal House” tells us, knowledge is good. Outside Online compiled a tidy landing page of some of their best writing on nutrition, training, mental health, and wellness, all in service to the idea that what you need to know about fitness is actually pretty simple — and should be able to fit on a 3X5 index card. Featuring pieces from both writers we’ve showcased in the past and new voices we’ve yet to reference, the Notecard Guide to Fitness lays out the fundamental knowledge we’re using to power our week over here at Six Minute Mile. And we recommend you do the same.

Minute 3: Photo finishes and Johnny Walker Black

One of our favorite events of the year is always the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile. The 2019 edition did not disappoint. It featured a photo finish among three men and a near photo finish among the women. Recap here. They may rename the women’s version of the race the Jenny Simpson Invitational since she just won it for the 7th consecutive year with a time of 4:16. Given the name of our publication, we naturally wondered how many of the 9,172 finishers broke 6 minutes. The answer is 1,808 or about 20% of the field. 250 of those fast finishers were women.

Although we love us some speed here at SMM, one of our favorite athletes was also one of the slowest. Jonathan Mendes finished in 22:49, but when that time was “age-graded” by NYRR, it netted out to a 5:30 mile instead. That’s because Mr. Mendes is 98 years old. The former Marine aviator finished the 2016 NYC Marathon in 11 hours. The race staff back then swarmed him at the finish line and asked if he needed medical attention. Nah. The Devil Dog said he just needed a shot of scotch. An airplane bottle of Johnny Walker Black was quickly produced. Here is Mr. Mendes in action last Sunday on Fifth Avenue.

Minute 4: Gear Roundup

Last week we told you about the jackets you’ll need to keep getting after it as the weather cools. And though it’s not on our list, we thought we should let you know that Patagonia’s iconic Nanopuff is available at REI for a friendly price as we write to you.

However, there is another approach to the cold weather you might consider: getting your workout done in a slightly less natural environment. That is, wherever you can put a stationary bike and a screen. If you don’t have a spare 2 grand for a Peloton machine, Zwift has become a very popular alternative. The at-home training app provides a video-game-like experience to cyclists and runners across the globe, all while giving you a quality workout. Whether you’re looking to make a serious investment in a piece of at-home equipment, or you’re looking to connect to the Zwift experience through their wearable Runpod, we’re into what these guys are doing. So are venture capitalists, apparently, as they raised $12M in their most recent round.

Despite our affinity for Zwift’s tech, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention something we’re excited about from the world of endurance literature. Brian Metzler’s “Kicksology,” his deep-dive on everything running shoe culture, will be released in a few weeks and is available for pre-order now. While you wait for its release, try a few titles from our list of six most interesting books for runners.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Struggle to maintain pace through the end of your runs? Wish your final mile was your fastest on race day? Here’s a workout from coach Lauren Fleshman that’s designed to cure the end-of-run-blues. Fleshman calls the workout “Last Mile, Best Mile,” and all you need to do it is the trail, path, or stretch of road on which you normally run and a little extra hustle. Follow along with Fleshman’s calculated intervals and see – we’re told –dramatic improvement in your final miles.
  • Good news for us endurance disciples: aerobic endurance looks to have more of an impact on metabolic health than muscular strength. So, next time your gym-rat friends poke fun at your early morning ride or run, direct them to the science that says you’re doing right by your blood sugar and cholesterol.
  • Ready to put all this inspiration and advice to the test? Check out Verwellfit’s list of the best fall marathons in the United States, and discover the little-known race people are calling “the Big Sur Marathon of the East.”
  • Tennis player Bianca Andreescu won the U.S. Open in thrilling fashion over Serena Williams last Saturday, and she did so with some help from the University of Toronto’s track coach Terry Radchenko. Right before leaving Canada for the U.S. Open, Andreescu visited Radchenko and the Toronto track staff to get running-specific training tips for her pre-match warmups. It seems that whatever tips she picked up worked out in a big way. Check out the piece linked here for specifics on the drills Andreescu picked up during her track session and see Radchenko’s Instagram for video of her wickets workout.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

We’re going to assume you’re familiar with Arnold Schwarzenegger, but we’re going to introduce you to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son Joseph, the actor, athlete, and committed fitness-grammer who has Men’s Health abuzz with his arm-day finisher workout. Think you’ve got what it takes to take after The Arnold? Read up, check Jo out below, and then go see if you can handle these absolutely maniacal bicep workouts. These aren’t your dad’s curls. Unless… well, unless your dad is Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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