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How To Keep Improving, This Year and Every Year; and, Can You Train Like Taylor Swift?

And, what’s better for weight loss and cholesterol: a low-carb or low-fat diet?

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How To Keep Improving, This Year and Every Year; and, Can You Train Like Taylor Swift? 1

Here’s the free but abridged version of the Run Long, Run Healthy newsletter. See the links below to subscribe to the full-text edition with more articles and deeper, more specific running advice. – Amby

Happy New Year: I hope this will be a happy, healthy, productive year for you. And that RLRH can contribute to your wellness and performance.

How To Keep Improving—This Year, And Every Year

​The two The Growth Equation authors, Steve Magness and Brad Stulberg, have no patience for shortcuts, fitness gurus selling one-note solutions, or digital devices that may measure something but don’t enhance your workout routine.

Consider their view on those groups of centenarians from around the globe—often called the “blue zone” peoples. Magness and Stulberg don’t think these folks consume a specific diet type, or have a regimented cardio or strength routine. Nope. Instead, they see 100-year-olds who “hardly eat any processed foods, and move their bodies a lot.”

The movement doesn’t take place in a gym, on a bike, or on the ultramarathon trails. Rather it tends to happen in backyard gardening, fruit harvesting, walking downtown to socialize, and other nonathletic pursuits.

The below essay with action principles contains a lot of Magness and Stulberg’s key thoughts on motivation and success. You’ll find yourself nodding often in agreement, and wanting to share it with friends.

Another good idea: Bookmark it (or print it out) to reread once a month. It will help you identify and achieve some key resolutions for 2024 as it also keeps you moving slow-but-steady down the health-fitness pathway.

I wanted to pull out a few of the statements that resonated most for me. That proved surprisingly difficult. There are so many here.

Eventually I settled on these two. “Simple does not mean easy, and the path to more sustainable health, well-being, and performance requires loads of motivation, reinforcement, and, at times, hand-holding.” Hand-holding! Find supportive, fitness-focussed friends, and reinforce them as they do the same for you.

Also: “Grit and quit.” I hadn’t heard this one before. It means, more or less: Set high goals, and work consistently toward them. But when you need a day off, or a complete reassessment, don’t hesitate to do so.

You can quit today, and start over again tomorrow … or whenever you’re ready for that new beginning. More at The Growth Equation.


What’s Better For Weight Loss & Cholesterol: Low-Carb Or Low-Fat?

​This paper was first published two years ago. Since then, it has been highly read by physicians and nutritionists, and answers a question many runners ask at this time of year: Should I adopt a low-carb diet or low-fat (high carb) diet for improved health?

The researchers performed a systematic review and meta analysis of only randomized controlled trials. This netted them eleven studies involving 739 participants. They looked for changes in body weight, muscle mass, fat mass, cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose.

Results: There were no significant differences between the two diets for changes in lean mass, fat mass, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, and glucose.

Was either diet a winner in other analyses? Yes. The low carb approach produced more weight loss, and an increase in the “good” HDL cholesterol. However, the high carb diet was more successful at reducing total cholesterol and the “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Conclusion: “Both diets are effective for weight control and reduction of cardiovascular risk factors.”

Interpretation: There doesn’t seem to be a big difference here. Choose a diet you enjoy that produces the desired results for your weight, cholesterol, glucose-control, blood pressure, and energy level. More at European J of Clinical Nutrition.


A First Look At Nike’s Newest, Fastest Super Shoe

​It’s hard not to be curious about the newest Nike super shoe—the one that last fall produced a marathon world record for Kelvin Kiptum, another Berlin victory for Eliud Kipchoge, and a Chicago Marathon win for Sifan Hassan.

A few reviewers got their hands on early versions of the Nike Alphafly 3, which is supposed to be available to the public at large on January 4. This reviewer terms the Alphafly 3 a “quirky shoe,” but one where:

“… every part of the shoe’s unconventional look—from its height to its contours to its material mix and knitting—has been crafted with the simple goal of helping runners run faster marathons.”

Okay, that should get your attention.

The Alphafly 3 is a legal shoe with just under 40 mm of midsole/outsole height. It’s got two layers of Nike’s proprietary super foam with a curved carbon-fiber plate between them. The shoe also has two Air Zoom air bag units in the forefoot for both cushioning and energy return.

On the underside of the shoe, a considerable amount of material has been cut out along the centerline. This allows the Alphafly 3 to tip the scales at an impressive 15 percent lighter than the Alphafly 2. More at Fast Company.


How To Train Like Taylor Swift

​Given that Taylor Swift was named Time magazine’s “Person Of The Year,” it’s no surprise that a lot of people heard about her workout routine as she prepared for her global, record-breaking “Eras Tour.”

Here’s what Time itself reported about her six months of training for the billion-dollar tour. Every runner who saw this article immediately thought: “Wait a minute. Three and a half hours of treadmill running every day, sometimes fast, sometimes slow? That sounds like 20 miles of fartlek a day. Really?”

We don’t know for sure, as Swift hasn’t done any lab testing or road races to demonstrate her fitness. But those who have attended an “Eras Tour” concert swear that it’s a genuine endurance test.

In the below article, editor and ultrarunner Zoe Rom jumped on a treadmill and ran and sang her way through Swift’s 3.5-hour set list. (The gym gave her a private room, so her antics wouldn’t upset other customers.) First comment: “This workout is a behemoth.”

Here’s more:

“I’ve done one-mile repeats. Hill workouts. Track workouts. Long runs with tempo efforts. This is the hardest workout I’ve ever done. I was wrecked. I was soaked in sweat and fighting the urge to lie down on the gym floor.”

I don’t know a single Taylor Swift song, and I sing like a one-horned rhinoceros. But I gotta admit, the whole treadmill-singing-fartlek 3.5-hour workout is tempting.

Also: “Dear Tay: I’m sure you must be reading this. Please run a marathon next December after your final tour date in Vancouver on December 8. I’ll be happy to pace you. Thanks, Amby.” More at Trail Runner.


SHORT STUFF you don’t want to miss

>>> Can This Mattress Improve Your Sleep? Sorry. You need more sleep when training hard, but a “mattress-topper” won’t help.

HERE’S WHAT ELSE YOU WOULD HAVE RECEIVED THIS WEEK if you were a subscriber to the complete, full-text “Run Long, Run Healthy.” (Subscription Link Here.)

# A warmup routine field-tested to improve your marathon (or half)

# How a training partner can help you achieve your goals (from Strava data)

# Beat the bonk: More mid race carbs could boost your long runs and races

# How Olympic Marathon medalist Molly Seidel trains to go the distance

# Can a green powder improve your health and performance?

# The runner who logged more lifetime miles (almost 300,000) than anyone else. Ever

# Backup plan–how running backwards can strengthen your legs

# A great motivational quote favored by Eliud Kipchoge

And remember: “I spend HOURS searching the Internet for the best, most authoritative new running articles, so you can review them in MINUTES.”

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading. See you again next week. Amby

Photo of author
Amby Burfoot stands as a titan in the running world. Crowned the Boston Marathon champion in 1968, he became the first collegian to win this prestigious event and the first American to claim the title since John Kelley in 1957. As well as a stellar racing career, Amby channeled his passion for running into journalism. He joined Runner’s World magazine in 1978, rising to the position of Editor-in-Chief and then serving as its Editor-at-Large. As well as being the author of several books on running, he regularly contributes articles to the major publications, and curates his weekly Run Long, Run Healthy Newsletter.

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