🏃‍♂️ Boston Tough

Good morning!

This week: Planks, Boston and Sleep

Welcome to the Happy Runner Weekly.

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Enjoy, and see you next week!


Planks, Planks, Planks

Planks, Planks, Planks

Whether you like it or not -most runners don’t- strength training is paramount to improve as a runner. Every “influencer” and Youtuber seems to have the perfect running routine, all of them different, all of them, miraculous.

So much information and different points of view can be overwhelming; the answer can be found on planks.

Deep core muscles are critical when the body tries to minimize how much energy it uses while running. When deep core muscles — those that run along the length of the spine and sit beneath the muscles that make for a visible six-pack — are slacking, superficial muscles, such as the abdominals, are forced to take on more work.

  • This leads to fatigue, poor running form, and slower running.

Most runners have weak deep core muscles, but sit-ups and crunches won’t cut it if you try to strengthen this area.

The solution: adding planks to your warm-up is a great way to add some strength training to your regular routine. Five minutes can have a considerable impact on your running future and longevity.

And if you want to add some fun and change into it, this 30-day plank challenge is a great way to start.


Boston Tough!

Boston Tough!

Yesterday the B.A.A. (Boston Athletic Association) published the biggest time cut-off in event history for the 2021 Boston Marathon field.

Runners needed to be 7 minutes, 47 seconds faster than the qualifying standard for their age group to get into the race in October; 9,215 qualifiers were left out of this year’s race.

It’s already tough to get into the Boston Marathon, and the B.A.A. continues to lower age group qualifying times as demand increases. In 2013, qualifying standards were lowered by five minutes per age group. Then, ahead of the 2020 race, the time lowered by another five minutes (table above).

  • The 7 minutes, 47 seconds faster are on top of that.

The qualifying period for the 2022 Boston Marathon runs from September 1, 2019, until a to-be-announced date this fall. Presumably the day after this year’s race.

What to expect? With the boom of running during the pandemic, we expect this cut-off time to be harder each year. If you want to qualify for future Boston Marathons, aim for 10 minutes faster than the standard qualifying time.


Sleep Better = Less Injuries?

Sleep Better = Less Injuries?

Sleep seems to be the holy grail of performance; even Lebron James brags about his sleep hours.

But a new review paper concluded that there’s “insufficient evidence” to draw a direct link between sleep and injuries in most of the populations studied.

This can be a little surprising… or not.

  • Surprising because elite athletes and high-achievers praise sleeping as their secret weapon to longevity and performance.
  • Not surprising because nothing is black or white.

The other side of the coin is that sleep deprivation has shown to suppress testosterone and growth hormone production and enhance cortisol levels, which could weaken muscles and leave you more susceptible to injury.

So, how much should you sleep? The amount of sleep you need depends on various factors — especially your age, pregnancies, previous sleep deprivation, and sleep quality.

The Mayo Clinic gives us the following guidelines for enough sleep to have good health.

  • 6 to 13 years – 9 to 11 hours
  • 14 to 17 years – 8 to 10 hours
  • Adults – 7 to 9 hours

Get your 7-9 hours of sleep for a healthy life, and don’t over-stress about it. Stress is dumb!


Book of the Week – Running Science. – I read this book while recovering from knee surgery. It’s a book filled with insights and practical advice.

Exercise addiction in amateur runners – this study showed that runners present a minimum risk of addiction although age and habitual running distance were statistically significant risk factors.

Natural sounds improve your health – this study affirms that natural sounds improve health, increase positive affect, and lower stress and annoyance. Trail running, here we go!

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