🏃♂️ The Best Running Shoe?
This week: 2 world records in 2 days, the simplest way to improve, and FKTs.
As Charlie’s Chaplin song goes, 🎶 “Smile, though your heart is aching. Smile, even though it’s breaking”
Happy running, 😁
Sifan Hassan smashes women's 10,000m record
For those who don’t know her, Sifan Hassan is one of the fastest middle-distance runners in the world right now.
And last Sunday, she clocked 29:06.82 to destroy the previous 10,000m record of 29:17:45 set by Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia at the 2016 Olympics.
- She also owns world records for the mile, road 5km, one hour run (18.93km) – and the 1500m and 10,000m world titles.
The controversy. As with any new world record, someone will be angry or try to find an error, not us. Hassan appeared to be wearing the latest version of the Nike ZoomX Dragonfly spikes (also known as super spikes), which have been billed as the “fastest shoes ever” but are as controversial as their brothers, the Nike Alphafly (also known as the Kipchogue shoes).
But no matter if you have the fastest shoes on earth, nothing beats hard work.
- “It’s the perfect confirmation of the hard work we’ve put in getting ready for Tokyo. I am so happy to share this record in front of my Dutch fans. I am so happy”, Hassan said after the race.
About Hassan. She fled from Ethiopia for the Netherlands at age 16 as a refugee and trained under Nike’s Alberto Salazar until the coach’s controversial four-year doping ban in 2019. She has always maintained she is a clean athlete.
She is trying to get her first Olympic medal later this year.
Learn something new. When running world records are mentioned as 5km or 10km, it usually means road races (like the ones you run on Sundays), and when records are mentioned as 5,000m or 10,000m, it usually means on a 400m track (like the ones you watch on TV.)
Track records are always faster than road records.
Update. Just as we were about to hit send, 23-year-old Letesenbet Gidey from Ethiopia ran 29:01.03 in the 10,000m. Hassan’s record stood only for 2 days.
Smile to Improve your Running
Can something as easy as smiling can improve your running?
According to Noel Brick and his colleagues at Ulster University, YES!
Their 2018 study tested the effects of facial expression and relaxation cues on movement economy with impressive results.
They had 24 runners complete a series of four six-minute runs and measured their running economy. During the runs, they instructed the volunteer runners to smile, frown, relax their hands and upper body, or think their usual thoughts.
- They saw improvements of more than 2% in running economy when runners smiled.
That’s the type of results you can expect after four weeks of strength training or six weeks of plyometric exercises.
- But smiling takes pretty much no effort and has instant benefits.
Other studies have also concluded smiling or grimacing can significantly reduce pain; this can help you push harder on your next race or speed session.
Eliud Kipchogue does it. If you’ve seen Eliud Kipchogue, he appears always to be smiling while running.
It’s not a random smile. After the Breaking2 Nike project, he said that it’s a conscious effort to relax and work through the pain.
Just smile on your next run; you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.
Running 2,650 miles in under 52 Days
Although FKTs, Fastest Known Times, have been around for many years, they saw a boom during the pandemic. A Fastest Known Time route needs to be at least five miles long or have 500 feet of climbing.
And one of the most coveted FKT is the 2,650-mile (4,240km) Pacific Crest Trail, starting at the California-Mexico border and finishing at the Washington-Canada border.
- The elevation gain is equal to climbing Mount Everest 16.8 times.
On June 1st, ultrarunner Timothy Olson started a new attempt. He needs to run an average of 50.6 miles per day to break the record.
More about Timothy. He is a two-time winner and former record holder of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. He has two kids, and his wife will be eight months pregnant with the couple’s third child by the time Timothy completes the trail, emphasizing Timothy’s aim for his run to be “a beacon of hope for a better future.”
About his Nutrition. His nutritionist plans to supply Timothy with a rotating selection of five to seven whole-food snacks —hash-brown and egg sandwiches, turkey, stuffing, cranberry wraps, falafel or meatball wraps— shooting for 4,000-5,000 calories a day. “Anytime I see him without food, I’ll put something in front of him.”
Want to own an FKT? You can visit the official website to search for routes near you.
OTHER FAST NEWS
- No heart damage after 21 years of running. New study here.
- Cool Stat. NBCUniversal said it will broadcast more than 7,000 hours of Olympic content across NBC, Peacock, and all of its other media properties this summer. For context, there are on average 730 hours in a month.
- Book of the Month – The Genius of Athletes. Modern advances in sports psychology confirm what fans have known all along: No world-class athlete—whether an Olympic runner, swimmer, or cyclist, or a pro basketball, baseball, or football player—gets to the top without a strong mental game.
See you next week!
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