How running every day changed my life + the case against sugar

6 great running reads

“For me, success in running wasn’t about how far or how fast I was going — it was about making a commitment to accomplish something hard, and then putting in the work to follow through.” — Emily Abbate

How Running a Little Bit Every Day for Two Months Changed My Life

Emily Abbate | GQ | June 27, 2019

Funny-yet-insightful first-person account of what it’s like to make running part of your everyday life, when it’s never been before. Like many of us, the writer comes to the realization that at 5-foot-4 and over 200 pounds, nothing was going to change until she changed:

“My size, and more specifically, how I felt about my size, seeped into every aspect of my life... After nights out with friends, I’d dread waking up the next morning to notifications of new tagged photos, because I knew some of them would put me on display for the world to see.”

The hard part was the how. Simple steps — from little things like writing down in her journal when she planned to exercise, to carving out the same time every day do it — helped ease what she calls “decision fatigue” that had prevented her from developing any consistency in her habits before. Great read with useful, actionable tips. (Full story here)

Running Is a Gift for Life

Amby Burfoot | Brattleboro Reformer | April 25, 2019

The winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon and the former editor-in-chief of Runner’s World shares his brief (but well-considered) thoughts after decades of running at a high level. The ones that stand out to me are reminders that it’s very easy in our day and age — especially with all the technology we have at our disposal — to make running too complicated. As Burfoot says in the Q-and-A:

“Q: What about nutrition and hydration?

A: Those are important considerations for a marathon runner, but not a big deal for anyone running an hour or less. You should eat and drink modestly before running, and repeat the same after running. While you are running, just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and enjoy the movement and your environment as much as possible. Running is best when it is simplest. The fewer your worries and distractions, the better.”

Wise words for us all. (Full story here)

How Many Days a Week You Should Run to Lose Weight and Build Endurance

Maggie Ryan | PopSugar | July 18, 2019

This is an article I’m including not necessarily because I agree with everything in it, but because it made me think a little. The coaches the writer interviews emphasize the importance of cross-training and strength training in addition to running, as well as building up a weekly mileage base very gradually. I’m a little wary of the promise the headline makes — sometimes we don’t lose any weight when we run — but it’s still a worthwhile read. (Full story here)

The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Health: Sleep Well

Matthew Walker | The Guardian | Feb. 9, 2019

Not getting enough sleep may be the health sin I’m guiltiest of, but for years I’ve played down its importance. That was until I saw this article about Justin Verlander, a pitcher for the Houston Astros who has become something of an evangelist for getting more sleep among the players on his team. According to Walker, the neuroscientist who wrote this article for the Guardian, our collective sleep deficit is at epidemic proportions across the developed world — and if we don’t get enough, it really works against us in our fight to get healthier:

“Should you try to diet but don’t get enough sleep while doing so, it is futile, since up to 70% of the weight you lose will come from lean body mass, not fat. Turn these facts around and you realise that plentiful sleep is powerful tool for controlling your appetite, your weight and keeping your body trim.”

(Full story here)

Born to Walk Barefoot

Gretchen Reynolds | The New York Times | July 17, 2019

Thousands of years of wearing shoes on our feet have made us forget that our ancestors — who walked a lot more than they ran — got something from all those calluses they developed from walking barefoot. They protected against minor pains, like walking over pebbles, without reducing early humans’ contact with and feel for the ground. The thick-soled shoes we wear today, Reynolds notes, may be changing our strides and putting too much pressure on our leg joints. So she asked one researcher, what’s the takeaway? “That people who have concerns about their balance or their knees but not their pedicures might consider sometimes walking barefoot.” (Full story here)

The Case Against Sugar

Gary Taubes | Aeon | June 6, 2019

An exhaustive, detailed, deep dive into the history and science of how obesity and diabetes have become a worldwide epidemic since the mid-20th century. This one isn’t an easy or casual read; set it aside for when you have some time to devote to it. It is, however, a really worthwhile read that will give you pause about all of the sugar that so many of us consume every day. (Full story here)

Podcast: Ali on the Run interviews Beatie Deutsch

A wonderful listen. The always-ebullient Ali Feller talks with “Speedy Beatie” Deutsch, the Israeli national marathon champion and 29-year-old mother of five young children. How in the world does she find the time to train? Listen to the podcast to find out.

A song to run to today

Prelude and Main Title March” from the album Superman: The Movie by John Williams.