Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NYTimes-The Human Body is built for Distance

Great article from the NYTimes Well Blog found by my friend Eddie Knapp. If you are a runner and have not read "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall you should as this book gets to the essence of why we run and why it is so elemental to humans. These insights into why we were Born to Run are helping me get back to the basics of running: run for fun, simpler shoes, and varied surfaces. The NYTimes article expands on the subject. The two key paragraphs:

"Mr. McDougall makes the case that running isn’t inherently risky. Instead, he argues that the commercialization of urban marathons encourages overzealous training, while the promotion of high-tech shoes has led to poor running form and a rash of injuries."...“It’s only recently that running has become associated with pain and injury.”

"What’s the solution? Slower, easier training over a long period would most likely help; so would brief walk breaks, which mimic the behavior of the persistence hunter. And running on a variety of surfaces and in simpler shoes with less cushioning can restore natural running form."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mid Mountain Trail: Park City UT

One of my favorite all time trails and Runner's World thinks so too as their October 2009 trail of the month Totally run able or easy walking as it really does stay pretty close to "level" . Start at Deer Valley at about 8000 feet and end at the Canyons at about 6600 feet. The whole trail is actually 30 plus miles if extended to Pinebrook. The Mid Mountain Marathon in September every year is a spectacular event. Many variants to go shorter particularly on the Deer Valley Park City Mountain Resort end. Hats off to Mountain Trails and all the other participating organizations and landowners for building and maintaining this gem!

Friday, October 23, 2009

"Plodders Have a Place but is it in a Marathon?"-NYTimes

A provocative article in the NYTimes about slow marathoners. I believe that with training most people who do not an obvious handicap or are advanced in age, can Run a marathon in under 5 hours. It is great that the participation is 3X since 1980 ... while average times are getting slower, 40 plus minutes slower. While slow is fine, I do question if it is really wise or healthy for some to marathon when they haven't done the preparation. Any pace puts a tremendous stress on the body. Many of the plodders are in this category. I saw crowds of them at St. George recently. As far as running and finishing vs. actually racing hard the barometer remains as always a Boston Marathon qualifying time, graded for age and this is what many shoot for. Yet while even Boston qualifying times have loosened in the last 30 years shooting for this goal creates a natural separation between runners and finishers.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Trail Running Technique

From the June Inov-8 Newsletter. Inov-8's have been my favorite trail shoes for several years due to their nimble trail feel climbing and descending.

"Guide to Trail Running: Technique
Trail running requires a better sense of running technique than running on the roads. Try to stay light on your feet as if you are running over eggshells.

Relaxing your body improves form and technique more than anything. Foot placement starts to come naturally with practice.

Resist the tendency to favor one leg when jumping, landing or pushing off of things, taking sharp turns etc.

On downhills: run more on the balls of your feet, slightly leaning forward. Running on your heels promotes a "braking" action which fatigues your muscles. Secondly, don't overstride. Let your feet touch down under you, not way out in front. Keep your arms slightly outward (like you have wings) and across the body for balance, and use gravity to your advantage.

On uphills: shorten your stride for lower cadence and keep your head up and shoulders back. Put your chest forward and use your arms in a straight forward and back pumping motion. Concentrate on good form and lifting your knees. Be positive and embrace the climb. Running uphill is easier on the body with lower impact. Short uphills are more about power and more arm action while longer uphills are more about being efficient and finding a rhythm."

Sunday, May 03, 2009

ClifBar Shot Blocks-It's all in the Packaging

Clif Shot Bloks used to come in a square package. Open and with sweaty hands instant sticky mess. Now they are packaged in cello tube, squeeze one out a time. The Bloks also don't seem to be as greasy on the surface when damp.

3 flavors have caffeine: Cola, Black Cherry, and Orange. 1 flavor has extra sodium: Margerita. I prefer the Black Cherry.

I find Bloks easier to handle than gels for shorter runs. You can dose them as you go with no sticky package left to stuff in a pocket.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Atlas Run Snowshoe

I have been snowshoeing and running for over 30 years and I have never found a snowshoe which I could comfortably run without thinking I had wide obstacles to trip over at every stride. The new running/racing snowshoes such as the Atlas Run solve this problem. Of course they do not have a tremendous amount of float over deep snow but for groomed trails or harder pack with the potential for post holing they are a ton of fun and a great workout

GoLite Hydro Speed 2 Bottle Belt

Until I got the Hydrospeed I struggled with a comfortable way to carry more than one water bottle but less than a 70-100 oz bladder while running 2 hours or more. Belt bladders were uncomfortable and even one bottle in a all the belts I tried tended to bounce. The key to the Hydro is a thin and relatively stiff foam on the back and the angle of the bottles which rest well and steady and also make bottles easy to retrieve. The 2 front pockets are large enough for several energy gels and a camera or cell phone unlike most front pockets. The bungie holds a light shell securely.

Patagonia Wool 1 T-Shirt

One does not often associate T-shirts with incredible technology but the Wool 1 is such a case. Somehow they have blended wool and polyester into a very light T-shirt which wicks like none other I have ever tried. Wool handles the temperature regulation and the poly strength and wicking. Stays mostly dry when exercising, far dryer than any other material I have tried. Light enough for running in the heat, a first in my experience with wool. Anti-stink. I have hand washed and dried overnight several times so this is the only T you will need for everyday and exercise. Ideal for travel