Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Shoes - Kilkenny XC3 flats

A very important part of running for those of us who run in shoes is getting new ones. We are either fascinated by all the cool supportive and stability-related technologies that go into the high-end running shoes you have to drop a bill for (or more), or we seek out the least substantial shoe we can find if we think of ourselves as "minimalists."

As all feet are not created equal, minimalist running shoes may not suit everyone. I'm fortunate enough to have pretty neutral feet, however, so I've been able to get away with being a 'moderately' minimalist with regard to footwear. What I mean by that is that I like a light weight neutral shoe with minimal heal-toe drop. All of the little foot problems I had when I followed the running store recommendations to get a shoe with light stability features went away when I tried my first pair of neutral shoes. Best yet, the cost of my shoes went down!

Monday, June 28, 2010

What time of day is best for running?

I can hear the collective groan of thousands of "night" people when I suggest that running in the morning (or even pre-dawn) may be the best time for many people. There are a lot of reasons for this, and many are neatly summarized in this post at the Predawn Runner blog by Greg Strosaker.

5K: how fast will I get and how quickly can I get that fast - huh?

I started running again last year, so I expected to see improvements in my times by now. The only distance I've run consistently enough to have an idea of how my times are trending is 5K. I like 5K's, because they are a near maximal effort. So, running a 5K can be a useful index of your fitness or physical condition. Plus, you usually get a good t-shirt or tech shirt and some of your fee goes to a charity of some sort. Pretty cool, all around.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Of dominant paradigms and religious zeal in sports training

In sports training, as in other things, there is a tendency for people who have bought into certain ideas about the best or "right" way to go about things. We don't have to see any data to convince us that something IS actually true. We need only for it to "ring true." Well, I'm hear to tell you that history is repleat with failed concepts that were once dominant paradigms, having rung true to embarrassingly large numbers of people for embarrassingly long periods of time.

Overpronation: is it up to you, or up to the shoe?

When I started running, my left foot seemed to overpronate a little, such that the recommendation of the running store experts was "mild stability shoes."

"Okay," I said. "Show me your mild stability shoes and I'll pick some out and be on my way."

Since I wanted lightweight trainers, I ended up in Asics Gel DS Trainers. Nice lightweight shoes, really, but soon I developed ITBS, and then the outsoles wore through to the midsole of the Trainers in less than 300 miles, and I was looking for other options.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day 5K - Fort Collins

Preface
A nice tradition in many towns is a citizen race on Father's Day. Fort Collins, Colorado has such a tradition, with the Father's Day 5K. It's one in a long line of 5K races that serve both as vital community events and fundraisers for some local charity, scholarship, or foundation. The 2010 Father's Day 5K in Fort Collins was Sponsored by the Primrose School of Fort Collins, and benefited reduced or no-fare youth activities at the City's North Side Aztlan Community Center. I think it's pretty cool that by fueling my running habit, I can also directly support a number of these organizations.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pre-Race Routines

What you choose to do in the few hours before a race may not fully make for a great performance, but it can certainly break one. For example, having a few martini's is probably detrimental, as would be eating a 1/2 lb burger and a basket of greasy fries or some huge breakfast. Now is the time to realize your college buddy who called a pint of Guinness "the breakfast of champions" was being facetious. Prayer, meditation, warmups, and ritual bowel movements (whatever floats your boat, right?) are examples of things that probably won't hurt, but anything that impairs your mind and body or drains your energy reserves should be avoided.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Running an Illusion

I enjoy using photoshop to past people into pictures in funny or symbolic ways.  In this picture, I just thought it would be funny and interesting to be running from something scary.  I considered zombies, and still haven't ruled that out for the future, but for now this rhino shot seems nearly perfect (and fun).

Awhile later, I realized that the rhino could also symbolize something.  What's that, you ask?  It's simple.  What could be better MOTIVATION than being chased by a rhino.

I've used this for a profile picture on some other websites, and apparently it's good enough to fool some people for a little while, but I always try to be up-front about it and let people know it's just a product of playing with photoshop.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mother Nature is a Sadist!

Mother Nature is a Sadist, and here is my proof. First, it's very windy/gusty in FoCo today. Drove to Fossil Creek Park thinking I would maybe do some 400 intervals. When I got out of the car, my hat blew off, so my first interval was chasing it down. Next, fighting the wind over half of my warmup run, I passed by a clump of willows by one of the ponds during a lull, and just as I passed, a huge gust of wind caught the willows and whipped them hard into my face and upper body.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Who am I?! Why am I here?!

I am a scientist and a fitness enthusiast. As a scientist, animal physiology is among my specialties, and I have studied locomotion and conducted research on physiological responses to exercise in small mammals. This has given me a solid technical background in exercise physiology, energetics, and somewhat in biomechanics (one of my great interests nowadays). I plan to put all (or most) of that stuff aside for the purposes of this blog, and focus more on the fitness enthusiast in me. As a fitness enthusiast, I am primarily interested in running. My technical posts will continue to be housed at my main blog/website, Be Fit Now, while the FoCo Runner blog (this one) will be where I write about other more personal stuff about my running experiences. I hope to have a little fun with this, if I can.

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