Sunday, August 30, 2009

The New York Times writes about minimalist running shoes, here.

A good story, although it sounds like the jury is out on whether these shoes are helpful or not. Having picked up McDougall's "Born to Run" on a whim, I'm surprised to find out that it's on the bestseller list and becoming a cult classic!

On my 13-mile run yesterday, I went back to my stock running shoe, the Asics with the inch-thick heel padding. The New Balance thin-soled shoes are my 3- and 4-mile running choice at this point. I'm not sure how well my feet would hold up in them after 13 miles. I haven't had any twinges from using the NB 790s yet, but I don't want to push it.

Next week is another light week - 3- and 4-mile runs.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

13 miles

I ran 13.1 miles today as per the Galloway plan, so like running a half marathon. My time was 2 hrs and 22 minutes, which included stoplights and street crossings and hunting down water fountains, so not too bad.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New runnnning shoes

The chi running guy is big on these New Balance 790 running shoes, so I got Greg to find me a used pair on eBay. They hardly seem like running shoes at all because the sole is so thin and the shoe is so unstructured. They are very light. I did my first run with them yesterday.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Running on vacation

Why is it always so hard to run on vacation? We are in California and the possibilities for gorgeous runs are endless. But so far I have run a scant 2 miles. Tomorrow I am scheduled to run a 3 mile time trial.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The ultra-interval

Roy Wallack, author of "Run for Life," has a very persuasive section on the use of ultra-intervals -- intervals in which you run all-out for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a minute or so of light jogging or walking. You're supposed to do eight of these, and it's supposed to have a magical effect on things like your VO2 max and muscle power.

Intervals are nothing new, as Wallack concedes; the difference here is that you are REALLY supposed to push yourself, to the point of feeling like you're going to pass out.

This is my third or fourth ultra-interval workout. I must say, it's pretty hard to get to that almost-passed-out feeling when running on Seattle's sidewalks. Going that fast down the sidewalk on a summer morning is courting disaster -- you'll surely crash into somebody on their way to work or get tangled up with a dog-walker. And although I programmed my watch for 20-second intervals followed by 90-second recoveries, to actually follow this would have also been dangerous -- I hit some of those 20-second sprints right as I reached an intersection. So instead I tried to sprint a block, walk a block. I'm pretty sure I never hit the all-out, gasping-for-breath moment. A workout like this might best be done on a track, or perhaps around Green Lake.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Weights, too

Run for life, by Roy Wallack, talks about the importance of weight training along with running. When it comes to weights, I'm a wimp. But I'm going for the whole program here, so this morning, I lifted weights.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Rethinking the way I run

It started this way:

1. I ran the Seattle Rock 'n Roll half-marathon, my fourth. My time was not terrible for a 47-year-old (2:15), so I started thinking, hmmm. Maybe I should run a full marathon?

2. Grabbed a book on the way out the door to vacation: "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. McDougall has many things to say, but the takeaway message (for me) is that if you adopt a more efficient running form, you're less likely to injure yourself and more likely to enjoy running.

OK. Sold. What next?

My usual method of learning something new is to blitz my brain with all the information I can find on the subject, on the Web and in the library, and then try to pick the best ideas and use them. To try to relearn my running form, I grabbed "Run for Life" from the library and an audiotape about "Chi Running" by Danny and Katherine Dwyer. Also, I watched videos on "Evolution Running" on the Web. All of these books, videos and audio lessons had some common themes: That you should land on your midfoot, land softly, concentrate on quick turnover of your feet, lean forward slightly to increase your forward momentum, and pay close attention to the movement of your arms.

It's been about three weeks since I finished "Born to Run" and became inspired to try to change my stride. A few things seem to be working well, but others are harder to learn.

My goal is to run the Seattle Marathon in November. I'm using a running plan on the New York Times, using a method espoused by Jeff Galloway, which incorporates walking breaks into your long runs. This has been a good method to get me from 5k to a half-marathon, and I'm continuing to use walk breaks as I do my long runs (such as today's 11-mile run). But I've felt ready for some time now to challenge my running and bring it to a new place, and this seems like it might do it.