Second Wind

Second Wind
"Run With Purpose!"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Recap from Training run #2

We had a great group of 25 last night at my annual "Dormant 2 Dominant: 7 weeks to your first 5k!" training runs last night at World's Fair Site.

As usual, we have a wide range of skill and experience levels and an even wider range of physical fitness levels.  Everyone did a great job.  Everyone is progressing very well.

Last night I gave "The shoe speech" and covered the good, the bad, the ugly, and the downright evil.

Things to remember this week:

  • Breathe in your mouth and out your mouth - NO Nose breathing (self induced asthma=bad)
  • Focus on landing Flat footed 
  • SHORTEN your stride - shorten it until you feel completely ridiculous, then shorten it a little more.
  • Land Directly underneath your center of gravity-if at any point you can look down and see the knot on your shoelaces, your foot is too far out in front of you
  • LIFT with your big squat muscles (hamstrings, quads, butt) instead of Pushing with your calf muscles (think marching in place)
  • Keep your body in line/good posture - head straight, chest up, shoulders straight-head, shoulders, waist, knees, feet all line up
  • BEND YOUR KNEES - again, bend them until you feel completely ridiculous, then bend them a little more, then you're almost there.  And KEEP your knees bent - don't straighten them out at any point in your stride
  • Fast cadence.  Cadence, not speed.  Think about running on hot lava, your feet Have to get off the ground quickly.  The instant you have daylight between the ground and your heel, Lift/pull your leg into your next stride.  

For cadence - the sweetspot rule-of-thumb is 180 Beats per minute (so 90 foot taps per foot per minute)  So test yourself:  run a stop watch for 30 seconds and count the foot taps of one of your feet.  At the end of the 30 seconds that one foot should have tapped the ground 45 times.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Training Tips Tuesday: Shoes

I've been asking people from previous training runs what their best/favorite "aha!" moment was from the classes.  Almost everyone answered "The shoe talk!"

So, for today's entry of TTT, I'll give an overview of what I'm going to cover at tonight's training run (week 2 - come join us!)

This is all about shoes (or.... lack thereof)

A couple of things to think about:

Your foot is designed to flex, and bend, and move. Lots of shoes prohibit your feet from doing Any of those things (stability webs, roll bars, carbon injected crash plates, etc.). 

Think about your arch. How many people have been told that you have a weak arch, so you need arch support? What's the strongest shape in nature, or in construction (think bridge building).. the arch. Ever seen anyone build a bridge and then stick a support up underneath their archway? Of course not, and why? Because doing so completely defeats the design capabilities and the function of the arch! - By putting arch "support" under your arch, you ruin your arch, making it where it can't function, instantly weaken it, and then make yourself completely dependent on the 'support' because having it there has weakened your arch into a non working state by supporting it... got it?  ;)

Consider also that studies have proven (Harvard University, American Society of Biomechanics, Nike's own Director of Nike Sports Research Lab, American Journal of Sports Medicine, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, etc. etc. etc.) that the greater the padding, the greater the impact
Let that sink in for a second (yes - you read that right). The more cushioning your shoe has in it, the harder your foot (and knees, and hips, and back) will smash into the ground.

Then there's the fact that all of our running shoes are high heels. Most all running shoes have a much higher heel than forefoot (ie a 32mm heel height and a 20mm forefoot height). Would you choose to run in high heels? not only does it put lots of extra pressure on your knees and shins, it nearly forces a heel strike.

Finally, there's the issue of weight. You are picking up your feet a lot, more so than most of you every imagined if you are transitioning into correct running form. Each time you do so, you're having to lift the weights on each of your feet (those shoes). A typical corrective running shoe will weigh in somewhere around 12oz a piece (or more), where a pair of FiveFingers will weigh less than that (a Pair) - only about 5-6oz a piece. Other minimalist shoes (such as my beloved Nadas) weigh in at just over 3.5oz a piece.  
And your barefeet... they tip the scales at zero.

***Here's what you want to remember:   less is more.
In buying a shoe, you want to look for a flat shoe (one where the heel is not raised higher than the forefoot), a wider toebox (your toes need room to splay out), a shoe that does not attempt to overwrite and control God’s perfect design, a shoe that is super light weight, a shoe that is flat on the inside (no arch support), a shoe that bends (that you can roll up toe to heel), and a shoe that has the bare minimum in terms of padding (if it feels like a house shoe when you put it on it will kill you for a running shoe).*** 

So in short, avoid any shoe that boasts any of the following: “Control”, “motion control”, “high arch”, “stability”, “stability web”, “narrow last”, “bounce”, “rebound”, or anything that brags in regards to excellent cushioning or high technology.

An easy, over simplified way to ask your shoe store salesperson for the right thing, ask for a "Zero drop shoe". 
What this means is that the shoe will put your forefoot and your heel on the same plane - they will be the same height (ideally about 4mm off the ground at both places or less) - you wont be running in high-heels. Typically, if the shoe has a zero drop, then it has the other features you want to be looking for.

Remember, just because a shoe is labeled "Minimalist", doesn't mean it's any good

There are lots of "minimalist" shoes out there that are anything but, and, on the other hand, there are lots of good minimalist shoes out there that can make great strides (pun intended) in helping your form and helping you to run pain free

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


As with last year's big mass training runs, I'll reflect on most runs and look for some pointers to share about what I saw:

This year we had another great group out for the 1st night of VMC training runs.
Last night you all got your training schedules, did your first interval run, and learned some about your new stride, how to breathe, and to NOT go buy shoes before next week's run!

Some things to self-examine:
Make sure you are landing on the balls of your feet (think of landing flat)-have someone else watch you and tell you if you're still landing on your heels.  As most of you have been running on your heels for 10, 20, 30, 40 years transitioning to the forefoot is not an easy swap.
Also remember that you are not tiptoe running - you want your forefoot to land first, but then you Do want your heel to touch immediately thereafter.  So you land forefoot, midfoot, heel-then the heel starts to come off the ground and you immediately pull into your next stride.  But it is important that your heel does 'tap' the ground each stride to allow your calf muscles that split second of relax time before it contracts again.

Shorten your stride.  Already done that?  Good, now cut it in half again.  Your stride must be short enough where you are not stretching out in front, you're not landing on your heel, and you Are landing directly underneath your center of gravity.  Think of it as a bicycle stroke.

The ground is hot.  You're running on a bed of coals.  Do Not stay on the ground - as soon as there is daylight between your heel and the ground, Lift immediately into your next stride (fast cadence)

As you work on lifting/pulling your leg instead of pushing into your next stride, remember that this is Not high-stepping.  That doesn't mean you lift/pull your knees up to your chest, only that those are the muscles you use.  Lifting your foot (knees) high off the ground takes a lot of effort but gives no return - so you want your feet to stay as close to the ground as possible.  Think of it as if you're almost skiing - your feet glide forward, just barely over the surface of the ground.  This way you're not wasting any energy (remember - it's all about efficiency) and your feet (and the rest of you) have less distance to 'fall' back to the ground, thus even less impact.

Lastly, I did not bring any of my books to the training runs last night and honestly don't plan on pushing them there, I'd much rather you just buy them on your own if you'd like a copy.
The book is "Second Wind: the running coach you never had but always needed" and is available on Amazon, Books a Million, Barnes and Noble, etc.  The ebook formats (iPad/iPhone, Kindle, etc.) can be found on Diesel-ebooks

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FREE Training runs start Tonight!

Dormant to Dominant:  7 weeks to your first 5k!

Tonight I'm starting my FREE training sessions at World's Fair Site in Knoxville, TN at 7:00pm.

For the next 7 weeks we will meet every Tuesday at 7 and I'll teach people how to run (stride, how to breathe, foot strike, body mechanics, etc) efficiently and injury free.

Each night will include a time of instruction and discussion, a group run, and close with a time of Q&A and 1on1 questions (as time permits).

Over the 7 weeks you will go through my Dormant to Dominant program:
It's just 3 days a week, and only 20-30 minutes each of those 3 days, and after just 7 weeks, even if you've NEVER run before, you will run your first 5k!

This group is open to all skill/experience levels (last year we had those who had never run before in their lives, the severely obese, the injured, and we also had marathoners, 1 Ultra runner, people looking to shave a few minutes off their time, and those looking for tips on efficiency and injury prevention).

You will also learn about barefoot and minimalist running and be able to ask all your questions about that as well

See you tonight!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

CrossFit, running, solo, and wolf pack (3 man optional)

When you run, what part of it is for the social aspect?  Many people run to enjoy the company of friends, they run in pairs, or groups, and race often - again, for the camaraderie.

I love running with a friend (or 50), but often times I Really Love running alone.  It's why I started running in the first place:  to be alone with my thoughts, alone with God, and (quite literally) run away from all my stress, problems, and haters for an hour or so.  As I often say, running, for me, is meditation in motion.

I have also known over the years that working out, on the other hand, is an activity that isn't half as fun, rewarding, energized, or effective without friends.  As most of you know, I drank the CrossFit Kool-aid and haven't looked back.  I don't do it nearly as often as I should or as I would like to, but when I can, I love it and find it to be a very well designed and thought out program.

A few people have asked about CrossFit when I mention doing it with friends-there are lots of ways to go about this!  First off, I do not go to a CrossFit box, don't get me wrong, I think they are awesome!  But they also aren't close to me and, quite frankly, I'm way to cheap...   A friend and I have put together our own version of a garage gym and use it when we can.  Simply working out in the same room with someone else helps, but in CrossFit too there are lots of ways to do the workouts together if you go a little... outside the 'box'.

My 2 favorite ones are the Team Pace Horse workouts and the Team Partner workouts:

With the Pace Horse workout you have multiple stations, 1 station for each person you have working out.  So if you have 5 people, you have 5 stations.  One of those 5 stations is a Pace Horse - (use something like a run, or a row - run 400 meters, or row 250 meters, or run 1 suicide, etc.).  The other 4 stations can be anything (Kettle bell swings, air squats, wall balls, and dubs).
The Pace Horse sets the time for the rotation, everyone else just does AMRAP until the pace horse is done, then swap stations.

The other one is the one a group of us did last night:  The Partner WOD.
In the partner WOD you pair everyone up and come up with several (but doesn't have to be all) workouts that have to be done in pairs.  And you can get creative.  Last night we were 1 short so we actually had 7 people so we had 2 pairs and a group of 3 (Wolfpack!).  A couple examples of partner/pair workouts would be Wall-Ball volleyball, Wall-Ball situps (lock ankles, throw the wall ball at your partner each rep), etc.

Find some friends and get to it!  And remember, always follow the proper Gym Etiquette ;)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Asics FAIL.

Way to move backwards Asics,

*steps firmly on soapbox*

So, often times I get questions from people along the lines of "well what do you wear when you play soccer?  Do they make minimalist cleats!?"  Thing is, ALL soccer cleats (and most all cleats for all sports) are very minimalist, soccer cleats (Boots!) being the most minimalist.  Sports people know, to be fast and stable, you want to be flat and as low to the ground as possible.  So cleats have No support, no arches, no cushioning, and, of course-and most importantly, they are perfectly flat (zero heel drop).

That is, until now... I got a flyer emailed to me about a new Asics line of soccer cleats designed to "keep you in the game longer".  So, longer and better than 7-11 miles in 90 minutes as performed by some of the top conditioned athletes in the entire world?  huh, how interesting.  Their genius approach?  ADD a 10mm HEEL.  /facepalm.  So Asics is now making cleats specifically for those athletes who have always dreamed of playing their favorite sport in high heels.

You've got to be kidding me!?