Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hot Weather Running

Runners have got to be some of the whiniest people I've ever met. When it's cold, I swear half my Facebook friends have some status up about how miserable it is to finish a run with icicles on their eyelashes or how painful it is to defrost in the shower after a run. When it finally gets above freezing, the statuses change to how much everyone hates cold rain. Then it gets hot out, and then everyone starts complaining about the heat and humidity. Don't get me wrong, I love perfect weather as much as anyone, and I've been known to whine mightily when it's gross out. However, you don't have to run for long before you realize that the gnarly days far outnumber the beautiful days, and the chances that your goal race falls on a day with absolutely perfect weather is slim to none (and if you only train on beautiful days, you're not going to be very good). Luckily, some bad weather is "less bad" than others (i.e. -5 °F and windy is better than 35 °F and raining, and both are better than 60 °F and hailing), and most of it can be combated with proper clothing, correct hydration, and other preparation. Like any other less than ideal weather, hot weather running brings with it certain challenges.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Why School Sports are Important for Kids

I just found out that the district in which I competed in junior high school is eliminating all junior high school athletics championships for the 2011-2012 school year. I do not know how this will impact each individual school's athletic program, whether they will still continue to have a program that competes in dual meets and conference championships, or if the writing is on the wall for them too.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Gear Review: Kara Goucher's Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons

Kara Goucher has become one of America's most recognizable runners, and for good reason, with accomplishments such as a third place finish in the 10,000m at the 2007 World Championships and a recent 5th place finish at the 2011 Boston Marathon. While not every great athlete makes a great coach (and not every great coach was a great athlete), it's unlikely that someone like Goucher would be able to get as far as she did without picking up some knowledge along the way. In Kara Goucher's Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons, Goucher passes some of that knowledge along to the reader, giving a lot of information that I can honestly look at and say "I wish someone told me that when I started running!"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Are we messing with form and shoes as a substitute for hard training?

Everywhere I look today, I see information on "the perfect running form." Articles on how to move from an ungainly heelstrike to a beautiful stride where your midfoot gently kisses the ground. How you should ditch your heavy foamboat foot coffin trainers with their high wedge heels and go to a minimalist zero-drop shoe that promotes good form. How this will all help you run faster, more efficiently, and injury-free. I can hardly go to a running website or forum anymore without being bombarded with information overload on form and shoes! And people are eating this information up too, to the point that I see more questions about running form and shoes than about training!

I know a lot of runners. There's a lot of variation as far as form goes, and as far as what shoes they wear. There are a lot of heel strikers, some midfoot strikers, and even a few forefoot strikers. And their shoe choices run the gamut from traditional trainers with a high level of cushioning and stability to completely barefoot. And it's not like the slow ones are the heel strikers who wear heavy trainers...my fastest friend is a heel striker who primarily wears the Brooks Defyance, a neutral trainer with a 12mm heel-toe differential and a high level of inherent stability for a shoe of its class (yes, neutral shoes have support built in). However, there is one thing that all of the fast ones have in common...they all work their effin' asses off.
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