DRILLS, THRILLS, AND BONE STRENGTH All Earned Runs training plans include directions to perform dynamic and walking warm-ups prior to running. The dynamic warm-up is done before starting a 10-minute walking warm-up. For runners accustomed to lacing on shoes and immediately taking off at a decent clip once out the door, these advance preparations may seem unnecessary. HOWEVER, there’s even more to running preparation: FORM DRILLS, which elite runners and athletes in other sports perform.
A reason to do a dynamic ‘warm-up’ is, literally, to increase blood circulation and body temperature, thereby warming muscles, tendons and ligaments in preparation for further, more intense movement. Other reasons are to activate muscles and nerves and increase the range of motion (mobility) of joints. All relate to injury prevention.
The reason behind doing FORM DRILLS is improved performance. The article “The Basics of A-Skips” by Mario Fraioli for Competitor.com, explains that the purpose of this specific drill is to achieve “better running form, functional strength, and efficiency” by developing “lower-leg strength, encouraging knee lift, and promoting an efficient foot-strike.”
There’s NO RULE that says you MUST DO form drills, do ALL the drills, or do all in ONE session. Elite runners might do this, especially at the urging of a coach or trainer. Their careers are centered on winning races and staying strong and healthy. Your running life might be centered on doing your best and staying strong and healthy. How THRILLING, you have something in common with the elites!
Initially, to dip your toe into the water of form drills, try this ONE that Fraioli recommends (A-Skips; 30-50 meter lengths, repeated twice, 2-3 times/week). Then you can experiment with others.
A link in Fraioli’s piece takes readers to another set of drills, discussed by Brian Metzler, “Essential Form Drills for Speed and Efficiency”,* for Competitor.com. Try one or more of these if you mastered the A-Skip, and are ready and willing to do more.
Metzler recommends his routine be followed consistently 3-4 times per week, with an emphasis placed on “CONSISTENTLY”. This number happens to be the times that a training plan is likely to incorporate speed work or runs that are not deemed “easy”: speed drills, intervals, tempo runs, hills. Perfect situations in which runners would benefit from starting off with, ”key muscles firing for faster running”.
Earned Runs has found by searching the medical literature that an ADDITIONAL benefit to be gained from performing these drills is improved BONE HEALTH AND STRENGTH, important to runners of all ages and both genders
This is a larger topic that will be discussed in a later blog post. Look for it next week.
This week, take a crack at learning just the one form drill, A-skips, that Mario Fraioli recommends. Try to be consistent in performing it before each speed workout and after longer easy runs. Check out the other drills that Brian Metzler writes about. Perhaps a couple will be more easily introduced initially into your warm-up routine, and the others can be added later.
What’s yet another THRILLING benefit of doing form drills? The body is the form of you the world sees. An improved running form can translate into an improved walking, standing, and sitting form. Add increased functional strength, and you have potentially forged a body that looks, feels, and functions better.
*NOTES: Here's a list for quick reference; read the article for specifics.
Butt Kicks: do 15 kicks with each leg; repeat 2-4 times
High Knees: do 15 kicks with each leg; repeat 2-4 times
Bounding: do 10 bounds on each leg; repeat 3-4 times
Grapevines: 50-meter length (about 50 yards) toward right then left; repeat 2-4 times
Slow Skipping: 50-meter length (about 50 yards); repeat 2-4 times
Lateral Bounding: 50-meter length (about 50 yards) toward right then left; repeat 2-4 times
Hamstring Extensions: do 10 extensions on each leg; repeat 2-4 times
Straight leg Shuffle: 50-meter length (about 50 yards); repeat 2-4 times
Running Backward: 50-100-meter length (about 50-100 yards); repeat 2-4 times
SUMMER THEME MUSIC PLAYLIST
There are quite a few songs with “summer” in the title or lyrics, or have this theme. More than 100 over the decades fit into this category. But not all have a regular beat that make them easy to take on a run.
It’s commonly recommended that the best tunes to help runners pump up the pace possess rhythms with a high number of beats per minute (140-180 BPM range). However I haven’t ever paid attention to that number in the summer and added music that would provide good company on long hours+ runs.
My music playlist building skills are not top notch. But love of summertime running has motivated me over the years to collect summer- themed songs, most of which are oldies because they hold a beat and are energizing and fun. Some of the magic of this season lies in our expectations and fond recall of the best, and sometimes worst, summers of our past (“Cruel Summer” has been my #1 favorite for years…I almost always spent my teen summers working at horrid jobs).
These songs are evocative of my summers.
Please contribute your favorites.
HOT ZONE TRAINING (updated June 7, 2017) Temperatures are rising and, rather than to avoid snow, sleet or cold rain, our excuses for not running will shift, sometimes quickly, to those involving the avoidance of hot and humid weather conditions.
Although it’s tough to run outdoors these times, the increased physical demands on the body represent circumstances in which you are training harder and can come out of the summer “heat” season as a stronger autumn racer. Matt Fitzgerald has some good advice on how to successfully train in hot weather.
To understand the science behind his advice some of you may wish to first read Tawnee Prazak’s article, “ 5 Reasons Heat Affects Performance”. Generally, Fitzgerald’s advice includes how to cool before and stay cool during runs, adjust your running to allow for the physical effects of heat, and above all be alert to danger signs the body sends when heat becomes a problem.
Earned Runs summer strategies complement what Matt Fitzgerald recommends. Just as there are ways to deal with harsh winter weather there are similar tricks to summer running that can keep you safe and allow you to persevere with your training plan.
Map out a running route that 1) incorporates small “loops”, 2) maximizes shade and cool breezes, and 3) minimizes exposure to direct sunlight. However be mindful that if you rise early or wait until late to run to avoid the heat, low-light times of the day require extra attention to safety..
Find a 'loop' on a street of a neighborhood or park where you can readily seek help if needed, the traffic is low, and your line of sight is clear to detect potential danger. A shorter loop, about a half mile distance or so, will be easier to find than a longer loop of a mile or more.
If you cannot run before the sun rises or after it sets (you get a late weekend start or take a weekday lunch break to exercise), especially if it’s a long-distance workout, running multiple short loops in shaded or breezy areas can be a more comfortable option. Or running short out-and-backs on a linear route with the same qualities.
To stay near to a central safe point (car or building), I will start at that point, run “out” in one direction, turn around and run “back” to the start. Then run an “out-and-back” in the opposite direction, again retuning to the central start, repeating this centered linear ’loop’ as many times as needed for the miles I plan to run.
I am also a fan of parking structure loops. These buildings often have open walls and are well ventilated. In a big city, air movements through 'street canyons' can result in gusting winds that whip up breezes, depending on their location and orientation. Possibly the structure you avoided in the winter for this very reason is the one to seek out in summer! Those in which cars remain for the entire day will have the least traffic.
More benefits of loops: you can easily cut short your run should the heat cause more stress than anticipated, and you can stash fluids in one spot and hydrate liberally as needed during each circuit.
Running as uncovered as possible may not be the best strategy. Wearing light-colored, loose-fitting tops with sleeves that at least shield the shoulders can decrease the heat generated from direct sun exposure on the skin, especially in less humid conditions. A light-colored vented hat with a visor will keep direct sun off the head and face, and help lessen vision strain, even if you wear sunglasses; one with a neck flap offers more protection. Light-colored loose–fitting shorts may not always be figure flattering but will be cooler than black spandex.
Tie a white or light colored long-sleeved 100% cotton shirt around your waist. You can use it to wipe sweat from your face during your run. Afterward, in the cool-down walk or jog, you may feel uncomfortably cool when you stop generating heat. If you pass through or stop to get a snack/meal in air-conditioned buildings or drive in an air-conditioned car to get to your loop course, you’ll feel cooler on the return trip. If the sun is too much for you on a run, you can use the shirt in the middle of it as cover.
If you partially fill a bottle/container (about halfway) and put it in the freezer well before your run, at home or at work, you can top off the ice with fluid before you start out, and it will thaw gradually and provide you with a cooling drink for the duration of a mid-day run. The ice in a completely filled container may not thaw fast enough for you to drink while you run; the added fluid hastens the thawing process. Drink cool, iced fluids about 15-20 minutes before you start out; this allows time for a restroom visit, and for gastric emptying and absorption to occur (it’s delayed with cold fluids). If you replace electrolytes or fuel with a gel or gummies during longer runs rather than with a drink, take them with you too.
Liberally apply a barrier sunscreen (zinc oxide/titanium dioxide based, advertised for babies or for sensitive skin) to your entire face and neck at home each morning. You are likely to achieve better coverage if you do it before dressing. Re-apply before you start out on a run. Although this application may leave you with a not-so-attractive facial look, you’ll come back sweaty anyway. Best to protect yourself from harmful rays that speed aging and increase cancer risk. Runners spend so much time outdoors we receive more facial exposure than indoor types.
Make sure you have sufficient cash for unexpected needs and emergencies (to buy a drink or food, or catch a ride if you don’t use on-demand services).
IDENTITY PROOF AND RAIN PHONE PROTECTION
Make sure you have easily accessible identity and emergency contact information with you, even if carrying a phone. Llight summer running clothes won’t shield your phone from water when surprised by heavy rain. If bad weather threatens, have a quart-sized freezer bag handy to protect it; the bag can be used to stash cash and a business card with written ID info. I’ve carried one during downpours in my hand,
There’s nothing wrong with taking regular walk breaks during very hot weather runs. If you mentally make this allowance a rule for summer running, it may result in fewer skipped sessions!
Enjoy the SUMMER weather and….
"7 Hot Weather Training Tips" by Matt Fitzgerald
“5 Reasons Heat Affects Performance” by Tawnee Prazak
Dads; we love them for their weaknesses as much as for their strengths.
theWEEK 4 RUN-WALK ACROSS AMERICA 2017 STARTS MONDAY
(this is an early posting because we will honor Father's Day tomorrow)
Segment 7: Kooskia ID to Lolo MT
Segment 8: Lolo MT to Missoula MT
Segment 9: Missoula MT to Helena MT
SEGMENT 7: Kooskia ID to Lolo MT
Lolo Pass, on the border between the states of Idaho and Montana, elevation 5,233 feet (1,595 meters), is a mountain pass through the Bitterroot Range of the northern Rocky Mountains, approximately 40 miles (64 km) west-southwest of Missoula, Montana.
It’s the highest point of the historic 200 mile long Lolo Trail a national Historical Landmark that is part of the Nez Perce National Historical Park. The Trail was used by the Lewis and Clark Expeditions of 1805 and 1806 and runs, westbound, between Lolo, MT and the beautiful Weippe Prairie in Idaho (a bit north of Kooskia ID). The Across America route is headed eastbound so we will travel from the prairie to Lolo.
This segment route follows historic US Highway 12, which crosses the pass and winds along the Lochsa River (pronounced “lock-saw”). This river is considered to have one of the worlds’ best and most dangerous stretches of continuous whitewater. It runs within the Clearwater National Forest. Lolo Hot Springs is 7 miles (11 km) east of the pass in Montana.
SEGMENT 8: Lolo MT to Missoula MT
This is a short downhill segment from Lolo Pass into the town of Missoula, Montana, home of the state’s first public university, the University of Montana. The city lies near the convergence of two rivers and five mountain ranges; thus, it is sometimes referred to as the “hub of five valleys”. If you’d like to know what life was like there early in the 20th century, you can read the 1976 book authored by Norman Maclean “A River Runs Through It” (see NOTE below for the Earned Runs connection to Maclean) The 1992 movie version was filmed in Bozeman, Livingston, and parts of Yellowstone, although the book's setting is Missoula.
SEGMENT 9: Missoula MT to Helena MT
Interstate-90 will take us from Missoula back to US 12 and then on to the capital city of Montana. Helena was established in 1864 as a gold camp during the Montana gold rush, although the original name given to it by gold miners was “Last Chance.” Today the city and surrounding area draws outdoor sports enthusiasts who enjoy mountain biking, fishing, hunting, and skiing.
Drivers may be interested in knowing that within Montana, according to a Wikipedia item, “in the period between 1995 and 1999, there was no numbered speed limit on I-90 “. Drivers were instructed to drive what was a “reasonable and prudent” speed!
Because I-90 is a transcontinental roadway that connects, from west to east, Seattle WA and Boston MA, farther east it passes through several large cities: Chicago IL, Cleveland OH, and Buffalo NY. Montana boasts the longest stretch of this major highway, about 551 miles (887 km). Next week we will resume travel on I-90 from Bozeman to Columbus MT.
NOTE: ONE OF THE REASONS THIS BICYCLE TOUR ROUTE was chosen to be adapted for a virtual path across the continent for runners and walkers (cyclists too), was that some of the segments passed though the state of Montana.
I love the movie, “A River Runs Through It”, which is based on the story written by author Norman F. Maclean. Panoramic vistas in the movie had been filmed in Montana and, to me, these kinds of sweeping scenes represented what I hoped to encounter on a huge cross-country trip, even if virtual, and would justify the effort expended to complete a summer long challenge. Way back in 1992, I bought the DVD (that’s what we did in the old days) and read the author’s other book “Young Men and Fire”.
A chance encounter about 20 years ago forged another connection between me and this region of the US. I happened to be seated next to a famous researcher at a pediatric pathology conference, who was leader of the team that first identified the existence atherosclerosis in the aortas of young adolescents. Prior to this research, it was felt that the disease had its origins at a much older age. However, autopsies on young people, who had died in tragic accidents with no clinical evidence of cardiovascular disease, revealed its silent origins much earlier in life than was thought possible. The results helped start the discussion about prevention in childhood.
The elegant elderly gentleman pathologist who headed the research was from the University of Chicago. He related details of the study to me at dinner, and from this conversation I was inspired to study the pediatric origins of adult disease in my own little area of research.
We also talked about other famous scholars who came out of U of Chicago, It happened that this researcher’s office mate at one time was NORMAN MACLEAN!!! (the ‘Norman’ character in the movie went off to join the faculty U of C: It was an autobiographical novella). I will always remember that conversation; the famous modest pathologist telling me all about his more famous humble friend, who loved to fly fish.
And that’s the Earned Runs connection to Montana that made this particular tour appealing as a virtual journey for runners and walkers. This week we venture into that state!
Wissler RW. USA multicenter study of the pathobiology of atherosclerosis in youth. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1991; 623:26–39 (PDF download if you are interested)
"BEST BETS FOR A BOSTON QUALIFIER" A RaceRaves.com article written by Mike Sohaskey identifies races most likely to lead to a qualifiying finish time that provides eligibility to run in the Boston Marathon, also known as a Boston Qualifier or “BQ”.
“Luckily for runners”, the item says, “in recent years the call of the unicorn has prompted more and more race directors to tailor their events to BQ hopefuls.” If you are not familiar with the Boston Athletic Association’s logo for the marathon, It’s a yellow profile of a unicorn against a blue background.
“With that in mind,” the RaceRaves writer says the organization has “done its homework/legwork to create a list of recommended BQ races”, that are held from the moment the marathon is run on Marathon Monday in April to the September closing day for registration in next year’s event. Another list for the remainder of the year is promised to be issued soon.
The Race Raves article provides information on race location, month held, course profile as well as insight into what about the race helps runners to earn a BQ and what makes it worth running. For some races, the percent of runners who earn a BQ is quoted. Sohaskey’s article is a wonderful service to those inspired to attempt this challenge in 2018 or beyond.
The list includes races that are part of a series, and those that are stand-alone marathons:
REVEL: Mt. Charleston, Rockies, Big Cottonwood
Sugarloaf Marathon and 15K
Mountains 2 Beach Marathon and Half
Utah Valley Marathon
Tunnel Marathons: Light at the End of the Tunnel, Tunnel Vision, Tunnel Light
Santa Rosa Marathon
Erie Marathon at Presque Isle
Last Chance 26.2 BQ: Grand Rapids, and Chicagoland (Geneva IL)
Even if you’re not in the market for a BQ, the ‘skinny’ on these marathons and accompanying events, makes this piece a valuable tool for destination race planning.
TRAVELING THIS SUMMER? Not sure where to run to get an insider’s feel for the places you are visiting? Whether for pleasure or business, the article “Run the World: The Top 20 Running Routes in America” by MapMyRun** can help you find runner-tested routes to enjoy.
The list supports Earned Runs’ opinion that locations in which runners have a view of water are some of the best places to run. Why? Not sure what experts would say, but a few thoughts come to mind..
The reflection of sky and sun on watery surfaces amplifies colors that can at the same time calm (blue) and brighten (yellow) our mood. And like a mirror in a room, it can give the illusion of an expanded space. Natural light, from the sun in the daytime and moon in the night, and even artificial light from nearby buildings and street lamps after dark, acquires movement on the water’s surface, where it sparkles, twinkles, and grabs attention.
Water features seem to readily draw both runners AND non-runners to their beauty; thus, the best time to avoid crowds and enjoy ponds, fountains, reflecting pools, shorelines, and river paths, is earlier in the day or later at night.
Not all these 20 favorite running routes follow or circumscribe water, but many have at least 50% of the route in view of water*.
This link to the article is now on the OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO page. You may wish to print this article to have the list handy for travel. Keep it in a plastic storage bag in your carry-on suitcase pocket.
The list has significant helpful information in addition to a course map, and each item links to a page with a interactive Google map, and MapMyRun user data.
Identified for each route:
The distances are mostly between 2-4 miles, with the longest being 5.08 miles around Lake Miramar, San Diego, and the shortest a near tie between the 2.17-mile Silver Lake Reservoir and 2.18-mile Central Park routes.
Have you completed any of these routes as either a visitor or a resident? A potential challenge for those who move about the country regularly could be to eventually run all 20 in the course of business and pleasure travels. If MapMyRun publishes a longer or different list in the coming years (top 25 or 50), it could be a really fun long-range running or walking goal that doesn’t require a significant physical effort, like those that involve running multiple marathons.
NOTE: **Data calculated for all MapMyRun users from April 1, 2016, through March 31, 2017. Routes had to be longer than 2 miles in length.
TIPS TO INCREASE WALKING INTENSITY
What can recreational strollers do to intensify the activity of their walks other than simply moving faster at a continuous pace?
1. Change your FORM:
Pump your arms, pulling elbows back rather than moving fists forward. The faster the arm pumps, the faster the walk pace. Keep your shoulders relaxed.
Take more, but smaller steps. Runners aim for 180/mile. Walkers can try his too.
Hold your hands such that the angle of the elbow is about 90-120 degrees, brushing the outside of your hips with each arm swing.
2. Perform HIGH INTENSITY ROUTINES
- High Intensity Intervals. Alternate walking at a level 7 effort (of 1 to 10 levels, with 10 being the highest effort) for 3 minutes with walking at a level 4 effort, for at least 5 repetitions. Warm-up and Cool down 5 minutes each time, at level 3 effort
- Hill Walks: Repeat walking up and down the same hill, or walk on hilly terrain. If the same hill/incline, find one with a gentle to moderate slope that you can climb in about 30-60 seconds. Repeat the uphill/downhill walk 5 times. Then walk on a level surface for 2 minutes. Repeat 2-3 times, such that the duration is about 30 minutes. Warm-up and cool-down 5 minutes each time, at easy effort.
- Skipping sequences: Insert skipping into your walks; low skips initially, progressing to slow high knee skips if you have the aerobic capacity and strength and balance to do so. Start with 2 minutes brisk walking, then skip 15-30 seconds, Repeat this walk-skip sequence 5 times. Then walk at a lower easy effort for 2 minutes. Repeat this set 2-3 times if able, such that the total duration is about 30 minutes. Warm-up and cool-down 5 minutes each time, at easy effort.
3. Incorporate BODYWEIGHT STRENGTH EXERCISES at set intervals.
- Walk loops in a park or area where there are benches or low walls on which you can perform the exercises each time you reach one.
- Triceps dips, and modified push-ups can be done on the benches. Sturdy low walls work well for step-ups/downs. Try doing them first in a forward direction, 5-10 times each leg stepping up, then from the side, each leg 5-10 times. Repeat this forward/side set 2-3 times, resting 1-2 minutes between each set. Planks can be done anywhere on the ground but may be most comfortable on a nice patch of grass or track surface.
-Be alert to your surroundings for personal safety at all times, especially if you are walking predictable loops.
- Pay attention to your body’s hydration needs, as always in the warmed months.
You should be able to detect a PATTERN in the high-intensity routines: interval walks, hill repeats, and skipping intervals. Aim to be performing the main exercise effort for about 30 minutes, with 5 minutes of easier effort before and after.
Make it a GOAL to complete one of these workouts on each of 4 days of a 7-day week. Accomplishing this weekly level of exercise for your health is like sweeping a major sports championship, winning 4 of 7 ‘games’ …every week!
THESE TACTICS WORK FOR RUNNING ALSO! An earlier post has a similar message for runners.
RUN AND WALK HAPPY!
NOTE:There will be a related upcoming post:
“Summer Challenge IV: Walkers ‘Championship Series Sweep’ “
WALKER RESOURCES, CLINICS, INTENSITY BUILDING
The WALKER RESOURCES page has been updated. There are 2017 dates for last year’s listed races as well as some new additions. These events seem to be more than just walker friendly, by the information provided on their websites. What does that mean?
Most of us have seen announcements which indicate that an event welcomes walkers. Registrants aren’t asked to declare intentions to walk the race, and all persons pay the same fee and receive the same race-related materials. Walkers start at the same line and time as runners, but are asked to move to the back of the pack at the start with slowest runners. There might be a time posted after which the course is considered closed, notifying would-be walkers that to receive an official finish time and to be protected from traffic they must achieve a minimum average pace (most times about 15-16 minutes/mile).
In races that welcome walkers there usually aren’t officials or judges along the course to monitor walking form (insure that there is no running of part of the race to illegally obtain a better finish time). The post-race celebration fun is available to walkers too.
This is a wonderful way for walkers to join friends of all abilities in a race event. It can be personally competitive (walkers seek to better their own time) but usually there are no places or medals officially awarded to walkers.
However, some WISH TO HAVE COMPETITIVE ELEMENTS incorporated officially into the walker division of an event. Races that separately register walkers, provide specific race materials, or award places and medals for these participants are not common. Earned Runs periodically checks out the races listed on the USATF website to identify races of this type, and lists them by month on the Walker Resources page. Check it out if you’re interested!
ALSO, note that race walking clinics offered by Dave McGovern are now listed on this page, scheduled for August through November.
If you want to ‘up your game’ for personal growth, improve your time in organized competitive events, or avoid injury while enjoying your sport, attending one of these clinics may be attractive. Receiving advice from experts is one of the surest mays to get fired up and become a better athlete!
All levels of racewalkers are welcome and can expect to gain expertise. Guest celebrity racewalkers sometimes assist with clinics, the website says, another reason to consider attending one. There’s more information on the website:
July 28-30: Redmond WA
August 12-13: Long Island NY
September 15-17: Oklahoma City, OK
October 6-8: Louisville KY
November: (Tentative, 3-5, Myrtle Beach SC), 10-12, Galveston TX
January 21-23 Claremont CA
A link to the site has been added so you can monitor information that is promised on upcoming events like the New England event September 10-16, 2017, and 2018 walks.
What can recreational strollers do to intensify the activity of their walks other than simply moving faster at a continuous pace? There will be a post tomorrow on this topic.
RUN AND WALK HAPPY!
THE DEBATE: “QUARTER MARATHON" v 10K Race notices advertising a “quarter marathon” are starting to pop-up on the internet. What’s the deal? In distance, one-fourth of a marathon is 6.55 miles; a 10K is 6.2 miles. The question is, would you rather see one or the other on a medal or a t-shirt?
In distance, one-fourth of a marathon is 6.55 miles; a 10K is 6.2 miles. The question is, would you rather see one or the other on a medal or a t-shirt?
Race blogs have asked their followers to weigh in on this topic. Generally, there are one or two opinions registered on these sites. Not too many runners seem to be paying attention right now.
The few comments suggest some runners feel that, if running a half marathon means you cannot handle the full 26.2 miles, running a quarter race implies you are just that much more of a wimp.
“The 10km distance is a recognized distance in the road race fixtures but a quarter marathon is something different” says Richard84 on a 2010 Runner’s World UK forum.
Others see the designation as:
- a brilliant marketing scheme
- representing a ‘stupid’ extra 0.3 miles or so
- the beginning of further fractional divisions ( 1/5th, etc.)
- something to impress non-runners but not runners
I predict more and more races will adopt this distance metric. We may start seeing fireworks on discussion boards if the change makes its way into events with long standing traditions.
What do you say?
WEEK 3 RUN-WALK ACROSS AMERICA 2017 STARTS tomorrow
Segment 5: From Walla Walla WA to Lewiston ID
Segment 6: to Kooskia ID
This week you will be making your way through the easternmost part of Washington State, with its vast wheat fields (an area encompassing parts of Washington Idaho and Oregon called the Palouse; see Seven Wonder link), into Lewiston ID then across north central Idaho to Kooskia ID.
I learned that Lewiston is the ”farthest inland port on the WEST COAST and is Idaho's only seaport, ”being 465 river miles away from the Pacific Ocean, on the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers.” It’s the last port on the “nation's second-largest water transportation highway.” Forty percent of the “nation's white wheat travels through the Port of Portland on the Oregon coast of the Pacific Ocean, and “much of it passes through the Port of Lewiston”.
On the opposite bank of the Snake River to the east of Lewiston (named in honor of Meriwether Lewis), is the city of Clarkston (after William Clark) in Washington State. Place names in the region are a reminder of its historical exploration by the famed 1803-1805 Lewis and Clark expeditions.
In Idaho, the route follows Route 12 across the state. Once known as the Lewis and Clark Highway, it’s now the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway. This is the land of the Nez Perce Tribe of Native Americans. In the process of being named by French Canadian fur traders (the name nez perce means “pierced nose), tribe members, who do not have nose piercings, were mistaken for the nearby Chinook people.
The small city of Kooskia, lies at the confluence of two river forks which converge to form the larger Clearwater River and is within the Nez Perce Reservation. In 1943, a work camp of the Civilian Conservation Corps, located about 30miles from the city, was converted to an internment camp for Japanese men who had been residents but not citizens of the US. It’s remote location in the western Bitterroot Mountains made fences and guard towers unnecessary!
It’s amazing what can be learned by researching, only very briefly, the land through which the route is mapped. The history of the area sometimes seems simple and inspiring but at other times complicated and disturbing. More than ever I would like to actually travel through and see it in person.
NationalGeographic.com offers an online interactive Lewis and Clark Journey Log with maps and journal entries, as well as a summarizing Timeline, and images of plant and animal species discovered, native peoples encountered, and physical land features seen along the way.
ANOTHER WORKOUT FOR STRENGTH TRAINING DAYS, EVEN OUTDOORS OR AT WORK “5-Move Core Workout for Runners” by Molly Hurford for Under Armor’s MapMyRun.com instructs how to perform 5 exercises that are some of the most commonly prescribed for runners.
This core workout routine contains 3 of the exercise progression moves featured in a blog post article last week. However, it also includes "bridge" and "step-down/up" exercises that target the glutes and hamstring muscles of the "posterior chain" as well as the core. The bridge is also known as a HIP RAISE. There are many variations to make this exercise more difficult, including a single leg version, using a stability ball or Bosu equipment.
The lunge and dead lift strengthen the core and lower body too.
The exercises in which you are standing on, using, or or stepping onto one leg/foot at a time, will test and work on BALANCE. They can be frustrating to perform initially, as it may be difficult to keep from tipping to one side, which prevents smooth execution of the full movement. It's that "dirty little secret' of exercise discussed on June 2. To make them easier, stand next to a wall or sturdy piece of furniture until your balance improves.
The convenient aspect of this set is that it can be committed to memory quite easily, and performed alone or at the end of a short run, at home or outdoors, with or without weights. Notice that the person demonstrating the step downs is using a plastic cooler with rounded indentations for cups! Be creative.
Position the one piece of equipment (bench, box, or cooler) you need for this set, to perform step downs, near your garage or hallway door to be ready to use, no excuses. If you drive to a running path or park, store this item and optional free weights in the trunk of a car.
If you don’t drive to run, a park can be located with benches. Free weights are not likely to be available and if you and to use them you'll need to bring equipment with you, perhaps in a back-pack. However, a bench can be used to add upper body exercises like easier push-ups or triceps dips.
At work. During the lunch hour, if the office is emptying out as everyone rushes to eat, search for a place to work-out for 10-15 minutes. In my department, a conference room was not in use most days at noon in the summer, and the carpeted floor was perfect for floor exercises. The long axis of the room allowed walking lunges.
The office/work atmosphere in summertime may be more relaxed at your place of employment. Use this to your advantage and squeeze in some extra strength training so you can spend your off-work free time enjoying other activities.
Break down this workout into segments and do one at a time at different times in the day, without working up a sweat as you would in one complete session. Dress casually if possible to accomplish this discreetly. All but the floor-based moves (plank and bridge) can be subtle activities in an out-of- the-way corner or room.
FLOOR GLUTE BRIDGE
Write this list and brief instruction on a card or phone note and keep handy to remind yourself of the workout the first few times you try it.
It’s amazing how much exercise can be worked into a daily schedule without going formally to a gym or into a workout session. I know, because I have done it for years. Yes, other people will give you ‘looks’, but they’ll stop when you start achieving the fit appearance of an athlete. Then, the looks will turn into polite excuses as to why they don’t do what you ‘do’, but should. They’ll comment that it’s easier for you, of course.
Start this workout, or a part of it, today! Make it a priority.
2017 “HEALTHIEST” US CITIES, OR “WEALTHIEST”? A slideshow article appeared in a newsletter of ACTIVE.com, a fitness-centered business, highlighting the top 10 overall healthiest American cities identified by a WalletHub ranking of “150 of the most populated” US cities from most to least healthy.
Many of these ‘listicles’ are somewhat addicting, in that it’s very difficult to resist peeking inside to find who rates being named the very best (or sometimes worst) among us. So this list is like People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful“ or “25 Most Intriguing” People” issues, but backed up by analysis of data from very impressive sources like the US Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), Trust for Public Lands, and other agencies. And Yelp, Numbeo, IMLeagues, MapMyFitness, Walk Score, and WalletHub’s own research.
The study, conducted by WalletHub’s analysts, identified the “healthiest places to live “across four key dimensions: 1) Health Care, 2) Food, 3) Fitness, and 4) Green Space.” Importantly, but in lost in the less exciting explanation of methods, WalletHub indicates that the “sample considers only the city proper in each case and excludes cities in the surrounding metro area.”
Congratulations are in order for the lovely cities of 1) San Francisco CA, 2) Salt Lake City UT, 3) Scottsdale AZ, 4) Seattle WA, 5) Portland OR, 6) Irvine CA, 7) Huntington Beach CA, 7) Honolulu HI, 9) Washington DC, and 10) Santa Clarita CA!
Most of us would recognize these cities as travel destinations for holiday and vacation fun. Popular places to visit and work because of temperate climate or the presence of spectacular nearby geographic features, such as mountains, oceans/lakes/bays/rivers, beaches, and forests. Outdoor enthusiasts who run, ski, hike, cycle, and surf are attracted to these places. In the case of Washington DC, the power and majesty of the federal government is a draw.
Some may not know that Irvine CA, in beautiful Orange County (the “OC”) is near Huntington Beach (“Surf City USA”), and both are south of Los Angeles near the Pacific Ocean coast. Santa Clarita is a bit north of the San Fernando Valley area of LA. It’s a huge plus that when you travel or re-locate to these cities you are assured of finding green spaces and opportunities for recreational fun, as well as affordable health care and nutritious food, by such rankings.
Central cities like these attract successful corporations, who provide health insurance benefits to employees, and health care professionals, like family doctors, mental health counselors, and dietitians/nutritionists. Revenue from tourism and corporate taxes helps fund initiatives that promise to improve the healthy living prospects for residents.
What this discussion is leading up to is a question about ‘wealth’. These 10 healthiest cities are “wealthy” in terms of the physical beauty of their locations and residents’ appreciation of fitness. However, did they score well in this ranking due to dollar wealth too?
I Googled–around and found that except for Salt Lake City UT and the Northwest cities of Seattle WA and Portland OR, the remaining healthiest cities have 2-4 of the nation’s most expensive department stores (Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom) within their city borders or in nearby suburbs. The western cities have Nordstrom. For residents of Santa Clarita there would be a long-ish freeway drive into the San Fernando valley or LA to find such retailers.
However, having big expensive stores is not a proxy for civic health (other large cities have these stores nearby and received low scores). I would like to see this data analyzed taking median household income into consideration. Maybe there are cities who could be identified as winning the “healthiest” designation within categories determined by resident wealth.
Cities with similar budget constraints might more easily learn from role model ‘healthiest” in their category/division how to make the most of scarce resources and motivate their citizens to invest in long term health.
WalletHub convened a panel of experts who were asked to provide advice on building good personal health. Each person’s recommendations are made available to readers. The few I reviewed were thoughtful and discussed budget.
INDIVIDUAL EFFORT COUNTS
Before signing off there is one more ‘point’ to be made. The cities with the highest scores were healthiest. The highest possible score was 100 points, 25 for each of the 4 dimensions (health -12 scored metrics, food - 7 scored metrics, fitness - 5 scored metrics, and green space- 10 scored metrics).
The ONE item of all 34 metrics (or measurable items) for which the MOST possible points (~8.33, double points) could be awarded was “share of residents who engage in ANY physical activity. The SECOND highest possible awarded point item (~6.23, double points) was based on “percent adults consuming fewer than 1 serving of fruits OR vegetables per day. The remaining 32 items were awarded 1.79 to 5.36 points
As INDIVIDUALS, we can strive to meet these 2 minimum measures of health to make our cities healthier places to live! Everything is not out of our control. We have some PERSONAL POWER. Even on a budget. There may be a way to become MORE physically active, and to eat just ONE nutritious plant food each day. It’s worth the effort to try.
EVERWALK’S 2nd EPIC EXPERIENCE: NEW ENGLAND, SEPTEMBER 2017; TRAINING STARTS SOON. Walkers and runners who are interested in switching things up and taking on an epic adventure should check out this organized, supported activity. It will start on September 10 in Boston MA and end September 16, at Cape Elizabeth ME. The total distance to be covered is reported as 150 miles.
There are several plan options for walker participation:
- Virtual (can walk any of the following plans)
- 5 Mile First-Leg
- 10 Mile Half-Trip
- Full 20 Mile Day Trip
- EPIC and Multi-Day Back-to-Back 20 Mile Trip
The training appears to range from 11-12 weeks in duration prior to the start day. Counting back from September 10 indicates the Monday to begin training will be June 19 or June 26, depending on the plan.
The cost of the EPIC plan, that provides meals and lodging, appears to be $395. Travel expenses to and from the start- and end-points are likely the responsibility of individual participants. Water (bring your own container) and snacks are provided on each day. These and many, many other details are covered on the “Participant Training Guide”.
EVEN IF YOU DON-T PLAN TO PARTICIPATE, READ ON!
There are 4 training plans to help walkers prepare for each type of participation. SAVE this information for later use, or for other events. It is not easy to find such training plans.
The guide recommends stretching exercises. Those of you familiar with Earned Runs will know that working on increasing mobility, improving balance, and building strength will help you make it through training and the event without injury. As usual, go to the RESOURCES page for links to routines.
Runners might consider EW: New England a chance to challenge themselves in an out-of-the–ordinary activity which is not easily arranged by individuals, and an experience more adventurous than the usual kilometer-measured single day event.
The inaugural EverWalk was in 2016 Los Angeles to San Diego. There are multiple future events in other locations planned for 2018-2022.
RUN AND WALK HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running enables us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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