IT'S EARNED RUNS' 2020 SUMMER CHALLENGE PLANNING TIME
NOTE: FOR ALL SUMMER CHALLENGES, INCLUDING THE “RUN-WALK-BIKE ACROSS AMERICA 2020”, EARNED RUNS will be using blog posts from Summer 2019 for Summer 2020.
Rather than modify language to reflect changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, which will be different from place-to-place and time-to time across the globe, we chose to go with links to the optimistic and enthusiastic posts of the preceding year.
The dates in the posts will be inaccurate, but that shouldn’t affect your ability to to get going and enjoy the outdoors in the coming months.
Have fun and take care to follow precautions issued by the health organizations and local /state/national officials.
Check the RESOURCES page for information and materials on each challenge under the heading of SUMMER CHALLENGES 2020!
RUN AND MOVE HAPPY!
THE LAST MONDAY OF MAY is the Memorial Day Holiday in the USA, which marks the unofficial start of summer vacation season here. The Northern Hemisphere is beginning a wonderful period of long and bright daylight hours and warm weather. A shift of one to several weeks to frame an earlier or later time period would work just as well for those not inclined by nationality in otherparts of the world to recognize these specific celebrations.
Regardless of the day used to mark the beginning of the season, now is the time to plan a summer physical activity schedule.
School may have or soon will be dismissed for students for the entire summer or an inter-session break. Workplaces may be putting off regular meetings that interfere with the enjoyment of long weekends or extended noon lunch hours until after Labor Day. It’s a ideal opportunity for some to adopt a more relaxed and fun approach to exercise.
Why stick with a the same old, year-round workout/running/walking/bicycling, or swimming routines? Consider challenging yourself to try something new. It needn’t be the most physically demanding feat. Just different and a bit adventurous FOR YOU.
Ideally your challenges should take advantage of the great outdoors and the 'socialize-ability' (made-up word) of a season which entices many more of us to be out and about at all times of the day and evening. Think about trying hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, fat-tire or gravel biking, golfing, and open water swimming instead of grinding out 20-50 weekly miles of continuous running, walking, or cycling. Re-format indoor workouts and take them outside when possible.
Throughout the month of May, Earned Runs will highlight some activities in which you may be interested in participating. The Unites States' Memorial Day, falling on May 27 this year, will be identified in most cases as the ‘kick-off‘ date, but an alternate start will work just as well if scheduling is an issue or cultural differences make another date more appropriate.
The goal is to PLAN now, so the precious early days of summer aren’t squandered because of inattention and procrastination. Commit now to developing a solid program for yourself.
Like a summer camp or a playground/pool might do for children and adolescents on vacation from school, populate the calendar with specific adventures and workouts on specific days that might be paired with socially fun gatherings like beer runs, urban art tours, or even outdoor movie nights (plan to walk to the venue).
Below is a simple list, a draft preview, of potential Earned Runs 2019 Summer Challenges. The first 3 activities on the list were introduced in 2016 but confined to running. The 4TH challenge was added in 2017 for walkers. Two other challenges were added in 2018 and where possible challenges were adapted to include running/walking/cycling/fitness activities. Changes may be made this year as well as the final 2019 Summer Challenge line-up is still in development.
- Run/Walk/Cycle Across America
- Fastest 5K (or a string of FUN 5Ks)
- Summer Series Sweep
- Buddy Up
- Obstacle Course
If you have not yet printed or requested FREE Earned Runs Bibs (you’ll receive 4), do so soon. Bibs can be used to run/walk/cycle personally designed races, for training purposes, and for charting progress toward a challenge fitness goal. They can be used to motivate and inspire too.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
SUMMER PLANNING: SHOW-HOLES, SCHOOL-HOLES, TRAINING-HOLES
WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON YOUR 2020 SUMMER OF COVID-19 VACATION?
The 18th and last week of the Half Marathon + ‘SAINTS DAYS’ Training Plan, which spanned January to mid-May, has been completed. Participant runners and walkers will have accomplished their long-distance goal race and should be in recovery mode for 2-3 weeks.
After finishing a long training plan, initially I tend to be elated and relieved, only to experience a subsequent let-down. This feeling is comparable to the sadness of a “show-hole”, the slang term said to have been invented by Amazon Fire to describe the sense of emptiness that follows the ending of a favorite TV series.
‘Training holes’ can occur upon the completion of multi-month programs designed to prepare for big competitions like ultras, triathlons, marathons, half marathons and obstacle course events. Both show-holes and training-holes and are nothing to laugh about (well, maybe just a little). They are periods of time in which our schedules are in some ways uncomfortably uncluttered and there no longer is a programming slot or a daily workout to which other weekly activities are anchored. As much as there was to complain about, the absence of such commitments creates a void.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE SUMMER OF COVID-19?
Many elementary school children and their parents must annually deal with a ‘school-hole’ at the end of the academic year, and faced with a wide-open summer. Some break up the long stretch between June and the end of August with a variety of music, sport, or theater camps. Or schedule stays with distant relatives. High school and college students take summer classes, enroll in travel-abroad study programs, or secure jobs to earn needed funds. Friends and families break up the roughly 15-week period with weekend trips and vacations, both spontaneous and advance-planned.
Not his summer. Training holes are the least of our problems.
Daily test-positive infection case and death counts remind us that straying from quarantine recommendations may jeopardize health. The layering on of global health emergency-generated stay-at-home orders with government mandated restrictions on schools, businesses, restaurants, organized sports, and entertainment has compounded feelings that attempting to enjoy the summer of 2020 might be a lost cause.
We’re not sure what activities, other than virtual, will be allowed or safe. There is cautious hope that scattered attempts to re-open the world are successful and further easing might be possible. However, we are warned the situation potentially can worsen as fall approaches! Uncertainty about the immediate, near, and distant future saps strength, enthusiasm, and motivation.
In normal times, adults without children at home might not feel the need to construct a summer fitness activity schedule for themselves.
However, at any age lack of planned fitness activities can lead some to experience anxiety about exactly how to enjoy these “carefree” days and how not to miss out (FOMO); even mental health can be affected. Spontaneity isn’t easy; it can be stressful to come up with novel recreational opportunities on the fly.
At a normal summer’s end there’s potential for even more disappointment to set in when, retrospectively, nothing fun, exciting, or even mildly awesome took place that would help write that classic elementary school report, “What did you do on your summer vacation
In this abnormal “2020 Summer of COVID-19”, it may be critical to physical and mental health to establish a season long plan and follow a routine for exercise.
In previous non-COVID years Earned Runs has suggested that to fill an ordinary ‘training-hole’, activities that ‘challenge’ old routines should receive top consideration,
In the “2020 Summer of Covid-19” Earned Runs believes it is especially important to motivation and morale to change exercise activities that were used to fill fitness needs in the first months of the pandemic shutdown.
For example, if you walked or ran without a goal achievement or training plan in the first months of March-April-May you might:
Rather than expecting to test yourself over months with a grueling challenge, take it easy this summer. Expend enough effort to feel you are routinely physically active and not losing fitness ground, but frequently enough that you are able to tally multiple regular sessions in a log (or on a free Earned Runs Competition Bib). In September you’ll enjoy looking back at a season’s accomplishments, and write that report (“What I did on my summer vacation”)
Follow a relaxed but firm, no-cheating schedule that allows you to enjoy the time you are active. Consider injecting a bit of learning into virtual event efforts by ‘exploring’ the special locales in which they ordinarily would be held. Search for virtual events in small scenic towns as well as big famous cities around the world.
Another way to shake-up the summer might be to simply change the time of day in which you work-out, if possible, given that work schedules have been disrupted by the pandemic.
Attempt to become a morning exerciser if previously hitting the gym or road after work in the late day or evening. Take strength workouts outside to the beach or park in the early hours of the day before the crowds arrive. Bring a few different resistance bands or dumbbell weights, and use benches and picnic tables to perform various exercises.
Earned Runs will highlight several 2020 SUMMER CHALLENGES that might appeal to the kid in you that still wants this stressful summer to be special and magical. There will be a follow-up post to help planning. Check the RESOURCES page for materials.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
THE ABSTRACT OF THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE, “Nutritional strategies for maintaining muscle mass and strength from middle-age to later life: a narrative review” in the February 2020 issue of the journal Maturitassummarizes the results of a review by scientists looking for evidence that early nutritional interventions might improve later life circumstances when it comes to preserving muscle. Athletes looking to enjoy their sport as masters might wish to take note.
The findings of a number of scientific studies were examined in this study and discussed to help guide future dietary prescriptions aimed at maintaining muscle tissue and strength in individuals as they age, or perhaps, even reversing losses.
Nutrients discussed include:
Diet will help this process by supplying adequate amounts and types of building materials, as well as substances that allow effective synthesis of muscle tissue and which prevent excessive breakdown. The details of such research studies are what fuel some to follow certain whole food diets or shop for expensive concentrated supplements.
The bottom line appears to be that a magic dietary formulation for saving the muscle we have in middle age as we grow older has yet to be identified. Building and maintaining a healthy amount of muscle is likely always to involve persistent strength training. We will need to work at it over the decades, not just for a season or a specific competition.
Initially I was a bit disappointed by the conclusion; it wasn’t unexpected. Truly amazing findings would have made the headlines last year when the paper was e-published ahead of print. Many of us would have responded and cleared the pharmacy or grocery store shelves of items that promised to deliver easy results.
The hopeful news is that scientists are looking for shortcuts to healthy body function in old age now. They admit that the only proven remedy for too little muscle, up to this point anyway, is exercise. We have a chance to keep what muscle we’ve got if we pay attention to this fact and persevere with resistance training over time. This way we’re covered regardless of the results science delivers.
The thought of needing to strength train FOREVER in order be strong into one’s 80’s and nineties may be discouraging. However, the Earned Runs philosophy of physical activity to achieve significant and meaningful health benefits fits perfectly with this prescription. By committing regularly to consecutive challenges, sometimes planned a year or more in advance, hitting each mark, building on each success, the path to reaching that long-term goal is smoothed and made accessible.
Getting on this path is as easy as requesting a bib set and using to to record a year’s worth of progress and victories.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
Alfonso J. Cruz-Jentoft, Bess Dawson Hughes, David Scott, Carrie M. Sanders, Rene Rizzoli. Mauritas 132 (2020) 57-64.
TRAINING PLAN STARTS This is the very last week of the full plan for runners and walkers who decided to train longer. Congratulations to everyone who made it to this point or who ran or walked their race yesterday, today, or on a previous weekend. You committed and persevered.
YAY FOR YOU; WAY TO GO!
Remember to take time to recover from this long-distance endurance race (one day per mile); take a couple of weeks off from hard training runs/walks. Consider mixing up the summer with exercise that doesn’t focus on another endurance race. Earned Runs will be taking the summer “off” from blog posting, so the last few posts in May will offer suggestions.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!
THIS PIECE OF RUNNING/WALKING APPAREL was tested on a half marathon run on a warm-for-Michigan sunny spring day. Not the usual environmental conditions in which I would don a neck gaiter. At first, I pulled it up when I met people on the path coming from the opposite direction and down after they passed. This tactic proved to be too distracting when the path became busy, so I left it up for remainder of the full session.
Clearly, moving continuously and breathing hard for several hours with the Coolnet+ UV protection Buff™ covering my face wasn’t as easy as going without. But I was surprised at how little it bothered me after a while.
I stuck with a familiar brand that hasn't caused irritation after hours of wear in the past. My thought was that the skin of my lower face would ultimately thank me for saving it from the sun exposure of a summer of COVID-19 social distancing.
Various opinions have been put forth regarding the necessity of wearing masks during exercise. My policy is to be prepared to put myself and others at ease during a time when emotions can run high about the dangers of spreading disease.
Compared to efforts made by others dealing with issues related to coronavirus it's not a big deal to put on a summer weight neck gaiter.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
NOTE: The stretch of the knit material relaxed the fit too much for my size neck/face. Pinching the back of the upper neck opening and wrapping it with a covered elastic band, like a ponytail, narrowed the opening and allowed it to stay put and up for the run's duration. See the smaller image with the pink hair band.
TRAINING STARTS Some of you may be running/walking your virtual or personal half marathon race at the end of this week on Saturday or Sunday. Good luck if you are putting toes to the start line. If not, and you are racing the next weekend May 16 or 17 it’s important to carry on with the taper.
Take time to go review your nutrition plan for the week and night before, and for the day of the race.
In addition to determining pre-race and race-day nutrition, outline a course, and check transportation and parking in advance if you need to travel a short distance. Plan to take water or fluids with you or find safe places to stash containers along the course it in advance. I regularly run/walk personal custom races as an individual, and for the longer distances find that looping past my home allows emergency potty-breaks if needed. My stashes have been ‘removed’ by others on several occasions; best not to leave bottles or food in plain sight.
If you’re running/walking a ‘neighborhood’ race, be prepared to wear a mask or Buff/neckwear that will adequately cover your face when near others. Be aware that you may need to move to the opposite side of the street to respect social distancing recommendations.
Race day is almost here! Let the taper allow you to be fresh for the big effort and get all details settled so your mental focus can be on performance and you can visualize success.
Even if not joining a crowd in a large organized event, I still have experienced nervous anticipation and doubts leading up to the start and in the initial stages of the race. For some reason, mile 3 seems to mark my worst uncertainty, representing the point at which I was sure I would quit. Once passed, my mental focus was regained, and confidence returned; I finished every race.
Stick with your plan, stay the course, and resolve to run/walk each single mile at a time.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
AFTER A SPRING SEMESTER-AT-HOME REQUIRED FINDING FITNESS ACTIVITIES TO FILL SCHOOL DAY SCHEDULES, EARNED RUNS HAS YOU COVERED ALL SUMMER 'SEMESTER' LONG. Our original “Across America” Summer Challenge takes walkers, runners, and bicyclists over more than 3,700 virtual miles of a cross country course, starting in Portland, Oregon and ending in Portland, Maine. Each week’s 2-3 mileage segments can be scaled to fit younger to older children’s physical capabilities as well as those of supervising adults.
Over several years of presenting this annual summertime challenge, weekly blog posts have expanded to form a virtual road map guide of the sights along the course. This year the format may change, with the entire collection of 15 posts from 2019 season provided at the start of the challenge, rather than week by week.
Parents are able to build upon the weekly Earned Runs posted narratives or ask their stay-at-home students to explore further, as they make their virtual way across the continent. Or, the activity can solely be used as a means to encourage kid exercise with a purpose.
The activity inherently teaches youngsters how to commit to a fitness goal, adhere to a training schedule, meet defined daily/weekly mileage marks, and experience achievement. Kids can train with family and invite friends.
Since the challenge is virtual, a short loop course can be set in the neighborhood (around the block for example), on a nearby track, or in a park to allow adherence to local coronavirus inspired restrictions. Setting a regular time for this activity, like just before a noon lunch break, will help introduce regimen to what otherwise might be disorganized weekdays.
Check out the introduction post from 2019 while the 2020 version is being updated.
NEW THIS YEAR is another TRAVEL TREK™-ADAPTED, CROSS COUNTRY BIKE TRIP-INSPIRED schedule. This virtual journey is a bit shorter; it courses along the southern portion of the USA from Santa Barbara CA to Myrtle Beach SC, following historic segments of the famed Route 66.
Stay tuned for more information and check out the RESOURCESRequest Bibs/Contact page for last year’s SUMMER CHALLENGE 2019 materials to get a peek at what might be offered for SUMMER 2020.
Request a set of 4 EARNED RUNS Competition Bibs to help you plan and execute a summer exercise program for children stressed by a spring semester confined to home.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
TRAINING PLAN STARTS There’s not too much to do this week, as you are on the glide path to your half marathon race, except to continue the taper. Don’t overdo the long run at the end of the week. You want to be prepared and fresh for the race.
An extra foam rolling session is scheduled for runners this week. Use it to roll out sore and stiff spots on Wednesday or any other day of the week. It can be a full session or an abbreviated one. Walkers will officially have one added on Thursdays in 2 weeks but may wish to start the extra session this week (It was an oversight that again occurred during updating; sorry!).
If you are tempted to introduce new nutrition, shoes, gear, or apparel into your race preparations, be careful. Most experts would advise against making changes. There isn’t much time to truly test a new fuel strategy. Also, the runs are not as demanding as earlier in the plan and can’t serve as trials for new items. Foods taken and gear worn on the upcoming shorter runs may not be adequately assessed as to whether or not they will work on race day.
New spring fashion upgrades can serve as rewards for following through on your commitment to train and finish a goal race!
If you have not yet found an organized virtual race to run on May 16 or 17, or plans have collapsed for one, consider pinning on an Earned Runs bib to be sure you meet the challenge of running or walking the half marathon for which you trained. Don’t let circumstances deter you from reaching your goal race! Request a set today to keep one in reserve, “just in case”.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
IF THIS FALL IS EXPECTED TO USHER IN THE 3RD WORLD RUNNING BOOM, and you would like to be a part of it, consider combining walking with running. American Olympic runner Jeff Galloway is known for popularizing this type of training, which is individualized according to the trainee’s time completing what he has termed a “Magic Mile.”
Galloway has posted about how he developed his system in the 1970’s and offers plans with support for purchase on his website. A timer device, the size of a pedometer he indicates, is sold that sounds alerts when it’s time to switch between running and walking modes during training sessions.
With the free information provided by Galloway on his website, including the Magic Mile pace calculator which helps an individual to determine the ‘right run walk run ratios and race pace by distance, and in an ACTIVE.com post, runners can create personal plans at no cost. The benefits of purchased plans likely come from being part of a community of followers, and the support and expertise bestowed by the Olympian’s years of experience coaching, advising and writing about the sport.
Amanda Brooks website RunToTheFinish.com, aimed at helping ‘middle of the pack’ runners, reviews the method for marathon training and summarizes it’s major principles.
Jenny Hadfield offers two Run/Walk plans not connected to Galloway that were originally posted by WomensRunning.com.
Since I started combines running and walking, albeit without a formal plan like Galloway’s, I have noted many of the benefits that his disciples profess. As a senior runner I have avoided injuries. My long runs do not leave me fatigued and unable to enjoy the remainder of the day. After almost 2 years of recovering from an injury I have gained confidence that I will not repeat mistakes that probably contributed to the problem.
I have not purchased a Galloway product thus cannot comment on the full training regimen. Hopefully for injury avoidance the method also emphasizes the importance of incorporating strength, balance, mobility, and cross training in addition to lifelong walk breaks on runs.
Consider combining walking with running as a way to break into running or resume running if you’ve been away from the sport for a long period of time. At least read about it; maybe you’ll be motivated to join the surging number of runners predicted to make up the 3rd running boom in the fall of this year.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!get-ready-to-power-the-expected-post-covid19-running-surge.html
TRAINING PLAN STARTS The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2020 falls on Wednesday this week. The first celebration of our ‘Mother’ occurred back in 1970.
We can take care of the Earth any day of the year, or many days of the year, we tell ourselves. But sometimes the fact that a special day has been specifically reserved for an event increases the likelihood it will be honored.
For many this weekend, rather than April 22 itself, may offer the best chance for observance, especially if work or home duties will potentially make doing so on the official date difficult. Are you planning anything this week that shows appreciation for our planetary home or provides a little extra TLC for the environment?
In our daily non-running, non-fitness lives occasionally we don’t accomplish what was in our hearts and minds to do on a certain day. It’s convenient to give a shrug of the shoulders and then neglect the necessary task or responsibility. We just don’t do it, forget about it, cross it off the ‘to-do’ list.
However, critical long run/walk sessions for specific upcoming endurance races cannot be performed any random day of the year. To save the situation, in the case of training for this 2020 half marathon, Earned Runs has you covered to accommodate a miss. There’s enough wiggle room in the schedule.
Walkers have their longest distance session of the plan this weekend and can make up a in week 16, omitting a taper week to get it in if missed*. Runners have already begun their taper, and it is sufficiently long that shortening it won’t be a problem.
Let yourself begin to mentally relax, knowing that 4 months of hard work is behind you, and that in general both runners and walkers are prepared for the challenge ahead. If possible, pick up trash along the way on your cool down session today or any day this week. It’s a chance to love our Earth!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*Walkers training for a half marathon are essentially READY for their competition on any day. If not registered for an organized virtual race, walkers can extend this upcoming weekend’s 13 mile walk to 13.1 miles and will accomplish their goal race!
IF PROBLEM KNEES ARE PREVENTING YOU FROM RUNNING OR PARTICIPATING IN RUNNING EVENTS, now might be the time to investigate whether NOT running is the only option for preserving knee health. Dr. Howard Luks, a New York orthopedic surgeon who has contributed articles to medium.com has a perspective that might be of interest to those who question whether running is a healthy exercise, specifically those with osteoarthritis or a degenerative meniscus tear.
Luks’ words struck a familiar chord in his article, “Can I Make a Meniscus Tear Worse If I Run On It?” and in another lengthy article he authored on osteoarthritis and exercise. Although in much greater detail, he seems to be providing information paralleling that which was given to me by an expert orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. I had consulted the surgeon for a complex meniscus tear, one of several unsettling MRI study findings that had prompted my decision to seek expert help at the famous center.
These several pieces present a point of view that may be new to some and offer hope as they did to me. I did resume running about a year ago, after an 18-month break. However, now I am extra careful NOT to neglect exercise that will protect my knees from further harm: resistance training to build and maintain hip muscle strength, stretching, foam rolling, and working on balance. I place more value on these non-running/walking activities than ever before.
And my training “week” remains flexible, such that long runs are put off according to how my legs feel. Rather than scheduled every weekend, the biggest mileage run/walks are spaced anywhere from 10-21 days apart, when I feel at 100% with no discomfort. The key to staying injury-free seems to be alternating walking with running in addition to paying attention to strength, balance, and mobility.
Check out Dr. Luks articles. If struggling to make a decision about running with arthritis or meniscus degeneration you may find clarity and a way forward.
RUN AND MOVE HAPPY!
4/21/20 UPDATE: additional article from medium.com
TRAINING PLAN STARTED YESTERDAY; this post is a day late due to the Easter Holiday. Runners, finally, on the last day of this training week you can prove you have what it takes to run 13 miles! But you’ll run it easy, with stops as needed. Walkers, you are almost there. Both groups are essentially ready to go the distance in competition.
These plans extend for 18 rather than 16 weeks to allow safe preparation, include a generous taper, and provide a little wiggle room for vacation time or mild sicknesses of winter. The Earned Runs programs original attempt was to bring runners and walkers to their half marathon starting lines in late April and mid-May.
Because the half marathons you may have been training for are now postponed or cancelled, you may wish to use the training day in which 13 miles are scheduled as an official race day. Perhaps add the extra 0.125 mile at the end to make the distance official too, and earn 'finisher' status. If your race has offered a virtual option, stick with the plan and continue training.
On Monday, April 20 we should have been able to enjoy TV coverage of the 124th Boston Marathon. It has been re-scheduled for this fall and will take place on September 14 instead. Earned Runs usually advises runners to watch and take note of the leaders’ running form. Their heads would have been up, chests out, torsos tall and erect, shoulders loose and down, with elbows rhythmically pulled back. If it was possible to count the number of steps taken per 15 seconds (multiply by 4 to get steps/minute) to calculate cadence, you might have counted a number greater than 180, possibly up to 200. You would have had a chance to compare your form with that of the elites.
When I had been advised to do this by a trainer to correct my form, I scoffed at the idea. I wasn’t an elite, was my thinking, so why run like one? I am a plodder, with a pace about 2.5 times greater than the best in the world. It would be pretentious!
But I followed the advice and started to check out running form on all images, including magazine covers, ads, and online articles. All the pros displayed similar form. Athletes who dedicate their efforts 24/7 to being the best runners in the world and building professional careers that could span decades don’t adopt a certain form to look pretty in pictures; they do it to be fast and prevent sidelining injuries. I wanted to be fast and avoid injuries too, so tried to model my form on that of the elites, just like Coach instructed.
There are other components to good form running. See the chart from New Balance on the RESOURCES page to refresh your memory. The secret to maintaining it throughout a long run is to build core, upper body, hip, leg and strength in training. The form for walking fast, but not race walking, is somewhat similar.
I find that the greatest source of fatigue at the end of 13.1 miles comes from having a tired back, core, and arms. Which means there’s more work to do to become stronger in these areas. An additional benefit is that this work will translate into a more athletic posture.
Those who counted on competing in an organized long distance event, now postponed or cancelled, have been given extra time to work on strength, posture, and form. Summer and fall will hopefully bring an end to confinement, and perhaps we all will be stronger and better prepared to experience the joy of competing.
Congratulations on finishing 12 and 13 miles this week!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
THE IMPORTANCE OF ARM SWING TO RUNNING is discussed in a 2017 article by Jonathon Beverly for runnersworld.com/uk, “Why Your Arm Swing Is So Important to Running and How to Improve It”. PodiumRunner.com posted an item by Jon-Erik-Kawamoto that addresses the same issue and features exercises that will help to generally assist runners (and walkers) with bettering their upper body running/walking posture, “6 Exercises to Improve Your Upper Body Running Posture.”
According to experts referenced in the articles, arm swing and running posture are linked and influence leg movement. Modern living activities cause us to predominantly “hunch over” while we work, drive, eat, and communicate. Constant and habitual “forward” body and shoulder positioning make it difficult and uncomfortable to maintain a “tall spine” and pull arms back during running. Thus, because arm pumping action helps to power the legs, whatever improvements we expect to obtain from efforts to strengthen and stretch the lower body may not be realized.
“To sum up, tight, rotated shoulders can sabotage all the gains you might get from posture, hip flexibility and strength work, throwing off your balance and drive”, Beverly says in the runnersworld.com article.
Elite runners know the importance of backward arm swing to running drive. Back in 2014 Tim Broe, an Olympic runner who now heads Saucony’s Freedom Track Club, informed me he coached the girls in his high school cross country team (I think it was Saline MI) to bring elbows back far enough such that thumbs brush the tops of their running shorts with each stride’s arm swing. Retired Olympic medalist Meb Keflezighi is reported in the runnersworld.com article as saying that while running “he looks at his shadow for a triangle of light between his torso and upper and lower arms” to assess whether his arm swing is effective.
Check out images in running articles. Nearly always, moving runners are pictured with elbows pulled back, purposely creating Meb’s ‘triangle of light’.
Not mentioned in either piece is the observation made by others that an upright posture has another esthetic benefit; it provides a youthful body profile. Non-runners and walkers hoping to preserve a younger appearance should consider reviewing these articles and picking a few moves to try. The only equipment needed is resistance tubing. It’s possible that by working on posture you’ll not only improve your look but feel years come off too.
Both posted articles share the same topic, but each provides different information, advice, and exercise/stretch demonstrations. I’ve long searched to find a discussion explaining this aspect of running as well as it was covered by Tim Broe in one training session at the facility where he worked 6 years ago. Serendipity resulted in my finding two, which will be posted on the RESOURCES page.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
GOVERNMENTAL DIRECTIVES TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS ARE REQUIRING that we not leave our homes except to accomplish essential tasks. That’s the bad news that is no longer news to hardly anyone. The flip-side good news has been that exercising is officially deemed essential. Yay!!!
Of course, there are warnings that we should not be driving to faraway sites but rather staying within our own neighborhoods, that we not gather in groups, and that we still maintain the 6 feet of distance between ourselves and others.
As wonderful as this might seem, suddenly we are stepping outside to find our usual beloved paths, sidewalks, trails, and parks filled with other people, even crowded at times. There are more dogs than ever walking and running with their people with on these surfaces, doing what dogs do, like doo-doo.
The crowds include walkers, runners, bicyclists, ambling families with strollers, toddlers, and children on scooters; there are oldsters with canes. On my favorite running route near the lake there are oodles of fishermen and women leaning on the sides of the boardwalks and walkways, angling for a catch and peace of mind.
You know what I’m talking about. And we’re starting to get on each other’s nerves.
It's bad news. We’re irritated at each other and anxious about our health.
As cloth masks are soon to be blooming on faces, contagion-risk fears might lessen even as health leaders say these coverings should not replace distancing. How can we remain pleasant and supportive members of this new COVID-19 society while outdoors exercising?
Here is my list of suggestions:
And I think we may have realized it’s better to find smaller less crowded spaces than our usual and popular, but now very busy, routes. Because my state park neighborhood has so many additional exercisers these days I’ve taken to running/walking loops of a nearby marina’s parking lot underneath boat hulls.
It’s safer and quieter.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*Back in the day at my small city’s Catholic elementary school, we got our outdoor recess and lunch exercise on a parking lot. The school did not have playground equipment or places to sit, just a surface for running around, jumping rope, and playing ordinary stand-up kid games. Kind of the like the playground in the movie “The Christmas Story” where Ralphie’s friend Flick took the dare to touch his tongue to a frozen fence pole. https://www.cinemablend.com/new/How-Christmas-Story-Actually-Filmed-Infamous-Tongue-Scene-101537.html
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable 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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