TULSA OK, LUBBOCK TX, AND GRAND RAPIDS MI, TAKE A BOW Published by Endurancesportswire.com on January 25, 2017 the info-graphic piece, “2016’s Ten Most Popular Cities for Extremely Active Millennials” has a few surprises.
The site, part of the ACTIVE.com network, revealed that “ACTIVE data for adults ages 25-34 indexed against the total population of each city according to 2016 Nielsen DMA data” was used to determine the ranking.
The piece also indicates that the “key findings come from data and analysis of nearly seven million endurance event registrations managed through ACTIVE’s event management software platform” for the period January 1 - November 30, 2016. Event categories included: running, walking, triathlon, duathlon, mountain biking, open water swim, adventure races, and cycling.
In the Sunshine State, Orlando took first place honors (#1). Two other cities are in Oregon, Portland (#6) and Eugene/Track Town USA (#10), and that’s not shocking. Other west coast cities that made the list are in locations that are NOT famous for long, hard, very cold or snowy winters, Seattle WA (#8) and San Francisco CA (#9). However, Anchorage (#2) and Fairbanks (#5) Alaska placed higher than these four. The three remaining spots went to smaller cities that people who don’t live there might not have guessed would be winners in this ranking: Tulsa OK (#3), Lubbock TX (#4), and Grand Rapids MI (#7). Who knew?
The physical activity-loving individuals who registered for and participated in this network’s endurance events surely must be providing these cites with a huge boost in civic pride. Millennials now represent the largest generation in the US and possibly the most diverse. Those who provided data for ACTIVE’s analysis are potentially among the group’s most healthy. Obviously they comprise one segment of all athletes in this age range who participate is such events.
No doubt I’ll look at the ‘surprise’ cities on this list a bit differently now, and search there for some terrific running/walking/adventure race events!
CORRECT 5 BAD RUNNING HABITS. 'Listicles' are all the rage these days, and this blog has reported on many that relate to running. One had as many as 25 items (it will be re-posted soon because it is a classic). However, it’s hard to wrap your mind around so many separate points of fact, whether they’re races, tips, mistakes, or new products.
“The Five Worst Habits Of Runners” written by Mackenzie Lobby Havey for Under Armor’s blog, MapMyRun.com, brings only 5 items to runners’ attentions. They are easy to remember and definitely are worth the mental effort to do so.
The article is informative and convincing so I don’t wish to steal it’s thunder by listing them here. Experienced runners will recognize that the five habits involve ignoring some of the most important principles of safe and effective training. The Earned Runs 2017 Half Marathon + ‘Saints Days’ 5K +10K training plan implicitly incorporates 3 of these principles: restricting running mileage increases to safe levels, scheduling rest and recovery days, and promoting strength building.
The author refers to specific research to support her advice and provides links to the abstracts. It’s a great article and, with only 5 points to remember, can help runners to avoid injury over many years. Runners of all ages should take note.
WEEK 3 HALF MARATHON with SAINTS DAYS 5k and 10K Training Plan. You may become more aware of the progress you are making in training after leaving January and entering February. If you feel comfortable with the schedule, think about making better use of one of the shorter runs of the week. Although not labeled as such, the Tuesday run might be used as a speed or hill workout.
Run the first mile/10 minutes at an easy pace, about conversational speed. Run the middle 10-12 minutes in intervals of 2 minutes at higher intensity in which conversation would be more difficult, allowing speaking only in short phrases, followed by one minute easier. Four cycles would be about 12 minutes. Run the last 8 minutes easy. Cool down with a brisk 10-minute walk.
Or, find another speed workout you like better. Alternately, run the middle segment intervals on a hill, with the run/up-walk/down cycle taking about 2-3 minutes. Competitor.com provides additional guidance and encourages hill running to gain speed, in an article by Mackenzie Lobby Havey", Why Hill Repeats Make You a Stronger Runner". They can be run indoors, on a treadmill too.
In cold weather outdoor runs, hill workouts can be convenient if you drive and park or are working/living near the “hill” (parking ramp or actual hill). There’s only a half mile distance to cover for the out-and-back for the first mile segment, somewhat less for the last segment, and the middle hill segment can be near to where you parked your car or left the building. You are never very far from a protected environment.
Just think, the days are getting longer and you are getting stronger if you are incorporating the strength work into the week’s work and performing the dynamic warm-ups. The hill intervals will boost strength as well.
TRAIL RACES FOR ADVENTURE PLANNING
EPIC ADVENTURE POTENTIAL If you are a walker or road runner and NOT a trail runner why might you be interested in a list of competitions with spectacular views? Lisa Jhung offers “19 Challenging Yet Stunning Trail Races to Run in 2017” for Competitor.com. In the lower 48 United States these trail events span the entire country from north to south, (Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Alabama), east to west (Vermont to Washington State), and boast of scenic points in many venues (mountain, desert, island, and valley). The 49th and 50th state are included in this list as well. Jhung provides a brief description of each event, its scenic highlights, the date each is held and the event website.
The 19 trail runs, are simply listed below, to pique your interest.
Back to the original question. A reason non-trail enthusiasts might wish to know of some beautiful off-road races is that in looking for a cross training activity you might find hiking a perfect alternative to running. This activity also requires training, especially for long distance efforts, which requires advance planning. You may not be ready to take on or schedule a specific trail hike THIS year, but the list is a great resource for identifying a goal “epic adventure” trip.
Almost always an annual race date will fall within a few days of previous races, so you can predict about the time of year, and often the month and date it will be held in succeeding years.
I have a personal reason for posting about this. Last summer I was shopping for an unsupported "epic adventure" for myself. It was difficult to find something that did not require survialist-level expertise to plan and take on. Also, although great scenery was a must, I was not in the market for a total deep woods experience. I am hopeful that by researching this list and the course maps and other information on the organizer's website, I'll find my first manageable, shorter distance, beautiful epic adventure. I am encouraged because the very first race on the list has detailed maps, directions, and helpful information.
Please share if you have knowledge of one of these 19 trails runs:
- Orcas Island 25K, Orcas Island WA; January 28, 2017
- Catalina Island Marathon, Catalina Island CA; March 11, 2017
- Gorge Waterfalls 50K/ 100K, Columbia River Gorge OR; March 25 or April 8, 2017
- XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Runs 5K, 10K or 20K, Pelham AL; May 21, 2017
- Sehgahunda Mountain Trail, Mt. Morris NY; May 27, 2017
- Double Dipsea (14.1 miles), Mill Valley CA; June 17, 2017
- Crow Paw Crossing, Girdwood AK; July 22, 2017
- Juniper Peak Steeplechase (16 miles), Park City UT; July 29, 2017
- Taqua Trail Run 10K and 25K, Paradise MI; August 5, 2017
- Ragnar Trails Appalachian (Relays 14.6 or 29.2 miles) Bruceton Mills WV; August 11-12, 2017
- Breck Crest (marathon and half marathon), Breckinridge CO; August 26, 2017
- The Rut (50K, 12K, and Vertical Kilometer), Big Sky Resort MT; September 1-3, 2017
-Emerald Bay Trail (7.5 miles), Lake Tahoe CA; September 17, 2017
- Golden Leaf Half Marathon, Aspen CO; September 23, 2017
- Trapp Lodge Mountain Marathon, Stowe VT, October 14, 2017
- XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs (10K, 5K, 2.5K, and “Keiki” K), Oahu HI; October 21, 2017
- Moab Trail Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K Adventure Run, Moab UT; November 4-5, 2017
- Mountain Masochist (50 miles), Lynchburg VA, November 4, 2017
- Surfing Madonna Run (10 mile, 10K, and 5K), Encinitas CA; November 5, 2017
RIGHT-SIZE YOUR RUNNING MILEAGE
MAKE THE MOST OF MILEAGE AFTER YOUR EARLY 30’s; CROSS TRAINING IS LOOKING BETTER AND BETTER. There’s quite a bit to become excited about in the title of an article written in 2014, “Study: Late Starters Run Faster in Older Years”, by Matt Fitzgerald for Competitor.com. Fitzgerald identifies a “late start” running as one that occurred in a runner’s late 20’s or early 30’s or later. “Older years” means master’s age group, greater than 40-45 years. He says “The typical age-group record setter in the older master’s divisions only started” at this age, and is likely to beat out runners who peaked in their 20’s.
Those “who were the best in the world in their 20’s and who kept competing past middle age are almost never the best in the world in the older age groups”. He goes on to say that these early record holders tend to become much slower once they reach age 45.
He refers to the thinking and writing of author and researcher Dr. Tim Noakes. His study with colleagues at the University of Cape Town South Africa, conducted 4+years prior to the publication of the 2014 article, showed DNA findings that provide insight into this phenomenon. (See NOTE, below)
In the study he reports, the measured length of DNA strands from calf muscle cells of experienced middle-aged runners, average 42 years, was inversely related to their running experience and volume. Those with the “fewest miles in their legs” tended to have longer DNA strands. Why is that significant? Fitzgerald explains that scientists think “time and stress cause our DNA to progressively shorten”, possibly related to the effects of high-mileage training. Although such training results in positive physiological changes that optimize performance, after a time the accumulated negative effects outweigh these benefits.
The TAKEAWAY message Fitzgerald says, provided by elite running coach Brad Hudson, is that runners should “transition from a high-mileage approach to a low-mileage cross-training approach when they hit their mid-30s.” Potentially the author indicates, this strategy may allow runners to avoid the “costs of high-mileage training” and preserve speed for later years, before the speed-killing changes “add up”.
In practical terms, this information points toward training plans that limit running days to 3 or 4, reserving the remaining days for cross training (sometimes call active recovery), strength work, and real rest. Fitzgerald further explains tactics older runners can use in a second article “For Best Results, Train Your Age”. He cautions against filling your training schedule with “junk miles” after age 40. “Accumulated wear and tear on your body has probably already put you past the point of being able to set new PR’s” and basic aerobic runs may be more harmful than helpful in making “new aerobic adaptations”.
However, as a non-elite, even if you cannot hope to beat your younger-self times, you can aim for a great performance in your age group. This will be helped by doing “three or four focused sessions per week in the muscle training, threshold training, and specific endurance categories,” and adding strength and cross-training on the other days.
If you have not been a high-mileage runner and are into or beyond middle age (when is that exactly?) there’s hope that ‘SMART’ training with lower mileage running plus support work and cross training can help you perform well in your age group and run injury-free into the future. Adding swimming, cycling, hiking, and rowing, for example, to training can extend your running life and allow you to experience alternative forms of physical activity and various competitive venues, joining family and friends in THEIR favorite athletic pastimes if foot racing isn’t their thing.
The GREATEST BENEFIT of decreasing the number of miles we log on our legs and putting more effort on balance, flexibility, mobility, strength, and non-leg work is that our whole body, not just our chromosome ends, will gain and maintain function farther into our later, later, later years (60’s to 90’s?).
Note: The research study referred to in Fitzgerald’s article is not identified but may be one published in May 2010 by DE Rae and others at the Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town. In that effort, “Skeletal muscle telomere length in healthy experienced endurance runners”, the muscle sampled was the vastus lateralis in the thigh, and the DNA measured was the portion that forms the ends of the chromosome (TRF or terminal restriction fragment of the telomere) Telomeres are known to shorten with each cell division, which would increase with muscle repair and remodeling in response to damage over time as a result of chronic endurance running and training.
There were 18 experienced-runner and 19 sedentary men in the study and no women. About 53% of the sedentary men were smokers; none of the runners had this habit. There was no difference in TRF lengths in sedentary smokers versus non-smokers. The TRF length of all men in the study was within the normal range and nowhere near what would be seen in disease states. There seems to be a kind of ‘Goldilocks’ effect here (scientists call this a U-shaped effect), with those having the least and greatest exposure to endurance running showing more TRF shortening than those in the mid-range (“just right” amount).
For a bit more information on how many miles to run, an article from Active.com may help, "Distance Running: How Many Miles Should You Run?" by Jason R Karp. It provides a scientific perspective for you to consider. Lately, some races have been providing 2 levels of training to prepare for a race. One is for beginners/those wanting to just finish, and another is for those hoping to run their best time.
I sometimes use an old training plan from a previous race to prepare for an upcoming event, if I did well and did not encounter any training issues or injuries.
GEAR LOVE PREVIEW: In her slideshow article “Sneak Peek: A Look at New Outdoor Running Gear for 2017“ for Competitor.com, author Allison Pattillo reveals some of the new gear you can expect to see on retailer shelves in the upcoming spring, summer and fall seasons. The items were shown at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City UT the previous week.
This collection seems to generate more excitement than usual in me, possible because it contains the kind of items I personally find useful to continue running outdoors, in spirit-boosting colors. I especially will want to watch for and perhaps try the Glerups, MojiHeat Tools, Crescent snow shoes, Katoola Gators, and the OOmg’s.
Sketcher’s Performance GoMeb Speed 4 shoe; Kefleghizi will be wearing them in Boston!
Salomon Elevate 3in1 Rain Combi: offers protection from wind or rain or both
Glerups Felt Shoes: apres-run foot relaxation
MojiHeat Tools: combine microwave heat and foam rolling to help you soothe soft tissue aches
Katoola Connect Gators: combines winter spikes with a gator that can easily be removed
Crescent Moon EVA All Foam Snow Shoes: good for entry-level enthusiasts
Cotopaxi 3L Running Pack: hydration system
The North Face Lightwave Ampere 2HC: winterized indoor-outdoor training shoe
Brooks Dash Hoody for men: technical fabric + function + style
Buff Thermonet Hat and Buff: non-freezing material
Altra Wasatch Jacket: comfortable, 4-way stretch, waterproof, and silent
Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Patterned Crew: smooth-seamed warmth
Princeton Tec Axis Headlamps: standard AAA and re-changeable battery versions
Saucony Endless Summer Collection: shoes with a bright, seasonal-themed, graphic motif
OOfos OOmg: slip-on, flip-flop alternatives
Comment if you test one or more; your recommendation will help place a product on the GEAR LOVE page.
PROGRESSIVE STRENGTH WORK
STRENGTH TRAINING WORKOUT WITH DUMBBELLS from SHAPE Magazine. I have been looking for an entry level, but not “crushing it”, dumbbell weight workout to progressively increase my strength training efforts over time. After reading the article from Jason Fitzgerald (discussion posted 1/18/2017) I was especially eager to identify a safe plan for myself. One that doesn’t have too many complex movements or require other gym equipment. I found this routine in a newsletter emailed to me by SHAPE.com magazine, after I had registered on their website.
Over the years I’ve received strength plans from different trainers and each has contained some, but not all, the exercises included in this routine. I’ve always needed to work hard on balance, so prescribed strength work has been mostly with bodyweight, and I’ve not progressed with added weight work.
If this plan does not work for you there are other SHAPE articles that may contain routines that fit your needs more closely. The SHAPE newsletter that comes with registration has good information aimed at improving fitness. RUNNERS generally are not looking for “beast” level weight work, so although SHAPE seems to be directed toward helping women, these exercises are appropriate for runners of either gender.
To access the PDF, register on shape.com, and cut and paste this URL into the address box.
This workout is available as a free download from the SHAPE email, but it’s not clear that the copyright license would allow the PDF itself to be posted on the Earned Runs website. If you would like to receive the SHAPE daily emails, go to shape.com and register.
Below is a summary of the different exercises for which there are printed instructions and pictures to demonstrate the moves. Eight to twelve repetitions are suggested, and of course this means 8-12 PER SIDE in cases in which single arm or leg movements are involved.
Here’s a printable PDF of a SIMPLE LIST of these exercises (click here) you can take with you to workout, but it does NOT include the instruction or demonstration information as is found on the SHAPE.com PDF.
-PUSHUPS: Triceps and Wide grip types
-OVERHEAD PRESS // V-RAISE (both with dumbbells)
-DUMBBELL CHEST PRESS //ALTERNATING CHEST FLY (both with dumbbells)
-TRICEPS KICKBACK //BICEPS CURL (both with dumbbells)
-BASIC SQUAT // SPLIT SQUAT
-SINGLE LEG DEAD-LIFT // LATERAL GOBLET LUNGE (both with dumbbells)
-GOBLET PLIE' SQUAT // CURTSY LUNGE (both with dumbbells)
-WEIGHTED BRIDGE // HEAVY LYING ABDUCTION (both with dumbbells)
-JUMP SQUAT // SURRENDER SQUATS
Back and Core
-DUMBBELL DEADLIFT (dumbbells) // REVERSE PLANK UP
-BENT OVER ROW (dumbbells) // PLANK BIRD DOG
-REAR FLY (dumbbells) // V-UP
-PLANK LOW ROW(dumbbells) //RUNNING MAN
If you like this offering, start to progressively increase the difficulty of your strength work, as Fitzgerald recommended. I might try it on my long run day as he also suggested, but an still unsure if this is a best practice for me.
Printable list of dumbbell exercises from Shape.com
THE FITNESS CLIFF 2017 falls on February 22. This is the date identified by Gold’s Gym as the point at which most people will give up on their fitness goals this year. The specific day varies from year to year, and is based on their gym usage data.
At this point we will still be in the dark days of winter, and exactly one week after the Fitness Cliff, Lent will start for some. Discouraging. How do we postpone that day, as least until the coming of spring permits outdoor exercise and injects joy into workouts?
Before it arrives, we can take action. Rather than find a cheerleading-type piece that encourages persevering at exercise (this is still a good idea), perhaps it might be more helpful to encourage exercisers to take a bit of a regular ‘holiday’, not from exercising, but from extremely restrictive eating. It’s an ‘apples and oranges’ approach, but my thinking is that if we can be a tiny bit permissive in one area of health and fitness (dessert), we can live with stricter discipline in another area (working out) and thus not totally sabotage our efforts at reaching a running or walking goal.
I wish I could say truthfully that I am following the diet I assigned myself, but it’s not so. I THINK about following it and mostly do, but inevitably cheat and then feel disheartened. This is a weekly cycle that becomes a vicious cycle after a while.
An article from FitnessMagazine.com provided the inspiration for the ‘holiday’ idea. It offers “Warm Winter Desserts Made Healthy” by Shannon Bauer. Just like a good foam roll, maybe it’s best to schedule a dessert day each week, recognizing that portion size must be kept reasonable and that it’s not a day that permits eating everything in sight that’s desired. Just one DELICIOUS dessert that’s not too unhealthy.
I briefly reviewed several of the recipes that especially appealed to me:
-Healthy Pear and Quinoa Apple Crisp
-Simple Oatmeal and Pecan Blueberry Crisp
-Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding
-Cranberry Christmas Cake
-Caramel Apple Trifles
-Bourbon Bananas Foster
I cannot vouch for the excellence of the recipes and the outcomes, or for the ‘healthiness’. But this group of recipes seems like a nice, safe place to start looking for and finding a couple that are designed to be healthy rather than decadent. I like to toast bread used in making bread pudding so I’ll likely experiment a bit with that recipe. Perhaps others of you will want to tweak one or two with a change in ingredients or method as well.
Let everyone know if you identify one of these desserts as a clear winner, or if the scheduling of a weekly dessert ‘holiday’ concept delays your personal CLIFF DAY.
Cola. Cosmetics. Student magazine. Vodka. Lingerie. Clothing. Cars. Wedding dresses. A lottery. These are some of the business lines launched by Sir Richard Branson that did NOT become successful enterprises, out of a total 400+ attempts. Now the mogul is taking on fitness, with his Virgin Group Ltd corporation’s roll-out of Virgin Sport.
RunningUSA.com ran an announcement about the event, quoting Branson about his reasons for venturing into this area. “Sport is something that I try to make time for every day. Pushing past physical and mental expectations has been an important part of my life. Some of my favorite memories have spent running, cycling and being active with family and friends”.
The new business is co-located in London and New York City, led by a veteran of the running event business, CEO Mary Wittenberg. Wittenberg is famously known in the United States as the former CEO and President of the New York Road Runners organization and its famous race, the NYC Marathon. A similar article in WomensRunning.com about the Virgin Sports launch points out that Wittenberg was the first woman to direct a major marathon.
“Festivals of sport embody our work, hard play, hard lifestyle at Virgin” Branson enthuses.
The festival line-up for 2017 includes:
April 30 - Hackney, UK (registration is now open)
July 9 - Westminster UK
October 14-15 -San Francisco USA
October TBA - Oxford UK
Is the Virgin Group’s foray into running, with ambitions of reaching all parts of the world, an amped-up commercialization of an increasingly profit-oriented sport? As a personal competitor (it’s just me running my own race with an Earned Run bib sometimes) it takes a step beyond the big race franchises like the Rock N’ Roll series, the huge city races like Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race, and the bi-coastal runDisney festival weekends. Each move away from traditional small town foot races taken in this manner can seem a threat to running's origins for purists.
However, the huge popularity of ALL SIZE EVENTS demonstrates that both running (and cycling too) can be SCALED up or down and remain enjoyable, rewarding, exciting, and challenging for participants. The key is to select a race venue for your purpose and opportunity, and aim at a best performance for that specific purpose. We might not always run for a fast time but to have fun in the company of others, to raise money for charity, to visit an exotic place, and celebrate birthdays, etc. Virgin Sport may introduce innovation and scale into fitness that allows many more of the world's peoples to enjoy running and cycling, and the benefits of an active life.
Earned Runs is proudly positioned to enable customized running competition at the most individualized end of the event spectrum, for many purposes.
http://www.businessinsider.com/richard-branson-fails-virgin-companies-that-went-bust-2016-5/#virgins-cosmetics-business-began-in-1997-4 May 31, 2016, “14 Virgin Companies That Even Richard Branson could Not Stop Going Bust” by Business Insider (Mallory Russell filed earlier version)
http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2017/01/news/virgin-sport-new-fitness-fetivals_70443#L4yUSZU1LJC1lszi.97 “Virgin Sport and Mary Wittenberg Launch New Fitness Festivals” by Ashley Lauretta for WomensRunning.com.
WEEK 2 HALF + 'SAINTS DAYS' STARTS
WEEK 2 HALF MARATHON with SAINTS DAYS 5k and 10K Training Plan
If you felt a bit rusty last week, that feeling should begin to lessen as you find your groove this week. Remember that the plan can be changed up if your schedule doesn’t allow a prescribed activity on the specific day.
Switch the long Saturday run to Sunday if needed. I often shift the entire plan to the left, start my week on Saturday, and use Friday for my long run day. This week It should not take too much time, but later in the plan it will, so look ahead now and determine which day works best for the long run over the entire plan calendar.
Swap any core exercise you like for the Dead Bugs, but not because they are difficult! Foam roll more than is scheduled if you like, both before and after running or at either time, proximate to your long run. Also, start looking forward to your 5K.
Are you hoping to develop a “look” of your own when it comes to running, or before/after running activities? Without appearing to be an ad for Nike, Under Armor, or a combination of big-business sports outfitters? To make more of an effort than merely reaching for the “must have”, most expensive, or celebrity-endorsed yoga/tights/pants brand?
I’ll confess, I am. However, I want my look to be understated, as if it was almost magically acquired with my long experience running. Without big logos. And I want it to PERFORM. My baggy 30+ year old Disney Mickey Mouse poncho is only for days when the weather is so bad no one will be able to see it or determine who was wearing it. This garment is THE MOST AUTHENTIC piece I own, having survived so many years of being worn while I slogged through winter, fall, and spring precipitation events. It’s terribly permeable to moisture now though, no longer offers protection from rain or snow, and is not stylish..
Admittedly I’m searching for new clothing that SEEMS to be authentic by both fashion and performance standards (i. e. warmth, protection from wind, moisture wicking, etc). I’m willing to give traditional natural wool, silk, and cotton materials /blends a chance as they possess valuable functional properties that synthetics may not be able to match.
Recently I ran across an article from METER magazine about the history of cross country running, and learned that the publication was offered by Tracksmith, an apparel company that offers some clothing made from these traditional materials by local manufacturers. The METER website proclaims that it “takes a long look at the hidden side of running culture and at the athletes, heritage, and events that make running the greatest sport in the world.” I was lured into checking out Tracksmith clothes by this statement and thought other style conscious runners might like to see what the company is about.
I found three online reviews of Tracksmith, one of which also reviewed 2 other new brands. The article “Modern Running Brands: Tracksmith, Soar, and Iffley” by PermanentStyle.com, ran on July 11, 2016. The author was not specifically identified, however Simon Crompton (the site indicates he was chosen by Esquire magazine as one of the 2016’s “Top 10 most influential men in fashion”) addressed questions and provided comments after the piece. As expected, this review is mostly concerned with the fashion aspects of these brands.
Crompton writes, “Tracksmith, focuses heavily on style and experience” and explains that because the company is headquartered “just outside Boston, their stories are about New England racing, about inspiring runners and the beautiful local scenery.” One of the company’s founders (Luke Scheybeler) is cited as coming from Rapha, a cycling apparel store, and thus it is considered by some as the “Rapha of running”. The reviewer admits he “is a sucker for style” and is drawn in by the New England vibe.
Iffley Road, which advertises itself as, “British Crafted Runwear” is an English brand. Crompton considers this clothing to have a very understated logo and overall appearance, especially compared with Tracksmith. “If you like the low-key aesthetic”, he recommended this brand.
From merely looking at the website and not wearing the actual clothing, my impression is that the two brands are similar in evoking a pared-down vintage look compared to the other more flashy, technically-oriented, modern athletic brands. Tracksmith is American Ivy League-ish and Iffley Road is sleekly English with a few throwback stripe and chevron decorated items.
Mr. Crompton sees the 3rd brand, Soar as different in “its more modern style and make”. He is impressed by the bonded seams of this clothing line but admits that personally, “chafing” of presumably non-bonded seams “has never been an issue”, and that “more importantly, the aesthetic of block colors and diagonals isn’t really” his taste.
Another review, released a few weeks later on July 26, 2016, addresses the technical running-related qualities of Tracksmith apparel by Meagan and Thomas of BelieveInTheRun.com’s GEAR REVIEWS. The practical aspects and relatively expensive price of this brand’s line were discussed and despite some comments on the downside of wearing Tracksmith clothing items, both reviewers concluded that they loved the clothing.
The last review by Scott Douglas for RunnersWorld.com also only covers the Tracksmith line, and was published in early August 2014, just after the company launched its business. At that time Tracksmith offered only men’s clothing.
The reason to read the piece would be to better understand the company’s origins, ethos, and pricing strategy, especially if corporate background information will influence your desire to purchase. The significance of co-founder Scheybeler’s experience with the “boutique British cycling brand Rapha” is also brought to light. Douglas indicated this high-cost brand is well known to cyclists for being high in quality as well, and that it evokes “the Tour de France of 45 years ago”. Seems like a similar formula was applied to the running apparel brand, in which early sport culture and nostalgia were combined to create a clothing “experience” for runners.
The marketing genius of Tracksmith is the other founder, Matt Taylor, who had a reputation as being the first “interesting running video blogger” and as an “innovative marketer within running for the last decade”. Taylor told Douglas that the company drew its inspiration from New England and RUNNING IN FOUR SEASONS, believing more in the elite amateur runner than the über-professional.
If you’re more into experiences than stuff, one of the new brands may appeal to you. Tracksmith and Iffley seem to want to take you to back to simpler, earlier running times. Based on the reviews I would love to give Tracksmith’s Harrier Long-sleeve Top, Van Cortlandt Singlet, and Van Cortlandt Shorts a trial run. I may still want my Nike reflective jacket for running in the dark of winter, but wearing a new pair of vintage-style shorts may be just what’s needed to jump start my enthusiasm in the spring on the first warm day when the weather permits running with bare legs!
The article, “The Most Dangerous Fat is the Easiest to Lose” by Trinh Le for Under Armor blog, MyFitnessPal.com has easy to read, understandable, and actionable information about abdominal fat. Not sure about the truth of the “easiest to lose” statement, though.
The author defines “belly fat” and explains how to identify it beyond just looking down at your midsection, by measuring waist and hips as well as calculating the waist: hip ratio. The “apples and pears” body type comparison helps us visualize that it is the deposition of fat around abdominal organs (which shows up as a bigger waist) that makes it so dangerous. However, it’s possible to exceed the 35-inch (women) and 40-inch (men) waist circumference that marks the presence of this kind of adiposity and still have a less dangerous pear shape and a normal waist-to-hip ratio. Thus, the waist circumference is the most telling measurement.
If you have a measuring tape, demonstrate to yourself what a 35- or a 40-inch waist measurement would look like on you. It’s a bit scary to see that this size is NOT HUGE. It is an incentive to stay the SAME size or even DECREASE your waist inches if you think you are too close for comfort to the belly fat danger zone.
The medical reason to shrink your waist size is explained by a Mayo Clinic article about Metabolic Syndrome. It provides the guidelines employed by the National Institutes of Health to diagnose this condition: “you have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of these traits”, listed below, “or are taking medication to control them”. The number one component is excess abdominal fat which reveals itself as a big waist.
Mayo Clinic staff, the authors of the piece indicate that “if you know you have at least one component of the metabolic syndrome, ask your doctor whether you need testing” for the remaining four. Having metabolic syndrome increases risk of cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and stroke, and diabetes.
The Trinh Le article outlines some steps that can be taken to reduce belly fat, which include focusing your efforts on decreasing inches rather that weight, exercising daily, cutting back on added sugars and alcohol while eating a balanced diet, and sleeping and de-stressing. These are exactly steps recommended to become a better runner.
THE GOOD NEWS: regarding exercise, research studies using older overweight men and women with type 2 diabetes and overweight young men have shown that high intensity interval training (HIIT) resulted in significant reductions in both abdominal and subcutaneous fat.
This means that for the purposes of “waist control”, performing roughly three, 20-30 minute HIIT sessions each week over 3-4 months can help lower measurements and at the same time boost running power.
WINTER TRAINING CHANGE-UPS
SLOWED DOWN BY WINTER BLAHS? Has your enthusiasm level taken a dive in parallel with the outdoor temperatures? The slideshow article “8 Ways to Make the Most of Winter Training” by Stephanie Smith for Active.com provides a variety of suggestions for revving up your winter-time activities. As expected some involve moving your workouts indoors (swimming pool, skating rink, gym treadmill, yoga studio*). Others recommend increasing your enjoyment of the outdoors with winter sports, like cross country skiing, (snow shoe hiking also fits into this category), outdoor skating, as well as running in snow.
Particularly helpful were suggestions that did not require a change in venue or sport but a mental re-set: 1) focusing on setting a personal record rather than accomplishing a body transformation (like a “beach body”), and 2) competing with a single or few friends rather than the hundreds or thousands of runners in a big race.
TERRIFIC! Earned Runs is all about PERSONAL COMPETITION and setting PERSONAL RECORDS. Use our bibs as tangible props for your mental adjustments. Keep track of the progress made toward accomplishing a PR on a bib. Present your rival-friend with a bib to officially recognize the competition. Record the beginning and finishing statistics that will decide the winner on the bibs. Be creative. Be inspired.
*NOTE: RunnersWorld.com weighs in on the “10 Best Fitness Classes for Runners” by K Aleisha Fetters that might work as indoor studio alternatives to outdoor running. Some may appeal to runners able to handle higher impact and activity levels without the risk of injury. If running is your main activity, beware of classes that REQUIRE greater strength and balance than you have developed. Better to enroll in one that safely BUILDS these physical attributes in advance of the spring racing season. Being sidelined would be a high price to pay for a participating in a too-tough fitness class.
REVOLUTIONARY STRENGTH TRAINING
Jason Fitzgerald wrote an article for Competitor.com, “How to Use Progression in your Strength Workouts” that provided me with two “EUREKA!” moments. He reminded readers that to get faster, runners plan more difficult sessions “over the course of a training cycle”, and this training approach is called ‘progression’.
So when it comes to building strength it also makes sense, he says, to use the concept of progression. Instead of performing the same old, same old sessions, year after year, Fitzgerald advises implementing a program that aims to increase the amount of weight that is lifted, rather than increase endurance with a greater number of repetitions, to become stronger runners. This was the first time the lightbulb went off in my head while reading his article. The message: approach strength training in the SAME way as speed and distance work by making it progressively harder.
He lays out a plan to move from general strength building with bodyweight core exercises over 3-5 weeks, to performing the same exercises with a medicine ball to raise the difficulty level for another 3-5 weeks. At this point, he indicates, it’s safe to take on more advanced work with weights in the gym.
There’s MUCH more valuable advice to help you put together a progressive strength building program in the article, including several tips to help fine-tune your work. One of the tips provided the second moment of sudden clarity for me. Fitzgerald recommended scheduling a hard lifting workout on a hard run day!!! “Too many runners schedule hard strength days on rest days or after an easy run”, he says. “Instead, lift after your long run or faster workout to stimulate additional fitness adaptations”.
WOW. To me this is a revolutionary approach compared to what I’ve always done. It means going back to the drawing board and re-thinking my training plan for this year. I'll need to check if it can be done safely by non-elite runners, and go forward slowly with any changes in my personal training. There won't be alterations to the HALF MARATHON with "SAINTS DAYS" training plan, but those following it might want to consider whether this will work for you.
Fitzgerald started with the sentence “Keep improving with your strength training and the running results will follow.” And that’s a good thought with which to finish this post, because it’s the reason most of us would incorporate this kind of work into our training regimen.
ATTENTION MALE RUNNERS!
WINTER RUNNING MEAN WEARING LOTS OF LAYERS OF CLOTHING, with the clothing next to the body required to be more form-fitting than the outermost pieces. Underwear and support apparel are worn as innermost layers, beneath outer bulkier clothing. Bunching of and chafing from under/support wear can make for very uncomfortable runs, especially in the coldest of weather conditions.
This type of women’s apparel (sport bra) tends to receive a fair amount of attention from running-specialty magazines, stores, and writers; men’s support-wear, not so much. There are regular reviews and ratings of bras. An email announcement from my favorite running specialty store arrived yesterday for “Bra Weekend”. For trying on a specific brand women will obtain a gift item from the manufacturer, and a small gift item will be given by the store for a sport bra purchase. Lately a few eye-catching men’s underwear advertisements have popped up in the margins of online articles and they caused me to wonder which items were rated best by men RUNNERS. Kind of scary that I was targeted to receive them!?
For the sake of gender equality, and because oftentimes women buy products to pamper the men in their lives, Earned Runs thinks both gentlemen and ladies will find the article, “15 Best Men’s Athletic Underwear for Running Sports” by Marina Hunley for Faveable.com, informative.
The listing is provided in a very user-friendly format. Instead of presenting the products in a slideshow as is done for many product reviews, which seems to maximize readers’ exposure to ads but slow down the process of browsing, this piece allows simple scrolling to view all the featured items. In addition, there’s a right-sided table that summarizes the category winners that are described more extensively on the left side.
The original date of the article’s release is not given, but there’s an indication that it was updated ”4 months ago”. It seems one could look at the article next month and still think it’s only 4 months old. Not helpful.
The author is a woman and there’s no discernible input from men. The method used by Faveable.com to identify contenders and declare winners is not explained. The also-run entries for each category are not provided. Thus, this is not a perfect review but it’s the only comparison that came up with several Google searches.
What do you think of the “Best”? Men runners, here a chance to declare YOUR favorites. Did any of you know that TESLA makes apparel that Includes underwear?
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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