HAPPY HOLIDAY WEEKEND!
THIS IS THE FINAL 'SUMMER' SCIENCE FRIDAY POST OF THE OFFICIAL SEASON. AFTER A BIT OF A BREAK , THE REGULAR SCIENCE FRIDAY POSTS WILL RESUME.
DURING EARNED RUNS’ ANNUAL ‘BOSTON WEEK’ LAST APRIL the Science Friday post looked at “Runners Bone Health”. The discussion centered on recent scientific research that showed a significant proportion (40%) of the 15 elite male Kenyan runners studied showed low bone mineral density (BMD) in the lumbar spine vertebrae compared with none of the 23 South African control participants. Femur values were not low. Differences between the anatomic sites in impact loading during running, nutrition/energy balance and body mass, and genetics were thought to be factors.
Back in June 2017, an Earned Runs Science Friday post, “Play Like a Kid” discussed the newly released position paper of Exercise and Sport Science Australia, which indicated that rapid, dynamic, cyclic, and multi-directional movement had a more favorable effect on bone strength and BMD than tradition linear, continuous, and steady-paced movement like that performed by most runners.
Most recently a Science Friday post about weighted vest exercise discussed research that pertained to maintenance of bone strength.
Because bone health is something many might NOT think requires attention unless we are underweight adolescent female athletes or over 65 years of age, it’s not on our radar. We may run, walk, swim and bike for cardiovascular fitness, endurance train to increase lung capacity/VO2max, and perform strength workouts to build muscle. Few, possibly only those with osteopenia and osteoporosis, think about exercising to improve bone strength.
The elite Kenyan runner article reveals that even healthy male athletes may be at risk for early bone weakening, including those who are involved in low-impact as well as high-impact sports. And that the young as well as the old should be concerned. It suggested that diet may have a greater influence on the trabecular bone of the lumbar spine in contrast to the cortical bone of the femur especially in athletes with a low BMI.
Why worry about a condition that mostly times has no symptoms until fractures occur? Compression and distortion of the spine and thorax due to osteoporotic vertebral body collapse can be crippling and painful. It is best to work to prevent this condition than suffer with it later.
However, medical advice regarding maintaining/building bone strength is quite general and is often not based on outcomes research findings. The ESSA Position Paper recommends specific types of exercise movement but most medical-help sites advise performance of any weight-bearing activity, like traditional walking/running. A diet rich in calcium- and vitamin D-rich foods is frequently prescribed, but guidance is not given regarding the amount and dosing of protein and other nutrients. Perhaps there are other nutritional strategies that research suggests may be beneficial to preserving and building bone in susceptible athletes, but the information isn’t readily available.
WebMD.com posts a general informational page; it is a great place to start. Just like with athletic training and competition, though, some may wish to take their understanding to the next level. That’s me. I’ll share WHAT I LEARN with the Earned Runs family on a new page: BONE STRENGTH FOR ATHLETES.
The Earned Runs 'BONE STRENGTH' page will be a work-in-progress, an effort to build a ‘library’ of RESOURCE materials that may help athletes make lifestyle changes and talk to medical professionals. There may be more questions than answers in the information posted. Content will be added and edited as needed over time.
We encourage you to share with Earned Runs the topics that interest you through the CONTACT link. Possibly we can dig up some answers or at least identify research studies conducted to investigate such areas.
Although it may be best to build bone in youth, it’s a smart idea at any age to make adjustments that contribute lifelong to a healthy body and mind, which includes constructing a strong musculoskeletal system.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
FALL CHALLENGE I TURKEY TROT 2018: BEGINNER RUNNER & WALKER TRAINING PLANS ARE ON THE RESOURCES PAGE
THE 2018 PLANS ARE AVAILABLE IN PDF form for download, still in the draft stage to allow for final review to catch (hopefully)small mistakes. Both plans have a start date of Sunday September 10, 2018. See the RESOURCES page.
WALKERS: For the first time ever, a 5K-10K walker plan is offered.
It is based on a combination of Hal Higdon’s 5k and 10k programs. Because beginning to walk continuously fast does not seem to be as big a physical effort as training to run, at the end of the 4th week the mileage and work progresses from a longest distance of 3 miles to 6 miles at the end of week 10.
Those following it can attempt to complete a 5k walk-race on October 7. However, continuing to follow it does not mean you must be preparing to commit to a 10k race on Thanksgiving. You’ll be more than ready for a distance race of 5k, 8k, or 5 miles, up to a 10k distance event.
RUNNERS: Beginner runners will train for a 5k.
As for the last couple years, runners have an option to train on Monday with a TRACK DAY. A separate schedule PDF is provided if this alternative is chosen. Every Monday there will be a workout session that can be performed on a track (quarter mile or 400 meter). If too daunting, stick with the scheduled run. However, once you try the track you may love it, especially because of the convenience of having distances easily marked in laps (or early on, as portions of a full lap).
If you haven’t run in a while, you may find this plan provides a way to ease back into running.
BOTH plans emphasize dynamic warm-ups, MYRTL’s, stretching, foam rolling, and strength training to help with injury prevention. help in these areas can also be found on the RESOURCES page.
Have fun knowing you are preparing to join millions of other who take to the roads and trails on this holiday, the biggest running occasion of the year in the United States, to walk, run, or walk-run in celebration.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
Runner 5k Plan
Track Day Schedule
SOME OF YOU WILL SOON BE STARTING a training program for a Fall race. Whether running or walking it, the plan you choose may include strength work. Often times a plan will specify each day’s running/walking distance or time but only the general guidelines will suggest including a cross training day and a strength day. You won’t find these sessions detailed on the plan’s day-by-day calendar.
However, the soon to be released Earned Runs running and walking programs will schedule one strength day each week, with the general instructions encouraging more, 2-3 sessions per week, if improving strength is a goal.
In my experience, if I don’t have a list of exercises pre-planned and written down for that day, I’m not likely to perform them. But with a ‘default’ list of moves ready to use as a stand-in for a formal list, there’s no excuse for skipping a strength session. One of my default upper body exercises that can be done anywhere, without equipment, inside or outdoors, is the push-up.
There are numerous demo videos online. However, Amy Marturana also provides a good deal of written information in her article for SHAPE.com. “Here’s Exactly How to Do A Push-up Correctly” that may be helpful if you need more instruction. Her piece includes a link to another article that describes and shows how to perform less difficult modifications, “less-than-full-body” push-ups, if you want to work up to mastering a classic pushup.
Why work on muscle strength while training for a challenge goal or race? As we use muscles to progressively train harder, cover longer distances, spend more time moving upright, and move faster there is a risk of exceeding capacity. Building strength can help to avoid injury and improve form and performance. And although bodyweight exercises like the push-up are a great start, many trainers and coaches now highly recommend weight training.
To help runner/walker trainees, links like this one, to exercise descriptions/demonstrations of strength routines that can be performed safely, will be added to the RESOURCES page.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
SORRY FOR THE MIX-UP; WEEK 13 WAS NOT POSTED LAST SUNDAY BUT WEEK 14 WAS!
Please see the updated August 19 post for that week.
RUN-WALK-BIKE ACROSS AMERICA WEEK 14 STARTS TOMORROW
Segment 36 Speculator NY to Ticonderoga NY
Segment 37 Ticonderoga NY to Fairlee VT
Segment 38 Fairlee VT to North Conway NH
Traveling onward through the eastern Adirondack Mountains, the first day of this week takes runners and walkers through New York State from Speculator to the town of Ticonderoga. The town is near the site of the famous fort (of the same name) involved in both the French and Indian Wars and the American Revolutionary War.
Before researching this route, I had heard of Lake George and Lake Champlain but had no idea that were near each other or in some way connected to Ticonderoga. A map and a Wikipedia entry reveal that these two lakes are longitudinally-oriented along a waterway that partially forms the borderline of New York State and Vermont, and that courses north into Canada. Lake George is southern-most and Lake Champlain lies north of it.
The town of Ticonderoga, and the two-mile long La Chute River, represented a historically natural portage crossing between the two large lakes, which when combined with rivers, allowed a direct travel route between NYC and Montreal, in Quebec, Canada. Ticonderoga is located on the route segment that extends from Lake George’s north shore to Lake Champlain’s south shore. According to Wikipedia, the city’s name is derived from a Mohawk word, “tekontaró:ken”, which means "it is at the junction of two waterways".
As detailed in the itinerary of the Trek Travel bicycle tour on which this virtual route was based, a ferry will transport us from Ticonderoga, across Lake Champlain to Shoreham, VT. The route then makes its way into Vermont’s Green Mountains through the Brandon Gap (elevation 2170 feet). This time of year, the autumn colors of the forested hillsides might not yet be developing. A check of a website that follows and attempts to forecast the New England Fall Foliage Season predicts that early signs of the color to come will not be seen until later in September 2018.
The small town of Fairlee VT is near New York’s border with New Hampshire and Lake Morey. It claims to have the longest groomed ice skating trail (4.3 mile network) in the US, when winter conditions permit its full operation. Next the route courses through the White Mountains to the village of North Conway, NH, which is about 60 miles from the last destination of the trip, Portland Maine!
You won’t be climbing it, but not too far north of the route is Mt. Washington, at 6288 ft. the highest peak in the NH and most the prominent east of the Mississippi River. The mountain summit is famous for its erratic and sometimes treacherous weather (highest wind speed recorded was 231 mph in 1934); a non-profit observatory there researches Earth’s weather and climate. North Conway is in a year-round, outdoor recreational resort area, well known to climbers and hikers.
Only one more day left of moving your legs!!!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
Segment maps for Week 14 are on the RESOURCES page
RUN WITH THE COWS! AT FIRST THIS 5K SEEMS TO BE AN EVENT DESIGNED TO CAPTURE ATTENTION with a wacky name, “Running with the Cows”, held in New Era, Michigan. I can’t recall exactly how I happened upon the race notice while online for another reason, but took the bait and clicked on the link to investigate.
Many of you may not know where New Era is located, including those who live in Michigan! It happens to be located in the same county (Oceana) as the village of Pentwater on the Lake Michigan coast, a summer resort town and sailing stop, which more Michiganders would recognize. A portion of the Manistee National Forest also lies in Oceana County, enjoyed by outdoor sports enthusiasts. Otherwise, most would need to check out a map and search Wikipedia; the entry indicates the village is the home of Country Dairy.
And, in that fact lies the explanation of why such a race, in which proceeds support mission projects, exists. The dairy’s owner has worked to establish a research farm and the Gulu Country Dairy Training Facility in East Africa. According to a 2014 MLIVE.com article, Wendell Van Gunst was inspired to assist Ugandan milk farmers following a visit to the” war-torn country”, where because of a civil war, “virtually a whole generation of farmers were killed and dairy farming was lost”. He was working with a charity group at the time.
Other charity organizations have recognized the need and are endeavoring to re-establish dairy farming in East Africa, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The article indicates the Van Gunst family initially organized the race in its inaugural year. This year the New Era Reformed Church is identified as the organizer, and the event is being managed by ACTIVE.com. The September 1, 2018, 5th running of the race will begin at the Country Diary Farm Store, continue through a “meandering cow pasture” at the nearby VR Charolais Farm, “while giving runners a beautiful glimpse of New Era.”
“Running with the Cows” isn’t likely to receive national attention by the running industry. However, because it is the type of unique local challenge that Earned Runs loves, you’re reading about it today. Possibly there is a similar run/walk that supports a different charity/cause near your home that’s worth investigating. One in which crowds aren’t likely to be a problem and finish times are not all that important.
As the Fall race season is about to start, it may be possible to show up some weekends on a whim, at the last minute, and enjoy an unusual challenge that can be a conversation starter (“I ran with cows today”), at the very least. At the most, a worthy cause will be supported by your GENEROSITY.
Of course, it’s a good idea to check out non-governmental, non-profit organizations if you plan to donate money. However, if you get a t-shirt and a nice workout out of a short distance event advertised as a fund-raiser, it doesn’t seem as important to establish the group’s credentials in race management* or do a lot of background homework into the financial health of the charity.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*This race wasn’t in the BibRave.com database. There a race with the same name in Kansas, in May.
IN RESPONSE TO MODERATE OR HIGHER INTENSITY EXERCISE WE MIGHT BE TEMPTED to decrease non-exercise activity and/or increase calorie intake, thereby sabotaging our attempts to improve fitness and body composition. Does the type of exercise performed matter more, or the response to that exercise?
An article by Lauren Bedosky for Under Armor’s MyFitnessPal.com blog promises to answer the question, “What’s the Best Form of Cardio for Fat Loss,” or at least to provide general guidance with regard to achieving and maintaining weight loss with the help of exercise.
In it, Bedosky references Shelly Keating PhD, researcher at the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences at The University of Queensland, Australia as her resource. The article begins by defining SIT (Sprint Interval Training), HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and traditional continuous moderate intensity training. Below is Earned Runs’ edit of the information provided in her article.
Exercise type Duration Intensity level
SIT 8-60 seconds highest intensity intervals, 100% maximum
alternating with moderate intensity intervals,
of longer duration than the sprint intervals
HIIT 1-4 minutes high intensity intervals, 80-100% maximum
alternating with moderate-low intensity
intervals of duration equal to or longer than
the high intensity intervals
Traditional 30+ minutes continuous moderate intensity 50-70% maximum
Bedosky goes on to discuss research studies that attempted to identify whether higher intensity interval or traditional continuous training resulted in greater weight loss in study participants, often using the terms ‘fat-loss’ and ‘weight loss’ interchangeably in her piece. These two possible physical outcomes of diet manipulation + exercise are not the same, but for the purpose of clarity and this blog post will distinguish between them.
The ‘answer’ to the question raised in the title of the article, according to Bedosky’s expert, Dr. Keating, is that despite apparently contradictory scientific research (each exercise type has resulted in weight loss and weight GAIN in different studies) the important point is to perform exercise that “you enjoy and will commit to in the long-term.” Or perform both.
Good advice. Most have heard it before and the author admits it “sounds cliché”.
So, I was disappointed, wanting information that would direct my personal nutrition/exercise planning aimed at preserving or increasing lean muscle and reducing fat mass. Over the years, my efforts to markedly increased training and diet have not always been rewarded with the body changes I had hoped to observe; only occasionally.
It seems that when I try too hard I experience the reverse of what was desired; a slight weight gain. In that situation, it is hard to ‘see’ alterations in lean muscle mass and fat mass, and with those kinds of results, it becomes much easier to give up than to persevere.
Because the research Bedosky referenced had not revealed a clear answer, and actually had been discouraging, further investigation of the recent scientific literature seemed necessary.
My find? A PLOS One paper, “Energy Compensation After Sprint- and High-Intensity Interval Training” published in December 2017. The publication contained information on which I might base reasonable lifestyle changes, to help with long-term weight management and body composition change efforts!
The Auburn University at Montgomery, Montgomery AL authors of this publication analyzed data collected during a previous study from 30 healthy male and female, moderately physically-active participants, who were aged 18-50. The research team hoped to better understand why “many individuals lose less weight than expected in response to exercise interventions, when considering the increased energy expenditure of exercise.” Factors like changes in aerobic capacity (VO2max) induced by exercise, and degree of energy compensation, which includes increased energy intake and decreased non-exercise physical activity (NEPA), in response to interval training were examined.
Matthew M. Shubert and colleagues were trying to find out why the number on the scale dosen't move or can go in the opposite direction all the while some are exercising harder than ever and supposedly burning more calories! And if exercise method mattered.
Twenty-four subjects underwent 3 exercise sessions per week, over 4 weeks, of either SIT or HIIT training, while 6 controls did not alter their usual exercise training regimens. All were instructed to “maintain their habitual activity and diet and not to begin any new exercise programs during the 4 weeks of the study”.
When compared, there were no statistically significant differences in mean exercise energy expenditure (ExEE) and predicted energy compensation between the different SIT/HIIT exercise methods. And subjects body weight and BMI changed minimally with both methods. The results were so similar for the SIT and HIIT groups that both SIT+ HIIT results were pooled into a single group for further analyses.
However, INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES within the groups were highly variable. One analysis revealed that those who “overcompensated” by increasing energy intake + decreasing NEPA gained fat mass (FM) and lost fat free mass (FFM). The opposite was true in those who “under-compensated”; they lost FM and gained FFM! The ‘under-compensators’ improved aerobic capacity (VO2max), and increased NEPA by 25 more minutes per day.
There’s quite a bit more to this study that I’m not qualified to explain. The authors identified the limitations presented by their short- term study which involved only a small number of participants. They indicated the need for a larger project of longer duration that measures additional variables to better understand energy compensation in exercising individuals, with the hope of designing “personalized and optimally effective exercise interventions”.
Scientists acknowledge that they cannot base solid recommendations for the public on the results of such studies, but WE can read the studies, take the bits of information generated, and test whether the new knowledge helps us live healthier lives.
There's not much risk; some do it frequently in response to media headlines about nutrition and exercise.
The Earned Runs interpretation of the above information:
Earned Runs suggestions for managing energy compensation in response to exercise:
- Find ways to increase NEPA and decrease inactivity, realizing that you’ll need to be on your feet more and sitting less to prevent “over-compensation.”
Most of what was discussed in this blog seems to represent common sense. But when a carefully designed scientific study confirms what has been thought of as causal knowledge there's reason to take note.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
Energy compensation after sprint- and high-intensity interval training http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0189590
Impact of 4 weeks of interval training on resting metabolic rate, fitness, and health-related outcomes http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/10.1139/apnm-2017-0268#.W3L-tC2ZPow
THE WEDNESDAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING DAY IS ABOUT 13 WEEKS from today. If you hope to run or walk your very first 5K or other distance race on the holiday weekend, it’s time to start planning. Or, if traveling home, you’d like to beat your cousin who perennially has bragging rights to the best finish time. Possibly there’s a certain someone who might be at the race and you would like to show good running form and an possibly improved body form.
Perhaps you don’t intend to spend 12 weeks in training. Jeff Galloway wrote an article that promises to get those who are already running as little as 1-2 times per week in shape in 5-6 weeks. However, if you wish to build some wiggle room into a training schedule to accommodate travel, vacation time, crunch time at work, or an illness, an extra week or so will need to be added to an 8 or 10-week program.
Need a bit of inspiration to commit? In the autumn of 2016 Lydia Estes, a student at Wofford College, wrote a charming article, for Oddysseyonline.com, “10 Reasons Why You Should Run In Your Town’s Turkey Trot.” You don’t need to be a college freshman to relate to the experience she described as a participant in the local community Turkey Trot. It was so refreshing to see that the expected reason at the top of most such lists, being able to eat an extra serving of pumpkin pie or other favorite food at Thanksgiving dinner, was last.
What if there is no local race that you and your loved or liked ones can join as walkers or runners? Create your own. This is one reason why Earned Runs provides free bibs and resources for training. Request bibs now; they’ll help motivate you to take action.
I am hoping to speed walk a Turkey Trot (maybe the Zeeland MI 8K). After registering as an MSU Spartan for the Big Ten Network BTN 10K in Chicago this summer, but walking it on my own at home, my results were good enough that I might have placed 3rd in my gender/age division! Not saying for sure that would have happened but my walk speed is nearly as good as the running pace of the relatively few women who are still entering races at my age. I also might have placed 3rd if I had walked last November in Zeeland!
I have reasons to hope and to train that have nothing to do with finish times, though. And those family tradition motivations will cause me to start penciling workouts into my calendar the next month.
Earned Runs will post a 11- to 12-week plan preview in early September that beginners or those just getting back into running can follow. A walker plan will also be developed.
Will 2018 be the year your Turkey Trot tradition starts or continues?
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
A BRIEF HOW-TO ITEM FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES ‘WELL’ PAGE, demonstrates nicely how to perform a reverse lunge. Typically, the description of this exercise highlights the fact that this move, compared with the basic forward version, is easier on the knees yet also works the entire leg. So true!
A much longer piece from SELF.com explains the differences between forward and reverse lunges. It explains that the reverse lunge is technically easier to perform, thus is a safer move with less risk of injury. It doesn’t place as much stress on the knee joint.
The SELF.com article is worth the time to read if you would like to use both in a training program and wish to know the mechanics and proper performance details. Separate videos demonstrate each move.
A SHAPE.com piece highlights and demonstrates common mistakes in performance, which include taking too small a step back, pushing off the forward stationary leg to stand up, and stepping directly behind the forward stationary foot.
Another reason to perform EITHER type of lunge is that the hamstrings are worked in addition to the quadriceps, gluteal, and calf muscles. If you don’t like performing hip raises, also known as hip bridges, or their many variations and want to work you ‘hammies’ more, this is good news. Lunges also help with balance.
As with any exercise, form matters. There seems to be a bit of confusion about how big the step back should be in a reverse lunge; some experts say larger is better, others advise smaller less. The basic principle to follow, if in doubt, is that the forward knee should be positioned at a 90-degree angle, directly above the ankle, and should not extend over the toes. This instruction is standard for almost every standing exercise in which the knee flexion occurs.
If you’re rehabbing a knee but want to start working your leg muscles, start with the reverse lunge before advancing to the forward version. If your knees are in great shape and you love doing basic and walking lunges, don’t ignore them. Reversing direction can be the move that helps protect your knees and saves them for tougher workouts with weights.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
(IMAGE DOESN’T SHOW CORRECT FORM)
RUN-WALK-BIKE ACROSS AMERICA WEEK 13 STARTS TOMORROW
Segment 33 Bradford PA to Corning NY
Segment 34 Corning Ny to Cazenovia NY
Segment 35 Cazenovia NY to Speculator NY
This week we will make our way from the Keystone State of Pennsylvania into the Empire State of New York, first to a city known for its manufacture of glass and ceramic products, Corning NY. The city is south of the Finger Lakes (FL) region, which is skirted on this trip.
The region is famous for beautiful woodland scenery, vineyards, and wine making. Officially there are 11 long, narrow, sometimes very deep lakes in this central part of the state. The Finger Lakes were carved by glacial action, as are many of the geographic features of the Great Lakes states. This area of New York is also a main part of the homeland of the Iroquois, a Native American nation that was one of the most powerful in colonial times.
The village of Watkins Glen NY, north of the route at the south end of Seneca Lake, is well-known by nature enthusiasts for the nearby State Park, with its beautiful rushing streams, waterfalls, and gorges. Race fans know it for the Watkins Glen International racetrack, which is on the MONSTER Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule (winner of the August 5 race was Chase Elliott, who held off last year’s victor, Martin Truex Jr.)
The route passes from Corning through Ithaca, which lies at the southern end of Cayuga Lake, then east of the city of Syracuse to the historic village of Cazenovia in the town of the same name. Ithaca is the home of Cornell University, which is both a private Ivy League and a public land-grant educational institution. Syracuse is home to its namesake University. Cazenovia Lake lies at the northeast edge of the town, and although it is situated at the far eastern end of the FL region and not officially included with the 11 Finger Lakes, sometimes is called the 12th Lake because it seems to have similar glacial origins.
The last stop this week is Speculator NY, deep within the Adirondack Mountains. The route runs eastward from Cazenozia and enters Adirondack Park, the boundaries of which correspond to the dome-shaped area comprising the Mountains, about 160 miles wide and a mile high. If you stayed at an inn you might enjoy relaxing in wooden Adirondack reclining chairs that derive their name from the area. You will have earned it! Only a relatively few more days of effort remain, about 300 miles of road.
See the segment maps, below, which also can be downloaded from the RESOURCES page, as well as the Itinerary and Calendar.
AUGUST 6, 2018 WAS THE DATE OF THE 5K for which I started training on Memorial Day. My plan to accomplish this goal challenge was outlined in a BLOG post in May; the intent was to WALK rather than run. This was to be my first time ever to train to speed walk a race.
“Fastest 5K” plan, copied from the original BLOG post and edited in bold :
By the time the runners had reached the halfway mark turn-around and began to head back to the finish (it was an out and back course), I was mentally eager to cheer the leaders and friends as they ran by me. It was somewhat lonely during the 3rd mile when most runners were no longer on the course. There were no race participants within view in front, and a few people who walked-ran behind me.
A secondary purpose of my walking effort, beside challenging myself, was to encourage future broader participation in this yearly event by other walkers of all ages. The conference’s 5k ‘fun run’ had originally drawn many walkers, but it had become more competitive over the past decade. I was hoping to demonstrate that walking could be either competitive or fun, and physically easier for those who weren’t able to run or needed a mental or physical break from hard running.
Regardless of whether or not the secondary aim was achieved, my primary challenge goal was met. I showed that my walking pace could improve significantly with training and that a walked-race finish was a personal success I could celebrate.
I earned my 2018 SUMMER CHALLENGE II: “FASTEST 5K” sticker on August 6; “Yay me!”. What about you?
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
POST-VACATION MODE: KEEP IT GOING EARNED RUNS RETURNED FROM VACATION MONDAY, BUT it’s already Friday and our brains wish to remain in vacation mode. It’s hard to change focus so quickly. Seven days ago we had ‘de-trained’ our minds. To relax, forget daily routines, and declutter work-task-related headspace in order to make room for creative mental roaming.
By Thursday of last week, we were just getting into the swing of enjoying fun-centered days rather than dreading performance-measured work shifts.
In the same way that we attempt to maintain gains made in physical training, perhaps we should try to not lose the spirit of relaxation achieved in vacation. Instead of returning to the same-old-same-old fitness regimen why not continue to explore new activities? At least through Labor Day. Make summer the season of exploration when it comes to fitness.
“Cross-Training 101: Stand-Up Paddle Boarding” by Julie Kailus for Competitor.com explains how great this surging sport is for improving running. It’s terrific way to get in a total body workout, for developing balance, she claims, and getting outdoors!
SUP may not do EVERYTHING its supporters say it will in all who take a board out on the water, like improve balance. In an article, “The physiological, musculoskeletal and psychological effects of stand up paddle boarding”, authors Ben Schram, Wayne Hing, and Mike Climstine of Bond University in Queensland, Australia begin by indicating that evidence to support claims of physical benefit from SUP training is mostly anecdotal. It seems “previous studies have shown that high levels of fitness, strength and balance exists amongst participants of this sport.” In other words, people who enjoy SUP tend to be fit in the first place.
To get a better handle on SUP benefits to those not in great shape, they studied 13 previously sedentary, untrained participants who initially received one instruction in SUP and then completed 3 (one-hour) sessions per week over 6 weeks. The scientists concluded that in all three health areas, NOVICES can expect to achieve improvements when “utilizing SUP as a training tool”. Specifically, in aerobic and aerobic fitness, multidirectional trunk endurance, and self-rated quality of life measures.
Thus, although many who take up the sport are already physically healthy, those who aren’t may get the most out of it!
It took the untrained study participants 19 SUP sessions to show improvement. Thus, one weekend trial SUP session cannot be expected to result in a personal fitness transformation. However, that one trial lesson can excite and motivate additional regular sessions, maybe as many as 3 per week over 6 weeks.
Without that first adventurous lesson, though, the remainder will not occur.
If training for a mere 6 weeks can start to have a positive effect on self-rated quality of life in terms of physical and psychological health, it seems worth trying SUP in the final weeks of summer.
No nearby lake, you moan? SUP rental and instructions have been offered on relatively shallow bodies of water that are found in big city parks! There’s likely an opportunity within a short drive of your home or work location.
Yes, you can alternately kayak or canoe, but possibly SUP will be better cross training for running and other sports that are performed standing upright (more scientific research is needed, it seems). Another SUP advantage it that unlike kayakers or canoers, SUP-ers can call themselves surfers.
REI also ran an article in 2015, “Kayaking and SUP: Training Tips and Exercises” that provides a guide “designed to help you focus on the most essential aspects of fitness for completing a paddling adventure: cross training and strength training.”
Perhaps by deciding to train now, before attempting SUP, you’ll sufficiently build foot, lower body/hip, and core and upper body strength to confidently take on the sport in the fall. Beautiful summer-like weather often extends well into September and October, even into November, some years.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
NOTE: Wear a life vest to be safe!
JODI HELMER INDICATES HER PURPOSE IS TO ‘BUST’ 3 COMMON MYTHS about walking in an article for Under Armor’s MyFitnessPal.com blog. Helmer says it’s not always best to focus on steps taken and that weight loss can be achieved with a walking program. She saves the best myth to destroy for last, ending the piece by arguing that walking is not just for those who cannot run. However she doesn’t elaborate much on this topic.
Jeff Galloway who pioneered the concept of combining running and walking during distance endurance training/events, provides a better discussion in a piece for runnersworld.com. He advises paying attention to form, walking on a day scheduled for a run or instead walking as a cross-training method, and changing up the terrain. Galloway is succinct and is THE expert in this area. Runners looking to prolong their running longevity will want to read this short article.
Katie Golde provides another perspective in a Greatest.com article, and contrasts the benefits of running versus walking. She picks running as the winner for weight loss but any regular aerobic activity for helping to improve cardiovascular health. She offers a few suggestions for increasing calorie burn and intensity while walking. An important point by Golde is that the risk of injury is less with walking.
Since I am a recovering run-aholic, I want to chime in on this topic. I am currently not running (just past one year ‘sober’). I cannot promise I won’t run again. But I am making huge fitness strides not running.
After spending over 6 months in rehabilitation (self-imposed and -treated) after a knee/calf problem that had its roots in osteoarthritis, I haven’t had an injury episode. There’s nothing (calf, knee, Achilles tendon, thigh) to ‘baby’ these days. Everything feels great. I can power walk with a weighted vest, ride 25 miles at a stretch on my new fat-tire bike, and perform stretches, floor exercises, and dumbbell strength training (low impact) without issues. My golf game is improving, especially driving off the tee. Physically my form/weight has benefitted from the greater variety of workout types.
My knees are fine without any meds. However, I want them to stay “fine’. I fear resuming the injury-recovery-rehab cycle if I run again. I don’t know whether I’ll return to running, but it does feel good to “feel good” continuously. My guess is that moderation in all forms of physical activity will be conducive to pain-free movement.
Consider walking to cross-train and as a substitute for some running sessions if, like me, you’ve been cycling through running-related injuries for years. Perhaps my running longevity would have been extended.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
DIANA NYAD AND BONNIE STOLL, FOUNDERS of EverWalk have added a new participation event to the list of opportunities to adventure walk. There are the annual 130+ mile 5-day epic adventure walks (the latest will occur in the Pacific Northwest early this August) that the organization has organized, and now there is a retreat-like event in Telluride, September 21-23, 2018.
Registrants will be able to enjoy the invigorating scenery of Telluride CO over a weekend and receive inspirational talks from Diana and yoga sessions from Bonnie. And of course, there will be long walks (10 miles) on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a pay-to-play kind of set-up; the more paid for the weekend “passes”, either $150, $315, or $450, the more time and additional events, like breakfasts, lunches, and cocktails, will be scheduled in the company of the walk leaders.
If you’ve had problems with fitness motivation, this type of inspiration may work for you if you can afford the registration fee, travel and hotel accommodation costs, and the time away from work and or family.
I am disappointed in this move by Everwalk. Possibly to spread their message more effectively these events make sense. The mass walks may not be drawing the numbers of paying participants needed to remain a financially viable business. However, from the perspective of a walker who seeks to be part of a national health movement it seems to be another FOMO (fear of missing out) elitist opportunity for many would-be fitness walkers. It sheds a different light on the epic adventure walks and reveals a bit more of the commercial nature of the EverWalk effort. The expense of joining the epic group walks is also considerable. EverWalk does not seem as much to be a revolution that energizes the common woman and man as a business venture. Where are the inclusive events?
As an alternative, consider using EARNED RUNS bibs to organize a personal retreat, solo or with others. Arrange to stay at one person’s place for the weekend. Take big-mileage power walks, together. Foam roll as a group afterward. Schedule a group visit to a spa or fitness center pool/sauna (hopefully at which one person is a member). Enjoy a ‘cocktail hour’ or ‘wine and cheese’ before dinner like will be held at Telluride.
Each person can plan to contribute a 1-minute pep-talk during this time. Eat out at a ‘healthy’ restaurant for the evening meal, or cook one together. Custom design a walking retreat that meets everyone’s budget AND inspires continued perseverance to train for fitness and commit to challenges.
Sure, this home-grown weekend is not the equal of a Telluride retreat that capitalizes on the fame of an accomplished athlete. But almost certainly the coming together of friends for the purpose of motivation, in support of fitness goals, with fun and great refreshment as intended components, can serve a similar purpose, at a lower cost and greater convenience.
So many times, we look outside of what’s familiar to us for help, and think we must pay a great deal to be moved and inspired to greatness. Sometimes, however, that greatness is nearer than we think. It’s in us and those we value as friends and family.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 12: RUN-WALK-BIKE ACROSS AMERICA STARTS TOMORROW
Segment 30: Bowling Green OH to Strongsville OH
Segment 31: Strongsville OH to Meadville PA
Segment 32: Meadville PA to Bradford PA
From Bowling Green the you’ll travel south of Put-In-Bay, a historic vacation resort town on the shores of South Bass Island in Lake Erie, and Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, which is a must–do destination for roller coaster ride enthusiasts throughout the world. The area surrounding the route is fertile farmland; you’ll see soybeans and corn as well as other field crops, dairy cows, beef cattle, and sheep among other livestock. The most important livestock product is milk; wool is also a leading product.
South of Cleveland, Ohio, the site of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as Home of the 2016 NBA Champion Cavaliers basketball team and Indians baseball team is Strongsville OH. The family of John D and William Rockefeller, later co-founders of Standard Oil Company, moved to Strongsville when JD was in his teens. The first oil refineries of their pre-Standard Oil Company were built in nearby Cleveland. Rockefeller Park is part of the vibrant city’s Emerald Necklace of metro-parks, an extensive system of nature preserves.
The road from Strongsville to Meadville, Pennsylvania takes runners and walkers through rolling hills, past horse farms east of Cleveland into the quaint village of Chagrin Falls, Ohio on the powerful Chagrin River. From there you’ll pass through Ohio and Pennsylvania Amish country areas with its lush farms, horse-drawn buggies, and plainly dressed folk. Middlefield Ohio, just south of the route, is famous for it’s fine Amish Swiss cheese.
Meadville is about 40 miles south of Lake Erie and 90 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, known for its steel mills and bridges. The Drake Well is nearby, site of the first commercial oil well in America. You will continue on through the Allegheny National Forest to Bradford, a city in the Allegheny Mountains very close to the border of New York State. This city, like Meadville, experienced booming growth in the country’s oil rush years. It is also known as the home of the Zippo Manufacturing Company, which has produced the iconic windproof lighter since 1932!
The past few weeks journey will have taken you along the relatively flat and green glacial plains of the Great Lakes region, up into the wooded heights of the Allegheny/Appalachian Plateau. With a liitle more than two weeks remaining of this challenge, next week you will enter upstate New York and the Finger Lakes region, then move on to New England!
RUN & MOVE & VACATION HAPPY!
*Full disclosure, Michigan is my home state; West Michigan my favorite place in the world!
I've loved times lived in the Cleveland area too, frequently traveling on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Maryland. That's why there's a bit of insider detail in this post.
YOUR insider information on places the route passes through or near, would be amazing to include. Please share.
HOLY FIREBALLS! THE PERSEIDS METEOR SHOWER REACHES A STRONG MAXIMUM ON AUGUST 11-12 this year, although it has been active since July 13 and extend to August 26, 2018.
A Space.com article “Perseid Meteor Shower 2018: When, Where & How to See It” by Sarah Lewin provides the particulars for interested sky and star-gazers. It references NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, who is of the opinion that the peak night will include both evenings, August 11-12 and August 12-13, with the latter night predicted to be best by Cooke.
Contributing to the forecast of a spectacular show is the moon’s phase, the article explains. Near new moon, it will be a crescent only and will set before the show gets started at midnight. Depending on local sunset time, they might be seen as early as 10pm and as late as the pre-dawn hours.
“The Perseids are rich in fireballs, so the show should be even better” it gushes.
Best to find an area of “dark sky” with the least nearby polluting earth light as possible, lay down in an open spot from which the northeastern sky can be seen, and be patient. Don’t forget to apply bug spray.
By the way, if you plan to travel to a well-known dark-sky area, be prepared for a crowd. The event may or may not create a lot of enthusiasm, which can be disappointing if it interferes with viewing. On my home turf, the east coast of Lake Michigan, astronomical shows can lead to traffic jams on the small roads and access drives to public areas, like state parks. Drivers will leave headlights on, unaware of the effect on viewing. Remember to be thoughtful and courteous if you drive to a park.
Dark sky parks advise bringing flashlights covered with red or brown paper bag to preserve sensitivity to faint light. The darksky.org webpage for the 2015 Perseid shower explains the concept of the radiant, “a point on the sky to which the tracks of the Perseid meteors all seem to trace back”.
For more details read the entire Space.com article. AND check the local forecast to determine if you can count on a clear sky.
RUN & MOVE & VACATION HAPPY!
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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