NEED A LAST-MINUTE HALLOWEEN COSTUME THAT IS EASY TO RUN IN TONIGHT? Runnersworld.com posted an article in 2015 that might help you, "Top Halloween Costumes and How to Run in Them" by Brian Dalek and Kelley Gaston.
If this is the first thought you have given to a costume this year, perhaps next Halloween you will start earlier. These costumes might provide inspiration. My favorites are the Minions, Orange Is the New Black and Princess Leia, which women are shown wearing. There are some ideas for men too.
Others that might be easy to assemble by tonight are identified in a post of RunToTheFinish.com, “16 Race Costume Ideas” by Amanda Brooks, and include Waldo (of the books, "Where's Waldo"). Not in either article, but something I Googled, is Forrest Gump in his bearded, cross-country, running days.
A quick homemade idea from years ago, is to wrap head an arms in gauze bandages and go as a mummy or an injured person (plus 'blood'stains).
Have fun and stay safe tonight!
NOT JUST FOR WEIGHT LOSS
SINCE STARTING THE ‘HOUSE CUP’ CHALLENGE* in early October I’ve learned it can be more difficult than I imagined it would be to break my old, bad habits. Like skipping meals, saving meal calories for later snacking or alcoholic beverage consumption, and exercising excessively. There’s a constant urge to edit the point system I worked out for myself to make it easier. And then there’s the daily urge to cheat on reporting.
The result is my “House Cup” is frequently low on points (dimes), especially after weekends. My top worst repeat offenses are to skip breakfast, to not drink the glasses of ice water, and sit too long working at the computer.
On the positive side, I am much better at consuming more vegetables, eating an afternoon protein snack, and getting all the stretching, foam rolling, and mobility work completed early in the day. Most days, but not all, I DO eat the pre-sleep casein protein snack.
In addition, I am much more focused on performing a moderate amount of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) than excessive pure aerobic exercise aimed at improving cardiorespiratory fitness (‘cardio’). The HIIT workouts are shorter, just over 30-40 minutes (see details below), another benefit.
Macaela Mackenzie has suggestions for those hoping to lose weight, but the points she makes in her My FitnessPal.com article "9 Mistakes You're Making on Your Weight Loss Journey" can assist all of us with developing healthy eating habits. Especially those who spend a significant amount of time exercising. 'Mistakes' include:
*Working out more but eating less,
*Obsessively cutting calories, cutting or skimping on meals, cutting specific food groups
*Falling for the “Halo” effect of specific foods
* Using de-toxes as a diet strategy
The details of her article are worth reading. Some may find that certain of Mackenzie’s listed ‘mistakes’ help you stay with an overall nutritious eating plan. An occasional de-tox, weekly tough ‘cardio’ workout, cutting out concentrated carbohydrates, for example. Consider the underlying principle explained for each ‘mistake' before changing your behavior.
*Details of the HOUSE CUP CHALLENGE are on the RESOURCES page and explained in a BLOG post.
NOTE: Sample HIIT
A) “30:20:10” HIIT sessions running, on a stationary bicycle, or elliptical.
5-minute warm-up then 3 repeats of a 7-minute session HIIT and 5-minute cooldown = 31 minutes total. The 7 minute sessions are comprised of 2 minutes easy effort followed by 5 x 1 minute increasing effort, then 30 second moderate, then 20 seconds high-moderate, and finally 10 seconds, high effort.
B) “3:3” HIIT walking
5-minute warm-up, 5 repeats of a 6-minute HIIT session, and 5-minute cooldown = 40 minutes
(3 minutes moderate effort, then 3 minutes high effort)
2017 WEEK 8 TURKEY TROT WITH TRACK DAY 5K Beginner Training Plan
Monday is the first day of Week 8 of the 10-week+ plan. There’s a portion of an 11th week, as some of you might be traveling or have a difficult time wrapping up pre-holiday plans. It can be considered a little taper.
This Monday you may be recovering from early Halloween celebrations that began over the weekend. If you raided a child’s “trick-or-treat” bag, dipped into the supply you plan to give on October 31, or indulged at a party, enjoy the memory of good times. Try to get back to a normal eating pattern that includes nutritious meals and snacks.. If you plan to run the track day schedule MONDAY it will be an opportunity to test how a change in diet can affect the way you feel and run!
If the traditional October 31 day will be your "'All Hallow's Eve", track work on October 30 will get you in shape for the next night's fun and help you earn those treats (Saturday October 21 BLOG post)!
The longest runs of the plan are scheduled during this week and the next, your peak training effort. After week 9 you will be decreasing mileage prior to the Thanksgiving Day race. Somehow, when I am running intervals or hills, the second to last happens to be my best effort. I know I only have one more after it, so I give it all my concentration, and power through it.
Power through week 8 and then enjoy looking back at the progress you’ve made.
HALLOWEEN CANDY FOR THE TROOPS: EARN YOUR CANDY RUNNING/WALKING; GIVE LEFTOVERS TO SOLDIERS We usually overbuy candy for giving to Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween night. I am the one who selects and purchases the brands and sizes that we will have ready in a large bowl near the door.
Every year we really, really, hope that there are lots of little ones that come by, with parents standing off a bit, holding flashlights. And we enjoy the older kids who don’t need the company of moms or dads. They are more mercenary about the holiday and go to neighborhoods that will give up a large haul of candy. Each year a few teenagers will show up on the doorstep, without costumes, somewhat shy but also a little defiant. As if ready to proclaim they are not too old, but at the same eager to see what loot is being given out.
That is why I buy the full or king-size candy. Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, KitKat Bars, Sweet-Tarts. I want us to get the reputation of being a top house for Trick-or-Treating. But the weather sometimes changes the habits of the parents and children. If rainy and cold everyone seems to pack into vans and head for high-density subdivisions.
I just learned that now there are official ‘safe” trick or treat nights organized by the township. Parents pull into a parking lot, open the hatch or trunk, and the kids go from car to car, collecting candy from people they know. Or the fire stations host a night for providing games and treats.
Which means there are fewer and fewer ghosts, witches, pirates, and princesses ringing our doorbell and going away with candy. Which means it stays in our house. I’ll keep eating it unless it’s given away. We’ll take some to work, but everyone has their own leftovers to unload somewhere.
Cindy Ma, the nutritionist who calculated how much walking or running would be needed to burn off fun and snack-size Halloween candy (see previous BLOG post October 21, 2107), suggested another more generous way to make our home a candy-free zone. DONATE IT TO THE TROOPS!
Upon reading her piece, I recalled a Christmas season years ago that we “adopted” a soldier as a chartable activity. I contacted him and asked what our family could send to make his tour overseas in the Middle East a bit easier. He wanted snacks and candy. After the night’s duty watch there was nothing to eat; the canteen was closed. Being a mom, I sent candy but included granola bars, peanut butter and cracker snacks, and other items I thought were more nutritious too.
The Ma article provides a link to “Operation Gratitude Blog”, which has a link to a page that maps the nearest drop-off location for the sweet stuff.
If this seems to be an ideal way to avoid having Halloween candy in close reach for days and weeks after the big night plus do good, think ahead. Buy items a soldier might like. I’m sticking with my old pattern. Full size bars and snacks.
RECOVERY ADVICE In her article for Running.competitor.com, “Overcoming the Obstacle of Injury and Staying Sane During Recovery”, Neely Spence Gracey isn’t happy she’s injured. But she thinks there’s a positive side to taking time off to heal. “injuries suck,” she admits, and goes on to say they can be a part of success. There’s an opportunity to assess what factors came together to cause bodily harm, which in her case was running “too long”, adding other life stressors, and not resting enough. Does this sound familiar?
Gracey concludes that she pushed her body too hard, to the “point where it wasn’t able to keep up with recovery to match the training load.” However, “with smarter training and recognizing which factors we need to be more cautious with in the future, we can heal and get back to training with an even better plan toward success.”
I say “YES” while urging runners to be careful in defining “success”. Neely is one of the top female distance runners in America, says the brief bio-sketch at the end of the article, and enjoys the rigors of training and coaching others. At her career stage, as an elite athlete, being faster and smarter is a reachable goal. For others, the career goal may be similar, with performance at less than elite level.
It has been my goal for the past 5 years.
After enjoying these years training-for then recovering-from semi-annual half marathons, achieving slightly faster times, the thrill has diminished for me. And the desire to complete the longer distance race, the marathon, has NOT taken hold. My goals have turned 180 degrees and headed in the opposite direction.
I’ve heard other runners excitedly talk about taking on new and different challenges. Like hiking portions of the Appalachian Trail with a sibling, cycling across the state of Iowa with a spouse, and climbing to the highest point of each state with friends. Preparing for and attempting these kinds of events seem to offer a greater opportunity for social and cultural growth than weekly long training runs very early every Saturday morning.
More and more friends and family, young and old, no longer run because of time/life constraints or joint, bone, or soft tissue issues. They swim, cycle, workout on machines in the gym, or walk. But they miss running, still love running, wish they could be running.
I LOVE RUNNING. I want to keep doing it. I've become accustomed to my favorite personal events made possible with (bragging) Earned Runs bibs: New Years Day, Saints Days 5K and 10K, Boston Spirit, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, the Honor Series, Breast Cancer Awareness/Cookie String, Mom's birthday, Turkey Trot, my Birthday Run.
The thought of finding myself in that same situation down the road, quitting because my body will be harmed by it, is disquieting. No matter how safely I train, the possibility exists that injuries/degenerative changes will force the end of my running days. Full disclosure: I'm in recovery mode now, and re-thinking my running life going forward.
So, not to be getting too sad about it, let’s all keep in mind that SUCCESS need not be defined only as running faster, farther, or faster + farther more times each year. The mental healing process in recovery that Gracey writes about might include thinking about adding ways to enjoy exercise. “Who am I if I’m not a runner?” she says runners ask. We should ponder that question as we recover.
My take is that if you love to run, you’re a runner, despite not currently being able to run.
INNER THIGH STRENGTHENING HELP. Squats and side lunges are commonly recommended to runners and walkers to build lower body strength. One reason is that these exercises recruit and work the inner thigh muscles, the adductors, which assist other muscles in stabilizing the hip and knee to prevent wobbling. Apparently having strong adductors is important for cycling and swimming as well.
But if you don’t like squats and lateral lunges because they aren’t easy on your knees, you might have searched for other routines. I have. The need to strengthen this muscle group is brought to mind when I attempt single-leg balance exercises; they are difficult for me.
Jeanette Jenkins, The Hollywood Trainer, has provided a demonstration video with a number of exercises to work the adductors in “Best Ballet-Inspired Moves to Tone Inner Thighs” written by Lauren Mazzo. The focus by SHAPE.com on these moves being ‘ballet-inspired’ might turn some of you away. And the stated purpose of toning rather than strengthening.
However, if you catch the Nutcracker Ballet over the holidays and check out the legs of male and female dancers, there’s no doubt these athletes have strong legs and great balance. Jenkins includes squat moves, but there are other exercises from which to choose. The ‘diamonds’ can be done lying down (in front of TV!).
*Plie Squat, and *Plie Squeeze
*Inner Thigh Sweep, and *Inner Thigh Pulse
*Slide Up-and-Out Combo
*Demi- Plie and *Frogs
*Diamond, and *Reverse Diamond
Not thrilled with the idea of performing dance-inspired moves? Another article by Susan Lacke published in 2015 by Competitor.com offered a way to assess adductor strength and included exercises. The expert quoted in this piece, Kevin Laudner PhD, identified as a certified athletic trainer and professor of kinesiology at Illinois State University, commented “These inner thigh muscles are very important for a lot of athletic motions, but one of the key functions during swimming, biking, and running is stabilizing the pelvis and knee.” Laudner added, “When working in concert with other muscles, the adductors keep the hips and knees balanced, creating a natural alignment during these athletic motions”.
If you mentally replace the word “tone” with “strengthen”, Jenkins nicely demonstrated collection of adductor muscle exercises can expand the number of moves available to you for keeping hips and knees aligned.
EARNED RUNS WANTS TO GIVE YOU FREE COMPETITION BIBS. A set of 4. To use by yourself or with others. Why? To enable you to challenge yourself athletically without needing to register for, pay to participate in, or travel to an organized event. “Earned Runs BIBS can help motivate your efforts, track your progress, and record your successes”, says the HOME page heading. It isn’t necessary to let others determine the method, reason, or day, place, and time of your challenge.
Solo use: Run, walk, or exercise your way to meeting a physical activity goal with a bib pinned on your shirt, folded in a pocket, or posted on a refrigerator door or bulletin board. There are many ways to jump start the athletic life you wish to have. A gym membership, a running or walking buddy, group, or team, or expensive gear aren’t necessary.
The personal commitment to work toward an individual objective, utilizing a training plan, is required. An Earned Runs bib can be a tangible reminder of that objective and a symbol of your commitment. Resources to help you are found on the website. Blog posts keep you thinking about your quest and hopefully inspired to persevere.
Group use: Fun and camaraderie needn’t be expensive or a difficult scheduling issue when several or more people wish to join together in a social athletic event. Friends and family can join each other, even across distances, on special days. Earned Runs bibs can make such occasions ‘official’ events.
Check out the HOME page for more ideas of how to create personalized individual challenges or shared experiences.
WANTED: INFORMATION ON YOUR RUNNING ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS Runners and walkers have a chance to weigh in on matters that influence their participation in events by taking a RunningUSA survey. Many of the questions are rankings of what is most and least important to you when choosing a race or other activity to attend. Is it medals or t-shirts? Low fees? Chip timing? Expo experiences? Family involvement?
Other questions ask about past and expected future participation in running and walking races and non-running competitions. If the number of events you’ve entered has decreased, you’re asked to explain.
Those who have a desire to influence what organizers offer in the future should take the survey. Race directors are interested in ‘retention’; they want to have runners and walkers return year after year, and spread the word about their wonderful experiences.
After the fact, post-race reviews that complain about inconveniences or disappointments won’t be as effective in shaping the design of next year’s events as providing input now.
SUGAR SKULLS, ALTARS, CEMETERIES, MESO-AMERICAN CULTURE+ RACES! Have you heard of the central and southern Mexico festival “Dia de los Muertos”, or the “Day of the Dead”, celebrated November 1 and 2 of each year? The festival coincides with the Roman Catholic feasts of All Saints Day (11/1) and All Souls Day (11/2) which follow Halloween on October 31 (All Hallows Eve). According to the website MexicanSugarSkulls.com, the holiday is a combination of ancient beliefs about honoring the dead and the Catholic feast days, celebrated by the indigenous people living in that part of Mexico.
As a child I remember celebrating the ‘Saints” and “Souls’ Days of November in Church with my mother. As an adult I enjoy continuing the tradition.
Given the appetite in the US for the scary undead of all types and origins, like the virus-induced zombies of “World War Z” movie, the post-apocalyptic and pathogen-created ”Walking Dead” of Netflix fame, and the wights generated by the White Walkers in the Game of Thrones HBO series based on George RR Martin’s literary invention, it seems likely that people of our country would come to embrace a festival celebrating the deceased whom we love and dearly miss.
These tradition-rich Latino holy days have the inherent mysticism, beauty, and heart to bring people of all cultures together in many ways. Some will prefer to center their activities at altars and in cemeteries in the time-honored ways. Other will march in parades, enjoy delicious food, dress in costume, or express themselves artistically. And runners will create races!
In October 2015 I scoured the internet for Dias de los Muertos-related races; there were a few. In 2016 I noticed an attempt to raise awareness, outside of the ethnic communities, of celebrations that included races.
I think this holy day celebration for some is soon to become a holiday for many more, which promises to generate many more races. Images from past events on race organization websites show there are opportunities to run in costume and face-paint; runners are famous for wanting to express their creativity and sense of style in this manner.
My prediction last year that there will be an increasing number of novel, Dia de los Muertos-themed competitions in the coming years seems to be trending true. I think some endurance races may eventually be planned that run over several days to encompass the entire October 31through November 2 time period (or more convenient weekend dates preceding or following the exact days, like in Las Cruces NM). With the rise in popularity of the “sufferfest” obstacle course races, others may incorporate punishing elements in races to parallel afterlife suffering.
And mostly there will be shorter happier races held to celebrate a beautiful cultural feast, as more of us are given a chance to gain understanding and appreciation of another ethnic tradition.
WEEK 7 TURKEY TROT 2017WITH TRACK DAY 5K Beginner Training Plan
Monday is the first day of Week 7 of the 10-week plan. It’s also only 1 month until THANKSGIVING DAY!!! Aren’t you glad you started preparing so early? By giving yourself the extra weeks to build up aerobic capacity and endurance, and at the same time stretching, strengthening, and foam rolling, you have decreased your risk of injury and increased your chance of competing on that huge running holiday.
ANOTHER BONUS: you are building a solid base on which to train for other races in 2017. If and when you formulate those NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS, you will already have a strong training foundation.
The challenges you set for yourself will seem less daunting. What would have seemed nearly impossible on January 1 of next year, now may seem like ‘upping your game’. Perhaps you’ll want to run a longer distance race in the spring or finish your next 5K with a faster time.
Regardless, congratulate yourself on your accomplishment thus far, of perseverance…
THE 'EARNED RUNS' COMPANY NAME lends itself to an activity that may appeal to you as the Halloween holiday approaches. Nutrition specialist Cindy Ma wrote a fun piece for MyFitnessPal.com that actually has me thinking what specific candy I might want to “earn” in advance of or after October 31.
The infographic article, “Earn Your Favorite Halloween Candy” clearly demonstrates the differences that exist between candies in terms of energy required to 'burn' calories consumed. My favorites have always been Snickers bars, M&M Peanuts, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and KitKat bars, in that order. Considering that the minutes quoted account for eating just one snack/fun size of each treat, I’ll need to get busy this weekend working off the expected splurge: 22, 24, 30, and 19 minutes respectively FOR ONE OF EACH!.
A word of caution though. The calculations are based on expected calorie expenditure by average-sized males and females. Walkers and runners smaller/weighing less than those body types (5'3" female at 166 pounds and 5'8" male at 195 pounds) should anticipate a lower burn rate.
I probably won’t boost my exercise amount for this purpose, however. It is a mental trap for me to expect that more and more activity can accommodate higher calorie intake. There’s only so much time to exercise, and there’s a risk of injury in overdoing physical activity.
The best plan for me is to remain active and balance intake by cutting back on other yummy higher-calorie treat food and drink in the days before and after, if I plan to snack on Halloween candy.
CONFUSING ADVICE ABOUT STRETCHING If you read consistently about running and working out, you’ll be aware that most trainers and coaches who author articles in this area do not recommend static stretching prior to intense running or performance at events. There’s an almost universal caution NOT to perform passive or active static stretches pre-run or pre-performance.
We’re told to reserve them for the post-run cooldown period. The benefits of warming up with dynamic stretch exercises have been promoted. The usual explanation is that static (sometimes named as ‘passive’) warmup work can hurt and dynamic exercises can enhance performance.
All the Earned Runs training plans, which are adapted from respected coaches, have urged runners to perform static stretches after their hard workouts, in addition to foam rolling. Mobility and dynamic stretch exercises are scheduled before runs and races.
Recently an article by Aleisha Fetters for MyFitnessPal.com questions whether ANY stretching is beneficial AFTER a run/workout. “The Science Behind Skipping your Post-Workout Stretch” references expert William A. Sands PhD, the lead author of a recently published research review paper in the Strength and Conditioning Journal. Sands recommends a “warm-down” rather than stretching after an intense session of physical activity session to best recover muscle strength.
If we are to follow these recommendations, based on scientific studies, will there never be need for static stretching, as opposed to dynamic exercises? Will all trainers and coaches adopt this new thinking?
Earned Runs thinks that to try to answer these questions several concepts that are often bundled together should be addressed separately. First, it’s helpful to be clear about the different types of stretching. Second, the issue of stretch timing after exercise is important. Third, the difference between stretching to improve and maintain flexibility, as opposed to promoting muscle recovery after intense activity, must be recognized.
Different types of stretches
Seine Freeman BS, a strength and conditioning expert has provided the very best, although lengthy, article on stretching that I’ve found to date, in a piece, “To Stretch or Not To Stretch” (PDF). It’s been posted on the Earned Runs RESOURCES page since last year. This discussion provides a perfect opportunity to highlight what it offers.
“Running and distance walking make your legs strong, toned, and, unfortunately, tight” Freeman says. “After many miles,” your “hardworking muscles and tendons can develop imbalances, scar tissue, and tensions, slowing you down and paving the way for common overuse injuries.”
“The goal of stretching” Freeman says, “is to maintain an appropriate range of motion around specific joints,” especially for runners and walkers dedicated to regular, consistent training. With age, the elasticity of soft tissue decreases, so the benefits of stretching are greatest for “mature runners and walkers.”
Below is a summary of how Freeman explains the different TYPES of stretches. Much of her exact wording is used and it is NOT the work of Earned Runs; the article is best read in full as intended by the author.
*Static: stretching that is done to lengthen/stretch a muscle while the body is at rest, not moving. Slow fluid movements are used to get into the stretched position and this position is held for a period of time (usually at least 30 seconds and sometimes 60 or more seconds)
Active static stretching requires effort from the muscles of the body
Passive static stretching requires no effort and uses assistance from other sources
*Dynamic: stretching that is accomplished as you are moving/in motion. This kind of stretch is not held but activates and loosens muscles and tissue as it takes major joints through a full range of motions. Starting with gentler and slow repetitive movements, dynamic exercises gradually build to increase range of motion and speed, and are designed to prepare your body for the movements you plan to perform.
Freeman discusses the importance of regular, even daily, static stretches to overall flexibility. Doing so can “address muscle imbalances and asymmetries. Ultimately this will help to prevent overuse, especially if special attention is paid to stretches that reveal more tightness on one side than the other”. With regard to the topic of timing, she indicates stretching should occur after a warmup period.
There another dimension to stretch timing. WHEN, EXACTLY, IS THE PRE-RUN PERIOD in which the dynamic moves are best? Immediately before, like we see the track athletes doing on the infield or along the sideline of the oval just before their event is called? And WHEN, EXACTLY, IS THE TIME PERIOD IN WHICH PASSIVE STRETCHING IS ‘BAD’? Immediately before, 30 minutes, or an hour before a tough run, workout, or race? And specifically, when is it not a good idea, afterward.
The research review article with lead author Sands, featured by Fetters, does not provide new evidence. It discusses previous research, and includes a sentence that mentions passive static stretching. There is one reference for the statement “neither hot or cold or stretching for 15 minutes after stairclimbing exercise was effective in recovery with equivalent control and experimental groups up to 72 hours after exercise”.
That 2008 reference, “Effect of Postexercise Recovery Procedures Following Stairclimb Running” looked at 20 club and elite level rowers who performed an exhaustive exercise designed to cause muscle damage. Subjects rested, performed 15 minutes stretching (8 stretches x 2), or went through a hot/cold water immersion protocol immediately after the exercise and at 24, 48 and 72 hours. Before and at 72 hours after the session of exhaustive stairclimb running, performance tests were administered. Blood levels of an enzyme released by damaged muscle were measured and participants rated muscle soreness after the exercise and at 24, 48, and 72 hours.
The results did not reveal a difference between the 3 types of recovery methods with regard to “significant strength or performance benefits” or alleviation of perceived muscle soreness. The study did not test the effect of these methods on flexibility, performance, or injury tendency at the same time intervals or much later in the rowing season.
The focus of the research review referenced by Aleisha Fetters is on elite, or near-elite level performance and muscle soreness within 3 days of an exercise designed to cause muscle damage. The focus of Seine Freeman’s advice on stretching is to help average, everyday runners and walkers prevent overuse injuries related to imbalances and asymmetries.
It seems that what is often reported about static stretching in running articles (“don’t do it”) refers to its effects on peak performance relatively soon after a tough workout. The research says it’s no worse than other methods. On the other hand, general health oriented literature indicates the majority of non-elite athletes would benefit from daily maintenance stretching to stay healthy and avoid injury problem (”do it”).
The most judicious course of action seems to be to regularly perform static stretching to remain flexible, as flexibility is a measure of health especially with advancing age and can help keep runners and walkers on the road, doing what they love. The caveat: don’t time static stretches just before events to enhance performance or after very intense workouts to speed recovery.
One last bit of science. A recently published study concluded that collegiate trainers seem to “underuse the current research evidence” on pre- and post- activity static versus dynamic stretching. It may be that, on the contrary, their practical experience leads them to differentiate between stretching for performance enhancement versus injury prevention in the prescription of stretching exercise type.
Athletes interested in preserving function and enjoying years of problem-free exercise activity might benefit from discriminating between advice to improve performance and that which aims to maintain overall health.
LOWER LEG MOBILITY MAY HELP LOWER RUNNING AGE
Eric Cressey, the creator of a Running.Competitor.com video article, “Monday Minute: Wall Ankle Mobilization”, says the routine demonstrated in it “is a great way to help identify” problems with the lower leg and foot. It helps with problems that involve the Achilles tendon as well as plantar fasciitis, and increase ankle strength and mobility. Performing the routine doesn’t require much time. It is simple and something I’ve done after runs (sometimes in the middle of tough runs) to quickly reduce lower leg stiffness.
There have been a couple of posts in 2016 that concerned ankle and foot health. The September 6, 2016 blog “JOINT THAT REFLECTS A RUNNERS AGE”, reported on research that indicated that what makes runners show their age, is related to reduced ankle function during the stance portion of the running stride.
The blog provided an link to a physical therapy website page, “GMB Fix Your Feet” by Jarto, a website page that provides information and routines to improve foot and ankle health. The physical therapist first introduces the basic anatomy and movements in these structures, then discusses the importance of working on this area, and lastly how to incorporate the demonstrated exercises (foot mobility and strength, calf stretches, self-massage) in a training routine.
The later BLOG feature, “2017: YEAR OF HAPPY FEET AND ANKLES; BUILD RUNNING STRENGTH FROM THE FEET UP” was posted January 3, 2017. It highlighted an article by Allison Pattillo for Competitor.com, which reminded runners of the importance of foot strength. In it she quotes Eric Orton, an endurance athlete and coach. “The health of our feet, good or bad, relates to our run health”.
Orton goes on to say, “If you really think about it, our feet are the only thing touching the ground”, and “We are only as strong as our feet.” The athlete-coach indicates that exercises which focus on the foot and even ankle, hip, and spine muscles “that are often overlooked, are essential when it comes to developing healthy patterns in running muscles.”
If you’re looking for a quick addition to your regular routine that will possible help you appear younger as you run, and keep you running into later years, Cressey’s ankle mobilization trick may become a go-to move. If you’re looking to perform much more ankle and foot work, possible because this is a problem area for you, check out the GMB piece.
FREE 3M™ BRILLIANT REFLECTIVE STRIPS SAMPLE. It will be getting darker out on the road in November when the time change occurs, when much of the nation will switch from Daylight Saving to Standard Time. Before that day, November 5, 2017, there are Halloween- and Day of the Dead-themed events that will be held at night
Check out the RESOURCES page under the “SAFETY” section for a link to the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) General Running Safety Tips guidelines sheet. Remember that wearing white will not make you visible in the darkness. Best to wear clothing with reflective material or to run with lights; those that blink will more readily be noticed.
Consider that you will need to be seen from all directions, front, back, and sides. Apparel with this type of material can be expensive and frequently there is only a small amount of it on the shirt sleeves, pant legs, or cap. One way to enhance visibility is to stick or iron on reflective strips. Ironing can be a tricky business.
Earned Runs is giving a FREE sample of 3M™Scotchlite BRILLIANT Reflective (stick on) strips to those who request bibs, while supplies last. If you already have bibs, contact Earned Runs by email. Identify the address to which the bibs were mailed (it’s how we track bibs) and a sample will be mailed.
3M says in its advertising material that the strips can be seen up to 500-700 feet away. In a picture of the strips, the medium blue color is what is seen in daylight conditions. In darkness (my closet) the flash went off and the result is a brilliant white blaze where the material is stuck into a running jacket. This is what is said to happen when headlights hit the material. It what happens to the jacket I bought a couple years ago that has huge panels of reflective material (>50% of the lower portion). It's not sold anymore, unfortunately.
Since the samples are the stick-on type, the best way to utilize this non-permanent strip is on apparel that won’t be washed. The company doesn’t comment, but this makes sense. Keep in mind that any adhesive material can mark a surface after removal, so be careful in selecting apparel for this purpose.
The strips can be purchased as iron-ons or stick-ons, and in different colors (red, blue, black, purple). The iron-ons can survive 50 washes 3M says.
There are other ways/devices to go "hi-viz", butthe strips might help in certain circumstances.
NOTE: Stick on a running/walking buddy dog's leash or collar! Use on Halloween night to make Trick-or-Treating safe.
BREAKING THE CYCLE of winter flabbiness, inspiration for Earned Runs, potential fun getaway activity AND foundation for a streak?
“Part of the November Project's success is that it addresses some fundamental barriers that stop us from exercising, like weather or financial cost.” In an article for CBC Sports, “November Project Aims to Remove Financial, Motivational Barriers to Exercise” Adam Kreek describes his experience at a December 2015 session in Victoria BC, Canada, and tells a bit of the NP creation story. This free fitness movement, he explains, was founded in 2011 in Boston by two former collegiate rowers, Bojan Mandaric and Brogan Graham, who had difficulty staying in shape during cold New England months.
Locations have grown to include multiple locations (I count 44), mostly cities across North America (USA, Canada) but also some in the UK (London), Europe (Amsterdam, Netherlands; Novi Sad, Serbia; Reykjavik, Iceland), and Asia (Hong Kong, Malaysia). The movement motivates and encourages “people of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels to get out of their beds and get moving”. Activities are scheduled in early mornings, many in the dark in the winter months.
Learning about the NP movement in 2012, (see WBUR’s CommonHealth piece) I was inspired! I lived in a small city. Could I successfully start a tribe there? Or was it another organized fitness activity I had to pass up due to circumstance? At that time I was struggling with how to feel part of the larger running community; yearning to participate in fun races that circumstances and finances would not allow. Eventually I came up with the concept of EarnedRuns™, which is like a micro-NP that also aims to remove the barrier of financial cost and bring people together (groups of 4 or less!) to have fun running, regardless of the size of their city.
Many are now ABLE TO JOIN this “grass roots morning fitness tribe” since the movement has spread so far. To read more and FIND LOCATIONS there is a link to the website and an early article about NP beginnings.
“Nomad” is an NP, “one-time pop-up version of the program” that was launched in 2014, according to a Portland Press Herald item that appeared in November that year in advance of the first Nomad session there. The purpose of pop-ups is to “scout the potential for future November Project locations.” The most recent Nomad was held in Bethlehem PA, on October 14, 2016. It appears that Dallas TX was added as a permanent location in summer 2017.
If you’d like to join this early morning, big city workout experience, alongside elites and novices, check the list for the nearest or ‘destination’ location. Many hold sessions on Wednesdays only, but others schedule Monday and Friday meet-ups too. If travel is required, a Friday morning session allows you to get the hard work done at the very beginning of a unique weekend getaway.
It’s FREE; if you’re on a budget what a fun way to get to know a city and find friends. Yes, you can register for a big urban race in one of these places, but consider running with the locals at a 6:30am November Project session. The amount saved in registration fees can be donated to a local or national charity, used to buy TGIF beer in celebration with new-found buddies, or fund another Friday getaway.
?Streak the NPs!
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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