Archive for October, 2011

Proper Shoe Selection

Posted: October 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 Selecting the proper shoes for your biomechanical needs can be overwhelming and confusing.  It’s further complicated by the number of choices and the lack of product knowledge by most staff in running stores. 

Determining your foot type is step one in this important process.  Understanding your foot type allows you to narrow your focus to the genre of shoe that’s designed specifically for you.  For instance, there are 3 basic categories of shoes (i.e., stability, neutral and cushioned).  One of the best ways to determine your foot type is to step on a dark towel after you shower.  This footprint will reveal the type of foot you have.  Look closely at the arch area to determine whether you have a flat foot, a high arch or a normal foot. 

Someone with a flat foot will barely see an indentation in the area of the arch.  A high arched runner will have an extremely cut-away in this area and and normal foot will have a slight cut away (see below):

This diagram is a perfect illustration for determining the type of shoe required for the aforementioned foot types.  Once you know the type or genre of shoe the next step is to visit a reputable running store and try on several models from that category.  Fit is the ultimate deciding factor in selecting a proper shoe.  It’s better to try on shoes after a run or later in the day when your feel have fully expanded.  I purchase all of my running shoes from Marathon Sports because their staff is the best trained and can be instrumental in ensuring you are fitted to the best shoe.  They will analyze your gait and allow you to test the shoes on a treadmill or outside the store.  Runners tend to wear their shoes too short so be sure you allow one thumbs width of space between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe.  Don’t worry about the size on the box as they can vary considerably between manufacturers.

Running shoes will likely be one of your most expensive investments so it’s important to take great care of your shoes.  While expensive, it’s been proven that rotating two pairs of shoes will last longer than 3-4 pairs of shoes worn individually.  Your shoes require rest just like you.  Most midsoles are composed of EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate or air blown rubber) and contain thousands of air bubbles that act as shock absorbers for the 3+ times your body weight that you place on your lower extremities with each foot strike.  It requires 24-48 hours for these compressed air bubbles to expand back to their full resiliency.  Your midsoles will wear out prematurely if not allowed to return to full strength.

Treat your running shoes like the family pet and they will last longer.  Don’t place them in the washer or dryer and certainly don’t leave them in your car, particularly on a hot or extremely cold day.  Be proactive in replacing your shoes by introducing a new pair long before your current shoes are exhausted.  You can literally become injured by waiting too long to replace your shoes.  Your feet go through an exaggerated gait when wearing shoes with a compressed midsole or extremely worn outsole.  A new shoe narrows the gait considerably and can ‘shock’ your tendons and ligaments and place additional stress on them.  Having a plan and strategy for your shoes will reduce the risk of injury and provide more enjoyable running.

Running is a relatively simple and uncomplicated activity.  Taking the mystery out of shoe selection is relatively uncomplicated once you determine your foot type.  Selecting a shoe for your foot type, providing proper care to your shoes, rotating and replacing them between 400-600 miles are the keys to success!

Proper Running Form

Posted: October 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

Dedicating more attention to developing proper running form is time well spent.  Running properly requires a lower expenditure of effort and energy.  Additionally, you will place less stress on your lower extremities which significantly reduces the risk of injury.

The foundation of proper running form is the placement of your head.  I witness so many runners focusing on the road just a few feet in front of them.  While it’s important to periodically check the surface you’ll soon be approaching, your head should be focusing ahead and at the horizon.  Your shoulders, torso and hips are more likely to fall into place if your head is properly positioned.

Shoulders should be in a low and relaxed position.  Many runners carry a lot of tension and stress in their shoulders which unnecessarily drains them of energy.  The torso should be kept upright…bending forward will cause the hips to tilt forward and place stress on your lower back.

A common mistake is to overstride.  Intuitively it makes complete sense to think the longer your stride the more ground you will cover.  However, the cost of energy to propel your body weight the length of an excessive stride and what happens upon impact is too high a price to pay.  Keeping your feet beneath your body at a stride rate of 180 SPM (steps per minute) is ideal and minimizes the stress on joints and ligaments.  Attempt to land softly with a powerful lift-off with each footstrike. 

Running form tends to deteriorate throughout the run, particularly when energy levels diminish and fatigue sets in.  Being mindful of your body position and form throughout your run will serve you well.  Proper running form will allow you to cover your normal distance with far less effort.  So place more attention on maintaining proper form throughout each run and you’ll experience many of the aforementioned benefits for your effort!

Running Blog Update

Posted: October 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

I will be updating my running blog from to  This transition should be completely transparent to you except during the 24-48 hours it takes to update.  You will continue to receive notifications of new postings.

Thank you so much for supporting my blog!

New Marathon World Record

Posted: October 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

Patrick Makau-Like A Kenyan!

This is an extremely exciting time for marathoning throughout the world!  Patrick Makau of Kenyan recently broke the world record by running 2:03:38 in the BMW Berlin Marathon.  Previous WR holder, Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, was also in the race but pulled out at 27 kilometers with stomach issues.

Makau beat Gebrselassie’s record of 2:03:59 by 21 seconds by running an average pace of 4:43 per mile over the marathon distance…simply amazing.  Can the 2:00 hour marathon be far away?  The 4 minute mile seemed beyond reach until Roger Bannister surpassed that mark with a time of 3:59.4 in 1954.  Just 46 days another runner broke Bannister’s record with a time of 3:57.9. 

Once a record is broken there tends to be seismic gains in record times.  The Chicago Marathon is this Sunday and Ryan Hall will be the top-seeded American runner.  He ran 2:04:55 in Boston this year and was 4th overall, the fastest time run by an American EVER!  His Kenyan competitors credited him with the the record breaking times by taking the pace our quickly from the start and pushing the Africans to the end. 

The New York Marathon is November 6th and the field is stacked!  The Marathon Olympic Trials will be held in Houston on January 14, 2012 and the men and women will compete on the same course with the respective starts just 15 minutes apart.  The course is extremely spectator friendly so you’ll be able to see the field multiple times.  I will definitely be there to watch America’s top marathoning prospects battle for the coveted top 3 positions to represent the United States in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

There is so much excitement happening in the marathon world for the next 10 months…don’t miss it!

Ryan Hall 2:04:55 in Boston 2011!

An Ounce Of Prevention…

Posted: October 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

Runners tend to be extremely determined and disciplined.  These attributes serve them well most, but not all, of the time.  When a slight ache or pain appears the tendency is to weather the storm and push through it.  Cutting back on the distance or intensity of a run isn’t inherent in most runner’s chemistry.  Afterall, we’re motivated to overcome obstacles and meet the next challenge with determination.

A well-timed and much-needed rest day is as important to achieving your running goals as a great workout.  Runners tend to learn lessons the hard way rather than listening to the advice of a coach, physician or an insightful and objective friend.  Losing running time to an injury that could easily have been avoided is the best elixir for enlightenment.  The first course of action tends to be ingesting 800 mg. (or more) of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory which I am not a fan of at all.

RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) should be part of every runner’s vocabulary and protocol for treating aches and pains.  There are also a host of homeopathic options (e.g., Bosweillia, Turmeric, Bromelain, Ginger and Quercetin & Rutin) that are far less damaging to your liver. 

Aches and pains are a constant companion for most runners, particularly those training for a marathon, and the line between normal pain and a potential long-term injury can be extremely blurry.  The best advice is to err on the side of caution. It’s far better (physically and mentally) to take a day or two of active or complete rest than to be forced to take a much longer time off  due to an injury that easily could have been prevented!

Many runners spend the last few miles of training runs and races thinking about one thing…the end!  Consequently, the cool-down is the most overlooked aspect of running.

A thorough cool-down is as important as a gradual warm-up.  It’s important to allow your body to gradually return to normal levels of recovery.  Shifting the focus in the closing miles of a run or a race to a proper cool-down will yield signficant benefits.  The most effective cool-down should include at least a mile of running at less than 70% effort of your hardest miles, followed immediately by a thorough routine of dynamic or static stretching, rolling my muscles out thoroughly with the Roll Recovery R8 and a well-thought out recovery meal.  My best runs include a good warm-up and cool down on my spinning bike accompanied by 10-15 minutes of yoga.

In terms of recovery liquids and food, I like to replace sodium quickly and pickle juice is a great choice.  I know that doesn’t sound any more appealing than an ice bath but the truth can be painful!  Chocolate soy milk or chocolate flavored coconut water also have the perfect ratio of carbohydrates to protein and has always been my top choices as a recovery drink.  Almond butter is always a great option; either on a bagel, an almond butter and jelly sandwich or in a Bananarama (i.e., yogurt, bananas, protein powder, ice and almond butter).  Whole wheat salted pretzels are another good choice.

Giving more thought to your cool-down will provide tremendous benefits to your running.  You’ll be more flexible, less likely to become injured and better prepared for subsequent runs. 

It’s also a great time to reflect on how fortunate you are to be a runner!