19 September 2009

Baby steps - The run walk run build up method

Well after a year off running this week I've taken my first, 'baby steps', back to hopefully some regular running.

The goal at this stage is to get through a ten week run / walk / run programme that gradually increases the time spent running and gets my body use to running again hopefully without stressing it too quickly.

The 10 week plan goes like this;

Week 1, walk 1 minute, run 1 minutes, 7 reps, total 14 minutes
Week 2, walk 1 minute, run 2 minutes, 5 reps, total 15 minutes
Week 3, walk 1 minute, run 3 minutes, 4 reps, total 16 minutes
Week 4, walk 1 minute, run 4 minutes, 4 reps, total 20 minutes
Week 5, Walk 1 minute, run 5 minutes, 4 reps, total 24 minutes
Week 6, walk 1 minute, run 6 minutes, 4 reps, total 28 minutes
Week 7, walk 1 minute, run 7 minutes, 4 reps, total 32 minutes
Week 8, Walk 1 minute, run 8 minutes, 4 reps, total 36 minutes
Week 9, walk 1 minute, run 9 minutes, 4 reps, total 40 minutes
Week 10,walk 1 minute, run 10 minutes, 4 reps, total 44 minutes

I'll be running three times a week in addition to also keeping up my swimming, biking, stretching and strengthening.

It might seem pretty tedious, and for some the thought of taking a walking break just wouldn't bare thinking about, but as far as I'm concerned I'm in no rush and is this is what I have to do to get back to regular running then I'm fine with it.

I imagine the first few weeks will be pretty slow in terms of speed while I just concentrate on getting my running form right.

Don't expect to see a lot of posts here detailing every run. Other than updating my training log (check out the link at top of page) I'm going to keep things pretty low key until I'm confident with how things are progressing.

Thanks to the team at Complete Running for the Run Walk Run programme.


13 September 2009

Arrivial of the Newton Running trainers

My new (well not exactly as they are a trial pair which have done about 30 miles, nice price though) Newton trainers arrived during the week.

It is early days and we are still getting to know each other but initial thoughts are that they feel comfortable and they are considerably lighter than my Adidas trainers. The forefoot cushioning is actually firmer that I was expecting. I was a little surprized that the shoes have very little flex through the toe box though. Overall they have considerably less cushioning through the heel when compared with my Adidas. That's obviously intended as the shoe is specifically to accommodate a mid foot striking runner.

So far I have done one short run (with regular walk breaks) in them on Saturday which was on grass. I expect once I experience running on pavement I may notice the cushioning some more.

Will keep you posted how these shoes go.


10 September 2009

Dean Karnazes - Ultramarathon man

l recently obtained from our public library Dean Karnazes' original book, Ultra marathon Man.

This was another fascinating read from the man who has really taken the sport of ultra running to another level both in terms of the challenges he has dreamt up to continue testing the limits of his endurance but also for the profile of ultra running which he has been able to lift through smart marketing of himself and the sport.

I'll admit to being feeling a bit short changed when I first met Dean at one of his public speaking engagements while on a down-under tour some three years ago. He came across as a bit of a smart alec who seemed happy cracking jokes rather that enlightening us on how and why he runs the distances he's famous for.

In reality though I new very little about the man at that time and now having read two of his books its clear that as much as he is a runner devoted to pushing his limits and discovering new extremes of physical endurance, he is also a devoted husband and father. He is an extraordinarily driven person who has unbelievable willpower and courage to fight through the toughest of conditions to achieve his goals. He has also raised countless dollars for needy children through his running.

This book takes us back to his childhood, growing up in Los Angeles and gives an insight into the athlete he would one day become when as a twelve year old he cycled for ten hours across LA to his grandparents' house. He was a gifted cross country athlete at high school, competing against and beating kids several years his senior.

After falling out with a college coach he turned away from running until, as if suffering from a mid life crisis, on his 30th birthday he laced up some old running shoes and promptly ran a marathon in the dead of night after returning home from some birthday drinks. He had not run mile for over ten years.

One thing led to another and within a few short years he found himself at the start line of the famed Western States 100 mile endurance run.

The book goes on to explain in detail, and in very entertaining fashion, the nitty gritty of the life of an endurance athlete. The ups and downs, highs and lows that he has faced while putting himself through the pain and suffering of the Badwater Ultra marathon, attempting to run a marathon to the South Pole (yes that's the South Pole in Antarctica!), and running a 199 mile endurance race solo, in which every other competitor was doing so as part of a relay team.

If Dean ever gives up running he could quite easily become a writer as the book was a very easy read which kept me interested the whole way through. There were several 'laugh out loud' moments as I pictured the scenes of suffering that Dean was so accurately describing. The chapter on 'soiling the Lexus' just had me in stitches.

If you haven't read this book yet, I can highly recommend it as an entertaining and inspirational read.


02 September 2009

The hunt is over - a decision has been made

My hunt for a new pair of running shoes has taken me to three separate running shoe stores in search of the perfect shoe. Not all shoe stores are created equal though as I found out, and as posted about here.

Two stores did however stand out, giving quality customer service, having excellent knowledge and making good use of video running gait technology were. These stores were Shoe Clinic and Shoe Science. I visited the Albany branch of both stores and was equally impressed with the sales persons knowledge and friendliness and could easily have purchased shoes from either store.

It was interesting though the running shoe recommendations they came up with.

In the case of Shoe Clinic I was recommended the Brooks Adrenaline GTS9. A structured stability shoe that adequately kept my not too excessive pronation in check.

Shoe Science on the other hand recommended the Adidas Salvation, another Stability / control shoe which offered a superbly cushioned ride and controlled my pronation well. Of the two the Adidas was my favorite.

Neither store was able to offer me a shoe for mid foot running though Shoe Science suggested the New Balance MR 800 as being a good mid foot shoe . Unfortunately they had little stock and are waiting for the next model, the MR 801, to come out in the next month or two.

As great as the Adidas felt, the one shoe I have been reading about all year but just have not been able to get my hands on, due to New Zealand stores not stocking them, is a pair of Newtons, from Newton Running.

Newton Running produce a shoe specifically designed to accommodate the naturally efficient running gait of a mid foot landing runner. The shoes incorporate a radically different forefoot cushioning technology, termed Action / Reaction Technology by the folk at Newton. The design incorporates four external actuator lugs which upon landing are depressed into hollow chambers inside the shoes mid sole.

The revolutionary sole of a Newton Shoe. photo from runtotri.blogspot.com

These shoes seem to be a perfect fit for the style of running that I'm going to persevere with, and that's a mid foot running gait, specifically the style promoted by Danny Dreyer known as Chi Running .

As I've said these shoes are hard to track down here but I was lucky enough to stumble upon the local importer's website. Evidently the shoes are often on display and available for trial at events around the country. As it happens once these trial shoes have run up a few K's they are then sold off at way less than half price.

Given my history of injury and failed comebacks, I was naturally wary about forking out $260 for a pair of radical shoes that I haven't even been able to try on before. Instead for $110 I can pick up a used pair that may have done 20 or 30 miles at most - and still with plenty of life left in them. So the other night I took the plunge and ordered a pair online.

I am about to join the world of Newton Running - wish me luck.


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