Archive for June, 2012

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Get “Up”!

June 23, 2012

Anyone can be a runner. Lace up some sneakers (or not) and put some bounce in your step. It is that easy, right? We agonize over everything from footwear to underwear to nipple-wear. Hydration, nutrition, and compression are meticulously prepared. The problem is that we rarely stop to think about how we are running. It is easy to focus on tangible things- objects that can be acquired and then strapped on, taped up, or rubbed over various body parts. When injuries still occur, it is easy to blame a faulty or worn out product. Not to worry, we all do it. I do it plenty.

This is not to suggest that those things are not important. They are all crucial in their own ways. What we need to realize is that once we start calling ourselves runners and logging increased mileage, we also have to pay attention to the mechanics of that motion. Even a novice runner should be able to notice differences in posture between the start of a run and its end. Form can change throughout a run, and throughout a lifetime. Runners should try to focus more on their movements than on what their GPS watch is displaying. Paying attention to form has the potential to reduce injury, maximize efficiency, and increase speed.

Doing the 100 Up exercise on grass after a speed workout (should have ditched the sneakers, I know)

The importance of form in running is why I recently started doing the 100-Up exercise. There was a challenge that began in mid-April 2012, hosted by a Richmond store that specializes in minimalist sneakers and natural running. Folks from all over joined the aptly-named Natural Running Store to find out whether performing one drill for 30 days could change the way they ran. For me, this repetitive motion exercise would focus on better posture and leg motion. It would also help teach my legs a better technique for how to land on my feet. With plenty of recent knee and Achilles pains, I had my share of skepticism. But having read the New York times article by Born to Run author Christopher McDougall that supported the exercise, I was optimistic about the potential to help my form.
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Hey Dad, You Wanna Have A Run?

June 15, 2012

If you have seen the movie “Field of Dreams,” you may get the title reference. If not, go watch it. The blog will still be here when you return. Seriously, go. Or at the very least, watch this clip from the end of the film. I got through exactly 49 seconds before I had to turn it off so as not to start crying.

This year for Father’s Day, I want to dedicate a special post to, you guessed it, my dad. But since this is a running blog, I will frame the story through that lens. My dad is a runner. Before there were fad diets and weight loss blogs, my dad dropped well over 50 pounds on the “Slim Fast and lots of running” plan. But this was no passing fancy for him. Well over 15 years later, it remains a big part of his routine. When I was a kid, he would see people from his childhood or early adulthood who would flat out not recognize him.

Like so many kids, I struggled with weight and body image. It was the “you haven’t grown into your body yet” phase. Despite a slightly heavier build, I always seemed to have some amount of athleticism, and tons of love for athletics. So when my dad started his running regiment, I enjoyed tagging along. There were two different routines we had during those early days. One was with me riding my bike next to him as he ran a 4-mile loop around our neighborhood. It was not until much later I began to realize how much harder he must have been running while trying to keep up with the goofy son pedaling out ahead of him. Despite that, he would still put his hand on my back and help push me up hills when I struggled. Read the rest of this entry ?

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National Running Day

June 5, 2012

This week, Runner: On the Right is running, and vacationing, on the left. The left coast, that is. So here is just a friendly reminder to everyone that Wednesday, June 6, is National Running Day!

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Where will you run to celebrate? A new adventure or an old favorite? Alone or with a buddy? Share your plans and results in the comments section!

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