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There's an interesting series of articles in Science in Sport covering the pros, cons and history of barefoot running, running shoes, biomechanics -- the whole deal.  In particular: barefootin' keeps the foot arch active, which is good for keeping arches archy; different running shoes for, eg, pronators have no effect on injury rates (voodoo science ftw!); barefootin' is over-reported because it's all cheerleaders and none of the people who mullered their calves and then gave up (as I did on my first pass: second time around, more methodical, and it's taking).  Also this, which is very relevant to the 'jogging explosion' , my personal running history and mass-participation sport in general: a 200lb+ non-runner just wouldn't have started to run at all before the modern cushioned shoe, so even if he ends up on minimal shoes, the journey would have warranted some nice plush stuff initially.


Dec. 29th, 2009 08:12 pm
andygates: (Default)
Guess what?  I CAN RUN AGAIN!  A wardrobe malfunction meant I missed the gym, so when I got in I suited up for a little easy jog - 17 minutes with a few dashes.  Knees: GOLDEN.  Calves cramping, feet aching, glutes startled, shins tweaking, but that's just conditioning.  The bad knee is not bad!

Jack's back, baby, Jack's back. :D

So for reference that's 8 weeks off running, most of that time off the bike as well, for running through an obvious Something Wrong for several hours.  I've put on over half a stone too.  Let that be a lesson to any macho types - when it goes sproing you stop.  It might have healed a bit faster if I'd been a tad more religious about the physio, too...

Now to re-learn to run with lots more medial glute action.  But hey, the gym is 2km from work, perfect warm-up and warm-down distance (on nice days!).
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Serious Running (by andygates)Well, I made 20 miles before all the wheels fell off my wagon.

Wot happened )

This one is not 'unfinished business'

What went wrong? )

Photos are here

andygates: (triathlon swim bike run animation)
Next Sunday is the marathon run.  I hear that one carb-loads for such things, and that carb-loading isn't just a big bowl of pasta the night before.  Edumacate me!


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I don't usually do the charity fundraiser thing - I'm awfully shy about asking people for cash and it seems rude and slightly weird when I'm having fun.  But this Druid Challenge muddy marathon is different - it's keeping me awake with good old existential dread. 

So the charity thing is a hook.  It's the big ol' "you can't back down now, boy" that's going to keep me going at mile seventeen when the end is still out of sight and the sleet is coming down.  Yes, I'm exploiting cute little orphan children to push me to the finish.  No, of course I have no morals.

What charity?  Red Cross - "unconditional care in a crisis" is as close to universal good guys as you're going to find.

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For today's run, I went out with my regular rucksack and a Platypus bladder.  This was all state-of-the-art in 2002 when I bought it for hiking and biking, but the bag (loaded with a dummy load of fleece et al) was pretty bouncy on the run and worse than that, the platty bladder was crinkly like unto a heavy crisp bag.  A very chatty load.

So, dear flist, what running hydration backpacks do you like?  Is the current generation of Camelbak bladder quieter - would swapping the bladder alone be a smart fix?  Are there running backpacks that really do stay put like unto a blasphemous monkey/limpet hybrid?
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After falling on my head, I've signed up to race the Druid Challenge.  Not all of it - it's an 85 mile ultramarathon - but the last day, along the Ridgeway from Wantage to Avebury.  Near as dammit a marathon.  In seven weeks' time. 

I think "WTF" covers everything.

So, training plan.   I love me some plans.  Looking around, all marathon plans have a taper between 2 and 3 weeks, and most don't go up to race distance for noobs like me.  Runners World's Basic Marathon Plan peaks at 16-18 miles; the alternative FIRST Plan peaks at 20 miles and tapers longer.  The rest of the week is variously structured, so the traditional "long run at the weekend, couple of short runs in the week" rough outline ought to do.  Build up the distance to a peak leaving 2 weeks to taper down. 

Now, where the hell can I find long offroad tracks to train on? 
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I want to do more running this winter than I did last winter, and that means I'm going to need some illumination -- the gym will kick me out eventually, and I'm rural, and I like running on country roads at night.  Right now I've got two head-torches that aren't up to the job: an old camping one with a regular bulb (man, I feel old) and a tiny emergency one that's ace for emergency repairs / tent fun, but doesn't throw enough of a beam to run freely.

So, what do folks recommend?  I'm looking to run on and offroad in pitch darkness, so powerful light scores more highly than burn time (this isn't for overnighting).  The Petzl Myolite 3 is looking good, so's the CatEye Tora.  Any opinions?  Any other brands to suggest?
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Took the FiveFingers out for a proper run (albeit a short one) for the first time just now, on mixed surfaces, mostly pavement.

They're really going to beast / build my soleus and tibialis - the columnar muscles in the calf.  After two miles / 15 minutes I have the most preposterous lower-leg pump and not much else, so further results will come when the lower legs are up to spec!  I'll definitely be feeling that tomorrow.

I can feel my toes trying to grip the road and, unlike when that happens inside a shoe, they're actually getting purchase and data.  A bit too grippy, I think, but give me time to acclimatize.  Running on grass is a childish delight; sprinting on grass is silly-grin stuff.  Running on dirt is interesting.  Running on pavement isn't as bad as you might think - there's some skill in getting the heel dab right (not too much or you jar, not too little or you're on tip-toes all the way round). 

The feeling of "foot euphoria" was back, and I was scampering across surfaces just to see how they felt.  Yes, scampering, it's that kind of vibe.

There's this notion I have for gear, a sort of "enhanced nakedness" - gear that powers you up but doesn't take away from the essential human animal making it all work; the power-ups can be trivial or paradigm-changing, but they're all forgettable to the user, blending in.  Or something.  There's a riff on superhero outfits and bicycles here, but it needs refining.  Anyway, the fivefingers fit into this class of kit: they're just a buff for bare feet.  Compare to the Nike Rift, which is all split and clever, but still boingy. 
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Very serious-looking photos of [profile] fialta and me from respective half-marathons are hiding behind the cut.  Sorry, [profile] xeeny, it looks like you were just too bloody fast for the camera!
Clicky! )
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Bloody hell, I aten't dead.  Despite the illness, injury, turned ankle, storms, utter lack of training, the Somme theme park and plagues of locusts, I somehow managed to pull in a 2:22 finish.  It's a par with my personal-worst, but this time I was 'training through'.

Time for a nice glass of red.
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Boom! Shake, shake, shake the room!Normally when I say "blowout" I mean pizza with a side of wildebeest, but this was a tyre at 65 on the way to the first race of the year.

And in lieu of the official race results and photos, here's an ultramungous composite of the facade of Longleat House.  (Yes, I have blending issues)
andygates: (triathlon swim bike run animation)
Where's the daftest place to run a marathon?  Antarctica, that's where: Eighty degrees south and minus ten on the start line, and Tri-Talk nutter EZ Duzzet completed the Antarctic Ice Marathon in a time of 7:02.  His full race report is here

It's just gratuitously bonkers.  In a good way.
andygates: (triathlon swim bike run animation)
I've shaken off the worst of the man-flu, but am still incredibly weak and frangible.  Today was my cut-off day, and today it was all I could manage to do forty-five minutes of yard work or walk two miles slowly with my Trusty Stick.  And that with dizziness, blobby vision, shakes and that weird near-tearful exhaustion that's nothing to do with mood but you're almost sobbing anyway.  So a half-marathon next week?  I think not.  This had better not go bloody post-viral or I'll have to have Words.

So if you've got a hankering to run the Taunton Half Marathon on April 1st, let me know and I'll send you my race pack.  There's a number and a timing chip and everything.  I'd hate to see the thing wasted. 


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