RRCA State Rep?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Monday, February 27, 2017

I Run Far via Outside On-LineWhen Stopping After A Hundred Miles Is A Bad Day

Courtney Dauwalter breaks US 24-hour record at Riverbank One-Day
Riverbank, CA -- Race director Jon Olsen hosted the (Riverbank One-Day) event on a brand-new track with the promise of “on track for drama to unfold.”

Already assured a place on the U.S. 24-hour team that will compete at the IAU 24-Hour World Championships in Ireland in July, Courtney Dauwalter seemingly had little to gain here. Still, riding a recent hot streak, Dauwalter struck while the iron was hot and scored a new American record for 24 hours. Dauwalter ringed the track over and over to collect an even 250 kilometers, or 155.343 miles. The total haul was more than three miles better than Sabrina Little‘s previous American record, and only five kilometers back of Mami Kudo’s world best. With Katalin Nagy, Traci Falbo, Jenny Hoffman, and Pam Smith also on the U.S. 24-Hour Team, the Americans will be heavy heavy favorites in Ireland.

Second overall, Rich Riopel finished with 151.86 miles to run his way on to the U.S. men’s team. His qualifying mark currently ranks fourth. The qualifying window is set to close April 1. Already on the U.S. team, Bob Hearn was third overall with 144.41 miles.

The star of December’s Desert Solstice race, Gina Slaby totaled 132.72 miles. Pam Smith stopped after 100 miles.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Washington Post:Tightness Can Help Runners!

They say runners need flexibility, but you may be surprised at the latest thinking

BLUF: Dynamic warm-ups, range-of-motion work and strength training may keep you running better and for longer than static yoga poses.

Amanda Loudin, Washington Post, February 25

For years, runners have believed that their sport makes them too tight and that they should turn to yoga to lengthen their muscles, become more flexible and thereby develop into better runners. It turns out, though, that the opposite may be true: Coaches and physical therapists now say that bending like Gumby may, in fact, cause problems.

“When it comes to running, flexibility is overrated,” says Steve Magness, author of “The Science of Running” and cross country coach at the University of Houston. “Research shows that if you are too flexible, you are a less efficient runner.”

As Magness explains it, our muscles and tendons are designed like springs. As our feet hit the ground during a run, those springs release stored energy and propel us forward. If the springs aren’t tight enough, they can’t do their jobs properly.

Some research has touched on this in the past, but the idea that tightness can help runners is getting a new look in this era of yoga popularity. A 2010 study of eight distance runners looked at their overall running economy relative to flexibility.

The participants performed the classic “sit and reach” test before running, and their oxygen uptake was assessed. “We saw that those who were most flexible were the least efficient,” says Tamra Llewellyn, an assistant professor of health and human performance at Nebraska Wesleyan University and a co-author of the study. “Those with lower flexibility had greater elastic energy storage in their muscles and didn’t use as much oxygen.” In other words, their muscles could do more with less, allowing them to get more out of each stride at a lower level of exertion.

Yet the perception persists that more flexibility — even as much as that of a yogi — is better for runners. “It’s a myth we’ll probably fight forever,” Magness says. “We’re all taught from a young age to stretch to improve flexibility and performance.”

Running coach Jason Fitzgerald of Strength Running, a Denver-based coaching service, says he sees this notion everywhere: “People get the idea that runners need the flexibility of gymnasts, and it’s just not true. You do need the right amount of flexibility to go through the range of motion for your sport. But you don’t need advanced yoga moves to get it.” As Fitzgerald explains, running requires only a limited range of motion, all in one plane. Stretching and yoga aim to increase that end range, which is more than necessary for running.

Instead of seeking extreme flexibility, says Gene Shirokobrod, a physical therapist in Maryland, runners should focus on exercises that target abilities that need improvement, such as strength and range of motion. Those attributes are different from flexibility, and they’re more important for runners.

Shirokobrod says “there are broad concepts in running that help ward off injury and improve running efficiency, such as ideal hip extension, glute strength and sufficient ankle mobility,” he explains, “and for some reason, runners often skip this work.”

Range of motion is the ability of joints and muscles to move well and far in a given direction. Runners, for instance, benefit from good hip extension because this is the origin of most of a runner’s power, allowing them to push into and off the ground, Magness says. Hip flexibility, however, is simply how far a muscle can be stretched in a mostly static state. If runners stay injury-free, odds are their range of motion is just fine. “You should be striving for the range of motion that your event requires of you,” Magness says. “As long as you have that, there’s nothing to worry about.”

He encourages runners to swap out more-static yoga-type moves intended to improve flexibility with dynamic movement. A 2015 study showed that a dynamic warm-up enhanced performance in a small group of well-trained middle- and long-distance runners. Dynamic exercises performed in the 10 minutes just before running prime the body to go through the required range of motion.

A dynamic warm-up routine, Fitzgerald says, can include such movements as lunges, high-knee skips, squats and sideways leg swings.

This is how 58-year old Mike Fronsoe, a retired pharmaceutical sales rep from Florida, helps ensure he has the right range of motion. “I use a dynamic routine” of about 20 different exercises, he says. On days when he’s strength training, he adds weights to some of those moves.

Since starting the routine about a year ago, Fronsoe says, he has had his first solid year of injury-free running, which has also helped him increase his mileage.

A small 2006 study of soccer players by Alain Aguilar, a lecturer at the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, compared the value of dynamic warm-ups with traditional stretching and with no warm-up at all. The results showed that the group who performed the dynamic warm-up had better range of motion and muscle strength than the other two.

A dynamic warm-up might include a wide variety of movement, but it should always start with something familiar to the body, says Aguilar, whose 2006 study was done for his master’s degree. “It should be low-level movement similar to [what you use in] your specific sport,” he explains. “It could be things like walking lunges, inchworms or leg swings, and progress from there to some short, progressively faster run intervals.”

This dynamic work can be especially important for runners who spend much of their days sitting at desks, where hip flexors, which help hips achieve full range of motion, can become shortened and where glute muscles can grow weaker due to inactivity. “Many rehab exercises like donkey kicks, lunges and fire hydrants work well here,” Fitzgerald says, “because they wake up the muscles by putting them under some tension.”

He says he guides his running clients toward a “sandwich” approach to training. “I encourage them to spend 10 to 15 minutes with a dynamic warm-up, followed by their run and then some sort of cool-down routine. The cool-down post-run is where some light yoga movement can be a nice way to end an easy run.” Here yoga can bridge the gap between fast-paced movement and a return to a sedentary state by providing a light cool-down.

For those still intent on stretching before running, Matthew Sedgley, a primary-care sports medicine physician with MedStar Health, sums it up like this: “Dynamic as your warm-up, static as your cool-down and never ballistic — bouncing — stretching.”

None of this is to say that yoga isn’t good for you, especially for overall health. Its benefits can include lowered stress levels, improved balance and better sleep, in addition to greater flexibility for those who need it. But for a runner, the dynamic warm-up, range-of-motion work and strength training may keep you running better and for longer.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Outside Magazine/Here's Why We Live Where We Live...Right?

Comebacks to Your Best Winter Running Excuses
Nice try. We've heard it all before.
By: Martin Fritz Huber Feb 22, 2017

Ah, winter! The season for hot chocolate, pond hockey, and excuses for skipping your run. Granted, even when the weather is mild, it’s not hard to convince yourself that staying in bed an extra hour is a better idea than that sunrise eight-miler, but the cold season is what separates the runners from the wannabes.

Of course, you already know this. But everyone has that friend and sometimes running partner who wants to go into hibernation from December until March. To help you persuade (or shame) your reluctant running companion to get out the door, here are a few suggested responses to some of the most common seasonal excuses for staying on the couch.

“It’s too cold to run.”
Sorry, but in an age when people go surfing among icebergs, that excuse just doesn’t fly. Put on a damn hat and some gloves (and if we may make a few suggestions).

“I don’t want to get hit by a car that skids off the road.”
Me neither. That’s why I’m happy we live in the age of reflective gear. And remember: run against oncoming traffic.

“Running in tights makes me self-conscious.”
Embrace the shorts-over-tights look, if you must. If anyone asks, the shorts are for “extra warmth.”

“There’s snow and ice everywhere.”
Lucky you! Rather than a regular, dull old run, you’re getting a makeshift obstacle course race—complete with snowbank hurdles and ice hazards—as part of the deal. You may not be able to sue an international event company if you hurt or kill yourself, but the kind old lady down the street who forgot to salt her sidewalk is fair game. Or just invest in shoes with better traction.

“I don’t want to get sick.”
Then drink kefir, dress appropriately, and get plenty of sleep. Also exercise—that is, go running.

“The days are so short, and I don’t like running in the dark.”
Unless Nosferatu is your next-door neighbor, there’s no reason you can’t just buy a headlamp.

“What if I get hypothermia?”
Unlikely. But if it happens—and you survive­—you’ll have excellent story material.

“Winter is a time for indoor sports!”
The way things are going, we might all be living underground soon anyway, so you better get outside every chance you get.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Outside Magazine/Sports Illustrated: Can This Shoe Go 13.10938 MPH?

Adidas unveils its new Sub2 marathon shoe ahead of Tokyo Marathon
Chris Chavez, Sports Illustrated

The quest for a sub-two hour marathon takes another step forward on Friday with Adidas unveiling its adizero Sub2 marathon shoe ahead of Saturday’s Tokyo Marathon. The shoe, with a distinctive blue colorway, will be worn by former world record holder Wilson Kipsang in the race.

Adidas has been working on the shoe for the past two years after the concept came to mind after the 2012 London Marathon, which was won by Kipsang in 2:04:44.

“Around the London Marathon in 2012, we started thinking about Sub2 as a concept and Adidas’ role in achieving what was deemed impossible,” Adidas global general manager AndrĂ© Maestrini said. “We began creating a shoe that could enable this, and Wilson is the perfect athlete to test our innovation in a race environment. We’re incredibly excited to see where this can go.” Nike has joined in the race for a sub-two hour marathon with its own respective project titled Breaking2, where the sportswear giant is training the first sub-two-hour marathon runner and developing its own respective footwear for an attempt to break the barrier later this spring.

What’s so special about the shoe?

One of the adjustments to the adizero Sub2 is the debut of Boost Light innovation. With cushioning made of hundreds of tiny foam pellets aimed at reducing impact while in action, Adidas’ Boost technology has caught on within the running and fashion circles. The shoe’s upper is composed of one single layer of ultralight fabric and weight-reduced mesh with internal reinforcements. The mesh has Microfit technology, which is developed to create the best support, comfort and fit for high-speed road racing. A Continental Microweb improves upon Stretchweb, which was Adidas’ technology developed for the Boost, to improve the grip for any kind of race day conditions.

Adidas’ internal research concluded that Boost can improve running economy by 1%. The new Sub2 shoe’s weight has been reduced by 100 grams and could lead to another 1% improvement in running economy. The Adidas adizero Sub2 will be available to the general public later this year.

"The goal is to be 100 grams lighter than the latest Adizero edition," says Matthias Amm, Adidas' global running category director. "The current shoe that Wilson Kipsang is wearing is around 150 grams."

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Best Running Hacks of All-Time (Anti-Spoiler Alert!)

The Best Running Hacks of All-Time (and some N.Fl State Rep, erm, reactions...)
By Megan Harrington

(The slide show has more details - there's some really good tips here and there. I recommend a look! M.B.)

Are you ready to make your miles better and more productive?
From meetings on the run to unique fueling ideas, these hacks will help you run around the obstacles life throws your way.

1.Sleep in your running clothes
(So what do I do when I hurt too much to run?)

2.Experiment with alternative pre-race breakfasts
(I've tried cold pizza in the past; varying degrees of success/failure.)

3.Run to work
(I'm insane, not suicidal)

4.Read while you run-sort of
(Hopefully not while I'm running to work, or my demise is guaranteed!)

5.Set calendar alerts
(I will if my boss does!)

6.Suggest a running meeting
(Double-edged sword; will I ingratiate myself to my bosses or be seen as a threat to their lives?)

7.Pair family time with shared miles
(My greyhound used to laugh at me. My chihuahua, on the other hand, is good for shorter distances.)

8.Clean yourself and your clothes in your post-run shower
(Don't let my wife hear this one!)

9.Solve the key conundrum once and for all
(Keys? What are those?)

10.Put the water bottle down
(Who said that's water!?)

11.Win the battle against blisters
(...and lose the war on my plantar fascia!?)

12.Simulate an outdoor run on the treadmill
(Who let that driver bring his car into the gym!?)

Hello, It's Me...

Hello from the “Redneck Riviera.” By the time most of you read this the 2017 RRCA National Convention will have taken place in Detroit. Just in case you didn’t know, Andy Smith at the National Office and Southern Region Director Ron Macksoud invited me to represent the northern half of Florida. Again. To steal from the late, great Glenn Frey:

“I never quit, I just took a six-year vacation.”

I did step away from the day-to-day (perhaps a half-hour every couple of days) work of meeting the national office’s expectations but still networked with some club leaders off-and-on. In case you didn’t know what the national office expects of their (volunteer) state representation, the reps…

Select and promote RRCA State Championship events – “Capt. Don” Nelson in S. Florida and I collaborate to choose which events get designated as an RRCA state championship. Sometimes it’s “I’ll take this distance one year, you can take it the next,” other times it’s “we don’t have that distance here so you can have it, too…”

Help promote RRCA programs and services through statewide communications – I’ve dusted off the old ‘blog, which you're reading right now, and plan to do some re-vamping; activity calendar, contacts, “cool stuff” resources I stumble across, and so on. Clubs and club leaders will receive e-mails of important stuff on a weekly basis, and a newsletter monthly.

Attend the Annual RRCA Convention and participate in the State rep meeting – This is highly-suggested. I’ve had fantastic experiences at Chicago, Cincinnati, San Francisco and Lakeland. If your club can budget out for a member to go learn event organization and club operation best practices, it’s money well-spent.

Something I have learned from the past is that not every club needs my attention. In most cases I try to not inflict myself on the club or say "this is what needs to be done - RRCA has "guidelines" and transmits best practices; there are some things which, if a club is not doing, can put membership renewal in jeopardy. But my role is to NOT kick down doors, causing hatred and discontent. If you have a question, I'll do my best to provide a meaningful answer...or find the resource that can. Give enough lead-time for me to satisfy the demands of being a ‘worker-bee’/husband/grandparent/’dog dad’ if you invite me to come out to your club…I just might show.

If you have any questions, recommendations, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to e-mail or call. I look forward to serving you.