Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Injury Recovery

First, I stumbled upon an excellent time-lapse video taken from the International Space Station that's absolutely mesmerizing and is well worth the view. We truly are blessed to live on such a dramatic and beautiful planet!
Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS from Michael K├Ânig on Vimeo.

Second, a brief update to my running and training status, as I'm about six weeks from the Houston Marathon. Approximately two weeks ago while running an intended twenty miler with the Kenyan Way training group I unfortunately felt an unexpected and disconcerting growing pain in the right lower leg, specifically the outer section of the tibia.  After walking a bit hoping for the discomfort to be relieved the Coach kindly offered an opportunity to join him in a car ride back to base.

Sean kindly provided some typically sound advice - until I got a better handle on my injury I should maintain my fitness by non-impact pool running.  With only one quickly aborted trial run as an exception (the start of the aptly named Turkey Trot) I've since followed his advice, as in my prior incidence two years ago with a minor tibial stress fracture pool running proved very effective at maintaining my running-specific fitness, while helping me avoid the emotional let-down that otherwise accompanies a dramatic reduction in training. While many consider pool running to be abjectly boring, I've not found it to be the case provided I do so in at the local 24-Hour Fitness Center's bright and cheery pool.

From my prior interactions with a physician I'd learned that unfortunately X-Rays are typically non-definitive in the early stages of a stress fracture, so I've decided in caution to treat my condition as such.  While I'm encouraged to see continual evidence of healing, I've reconciled myself that if I'm ultimately unable to run the full or half marathon in January that will be a bit disappointing but fine. I will gradually enlarge my range of cross-training activities, next adding the bike to my fitness regimen, and before I know it I'll be back at 100% running ready fitness - long before the forthcoming Texas Independence Relay which I truly enjoy each year.

My advice if you're facing an injury prior to a race? Read Julie's great post and related advice then count your many blessings.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Newton's Latest MV2 Shoes have Arrived!

Briefly lamenting yesterday's passage of my well worn (750+ miles) and multiple P.R. Newton stability trainers I was ecstatic to receive from UPS today my recently ordered new pair of their latest product, the Newton MV2!

I'm truly excited to run in Newton's new MV2 as they are engineered to be the lightest and most efficient Natural Running shoe using their second-generation Action/Reaction Technology. These shoes have a flat profile (i.e. zero heel-to-toe drop) that encourages a quick high cadence gait. This, combined with their low weight translates to increased speed.

Unlike my prior shoes these are truly neutral, which I am comfortable with since I've gradually transitioned through wearing other low-profile neutral shoes during the past two years. A gradual transition to any minimalist shoe is essential to allow the feet and calves to strengthen, and to perfect the high cadence gait with slight forward lean from the ankles to minimize the likelihood of regressing to an injurious over-striding heel striking running form.

Embedded below are four YouTube videos in which Newton's co-founder and CTO Danny Abshire: Discusses new shoe's new technology; Talks about their initial fit (buy a half-size larger); Discusses adaptation to these shoes; and Demonstrates some helpful form drills (along which I recommend his natural running book):

Once I've had some time to transition I'll put plenty of miles on these shoes. At that point I'll follow-up with my detailed review. Meanwhile, feel free to try-out these shoes at your specialty running store, and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Christopher McDougall on Running Form

As a huge fan of Christopher McDougall's great book "Born to Run" I was intrigued to see his latest New York Times article on running form, running injuries, shoes, and why running magazines give "A's" to all shoes. See his excellent article at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/magazine/running-christopher-mcdougall.html, then check-out this video where McDougall demonstrates a simple exercise that helps make all of us better runners:

Shedding more light on McDougall's interesting perspectives here's another video, this one from a TED conference:

Incidentally, I had fun hosting Runners Round Table episode 119 tonight, where a great group of experienced marathoners shared their Fall 2011 race experiences, thoughts, and lessons learned. You can download it from iTunes. We encourage much wider participation; if interested join the RRT Google!Group, then share your ideas with other runners!