Posts Tagged Running
On a mild December day in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, I find myself seated next to a trim man who appears somewhat older than me. He sports a luxurious goatee, olive cargo pants that match his winter hat, a tired red North Face parka, and the unmistakable odor of vodka. Beside him is the bicycle from which he has recently disembarked, a cobalt specimen that is — at least at the moment — in far better condition than its owner. None of this is noteworthy; this is Boulder, Colorado, after all, where even many of the transients get around efficiently on bicycles and are far more physically fit than the typical American.
The man casts a glance at my feet, nods. “You’re a runner?” he asks. I’m wearing a new and obnoxiously overbright pair of trainers that have relegated everything below my ankles to Papa Smurf territory. I smile, almost apologetically. “Guess the shoes are a giveway, eh? Yeah. I used to race marathons. I more or less jog now.”
The man shoots his arms out in front of him and uses an index finger to tick the digits of his other hand as he rattles off numbers: “1:47. 3:38. 3:55. 13:45. 29:11.” Another curt nod, this time coupled to a faraway look. Read the rest of this entry »
I wish that for one day, everyone in the United States who is ambulatory would lose the ability to walk, but retain the ability to run. This would happen with no concomitant improvement in anyone’s fitness. In other words, the only way people could get from place to place on foot would be to run, however slowly, sloppily and painfully. If they needed to take breaks, they’d have to sit down or stand there until ready to go again.
This would be an awesome sight in the non-ironic but non-hackneyed sense of the word. Just imagine it. Young people, fit people, heavies, senior citizens, smokers, drunks, cops, aspiring pedophiles, missionaries, whores, cable servicepersons, Wal-Mart shoppers, everyone — running along sidewalks, across parking lots, from the bread aisle to the checkout counter, into family court, out of bars at last call. I would spend the entire day filming people, except at the end, where people like me would be at a distinct strength advantage we would put to heroic use, e.g., in the form of looting or recreational vandalism.
I grew up in southern New Hampshire and lived there with until I was 32, with side trips to a couple of college towns in New England. I don’t recall a single instance of finding a 400-meter track at a public — or private, now that I think about it — high school closed to the public. I have worked out on tracks in Concord, Hanover and Lebanon, N.H.; Burlington and South Burlington, Vt.; and various places in Massachusetts, always with unfettered access. Read the rest of this entry »
Optimizing Your Racing Frequency
How often can you go all-out and do yourself more good than harm?
Competitive runners race. A select few compete to win or place high, most of us race in order to lower our fastest times, still others of us enjoy the intrinsic challenges of mountain races or ultramarathons; some of us float between these roles depending on how old we are, our health and a host of other practical and psychological factors. But despite our differences, one element that virtually all competitive runners share is selecting a goal event or handful of events, training for a dedicated period of weeks or months, recovering, and starting the cycle anew unless injury or ennui intervenes…
Following up on yesterday’s post, I’m going to delve into even a more hackneyed complaint — the “10% rule.”
I wrote about this for Running Times years ago, but there’s considerably less editorial oversight on this blog, so I’ll give it a whirl here, too. For the non-runners who have read all the way to this sentence, the 10% rule is supposed to be a guideline for how aggressively you should ramp up your training mileage from some established baseline. It’s meant to keep people from being too ambitious and placing themselves at injury.
The problem is that no one knows what the fuck it means. Sure, some Americans understand the concept of percents and a few can even do simple calculations, but when it comes to this, even people who invoke it in mantra-like fashion can’t tell you what they’re saying.
The discussions usually go like this: Read the rest of this entry »
One of the main things that separates people who started running in or before high school and runners who got started as adults is that the latter are more fond of reading books, magazines and Web sites about the subject. What seems intuitive to some of us thanks to early exposure is actually ingrained, not innate, and so it seems curious to some of us, or at least to me, that people like to read running books, often more than one at a time. This is coming from someone who did run in high school and nevertheless did used to read a lot of running books and magazines, and in fact is personally responsible for a running book and a great many magazine and Web articles about it, so maybe I’m just tired of it and have resorted to compartmentalizing my mind in order to continue earning much of my income continuing in this vein. In any rate I like to bash certain aspects of the running world and I can really only do that on my own time, as I’m doing now.
I deal closely with one of the aforementioned adult-onset runners, and this one is especially dangerous because she’s very intelligent and obsessive and analytical and hence perfectly positioned to get in her own way. Earlier today she claimed to have read somewhere that every extra pound of body weight slows runners down in a race by two seconds per mile. I’m sure whoever came up with this had the best of intentions and possesses some whimsical, pseudoscientific means of justifying his claim, but it fails on its face.
This leads me to write about a bunch of running rules that suck. (If you are ever curious about whether a rule you’ve heard about anything to do with running sucks, go visit the Runner’s World Online forums. If there’s a fight about it, it most likely sucks. In fact, if it’s even there at all, the likelihood that it sucks approaches unity.) Read the rest of this entry »
Some chick found some blog by some guy who is apparently a fan of “manning up” through heavy lifting, and makes certain that visitors are aware of this by posting GIFs of flexed biceps and remarking on the utility of the purported testosterone-induced “swagger” of youth. (I’m surprised that the blog advertises only his training services and not a link to ExtenZe.) In his first blog post (he only started the thing last Thursday), he’s claiming that running long distances makes people fatter, in terms of the percentage of their body weight accounted for by fat, because it slows their metabolisms, reduces testosterone, and lowers muscle mass, mostly because of the effects of cortisol.
I posted a comment, but it is temporarily or maybe permanently in the moderation queue, so I will reproduce it here, with a few additions that occurred to me after I commented. (Please excuse my self-aggrandizing style; I was aiming for pompous on purpose.) Read the rest of this entry »