It seems lately I’ve run across (ha! Get it?) some good articles and blogs on running.
On Monday, fellow blogger Karen wrote about her favorite running things. It’s funny that no matter how few required pieces of equipment (technically nothing in this case… or shorts and a shirt for the more modest runners) you actually need for any given sport, there’s always the market for adding gadgets into the mix. I remember when I played inline hockey, there was always a better set of ball bearings, a cooler set of pants, or a better curved blade. In this case though, I try and stick to the basics.
- I’m currently using Saucony’s gray, black, & yellow Guide 5. It’s my first non-Nike running shoe in years and I only have between 10 and 15 miles in them, so I’m still getting used to them. One thing I do like about them though is inside the shoe on the heel, it lists the heel-to-toe offset: 0mm at the toe, 4mm, 8mm, and finally 12mm at the heel. Ideally, 0mm across the entire shoe is the most natural but it’s hard to argue with 12mm.
- My favorite running thing has to be my Nike+ sensor that syncs with your iPod. When properly calibrated, the sensor keeps track of your time, distance, calories burned, and pace for each run. Their website is where the good stuff is though. You can set up training schedules, accomplish running goals, track your progress, and sync it all with your social network of choice to guilt all of your lazy friends into exercising. I haven’t given these a shot yet but they also have challenges you can join with any of the other members of Nike+. Men vs. Women. Day runners vs. Night runners. Which city’s runners log the most miles. If you can think of a running competition, there’s probably a challenge for it. And the best part? The only non-free aspect of the whole process is the sensor itself. I’m a big fan of staying organized. But I’m a bigger fan of free.
- Nike+ equipped shoes have a pre-cut recessed area for the Nike+ sensor, which is really convenient. But since I’m running in Saucony’s now, I wasn’t about to try and cut my own hole in the sole of my shoe. That’s where Tune Belt comes in. I’m sure there are cheaper ways to MacGuyver my own pouch for the sensor to fit on my shoe but it’s hard to argue with something under $10 to take care of it for me.
Later in the week, I was sent a National Geographic article about runner’s high and how humans have evolved to be built for running. The points made in the article appear to fall in line with many of those made in Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run – human anatomy is designed for long-distance running. It’s such a fascinating topic to me that exercise is proven to help increase a person’s mood and overall health, yet so many people today neglect to get up and move around.
“If our physiology evolved for us to be effective exercisers, that may be why our cardiovascular health, our metabolic health, and our mental health” depends on it, study co-author Gerdeman said.
I was also sent a link to another running blog entry – The Cute Butt Strategy. It’s a fun piece on how to help improve your race times. Sure, you can pick landmarks like telephone polls, street signs, or trees along your route and accomplish the same thing. But why pass up a perfectly legitimate opportunity to stare at someone else’s rear end without any negative consequences? Unless you’re starting near the back of the pack where the butts might be less than stellar. Then those telephone polls might not be so bad after all…
I haven’t used the method to better my time but I do something similar to keep my pace. I try to zone out during my races – the less I focus on, the smoother my runs and the shorter they seem to take. It’s why I listen to music (it keeps me on a steady pace) and follow grass edges, a lane’s outside solid line, or any other path to keep me on a straight line. But since my eyes are already focused on the ground, I’ve gotten into a habit of picking a runner’s shoes in front of me and following them. Not only does this give me something to focus on but it helps me pace myself on someone else for tough parts of a race. Now I just need to concentrate more on the sprinting aspect…