weekly workout recap

Monday: I rested. The weekend was overwhelming with Friday’s 2012 CrossFit Games, Saturday’s Crab Feast, and Sunday’s Photo Shoot.

Because I am running in my Newtons, I am still running shorter distances and paying close attention to the way my body feels and my running form. I am really trying to focus on

  • leaning forward
  • relaxing my shoulders
  • arm positioning
  • looking straight ahead
  • most importantly landing on my mid-foot

Tuesday, 5/7/12: I ran a short 3.41 miles in 28:39, in my Newtons. Honestly, I am not sure how accurate my garmin is being. Because Newton shoes are light weight, they are known to make you run faster than traditional running shoes, but I am still not sure how much faster.  When timing my mile using the markers I am running 8.30 min. mile.  But I think the best way is to run in my other shoes to compare, timing to milage. The timing is correct, but I think I am running closer to a 5K. There are mile markers on the trail. I have been paying close attention to those markers.  Tuesday was a hot and humid day, it felt good to really sweat hard.

Wednesday, 5/8/12 : I ran again a short 3.41 miles in 29:10, in my Newtons. It was overcast and breezy, but it felt fantastic. I felt like I was in Seattle, the trees were so green, and the sky so gray. I just love running outside. Being surrounded by nature, is so refreshing.  I also recently bought a 25lb kettlebell, that I always leave in my car trunk next to my yoga mat. I decided to take them both out an go by the water in the grass. I completed 3 sets of squats with the 25lb kettle bell 10 reps per set. In between each set I held plank for 60 seconds. Energy was pumping through my body for the rest of the day!

Thursday, 5/9/12:  Today, I ran again a short 3.69 miles in 32:25. It was cooler today, about 65 degrees. It was gusty breezy and sunny. My legs today were sore from the squats from yesterday. I ended my run with 3 sets of high knees. It was a good run and once again felt great to work up a sweat and be outside.

2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Mid-Atlantic Regional Final

This weekend was packed full, and randomly I ended up at the¬†2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Mid-Atlantic Regional Final. My mom, sister, and I headed to Landover, MD early Friday morning to watch my cousin’s gymnastics tournament. The minute I walked into the PG Sports and Learning Complex, where the tournament was held, I ¬†was surrounded by some seriously strong athletes. On one side of the facility was gymnastics, on the other side was CrossFit.

I know what CrossFit is, and I know a ton of people who do CrossFit, but I never knew there were CrossFit competitions. ¬†When it comes to CrossFit, I have always been interested in trying it, I just haven’t had the opportunity to. CrossFit is also super expensive. It is $200 a month, and I already spend so much money towards fitness as it is (yoga studio, gym membership, running, cycling, snowboarding.)

Anyway, the Reebok CrossFit Games Mid-Atlantic Regional Final, was worth watching. It was really hard not to stare. The men had amazing bodies, and the women had fabulous bodies as well, some a little bit to strong. Another thing that I noticed was the patriotic spirit the CrossFit competitors have towards their CrossFit gym. To see that spirit, is really interesting, because I never thought of CrossFit as team oriented. But after watching the support the competitors had from the other athletes that they know from their gym, I now consider this a sport. A sport with a competition, with a team, with team mates.

xMost of the sports that I participate in, (yoga, running, cycling) I do solo. It would be nice to work out with a group. The energy at the event was amazingly positive. It definitely inspired me to strength train more, and I might actually go ahead and try CrossFit.

Running Form Clinic

On April 7th, I participated in a running form clinic, held at the Pacers Arlington.  Juda McGannon, who taught the clinic is a representative for Newton shoes. I first met her at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler expo. To my understanding, the Newton brand focuses on running form and the inventor himself, Danny Abshire, hosts clinics weekly, nation wide.

Correct proper running form has been a topic that has always interested me. I have never had any technical running training in the past, so I thought the clinic would really benefit me. Who wouldn’t want to learn how to run faster, further, safer? So bright and early, on Saturday morning I headed down to the clinic to learn about proper running form. I started the clinic inside the shop. Juda immediately took off her shoes, and began to demonstrate foot strengthen exercises, explaining that years of wearing protective/corrective running shoes actually make feet weaker. It is important to have strong feet, no matter what shoes you wear. She discussed many facts about the foot. A strong foot should ¬†be capable of spreading its toes apart from one another,and should easily be capable of grabbing and picking up items.

Then she had me balance on one foot. I closed our eyes. At points I wiggled around a little, loosing balance. When running we are technically always balancing on one foot. One foot is in the air while the other is on the ground. Everyone uses their sense of sight and hearing while balancing, but those senses should not be our dominate senses used while running. We should be using our sense of touch. Unfortunately, conventional running shoes, with all of its cushion, support, and protection makes it hard to use our sense of touch, impossible for us to feel the ground we run on.

Juda then explains what our feet do while we are barefoot. When we walk barefoot, we place our heel down first, then forefoot, then toes. When we run barefoot, we place our forefoot down first, then heel. When we sprint barefoot, we place our forefoot down first, but it is so far up the foot, it almost looks like we are on our toes. When we wear our traditional running shoes, there is so much protection, cushion, support, that we can barely move our foot with in the shoe, and it is impossible to use our sense of touch and actually feel the ground. Traditional running shoes, make 80% of runners heel strike. Heel striking causes injuries. Why would you run one way barefoot, and another way with shoes.  That is where the Newton shoe comes in handy. This shoe is going to help correct form, by getting us to run on our forefoot, preventing heel striking.

Running too slowly will also cause heel striking. That is why it is important to run with a quick, short stride. Soon enough,  I was getting fitted with the proper Newton shoe, and then heading out to the trail.  Juda had the group participate in some running form drills, which included high knees, and skipping. When running you should be light on your feet. The lighter you are on your feet, the less impact you will endure, and the quicker and shorter your stride will become. Juda also taught us to lean forward and breath deep from your belly.

I had been debating on trying a minimalist running shoe ever since I had read the book, Born to Run, two years ago. Although, the Newton shoe is not a minimalist shoe, for me it is the perfect shoe to try, because it is light weight, and mimics  Natural running, but also has the cushioning to help absorb impact. So after the running clinic I happily purchased my first pair of Newtons. The running form clinic, was awesome! I am very glad I participated in it, and highly recommend it for all runners, whether you have the desire to try Newtons or not.

Runner’s World is talking about Newton shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s funny how once you hear about something, you start to hear about it everywhere. Well thats what happened to me with the Newton shoes. After seeing the Newton shoes at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, I went home excited about participating the next week in the running form clinic, and started reading the April issue of Runner’s World, where there was a several page spread dedicated to an article about Newton shoes.

A couple years ago when I read the book, Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, the Vibram FiveFingers first became popular. I wondered is this barefoot running concept just a trend? A trend similar to the Atkins diet, where everyone starts doing it, but then five years later, experts reveal that evidence shows it is not healthy, but actually unhealthy, and an injury risk.  Or is barefoot running, ironically the future type of running. Will all running shoes evolve into something more weightless, a minimalist shoe? These are the questions that have crossed my mind, but after being introduced to the Newton shoe and then seeing so many other running brands, such as Brooks and Nike, come out with a shoe that mimics running barefoot, I am now starting to believe that this is not a trend, but rather the future to running.

So as I said earlier, I found a lot of my information about Newton’s in the April issue of Runner’s World. This is what¬†Runner’s World¬† had to say. First thing that I was confused about was does Newton consider itself a minimalist shoe? The answer to that is a big fat NO, which was a huge relief.

Minimalist shoes such as the Vibrams, scare me. And the reason why, is because of injury. When runners first started to transition into barefoot running, they purchased the Vibrams, and many got injured. Because of the traditional running shoe, having so much protection, feet became weak. Many runners didn’t have the muscles developed in their feet in order to run in the Vibrams. So it was suggested to adjust your feet and strengthen them by simply walking around in the Vibrams or going on short runs no longer than a mile. But too many runners got to excited about running barefoot and went to far to fast, causing injuries to themselves.¬†¬†So it wasn’t necessarily the shoe that caused injury, but rather the runner, herself.

The inventor of Newton shoes, Danny Abshire first started developing the shoe 20 years ago. He claims in the Runner’s World article that this shoe is nothing like what runners have¬†worn in the past. And although, it weighs about a third less than the traditional running shoe it is not‚ÄĒa”minimal” shoe.

Well if it is not a minimalist shoe, then what is so special about the Newton? For one it is weightless, which makes it feel like a minimalist shoe. Seriously, when I put Newtons on, I felt like there was no shoe on at all. ¬†In the Runner’s World article, Abshire warns that, heel-striking is inefficient, and potentially dangerous. And runners heel-strike, he says, only because traditional shoes have an unnecessarily¬†high heel-to-toe drop.¬† But Newton shoes have a ¬†heel that is more level, only measuring 6 mm, which in ways is similar to the minimalist shoe. By having less heel, it makes it easier to run on the forefoot.¬†¬†But what makes this shoe so unique is the lugs found on the forefoot, preventing injury. The lugs are plump and springy cushioning similar to a trampoline. It is elevated maybe a half inch or so away from the shoe. These lugs provides a shock absorber, while bringing energy back to the runner. Reducing impact, and returning energy back to the runner, allowing the runner to run faster and farther, is what Newton calls Action/Reaction technology.¬† This design is very odd, but helps mimimc the same stride you would have if you were barefoot, which Abshire calls, “natural running.”

According to Runner’s World, Abshire, who has completed one of the toughest ultras in the country, the Leadville Trail 100, felt like the sport became overcomplicated‚ÄĒand dangerous‚ÄĒas shoes got more and more built up. If you run barefoot, on the sand in on the beach, you will automatically land on your forefoot, so why use a traditional running shoe that changes your running stride and may cause you to heel strike.¬†Experts are now saying landing on the heel is not proper running form, and it puts stress on ankles, knees, hips, and back.

Learning this, made me very attracted to the Newton company. People talk about minimalist shoes, and lightweight trainers, being for shorter distances. Many say you can not put serious milage on these weightless shoes. But I am a distance runner, who trains for marathons, so it is important for me to hear that the inventor of the Newton shoe, has completed ultras, and is too, a distance runner. I also like the idea that this company, is promoting natural running form. Spreading the word about proper running form, and getting runners running correctly, is the key to injury prevention, regardless what shoes you run in.

In conclusion, similar to a minimalist shoe, the ideas behind the Newton shoe are just like¬†McDougall’s idea’s in his book, Born to Run.¬†The Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, were known to run long distances daily in thin-soled sandals, in order to survive. If they could run like that, we are capable of it as well. But we need to learn proper running form, which is landing on our forefoot, avoiding heel striking. ¬†Runner’s World reveals, ¬†that Abshire claims, “Cavemen were smart enough to build a moccasin‚ÄĒa protective coating for the foot. But they also lived in a natural environment. It wasn’t concrete and asphalt. This is where people get mixed up. Our shoes promote natural running in an unnatural world.”

© 2012

 

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