Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tightening Up Your Recovery with Compression

After yesterday's long slow run(20 miles) my Achilles tightened up. It got worse after I took a hot shower. I could feel the tendon and muscles around the area creaking. This typically isn't a good sign, but is something I have dealt with before.

After trying some very light stretching(I didn't want to mess anything up) I put on my compression stockings over my calves and went to bed. 9 hours of sleep later(I was pretty tired) the inflamed area felt normal.

This was the best outcome to the situation. I really like my compression stockings, but I do not like to run with them. I find that I tighten up faster while running if I wear them.

I really only like to use them on a as-needed basis since they are not the most comfortable. They do, however, feel good on the legs when they are fatigued.

I personally use Zensah Calf Compression, but I believe you can get the same relief with any compression or ace bandage.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday: An Obervation on the Heel Strike

Ask any barefoot runner how they land on their foot, or at least intend to land on their foot. I'm sure all of them will respond that they land on their forefoot or midfoot.

Shod running and heel striking typically go hand-in-hand in the barefoot runner's mind. I see the heel strike in two forms, a heel-strike and a heel-off. A heel-strike in my mind is when the foot lands far out in front of the body with the leg straight or barely bent. In my opinion, this is bad and damaging to the runner.

The heel-off is a little different though. The heel-off is when the shod-runner is using good form and landing below their body, but the heel is clipping the ground first.

Let's watch Barefoot Ken Bob's treadmill video as an example.

It is pretty clear that he is landing on his midfoot/barely-forefoot, and planting the rest of his foot later. His feet are extremely close to the ground when he swings his foot through. This is great!

But imagine if Ken Bob was wearing a shoe with an elevated heel. His heel would clip on the ground, causing a heel-off. This is different than a heel strike. It also makes sense that it would impact efficiency much less due to the good form still in place. The runner is trying to land midfoot, but the heel impedes their gait.

Which is more efficient? A heel-off or a barefoot/non-elevated-heel mid-foot strike? I would have to say a barefoot mid-foot strike. Of many reasons, the one that comes to mind first is the fact that during a heel-off the heel clips the ground and causes friction in a much higher force than that of a barefoot mid-foot strike.

This is just one of the many things I observe when running with shod friends.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Worship Wednesday? I Got Nothin' - Marathons and Ultras

I have a great person picked out for my next Worship Wednesday. Unfortunately I didn't give her a big enough heads up(I told her 11 AM today). So instead I am going to write about my marathon and ultra training.

I have the Atlanta Marathon coming up on March 18th as well as the Georgia Jewel 100k. While talking to our next Worship Wednesday writer she asked me how I was going to train for it.

The truth is, I have no idea. I could get all serious and run every morning. Maybe even stretch and do P90X. I'm far too lazy for that though.

So what am I going to do? Keep up what I'm doing.

I currently run a few 5k runs on the weekdays as well as a medium length 6 to 8 mile run. I also have my long run which I have been increasing a few miles each week. I am currently up to 18 and am going to shoot for 21 this weekend at The Greenway in Cumming, GA.

But Tyler aren't you worried about not being trained enough?

I honestly think I have what it takes to make it though 100k right now. I may regret saying that when the day comes, but I feel like I can complete the distance if I do a few things:
  • Run the flats and downhills, walk the uphills.
  • Try to run between a 10 min/mile pace to a 13 min/mile pace.
  • Stop and eat every two miles. During this time walk for 1/10th of a mile.
  • Do a full body check every 15 miles(one loop). 
    • Feet blistering(I will be wearing VFF KSO's and Invisible Shoe Huraches.
    • Check for chafing. Lube up the necessary areas.
    • Go over hydration and make sure I am drinking enough/not too much.
If I keep these things in mind I should be able to fake my way through a 100k.

Maybe I'm a moron. I dunno. I am going to keep reading ultrunr.com for tips and implement them into my plan.

On a side-note, if I finish I get a belt buckle! I've always wanted an ultra belt buckle!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tricky Tuesday: How To Encourage Yourself to Drink More Water

This trick is kind of cheap because it involves flavoring water, but you know that cheap powder you can get at Walmart(Crystal Liteish stuff). Well I had never used it claiming that water tasted just fine as I sat at my desk slowly sipping away.

Finally after months of this I realized I was dehydrated. I asked myself, "How can I fix this?"

I set out to the Walmart in search of answers. I picked my favorite powder flavor and gave it a try with double the amount of water suggested. "Wow! That is good!" I said as I took another gulp. "But how can I be cheaper with this concoction?" Ah Simple! I doubled the water again and got a flavored water taste. Perfect.

So in non-thought terms, to drink more water flavor it with one of those packs and put 4 times the amount of water suggested in it. This equals out to 8 cups. By the end of your work day you will have drank about the suggested amount of water.

I Signed Up For an Ultra!

I did it. I have officially signed up for my first ultra, the Georgia Jewel 100k.

This year is going to be big for me in the running realm. I will run a marathon in March and an ultra in April.

I Have Found Proof That Barefoot Running is 100% Natural

My dad emailed me this video.

Just look at this dog. It has all these people laughing at it and making fun of it. This is animal abuse. What is more abusive than that? Putting the dog in shoes! So next time you put shoes on think of this dog and remember that you are taking part in human abuse.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Trying a New Posting Format

I am going to try to post different things on different week-days. This will keep blogging fresh, just as changing up running locations and workouts keeps you wanting more. This will be the layout until I decide to change or tweak it.

Motivational Mondays: I will find some good phrases or images that motivate the runner to be the best they can be. Some readers may see this as a girly subject. I kind of do as well, but it went well with the word "Monday". I'll try to man it up a bit.

Man Up Monday: Quit your whining and go run.

Tricky Tuesdays: There will be a trick every Tuesday to make you a better runner. Whether it be what to eat, how to run, what to drink. These are things that I find help me.

Worship Wednesdays: I pick a famous or not-so-famous person that has an inspiring story and interview or write about them. This should help me expand my knowledge of other runners and can help in other days when I pick up tricks from them!

Thoughtful Thursdays: I write about aspects of running that are on my mind and my stance on them. I come up with some great ideas during my long runs, especially when I chat with my Dad and Mitch. I would like to get these in writing.

Fun Fridays: I do something or plan to do something fun to change it up. Maybe introduce something quirky into my workout, then write about it if it helps.

As you can see, this is more than just barefoot running. I hope to sometimes benefit everybody, but always benefit the barefoot or minimalist runner. Chances are I won't be able to post everyday, but when I feel like posting I will most likely have a topic to write about.

EDIT: I like my dad's suggestion of "Man Up Monday".

Falling Behind

I've been quiet, but that's just because I've been busy with life and training!

I've got some articles lined up in the future. Hopefully I will churn one out tonight after my run around the lake.