Wednesday, March 28, 2012

EricG's Running Tips #34 How To Tie Your Shoes

I am sure you have noticed that there is what many think is an extra hole or eyelet at the top of your running shoes. For years I did not know what its purpose was and did not even use it. When I finally learned what it was used for and the proper way to tie my shoes it actually had more impact than one might think.  Amazing! The people who design these things put that there for a reason? Who would have thought:)

By utilizing this "extra" hole, my heel stayed down in the shoe (less movement) and by properly tying my shoe the pressure on the top of my foot was reduced by spreading the tension around the top of my foot.  Ever get that pain in your foot from tying your shoes too tight? Use this method (snug, not tight) and I bet it goes away. I saw a recent video that reminded me of this revelation and I wanted to share it with you. So here it is, from The North Face runner Kami Semick on how to tie a "Heel Lock". Check it out here!

I hope you find this helpful.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

EricG's Running Tips #33 The Dreaded Side Cramp!

Take a deep breath!
We have all had them and they can be extremely painful, sometimes enough to bring a great run to a screeching halt. The side stitch, a.k.a. (as I have learned) "exercise related transient abdominal pain". There are many articles around on what causes these and how to prevent and get rid of them.  Generally speaking the thought on cause seems to be what we eat or drink and how soon we do it prior to a run. That's all fine but I have a routine that works for me so my question is what do we do when it happens.  I have included 2 links to articles at the bottom on cause and cure.  Here is what I do to alleviate side cramps when I get them.

Step 1: Try to take control of your breathing. Slow it down and take long, slow deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. I will usually do this for a minute or two and it often works. If that does not work on its own....

Step 2: ......continue the same breathing pattern in Step 1, and also slow down your pace. I also give this a couple of minutes assuming the pain is tolerable. If the combination of Step 1 and 2 have not worked I see no other choice.....

Step 3: Walk and continue to follow Step 1. When the pain subsides, resume running, gradually returning to your target pace.

Here are the articles from and WebMD.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Nathan Product Test 1 & 2

Endurance Rear View
While I have been using a number of Nathan products over the years (hand helds and safety gear) there are many I have never tried. Nathan Performance Gear has provided me with an amazing opportunity to test and review a number of these products and over the next several months I will provide periodic reviews on each.  The first two included in this post will be my opinions of the Endurance and Minimalist Vest.

Endurance Front View
Last weekend I ran with the Nathan Endurance Hydration Vest. Saturday I covered 24 miles up and down Bear Mountain climbing and descending more than 6,600 feet and Sunday another 22.5 miles of rolling on the trails of Rockefeller State Preserve. I have of course seen the Nathan Race Vests often around the ultra community but had never tried one. Over the years I have used a couple of other brands from my adventure racing and mountain biking days.  I honestly never gave it much thought, after all its just a pack right? Wrong!

The difference to me was clear the moment I put on the vest.  You can see all the technical specs at the link above, but I am going to focus on function and fit.  The first thing I noticed when I put the vest on was how well it fit. It seemed to flow perfectly with the shape of my shoulders and back and the contoured back panel was very comfortable. I also felt the pack sat in just the right spot on my back, not riding to high or low.  The simple strap system was easy to adjust to comfort and the single front strap made for quick adjustments on the fly as I gradually emptied the bladder. There was also very little to no movement with the pack even on the jarring downhills. It fit like a glove!

Functionally I am not yet sure what else I could ask for in this model. There is enough storage for the duration of runs I would use this vest for and a number of other convenient features. One of my favorites is the tube clip.  Such a simple concept but so meaningful having a designated spot to anchor the tube and easy to use. I also love the waterproof pill pocket. I can't tell you how many times I have reached into a zip lock to grab on to a pile of mushy S-Caps. There is of course a zipper pocket for your phone and an expandable pocket to shove in a bunch of gels. Additionally there is a mesh holster in the front which can hold a 22oz Nathan Handheld bringing the fluid capacity of this vest to 92 oz.

Minimist Rear View
This past Sunday I ran 14.5 miles with the Nathan Minimist Hydration Vest (specs available at the link). My comments for the most part are similar here. Overall a great fit and extremely lightweight. I again struggle to find anything wrong with this vest but if I am going to be picky, I did notice the bladder bounced around in the pack a little at the beginning when it was full.  However, within about 30-45 minutes as the bladder was emptied the bouncing was gone.

Minimist Front View
Access was easy to whatever I needed with several pockets at the front for gels, pills and cell phone. I actually used the pill pocket for money which stayed perfectly dry. I would love to see the tube clip feature on this model too although it was not really an issue as I just stuck the end in one of the front pockets to keep it from bouncing around. With its 50 oz bladder and storage capacity I will be comfortable running with this pack for durations of 3 hours or less (more in cooler weather).

I hope you find my thoughts on these products helpful and trust you will like them as much as I do. Thank you to Nathan Performance Gear for the opportunity.  I am looking forward to miles of great running together and writing a few more reviews including one on Nathan's safety gear, one of my favorite topics.


Friday, March 9, 2012

EricG's Running Tips #32 Get Motivated

What does it take to motivate you?

Some of us are purely self motivated. Make a decision to do something and that is it. For no other reason than your own internal drive you get up everyday and do whatever you need to do to accomplish your goal. Unfortunately it's not that easy for all of us. A couple weeks ago I said to a colleague, "I heard you are running the Chicago Marathon! That's awesome." Their response, "Yeah I signed up." I could here it in their tone that all they had done was just sign up. There was no real commitment or motivation to get excited about this incredible opportunity.

I have compiled a small list of some of the tactics I have used in the past to make sure I stay motivated.
  1. Set a goal. No matter what it is, commit to yourself to accomplish it and tell yourself you can do it.
  2. Plan your routine in smaller chunks. While there may be an overall program that is 3 or 4 months long, just bite off little pieces, a week or two at a time. If the tasks ahead seem too daunting it can be overwhelming.
  3. Tell everyone who will listen what you are doing. For me this adds to my level of commitment and reduces opportunity for excuses. You may also be surprised at how interested people are in supporting your efforts, providing additional motivation and encouragement.
  4. Run for a cause! Nothing provides greater incentive than knowing you are supporting a great cause. When I think of the strength and courage of those fighting for their lives, I just get up and go.
  5. This is most important. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!
What works for you?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Tani's First Half Marathon, The Training

T's 1st 5k Central Park 2009
Two years ago this May Tani ran a 5k at Bear Mountain on Mother's Day just 3 months after giving birth to our daughter. This June she will run her first half marathon, ever! Tani has been committed to staying fit since we have known each other.  Her workouts range from lifting, cardio, kick boxing, yoga, boot camp, spinning and running. She is in great shape and the recent ass kicking she gave me in our little competition back in January is proof.

Running is not something that has come easy for Tani, and only by her sheer determination and will to do this is she about to train for The North Face Endurance Challenge Half Marathon in D.C. this coming June.  It took a lot of courage for her to even start running with knees that consistently bother her mostly from years of competitive soccer when she was younger. I can actually hear them creaking and cracking when she walks. Then just as she began to try and run and even completed a couple of shorter races in NYC she became pregnant. It was not an easy road, bringing her running and working out to a near standstill. 9 months and 60 pounds later our little girl was born and 6 weeks after that Tani was at the gym.

I am so proud and excited for her to go beyond anything she ever thought possible. She has gone from "I could never do that" to "I am going to do that".  Here is a general overview of Tani's workout and training schedule in preparation for the June event. There may be a rest day here and there but for now she does not want to give anything up.

Monday - Vinyasa Yoga
Tuesday - Long Run Day
Wednesday - Boot Camp
Thursday - Vinyasa Yoga
Friday - Hill Repeats or Speed Work
Saturday - Tempo/Easy Runs
Sunday - Kick Boxing

We will keep you posted on her progress. Go get it babe!!!

Peace E
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