Columbus Day Weekend long sale starts tomorrow! All full priced apparel and shoes will be 15% off! Sale lasts from Saturday 10/10 to Monday 10/12. Have a great 3 day weekend!
DO YOUR RUN OR WALK AND SEE THE SUNRISE
No suggestion conjures up more fixed feelings than that of an early morning workout. Seeing the sunrise at the beach while walking or running always sounds good the night before, especially if you're considering it with an adult beverage in your hand and a few more under your belt. Come 5:00 AM when that alarm goes off, the idea of going for a run ranks right up there with your idea of getting rid of that Wasp nest by whacking it with a tennis racket.
Making a commitment to run or walk in the early AM is a recipe for abject failure. It ain't gonna happen! Rather than pre-planning a whole new routine, try simply committing to do it one time, period. Better yet, find some like minded soul willing to give it one shot and agree to meet at a prearranged time and place. It is only after experiencing the beauty of sun rise over the ocean and all the things that happen before most people wake that you can even BEGIN to think about doing it regularly. Chances might be that you never do it again but I'm betting that won't be the case.
By now, you'd have to be completely oblivious to what's going on in the world of fitness and health to not know how important strength training is. It is necessary for everyone who wants to lead a healthy, injury free life. It is ESPECIALLY important to those of us who've reached the dreaded "middle age" territory.
Someone contemplating the need to add weight or strength training to their routine immediately envisions a gym filled with men resembling an NFL linebacker making loud, otherworldly noises while raising a prodigious amount of iron plates. Visions of some insanely fit person putting you through a workout worthy of an Olympian followed by a week of being so sore, you look like a character from "Night of the Living Dead" trying to walk fills your mind. Even worse, just walking into a gym means you'll be accosted by a salesman that should be selling used cars.
Forget all that, all you have to do is knock out a pushup. Notice I said A pushup. Truth be told, a pushup is one of the most effective exercises known and if you haven't done any in a while, they're not as easy as you remember from 7th grade gym class. A pushup brings into play numerous muscle groups in your chest, shoulders and triceps. Further, by maintaining good form, you are giving your core muscles in your abs, back and legs a super workout. To do this little ditty, you need go nowhere other than your home. If you're worried about your teenage son laughing at you, do it on your bedroom floor...with the door locked. If you can't do them the "official" way, do them from your knees. Who cares, no one can see you! There are many other body-weight exercises that can be done at home with little or no equipment but start with the good old, all american pushup.
This one gets me. I have a tendency to eat anything that doesn't eat me first...in LARGE quantities. Sometimes I have this out-of-body experience where I witnessing myself stuffing my gob while thinking to myself, "good heavens, that food isn't even touching the sides as he swallows it". When I first started running, one of the appeals was the presumption that a runner could eat anything without having to worry. My favorite theory from those days said that anyone capable of running a marathon was pretty much immune to any form of heart disease. Modern science has since set us straight but correcting all these bad but enjoyable eating habits has become a real challenge. Every now and again, I commit to "eating healthy" which means eating NOTHING that I like while washing it down with all manners of fluid containing no alcohol or sugar which is EVERYTHING I like. Needless to say, it doesn't take long before I walk into a bar or restaurant minus my self control and soon utter words to the affect of "what's holding up that pizza and fries, I'm almost done with my Nachos" while experiencing a near panic when I hear the bar tender say "I think we're running out of beer".
Doing a 180 in the eating department and sticking with it is a challenge I'm not up to. What I do find that can work is simply picking one or two habits that can be reduced or eliminated and aiming for that. I've always felt that one day, modern science was going to announce that vitamins are bad for us and should be avoided at all costs. While I'm still holding out hope for that, I think I might benefit from sampling a vitamin or two. So as not to shock my system, I've introduced nutrition gradually and I've found that drinking smoothies containing copious amounts of fruit along with a protein supplement is an easy way of doing something right for myself. Even if I resort to eating like a 5 year old at a birthday party the rest of the day, I've accomplished something. The hope, of course, is that that one healthy habit convinces me that there is benefit is trying something else. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking with it.
The list goes on and on but the point to all this is that the only commitment you need to make to yourself is that of being open to trying new things that complement your healthy life style and trying those things without any thought other than "hey, I want to try this". If you try it and hate it so what, you tried. On the other hand, you might find you like it. Kinda like my mother used to say about trying Brussel Sprouts.
Those of us on the selling floor will hear a lot of comments, observations and complaints but without a doubt, the most common statement will relate to color as in “what’s up with these shoes”? Walk into any store that sells running shoes, be it a big box giant or an independent running establishment like Miles Ahead and the first thing that you notice is color!…Lots of it. The selling wall resembles a jelly bean jar. We hear you. In my almost 40 years of running, I can never recall the variety of bold colors and exotic design. The irony to this expansive mass of color is the fact that if someone is looking for a plain, white shoe, you’re out of luck. They’ve come up with colors that don’t even have names but should you want a basic color, oh well. I suppose you could make a case that an all-white shoe will get dirty quicker but truth be told, I suspect the reason is more to the fact that white is boring. That’s a word that no shoe brand wants associated with their product. The industry is hard at work pursuing the age demographic that every business covets, the kids. It doesn’t matter that we ancients have more disposable income. Kids want color and flash, brands wants kids wearing their product, older runners better get used to it. Look at the bright side; if you’re worried about standing out if you wear flashy shoes, you’d probably stand out more if you didn’t!
The other big change we’ve seen in recent years is the basic design of the shoes themselves. When the running boom took place back in the 70’s, it was thought that the shoes had to be attached to an elevated platform designed to dampen the shock of the foot strike. Made sense, right? We ambled along blissfully under the conception that we were protecting our most vulnerable body part, our knees. Next thing you know, some guy writes a book about a tribe of Mexican Indians who run unheard of distances daily in leather sandals and get this, they never get hurt! The author then postulates that the reason so many of us get hurt is BECAUSE of these over-stuffed shoes and that all of us should learn to run as we would if barefoot. A simple slab of rubber for protection is all we need to run safer, faster and longer. Simply drink the cool-aide, adios your Kayanos, squeeze into some Vibrams and sure as Bob’s your uncle, you’re in running Nirvana!
Well, after making every sports podiatrist in the western world rich, people came to realize that barefoot running was NOT the answer to injury free running. While there were runners who benefited from the switch and have been happy with this new style, many others found that while their knees may have benefitted from this minimal style, other parts of their body didn’t. Injuries to feet and ankles proliferated. Sure, we weren’t designed to run with the heel-striking pattern traditional running shoes caused but we weren’t designed to run on concrete and asphalt either. Back to the drawing board.
If you’ve been in Miles Ahead within the last 6 months or so, you’ve probably noticed some shoes that more resemble moon boots. These oddities are from a brand called HOKA ONE ONE. They are at the forefront of a trend that is the polar opposite of the minimalist shoe. These shoes appear to sit on a mountain of foam and at first glance, they seem like their weight should be quoted in pounds, not grams. It’s fair to say that this is a very strange looking shoe.
At closer glance however, the concept has a lot of merit. Developed initially by and for ultra marathoners, the large foam platform is designed to absorb almost all the shock caused by the heel strike. Further, by examining the components of these shoes, you see that your foot is cradled in the shoe so your height off the ground is not nearly what it appears to be. It also borrowed a concept from the barefoot trend of having your heel height much lower to the ground than a traditional shoe. We refer to the “drop” in a shoe as being the height difference in millimeters between the heel and the forefoot. A traditional shoe might have a 10 or 12 millimeter drop while a minimalist shoe would be 0 or 2. These Hokas have a drop of 4 or 6. This lower drop encourages a more mid-foot strike as opposed to a heel strike. This is a more efficient stride that reduces shock to the body but doesn’t shift it to other vulnerable areas of the foot and lower leg. Oh yea, one more thing, the lightness of these shoes is astonishing. If you haven’t tried one of these on, you owe it to yourself to do so. Admittedly, these things aren’t going to win any fashion contests but they may save your knees.
Let’s summarize all this by saying that no “one” thing will work for and appeal to everyone. Any shoe company or retailer that tells you differently is fibbing. Change is inevitable. Companies must continually update styles, colors and technology to stay relevant. When considering a change to your running shoes, it’s wise to do some research and talk to your running shoe sellers in person. What may work for your best friend might not work for you. Only a fair and thorough assessment of your running style, foot and arch profile and goals hoped for with the change will reduce your chances of getting injured. There’s a lot to be said for sticking with what works but hey, we’re human, sometimes change is fun. Unfortunately, the expertise at Miles Ahead can only go so far and while we feel your pain, we can’t tell you when they’re going to come out with an all white shoe. What the heck, buy that chartreuse trainer with the neon laces and enjoy the looks you get on the boards. Hey, at least they’re looking!