Do you know what type of sneakers you’re wearing? If you don’t, you and running have already gotten off on the wrong foot (Yeah, I’m shaking my head at that one too).  After getting cleared to run by a medical professional, your next concern should be your feet. You don’t need to know if they have a foul odor (though you should probably take care of that if you do), you need to know about your arches and the way your ankle naturally rolls.The former tends to correlate with the latter, but that is NOT ALWAYS the case.

There are 52 bones, 66 joints, and 40 muscles in the foot, the least you could do is learn about a couple of them. The experts have been laying claims that your arches generally fall into three different categories: low, normal, and high. Conveniently enough, pronation — the rotation of your foot downward and inward (aka the degree to which your ankle rolls) as your feet strike the ground — also falls into three categories. You are either a(n): overpronator, normal pronator, or supinator (underpronator). Overpronating is your feet rolling too far inward, while supinating is your feet barely rolling inward, after contact with the ground.

In order to mass produce information for the general public the experts tell you this:

  • Low arches – “Well sir/madam/dude/lady, you’re a flat foot and therefore you are likely to overpronate”
  • Normal arches – “You lucky son of a gun, your normal arches mean you probably have normal pronation.”
  • High arches – “Mr./Mrs./Miss./bro, you have high arches and this means you may supinate excessively

DON’T LISTEN

I’ve paraphrased major running sources there for comedic effect because I find it interesting, and outright comical, that they don’t give you a definitive answer as to your pronation. But sure take the “wet test” to find your arch height to generalize and self diagnose your pronation. Yeah, that’s a safe thing to do with the most vital knowledge you can have as a runner.

Finding out about your arch height (foot type)
The Worst Way

The Wet Test

What is the “wet test” you ask? Well, it’s probably the easiest way to figure out a general idea of your arch height. Just wet the bottom of your feet and then make a footprint on paper or some other flat and dry surface. Don’t wet your feet too much otherwise the water will smudge, and don’t press too hard on the ground otherwise the test will be compromised.

The wet test, arch height, foot type

And now compare to the image above to figure it out. You might be saying “Well… it seems like I’m between a normal arch and a low arch” or “One arch is normal and one arch is high, now what?”

You still really don’t know your pronation.

A Couple Slightly Better Ways

The Finger Test (The Ruler Test)

Get the ruler out.  Slide the ruler under your arch until you touch the bottom of your foot. If your measurement is .50″ (1/2″) or lower then it is likely that you have low arches. If it is between .50″ and 1.25″ (1 1/4″) then you can consider yourself within the normal arch range. If it is greater than 1.25″ then you should consider yourself to have high arches.

This is only better because it provides a more mathematical (scientific) approach to learning about your arches. You still do not know your pronation.

The Sand Test

If the beach is easily accessible to you, well then I am jealous. But as far as learning about your arches, if you find yourself near a large plot of sand or dirt that is soft enough to take your impression and safe enough to run across, you should do it. Take off your sneakers and run barefoot easily for 10 meters or so. Walk back and look at your footprints. Now leave a stationary impression of each foot next to a couple of those while you were running and compare. If the running imprint is much flatter or deeper than that of your stationary imprint, you could presume that you overpronate. The opposite is true for supination.

While feeling the sand between your toes is nice, you’re still relegated to comparing your arch to the above picture. This test does give you at least an idea of your pronation though.

The Better (and quite honestly most reasonable) Method

Running Store

Go to a running store. They are almost everywhere now. Any good running store will ask you to take off your sneakers and walk away from them and back towards them for a few steps. Some might even have a treadmill, and if you’re lucky yours will have a foot analysis machine that will be able to detect the pressure points of your foot, like in those Dr. Scholl’s commercials. Generally, specialty running stores train their employees on identifying pronation — it only helps them in the long run. It’s at this point that they should tell you about your degree of pronation, and thus the shoe they would recommend.

Most stores wouldn’t be offended if you borrowed their time to find out this info. It’s in their best interest, as they’ve now demonstrated their expertise to you, you are likely to return.

The Best Way

Podiatrist

What better way to learn about your foot than from the “foot doctor.” The visit might cost you some bucks depending on your medical coverage, but you are getting your diagnosis from a medical professional, and they’ll obviously have all the cool tools and computers to arrive at the conclusion. They also may prescribe inserts for you to wear, though I’m not a big fan.

This is the best way. What more do you need to read?

The Moral of the Story

It’s very important to get to know what will be supporting you over the next however many miles. Knowing you’re previous issues with your feet, your foot type, and your degree of pronation will help determine the type of support you need to assist you on your running journey. Don’t assume that because you have a certain foot type you have a certain pronation. Arch rigidity and past injuries are important factors, and one foot can overpronate while the other doesn’t.

To the foot doctor in you,
Dels

Calories and You

Posted: August 5, 2012 in Nutrition

Sometimes we lose sight of the basics. We get caught up in the end goal and lose sight of what it should actually take to get there. Or maybe we never really knew how to get there in the first place.

You can only get so far in your health, fitness, and wellness goals by foregoing your nutritional priorities. You can’t approach this aspect of your training without care and tact, and you certainly cannot form a bull-headed aggression in your nutritional sacrifices in so that it undermines your health.

the basicsSo nutrition is a complex topic that has been simplified to calories for the mainstream audience, so lets work with that. Take a look at the picture above. Read it once, then read it again, then read it again. I hope it sinks in. It has come to a point in our culture that we avoid caloric intake to avoid gaining weight. Avoiding caloric intake is good to a point, but unfortunately I’ve seen with my own eyes when avoidance becomes a problem.

It starts with the idea that the less calories the better…

“How many calories should I eat?” is the common question. Honestly, you can’t be told that without at least knowing your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), often referred to as your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). This is essentially the amount of calories you’d burn if decided to be a couch potato one day. This is largely based on your height, weight, age, gender. Your caloric intake will then depend on your  activity level, hormones, genetics.. and the list goes on.

So sometimes people hear this and think “shoot I’ll just cut the calories and boom, problem solved.” And it starts out fine… calorie counting and cutting out excess eating. But some people take this too far, not realizing that they should be netting (consumed calories – burned calories) at least 1,200 calories a day (1,800 if you’re a male) because when you dip below this amount your body will be unable to sustain itself. Your body then reacts to this and slows down your metabolic rate, and therefore you don’t burn as many calories while you’re resting. Counter-intuitive wouldn’t you say?

Stop starving yourself. F–k anorexia. Tell bulimia to shove it.

Your body is a machine fueled by energy. So… let’s just say your body is a train fueled by coal. The whole point of a train is to get from point A to point B as efficiently as possible.  Without getting to detailed I’ll be realistic with this analogy…

To get the train to move at peak speeds coal has to be burning at all times. Now you can get the cheap coal, but you’ll need tons more of it, and that means you’ll be pulling along extra train cars to make this work. Or you could make some coal that’ll burn longer, and therefore you’ll need less coal, and less train cars. But this will cost you time (and therefore money based on the idea that time=money). And herein lies the familiar issue of time vs. money. And it’s tough to find the right balance, when in a perfect world you should be making that coal that’ll burn longer all the time and forget the cheap s–t. But that’s not what I’m getting at right now. Right now I want you to know that  just using less is not the way to go. You might not make it from point A to point B at all. If you want to cut your load of coal back you have to start using better coal, there’s really no other way.

That train analogy might have been a little asinine, so the above picture might give you a better idea of what I’m trying to say.

  • Yes, calories matter
  • Yes, there are bad calories and there are good calories
  • Yes, restricting your intake will help you lose weight
  • No, losing weight isn’t as simple as “calories in – calories out”
  • No, starving yourself (or regurgitating) won’t help you lose weight
  • Yes, the difference between restriction and starvation can be an unclear line.
  • Yes, knowing your numbers will clear that line up.

So yeah runners,  you’ll be a lighter load, but will you be strong enough force to move?

I believe my job is done here. (For right now anyways)

To the healthy eater in you,
Dels

Olympics Cram Session

Posted: August 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

So a lot of you trackheads are probably well aware of the team that will represent the RedWhiteandBlue (provided by the USATF) in London that began today. But all of us can’t be trackheads, some of us think this sport only has a world championship every four years, and that’s okay. For those of you who don’t know a steeple from a hurdle, here’s your opportunity to start a good ol’ fashioned college cram session – all-nighter not necessary. And then when you’re at your friend’s house, the bar, or the “water cooler,” you can impress all of your cohorts with all of this knowledge of running they never expected you to know. Please note that I am using the term “impress” loosely here… very loosely.

I scoured the internet in search of the perfect resources to get you up to date on what’s going on on the track and in the field during these Olympics. Don’t be that guy in the study group that doesn’t appreciate the work done for him — read up! At the time that I’m writing this, you’ve already missed the morning session, so you have some catching up to do.

P.S. Even if you consider yourself a trackhead, I bet there’s still something you’ll learn from the sites below.

Ok, so if you know squadoosh (can someone tell me how to spell that?) about track and field..

The playboys over at House of Run decided to hook it up with “The Non-Track Fan’s Guide to the Olympics” and it’s got a good amount of information on it, so don’t skip this part, continuously refer back to it as I am sure you will need to. Oh and you might be in a jam and unable to commit all of this information to memory right away so it might help to know…

The freaking Track & Field Olympic Schedule… sucka.

Straight off of the London2012 website comes the schedule. It was really easy to find. You could have done it yourself. But you didn’t because you’re lazy, and that’s okay. Check it out. That link sends you to the schedule so you can jump ahead in your guide to Olympics to big events going off on the day you need. My link sends you to August 3rd, but as you will see there’s an interactive calendar that makes things pretty darn simple. So now you should be able to make up the who, what, when, and for God’s sake I hope you know the where by now. The why can be answered with “It’s the freaking Olympics.” I’m going to go ahead and use up my artistic freedom as far as answering the ‘how’.

Seed times man, seed times.

So if you don’t know what a seed time is, it’s basically how you are placed into your heat based on how you performed before the Olympics. Remember how Michael Phelps was in lane 7 because of a bad time in the prelims? Same premise. Thanks to the IAAF, clicking this link will bring you to the start lists for each event that will break down who is in what heat and the time they’ve run in the past. It’ll also provide results as well, but in this “if it happened more than 30 seconds ago and I don’t have the news I’ll be peeved” Twitter society we now live in, I thought it might be useful to provide…

the twitter feeds and websites with up to the minute results.

Ok, so if you want to be hardcore about it you can watch the events live online, as with any other Olympic event at www.nbcolympics.com. Flotrack has hooked up a nice little post that’ll bring you right to each stream depending on what session you want to watch, pretty convenient if you don’t want to traverse the NBCOlympics site. At work? Can’t watch online? Fine! (I guess you’re not becoming the die-hard fan I’d hoped for, sigh..)

Here are some twitter accounts to follow if you’re not “down” with NBC’s tape delay…

@USATrack_Field
@Flotrack
@Runnerspace_com

No twitter account? Well runner space has hooked up their twitter account to comment on their results post, so no worries there.

Well, that’s basically it. You now have no excuse to know and enjoy all of the running, jumping, and throwing that will go on for the next 10 days. Hurry up, by my calculations the afternoon session is starting in 4 minutes

To the student in you,
Dels

Calvin Harris – Feel So Close… Sure a great song, but yeah I figured I could take a couple minutes to make this more… applicable. If you don’t know the original, you should probably click this and listen

I run so close to you right now, your my wind-shield
I wear my iPod on my sleeve, like a big deal
Your sweat wicks up all over me, like a waterfall
And there’s no slowing us right now
We’re running so freakin’ fast right now
[cue dance party in your head]

I run so close to you right now, your my wind-shield
I wear my iPod on my sleeve, like a big deal
Your sweat wicks up all over me, like a waterfall
And there’s no slowing us right now
We’re running so freakin’ fast right now

To the dork lyricist in you,

Dels

Unfortunately heat is not often considered when some runners head out to pound the pavement. Some of us find out how hot it is once we are already outdoors, and at that point we’ve already committed to our running journey. But lacking the energy and resources to complete a run successfully can negatively impact not only your run, your training as a whole, but you also risk fainting or even worse, death.

Some tend to cram hydration in right before a run. This may help you get hydrated, but if you drink 12-24 ounces right before you set out on a run, you’re likely to feel uncomfortable with the water sloshing around in your stomach, or you might still end up with a cramp, or “side stitch”, along your run. The best case scenario is to be well hydrated throughout the entire 24 hours prior to your run. It’s also important to note that while dehydration is a concern, hyponatremia (drinking too much water) should be of equal concern.

So what is the right amount? Well, that’s hard to say since there are different circumstances affecting each of us. Many people have heard of the “8×8” rule, that is, drinking 8 glasses of 8 ounces of fluid daily. This to me is a little light intake, even for the inactive. For people with active lifestyles a general rule of thumb or starting point is having ½ to 1.5 ounces of water per your pound of weight. So for example, if you weigh 160 pounds, 80-240 ounces of fluid daily is a good range to be within. While this is a wide range of intake possibilities, this variance can depend on your activity level that day.

A good way to “put your best foot forward” when it comes to hydration is to have 3 glasses of water when you wake up, which will leave with a solid base for the remainder of your day. Many people have Nalgene or other water bottles that can hold at least 24 ounces of fluid that they aim to finish before or while drinking their morning coffee or other beverage. Hotter days and longer runs will require you to expend more energy and sweat, so you must be aware of this and adjust your intake accordingly. The best way to identify your level of hydration is to monitor your urine. The general rule is, the clearer the urine, the more hydrated you are. But you do not want your urine to be completely clear, you should be able to see the yellow tint in it. Exceeding an intake of 28 ounces of water per hour can certainly lead you to a hyponatremic state, you want to be sure your sodium levels are not diluted with your water, as water is not your only savior.

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the importance of electrolytes, so during activity you want to be sure you’re having about 8-12 ounces of a sports drink per hour of activity. For any ultra-runners that will be active for 2,4, and 6 hours will require complex sports drinks and tablets to replace your potassium, magnesium, and sodium in order to avoid muscle failure.

Drake “The Motto” take 2…

I f—-n’ run, y’all don’t get it do ya
Type of times errybody tryna run just like ya
Runnin 5ks in New York City biiiiiiitch
Spanish girls love me like I run Pamplona
Tell Mayor Nutter I’m back in Philly too
Drinkin hard, runnin’ hard, there ain’t much to do
wrist bling, Polar watch, lovin’ this thing
Gettin’ my pace and my rate, ain’t s–t strange
How ya feel, how ya feel, how ya feel?
26 miles feel like 26 mil
I finished runnin’ and I’m stretchin’ myself
Rest in peace Micah True, I’mma do it how you do, you flew
Logging miles, I’ll holla whenever that stop
Gotta take care, gettin’ tired of my knee pops
the pressure’s f—-n’ on like the anchor of a relay
USATF got you chantin U-S-Ayyyy
Gay & Gatlin will be reppin’ in the hundo
Hopin’ really hard that Bolt ain’t in the front tho
Post-race we chuggin’ gatorade by the liter
Pre says you ain’t s–t if you ain’t the f—–g leader
Ohhh that’s how you feel man?
That’s really how you feel?
‘Cause if the weather’s ice cold, then a runner’s straight chill
I mean maybe they won’t
Then again maybe they will
I can almost guarantee how it’ll feel,
Rebel runners what’s up?

Finish line photo
Ran a crappy time though
But you only race once, that’s the motto n—a YORO
’cause we’re running every day, every day, every day
It’s the only true sport, all you fools do is play
Every day, every day, f–k what anybody say
Can’t see ’em, too many miles in the way
Rebel runners what’s up?

To the dork lyricist in you,

Dels

Some people have been doing some really cool s–t with running. A rebel runner forges their own road. They run for a cause bigger than their own. They might go against conventional wisdom or they might just make a habit of bending the rules. Basically a runner that is just plain AWESOME.

Today’s verified Rebel Runner is none other than Fauja Singh.

CREDENTIALS:

  • Started “seriously” running at the age of 81
  • At 100 years old he attempted and broke the world age group record in 8 different races (100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, Mile, 3000, 5000 — I don’t imagine stiff competition in the age group..)
  • First 100 year old to complete a marathon
  • Stays to a strict vegetarian diet.
  • He will carry the Olympic torch for the SECOND TIME (previously the 2004 Athens Olympics) for the 2012 London Olympics this Saturday, July 21st.He is one of very few that have ever handled the torch on two separate occasions.
  • He’s raised tens of thousands of dollars for various charities.

Century tested, Rebel Runner approved. I can’t imagine starting to consistently run at the age of 81. I also can’t imagine being 81 years old, but that’s besides the point. The Guiness Book of World Records won’t recognize him as the oldest man to complete a marathon as he is unable to provide a birth certificate (they did not provide them in his hometown in British India back in 1911), but still his feat needs to be recognized. He says he got this way by sticking to his diet and steering clear of alcohol (womp womp). And to top it all off, he’s a member of the running group Sikhs in the City, a play on words of the famed TV show Sex and the City… which is just awesome.

“I won’t stop running until I die. The next target, God willing, is to be the oldest marathon runner ever.” – Fauja Singh

To the rebel in you,
Dels