Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Trail Running in Vibram KSOs

I've had my Vibram KSOs for sometime now, but I've only been wearing them for my runs up to 3.2 miles. I've also only been wearing them on the road.  I had yet to try them out for trail running.  All my research said to give them awhile before hitting the trails since trail running is so different than road running.  Well today, I decided it was time.  I strapped on the Vibram Five Finger KSOs and headed to Bent Creek and ran the Lake Loop which is about 1.72 miles.

WOW!  I loved them!  Honestly, there were a few small rocks that hurt like hell - one even left a small bruise on my foot - but it was amazing at how my body and running style adjusted so quickly.  I've always had a  pretty good stride length and running on trails I always felt like I was bounding over rocks, stumps, puddles etc... Not the case in the Vibrams.  On the first twinge of pain, my stride immediately shortened and my turnover rate increased.  I lost no time by shortening my stride, and in fact, I believe I actually ran faster than I would have in my regular running shoes.

I could feel every rock and stump I stepped on, but in a good way.  I could feel the sensation when going through muddy areas.  I swear at one point, I could feel myself slip in the mud before I actually "spidey sense".  My reaction to adjust and catch my balance was seemingly super!

My legs felt fresh the whole run and whatever pain I would get here and there from sharper rocks, was gone within a step or two.  I actually felt so fresh close to the end of my run that I jumped up on a large rock in the middle of the trail like I was a kid again to avoid some sharp rocks on either side.  I  effortlessly jumped up onto the rock and back town the other side in a fluid motion.

Going up hills, I have a tendency to go up a little flat footed unless I'm running hard.  In the Vibrams, I instinctively went up on the balls of my feet which made going up the hill so much easier. 

All in all, I actually felt very primal as I ran over rocks, stumps and through mud and puddles.  The sensation of my feet contouring to stumps and larger rocks was so cool!

I think I'm quickly becoming a barefoot/minimalist running convert.  I haven't decided yet, but I'm leaning to running the Asheville Citizen-Times Half-Marathon in my Vibrams in September.  I'll let you know what happens.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition on ABC

For those of you that know me, you know I'm not a big fan of NBC's Biggest Loser because the contestants are made to feel bad that they didn't lose enough weight.  Any weight loss should be celebrated.  Anyway, I was very excited to watch a new show on ABC called Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition.  While I enjoyed this show a bit better, it still had the same flaws in my opinion.

If you listen close, you'll realize that the woman didn't lose all her weight in a year by working out 3 days per week, 20 minutes per day which is about what the average person can do.  She was working out 5 to 6 days per week (not unrealistic or even hard to do mind you...) and working out up to 6 hours per day.  Honestly - Who has 6 hours per day to work out?  We have work.  We have families.  We have kids that need cared for.  Also - ABC gave her a home gym...not just an exercise bike, but a whole gym!  I know I can't afford that.  Can you?  While the story makes for good TV, I'm afraid these shows are setting unrealistic expectations.  It is easy to gain weight but hard as hell to lose it.  I know - Honesty hurts but I've been there!

Set realistic expectations - 80 lbs in 90 days is not realistic in my opinion (unless of course you can afford to hire a personal trainer to move in with you, and the 6 hours per day to train...)  That's over 6.5 lbs per week.  Pick up any fitness book and they all say the same thing - any more than 1-2 lbs per week, and you are probably losing more than fat - you are losing muscle & water...  When all was said and done, I believe she lost an average of 3+ lbs per week...That's not too bad at all.

Realize however, that she lost the weight so fast, she had to have the surgery to cut off the excess skin.  By losing the weight more slowly, she wouldn't have had as much of a problem with the "hanging skin".  I don't know how much that surgery costs, but it's probably not cheap.

If you need to lose weight, and want to do it safely, call me.  I'd love to help.

Common Concerns About Hiring a Running Coach

If you have been struggling to hit that PR or perhaps if your running is just lacking lately, you may have considered hiring a running coach...