Spring Migration

So, after a while blogging using Blogger I have recently moved over to WordPress.

There is no particular reason for the move other than I like working with it a little better.

I would like to thank you all for your time here and if you woul dlike to continue to follow what I have to say please do check out Amphkingwest on WordPress.

Thank you!!

Are we supposed to barefoot run? (A tongue in cheek look at evolution)

This old chestnut keeps popping up, again and again and again. I’ve also written about minimalism and barefooting before.

English: barefoot running
English: barefoot running (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

It generally starts as a discussion about barefoot running, usually by a newly converted barefooter who reckons it’s the best thing since bread became sliced and very quickly degenerates into a willy measuring exercise between pedants who insist on discussing the relative density and hardness of concrete and dusty, pre-civilisation, pre-societal concrete.

 

Here’s a recent example: Your expensive running shoes could be destroying your knees, ankles and hips.

 

Now I don’t know about you but as far as I understand evolution and progress are usually determined by the axiom ‘survival of the fittest’.

 

So, based on current trends and my anthropological time machine I have a theory.

 

Way back when, if we are to believe what we are told, we were fruit and vegetable eaters, eating all round us and then moving on to new pastures in search of new food sources like  grazing animals. The current trend of Paleo diet would indicate that this how we developed as a species; eating fruit, nuts, vegetables and seeds in their raw state (in so far as possible).

 

Then, through a pioneering trendsetter someone picked up a wooden stick and developed a taste for animal protein. (Could you call it a ‘club sandwich’ ? )

 

This influx of animal protein led to development of better brain function as we evolved, leading to the development of tools for cooking , cleaning etc. Oh, and fire was created or at least the means to maintain it and the knowledge to transport fire from one location to another, allowing us to cook food.

 

Now as these early men (& women) clubbed and collected food all around them the faster animals and possibly tastier always eluded their reach. No matter how sneaky we were we couldn’t catch these sources of meat. They’d smell us or hear us in the woods and grass trying to creep up until they were in range. All to no avail.

 

What did we do next?

 

We started running.

 

(This has taken generations to get to this point in the story, time machine, remember?!)

 

We soon discovered that we could run. Now we couldn’t run as fast as the animal we wanted to eat and after a while we realised this. With our brain developing we started thinking and working together as a team with the result being that we got cute and realised we could run longer and further and steadier than the dinner. We didn’t know it at the time but our bodies liked this idea and started to develop mechanisms that encouraged us to run. We got taller, straighter and lighter; we became land running hunters.

 

All of the reading we do, all of the fora we engage in everything is geared to us understanding that this is the reason we are born to run. We evolved.

 

I don’t disagree.

 

However.

 

I think the first hominoid man who fashioned a pair of foot covers from some animal hide to protect his feet from the dusty, gritty, thorny surface and that offered him some grip on the rocky terrain gained an evolutionary advantage over the barefoot guys.

 

Apart from the obvious fact that we still cover our feet, providing unassailable evidence of the historical benefit of footwear, that ‘barefooting’ died out and needed to be rediscovered comes down to the simple truth that the guy with the footwear had the competitive edge over the other guy in the chase to get the good looking girls.

 

Survival of the fittest! 😉

 

Are we supposed to barefoot run? (A tongue in cheek look at evolution)

This old chestnut keeps popping up, again and again and again. I’ve also written about minimalism and barefooting before.

English: barefoot running
English: barefoot running (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

It generally starts as a discussion about barefoot running, usually by a newly converted barefooter who reckons it’s the best thing since bread became sliced and very quickly degenerates into a willy measuring exercise between pedants who insist on discussing the relative density and hardness of concrete and dusty, pre-civilisation, pre-societal concrete.

 

Here’s a recent example: Your expensive running shoes could be destroying your knees, ankles and hips.

 

Now I don’t know about you but as far as I understand evolution and progress are usually determined by the axiom ‘survival of the fittest’.

 

So, based on current trends and my anthropological time machine I have a theory.

 

Way back when, if we are to believe what we are told, we were fruit and vegetable eaters, eating all round us and then moving on to new pastures in search of new food sources like  grazing animals. The current trend of Paleo diet would indicate that this how we developed as a species; eating fruit, nuts, vegetables and seeds in their raw state (in so far as possible).

 

Then, through a pioneering trendsetter someone picked up a wooden stick and developed a taste for animal protein. (Could you call it a ‘club sandwich’ ? )

 

This influx of animal protein led to development of better brain function as we evolved, leading to the development of tools for cooking , cleaning etc. Oh, and fire was created or at least the means to maintain it and the knowledge to transport fire from one location to another, allowing us to cook food.

 

Now as these early men (& women) clubbed and collected food all around them the faster animals and possibly tastier always eluded their reach. No matter how sneaky we were we couldn’t catch these sources of meat. They’d smell us or hear us in the woods and grass trying to creep up until they were in range. All to no avail.

 

What did we do next?

 

We started running.

 

(This has taken generations to get to this point in the story, time machine, remember?!)

 

We soon discovered that we could run. Now we couldn’t run as fast as the animal we wanted to eat and after a while we realised this. With our brain developing we started thinking and working together as a team with the result being that we got cute and realised we could run longer and further and steadier than the dinner. We didn’t know it at the time but our bodies liked this idea and started to develop mechanisms that encouraged us to run. We got taller, straighter and lighter; we became land running hunters.

 

All of the reading we do, all of the fora we engage in everything is geared to us understanding that this is the reason we are born to run. We evolved.

 

I don’t disagree.

 

However.

 

I think the first hominoid man who fashioned a pair of foot covers from some animal hide to protect his feet from the dusty, gritty, thorny surface and that offered him some grip on the rocky terrain gained an evolutionary advantage over the barefoot guys.

 

Apart from the obvious fact that we still cover our feet, providing unassailable evidence of the historical benefit of footwear, that ‘barefooting’ died out and needed to be rediscovered comes down to the simple truth that the guy with the footwear had the competitive edge over the other guy in the chase to get the good looking girls.

 

Survival of the fittest! 😉

 

Training ICE

On a somber note we often hear of athletes injured or killed by being struck by vehicles whilst out training. A couple of years ago when I started triathlon training in earnest, almost half of my sessions were done without club mates (restrictions of work, family etc.) and now most of my sessions are lone efforts.

At the back of my mind is “what happens if I’m unlucky to be in an accident?”

Most of us go running or cycling with the minimum amount of gear possible, usually a GPS watch, iPod and possibly a reflective vest, spare parts for the bike and so on. You are unlikely to run without the phone, but then there is a growing trend for people to use training apps to map routes and pace. Something I’ve advised people to do for a long time is to use an ICE contact in their phone (good to have in any event).

ICE is In Case of Emergency.

So just edit the name of the person that should be called if you happen to be in an accident by inserting ‘ICE’ in front of their name. It is good manners to leave the first name in an ICE contact so the caller knows how to address you.  So don’t do: ‘ICE Hubbie’, ‘ICE Wifey’ etc.

For different reasons don’t do ‘ICE Mum’ either better off that its a brother / sister or father who tells your mum face to face that you have been in an accident, than her getting a phone call, if I did that to my mum, she’d kill me!

A second option which I use all the time, as I only carry the phone on the bike, is a Road ID wrist band

RoadID is a series of different products but the basic and by far the best for anyone running, cycling, swimming, climbing is the Wrist ID. Put it on, leave it on.

Its $20 that could save your life.

Training ICE

On a somber note we often hear of athletes injured or killed by being struck by vehicles whilst out training. A couple of years ago when I started triathlon training in earnest, almost half of my sessions were done without club mates (restrictions of work, family etc.) and now most of my sessions are lone efforts.

At the back of my mind is “what happens if I’m unlucky to be in an accident?”

Most of us go running or cycling with the minimum amount of gear possible, usually a GPS watch, iPod and possibly a reflective vest, spare parts for the bike and so on. You are unlikely to run without the phone, but then there is a growing trend for people to use training apps to map routes and pace. Something I’ve advised people to do for a long time is to use an ICE contact in their phone (good to have in any event).

ICE is In Case of Emergency.

So just edit the name of the person that should be called if you happen to be in an accident by inserting ‘ICE’ in front of their name. It is good manners to leave the first name in an ICE contact so the caller knows how to address you.  So don’t do: ‘ICE Hubbie’, ‘ICE Wifey’ etc.

For different reasons don’t do ‘ICE Mum’ either better off that its a brother / sister or father who tells your mum face to face that you have been in an accident, than her getting a phone call, if I did that to my mum, she’d kill me!

A second option which I use all the time, as I only carry the phone on the bike, is a Road ID wrist band

RoadID is a series of different products but the basic and by far the best for anyone running, cycling, swimming, climbing is the Wrist ID. Put it on, leave it on.

Its $20 that could save your life.

Update – 30th April 2013

Just to let you know there are coupons available for little discounts on RoadID. A quick search on Google will turn up a few. At the end of the day whether you pay $20 or $19 for the wrist ID matters little, its the potential life saving aspect that is Priceless. Some good comments on the LinkedIn Triathlete group if any one is a member there.

 

UPDATE June 2013 – We have agreed a referral system with Road ID. Simply Click on any of the RodID images above and you can buy your RoadID directly from the manufacturers. ALL Commission from your purchases is passed onto Croi Charity in Galway.

Run Smooth

Which of these runners ‘runs right’?

I know its a cliche, but lately I’ve been thinking and its worrying.

Every day that we use video playback in +Amphibian King Galway to provide a medium for helping people choose the running footwear best suited for them. The most common question is ‘do I run right?’



Now how do you answer this?

Like footwear there are so many factors that are involved, and how do you decide what is ‘running right’?

There’s the school of thought, run barefoot, it will fix you and make you a better runner. I agree, yes and no.There are people who have fantastic barefoot running form, yet as soon as you put them in shoes they forget all of that and run stupid. 

By ‘run stupid’ I mean, they switch their brain off, they run and allow the shoe to insulate their foot and deaden all the nice feedback and kill off decent form. So yes, barefoot running is good for them. 

Then there’s the majority of us who don’t run sweetly, bit of a stomper and untidy barefoot form, in the main shoes are good for them, but also a bit of barefoot or minimal work to help remap muscles and improve form.

I’ve a couple of previous posts on this area of discussion: What’s in a name?

The bit that worrys me and an area I would do research into if I had a these to do for college is what defines ‘running right’ ?

The common perception is that you should land on your mid to fore foot, allow the heel to drop, charging the calf muscles with that impact force, the muscles turn this impact force into elastic potential energy which as you body weight moves over the centre of gravity becomes kinetic energy levering you just as your foot locks into a rigid structure propelling you forwards.

All this to be done at 90 strides per minute.

The problem I have with this is there is no variability taken into account for height, weight, fitness, mechanical deficiences or anything that marks us out as individual.

In fact it reminds me of the ‘one style fits all’ coaching that we used to get swimming Total Immersion. 

I think running form should be considered more along the lines of Swim Smooth where rough categories are defined based on common characteristics in swimming style and instead of saying ‘this is the way all of you must swim’ they look at the individual characteristics of the styles and work with those.

What I mean is there is no point taking a 5 minute mile runner whose running form makes them look like theyve been shot or something, doing loads of coaching to make them this graceful forefoot striker with perfect poise and balance who clocks 5:10 miles.

Is there?

Ideally you would look at this individual and work a couple of form tweaks to help them become more efficient so they can run 5 minute miles for longer or to help clock a 4:55 mile. 

Its not about making a beautiful runner out of someone, its about running beautifully and efficiently within your body’s capabilities and recognising the difference. 

P.S. the ‘ugly’ runner on the right is Priscah Jeptoo who won +Virgin London Marathon today in 2:20:13 

Progressive Polar

Image

The beautiful new RC3 Watch with integrated GPS from Polar.

Progressive Polar

Image

The beautiful new RC3 Watch with integrated GPS from Polar.