Are Racing Shoes For You?
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on January 31, 2012
One of the most frequently asked questions road racers have is whether or not they should wear racing shoes. It’s a good question, especially among runners who want to race faster, set a PR or contend for age-group honors.
But what about the average recreational racer? Can wearing racing flats help you race faster?
In a word, yes. But like just about everything else it isn’t quite that cut and dry.
Intuitively, we assume wearing a lighter shoe in races will make a substantial difference and help us improve our times. It stands to reason that the less weight your foot has to lift means your feet will spend less time on the ground which means your legs’ turnover rate will be quicker and you will run faster.
How much faster? Not a lot. Depending how much weight you “lose” from trainers to racers, you might gain three or four seconds per mile.
Even so, wearing extremely lightweight racing shoes (or road flats, the terms are synonymous) is not a shortcut to a massive PR. Training will do it; not just the shoes. In fact, racing shoes on the wrong runner could lead to a personal worst.
The harsh reality is that racing shoes are not recommended for the average recreational runner. And they are absolutely not for the beginner who is running for fun and/or just trying to finish a marathon.
Why not? After all, racing shoes are as much as four ounces lighter per shoe than most training shoes. But the reason road racing shoes are so light is that they are built with much less cushioning and support than trainers. And most recreational racers and newbies can’t sacrifice cushioning and support for lightness.
On the other hand, experienced, faster racers can give up some cushioning and support to squeeze every last second out of their race. For fast guys and gals, every second counts as they battle for top 10 finishes and age-group awards.
If that doesn’t sound like you, you probably shouldn’t consider wearing racing shoes. Flats simply aren’t worth the risk of injury and beside, flats won’t make a major difference in how fast you run, unless you run 7-minute per mile pace or faster.
However, if you are an experienced racer who is biomechanically efficient—i.e., doesn’t overpronate to the extreme—racing shoes can be worth it. Again, road flats won’t take you from a 3-hour marathoner to 2:45, but they’ll help.
Most good road racers wear flats and if you are contemplating whether to wear racing shoes for your key race, try a pair out in a few of your tempo runs. Doing so, will give you a feel for the extreme lightness that will allow for a faster leg turnover.
You might find out you like the snug fit and feel of racing shoes and decide to use them in your next race. Go for it. Just don’t make your first race in road flats a marathon. Too risky. Use them in a 5-K first.
If you find flats too light and not cushioned or supportive enough, stick with your everyday training shoes in races. Nothing wrong with that. That’s what most citizen racers use.
However, if you still want to wear a lighter shoe for road races, try a lightweight trainer-racer such as the Mizuno Wave Precision or Wave Elixir. Both shoes are lighter and more flexible than conventional training shoes and have a moderate amount of cushioning.
Here’s a look at Mizuno’s family of road-racing flats and performance trainer-racers. Mizuno’s three exceptional road-racing shoes are the Wave Ronin, Wave Musha and Wave Universe as well as two popular lightweight performance that are suitable for racing: The Wave Precision and Wave Elixir.
Road-racers: Intended primarily for road-racing. Extremely light uppers and flexible, Mizuno’s family of road flats are designed to fly.
- Wave Universe (3.8 ounces) is a stripped down racer which is built purely for speed. The lightest racing shoe on the market, the Wave Universe weighs about half of what most conventional road-racing shoes weigh. With a heel-to-toe ramp of only 5 mm, the Universe has a very low midsole profile which has gained considerable following among minimalist enthusiasts as a training and racing shoe. Available in unisex sizing.
- Wave Ronin (m: 7 oz; w: 6 oz.) is a fast, well-cushioned racing shoe designed primarily for biomechanically efficient racers who want a snug-fitting flat. Although it’s extremely light, the Ronin has most of Mizuno’s top technologies found in its trainers, including Dynamotion Fit, AP+ midsole and SmoothRide engineering for fast heel-to-toe transition. The Ronin’s G3 outsole is especially valuable on wet roads (for example, at aid stations) as it grips the road—even at high speeds. Heel-to-toe ramp is 9 mm. Suitable for all distances up to the marathon.
- Wave Musha(m: 7.8 oz. W: 6.8 oz.), available for the first time this year in a corresponding women’s specific model, is different from the Ronin in several key aspects. The Musha is slightly heavier, offers a hint of support and fits a broader fit than the Ronin. With a light, highly flexible midsole (AP+ cushioning) and outsole, the Musha has also gained popularity as a lightweight trainer for fast days as well as race days. Heel-to-toe ramp is 9 mm. Suitable for all distances up to the marathon.
Performance trainers: Many runners prefer a lightweight trainer for daily running. Others, use lightweight performance trainers as a “second” shoe for fast, tempo days, interval workouts and races. Mizuno’s performance trainers are two or three ounces lighter than conventional trainers without sacrificing cushioning, comfort and durability.
- Wave Elixir: (m: 9.3. oz.; w: 7.7 oz.) defines lightweight support with its cushy, yet moderately supportive ride. If you have support concerns about most lightweight shoes, the Elixir delivers enough for all but severe overpronators. The Elixir’s low profile has a racing shoe feel, but has the cushioning and comfort of a training shoe. With a snug fit and great flexibility, the Elixir lets you get up on your toes to top speed at any distance. Heel-to-toe ramp is 12 mm.
- Wave Precision:(m: 9.6. oz.; w: 8 oz.) is the perfect companion (or second shoe) for Mizuno’s neutral trainers such as the Wave Rider or Wave Creation. The Precision is lighter, has a bouncier midsole and is more appropriate for faster running than its neutral brethren. But it still has the comfort, fit and cushioning of a daily trainer. Also suitable for races of any distance. Heel-to-toe ramp is 12 mm.
If you are thinking of buying road racing shoes before your next big race, here are some factors to consider:
1. Racing shoes are faster.. Research shows that for every ounce that you shave off the weight of a training shoe, you will run one second per mile faster. If you compare a typical 11-ounce trainer to a seven-ounce racer, that’s a savings of four ounces per shoe which translates to four seconds per mile. That equates to 12 seconds in a 5-K or nearly two minutes in a marathon. That’s not a lot, but for some runners, every second counts.
2. Racing shoes make you feel faster. Race morning is different from a normal training day and chances are you want this day to feel special. That’s why you wear a singlet with a number on it and that’s why many racers also wear racing flats. They want to feel faster and racing shoes allows them to feel like there’s almost nothing on their feet to slow them down.
3.Use racing shoes for a few shorter runs before a race. Racing in flats is an acquired feeling and you must get accustomed to the extra pounding your legs will take. Racing shoes weigh substantially less because there is less shoe. If the shoes feel too light in training, chances are they are too light for races.
4. If you need plenty of cushioning, racing shoes are out. Most road flats offer about 20 percent less midsole cushioning foam than training shoes. If you need that extra comfort, race with trainers
5. If you need support and stability, stick with your trainers.Racing shoes have almost no support or control features. If you overpronate and need those added support features, stick with your trainers.
6. If you’re a big runner, racing shoes are not for you.Simply put, bigger, heavier runners need all the support and cushioning they can get. Racing shoes don’t have adequate beef for bigger runners
May 14, 2013
2012! by Jordan Larson
by Brynn Murphy on January 30, 2012
Happy New Year!! This year is a big year for everyone involved in the Olympics!! Can't believe it's already here. However, there are still many events that occurred in 2011 that I would like to tell you about. First, is our trip to Zurich, Switzerland. This was my second trip to Switzerland this year as I went to Montreux earlier this summer with the National team and needless to say it was beautiful. We were going to Zurich to play a champions league match against Volero Zurich. We arrived a couple days before the match so we were able to walk around a bit. It was nice to get out for a bit and of course grab a Starbucks. :) The most important thing was the match and we were able to take care of business. We were able to beat them in 4 but they definitely put up a fight.
After we returned from Switzerland we took a trip to one of our sponsors to receive a gift. Since my first season we have been sponsored by a fur company called Melita. Melita is a well-known fur company all over Europe. In Russia fur is a must have, but a lot of people cannot afford high end fur because it is too expensive so needless to say the girls on my team were thrilled. My first season here I got a coat tailor made just for me. It was made out of beaver and fox. I also received a blanket made out of beaver. One fur coat is enough for me so last season I chose wolf pelt and also another blanket made out of beaver. This season I am considering the fox blanket in the picture below. We are hoping to use all the blankets as throws in our house, if I ever have one! Below you will see a picture of me and my teammate Gamova modeling some of the coats on display.
Before you know it Christmas was here!! This is always a tough time to be away from family. For me I always remember the many traditions I have with my family. This year we were fortunate enough to get to spend Christmas with the Priddy's. For those of you who don't know who the Priddy's are, Reid Priddy is an outside hitter with the US National team and was a member of the 2008 gold medal Olympic team. He is playing for the Kazan men's team and has brought along some of his family including his wife Lindsey, son Caden and his sister Dylan. Lindsey is a great host and made a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas day dinner. We had a small gift exchange but the most enjoyment came from watching Caden open his gifts. A special thank you to Reid and his family for making this Christmas memorable.
Christmas came and went and we were back to work. Next up was the Russian cup. The Russian cup is mid season tournament with the winning team qualifying for Champions league the following year. We were fortunate enough to win the cup last season and we wanted to try and bring it back to Kazan. Our semi-final match was against Krasnodar a very good team that includes my friend and teammate Foluke Akinradewo. We battled it out and there were some close sets but we came out on top. We couldn't relax because the next day was going to be a tough match. In the final we were to face Dinamo Moscow who is traditionally one of the best teams in the Russian SuperLeague. They pushed us and we had no answer. We took them to four but had a chance to win 2 other sets with game points in both. We made critical mistakes at the wrong time and it cost us the match. This was very disappointing for us and the club. There is no time to dwell as we still have over half the season left.
After we finished the Russian cup it was time to celebrate the New Year. For those of you that don't know New Years in Russia is like our Christmas in the States. Everything shuts down and it's their time to celebrate with family and friends. Lucky for me Foluke got to come to Kazan and celebrate with us. We went over to the Priddy's for dinner and hung out and played ping pong till it was time to ring in the New Year. We celebrated with champagne and sparklers (inside the apartment!). The next morning we returned to their apartment. My husband’s family has a New Year ’s Day tradition of making a pastry they call grebble so we carried on that tradition in Russia.
After spending a couple of days with us it was time for Foluke to return to her team. It was great getting to spend time with her. After she left we had to travel to a team in northern Siberia near the Arctic Ocean. They said normal temperatures reach as low as -50 Celsius. Fortunately it wasn't that cold outside. They did have some neat life sized ice sculptures outside their gym.
Every year our team treats us to a day of snow tubing at a local ski resort. We go tubing in the morning and then enjoy a nice lunch. Most girls bring their families as we get to swim and use the sauna at the resort. It is a great time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. This has been an eventful couple of weeks. I have truly enjoyed spending time with friends and celebrating the holidays. I hope everyone has a wonderful 2012, this year should be exciting.
Dream Big & Never Settle
May 14, 2013
by Serena Burla on January 30, 2012
The Trials certainly lived up to the definition of the word: Trials- a test of faith, patience, and stamina. Of all the times to DNF, why the trials? Oh there’s that “why” question again, the one that sometimes produces answers, sometimes life lessons, sometimes a delayed response, and sometimes silence. The question that always makes me take a step back and remember, I am not the one in control. “Why” often comes to mind when my heart breaks or a momentary emptiness takes over my soul and there is nothing left to do other than put my hands together in prayer for strength.
During this trial it happened somewhere between mile 18 and 19 when my body refused to go any further despite the amazing roars of the crowd and my brain urging it to go. I experienced an out of body feeling that I was going down, and then I did. When I came back around I was surrounded by event volunteers and medical staff. After a while I was cleared to go, and in the presence of one extraordinary volunteer I sat down and sobbed and prayed, and interestingly enough gave thanks. Despite all the pain I was feeling from not reaching my goals and not finishing, I was reassured that I have great joy in my life. I have my son Boyd and my family who loves me no matter what, and I could still put one foot in front of the other, something that had once been in question.
As I got back to the convention center and the other finishers filtered in, I felt for each one of them: the joy for those who will represent a strong field of American women marathoners at the Olympics, and the grief for those placing just behind them. I also felt for those who PR’d, for those happy to finish, and for those who had mixed emotions on their outcome. After all, it’s the trials, and not just any trial, the Olympic MARATHON trials. To all those who played a role in the trials: the organizers, cheering wise, support, as a coach, family member, and participant- well done and thank you.
The next day I got out on the course as a cheerleader in an attempt to give back to some of those who lined the course the previous day (the crowds had been spectacular). I cheered on several friends and my incredible training partner, Yihunlish Delelecha, who had been my rock throughout the training cycle. I ended up getting far more in return. I flew home recharged with inspiration and hope, and affirmation that I really love this sport.
Later, my coach, Isaya Okwiya, who has endured all life’s ups and downs with me the past six years, and I reflected on what had occurred, reviewed medical data, etc. in an attempt to identify the culprit and prevent this from happening again. I felt a pang in my heart upon realizing I was severely hypoglycemic, thus the reason I was not able to finish was probably due to not eating enough carbohydrates leading up to the race. I felt foolish, for this was something I could have controlled. I had let my fear of having stomach problems, which had occurred in a previous marathon, keep me from eating properly. If you ever have this fear, take it from me, having stomach problems is a far better scenario than not finishing the race. Oddly enough, a scene from The Lion King popped into my head: where Rafiki hits Simba in the head and convinces him to return as king. Rafiki tells Simba, “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.” Having this great of a disappointment will surely make me learn.
I take this low humbly and know there will be better days. I go forward, learning, and growing; looking forward to my next test of faith, patience, and stamina- whatever that trial may be.
May 14, 2013
Just Getting Started
by Clara Grandt on January 26, 2012
The Olympic Marathon Trials are over, and life is still going on. Imagine that! A big race can have a funny affect on the mind of a runner, and this one was the biggest I have ever experienced. The training that goes into it is such a big build up, and that one day, race day, is such a big focus that we don’t think much past the race. It seems to be the end of life as we know it… It’s not!
The few days before the race seemed quite full of activities. As soon as I arrived in Houston, I went straight to Fleet Feet for a Mizuno event were all the Mizuno Trials athletes were doing a question and answer session for runners in the store. It was fun to get to see everyone on the Mizuno team as soon as I arrived, knowing we all had gone through a long haul of training and was here for the same big reason. Dinners, meetings, uniform checks, fluid bottle turn-ins, and media interviews followed in the next few days, all building excitement for the big event.
The hype going into the race was a new experience for me, mainly because I actually was somewhat involved in it. I have been looked at as a young runner with a fast marathon debut (that seems to carry an annoying asterisk with it due to the wind in Boston that day I debuted.) I liked my chance to stand up for myself during the media interviews. I was nervous, but more than that, I was excited to prove myself as a top marathoner despite my inexperience and young age for this particular event.
The hardest question I was asked to answer during interviews was, “What is your biggest fear?” I didn’t have any huge fears. I didn’t want to run with fear of anything. For example, if I missed a fluid bottle, which I did miss my first one, I was just going to deal with it the best way I could. I ended up knocking my first one over, thought for a split second of picking it up off the road, said no, and grabbed a cup of water a few seconds down the road.
Race morning, I felt very good and my nerves were being replaced with confidence and excitement. While the National Anthem was sung, I felt an incredible pride for my country and was so glad to compete for a chance to represent the United States at the Olympics. I knew I wasn’t a favorite, but the honor that comes with that possibility would be great, and I knew I’d do my best to have that honor.
I had competed against many of the women in this race at some race or another, but this time THEY WERE ALL THERE. That was perfectly fine by me. I was thrilled to have the chance to line up against the best in the country all at once.
The gun went off and the race went slow, but quickly picked up after the first mile. I found myself running with the lead pack for a few miles, and then intentionally dropped back once it dropped below 5:30, hoping it was a smart move. I lead a small group that turned into a group of one soon after. I felt great on the second loop of the three loop course and felt I could possibly catch up to the lead pack during a few miles. My excitement in the second loop may have gotten the best of me though, as the third and final loop proved to be quite tough. I still managed to catch up to Deena Kastor in the last few miles and we had what I have described to many as a “turtle race.” We both were hurting, but in the end she pulled away from me by six seconds, and I ended up in seventh place.
The race was over, and not setting a PR or reaching my high goal of top three, I wasn’t completely sure what to think right away. I knew I had run very hard, but if you would have told me that’s the time and place I was training for all these months, I would not have been pleased.
However, the women that were in front of me were very great women, the greatest to ever line up at this event, and my time was less than a minute off of my debut at Boston, so I found something good in that. I look at it as inspiration to keep reaching for that Olympic opportunity, because this is not the end… life does go on after the Trials, and then four years later, there is another opportunity, and four years after that. I’m just getting started!
Thanks for reading,
May 14, 2013
by Antonio Vega on January 23, 2012
There's no question that watching the U.S Olympic Marathon Trials at home brought a range of emotions to me. I was excited for my fellow Team USA Minnesota and Mizuno teammates, but I was naturally frustrated that I wasn't on the starting line with them in Houston.
After the race, I made two promises: This would be the last Olympic Trials that I am going to watch on television and secondly, it's time for me to double my efforts and train like a mad man to get back into racing shape.
Getting back into shape is well underway. I have started putting in some decent mileage, but my workouts—as could be expected after such a long layoff--have been anything but perfect. Sometimes, I feel like that high school kid who goes out way too hard in the first mile, only to find myself doubled over two miles later. After catching my breath, I laugh it off and decide next time to start at a more reasonable pace.
But with each workout, I can see improvements in my fitness level. I even welcome a little sore from the previous day’s workout. The best news is that the hip pain that has bothered me for well over a year continues to get better every day. So every morning I wake up and can't wait to get out the door and train.
I'm not all the way back yet, but I'm excited to see where my running takes me this year. I can now see a point where I'll be back competing with the top guys once again.
While it's true that I missed the Marathon Trials, I will pursue a 10,000-meter qualifying time that will get me on the starting line for the Olympic Track in June in Eugene.
May 14, 2013
The Planet Wave: The Best Finishes in Road Racing
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on January 19, 2012
I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of any road race is the final mile. By the time I get to that last mile, I just want to get to the finish as quickly as possible and get the darned thing over and done with.
Plus, the crowds are usually thickest in that last stretch and if I have run well, I can savor the applause and acknowledgement from the spectators. To hear my name called is even sweeter as I hit the finish line. It makes all the hard racing worth it.
When I think back on most races, the final mile is all I ever even remember. For me, that last mile in just about every race is special, but some are even more special in my memory banks.
I’ve run all over the world and in some of the biggest races in this country. Some I ran well; some not so hot. But I’ve always loved that final, celebratory mile.
Here are my 10 favorite final miles in road racing (with the 2012 dates):
10. Manchester Road Race (November 22). This 75-year-old race in Connecticut is one of New England’s classics. Held on Thanksgiving morning, the entire town turns out to support the runners who come from all over the world to race this odd distance (4.7 miles). Most racers try to wait for the last half mile before unleashing their kicks straight down Main Street which is lined 10-deep on both sides with wildly cheering spectators who have been coming to this race for generations. Equally cool, the last stretch is a gentle downhill.
9. The American Mile (July 4th) in Longport, New Jersey. This is one of those small-town races that just brims with a mixture of fun, speed, hot dogs and Americana. I love this smallish, out-of-the-way race which starts in early evening. The American Mile (it’s also known as the Longport Mile) is in a ritzy, beach community where every able child, woman, man and dog runs this flat road mile which starts at the southern end of town and finishes at the fire department. The course is dominated by a huge American flat on the finish line that you can see for the entire second half of the race. After the race, there are hot dogs for every runner. After that, there are fireworks and parties that go long into the night.
8. The Eugene Marathon (April 29). When I did this marathon, it was called “A Gathering of Eagles” and believe it or not, it was free. (Shows you how long ago that was.) Over the years, the course has changed, but one constant has been the inspiring finish that is on the hallowed Hayward Field track where such immortals as Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazar, Bill Dellinger and Mary Slaney trained and raced. Finishing on the University of Oregon track, once again the site for the Olympic Track Trials, is one of the most thrilling moments in road racing that every marathoner should get to experience.
7. Congress Avenue Mile (May 19). My hometown road race in Austin, Texas is a completely downhill road mile where a PR is all but a certainty. The course starts near the Texas State Capitol and hurtles down Congress Avenue--the main drag in Austin—to the finish on the Ann Richards Bridge. The first 400 meters is so steep you have to hold yourself back or you’ll go out too fast and flame out. There are about a dozen heats in the Congress Avenue Mile, culminating with the best boys and girls high-school milers in Texas competing just a week after the State Champs. If you want to relive your high-school mile days, Congress Avenue is the race to do it.
6. Falmouth Road Race (August 12). This gem of a race on the southern tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, goes 7.1 miles from Woods Hole to the spectacular downhill finish in Falmouth. The finish is dominated by the biggest American flag in Massachusetts and the thousands of wildly enthusiastic spectators who cheer for the recreational racers just as loudly as they do for the world-class runners who have been making a pilgrimage to this race since 1976.
5. Chicago Marathon (October 7). I love Chicago and its marathon. I’ve been coming here since 1982 and although the course has changed over the years, the finish has always been in Grant Park, right along Lake Michigan. The Chicago course is almost entirely flat until you make a sharp right turn in the final mile off Michigan Avenue onto Roosevelt. The hill on Roosevelt isn’t much, but in the last mile of a marathon, any incline can feel like a mountain. Fortunately, the Roosevelt overpass is short and makes the last few hundred meters to the finish along Columbus all that much sweeter in front of the adoring spectators who welcome every runner back.
4. Carlsbad 5000 (April 1). Since 1985, the fastest open and masters 5000-meter road racers have been coming to this small, coastal town in northern San Diego County. It is the fastest road race in the country (16 world records have been set here) and most assume it’s because the course is lightning fast. Not so. Although there are some nice downhills, the second mile is mostly uphill and usually into the teeth of a sea breeze. But once you make the final turn for home back into the village, there’s nothing better than the closing 400-meter-downhill in front of thousands of fans. Even though the course is tricky, it’s still a solid PR course (although I never did). Making it even better, there are seven separate races and by the time the elites run, all the recreational racers have made it back to the finish for the grand finale making for an unforgettable party.
3. Marines Corp Marathon (October 28). This terrific course starts in Arlington, Virginia, right near the Pentagon and, once in Washington, passes by all the memorials, museums and national landmarks. For the final 10-K, the course returns to Virginia before winding up on a short uphill to Marine Corps War Memorial which is better known as the Iwo Jima Memorial. Even though that little hill at the finish is tricky, it’s more than worth it with the gorgeous view of the capital and the Iwo Jima statue.
2. Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon (September 16). Traditionally, the Philly Half is one of the fastest half marathons in the country and a perfect tune up for the big fall marathons. But what I like best about Philly is its amazing last mile. In that grand finale, the course flies down along the Schuykill River and then makes a short climb up to the Museum of Art (and the famous “Rocky” steps). From there, the course flattens out as it enters the Benjamin Franklin Parkway past glorious fountains, numerous classical sculptures (including The Thinker), memorials and museums. The entire parkway is lined with flags of countries from around the world, creating an international feel all the way to back to the finish. It’s hard not to kick it in with that type of world-class atmosphere.
1. Boston Marathon (April 16th). There is no greater emotion in road racing than running the final stretch along Boylston Street to the finish in Copley Square in central Boston. After a short uphill on Hereford Street, Boston marathoners take the familiar turn into the pageantry and sheer excitement of coming down the sweet downhill that is Boylston--the most iconic road in marathoning. With thousands and thousands of screaming fans tightly packed onto the sidewalks, the roar from the crowd is deafening as each runner approaches the finish at Exeter Street. Every runner should have the privilege of running Boston at least once. There’s no better feeling in our sport.
May 14, 2013
A New Year, A New Blog by Brian Thornton
by Brynn Murphy on January 16, 2012
It's a new year. 2012. The year in which the world will end according to what I hope is an unpopular social interpretation of the Mayan calendar. But John Cusack was the bomb in that flick yo…not to mention his other numerical masterpiece, 1408, naturally. Will he ever outdo himself in High Fidelity or Being John Malkovich? Minus a time traveling hot tub…I think not. Enough cinematic babel. It's a new year and this is a new blog. My first blog ever and I'm certain to take some heavy fire from a particular blogging friend of mine who I have constantly ridiculed for being just that: A Blogger. A self-published writer giving their views and opinions to the world with one simple and free click of a mouse. The whole thing seems very egocentric and narcissistic to me. But then again, my Grandma is on Facebook. It's 2012 after all….who hasn't been Zuckerberged? And surely I will advertise this blog feverishly, by any means necessary, in order to promote myself and my new monthly cyber paradox. What do I think about the upcoming match in The Polish cup quarterfinals? Check out the blog. What will I be doing for the holidays? I tweeted that five minutes ago. My favorite book? Clearly you have not checked out my Facebook page. The blog is the last of the three headed social network beast and I have officially acquired all three. In the words of sports psychologist Ken Ravizza…I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to find out what 2012 may offer. The possibility of standing on that podium at the Olympics in the summer is usually my second thought every morning when I wake up. It's tough to beat Eggs or cereal. Cereal usually emerges victorious in that mental morning battle. You know…the whole no dishwasher and gas stove and no time thing. You were probably wondering if i was ever actually going to steer away from the preceding pointless banter and into a volleyball topic…I did briefly and will (at least it wasn't abrupt or interrupted by a breakfast tangent). A realistic approach to the summer….we have our work cut out for us. A sixth place finish at the last two major international tournaments has left us with a bitter taste in our mouths and a first place finish at Norcecas in May in order to clinch an Olympic qualification is paramount. It won't be easy. Canada is better, as is Puerto Rico and when the Cubans put it all together they can be a force. They're probably the most physical team in the world. We've certainly had our struggles but I know everyone is looking forward to the challenge...looking forward to the possibilities of 2012…and of course hoping that John Cusack doesn't have to save us all come late December.
Until Next Time,
May 14, 2013
Houston Day 1: Passion
by Seth Hasty on January 12, 2012
As I sit on the frozen tarmac here in Maine, my flight headed due south towards The Lone Star State for the Olympic Marathon Trials taking place this weekend, I can’t help but reflect on what got me here. It sure as hell was not my 3:03 marathon PR (hey, if I can shave 43:00 off maybe they'll let me run!). Perhaps if I knock 16 minutes from my half PR within the next 3 days I can race on Saturday (darn, I forgot to pack my Wave Mushas!).
To be honest, how I got to the Olympic Trials in Houston is no different than how the near 400 qualified runners, including 18 of our own Mizuno runners got here. Passion, dedication, hard work, and of course... that "Never Settle" attitude.
Thinking about the many different paths we all took to get here at the Trials, whether you're a runner, trainer, coach, sales rep or a humble writer (hi!) we all work extremely hard to be able to do what we absolutely love for a living. Maybe I'm not putting in 100 mile weeks (maybe? o.k... I'm not) but while Serena Burla is out there killin' it in training, I'm also working answering product questions, helping runners find the perfect shoe, and resolving issues to keep runners running!
As I look around this plane at 10,000 feet I wonder what all the other passengers’ passion in life is. Someone could be a yoga instructor; another might live for photography or day dream about fly fishing. The woman across the aisle might own a delicious bakery, or be perhaps be an artist. It's obvious the guy next to me has a passion for cologne!
My passion is running and I want running to be my job, problem is... I'm not fast. So much like an ugly fashion model, I had to find a loop hole. Realizing I love talking running, being around runners, and of course my love of running shoes I found another path. I was not going to give up on my dream, just as these runners would never give up on the Olympic Dream!
So here I am a few years later working with Mizuno Running, my goal is to bring you as close to our elite athletes as possible, while sharing our Never Settle ethos with runners everywhere. You'll see me out on the road, at races, at expos and I look forward to meeting every single Mizuno runner to talk shoes, training, I'd also love to share some miles with you while we talk about how cute our kids are (hey...I'm a new Dad).
The bottom line is I found my passion, and it got me to the Olympic Marathon Trials... where will yours take you?
May 14, 2013
Champions League by Ryan Millar
by Brynn Murphy on January 12, 2012
It has been a great December and beginning of January for my club team here in Russia. Over the holiday season, we won for the second time in a row the coveted Russian Cup. With this win, we automatically qualify for a spot in next seasons Champions League. For a team that is playing in its first Champions League this season, the opportunity to play two years in a row is quite the accomplishment. I want to congratulate all my teammates and coaching staff on playing so well and working so hard. We had a nice Christmas dinner (you have to realize that Christmas in Russia is on the 7th of January, not the 25th of December) with the team and our team President. He congratulated us on our success and is looking forward to future results.
I am currently in Innsbruck Austria gearing up for our next match in Champions League. If we can pull out another victory here we will qualify for the playoff round of 12. From that point on, it will be a draw of two teams. You will play one time away and one time at home. In the case of a 1 win and 1 lose split, the last match will include a one game to 15 Golden Set to determine who advances. Hopefully we can continue our good team play and move on to the next round. I am optimistic about our chances in this tournament. I feel like we are playing at a very high level and that we can compete against anyone. We have a good mix of experienced and talented players.
[Pic from Innsbruck, Austria]
I am really enjoying my time playing in Russia. The level of volleyball is fantastic and I get to play with a great group of teammates. What more could you ask for?
Follow me on Twitter! @RyanMillarMizun
May 14, 2013
Hello from Poland! by Alisha Glass
by Brynn Murphy on January 9, 2012
Hello from Poland friends!!! I am currently playing professionally in Sopot, Poland. I've just gotten settled in and I'm getting to know my coaches and teammates. We have girls from all over, Megan Hodge from USA is on my team, two German players, a girl from Spain, and a girl from Turkey. Our coaches are Italian and it's amazing how much English everyone knows. I am trying to learn a little Polish to meet the girls halfway, but I can tell you it's a very complicated language. We're in Champions League which means we play teams outside of Poland. Jordan Larson's Russian team came here to play. We lost, but she and her husband came out to dinner afterwards and we had a wonderful time.
The city of Sopot is beautiful, our apartment complex is right near the sea, it's just a very short walk away. They say it's even prettier in the summer. Megan and I were told it was going to be very, very cold here and that it would snow a lot. I'm sure it will, but it hasn't yet, which has been wonderful!! It meant we didn't have snow for Christmas, but considering it's one less month without snow, I'm pretty happy. I Skyped my family for Christmas, it was wonderful. It's amazing how technology can make people in different continents feel like they're in the same room.
I wish everyone a belated Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!! You can keep up with me on twitter…@aglass6. If anyone wants to know more about Poland or how the season is going, send a tweet or a direct message!!
May 14, 2013
Mizuno Shoe Guy Answers Your Footwear Questions—January 2012
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on January 5, 2012
Do you have a shoe-related question? Or a running shoe question, specific to Mizuno for the Mizuno Shoe Guy? If you have a question you’d like him to answer, send it to Shoeguy@Mizunousa.com. If we pick your question for the Mizuno Shoe Guy to answer, we’ll send you a beautiful Mizuno DryScience T-shirt.
Q: I have been reading your responses on the Runner’s World shoe discussion forum and thought I would venture an email as I am having trouble making a decision on my next pair of Mizunos. I love Mizuno shoes and would never consider wearing another brand, but I don’t know whether I switch to a different model. I am 19 years old and just started running a year ago. Even though I’m a woman, I always wear men’s shoe and I’m currently wearing the Wave Creation 11 and love them. I have had the same pair for nearly a full year and realize it’s about time I get new shoes as I’m training for my first half marathon in March and then a full marathon. I have a pretty normal pronation and tend to be a heel striker. Right now, I am trying to decide between the Wave Rider, Wave Elixir and Wave Musha. Do you have any advice which shoe would be best for me? Molly McKinley, Raleigh, North Carolina
A: Molly, I’m a firm believer in sticking with what works. The Wave Creation seems to fit and work well for you. Unless there’s a problem that you don’t mention, I would advise you to simply buy a new pair of the Wave Creation 13 which is lighter, has a more comfortable upper and a bit more cushioning than the Creation 11. If you still want to switch models, the Wave Rider 15 is similar to the Wave Creation in that it is a neutral cushioned shoe and that may work well for you. The Wave Elixir 7 could be another option, but it is more of a lightweight trainer-racer for most runners than a daily training shoe. The Wave Musha is strictly a road-racing shoe and is too light for you for daily training. Your best bet is to go with a proven winner for you: The Wave Creation 13.
Neutral runner needs support
Q: I am a 135-pound woman who runs about 30 miles a week. I am a neutral runner, but feel like I need a bit of stability. I don’t want a rigid shoe though. Which shoe would you recommend? Erin Davis, Los Altos, California
A: Most of our shoes have inherent stability because of the Wave design. Although the design of the Waves differ, each Wave cushions and stabilizes the foot. I would suggest two very different shoes—the Wave Enigma and the Wave Elixir 7. The Enigma is a neutral shoe—that is, it’s very well-cushioned and works well for runners with high arches—but it has surprising support. The Elixir 7 is a trainer-racer which is very light (but not as light as a road racing shoe) and highly flexible. Both are good options and I would suggest trying them both on for fit and feel. Go with the one which feels best on your feet.
Ready for the Universe?
Q: I have enjoyed wearing minimalist shoes and considering moving to the Wave Universe from the Wave Ronin. But I have heard that most of your Mizuno-sponsored professional runners use the Ronin for the marathon, rather than the Universe. Is this true? I have worn the Ronin and like it a lot, but I am wondering whether I should switch to the Universe for its lighter weight and lower heel drop? Hopefully, with fewer ounces on my feet in the Universe I’ll feel a little faster. Do you agree? Finally, in the past few years my feet have gotten longer and larger. Is that normal for a 41-year-old runner? Jorge Gana, Colts Neck, New Jersey
A: Hmm, lots of good questions. Let me take them in order: (1) I haven’t done a survey, but most Mizuno-sponsored runners do prefer the Wave Ronin (or the Wave Musha) over the Wave Universe for the marathon. The Universe is a terrific minimalist racing shoe, but over 26.2 miles most of our elite runners probably want a little more protection which they get from either the Ronin or Musha. (2) Switching to the Universe for you is certainly a possibility as clearly it is the lightest racing shoe on the market. Losing a few ounces of shoe weight might make you feel faster, but in the final analysis you might not be faster. The shoes won’t make you faster; that’s up to you. (3) Yes, our feet tend to flatten and lengthen over the years. That’s very common and something you just have to adjust to by buying bigger sizes.
Q: I have been wearing the Wave Renegade for several years. I’m a big guy and this has been the best, most durable shoe I have ever worn. But I can’t find it anymore. What’s up with that? Sterling Washington, Richmond, Virginia
A: Sorry Sterling, we stopped making the Wave Renegade two years ago. I doubt you’ll be able to find any more Renegades on the web, but you’re in luck. The Wave Nirvana 8 is—in my humble opinion—a better shoe than the Renegade. It’s certainly lighter, has better cushioning, is more flexible and is just as durable and supportive as the Renegade was. The Nirvana has incredible durability, just like the Renegade. I have a running friend with over 1400 miles on a pair of Nirvanas. Certainly, can’t guarantee that many miles but my guess is if you give the Nirvana a try, you’ll probably appreciate its cushioning and support just as much as the Renegade. Hopefully, more so.
Q: For many years, I have been running in the Wave Rider and last year switched to the Wave Prophecy. I like both shoes and haven’t had any issues at all, but I’m looking to change my running and go lighter. I recently bought the Wave Universe 4 and I’m ready to work those into my shoe rotation. My preferred race distance is the marathon and I will take the Universe as far as they go. Do you have a specific training regimen that you would recommend in switching to the Universe? Scott Diersing, Fairfield, Ohio
A: A specific training plan for switching to the Universe? No, I don’t. But I would suggest making a very gradual transition from a conventional trainer such as the Wave Rider or Wave Prophecy to the Wave Universe. The Universe is so light and has such a low heel height that it is a radically different shoe than what you’re used to. It will take some time getting used to the extreme lightness of Universe—especially since you’re used to the max cushioning and relative heaviness of the Prophecy. I know several runners who use the Universe as a training shoe several days a week and appreciate its supreme lightness and minimalist feel. Just don’t rush into using the Universe on a daily basis. At first, I would advise using the Universe on very short runs (possibly even on grass) of not longer than 20-30 minutes. Continue to use the Wave Rider on alternate days and gradually lengthen your runs in the Universe by five minutes. If you make the transition gradual enough, you should be able to do long runs in the Universe and eventually the marathon.
May 14, 2013
Greetings from Kazan, Russia by Jordan Larson
by Brynn Murphy on January 4, 2012
Greetings from Kazan, Russia. I am currently playing on my professional team Dinamo-Kazan. Kazan is located about half way between Moscow and Siberia (See if you can find us on the map below). I have a lot to update everyone on...So here comes my book.
After getting that nice break at home, we all reported back to California to begin our next training block. This next tournament we were about to play in, the World Cup, was the first qualification for the Olympics. Little did I know that this was going to be one of the hardest tournaments I would every play in. The coaching staff kept reminding us that we would be playing 11 matches in 15 days. I was like okay this isn't much different from other tournaments like Grand Prix...but man was I wrong. The World Cup is by far the hardest both physically and mentally I have ever played in. We started out with two very difficult teams, Brazil & Serbia. We had just recently beat both of them at Grand Prix so we knew that they would both be difficult games. Leading up to these two matches I had a lot of anxiety as a player because we had been training for so long for this tournament and I didn't want to let my teammates down. I was trying to find the best way to both mentally and physically prepare myself while trying not to over think things at the same time and just go play. This is a constant battle for me, trying to prepare but not over think the game. I play my best when I am having fun with a game plan in mind. Thanks to a wonderful team effort we were fortunate to win both of these games. I think the one thing that always calms me as a player is that I am not alone out there! I have 5/6 other people out there that always have my back. This is why I believe volleyball is the ultimate team sport and the relationships I build with all my teammates is why I love the game so much. We kept rolling after that and we beat the next two teams on our schedule, Korea and Kenya. We were on a high until the German team kept us grounded. We got swept in 3. They played a great match and we just couldn't respond. This did not affect our goal, but it did help us refocus to keep pushing through this tournament. We were sitting in second place most of the tournament right behind Italy who was undefeated. We didn't face Italy until the second to the last match. We had to win this game in order to guarantee us a spot in the Olympics. It was such a emotionally intense match. I love and truly enjoy playing in matches like this. There is a lot of pressure and I am nervous before it starts, but it is nice to be able to go to battle with such a great team. We ended up winning in 4 which guaranteed us a spot in the 2012 LONDON OLYMPICS!!!!! This has been a dream of mine and every time I think about it it gives me goosebumps.. To think that I have thought about this since I was 12 years old. I am one step closer to actually making the Olympics. Wow!! :) After beating Italy we were sitting in first place. We played Japan to win it all but we feel short. Japan always plays great at home in front of their fans and we just couldn't respond. Even though we didn't win we still got silver and qualified for the Olympics. It would have been nice to win but it was definitely a relief to qualify. At this point Italy, USA, China, and the host team are qualified for the Olympics. The remaining 8 teams will be determined through additional tournaments.
After we finished the World cup.... It was time to say goodbye to all of my American teammates as we all go our separate ways and meet up again next year. It is hard to leave the girls since you spend so much time together and share in such great memories. In going our separate ways, some of us left straight from Japan and some of us got to go home for a couple of days. I was one of the lucky ones that was able to go home for a few days. We landed in LAX on the 19th of November and I flew back to Nebraska the same day. I got to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and eat lots of turkey. It was great to see so much of my family since it is rare that I am home. I got to spend the next four days with my husband and I left for Russia the day after Thanksgiving. Our flight to Russia usually takes us about a full day. After leaving Nebraska we had a layover in Chicago which allowed us to grab one last American meal and watch the Nebraska football game. From here we traveled to Frankfurt, Germany and then on to Moscow. After clearing customs in Moscow we had one more short flight to Kazan. Finally, after a long day we made it safely to our new apartment in Kazan. This is my third season with this team and I have been lucky in that every year I have upgraded to newer apartments. (pictures below) The next day we went to the store with our team manager and translator Kirill. The first year we came here he was a translator who spoke very little English. How does that work?! He has come a long ways since that day and it has been nice to see how he has progressed.
We got settled and within a couple of days we had our first game. This game was different than the ones I have played in the past. Since we won the Russian league last year it qualified us for a different league this year. This league is called Champions League. It is a collection of teams from all over Europe who have also finished first or second in their league. This means instead of only playing one Russian Championship game a week we are also playing teams from all over Europe during the week. Our first champions league game was at home against a team from the Czech Republic. We won in 5 but it was not pretty. This team shouldn't have been competing with us. We were the better team but we were still working out the problems and getting used to playing together again.
We then had the next day off which was nice to be able to relax and get our apartment situated. It wasn't long and we were preparing to play again. We traveled to Moscow to play a team there and we won 4. It was a better performance on our part but we still needed to work some things out. We didn't have time to think about this game because the next day we were off to Gydansk, Poland. This is where two of my American teammates play, Alisha Glass and Megan Hodge. We arrived two nights before we played them and had a chance to go watch them play. It was great to see them but of course weird to see them with another team. I was able to say a quick hello to them after the game then it was back to the hotel to prepare for the match coming up. Their team's name is Atom Sopot. They are a very talented team not just because of Megan and Alisha but they also have two players from the German national team and a turkish outside hitter. It was for sure going to be a tough match and it was going to test our team. We ended up matching up against them nicely, played our best game thus far and beat them in 3. We will play them again in Kazan on the 11th of January. It will be interesting to see what they do differently and if we can play at the same level of consistency. After the game Luke and I were able to go out to dinner with Alisha and Megan. We joined them at a little Italian restaurant and shared in some good conversation and pizza. It was nice to have a little English speaking in our lives. If you would like to watch our champions league games just go to www.laola.tv1.com and they will have live streams of our games. We usually play on Wednesdays or Thursdays.
That is all for now... I will keep you updated on our eventful December as we travel to Switzerland and get to celebrate Christmas in Russia with American outside hitter Reid Priddy and his family. To all my family, friends, and teammates...know that I am thinking about you wherever you are in the World. Happy Holidays! May you truly understand the reason for the season. Dream Big & Never Settle
May 14, 2013
Great Sadness Surrounded the End of a Remarkable Season
by Luke Donald on December 21, 2011
The loss of my father came at what was supposed to be a time of great joy for Diane and I. My dad died at the birth of our second daughter, so that produced a wide range of emotions. It was something you can never prepare for.
Dad was immensely proud of my achievements. The year 2011 has been a break-out year for me, an amazing year – a season that, as a golfer, you always aspire to. It was nice for everything I have worked for to come to fruition. Sometimes that hard work doesn’t always pay off but this year it did.
It all started with my win at the Accenture Matchplay. That gave me great confidence and then I was able to get to the top of the world with my win at Wentworth. Another great win in the Scottish Open showed that I was where I belonged and then the win in the Disney might just have been my most satisfying win – the manner in which I did it and what was on the line.
I’ve had so many positives this year and now a lot of awards are coming in at the end of the year: US and European Player of the Year and the Golf Writers award.
It’s hard to pinpoint when I moved up another level. I guess I just needed that one big win for proof. It was probably the Matchplay that opened the doors. Winning is very important because it breeds a lot of confidence. I could probably even go back to the previous year’s Madrid Masters. Just winning that smaller event was huge for my confidence.
To consolidate this, I have good people around me: my coach Pat Goss and also Dave Alred, my fitness coaches Ben Shear and Craig Knight and my caddie John McLaren. All of them are looking at ways for me to try and improve. And I have a very loving a supportive family. That’s all helped me get to the level I’ve achieved.
I don’t believe I’ve changed that much. It’s just been a case of constant improvement and trying to get everything a little sharper. But at the beginning of this year I certainly spent a lengthy time on the range before I began my season. I had six full weeks of good, hard work. In previous years I didn’t have as much time as that. I’d always started the year off earlier and that way it’s always hard to ingrain any improvement in your swing. That six weeks was very key.
I was able to really get the club, at the top of the backswing, in a neutral position. It wasn’t quite as shut. That has helped my driving, for sure. My accuracy on the US Tour went up and I led the driving accuracy stats in Europe. Everything starts with that. Get the ball on the fairway and it makes everything a little bit easier. I’ve always said the short-game is the key to scoring and I’ve maintained my strengths in that over the last year, but I’ve certainly improved my long game enough to where it’s shaved off a few strokes here and there. That is the difference between a decent year like I had in 2010 and a break-out year this year.
If you’re playing well, too, you can play well at any course. I think I showed that with some of the wins I had. The Matchplay was on one of the longest courses we play all year; Wentworth’s quite a narrow course; Castle Stuart is quite a wide-open course. But the key to winning both money-lists has been an amazing amount of consistency. I still think there is room for improvement but all parts of my game are reasonably consistent.
I’m looking for an even better year next. There are certain things in my career I haven’t achieved yet – winning a major, obviously. In the modern game pros are judged on how they do in the majors and how many they’ve won. Jack, Tiger, Nick Faldo, Seve...they were able to win multiple majors. At the same time, though, what I’ve proved this year is that I was able to pick up awards without winning a major. The golf writers’ award, from the people that really know golf, told me a lot. It said, well you didn’t win a major but you still played the best of anyone this year.
I’ve got the prospect of a new start clubs-wise next year. For the last couple of months I’ve been given some MP-69s and 59s to try. I did a Master Class shoot for Mizuno and I used the 59s during that shoot. They felt quite nice. I’m going to take a few weeks off without playing any golf and then when I pick up the clubs again next year there’s a good chance I’ll put the 59s in play. I’ll be starting my year in Abu Dhabi, have a couple of weeks off and then start again in L.A.
Next year’s Ryder Cup will be another matter to concentrate on soon enough. There’s talk of me reporting back to Ollie about the course for a start. I live only 30 minutes away from the Ryder Cup course, Medinah. I’ve played it quite a few times but they have just re-designed it and I haven’t played the new design. I will be going there a few times over the summer and maybe that will help Ollie with his captaincy. Obviously I’ve got to make sure I’m on the team. If I keep playing the way I am playing, it shouldn’t be a problem.
May 14, 2013
World Cup by Ryan Millar
by Brynn Murphy on December 21, 2011
The World Cup is over and now it is back to our professional teams. Some guys actually flying from Japan to their respective clubs. The tournament did not go as we all would have liked unfortunately. We ended up losing some costly matches early in the tournament against Brazil, Russia, and Italy. Those losses pretty much sealed our fate of not being able to qualify for the Olympics there. The tournament was long and grueling as expected. Each day becoming more difficult than the next. We ended the tournament with a few wins against some good teams like Argentina and Cuba. So what is next in the qualification process for us? We will play in our zone qualifier in May in Puerto Rico. The teams that we will compete against are Puerto Rico, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, etc... We must WIN this tournament to qualify. It is obviously very important for us to do so.
Back to our professional teams, means back to the grind and rigors of playing overseas. The long practices and lots of travel, especially for the many guys participating in this year’s European Cups. I am currently in Istanbul Turkey. We played against the Turkish Champion Fenerbache here and came out victorious 3-0. We now are going directly to our next Russian League match in Surgut Russia. They are in the same region of the standings as we are so it will be important for us to come out with a win.
May 14, 2013
Return To Running
by Antonio Vega on December 21, 2011
I am finally back running almost every day. The simple act of being able to lace up my shoes, walk out the door and go for a run has been something I really missed. Still, it's only been a month since my hip surgery and I have had to force myself to progress slowly allow my body to get used to running again. Needless to say, holding myself back has been a challenge as I am so ready to get back into training.
I've had a great training partner the last few weeks---my eight-year-old Lab, Molly. Our first few runs together were humbling, as she would sprint ahead of me on the trails and lay down while waiting for me. When I would finally catch up, she would give me a look that said, “What’s taking you so long, Antonio?”
That was close to three weeks ago and now I can say that my fitness has improved so much that Molly can no longer keep up with me.
With each passing week I run a little farther and a bit faster. I am eagerly anticipating the week when I can start training with my Team USA Minnesota teammates again and start to get ready for racing.
Here is a photo of Molly after an early morning run jaunt, proudly sporting her Mizuno training gear.
May 14, 2013
Signs of Winter
by Clara Grandt on December 21, 2011
Each time December rolls around, I start looking for the signs of winter to start appearing. Christmas decorations (some even up before Thanksgiving), the annual post-collegiate Secret Santa Christmas party, the first few snowflakes, and university students overtaking Panera while they study for finals. Well, all those signs have appeared this year. My tree went up a couple weekends ago, I got a pillow-pet moose at the Secret Santa Christmas party, we’ve had one snow that allowed me to break out my Mizuno breath thermo wear, and I am in Panera surrounded by students in sweats, buried in laptops and notebooks. I blend in quite well.
At the start of each December, one more sign of the months ahead appears. Children from first to twelfth grade start entering the indoor track in shorts, t-shirts, and running shoes every Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday for the winter indoor track club practices. This indoor track club is called Flyers, and it’s been a large contribution to the running community in Morgantown. This club functions mainly with the volunteer help of the older runners in town, college age and up. Therefore, you can imagine the wide age range of runners that congregates in the small, modest university indoor track building.
Since I love helping with this club and watching the youngsters develop over the years, I have taken the position of back-up volunteer coach for the youngest group. This way, since my training is so heavy right now, I am not immediately in charge, but I still get to be involved when it works with my schedule. I have so much fun with these youngsters! They are tiny, full of energy, and we get to play games every practice like capture the flag!
There have been a few practices so far, and at the last practice, the woman who I usually help out was not there because she was recovering from a marathon and is a mother of two. So, this means I had full charge over a group of about 15 grade school aged children… oh boy! I had them do a short warm up, led them through stretches, form drills, striders, a small ladder track workout, cool down, and rewarded them with a game of capture the flag for the rest of the time they were there.
Small children can be so full of personality. One of young boys came up to me and told me he thought he might vomit after the ladder workout, but he did it with a grin on his face, so I don’t think it was that serious! They differ in so many ways at that age, too. I noticed two boys sprinting all out on the last lap of the workout, excited by how fast they could run, I had two girls jogging beside each other in conversation, and the youngest little girl starting out running as fast as she could until she got so tired she had to walk the rest of the lap.
Once the “hard” part was over though, they all magically regained their sprinting speed and energy during capture the flag. I was easily tagged since I had previously done a 15 mile workout and my agility and sprinting speed were lacking compared to their relatively fresh young legs! This made me realize how much more their young minds could develop, and maybe turn them into very good runners once they realized how much they can actually handle… but for now, I am just glad they can have fun playing games and exercising like kids should!
Helping with the kids at Flyers makes me remember how I used to play with my brothers and sisters for hours running, biking, climbing, and jumping without even realizing that I may have been building a foundation for my future as a marathoner. Maybe a child or two out of the group I work with will become a great athlete, or maybe not. Either way, I am happy to spend part of my winter helping them stay fit and have fun!
Thanks for reading!
May 14, 2013
by Serena Burla on December 21, 2011
“Let’s do the advent calendar.” That’s what my alarm, aka Boyd, has woken me with almost every morning since December 1st. As we work on number recognition, talk about the days in the month, the purpose of the calendar, etc., I can’t help but be reminded of the countdown to the Olympic trials as well. Perhaps it’s the fact that both events carry so much anticipation, preparation, hope, wonder, and awe. In any case, I’m busy preparing my heart, soul, mind, and body for both.
Running has brought about a different phase in the training cycle, letting me know the marathon I’ve been preparing for and once thought was so far away is near. I am fine tuning and getting ready mentally for the 26.2 mile opportunity January 14th; still growing daily on my running journey. A man recently asked how long I have been training for the trials, my answer, “Since I began running twenty plus years ago.” I feel like I am the product of all these years of running, each molding me into the person and runner I am today.
Boyd’s helping me stay balanced with his clever antics. He recently changed his name to Cement Mixer until he turns four years old, and then he’ll switch it to Fire Truck. He dictated his first letter to Santa and suddenly thinks baby Jesus hatched out of an egg since he was lying in a “nest” surrounded by animals. He reminds me of my sister and I as kids as he plays with all the Christmas decorations. I am pretty sure I have trimmed the tree with ornaments at least 15 different times already. Outdoor Christmas lights are also a source of admiration. Neither my husband nor I are Clark Griswold, so we enjoy our neighbors’ exterior decorating skills. I’ve promised to take Boyd on a run around the block at night to see the sights, and I think I am just as excited as he.
Often people ask me what I think about while I run. On many occasions I have answered, “I sing Boyd songs in my head.” Boyd is currently quite the caroler. He picks up the lyrics after hearing a song twice and can really carry a tune. He sings all the time and I love it! So for those of you wanting to know my recent playlist, it includes: Jingle Bells, Feliz Navidad, What Do you Want for Christmas (a school song), Jingle Bell Rock, Away in a Manger, and a song about a gray squirrel with a bushy tail.
Yes, the joys of the season. It was a joy to watch Boyd unwrap an entire new roll of wrapping paper and cheer for the cardboard roll inside- what a great gift (although I must admit, while he was unwrapping the entire roll I was questioning what he was doing in my head). It’s also a joy to watch fellow runners, bundled up in the cold, still hard at work enjoying the gift of fluidly putting one foot in front of the other. For me, craving and attempting to bake my Grandma Udovich’s tricky peppermint kiss cookies, or tearing up while listening to Silent Night, lets me know the Holiday season is here. (Grandma when we meet again someday I am going to greet you with a hug and find out your secret to getting them to turn out just right).
The nostalgia around Christmas reminds me of how we runners reminisce about our running stories, memories, training, and our common bond. Let’s face it, all runners have a story, or a million, and it is fun to share all the memories and how far we’ve each come on our personal running journeys. Not to mention all the common issues or traditions we share.
So, as we keep opening the doors on our Advent calendars and welcome 2012, I want to wish you all a season filled with joy, laughter, health, and love.
May 14, 2013
The Planet Wave: Love The Half-Marathon. Hate The Name.
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on December 21, 2011
I’m one of those runners who loves racing. And the distance I love to race the most is the half-marathon. I’m certainly not alone in my affinity for the half as it is the fastest growing road race distance. In 2010, 1.4 million of us finished a half-marathon which is more than triple what it was 10 years ago.
There are many great things about the half-marathons, but one of the coolest is it happens to be the only road race distance completely dominated by women. Nearly, 60 percent of all half-marathon finishers are women.
Why? The most oft-cited reasons are the same ones most guys also have: The training isn’t nearly as arduous or time consuming as for a marathon, the taper and recovery time from a half also aren’t as long and yet finishing a half-marathon is a significant and satisfying accomplishment. Finally, there’s something magical about that marathon word, even if a half isn’t the same as running a marathon.
Which is the problem with the half-marathon. It has an identity crisis. It’s half of something and not an entity that stands alone.
And it should.
Years ago, there was a road distance called the mini-marathon. This was back in the days when there were miniskirts, minigolf, miniwages and Minnie Mouse.
I liked the distance (usually a 5-K), but hated the name. I didn’t want to run a mini anything. In my mind, a 5-K was 3.1 miles of racing and there was nothing mini about it. It wasn’t a minimarathon to me; it was a 5-K.
Eventually, the name mostly disappeared and today, the biggest mini anything are the New York Mini 10-K and the One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis which is—you guessed it—a half-marathon.
Even though these are both huge races (the Indy Mini is the biggest half-marathon in the United States with more than 31,000 finishers), it’s still a terrible name for such great events.
Think about it. We now have thousands of 5-Ks, 10-Ks, 10-milers, marathons, ultra marathons and assorted other distances but there’s only one half of anything. In track, there isn’t even a half-mile anymore. It’s the 800. Anyone who calls 800-meter runners “half-milers” probably still calls cross-country runners “thin clads.”
Triathlons used to have the same identity crisis as the half-marathon has. When I first started doing triathlons in the ‘80s, there were basically two distances. There was the Olympic distance which was too short for me and the Ironman which was way too long. It didn’t take long to devise the perfect distance. That was the Half Ironman which triathletes loved—except for the name.
Triathletes put in way too much training time to do half of anything so before you could say Hawaii Ironman World Championships, somebody came up with the new, easily identifiable handle for the distance: 70.3. That is, a half IM is 70.3 miles. And that popular distance is simply called 70.3.
Could we do the same for the half-marathon? Sure, why not? A half-marathon is 13.1 miles or 21.1 kilometers.
It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue right now, but call it 21.1. Change the name of some important races to 21.1 and pretty soon it’ll catch on just like 70.3 has.
As runners, we don’t do anything halfway. It’s 21.1 kilometers which is still plenty long and plenty tough running. Let’s give our most popular road distance a deserving name all its own.
May 14, 2013
LUKE DONALD NAMED 2011 PGA TOUR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
by Iver Maple on December 13, 2011
Mizuno’s own Luke Donald was announced as the 2011 PGA Tour Player of the Year by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem following a vote by PGA Tour players. Donald earned the honor by capturing the PGA Tour money list title on the strength of two PGA Tour victories and a Tour-leading 14 top-10 finishes. This prestigious honor is the perfect cap to a spectacular 2011 season for the World’s #1 Player.
Donald’s wins at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic helped solidify his PGA Tour Player of the Year title. His come-from-behind victory at Disney concluded his finest year on the PGA Tour by earning $6.68 million and his first ever PGA Tour money title. Donald was also the PGA Tour’s leader in adjusted scoring average at 68.86, earning him both the Vardon Trophy and Byron Nelson Award. Donald led the PGA Tour with 14 top-10 finishes in 19 events.
For the 28thconsecutive week Donald sits atop the World Golf Rankings, which apart from Tiger Woods run at number one from 2005 to 2010, is the longest stretch since Greg Norman’s 96 weeks from 1995 to 1997. Donald made more history this past weekend as he became the first player in history to win both the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists in the same year, as he finished third at the Dubai World Championships. Mizuno is extremely proud of all that Luke has been able to accomplish in 2011 and we can’t wait to see what he does in 2012!
May 14, 2013
Luke Donald Continues His World Domination With History Making Money List Sweep
by Iver Maple on December 12, 2011
Mizuno PGA Tour Staffer Luke Donald capped off an incredible 2011 season by capturing the European Money List Title with his third place finish at the Dubai World Championships, completing the first-ever money list sweep on the PGA and European Tour. With four victories worldwide, including The Accenture WGC Match Play Tournament, The European Tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the Barclays Scottish Open, as well as the PGA Tour’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, Donald completed the most successful season of his career.
Utilizing his high performance Grain Flow Forged MP irons, MP T-11 wedges, and Mizuno CLK Fli-Hi, Donald completed a spectacular weekend of golf at the Dubai World Championships with consecutive rounds of 6-under 66, including birdies on the final three holes to finish the tournament in third place and cement his legacy as the PGA Tour and European Tour money list title winner. Donald, who only missed two cuts all year, finished top-10 in 20 out of 26 events entered and went an incredible 449 holes without three-putting. He can now add this history making accomplishment to the PGA of America Player of the Year award and Vardon Trophy, which he has already secured for 2011.
May 14, 2013
Cover Story on Bob Puccini in Smart Business Atlanta Magazine
by Harper Cornell on December 7, 2011
The December issue of Smart Business Atlanta magazine features a cover story on Mizuno USA President Bob Puccini. This multi-page article discusses the transformation of the Mizuno Brand from a company chasing revenue when Bob arrived in 1996, to a company with a premium perception that achieved record profits in 2010, and how that was accomplished through the development of remarkable product, and personalized brand experiences (Run With Us, Performance Fitting System) for our consumers and customers.
Bob talks with the publication about his best business practices, including being honest with yourself and playing to your strengths, bringing in the right people who have tangible consumer products experience and can embrace the challenger spirit of the Mizuno culture, and the importance of improving your processes by listening to the pulse of the organization.
Smart Business is a management journal providing insight and advice for top decision-makers. Each edition includes features articles on management strategies of CEOs of leading local companies. In addition, Smart Business partners with leading service providers to deliver expert advice to their senior management audience.
Here is a link to the story:
May 14, 2013
The Running Nutritionist: Nancy Clark Answers Your Questions
Q: I will be training this winter for the Boston Marathon. I know it's important to stay hydrated on my long runs, but is it as important in winter as it is when it’s warmer? I mean, do I have to drink quite as much to stay hydrated? And if so, is water OK? Stacey Leonard, Portland, Maine
A: Some winter runners lose a lot of sweat during long runs. For example, if the weather becomes tropical inside your running suit, you likely will need to drink a significant amount of water to replace sweat losses. But if you dress in layers, and strip down to let the cold weather cool you off, you will need less fluid replacement because you will lose less sweat.
Your best bet is to learn your sweat rate by weighing yourself before and after a one-hour winter run. If you lose one pound, that’s 16 ounces of sweat; two pounds equates to loss of a quart of sweat. You need to replace that accordingly.
As for water versus sports drink: A sport drink is designed to be taken during exercise that lasts for more than 60-90 minutes. Your pre-long run breakfast or snack should help maintain your energy level for 60 to 90 minutes. After that, you will need to consume some sort of energy. Some runners prefer a sports drink, others want water plus gels, gummi candy, dried fruit, etc.
You do want to be sure to keep your body well fueled during winter runs. To suffer low blood sugar and run out of energy is asking for trouble. That is, if you become hypoglycemic and then stumble and fall, you will have no fun stranded in the cold, miles from home.
Does salt help?
Q: I recently ran the San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and it was very warm. During the race, there were several aid stations that offered salt. I have never seen this during a race. Would taking salt during a race help me in any important way? And if it would, should taking salt during a marathon be standard procedure? If it should, what would you suggest I take? Martin Perez, Rockport, Texas
A: Salt helps retain fluid in your body. While plain water goes in one end and out the other, a salty fluid (i.e., V-8 Juice, broth) enhances water retention. Because sports drinks do not supply enough salt to replace that lost in sweat, salt
packets can help.
Salt is a wise addition to the diet of marathoners who sweat a lot and will be running in the heat for more than four hours. You’ll likely notice you feel better after consuming some salt in one form or another. Beef jerky, pretzels and pickles are a few salty options if you don’t enjoy straight up salt. The simpler solution is to enjoy something salty before the marathon, such as extra salt on oatmeal, some chicken noodle soup, or chicken broth.
Should taking salt during a marathon be standard procedure? Not if you’re a fast runner who spends less than four hours on the course. But there’s no harm taking salt for slower marathoners who sweat a lot and are out there sweating heavily for hours on end.
Q: I realize there isn't any magic super food. But is there any fruit or veggie which you consider a must-do for marathoners? And if so, why? Meredith Simmons, San Luis Obispo, California
A: While all fruits and vegetables are excellent choices for runners, some are more nutrient-dense than others. For example, oranges (and all citrus fruits), berries, bananas, dark green veggies (broccoli, spinach, kale) and red/orange veggies (tomatoes, sweet potato, carrots) are all powerhouses. Rather than focus on one specific fruit or vegetable, you want to think about consuming many different colors of fruits and vegetables. Choose red apples, blue berries, purple grapes, orange sweet potatoes, white bananas, green peppers, yellow pineapple, light green kiwi, etc. Each color offers different health protective benefits. By eating a rainbow of colors, you’ll be protecting your health far better than focusing on just one item.
Mid Race Fuel
Q: I am planning to walk the Disneyworld Half marathon on Saturday and then the marathon on Sunday. I won't be any rush to finish either race. I'm wondering whether I should take some food along with me, other than GUs and gels. If so, are there some good easy-to-eat foods you could suggest I bring along with me to make both races easier to finish? Vickie Sanderson, Huntsville, Alabama
A: Yes, you definitely want to consume adequate fuel and fluids during the half-marathon, so you don’t get into a “hole” for the second event the following day. You will also want to eat a proper recovery diet after the half-marathon to prepare you for the next day’s marathon. Pancakes or French toast might be a nice post-half-marathon breakfast.
While you likely can get through the half-marathon with the fuel from your
breakfast beforehand plus some sports drinks and some snacks after two hours into the half-marathon, you will want even more fuel for the full marathon. After all, under normal circumstances, people get hungry at least every four hours. Add a few miles in between breakfast and lunch, and you have time for a few meals. And as a walker, you likely can tolerate real food more easily than runners can.
Assuming you have no intestinal issues, plan to carry different flavors of food. That is, if you rely on just sports drinks and gels, you’ll likely get “sugared out.” Some suggestions include biscotti, pretzel nuggets, fig newtons, peanut butter and jelly wraps, bagel with almond butter, trail mix, energy bars—as well as different flavors of sugary foods, such as mini Milky Ways peppermints, malted milk balls, Twizzlers – whatever sounds good and settles well.
You want to target about 200 to 300 calories per hour, starting after the first
hour or so (which will be fueled by your pre-event breakfast). Of course, I hope you will have practiced eating this during your long runs, and will also have running shorts with pockets, a fuel belt (or a friend with a picnic basket along the route) so you can easily carry the food with you.
Long Runs on an Empty Stomach
Q: I know you suggest eating something before long runs, but I get along fine without eating anything before my 20-milers. I have heard that running on an empty stomach helps me burn fat more efficiently. Is that true? And also is there any health risk to running long runs on an empty stomach? Dexter Moore, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A: You say you get along fine without eating before your long runs, but my answer is “How much better could you run?” Abundant research shows that athletes who eat before endurance exercise, perform significantly better than those who consume just water. Granted, if you eat a huge pasta dinner the night before, that food will contribute some energy to fuel the start of your run. But you will likely feel better at the end of the 20-miler if you fuel both before and during it. I suggest you experiment with pre-run fueling, observe any benefits and learn what works best for your body.
Some people think that running on empty is a good way to burn more fat. That might be true, but you limit your performance due to lack of carbs. And please note: Burning fat does not equate to losing undesired body fat. If you burn fat during the long run only to come home ravenous and over-indulge in a huge brunch, you’ll easily wipe out any calorie deficit incurred during the run.
As for health risks, if your blood sugar drops, as it easily can due to lack of pre-run fuel, you can become light-headed, dizzy, shaky and nauseous—and will be more likely to stumble and fall. Lack of fuel also takes the enjoyment out of running. For both safety and performance, fuel wisely!
Do you have a sports nutrition question for Nancy Clark? If you have a question you’d like her to answer, send it to Shoeguy@Mizunousa.com. If we pick your question for Nancy to answer, we’ll send you a beautiful Mizuno DryScience T-shirt.
May 14, 2013
Technical Running Socks Are Key to Healthy Running Feet
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on December 6, 2011
Let’s face it, not too many of us spend much time thinking about our running socks. That is, we don’t pay much attention to our socks until we get a nasty blister while on a long run or in a race. But if that happens, all we want to know is what the heck went wrong?
Who knew that picking proper running socks is almost as important as choosing the right running shoes?
It’s true. Wearing the wrong socks, can ruin a run or a race faster than you can say fartlek. As any runner knows, the number one culprit is blisters. And those little devious things are most frequently caused by heat, moisture and friction within our socks.
The cure is wearing the proper technical running sock. Socks, especially designed for running, will keep your feet mostly dry and comfortable, but good socks can also add a bit of support, rearfoot padding and even a touch of cushioning.
There are plenty of different types and brands to choose from (Mizuno has a complete line of running socks), but the most important aspect of buying the right running socks is—not surprisingly—fit.
Just like when you buy running shoes, fit is absolutely crucial. If the socks are too big, they will bunch in your shoes. Too small and your toes will get squished. If the socks fit loosely, your heels will slip.
The socks should also fit your shoes well. If your shoes are a little narrow, you don’t want to buy an especially thick pair of socks that will take up more room. Conversely, if your shoes are slightly on the wide side, a thick pair of socks can take up extra room and provide a better all around fit.
What you don’t want in your running socks is socks that are 100 percent cotton. While running, you generate plenty of heat and sweat and cotton socks absorb that moisture and retain it against your feet. Inevitably, this results in heavy, soggy socks that is the perfect breeding ground for blisters and bacteria.
Instead, you need technical running socks made out of synthetic fibers that wick moisture away from the foot to keep it relatively dry. Wicking is a term which means the socks move moisture away from your feet to the outside of the shoe where it evaporates. This keeps your feet dry and if you can do that, there’s a good chance of eliminating the friction that causes blisters.
Good technical running socks are made from either synthetic fibers such as acrylic, nylon or polyester or a blend of natural fibers (wool and cotton) and synthetics.
Running socks are usually either very thin or considerably thicker. The thicker socks generally have extra padding in the heel and toe which provides a little extra cushioning and good blister protection. If you prefer a thicker sock, you must make sure it fits your shoes well.
Many runners prefer thin socks because they are lighter and tend to have a better road feel. But it’s just a personal preference. You need to experiment to find the thickness of sock that work best for you in different conditions.
There are plenty of good running socks from a variety of brands, including Mizuno which offers a complete line of technical running socks that work well with its line of running shoes.
The Mizuno sock choices are the Samurai, Musha, Ronin and Tajima styles. All Mizuno socks are made for men in sizes medium, large and extra large and for women in a small and medium.
The Samurai is an exceptional training sock, made out of a blend of wicking fibers polyester, nylon and spandex. Featuring a seamless toe (to reduce blisters), the Samurai has mesh venting (to reduce heat) and a bit of arch support. Durable and comfortable, the Samurai comes in a variety of colors for men and women.
The Musha is lighter and thinner than the Samurai and more appropriate for racing. It is made of a blend of spandex and two microfiber polyesters, including a special Ice Touch yarn (for temperature control). Also available in several colors for men and women.
The Ronin is another racing sock, very similar to the Musha in terms of lightness and thinness. It also utilizes the same polyester/spandex wicking blend with the Ice Touch yarn to reduce heat buildup. The difference between the Ronin and Musha is the Ronin comes in a left/right fit. That is, one sock is designed for the left foot, while the other is for the right. Also available in several color options for men and women.
The Tajima, available in a four-pack, features the polyester, nylon, spandex blend for comfortable, cool running. It also has a unique X-wrap in the arch to prevent slippage as well as mesh venting for coolness.
Finally, for 2012, Mizuno offers its first compression sock gear. In addition to a lightweight compression sleeve with graduated pressure from the calf to the ankle, there is a compression sock with a left/right fit. The only difference between the two is the sleeve stops at the foot (and another sock is necessary), while the compression sock wraps the calf and entire foot.
Compression socks (or sleeves) stimulate blood flow and reduce muscle fatigue. The sleeves or socks are especially valuable for post run recovery. In addition, the compression gear works well for runners to reduce post run cramping in their calf muscles.
1. Stay away from 100 percent cotton socks. Instead, choose socks with a blend a blend of synthetic fibers.
2. Be on the alert for toe seams. A poorly placed seam can cause blisters, especially in a long, hot race or run. Mizuno’s Samurai, Musha and Ronin socks all have seamless toes.
3. Decide whether you prefer thin or thicker socks.
4. Look for socks that have a tighter weave in the midfoot area. This prevents the socks from slipping in the running shoes.
5. Fit the socks to your shoes. If possible, use a test pair at the running store to try on with your shoes.
May 14, 2013
Training and Racing Questions with Jeff Galloway - December 2011
PR at 45 years old?
Q: Is it realistic to think I can still PR at the age of 45? I was never super fast, but ran decent PRs of 19:10, 39:45 and 1:28 in my 30s. I stopped running for awhile, but now I am motivated to get back into it and want to come close to or set new PRs. Am I crazy? And what do I need to do to get there? Gerald Henderson, Niles, Michigan
A: While personal records become much more difficult to achieve as the years go by, I've worked with dozens of runners who made a comeback around age 45. Some have been able to break several of their PRs set 10-15 years earlier. I strongly suggest, however, that top priority be the enjoyment of the attitude boost and empowerment that is unique to running. With better focus, pacing and strategy, older runners can enjoy the challenge (and not the obsession) of beating one's earlier records. Longer long runs and focused speed training tend to produce the greatest improvement and you'll find the specifics in my book YEAR ROUND PLAN, 5K/10K and HALF MARATHON at www.JeffGalloway.com. Rest days and strategic walk breaks have also improved performances in all events for those over 45. Adjustments for age have been noted in my book RUNNING UNTIL YOU'RE 100. Above all, find a way to enjoy every run.
The Value of Hills
Q: Are hill workouts really all that important? I am just a beginner and our coach has us run up and down this steep hill 5-6 times every week. What does this do for me and can I substitute something else that isn't quite as painful? Anita Espinosa, Coppell, Texas
A: Hill workouts can provide significant benefit without being painful and still prepare you for races (most race courses have at least one hill). Hill workouts should help you develop a good technique for running hills while also strengthening the legs for all types of running. I've had success in alternating hill workouts: one week more repeats (up to 8 hills) and the next week only 2-3 longer hills. If you walk down the hill, you should be energized to take the next hill. You'll find in my book GALLOWAY'S BOOK ON RUNNING, & CROSS COUNTRY a successful hill technique: shorten stride as you go up the hill, with feet low to the ground. In hill workouts you can pick up the cadence of your feet to get a good workout, but back off if you feel pain. For best results, the hills run during workouts should be similar in distance and elevation to those on your race courses.
Hit the Pool for Stress Fracture
Q: I have been diagnosed with a stress fracture in my foot. My doctors says I can't run for at least another month and yet don't want to lose my fitness. I have heard a lot about pool running. Does it really help? If you think helps, how can I go about doing it? Billy Borsey, Darien, Connecticut
A: Pool running has been a very successful exercise mode to maintain running fitness when injured. This is the only cross-training exercise I know that can improve running form. Some injuries, however, will not heal as well or as fast when running in the water--so get clearance from your doctor. Get a flotation belt. (I use Aquajogger.) Float into the deep end of the pool so that your feet don't touch the bottom. Run with the same motion you would use when running on land: leg comes behind you and then moves forward until the foot is underneath. Don't lift the knees. When using the right stride, one should feel smooth while moving the legs through the resistance of the water. This should result in a breathing rate similar to that of an average run (you should not be gasping for air). On the first day, run gently for 5-8 minutes, take a 10-15 minute rest break, and then do another 5-8 minutes. On each successive workout, day or two, increase the total amount of water running time by 10-14 minutes. After two weeks. most of my runners have been able to aqua-jog for two hours or more on the long run weekend and 60 minutes on the shorter workout weekend. On two maintenance days during the week, you can run in the water for 30-45 minutes. To keep your faster running adaptations in place, portions of the short runs could be done with quicker turnover, to simulate race pace rhythm. To maintain endurance, you want to increase the long workout, every other week, to approximately the time you would be running during a long run, at that stage of training.
Heart rate monitors?
Q: Do you recommend training with a heart rate monitor? I'm a newbie who just wants to finish her first marathon. If I buy a heart rate monitor, what can I expect to get from it and will it be of value to me? Melissa Williams, Mesa, Arizona
A: No, I don't believe heart monitors are necessary for most runners. Most runners I've worked with who've used these devices have found that my "magic mile" time trial and run-walk-run method have provided the bio-feedback needed to monitor training and racing effort. These components are detailed in A WOMAN'S GUIDE TO RUNNING, 5K/10K, HALF MARATHON & RUNNING UNTIL YOU'RE 100. The ‘magic mile" can identify an appropriate pace for long runs, and target a realistic goal. Avoid huffing and puffing, as this indicates a pace that is too fast. Walk breaks can be adjusted to avoid excess fatigue, aches, pains and injuries. I've met a few "type A" runners who don't listen to their bodies and have used a heart rate monitor to keep them from exceeding their speed limit. World-class athletes may also benefit because of the severe consequences of overtraining at that level.
Q: I will be running my first Boston Marathon in April. Needless to say, I am very excited and want to have a great race. I've read so much about the uniqueness of the course and heard a great deal about the downhills in the early miles and uphills in the middle miles. What can I do to specifically train for the Boston ups and downs during the next four or five months? Mariano Sanchez, Laguna Beach, California
A: First of all, congratulations on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Only a small percentage of marathoners can actually qualify and get into Boston. I suggest that you run your first Boston at a conservative pace. With the pressure off, you can enjoy the glorious weekend, the crowds, the scenery, the experience. It is still wise to gather information on the course. You'll find a mile-by-mile course description in my book BOSTON--HOW TO QUALIF. This is based primarily on the advice of my friend Bill Rodgers, a four-time winner of this great race. The toughest part of the course, in my opinion, is the section from 17-20 miles. There are four hills in a row, leading to the famed Heartbreak Hill. You don't need to include a lot of hills on your long runs--flatter courses are best for increasing endurance. During one of your shorter runs each week, run a hilly, 7-8-mile course. Run the second half of each hill at about the pace you ran to qualify (or slightly faster). Do this by slightly shortening your stride, increasing the cadence of your feet and staying low to the ground. Jog and walk at the top for 2-3 minutes and practice downhill running. My recommended technique is to keep feet low to the ground, touch lightly, and don't let the stride get too long. Most can run quite fast without pounding and without using the quads. I wish you the best!
OLYMPIAN JEFF GALLOWAY HAS COACHED OVER A MILLION RUNNERS THROUGH HIS TRAINING GROUPS, RUNNING SCHOOLS, RETREATS, BOOKS AND INDIVIDUAL E-COACHING. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT www.JeffGalloway.com
Do you have a training or racing question for Jeff Galloway? If you have a question you would like him to answer, send it to shoeguy@Mizunousa.com. We’ll pick five questions for Jeff to answer every month. If we select your question, you’ll receive a beautiful Mizuno technical T-shirt.
May 14, 2013
Mizuno Shoe Guy Answers Your Footwear Questions—December 2011
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on December 6, 2011
Do you have a shoe-related question? Or a running shoe question, specific to Mizuno for the Mizuno Shoe Guy? If you have a question you’d like him to answer, send it to Shoeguy@Mizunousa.com. If we pick your question for the Mizuno Shoe Guy to answer, we’ll send you a beautiful Mizuno DryScience T-shirt.
Lightweight support shoe?
Q: I’m currently in the final stretch of my training for my first marathon. I ran a 20-mile race last weekend and don’t think I was wearing the proper shoe because they hurt after the run. I am a slight overpronator and want a lighter, but supportive shoe for the marathon. Which Mizuno would you recommend? Sgt. Shawn Rose, San Antonio, Texas
A: I would definitely suggest the Mizuno Wave Elixir. It’s relatively light, very flexible and yet offers just the right amount of support. For many runners, the Wave Elixir is a daily training shoe, but plenty of recreational racers use it as their primary race day shoe. It is a terrific marathon shoe for runners who want a lighter shoe than their day-to-day trainer, but can’t give up support and cushioning.
Low heel heights
Q: I’m convinced I need a new training shoe. I have very flat feet and weigh about 180 pounds and have been using a model of shoe which has very low heel heights. The problem is that ever since I started wearing them, my arches have been very sore after every run. Do you have a good, moderately supportive trainer for me? David Murphy, Chicago, Illinois
A: Yes, we have a great shoe for you. But first let me say it is entirely possible (probable, really) that running shoes with lower heel heights might not be the best way for you to go. If you overpronate, have flat feet and are a big guy, you are better suited for a stability shoe with conventional heel heights (approximately 12 mm). The lower heel heights on some of the new shoes work OK for some runners, but many other runners are not suited for these shoes and are getting arch, calf, hip and hamstring pain. I would recommend two Mizuno stability shoes for you: The Wave Inspire and the Wave Alchemy. Both are supportive, very durable, have good cushioning and would be more protective for you than a lightweight shoe with low heel heights. Try them both the recommended Mizunos on and go with the one which fits and feels the best.
Are stability shoes best for me?
Q: I got your email from the thread on Runner’s World so I hope you can help me. Even though I am a neutral runner, I have been wearing the Nike Structure Triax 14s. Stability shoes just seem to work better for me, but I haven’t liked the Structures on long runs. My ideal shoe would be a Mizuno stability shoe, but one that is lighter than the Structure. Do you have a shoe for me? Marc Zale, Chicago, Illinois
A: Definitely. I would recommend two shoes that are lighter, more flexible and just as stable as the Structure Triax: The Mizuno Wave Inspire and the Wave Elixir. The Inspire is the heavier of the two Mizunos, but it’s lighter, better cushioned and more supportive than the Structure. Quite simply, it is one of the best stability shoes on the market. The Elixir isn’t quite as cushioned or supportive as the Inspire, but it has a very responsive midsole and outstanding flexibility. If you want a conventional training shoe, go with the Wave Inspire. If you want a stability shoe with an emphasis on lightness, the Elixir is your shoe.
Best neutral, cushioned Mizuno?
Q: I’m hoping you could point me in the right direction. I started running in 1994 and a few years later, got very serious and ran five miles a day about four days a week. But it was about this time I began having knee problems while wearing support shoes. I was directed to a specialty running store and was told that I shouldn’t be wearing support shoes, but should be in neutral shoes. That’s when I first started wearing Mizunos and since then I have worn the Mercury, Creation and Wave Rider. The Mizunos just seem to fit my feet better and give me a little spring in my step. Recently, I went through the Mizuno Precision Fit test on your web site and it recommended the Wave Prophecy, Wave Creation, Wave Enigma and Wave Rider. For sake of information, I am 39 years old, 22 percent body fat, about 150 pounds, run eight-minute pace and have a medium to high arch. Which of these shoes would be the best one for me? Corey Halm, Pleasanton, California
A: The simple answer is the one which fits and feels the best on your feet. All the shoes you mention are from our neutral, cushioned category of shoes, but they are all very different. My guess is you should probably stick with either the Creation or Rider since you have had success with both shoes. (The new Wave Rider 15 is outstanding and the Wave Creation 13—out in December—is also exceptional.) I would also add that the Wave Enigma might be a great option. It has a softer midsole than either the Rider or the Creation and has a terrific upper fit.
Companion shoe for the Nirvana
Q: Recently, I’ve started doing longer runs in my Wave Nirvana 7. I like the shoe and it seems to be working fine for me. I like its support and cushioning, but I’m looking to throw another Mizuno shoe into the mix in order to rotate. I have been looking at the Creation and I’m wondering whether you think the two shoes would work well together for me. Or is there another option? James Francis, Cambridge, Massachusetts
A: The Wave Creation could be a good choice for you to rotate with the Nirvana, but the Creation isn’t as supportive. It has good arch support and great cushioning, but you might need a more supportive shoe to go along with the Nirvana. In that case, I would recommend the Wave Enigma. It is also a neutral, cushioned shoe (like the Creation), but it offers a more stable ride which might be what you need on the days when you don’t wear your Nirvanas. Both the Enigma and Nirvana weigh approximately the same, fit very similarly, but the Enigma has a much cushier ride.
May 14, 2013
The Baseball Zone: Building Tradition
by Rick Johnston on December 5, 2011
It is our passion for baseball that led to the creation of The Baseball Zone. Our elite, indoor baseball training complex provides and fosters an understanding and love for this game like no other. It is designed to be a welcoming home for baseball and softball players of all ages and playing levels. We employ the very best training philosophies, equipment and staff to fully assist our athletes to reach their goals. We maintain a sporting atmosphere that will add to the enjoyment of baseball for everyone that comes through our doors. We will also make your every visit to The Baseball Zone a friendly, invigorating experience that the team, the youth and the elite athlete will be challenged by, learn from and want to return to again and again.
The Baseball Zone is entering its 9th year in the baseball training industry. The BaseballZone roots began in 2003 with the opening of a 15,000 square foot building located in Mississauga, Ontario. Principle owners Mike McCarthy and Rick Johnston have spent countless hours over the last 9 years developing and enhancing programs that can be tailored to the needs of every player that walks through the doors. The program offerings have expanded from the early years of basic instructional clinics, team programs and private lessons to High Performance Programs that operate year round.
Additionally, in 2007 The Baseball Zone added a Strength and Conditioning service to our business portfolio, Sports Specific Training (SST), that is a provider of programs for functional strength that all aspiring athletes need to get to their optimal level of performance. Similar to the High Performance Baseball Programs that operate year round, the strength and conditioning, SST Canada program does the same. Their athletes are not just aspiring baseball players, college or professional players, they also synergize with athletes in many other sport disciplines such as hockey, soccer, volleyball and basketball.
The relationship with the Mizuno Brand goes hand in hand...Mizuno is considered the worldwide leader of baseball products, research and development, while The Baseball Zone strives to continue to be the industry leader in the commitment to teaching of the game. The Baseball Zone would like to thank Mizuno Canada for its support and sponsorship of Mizuno product, apparel and footwear. If you have not used Mizuno product then you haven’t used the best. Please follow us at www.thebaseballzone.ca review our baseball blogs, check for upcoming events and programs. In addition, for info on Sports Specific Training please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Baseball Zone
May 14, 2013
Adding Some Spice to my Life
by Serena Burla on November 21, 2011
Full marathon training is underway, and I have to chuckle as I think of all the ways I fall into the eat, sleep, run, repeat stereotyped runner image. My husband recently told me that I could just skip verbalizing that I’m tired at the end of the day because he already knows. He is a saint for being married to a runner.
With that said, I am fortunate that my friends and family not only support my lifestyle as a runner, but also add spice to my life. They help me keep things in perspective and know how to keep me well rounded and sane. To all those who play that role in my, or another runner’s, life –A huge thank you!
Over the past few weeks I’ve been able to add some spice while putting in the physical and mental work necessary to prepare for the trials. I’ve traveled to Atlanta to the Mizuno USA corporate office to meet the wonderful people behind the brand, and to join up with several other Mizuno runners for a photo shoot for Mizuno’s Fall/Winter 2012 running catalog. We got a sneak peak at the 2012 line of shoes and clothes (be excited), and I sat in a huge Mizuno baseball glove chair at their office- not something you see or do every day. I rocked a high pony tail and wore make up during a run and was called Barbie. If we weren’t obsessing about how much we love pizza the whole trip, or fitting in our real runs, we might have passed as real models. We were labeled “the real runners” by the models, and we taught them a thing or two about the function of small zip pockets in Mizuno’s running clothes for gels, extra toiletpaper in case your trusted port a potty is out, and other running personal items.
On a daily basis, Boyd adds flavor to my life. I recently met with Boyd’s teachers and received a positive report. The same wonderful kid I know at home shows up at school too. He’s a social butterfly who asks questions non stop. He was invited to go on a field trip with the class just older than his, but I had to decline since they hadn’t seen him in an open setting with room to run. Since they didn’t have time to train to keep up with him, and it’s family tradition anyway, my husband and I took him on a field trip to the pumpkin patch instead. I went on my first potato sack barn slide ride with Boyd who was dressed in costume as Buzz Lightyear and we went on the best hayride to date.
This past weekend, in honor of Veterans Day and warm weather, we went to the World War II Memorial. Boyd loves fountains and was busy figuring out what made this one special. We found the pillar for Virginia and Missouri for photo ops and then suddenly Boyd was ready to scale the walls. He had spotted a bobcat and several other diggers. We then parked ourselves on the outskirts of the mall with our faces pressed against the construction fence bordering the torn up reflecting pool. This was Boyd’s favorite part. After a while Boyd asked, “How do I get in there? They need my help to drive the digger.”
I added some spice to my racing by hitting the track for the first time in 2.5 years at the AMC High Performance 10k in Indiana to seize an opportunity to hit a trials qualifying time. I was several seconds off the A standard, but was grateful for the B standard, the chance to remember what it’s like to race on the track, and to just mix things up a little bit! I must admit, I stuck with my Mizuno Wave Ronins rather than venturing into my Mizuno Osaka spikes.
Even my runs have had pizzazz. A few Friday’s ago, following a run in Rock Creek park, one of my training partners invited a few of us to breakfast at her place where she had prepared a feast of traditional Ethiopian dishes. There was true spice to this meal but the camaraderie was what I enjoyed most. I also learned a few dance moves. There is a reason I run (only one foot in front of the other rhythm for this girl), but I was given hope seeing that many of these moves were done using only the upper body.
Yesterday I crossed paths with the most jovial runner, and today a huge Buck came flying across the path in front of me. I uttered, “Wow!” out loud and hoped no hunter was in toe.
As I log the miles, recover, and repeat, I plan on continuing to add that element of zest to my daily recipe. Time will tell which ingredient is next.
May 14, 2013
Jumping In With Both Feet
by Clara Grandt on November 21, 2011
Happy November! Many marathon runners know that November means about two more months to the Olympic Trials marathon! With that on the horizon, training should be getting pretty serious for everyone participating in the Trials . To me, that means doing everything I can to make sure I give myself the best shot at making the Olympic team. Training hard, getting enough rest, preventing injuries, hydrating and eating right, and dreaming big are all part of that preparation.
So, in order to ensure I can properly prepare myself, I made a decision to take a temporary leave from my job at Healthworks. For nearly two years I have worked at Healthworks, a fitness and rehab facility. I started out as a lifeguard, became an aquatics instructor, and I’ve also been working with patients since I graduated with an emphasis and certificate in aquatic therapy, along with my exercise physiology degree.
My boss and coworkers have been great in understanding and working with my training and traveling schedule. Brian (my boss) and his wife compete in Ironman triathlons. Therefore, they understand how important preparing for the Trials is to me. Brian said he’d let me take time off when I told him I was hoping to train full-time for the Trials for a couple months, but only if I promised to return again. The support from Mizuno had allowed me this option to take some time off of work, so I figured I should seize the opportunity to put more into my training and preparation for this race than I ever have.
On my last day, my aquatics mobility class had a little surprise “good luck” party for me. There were a few tears, lots of hugs, and at that moment, since most of the participants in the class I teach are much older than me, I felt like I had a family of many grandparents. I realized then just how much I wanted to make them proud, as well as go for it for my own self. The support I got from everyone at Healthworks (the staff, fitness members, and patients) was incredible.
With the support of Mizuno and so many people cheering for me, I am feeling great about taking this time to focus on one goal: do the very best I can at the Trials! I know I am young and could have quite a few chances left, but I believe you must always put everything you can into such an opportunity each chance you get. Therefore, I’m hoping that I can return on my first day back to the pool feeling like I have made the people I left proud, no matter the outcome, and maybe, just maybe, I will have an ever bigger marathon to think about by then!
Thanks for reading!
May 14, 2013
It’s been a long road to recovery, but I will be back.
by Antonio Vega on November 18, 2011
This has been a very difficult period for me as I have been unable to run until recently. Obviously, I haven’t been able to race at all for more than a year and needless to say, have really missed the pure joy of competing against the best runners in the country.
During my downtime, I had to find other ways to push myself to satisfy my competitive instincts. The first two weeks after my hip surgery were brutal since I couldn’t do much, other than use a stationary hand cycle and watch television.
But competitive guy that I am, I began timing how long it would take me to hobble on crutches a half mile to my local fitness center. As I got stronger and more confident on my crutches, I timed how long it took to get to the fitness center and I quickly got faster and faster.
One cold, rainy day, I did my normal routine of working out on the hand cycle and doing my physical therapy exercises, followed by a hard sprint home on my crutches. I was on record pace to get home when the one stop light on my route home turned yellow. Since my watch keeps ticking even if I get stopped at the light, I decided to push my luck and try to make the light.
I was so focused on getting across the intersection that I wasn’t paying attention to the curb. I misjudged it and, in the rainy weather, slipped and fell right in front of four cars waiting for the light to turn.
Fortunately, some good Samaritans stopped their cars and helped me up. Other than being covered in mud and having a badly bruised ego, I was OK. But after that humbling incident, I decided that unofficial world record for crutching a half-mile would stay at 7 minutes and 48 seconds. If only I hadn’t gone down, my record would’ve fallen.
That was four weeks ago and I am no longer on crutches. I am happy to report that I am currently six weeks out from surgery, and everyday my hip continues to feel better and better.
This week my doctor gave me the green light to start some very light running. My first run was—believe it or not—only 10 minutes long. Two weeks ago, I couldn’t do that. Right now, I am on the road back. It’s been a long road to recovery, but I will be back.
I have no doubt about that.