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Archives for January, 2011

On January 29, 2011, Brazen Racing came to our home course in Newark, California.  It was fun doing a run on our local trails.  The half marathon was two loops with an out and back leg.  The Brazen events always have hills and single track trails, or at least it seems that way.  Most of us are used to the trails but the single tracks can be a challenge for track runners starting out on trail runs.  This was a great event with a unique start line that was on the hump of a small hill.

A lot of us have a few key events that we are training for and do other races as social events or advanced training events to gauge our fitness.  This was a social training run for me.  I was out with the Mission Peak Striders, Daily Mile members and plenty of Alameda Runners.  Thank you all for showing up in such great numbers.  It is nice to get all of the local runners together for an event.  Oddly enough, I wound up running with Ron the Punk Rock Runner who is in his own group.

I am training for a triathlon in July.  This week was a rest week in my training cycle so I took it easy on my run.  The Punk Rock Runner is training for an Ironman distance triathlon so he was cruising along too.  The way I see it, if you can run 13 miles on a rest day, you are doing well.  When you do these events as social events, it is fun to meet new people and talk to them in the back of the pack.

My new best friend Ron, started running 3 years ago after he heard a coworker talking about marathon training.  He weighed over 280 pounds when he decided to run a marathon.  He told his friends at work he was going to run a marathon.  He said they had an office pool to see how far he would go before he crashed and burned.  He finished, now he does Ironman distance triathlons.  He still has trouble with his weight but he does no let that stop him.

Get out and do some events, it is a lot of fun and you meet a lot of people just like you.  It is great to compare notes and have a new friend to encourage you along.  We were comparing notes on our strengths and weaknesses thinking “if only…”.

This was a great event for me.  It was like a family reunion with so many friends and conversations.   we all had something in common.  We just finished something hard.  Doing a rest run of 13 miles is still hard.  It was still fun.

Take care of your feet

I just wrote a piece on DeFeet socks and footwear last month.  I don’t know if it is because of the article or because so many people are training for the Oakland Running Festival but feet have been a hot topic.

I will start off by saying that foot problems are not a badge of honor saying that you are a runner.  They are something to avoid and take care of as soon as something comes up.  There is nothing good about injuries of any type.  The most common foot injuries that I hear about:

  • Black toe nails
  • Toe nails falling off
  • Blisters on the toes
  • Blisters on the feet or heels
  • Foot pain
  • Arch pain
  • Athletes foot

Black toe nails and toe nails falling off usually come from the same source – your toe nail is hitting something.  The first and easiest thing to do is make sure you toe nails are nice and trimmed.  If you don’t like clipping your toe nails, go get a pedicure (polish is optional).

If your nails are good check the quality of your socks.  Cheap socks can bunch or have a seam across the toes.  Then check your shoes for proper size and room in the toe box.  Take your time in the shoe store, when selecting shoes.

You should find shoes that fit comfortably and have room for the toes.  Walk around in the store for a little while and jog a bit to make sure the shoes stay put.  One of my dailymile friends has to drive 4 hours to get to a running store.  I have a theory on that…  You should spend as much time trying your shoes as you do commuting to the shoe store.  While you are at the store try some high quality running socks and shoe inserts.  They will both last longer than the shoes.

Blisters usually happen for the same reasons as black toe nails but they happen on the bottoms of the toes and feet.  Blisters are always from rubbing.  Sometimes, you get blisters because your feet are just not ready for running.  Check out your shoes and socks and keep running.  When you get a blister, do not pop it!  Put ice on it to relieve the swelling.

The next time you run, put some Vaseline or Body Glide on it.  I prefer Body Glide because I like the texture.  After about 3-5 days the blister will shrink away to nothing.  If you are at an aid station of an event, it is popping the blister is fine.  It will add to the time it takes to heal but you are at the event to finish.

Foot pain can be serious.  If you have foot pain that persists, go see a doctor.  I live in California where the medical care is not quite up to standard so I usually go see the sports chiropractor first.  The choice is yours.  Keep in mind that feet are very important and a lot of injuries can be taken care of easily if they are treated early.

Athletes foot/feet – Do not mess around with athletes foot.  Treat the first itch between the toes.  Over the counter medicines work fine.  I prefer creams because they do not stink up the house or locker room and the cream stays where you put it.  If you take care of athletes foot at the first itch, there is a good chance it can be cured before the skin is damaged.

I get so wrapped up in what I am doing that I forget about the people who are just starting out.  I am not a professional athlete or trainer.  I do excel at trying hard and getting injured from over doing it.  I usually fix the injury and move on to find a new body part to injure.  I always manage to have fun and find alternate routines to keep me training while injured.

The most common cause of injury for beginners is from doing too much, too soon.  People following my training plan or any other training plan usually try to go faster every day.  Fitness and endurance are long term goals.  You have to stay within your abilities.  It is easy to look at someone who has been exercising for a long time and think running is easy.

Running is easy; it just takes time and practice to run for extended durations.  I am in my base building phase right now and I still add some extra miles because it is a nice day or I feel good.  I know better but I do it anyway.

The most common injuries for runners building up their miles occur from the knees down.  The knee problem I suffer the most is an ITB injury.  The best way to find out what knee ailment you have is to do a search on the internet.  All of the search engines work well and come up with similar answers.  Strength, or lack thereof, is a common theme for older runners taking up the sport.

After I get done tearing up my knees, I start working on my calves and shins.  The common cause is lack of strength, flexibility and building up too fast.  Calf injuries are not to be trifled with but they are relatively easy to correct by strength training and stretching.

The feet are extremities that are not really affected from poor strength training but they are affected by a lack of stretching and doing too much too soon.

Next I will post about feet.  The feet are the most common annoying issues that people endure but they are usually easier to fix.