Just for Kicks

Over the past 4 years, I have run almost exclusively in the New Balance 790 (shoes on the right side of the pic). They are a very minimal, low profile, light weight shoe that I absolutely loved. I loved it so much that I bought several pairs once I heard they were going to discontinue it. But now that those reserve pairs are almost gone, I’m looking at a replacement for it. The first shoe I’m going to try is the Nike Free.

One of the best things about the 790 was that there wasn’t much to it. No rock plates, no support guards, no energy return systems, no nothing. They were an 8oz, low heel to toe drop speed machine that allowed me to feel the ground below me. With this shoe I ran the TransRockies Run 2x, over 50 XTERRA’s,  dozens of 5k’s and 10k’s, and more miles than I can count for training, and all without a single injury.

One of the reasons that I haven’t run in a different shoe than the 790 is that I couldn’t find much that matched it. Even in the Free, there is more cushioning and more of a heel to toe drop (pretty obvious from the picture). I am a little nervous about heel to toe drop difference, but I’m willing to try it out and see if I can really feel the difference. Another big difference between the Free and the 790 is the thickness of the sole. I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing because the sole is still very flexible and soft (won’t inhibit proprioception). Another concern arises from the fact that I run almost entirely off road and with the upper of the Free being a bit more light, I hope it is as durable. We’ll find out!

I also plan to try out the Altra Instinct and the Inov-8 F-lite 195. I’ll post more blogs about my findings as they develop.

I hope this serves as a guide for others, that you should try out various types of shoes and models to find what is really best for you. Swing by your local Fleet Feet and ask to try on ALL the shoes that interest you and run around the block in them. You’ll really start to get a feel for what works for you.



Consistancy = Success

In my 11 years of racing triathlon, I have come to realize that a huge part of success is consistency. If you are able to train in all aspects of the sport consistently, your ability to achieve great things dramatically increases. One of the biggest hurdles that stands in the way of this consistency is injury and I find this rather amusing.

How can an injury be amusing? Well because most of the time its predictable and preventable. If you choose to let it happen, that is silly… to the point of being kind of funny. Obviously crashes, accidents, and extreme circumstances aren’t necessarily preventable because then they wouldn’t aptly be named so, but for many of those training related injuries, if athletes would take the time to get to know their bodies a bit more many of those obstacles could be completely avoided. So how do you “get to know your body more?” Try seeing an experience physical therapist and/or chiropractor. Their job is knowing all about the human body. I have starting seeing three of the PT’s at Alta Physical Therapy and Dr Lisa Erikson at LifeSport Chiropractic. Charlie, Mike, and Erin at Alta have been helping me to diagnose and treat potential problem areas to help avoid any show stopping injuries and Dr Lisa has been adjusting me. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been blogging about them a lot lately and there is good reason – I’m injury free!

Four of the things that we have done so far to help predict and prevent injuries are Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), Functional Movement Systems (FMS), Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN), and Active Release Technique (ART) .

Both SFMA and FMS are ways of assessing fundamental patterns of movement, such as bending and squatting, that can be associated with known musculoskeletal pain. We’re able to identify meaningful impairments that may be seemingly unrelated to the main musculoskeletal complaint, but contribute to the associated disability. In other words, we do a few simple tests and are able to find major weaknesses. From these assessments, I’m given specific exercises to do and areas to focus on when it comes to supplemental training. We find the weakness and eliminate it. Potential problem solved!

I’ve talk about TDN in a previous blog. We’ve been using this to focus on areas that I have been absolutely pounding in training. By helping the muscle to recover faster, I’m able to progress through training smoother and with greater success.

And the newest treatment that I’ve been trying is ART. ART is a movement-based soft tissue treatment technique that smooths out tissue thickness, releases trigger points, lengthens tight muscles, frees scars, mobilizes nerves, and improves range of motion. Here Charlie is working on my quads and calves.

I have definitely noticed two distinct differences between ART and TDN as recovery tools. ART is far less “intense” and is much more comfortable to go through, but TDN has greater effects for me in the long run. With TDN, I’m pretty sore for the following 48 hours, but then see outstanding results. With ART, I’m not very sore right away, but I do see differences almost immediately. Both are great techniques that I’m using for the same purpose, but who know what they can do for you!

With Dr Lisa, we’ve been working on a lot of areas. Check out the pictures and see what she has been working to correct. We’re making good progress (you should have seen me before)!

As triathletes (although this applies to pretty much any endurance athlete), we spend exorbitant amounts of time trying to get faster. Whether it be the latest and greatest training program, the next big break through in bike design, or the new super food (in my best cheesy commercial voice) to help you lose weight and build muscle at the same time, triathletes are willing to try it. Bigger, better, faster! Gotta have it! If we’d just spend a little bit more time on our body itself rather than all the things we put on it, do with it, and come out of it, we’d be able to really fine tune that racing machine. I’m doing it, and I’m seeing a huge difference in performance already. Can’t wait for race season!