Coaches Words of Wisdom

I had a 500 yard swim for time at the end of last week. It was meant to be a bench mark, but unfortunately I couldn’t even finish it (I guess that sort of is a bench mark). Sluggish during the warm up, my brain said go even when my body was saying stop. Once the 500 started, my brain finally realized the body was right and they both stopped. Afterwards I voiced my concern to my coach Grant Holicky. I say concern because “sadness” or “depressed” or “bummed” were not the right words. “Frustrated” and “concerned” were better terms that reflected my mental state. His response was roughly this (paraphrasing).

“Look at what you’ve done up to this point. Where you’ve been and where you are now. You’ve had good days and bad days. The good days aren’t a fluke. You can’t fake good. If it’s not there, it’s not there. You just can’t fake the improvements you’ve made. Even if you have bad days in between, your true fitness is shown on those good days. Now we just need to figure out how to have less of those bad days, otherwise we’ve got a problem. Focus on the positive, not the negative.”

I can’t even begin to describe how those words have resonated through my mind since then. It’s times like that, that make me realize that having the right coach can make all the difference in reaching the next level of mental and physical fitness necessary to be great.



Newest Shoes for 2012

I’m excited to see all the different options for natural running shoes that are hitting the market lately. Since the New Balance 790’s were discontinued a few years ago, I’ve been on a search for a replacement shoe. In the 790’s, I could run short, long, fast, slow, trail, road, track, you name it, it could do it. I loved that shoe and have yet to find something that is as versatile.

I am all about asking around and seeing what works for others. Lately I’ve been talking to my brother about Altra running shoes. He’s a huge fan of the Instinct. He’s been using them for over a year now. He mainly does runs between 2-4 miles, so they fit his purposes well. He was looking at getting a pair of Sampson‘s when they come out because they are a bit more minimalist. I’m very intrigued to try those as well. Altra just came out with their first trail shoe, the Lone Peak, but unfortunately they are bit “too much shoe” for my tastes. The sole is a bit thick and they added a rock plate. There is also a “brake” on the rear of the heal. All of this, in my opinion, takes away from the feel of the trail.

There are so many different types of “minimal” shoes out there now – Inov8, VivoBarefoot, Newton, Vibram 5 fingers, just to name a few, that the options are becoming quite plentiful. I wish I could try them all out, but seeing as I’m not made of money, I have to do some research and determine which will work best for what I’m trying to achieve. Good thing I love running, otherwise I might see this research as “work” rather than fun.

Natural running has caught on so well, that is no longer a “niche” group of runners who are concerned with it. There is actually a store that carries only “natural” running shoes. Fittingly it’s call The Natural Running Store. They have a kind of funny video talking about natural running. They talk about “marching band” stance, which is the same thing as the 100 Up idea that I made a quick video about a while ago with elite trail runner John Tribba. Being in Boulder it I can’t go without mentioning Newton and Danny Abshire and all they have done to help boost this movement. Though I may not be the biggest fan of all their shoes (some are too over built), I can truly connect with their philosophies and desire the help runners run better. Don’t get me wrong, I like their shoes (I ran in them for 2 years), but just not all their models.

The most recent shoe that I’ve been testing out (and am really liking thus far) is the New Balance MT110. The two precursors to this shoe (MT100 and 101) missed the mark in my opinion. They tried to take a minimalist trail shoe and add too much to it. I really like the reviews that produces and I use those as a starting point for much of my research. That is what got me so excited for the MT110. NB decided to let true trail runners design the shoe and the MT110 is the result. In theory it’s what I’ve been looking for since the 790, and thus far it’s living up to my expectations. Light weight, both in build and feel, low heal-to-toe drop, no rock plate, durable yet flexible upper, higher density rubber in the forefoot and heal (not in the mid foot where flection is needed), and moderately sized lugs to give traction but not make you slow off the trails.

This blog is nothing revolutionary or ground breaking, but I am just excited to share my thoughts on the fact that natural running is finally being accepted more prevalently. It’s so great to see this idea getting some momentum and really starting to spread. And if you’re looking for a bit of a laugh check out the video below. My favorite scene is the final one…