“Dougies” Pt. 2

After a 9 mile run up Phoneline Trail in Sabino Canyon, and then back down again along the tram road, I feel I have a pretty good grasp on the “Dougies” I was testing and now, without further ado.. here’s my review!

The CWX compression shorts (platform) on which the Dougies are built were new to me and a welcome item.   It makes sense too because adding weight in water-bottles to anything else and your shorts would constantly be down around your ankles.   The bottles I used were two Ultimate Direction 20oz bottles.   I think the Dougies would do better with a flator oval flask instead of the round bottles but once I cinched down the waist string, even with the round bottles sticking out just that much more, the Dougies stayed up and on (very important in a running short!).

It was a little odd at first, having weight in that area.   Perhaps because of the awareness or because of the weight itself, my hips and my glutes seemed to be working harder or working more consciously – I felt the muscles.   What I didn’t feel, which was a releif, was a ridiculous bouncing on either side.  The fit was snug and the built-in draw-strings kept the bottles securely in their holsters.   The draw-strings were excellent and easy to use both taking the bottles out and putting the bottles back.   At one point I did miss and ran for about a mile before realizing that the draw-string wasn’t secured around the head of the bottle – I wouldn’t have noticed had I not gone for the bottle.   This speaks to the snug fit of the bottle in the holster itself and reinforces the idea that the bottles are tight enough that they don’t bounce and most likely, even on a trail like Phoneline, won’t bounce out if you somehow fail to secure the draw-string like I did.  That’s pretty cool.

The double pocket in the very back of the shorts, part of the CWX design, was extremely useful for my car key and several gels.   Everything about the Dougies, from the holsters and secure draw-strings to the organic features of the CWX shorts themselves was really nice for portage on the trail.

As I said before, I can imagine uses for these shorts for shorter runs and extremely long runs.  Imagine, two hip-flasks, two chest-flasks, a 2L bladder and two hand-helds PLUS.. a water filter in the back pocket or in your hydration vest?  That’s a TON of water, heavy, but on a slow 100-miler might be just the thing.   Especially for training when you have no aid stations!   Legit!   S.A.R.A. volunteers could drastically incrase their carrying capacity and range simultaneously, not to mention recreational runners and elite-competition athletes.

Yesterday, at The Running Shop, a Sherrif’s department officer came in looking for something that wasn’t going to be in the way and that he didn’t have to carry in his hand.  A vest was too much, a belt didn’t sound comfortable so, I told him about the “Dougies” – he said that sounded exactly like what he needed.

I couldn’t agree more.

 

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“Dougies” Pt. 1

Today, I’m testing out a really cool new product in developement by my friend, Doug Loveday.   These are compression shorts with holsters for water bottles that ride on your hips.

This is the first time I’ve worn compression shorts and so far, I really like them.  The holsters seem to be in the right place, they have a draw string to secure them on top and this version has pockets in the middle back – which I really LOVE – where I can put keys, gels, and maybe even some light running gloves.. other smaller items.   I’m excited to test this out because it’s a hands-free system for mid-range and long-runs and it adds capacity to really long runs and races.

The trail I’ll be using for this test is Phoneline Trail in Sabino Canyon.  The run is about 8.6 miles roundtrip with a good amount of climb and lots of bouncing up-and-down movement.   Depending on how I feel, I might follow this up with a tram-road run – 7.4 miles out-and-back – which will be smooth pavement running.

Wish me luck.. and stay tuned..

Be the BEST YOU!

Destination U is the beginner-runner 5k program designed to be a fitness-platform from which anyone can launch themselves, not only into running, but into a new fitness life-style.   I’m really proud of that and I’m also really proud of the fact that the 5k program is free.

There are other programs out there, and they charge money, but those programs will miss the person who initially relies on a dollar amount to valuate their own desire to get healthy.   In other words, there are lots of people out there who won’t pay for something they’re not sure about, and they’ve been duped before.   It isn’t that they think the program isn’t worth the money, they just don’t know and aren’t willing to make a bet they might lose.

On the flip side, it’s hard for people to imagine that a free program could be as good as one that charges $50, $100, or even more for the same duration, much less, that it could be far better.   But that is exactly what Destination U is!  No other program offers clinics, no other program offers Guest Speakers from the local fitness community, and no other program provides the ease of access for each person, whereever they are in their fitness level.   Destination U really is ALL about YOU.

But hold on!  There IS a catch.

If we don’t deliver the best program at this free entry level program, there’s no way anyone is coming back for our other paid programs.   We are incentivized by your success and the quality of your time with our program.

Still, some folks will have sticker shock when they see that the 10k program is $75, the Half-Marathon program is $100 and the Full Marathon program is $150.   Putting that in perspective, other programs in town charge $125 for their 5k program (and remember: ours is free!).  To anyone who feels that’s too much, I would say that we have done our best to remove any and all barriers that might prevent a person from joining our program and working hard to reach their fitness goals, but there will always come a point where what you want is going to cost you something.   You might as well pay a lower price (than any one else in town) for a better more well-rounded program, but whatever you do, don’t throw money away on fitness-profiteers.  Spend your money with those who are invested in your success.

“..There will always come a point where what you want is going to cost you something.”

So WHY are our programs SO much better?  What is this tremendous value I keep talking about?   Primarily, you’ll be coached by people who know what it’s like to be beginners; the insecurity, the shyness and discomfort of being in new situations, and the fear of the unknown – ‘will the plan work?’, ‘can I really do this?’, ‘what if I’m the slowest one!’.   We get you.  We ARE you – we’ve just been doing it longer.   Those are the “People” you will have in your corner, along with your team-mates.    We also have a great program that gently guides the beginner from longer walking and shorter jogging intervals to increased jogging as your fitness grows.   That’s our “Plan”.   Then, as a team, we sign up for and run (or walk) a 5k, all in line with your goals for the program; maybe you just want to cross the line, maybe you want to walk the entire thing with your friends, maybe you want to run the whole thing – we have you covered!

But wait – there’s more!   Destination U is unique in that we reach out to local fitness gyms and bussinesses for guest speakers.   We’ve had ultra-marathoners who have run 200+ mile races, Girls on the Run, Zumba and Insanity instructors, Nutritional experts, ..we once had a Run Disney representative come and bring costumes for us to wear on our workout!   They are sometimes informative, sometimes inspirational, and always fun!   This also serves the dual-purpose of introducing our members to other forms of fitness that just might be a better fit for them or their goals – that’s terrific!   If you leave Destination U to join the Tri-Girls of Tucson, Shark Fitness, Boxing Inc., Chuze Fitness, Psychosomatic.. wherever and whatever.. we are thrilled for you to continue your fitness journey as YOU see fit and we are honored to have been part of your journey!

On top of guest speakers, we offer clinics to help you practice a more efficient running form, clinics to help you stay safe while you’re out getting your workouts, and what you need to know about fueling and hydrating during your workouts and races.   No-one else gives you that.

Also, when you consider that each participant fee generates a $5 donation to Team Hoyt Arizona to support familes and kids who want to race in our local running community, you get to be part of giving back in a very special and meaningful way.   What an incredibly powerful thing to take part in the joy of others!

As you can see, Destination U is committed to kindness, giving, and encouragement, and we are committed to helping you achieve your fitness goals while inspiring you to be the best version of yourself you can be.  We do whatever we can to remove the obstacles that are holding you back, but we can only do so much, the rest is going to be up to you!  Please consider joining Destination U today – we would be truly honored to be part of your journey!

Destination U – the best place to start!

 


So, you want to quit.

Here it is.

This is the place where real decisions are made.

It’s early-ass morning, still dark outside, you stayed up too late, had too much to drink but you were supposed to run.  You ‘committed’ and now?  Now it’s time to give teeth to your decision.

There is NOTHING.

There is absolutely NOTHING in you that wants to keep your promise right now.   “What promise?” you quip, and it sounds so good.  So believable.  Like you would ever want that.

But you did want.. that.   You paid money for it.   You signed up when you were pumped up and it was easy, but now.. you’re willing to throw that money down the drain.  Another failed experiment.   It’s actually annoying to you, that you are stressing about this.

You shouldn’t be stressing about this.. there must be something wrong with.. this.  But there isn’t.  You’re stressing because you are looking for a way out of your lie.   You are stressing because you have no desire to follow through when following through is the most important thing.

So, you want to quit, huh?    Might want to rethink that.

Still want to quit?   Rethink.

Rethink it again.

Keep rethinking it until you get your ass up and do the things you said you were going to do.   There is absolutely NO other solution to this problem.

Everything else is just a lie.

Shoes.. shoes..shoes!

Today, I’m talking.. you guessed it.. shoes!

Running shoes, specifically.   Often, I get asked which shoe is best.   That’s a tough question to answer because there are a myriad of criteria we use to evaluate a shoe and for each person, those criteria are going to be different.  It isn’t just color, though color is a fairly common criteria, but also widths, widths in different parts of the shoe, heel-slippage, toe-room, shoe volume, heel height, cushioning, weight, durability, function, the height of the shoe’s collar, abrogated tongues, general fit, and much much more.   For each one of those criteria, every person will have a slightly different preference.  My preference in shoes is to have something that fits like a slipper; loose and slipping on the heel is fine with me, secured on the mid-foot and plenty of room for my toes.  Someone else would find my preferences uncomfortable or even painful on their own foot.

That’s why I tell almost everyone, that the best shoe for you.. now remember this when you go shoe shopping because it’s really the most important thing.. the BEST shoe for you is the shoe that you can put on your foot and forget about.    There is nothing about the shoe that is drawing your attention to itself or distracting you in any way.  You should be able to put the shoe on, step out the door and get your workout in, easily slipping into that zen flow-state that we runners love, where we think about whatever it is we want to think about – so long as what we’re thinking about isn’t ‘hmm.. why is my ankle feeling sore’ or ‘is this shoe going to cause a blister where that hotspot is forming under the ball of my foot’, or.. whatever.

That isn’t to say, that you shouldn’t listen to your shoe guy and just start picking shoes willy-nilly.   A good shoe salesman is going to find out what kind of shoe will work for you based on your preferences but also based on your unique stability needs.   We kind of interview customers to know whether we’re looking for a road shoe or trail shoe, if there are any injuries we need to be aware of, what your goals are, and what has worked for you, or not worked for you, in the past.

 

Stability

What do I mean by ‘Stability’?   When we use that term, we’re talking about pronation or, the foots natural shock-absorption system where the arch flexes in order to absorb shock.   While almost everyone uses this biomechanical movement when they walk and run, some arches collapse to varying degrees (or collapse completely = flat-footed) and the ankle rolls inward.   Often, this inward roll or pronation causes the person to also point their toes out (“Duck Walk”) to reclaim some of the balance lost with that inward roll.Pronation_Supination_Neutral

Depending on a person’s specific needs, we would recommend differing categories of shoes.

  1. Pronated: Stability shoe, or even a Motion Control category for severe pronation.
  2. Neutral: Neutral shoe.
  3. Supination: Neutral shoe, most likely something with high-cushion (to allow the foot to sink into the supporting footbed) or possibly an insert with arch support and a deep heel cup to corral and secure the foot so that the ankle does not roll outward.

 

Shoe Size

Shoe size can be a tough pill to swallow for some customers.   Ideally, you want there to be about a thumbnails-width between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe. Typically, this means that good running shoes will run a full size higher than what you’re used to wearing with boots, heels and casual or dress shoes.   The main reason for this is to allow enough space for your feet to swell when you are training.  It isn’t enough to be comfortable with your toes just off the end of the shoe because, when you do that long run, and your foot swells, you could run out of room quick and have problems: sore, black or missing toenails, pain or numbness between your metatarcels, blisters and calluses.

It’s important to remember too, that just because you’re an adult now, you likely won’t be in the same size shoes you wore in high-school or even college.   Most people can expect to go up a size or even two sizes during the course of their adult lives.   Women experience not just changing shoe sizes, but also changing foot shapes and types – especially with each pregnancy.    Injuries too, can change the size of one or both feet as well.

 

Heel-Drop: What’s that?

Heel-Drop is the difference between the stack-height at the front of the shoe as compared to the stack height at the back of the shoe.   On average, most shoes run between 8-10mm higher toward the heel versus the front of the shoe.   When we are barefoot or in flip-flops and converse shoes, we are what is called, “Zero Drop”, meaning, there is no difference between the front and back.

Depending on an individuals preference and unique bio-mechanics, certain heel-drops will work better than others.   It’s going to be a matter of experimentation.   A couple of things to think about would be;

  1. What kind of heel-drop have you been running in and how has that worked out for you?   If you are using something along the lines of 10mm or 12mm, and it’s been injury-free running, you might not want to change it up.
  2. Going from a high-heel drop (10-12mm) shoe to a zero drop shoe is actually lengthening the calf and the achilles as the heel is lower down and the foot/heel angle is a smaller angle.   Bear this in mind when you decide to go for a more minimal or lower drop shoe – if your calves or achilles are feeling aggravated, then either take a break and alternate into a more comfortable shoe for the rest of the day, or avoid them altogether.   Bottom line is to listen to your body.
  3. Just because a minimal shoe or zero-drop shoe worked wonders for you does NOT mean it will work for everyone.  Be glad you found something so awesome but try not to apply what worked for you as a once-size-fits-all solution to everyone else. Conversely, when someone swears by a specific brand, and ONLY that brand, or model or heel-drop or whatever, listen politely, maybe even try it out for yourself, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work out for your unique foot-shape, -strike, -stride.

 

Where to get your shoes?

So listen up, take some notes and decide for yourself.   I’m pretty biased toward local businesses – not to be confused with ‘locally-owned national franchises’.  A lot of places like to borrow that phrase – “Locally Owned”, when they really aren’t, because they want to capitalize on “Local” branding while maintaining the national franchise connections, with all the brain-trust advantages that come with it (Advertising, inventory management, uniform branding, POS and CIS systems, etc, etc.).   Next time you see someone claiming to be “Local” when you know they’re actually a national franchise, think about McDonalds and ask yourself if there’s really anything local about that?

These kinds of places can always retreat to the clarification that they are locally-owned and that’s what they meant all along, but when you have people coming up to you telling you how they ‘..like shopping at such and such a place because it allows them to shop local’, when you know they aren’t technically ‘local’.. it strikes me as purposefully dishonest and misleading.   That said, you shop wherever you want, whether that be online, at a national-franchise, or a truly local outfit – the bottom line is that you need someone experienced helping you and most of these locations can at least offer you this.

Now, a good shoe-fit specialist can tell a lot about your shoe and stability needs just from watching you walk.   The treadmill and video are great for showing the customer what’s going on and why the fit-specialist is leaning one way or the other, but any good shoe salesman is able to evaulate all of this without the use of a treadmill.  As a matter of fact, I find myself checking out people walking and what they’re feet and ankles are doing – ALL the time.   Tumumoc is famously the home of Nike Free’s and pronation as far as the eye can see!

The advantages of going and seeing someone is that a customer can usually rely on that person to know what category of shoe would be good for them, what specific shoes across brands address their specific needs, and the customer actually gets to try the shoe on – AT the location.  That’s the power of brick and mortar stores.   Sometimes the prices won’t be what someone might find online, but getting to try the shoe on and getting great service is almost always worth the difference they might save in savings.

 

Conclusion:

I hope this little guide has helped you in finding the right shoe.   Along with everything else here, remember that finding “the Perfect Shoe” is like searching for the Holy Grail.  It’s an ongoing experiment where, with each shoe purchase, you learn a little more about the shoes out there and a little more about your own preferences.   Remember too, that shoe sizing differs from model to model at times, but our feet don’t stay exactly the same shape or size either – don’t insist on staying in a size 8 because you’ve always been in a size 8 and your horrified at the thought of being in a 9 and a half.   Don’t do that.

Good luck, have fun, and if you have any questions – please ask them in the comment section here or on Facebook.

Cross-Training

QUESTION: “Are we supposed to be Cross-Training?”
This is such a great question and I’ll try and be brief.   The bottom line is to avoid injury, and the best way to do that is by erring on the side of caution, taking it slow, starting below your comfort-curve and incrementally building up your workouts to your own comfort-level before going beyond what you already know you can do.   There are a few factors to consider when you are trying to decide whether you want to do cross-fit and what kind of cross-fit you should be doing:
1. You need to know where you are at, currently, in your fitness.   We sometimes get caught up in where we WANT to be instead of taking inventory of where we actually ARE – try and know the difference, think about it constantly, and adjust your cross-training goals accordingly.
2. You need to align your training and fitness with your specific goals.
a: If you are just working toward crossing the finish line, you might not want or need to do much cross-training, although it would certainly be helpful if you could add in a little bit.
b: When you have a specific time goal or even a general time goal, you might need to bring varying forms of strength and flexibility training into your routine – very important to have both strength and flexibility when you tackle speed workouts since muscle strain and ligament/tendon stress is at its highest when we exert ourselves in these intense bursts.   Building these tissues up slowly and consistently can at least get you to the starting line, injury free!
c: If your goal includes weight loss, cross-training could be very effective in giving you alternative workouts that are better geared at fat-burning and toning.   I would also highly recommend your team-mate Nicki Mazzioti for nutritional coaching: https://www.risen-nutrition.com/
 
QUESTION: “What kinds of Cross-training should I be doing?”
To answer this question, ask yourself the following:
1. “What do I enjoy or would I enjoy?”   Just because someone else really loves Yoga doesn’t mean that you will love it too – by all means, give it a go if you’ve never tried it, but maybe you would prefer a nice bike ride instead.  (Swimming, Walking, Hiking, Dance, Zumba, Weight-Lifting, Boxing, etc.)
2. “What weaknesses or challenges do I face and what can cross-training do to help me address those weaknesses?”   I’ve already said that my core is really weak; my abdomen, my hips, my lower back (Core workouts 1-2 times a week).   I would also like to do things that help me maintain or maybe even lose about ten pounds (Full-Body strength training to add more muscle.  More muscle equals more muscle to feed and that equals higher metabolism, followed by weight loss), and I need tons more flexiblity in my calves, my hamstrings, my hips and my lower back (Yoga everyday!).
3. “What if I’m injured?”    Tread lightly here.   I’ve dislocated both of my shoulders (a long time ago) and I continue to have left-chain leg issues (calf, knee, hammies, hips and glutes).   Whether it’s my regular workouts or cross-training, I’m very careful and aware of these areas in my body and I approach them with respect and caution – I urge you to do the same.  It just isn’t worth it to drive yourself hard through injuries.   For me, I avoid swimming not just because I’m no good at it, but something about the motion of the arms causes my already weak shoulder sockets to pop out – my goal then is to do upper-body and specifically shoulder workouts (and surrounding areas) to strengthen that part of my body and rehabilitate those joints.   Someday, I hope to get in a pool and get proper coaching to improve my efficiency and form – just as soon as my shoulders can handle it.  Cross-training allows me to approach these injuries in new ways and target the areas that have had problems in the past – bringing me to a more well-rounded full-body fitness someday.
I would add that foam-rolling, deep sports massage, and targetted stretching are part of my cross-training routine specifically in response to my left-chain issues.
Bottom line: Be Careful and always consult a professional for any medical issues or question you may have.
I would love to hear from you!
Q: What forms of cross-training do you love?
Q: What did I miss in this article or what did I get wrong/did you disagree with?
Q: What did you like about this article?
Thanks so much – may you remain injury-free and happy running 🙂
This blog was inspired by the Destination U “DU-OV HalfM – Fall 17” group – training for the Tucson Half Marathon and the Veterans Day Half Marathon.  Thank you “Team Tomato” for your dedication, consistency, and can-do attitude.  You rock!

I’ll be your mommy and your daddy!

Being a ‘shoe expert’ and being a coach puts a person – me – in a unique position because, people are looking to me for answers to questions that don’t always have easy answers. “What’s the best shoe?” for example, or, “How should I be running?”.

Don’t get me wrong, there are good answers, but people sometimes need to be told and often, they are happy to put you in that position of authority for a lot of good reasons.   People need to be told why, what, how often, when and to what degree?   Answering all of these will reinforce their estimation of you as a resource for learning and incorporating ideas, products and strategies in their own lives.

It’s like being a parent, I imagine.

Traditionally, there’s a nurturing and comforting style.  Pulling a person along a certain path or way of thinking, coaxing, rewarding; gently and unfailingly.   This tends to be my style and the most comfortable for me because I don’t like confrontation, I take it on faith that the people I’m dealing with are adults and will act accordingly.  They will state their intention and they will follow through on their intention with consistent action toward their stated goal.   In short, they will parent themselves.

The “Drill-Seargent” style is meant to intimidate, threaten, cajole, push, and punish you. This style is great for those who cannot muster the discipline on their own and don’t mind being yelled at.   Some people thrill at being shouted at – thriving where gentle persuasion can find no traction.

Both are needed.   It is the wise coach who can identify the best blend of both for a given situation, marshalling more of one style for a specific athlete than might be brought into play for another.   Much like a pacer who tends to his athlete with the right mix of push and pull in order to bring her safely across the line and final goal.

People need to be told.

I need to work on bringing more balance into my style.  They need to be confronted sometimes when they are sand-bagging, giving up, not following through, and not being committed when they said they were committed.   Sometimes, we ALL need someone yelling in our ear to PUSH! when we’re at our most exhausted – the sweet soft tones of comfort and kindness are not appropriate to every situation.

I’ll let you know how that works out.