Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Welcome To Decatur

Decatur Named Georgia's "Most Walkable City"

Picked up from several cites.

Decatur Named Georgia's "Most Walkable City"


By - Eden Godbee

Decatur, GA -- The City of Decatur has been named Georgia's "Most Walkable City" by Walkscore.com, a website that rates cities according to their "walkability." Decatur received a 66.5 walk score, which put its walk score just above that of Brunswick and Atlanta.

A score of 66.5, according to Walkscore.com, describes a "somewhat walkable" city meaning "some amenities are within walking distance." In rating cities, the site considers their city center, their population density, the cost efficiency of housing around businesses, whether they have public parks or spaces to gather, and their consideration for pedestrians, proximity to schools and workplaces and street design.

According to this site, people who live in walkable neighborhoods weigh 7 pounds less than people who don't. Also, their studies show that for every 10 minutes spent in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities fall by 10 percent.

Read more here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bare Feet In Medecine

From barefooters.org

Samuel B. Shulman. "Survey in China and India of Feet That Have Never Worn Shoes," The Journal of the National Association of Chiropodists, 49, 1949, pp. 26-30.

The low incidence of dermatomycotic infection here noted might be attributed to the fact that most foot fungi require dark, warm and damp interdigital spaces for growth such as that provided by shoes and stockings on a foot that has no free outlet for its perspiration. In addition, these bare feet get the beneficial fungicidal effects of the sun's ultra-violet rays.

No instances among the barefoot feet were found of: Onychrocryptosis, Hyperidrosis, Bromidrosis, Hallux Valgus, Hallux Varus, Bursitis at the first or fifth metatarso-phalangeal articulations.

Almost everyone surveyed showed a marked spacing between the first and second toes such as that found on young babies. The great toe was either pointing straight ahead or slightly abducted to provide a greater weight-bearing base or, possibly, to compensate for a shortened first metatarsal segment.

One hundred and eighteen of those interviewed were rickshaw coolies. Because these men spend very long hours each day on cobblestone or other hard roads pulling their passengers at a run it was of particular interest to survey them. If anything, their feet were more perfect than the others. All of them, however, gave a history of much pain and swelling of the foot and ankle during the first few days of work as a rickshaw puller. But after either a rest of two days or a week's more work on their feet, the pain and swelling passed away and never returned again. There is no occupation more strenuous for the feet than trotting a rickshaw on hard pavement for many hours each day yet these men do it without pain or pathology.

These figures prove that restrictive footgear, particularly ill-fitting footgear, cause most of the ailments of the human foot.

Baby shoes cause great harm to growing, formative feet. The so-called "sentimental" value of baby's shoes might well be dispensed with.

People who have never worn shoes acquire very few foot defects, most of which are painless and non-debilitating. The range of their foot motions are remarkably great, allowing for full foot activity. Shoes are not necessary for healthy feet and are the cause of most foot troubles. Children should not be encouraged to walk prematurely and should not wear any footwear until absolutely necessary. Footgear is the greatest enemy of the human foot.

Read the article here.

Perfect Landing

From Harvard Science online

Perfect landing

Study finds barefoot runners have less foot stress than shod ones

By Rebecca Hersher ’11

Harvard Staff Writer

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


New research is casting doubt on the old adage, “All you need to run is a pair of shoes.”

Scientists have found that people who run barefoot, or in minimal footwear, tend to avoid “heel-striking,” and instead land on the ball of the foot or the middle of the foot. In so doing, these runners use the architecture of the foot and leg and some clever Newtonian physics to avoid hurtful and potentially damaging impacts, equivalent to two to three times body weight, that shod heel-strikers repeatedly experience.

“People who don’t wear shoes when they run have an astonishingly different strike,” said Daniel E. Lieberman, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and co-author of a paper appearing this week in the journal Nature. “By landing on the middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than most shod runners generate when they heel-strike.

“Most people today think barefoot running is dangerous and hurts, but actually you can run barefoot on the world’s hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort and pain. All you need is a few calluses to avoid roughing up the skin of the foot. Further, it might be less injurious than the way some people run in shoes.”

Read on here.

For 'Sole Man' In China, One Shoeless Step At A Time

I picked up this article from NPR online

For 'Sole Man' In China, One Shoeless Step At A Time

by Louisa Lim

December 20, 2010

He calls himself the "Sole Man." Englishman Arthur Jones, who lives in China, has embarked on a year-long mission to live his life barefoot. He is one of a growing tribe of "barefooters" who have sworn off footwear, whatever the weather.

Unlike many other barefooters, however, he lives in the heart of an urban jungle, in the center of Shanghai. He's continuing his daily life shoeless, conducting business meetings and doing his job as a filmmaker.

"I've always liked being barefoot from being a kid," Jones says, explaining his year-long experiment, which he is hoping to turn into a film. "It's turned into something that's made everyday life more exciting. It opens your eyes. You're suddenly in touch with everything around. And it feels like you're a little child discovering the world for the first time."

Read on and listen to the story here.

Running At Night

Darkness falls a lot earlier and runners need to be seen in the dark.  From Running Competitor online

Be Seen When Running In The Dark!

Published: Dec 16th 2010 3:20 PM EST by Mario Fraioli

Here’s some gear to keep you visible when daylight isn’t an option.

Written by: Rebecca Heaton

As those precious daylight hours dwindle, there’s no reason your running time has to suffer. If you’re heading out in the early morning or after sunset, it’s important to run safely and stay visible to cars, cyclists and even other runners.

“Most people overestimate how visible they are,” says Shari Franklin-Smith, the technical service manager for footwear and apparel with 3M Scotchlite reflective taping. “They think if they can see the car headlights, the car can see them.”

Franklin-Smith says that many people think if they’re wearing light-colored clothes or something with a bit of reflective material, they’ll be seen. But often that’s not the case.

“We’ve done research on how to make things stand out,” says Franklin-Smith. “You want reflective material to outline the human body to help others detect that it’s a person. You also want to mark movement locations like wrists, elbows, knees and ankles to help drivers to detect motion. And you want visibility from all angles—front, back and sides.”

Check out the following gear to help keep you safe after dark.

Read on here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Marathon Junkie

Chuck Engle and I have run in the same marathon, the Tupelo Marathon.  I hardly noticed him because I was struggling and in pain the whole time.  From Running Times online
Chuck Engle: Fast Marathon Junkie
How many sub-3 marathons can YOU run in a year?
By Jim Gerweck
As featured in the December 2010 issue of Running Times Magazine 

Chuck Engle's Facebook nickname is "MarathonJunkie," and it's certainly apropos: He's definitely a guy who never met a 26-miler he didn't like (or run).
While there may be people who have run more of them, and there are certainly those who have run faster, if quantity and quality are considered together, Engle's the champ, hands down.
The 39-year-old resident of Dublin, Ohio, has run more sub-3:00 marathons than anyone besides Michigan masters runner Doug Kurtis (the two of them are vying to be the first to hit the century mark there), cranking out 50 of them in 2008 alone. And he's No. 2 in marathon victories in the world (first American), many in course-record times, most of them sub-3:00. But according to Engle, none of this is any part of some grand scheme to secure a place in Guinness World Records or some hall of fame. Like some real-life Forrest Gump, Engle simply likes to run.
Read on here.

Good Running Form

From Running Times online

Spreading the Gospel about Good Running Form

How Grant Robison’s traveling clinics are educating the masses

By Mackenzie Lobby

As featured in the Web Only issue of Running Times Magazine

Until 2006, Grant Robison hadn’t thought much about running form and mechanics. He knew how to run fast, do drills and win races, but other than a passing comment from a coach suggesting he shorten his stride, he had never received any overt instruction on how to run. Despite this, he ran successfully in high school, had a stellar collegiate career at Stanford and eventually toed the line in the 1500m at the 2004 Olympics (3:35.75 PR). In short, he figured out a way to be great, even though his form wasn’t.

While shortcomings in your form may not be the only thing standing between you and an Olympic berth, they could be keeping you from reaching your full potential and staying injury-free. Curt Munson, co-owner of Playmakers, a running specialty store in Okemos, Mich., saw the issue of poor running mechanics come through his door each and every day. This led him to begin drafting a method of coaching runners that would correct these inefficiencies.

After recruiting the expertise of Robison, Playmakers co-owner John Benedict, and several others, Good Form Running (GFR) was born in the summer of 2006. Weekly lunch meetings discussing running research, examining footage of both good and bad running form and sharing personal tales of running successes, failures and injuries helped the GFR team solidify a game plan for educating runners on mechanics. What resulted was a running clinic preaching four main points: posture, midfoot, cadence and lean.

Read on here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Running On A Treadmill

From the Montgomery Advertiser

THE EXTRA MILE: Treadmill running proves beneficial as temporary fill-in

Column by Kym Klass • kklass@gannett.com • December 12, 2010

I found myself running an interval workout on the treadmill this week, and was surprised it wasn't horrible. It was on Tuesday, when running in 28 degrees at 5:30 a.m. sounded awful -- even though two days later I ran in 18-degree weather at the same time.

I took advantage of the cardio room at the Montgomery Advertiser, and during my mile warm up wondered how to approach the planned 5x800s on a treadmill. I have become so focused on my timed splits when running intervals on the road, that I rarely worry about the pace itself.

Tuesday forced me to do that.

And I hate to admit it -- it helped, and I liked it.

Read on here.

Road to Boston is hilly, challenging

From Jax News online

Road to Boston is hilly, challenging

by Lori Tippets Jacksonville News

I’m moving a little bit more gingerly today. It’s tough going up or down the stairs: I feel like every muscle in my thighs is screaming and going to pop out of my skin.

My knees are grinding and popping; my shins are sore and tender.

Was I in an accident? Did I take a bad fall or get hit by a car?

No, in fact, the event that led up to all this soreness was actually fun!

Read on here.

Running solo can be rewarding

From nola.com
Running solo can be rewarding as much and training with a group: coaching tips
Published: Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 8:01 AM
Kevin Spain, The Times-Picayune
So, a week out from what initially was to be my target fall half-marathon, I decided to take what I like to call an "NPR morning." Now, for me, NPR means two different things: National Public Radio, or No Planned Run. Depending on the weather conditions it can be both, but it definitely means a large part of the morning spent with coffee, thick tomes of "mindless reading," and Suzanne. If the weather is beautiful there can be a run plugged in on the front end. If not, then I climb into my sweats or warm-ups, make a large pot of coffee and turn on the stereo to listen to our local public radio station. This time the weather was pretty, save for the sudden drop in temperature. We decided to go to the coffee-and-baked goods joint at the mall.
Minutes after we settled into our booth I saw a local runner/coach walk in, bundled up post-run in his warm-up outfit. I got up to refill my coffee as he ordered a pecan sweet roll at the counter. I walked up and said: 'you realize that stuff will kill you, right?' He responded with much the same kind of retort I would have given in his position: 'since I ran 6.8 miles this morning I think I'll be fine, thanks.' We chatted for a few moments, then I went on to get my coffee.
A couple of minutes later he stopped by our table, presumably on the way home. My wife asked how the Sunday morning run group he headed up was faring; he mentioned the past couple of weeks were good, but that this week was a little on the light side.
She said, 'how light?'
He said, 'one. It was only me this morning.'
Read on here.

Energy Drinks and Athletic Performance

From the NY Times online

December 8, 2010, 12:01 am

Phys Ed: Do Energy Drinks Improve Athletic Performance?


By Monday, Four Loko, the alcohol-and-caffeine-laced energy drink, is scheduled to be removed from store shelves nationwide, following a ruling last month by the Food and Drug Administration that the safety of such beverages is unproven and that they should no longer be manufactured or sold. During the resulting media coverage, surprisingly little attention was focused on a corollary topic. What about nonalcoholic energy drinks, which will remain on sale? Are they safe? Effective? Who should be drinking them? Who shouldn’t?

With excellent timing, a number of new scientific studies and reviews have just been published that address those and related questions about energy drinks, particularly for athletes. Their findings and conclusions are thought-provoking.

Read on here.

Races This Weekend

A couple of races this upcoming weekend but the Va-Hi X-Mas 5K is closed, watch out for the traffic.

Saturday, December 18

2010 Virginia Highland Christmas 5K, Virginia Highlands

2010 Will Chamberlin Memorial Santa Stroll 5K, Athens

DMS Jingle Jog 5K, Flowery Branch

The Frosty 5K and Kids Fun Run, Dahlonega

Sunday, December 19

Inaugural Wiseman 5K & Fun Run, Bethlehem

Lifetime Fitness Reindeer Run 5K & 1K, Alpharetta

The Question of Compression Gear

From Running Times online

Compression Gear: Hype of Helpful?

Research reveals some recovery benefits, but little performance-boosting effects

By Mackenzie Lobby

As featured in the Web Only issue of Running Times Magazine

For over 50 years, compression garments have been used in the medical field to improve symptoms related to diabetes, edema (swelling) and vein disorders, among others. Like so much of what is used in the fitness field, such as resistance tubing and resistance balls, compression garments have made the jump to the running world. On the elite scene, superstars like Chris Solinsky, Shannon Rowbury and Paula Radcliffe can be seen racing in knee-high, calf-hugging compression socks.

Chris Solinsky wore compression socks when he broke the 10,000m American record in May 2010.

That’s why a study out of Indiana University presented this summer at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting caused quite a stir, bringing compression garments back into the limelight by questioning their usefulness for runners. In the study, “Lower Leg Compression Sleeves: Influence on Running Mechanics and Economy in Highly Trained Distance Runners,” Abigail Laymon and colleagues found no impact on running economy, efficiency or mechanics. While the subsequent headlines following the conference wrote off compression garments, even Laymon herself says the issue is not so cut and dry.

Read on here.

Doubling and Tripling Performance Incentives

From Running Times online

Doubling and Tripling Performance Incentives

A sensible approach to increasing mileage, recovery and adaptation

By Steve Magness

As featured in the Web Only issue of Running Times Magazine

When I first started coaching high school runners, they spent all summer building a base of long single runs, but when the school year started those long single runs were gone and they had to split that mileage evenly into two runs per day because of the school schedule. For example, instead of running 8 miles all at once in the morning at practice, they had to split it into a morning and afternoon run of 4 miles. As a coach, I was initially worried that my runners might not be able to maintain or increase their endurance with such short 4-mile runs. It turns out that my fears were misplaced; athletes not only maintained their endurance, but also increased it. In investigating the effects of running twice per day, it turns out that our old adage, “Get in as many miles as you can in one run before you start adding a second run,” might be wrong.

Read on here.

Marathon's To Remember

From Runners World online

The Best Marathons

New Year New You: A 1st to Remember

This is the year you're going to make your marathon debut. These 10 races will ensure your first 26.2 is special—and worth repeating.

By Michelle Hamilton

From the January 2011 issue of Runner's World

Your first marathon is more than a race—it's a story. And chances are good that after you cross that first finish line, your tale will include how quickly the first 10 miles went by, and how at mile 25 you felt a mix of relief (Thank God it's almost over) and disbelief (Wow, I'm going to make it). To ensure that you have a good story to tell, you want to pick a race with certain features: excellent organization, a likely chance of good weather, fan-friendly atmosphere, plenty of fluid stations, and a safe, well-marked, well-staffed course. We've selected 10 marathons—out of the nearly 400 held in the United States each year—that cover these essential needs of a first-time marathoner. Whether you want a race that's large or small, urban or rural, tranquil or festive, these races will lay a special setting for the epic tale of your first 26.2-miler.

Read on here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Local Races This Weekend

Local runs, most with a Jingle theme

Saturday, December 11

23rd Jingle Jog 5K / Jr. 1K / Elf Run Tot Trot, Atlanta

2010 Gwinnett Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis 5K, Lilburn

Sleighbells on the Square 5K/1K, Marietta

Sunday, December 12

2010 Race 2 Read 5K, McDonough

Friday, December 3, 2010

Racing Your Best When You're Feeling Your Worst

From Running Times online...

Racing Your Best When You're Feeling Your Worst

Learning to make the best of a bad day can help you become a better runner
In the middle of a Gigli-style flop of a race, many of us will console ourselves to the point of fantasy, but at some point we eventually realize -- usually well before we stumble dejectedly across the finish line -- that we're running poorly. So poorly, in fact, that barring divine intervention over the next few miles, we're going to fall well short of our expectations. The challenge now is to summon the motivation to give your best effort.

This is a story, then, about how to race badly. Or, to put it more instructively, how to race when the race is going badly.

Read on here.

Motivation From Behind

From Running Times online...

Motivation from Behind

Photos of T-shirts seen at various high school meets
We runners take pride in enduring the hard knocks of training and the pain of full-throttle competition. This photo essay celebrates the true grit of competitive running through sage words emblazoned on T-shirts. 

See more here.

Holland Reynolds Helps Win State Title Crawling Over the Finish

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Old Vs. New

From Running Times online

How They Trained

Changing fashions in training, why they had their day, and what we can learn from them

By Roger Robinson

As featured in the December 2010 issue of Running Times Magazine

At the high school track today I watched young runners doing skip-and-swing warm-up drills. For a moment I thought I was back in the 1950s. Then I remembered. They were doing "dynamic stretching," the latest scientifically approved prerequisite for an effective training session.

Things change, and happily that can include the things you were supposed to do but didn't enjoy. Like static stretching. In my elite days in the 1980s, every runner before a race was propped at a 45-degree angle against a tree or wall or someone else's car. "Trying to push it over?" the passing public would inquire jovially, as you leaned, one calf extended back behind, pressing, creaking, silently counting. "No stretch less than 45 seconds is effective," was the mantra. The stretch had to be lo-oo-oo-ng. Impatient to race, I thought about Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid drawing his six-gun, when he pleaded, "Can I move now?"

And sure enough, movement is back. Coaching best practice has dumped those long static stretches, and brought in (or back) "dynamic drills" — skips, leg swings, lunge twists, butt kicks, reach-for-the-sky extensions. My ex-Army high school physical education teacher had us doing those half a century ago. Things come around. But not everything.

Read on here.