5 things no one tells you, bla-bla-bla …

Is it just me, or is everything your read these days on running forums and in running magazines, a number crunching game? For instance: “6 things you need to do right now”, “I did squats for 14 days and here’s what happened”, “do these 3 exercises right now”, “4 stretches that will fix all your problems”, “these 7 health foods aren’t so healthy”, “31 runner friendly recipes”, etc. You can almost not find an article that doesn’t contain a headline similar to these. But, I’m getting off topic.

getting_older_s.jpg

This post really is just a message I wish someone had banged into my head 20 years ago. And despite knowing what I know now, I still find it difficult to practice what I preach, but here goes nonetheless. Even if I fail miserably and have to say to myself 20 years from now, “I told you so!”. Continue reading

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Catch-22

hip

Once, on day four of a five-day event, I was just knackered. Luckily I could pull myself together and still made the cut-off for the day. This pretty much resembles my current state of mind.

Any person doing any form of physical activity is bound to have some form of injury at some point. That’s just the laws of nature. Some people are lucky and hardly ever get injuries or niggles, while others are plagued by problems. It is what it is, and what will be, will be, to quote Allan Karlsson from the Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson.

So it came about that I developed a hip niggle. I didn’t give it much thought and it was presumably just another result of my misalignment (curvy spine, fused vertebrae with coccyx, rotating pelvis, leg length discrepancy, etc). It would not be the first time I battle with a niggle and will certainly not be the last. Continue reading

A Buffanatic

It has to be said that I’m probably the biggest Buff fan ever since I first discovered these neck scarves. Was it 2003? Or maybe 2004? Just for those wondering where the name comes from, Buff is short for “bufunda” which means scarf in Spanish. It was developed around 1992 by Joan Rojas, a motorcyclist, who was looking for something to protect his neck from the wind and cold.

Will I ever forget the first five Buffs we bought. Five! Not one or two to try them out first. No, it had to be at least five. That probably consumed all our savings, but it just sounded (hadn’t even seen one in real life yet before ordering them) like the best invention since sliced bread. Continue reading

Hill (s)training

hills

Running hills are a pain in the butt for most of us and I’ll be damned if I would suddenly start doing hill repeats of any kind. In my world I have two choices: either make peace with walking all hills, always, or try to slowly trot to the top. Running hills, for me, is a contradiction in terms.

Admittedly I do walk most hills, especially the really steep ones. But as we know, hills make you strong so jogging up is definitely the better option. I will also acknowledge that the biggest gain in running hills is mental achievement, which in itself makes a massive difference in your perceived fitness levels.

As an average or slow runner, I’m as mentioned not in the market for hill repeats or hill training. I think you have to be able to run up a hill first before you can try to repeat it! If you can’t get up the blooming hill in the first place, how are you going to practise getting faster?

So here’s my 2cents worth of advice: the only way I can get myself up and over a hill is to just take it really really easy. Mimic the running action, but shorten your stride significantly. The aim is not to go out of breath or exert yourself to the point of no return. Use the same amount of effort as you would on the flat, keep your breathing and running rhythm the same, but progress s-l-o-w-l-y up the hill. When you get to the top, you should be able to continue running, while gradually increasing your stride length again to normal.

Hills should literally be taken in your stride. The confidence boost from getting to the top while still feeling okey, is phenomenal. Once you realise you can do it, hills are not so daunting and dreadful anymore. The key is to take it easy, really easy, even if it means running slower than what you could walk up a hill. The end result is you ran up the hill and didn’t succumb to walking. If you keep on doing this with every hill you encounter, it will automatically get easier! That I can vouch for, because hills are the necessary evil that makes you strong.

Now go out and tackle those hills head on with confidence. You can do it! 🙂

 

Road-testing the Asics Gel-Kayano 21

Asics Gel-Kayano 21

My trusty Gel-Kayano 21’s after 6 months on the road. Being a mid-to-forefoot striker, the forefoot of the outsole shows a fair bit more wear than the heel, but generally the longevity of the outsole has been good. And I am very happy to report that the upper materials still seem perfectly intact – a definite improvement from my Kayano 20’s.

It has been 6 months since I hooked up with my bright and cheerful new road-tester Asics Gel-Kayano 21’s, so this may be a good time to look back and take stock of the first 600 kilometres of our relationship.

“Six months and only 600km!?”, you may exclaim in surprise. Well yes, I have to confess, my relationship with the Kayano’s has not been exclusive – I’ve also been spending some of my running time in other shoes, including a pair of minimal road runners (the Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit), and a range of trail shoes from Montrail, Nike, Asics and Mizuno. Continue reading

‘Je Suis Charlie’ Unity Run for Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité

Our running shirts for the Je Suis Charlie Unity Run for Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité.

Our running shirts for the Je Suis Charlie Unity Run for Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité.

This week’s news was dominated by the 7 January 2015 massacre in Paris France, where 12 people were killed at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The terror attack resulted in millions of people internationally rallying in support of those wounded and killed at the newspaper, as well as the victims of related attacks at Montrouge and the Kosher Supermarket.

“Je Suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) became the slogan adopted by supporters of free speech and freedom of expression – it popped up everywhere, in cartoons, hand-made placards and stickers, displayed on mobile phones at vigils, and on numerous websites.

A couple of days ago, via Facebook, we came across the Je Suis Charlie Unity Run for Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité, an international run of support scheduled for 11 January – an initiative we had little hesitation to support. Continue reading

Becoming an Asics road tester

Hitting the pavement in my road tester Asics Gel-Kayano 21's. Officially a stability shoe, it also doubles as a very comfortable cushioned shoe for neutral runners.

Hitting the pavement in my road tester Asics Gel-Kayano 21’s. Officially a stability shoe, it also doubles as a very comfortable cushioned shoe for neutral runners.

A few months ago I accidentally (probably through a link on Facebook or something) came across an invite for people to register as testers for Asics running shoes. Having run in Asics most of my running career, I jumped at the opportunity – who wouldn’t want to receive a free pair of a favourite running shoe, with the only requirement being to actually run in the shoes, and then give some feedback on your experience? Sounds like a plum deal to me!

Continue reading