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Retrain The Brain: Breaking Bad Motor Patterns

When it comes down to it, our brains can be just plain lazy. The brain will always seek the path of least resistance which works both to our benefit and disadvantage. It works to our advantage by allowing us to quickly recognize patterns and act accordingly. This is very helpful in split-second decisions and also whenever we need to go on autopilot. However, it can be a road block when we are trying to break a pattern or bad habit.

At the Rausch Physical Therapy & Sports Performance Lab that I work at, I see many people come through the doors with poor movement patterns that they adopted at a very formative age in life. The brain has become so accustomed to these poor movement patterns, that it is now all that it knows.

Breaking these patterns can prove quite difficult as the brain is not one to embrace change for something it has done for so long. I see this come up a lot in running gaits where people were taught how to run a certain way many years ago and have just kept with it. However, recent research has shown us that there are more efficient ways to run that can also lead to less injuries.

So this begs the question on how to break these bad motor patterns and establish new motor pathways in the brain? One of the best ways I have found is thanks to Podcast #59 by the Gait Guys talking about the motor pathways as it applies to running. Their suggestion was to change the run gait drastically in order to “wake up the brain” to a new pattern. When something is drastically changed, it becomes a new task that the brain must learn, so it pays attention.

One way that we get the brain to pay attention is by cutting the upper body out of the running equation in order to retrain the lower body. When the upper body is restricted by crossing the arms or running with your arms above your head, the brain recognizes this as a new pattern that it must work to learn. This allows the opportunity to retrain the lower body into healthier, more efficient motor patterns.

When using a technique like this, I recommend doing it in a controlled environment such as in an Alter-G treadmill where you will not have to worry as much about balance and coordination.

http://www.alterg.com/

http://www.alterg.com/

Always in Stride,

Jack

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Outsmarting Your Evolutionary Psychology

Evolution plays a major role in how we act and interact on a daily basis. Thousands of years of evolution have led us to where we are now, equipping with us with the tools we need to survive and thrive. However, evolution moves slowly and changes can take a while to be noticeable. Some of the traits that are no longer necessary can take a while to be discarded and made irrelevant.

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Outsmart Your Monkey Mind

I find the fear of failure to be one of the most interesting evolutionary stories. The majority of human beings have a fear of failure that prevents them from trying new things or taking chances. Many believe that this instinct is deeply rooted in the tribal mentality.

Before modern civilization, your tribe was extremely important. All members of the tribe depended upon one another in order to fend off predators, hunt and gather food, and for reproduction. If one was cast away from the tribe, it was almost as severe as being given a death sentence. Surviving as a lone wolf was extremely challenging and rarely ended well.In struggles for power and establishing the alpha positions, fights and struggles would take place. These fights would end with winners and losers. The losers would either end up dead, be cast out from the tribe, or be far less respected within the tribe.

Luckily for us, times have changed. A failure is no longer a death sentence. In fact, it is just another opportunity and a chance to learn something. There is no longer a reason to not take a chance. If you ask yourself what is the worst that can happen, it is almost guaranteed to be better than in the days of our ancestors.

I was inspired to write this post after watching Jim Carrey’s graduation speech at Maharishi University. Surprisingly enough, the comedic actor has many gems of wisdom and information to impart to all of us. I highly recommend you watch it and take in what he has to say.As Carrey puts it, it is important to realize that “you can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love”. There is nothing to lose and the repercussions of failure reside only in your head. Don’t be afraid to make your dreams and aspirations come to life. Others will be inspired by you and feed off of your light.

The fear of failure is no longer evolutionary necessary. Put yourself far ahead of the game by basing your decisions on what you truly want. “The decisions we make in this moment are based in either love or fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality.” – Jim Carrey. Make your choices based on love and passion. 

Always in Stride,

Jack

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Javelina Jundred, Don’t You Worry Mother

Don’t you worry mother, don’t you worry now (Yes, I’m a big Swedish House Mafia fan and like to change lyrics to make them fit my circumstances). On March 1st, 2014, the Javelina Jundred 100 Mile Ultramarathon in Fountain Hills, Arizona opened registration. Not long after the opening of registration, I received my email that said I am now registered for the 2014 Javelina Jundred, let the journey begin.

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As many of you know, I have chased adrenaline rushes since graduating college. The 100 mile race is the next step in my adrenaline chasing. I had attempted to get into Western States 100 via the lottery, but was unsuccessful. So, my plan for 2014 turned to finding a qualifying race for Western States 100. The Javelina Jundred fit the bill perfectly.

Runners at Sunrise, Javelina Jundred

I’m sure that as my mother is reading this she is fidgeting and semi-annoyed. She and my family in general have a love-hate relationship with my adrenaline chasing. They love that it brings me happiness and they love sharing in my accomplishment. However, they hate the anxiety that it brings them, especially when they are 3000 miles away watching a computer screen, hoping the blip they are tracking doesn’t stop moving.

In these endurance races it is often memories of families and friends that gets me through as well as the thought of them fretting over my race. I’m positive they worry about it far more than I, as I typically see it as another fun adventure. Last year I had many of my close friends and family members send me songs with memories attached to them. I then uploaded these songs to my iPod Shuffle to listen to during my first 50 mile ultramarathon, Leona Divide. It was amazing. Every song that came on brought with it an emotional memory that helped pull me through.

The most memorable moment was at mile 42 when I was completely spent. I rolled into one of the last aid stations where my sister’s in-laws were awaiting me, my loyal crew. They had huge smiles on their faces and it brought me back to life. What elevated me further was them telling me of well wishes from family far away. As I left the aid station, Be Still by The Killers came on my iPod. My mother immediately came to mind. At that same moment, 3000 miles away a Mumford and Sons song came on and she immediately thought of her baby boy traversing the Pacific Crest Trail. I went from walking/barely jogging to 8:00min/mile pace uphill. I put the song on repeat for the next hour and fifteen minutes and finished just under 10 hours. It was amazing.

I know that Javelina Jundred will hold similar experiences, trials, joys, and tribulations for me. I look forward to embracing the struggle and pain as that is what I cherish the most. It’s never about the finish or the time, it is what I learn about myself that matters most. Javelina Jundred will be another learning experience and way for me to express the joy I find in running. To all my friends, family, and readers, I’d love it if you could send me songs with memories attached to them to keep me going through the night in the Arizona Desert.

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Always in Stride,

Jack

_ Hypochondriac Convention

Runners: Kings of the Hypochondriacs

I work with runners every day of my life and I love it. Runners are amazing people with great stories, amazing drive, and lovely personalities. However, runners can also drive me up a wall.

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Runners are some of the biggest hypochondriacs I have met in my life. They are very quick to self-diagnose their running ailments and limitations. Hang out on the floor of a running shop for a day and you’ll be amazed at the number of runners who come in saying they have flat feet, fallen arches, broken feet, bad arches, and that they need every ounce of stability they can buy. The amusing thing is that very few of them know what they are saying or if these “conditions” are even issues.

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However, I can sympathize with them. The running shoe industry, running shops, and running magazines have done a lovely job at feeding the neurosis of the runner. In college, I suffered a few injuries and thought to myself maybe “motion control” would be the answer. It seemed logical enough at the time, stop the foot from moving, stop injuries. This couldn’t be further from the truth (and luckily I never picked up a pair). Motion control shoes have actually been shown to cause injuries as opposed to preventing them. However, this doesn’t stop people from buying them and running stores from recommending them.

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The neurosis is easy to play on and runners are über susceptible to marketing and nonsense. It sounds lovely to have a shoe that provides you with “cushion and support”, yet a lot of shoes that meet that description can cause more harm than good. In addition to shoes, profit margins can further be increased with the sale of insoles and injury prevention devices.

It is tough for the neurotic runner and runners in general to get the truth. There are research studies supporting anything you want them to support, media outlets pulling your attention in every direction, and so-called experts seeking to get you in that “perfect shoe”. At the end of the day, you need to find what works best for you. For me, I go with the simple approach of what feels good and has the least amount of junk in it or attached to it.

My advice for the running hypochondriacs:

1. Stop using WebMD for every tweak.

2. Stop reading Runner’s World.

3. Avoid stores that think an insole is right for every customer.

4. Don’t take your best friend’s advice on shoes.

5. Keep it Simple.

 

Always in Stride,

Jack

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Summits of California: Feeding the Soul

Since graduating college, I have not competed in any one event consistently. I have chased adrenaline rushes and just followed what makes me excited and happy. This has taken me to the 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ironman, and Ultra Marathon. So what’s next in my adrenaline chasing life?

I’m going to take a page out of the book of one of my favorite athletes of all time: Kilian Jornet. He is the only professional runner I admire these days. By age 25, he had won every major event that he had set out to. These events included top ultra marathons like Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, Western States 100, and many more. He is one of the most decorated trail runners ever. So after he won every race he set out to, people asked: “are you going to stay on the circuit and keep winning?” His answer was simple: “Why?”

It is said that the core of man’s spirit comes from new experience. Kilian understands this well. After all these accomplishments he set off on a project called “Summits of My Life”. The point of the project being to summit and descend major mountains around the world at world record times. This year, I’m planning on doing something similar in California (most likely not at world record pace).

 

My project is a spin-off, Summits of California. By this point, we all know how obsessed and in love with California I am. This project will give me the opportunity to further explore this majestic state and see her beauty in many forms. I have picked 5 major mountains in the state of California to ascend and descend as quickly as I can. There will be a YouTube Series, Blog Series, and book tied to this as well.

The five mountains are:

1. Mt. Shasta (14,179 ft)

Mount Shasta

2. Mt. San Jacinto (10,834 ft)

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3. Mt. Whitney (14,505 ft)

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4. Mammoth Mountain (11,059 ft)

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5. Matterhorn Peak (12,285 ft)

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These peaks range from the highest peaks in California to some more mild peaks. I have reasons for each of these choices that I will detail in later blog posts.

Happy 26th Birthday to me, 26 will be the best year ever, yet again.

“I am not afraid to fail, to get lost, to dream, to be myself, to find. I am not afraid to live.” – Kilian Jornet

Always in Stride,

Jack

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Runners! 5 Tips to Act Like an Athlete

Yes, you read that correctly. You, reading this now, are an athlete. An athlete is defined as a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina. So by definition, you are an athlete. That also means that you should start acting like one as well.

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What Does This Mean?

You have finally recognized your status as an athlete, but what does that mean? It means that you are dedicated to your sport and furthering your education on the topic. You are seeking to improve yourself in some way as well as to keep up a status that you have achieved. Even if it is your first day of running, you have achieved the status of runner and must work to maintain and improve that.

So How Does One Act Like an Athlete?

One of my qualms about runners is that they do not treat themselves like athletes and often neglect logic when it comes to the sport. For example, someone who is into lifting weights knows and realizes that you cannot lift the same way, every day, and expect results. However, runners practice a form of this by running the same pace, on the same route, in the same way, every day. They also neglect things like trigger point therapy, functional footwear, rest days, and recovery. They don’t see the whole picture and assume that running is not like other sports. Running is seen as an anomaly with its own set of rules that defy all logic. It is almost comical to watch.

5 Tips to Act Like an Athlete

1. Be a Student of the Sport

6648625-student-running-on-a-running-trackWork to learn as much as you can about your sport and what can make you better. The technology and information changes daily. Stay on top of it and find out what works best for you. Also develop your ability to separate what is marketing and what is true science when it comes to products. 

2. Look at the Body Holistically

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Running injuries typically aren’t a result of what ends up hurting. Often, the injury is the pain that is felt because of an inefficiency or weakness up or down the kinematic chain. Also take into account your nutrition, sleep, and other external factors that will affect your running.

3. Allow the Body to Recover

Give yourself the gold standard in recovery. Massage! Unfortunately most of us can’t afford a personal masseuse, but you can do self massage via Trigger Point Therapy. There is nothing better to keep you loose, limber, and ready to go for that next workout. Also make sure you have rest days worked into your training plan, your body needs these to build muscle.

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4. Maximize the Body’s Abilities

The body is complex and every part of the body plays a role in your running. Work to maximize these abilities such as range of motion, strength, length, energy delivery systems, and more. All of them combine to make for a better running experience. Athletes in other sports do a variety of drills to maximize their potential. You should do the same.

5. Start With a Strong Base

We all know that your first training run should not be a 22 miler. You need to build a strong base and build up to higher mileage and stresses. Similar to weightlifting, you have to start small, to get big.

Start Today

You may not have always seen yourself as an athlete, but start today. Start with the simple tasks of eating right, listening to your body, and massage before and after runs. You’ll be amazed at the quality of your workouts when you treat yourself like an athlete. I know some of these tips may not seem like rocket science, but it’s amazing how many runners don’t follow simple logic like these tips.

Always in Stride,

Jack

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Top 10 Running Books & Novels for Inspiration

After 14 years of running, you could say I’m a bit of a running junkie. To add to it, I’m also a big motivation junkie if you couldn’t tell by the name of this website. I don’t care if it’s cheesy, I’m a bit of a cheese ball myself. In my spare time, I enjoy reading books on running that inspire me and motivate me. This list is my top 10 favorite motivational books. Feel free to comment with your own personal favorites as this is obviously not an exhaustive list.

1. Once a Runner – John L. Parker

There is no book out there that spoke to me the way that Once a Runner by John L. Parker did. The book is phenomenal. It is a fiction piece that focuses on the protagonist, Quenton Cassidy and his struggles with training, school, girls, and life. I first read this book in college and felt as if the story was about me (as I’m sure most guys my age did). Quenton puts himself through the “Trial of Miles, Miles of Trials” via grueling 400m repeats and a host of other tortuous workouts. Following Quenton is inspiring and exhilarating. Once a Runner will always have a special place in my heart as my favorite running novel.

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2. To Be A Runner – Martin Dugard

To Be A Runner is a very close second to Once A Runner. Martin Dugard’s book is a personal account of his relationship with running over the years. Dugard is very honest about his experience and delves into personal details that every runner can relate to. He highlights the high highs and the low lows. He lets you know that it is okay to have those off days, but gives you the motivation to get back out there. When reading To Be A Runner, I could hardly set it down it was so good. I highly recommend that you pick it up.

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3. PRE America’s Greatest Running Legend – Tom Jordan

No running book list would be complete without a book that looks at the beautiful life of Steve Prefontaine. As the title says it, “America’s greatest running legend” taken too early from us, before his full potential could be realized. Cross country and track runners grow up on the lore of Prefontaine and strive to emulate that powerful passion and drive. Even many years after his death, Pre continues to inspire us to see our sport as an art form.

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4. Run or Die – Kilian Jornet

In the steroid-era of sports, so many heroes have come and gone. They reach the pinnacle of the sport, only for us to find out it was a farce and that we have been duped. At this point, I only have one athlete I look up to: Kilian Jornet. In my opinion he is the most pure, amazing athlete that has walked the earth. Period. I love his spirit, enthusiasm, and passion. He simply loves trail running, mountaineering, exploring, and living life to the fullest. He has inspired me to embark on many of my own journeys because of what he has accomplished. Run or Die is a phenomenal read, especially the Skyrunner’s Motto which now hangs in my apartment. Pick this book up ASAP.

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5. Running with the Buffaloes – Chris Lear

Ever hear of Kara Goucher? Well, she has a ridiculously fast husband by the name of Adam Goucher who ran for the University of Colorado at Boulder not too long ago. Running with the Buffaloes is the story of his team’s championship season and the trials they endured to emerge as champions. If you have ever run on a cross-country team before, this book is a must. The bond developed between teammates is hard to explain, but Lear does a pretty good job at capturing that magical season for the Buffaloes. Read Running with the Buffaloes before your XC season and you’ll be rearing and ready to go.

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6. Bowerman and the Men of Oregon – Kenny Moore

You can’t have a list with Pre in it and leave out legendary coach Bill Bowerman. Bowerman is arguably the greatest running coach of all time. He was a student of the sport, pioneer, and one hell of a manly man. Moore’s Bowerman and the Men of Oregon gives insight into Bowerman’s childhood and what molded him. He was a modern-day pioneer and just might be “the most interesting man in the world”. This book was gripping each and every page and I loved it. A fantastic account on the life of Bill Bowerman.

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7. Running & Being – George Sheehan

When I first picked up Running & Being in college, I will have to admit that I wasn’t a fan. To be honest, it was a little too “hippy-trippy” for my 20-year-old brain and I wasn’t quite ready to process the wisdom that Sheehan can give. Five years later, I absolutely loved Sheehan’s masterpiece of Running & Being. Sheehan is an amazing running philosopher and eloquently expresses the true meaning of running in ways many of us are incapable of. I now gift this book to friends and family, it is that good of a read.

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8. Why We Run – Bernd Heinrich

I did not discover Bernd until a Salomon Running YouTube video called “Why We Run“. Salomon Running and their videos have changed my life in so many ways and this video was no different. It led me to Heinrich’s book of Why We Run which is the perfect blend of running stories, evolutionary biology, science, and passion. With all those things combined it is pretty easy to strike a chord with me. He’s a brilliant man with a huge heart, definitely give Why We Run a read.

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9. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami

This book takes the cake for the worst titled book on the list, but don’t let that fool you! Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a great read, dipping into the psychology of runners and what makes us tick. He chronicles the highs and lows of his own running, my favorite part being the chapters about his ultra marathon where he found strength he did not know he had. I love books like this because I can relate to them so well and it just makes me happy to read them.

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10. Going Long – David Willey

Going Long is a running novel put out by Runner’s World that is a collection of running stories that all of us can relate to. These stories will move you and motivate you and some will even bring you near to tears. Running is such an emotional activity and this book does a good job at providing a variety of running stories to tug at our heart strings.

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Remember, this is not meant to be an exhaustive, end-all list of running books. Please share your favorites so I have more reading material!

Always in Stride,

Jack

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Superbowl Runday!

That special time of year has come around once again, the time of year when most Americans embark on a day’s journey of countless chicken wings, more beers than they can count, and sitting on the couch. Superbowl Sunday. I enjoy Superbowl Sunday myself and will be cheering for the high flyin’ Seahawks today. However, just because it is a day of sloth for most, does not mean that you get to skimp on your run! Turn Superbowl Sunday into Superbowl Runday!

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Running on days when others are likely to take a pass feels just that much better. It’s nice to have the trails to yourself for a while knowing that you’re earning your beer, chips, and dip. If your team is in the Superbowl, run in your team’s gear and show it off. When you’re sitting down, watching the big game and seeing ridiculous commercial after ridiculous commercial, you will be satisfied knowing that you got that run in. Comment with who you are cheering for!

Always in Stride,

Jack

Books

Top 10 Books on Running Science & Training

I spend a lot of my days researching running science, training principles, and nutrition. It is my passion and simply fascinates me. I can’t get enough of the information and am always looking for the next great book to make sense of the sport and activity I love. So far, I have developed quite the expansive library on the topic, sitting at around 100 books or so with still many more to buy and read. For now, I wanted to share with you the top 10 books on running science, training principles, and nutrition. Enjoy:

1. Anatomy for Runners – Jay Dicharry

I first found out about this book when going through my Level 1 Natural Running Coach certification. It was a required reading for the course, so I picked it up. With a name like “Anatomy for Runners“, I was expecting a dry, long read on human anatomy. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Dicharry, MPT, SCS, does an amazing job at crafting a book that is easily read by all levels. The dry sense of humor carried throughout the book keeps you laughing and enthralled in the read. He focuses on a wide variety of topics including: biomechanics, micro anatomy, soft tissue mobility, footwear, running science, and the running gait. He has a knack for developing imagery and analogies to help the common man understand is typically complex anatomy and science. I quote this book more than any other book in my collection and continue to return to it for reference and re-reads. It is an absolute must that you buy this book and use it often.

Anatomy for Runners

  2. Tread Lightly: Form, Footwear, and the Quest for Injury-Free Running  – Peter Larson and Bill Katovsky

Tread Lightly was another book that was required reading for the Level 1 Natural Running Coach course. Larson, Ph.D Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Katovsky, Tri-Athlete Magazine Founder, do a great job at covering the wide gamut of running in a way that we all can understand. They cite a variety of studies and tests to back up their information as well as provide places to go for more information. The book tackles the evolution of running, running injuries, running form, running shoes, foot strike, nutrition, biomechanics, running science, and much more. They have some amazing things to say not only in the book but with Pete’s blog as well: www.runblogger.com.

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3. Natural Running – Danny Abshire

Natural Running was one of the first books I ever read that inspired me to reconsider running form and what it all meant. For the longest time, I had always believed that we “ran the way we ran” and that was it. I assumed that running was not like other sports and did not need certain skills and techniques. Natural Running helped me to think otherwise and refine my movement patterns for more efficient, healthier running. Danny is a master at walking you through the running gait and biomechanics of the foot. He has a fantastic grasp on the material and translates it well to everyone both in the book and in person. The book finishes with an eight week transition plan to natural running to help ensure an effective, injury-free transition. The book also hits on some of the history of Danny and his co-founding of Newton Running. If you ever get the chance to join Danny for one of his Saturday morning Natural Run Clinics in Boulder, Colorado, make sure you do, it’s a treat. He is by far the most passionate and happy runner I have ever had the pleasure of meeting in my life.

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4. Daniel’s Running Formula – Jack Daniels, PhD

For a long time I believed that the best way to train was to simply go out and run hard. I thought little of rest and recovery days and subscribed to the “no pain, no gain” mentality. I was very wrong. Throughout high school and college, some were able to get through to me with training principles, but nothing worked as well as Daniel’s Running Formula. I read this book when I was working on starting up my coaching company and it changed my view on training drastically. Daniels goes deep into the running science of training and explains why certain things work and others don’t. He is a student of Lydiard as it shows in the training plans he gives in the book. They focus on periodization of training and peaking at just the right time for the big race. Reading this book has changed my training completely and has led me to far more effective training with less injuries. A bit of a tougher read, but definitely pick it up!

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5. Becoming a Supple Leopard – Dr. Kelly Starrett

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we were as athletic and poised as a leopard? If we were ready to strike at any moment, enlisting all of our muscles and fibers to work together to perform an action? That’s the goal of Becoming a Supple Leopard by Dr. Kelly Starrett. Starrett focuses on educating you about the movement and mobility systems of the body as well as how to stabilize your body. Most of us have failed to learn the correct movements and stabilization techniques and as a result, we are led to injuries. Starrett teaches us how to get in the correct positions and how to break up fascia to increase our range of motion for all activities. If you want to learn how to keep yourself in the best posture as well as how the body works and moves, pick this book up!

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6. Chi Running – Danny Dreyer

Not so long ago, I was a very stressed out runner who also happened to have pretty bad form. I put a lot of pressure on myself for both races and training runs. It was unnecessary and only served to hamper my runs. Chi Running helped get me to relax during my running as well as to find a more efficient running form. Dreyer takes a lot of time to focus on running in harmony with our natural movements as well as the mental aspects of running. I got a lot of great analogies from Dreyer on how to run correctly that I use when coaching others. This book is a great read for both your mental and physical health during running.

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7. The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing – Dr. Philip Maffetone

If you’re looking for a truly holistic book on training, Dr. Phil Maffetone has made it with The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing. Dr. Maffetone spares no detail as he goes through building the endurance foundation, diet and nutrition, and the importance of self-care and injury prevention. The book features 34 detailed chapters over 516 pages with a great index to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. One of the top pieces of running science in the book is the MAF test, which focuses on going slower to get faster. Maffetone has helped a myriad of triathletes and runners recover from over training and brings all aspects of their training together. A must have for every runner’s bookshelf.

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8. Anatomy of Movement – Blandine Calais-Germain

If you’re looking to get into the nitty-gritty of how your body works, then Anatomy of Movement by Blandine Calais-Germain is the book for you. This resource details how all the muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments work together to move us. My favorite chapters are the ones towards the end that focus on the lower body, specifically the foot. It can help you to understand the real source of an injury by looking at how you are connected inside, it’s not quite what you think. Pick this one up as a great reference, especially to help diagnose what may be going on with an injury.

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9. Running the Lydiard Way – Arthur Lydiard

When one hears the Lydiard name, it is met with great reverence. Lydiard revolutionized the running world by developing his periodization of training. Lydiard was able to connect the dots as to what was working and why. The tales of those he coached are legendary and he will forever be remembered as one of the greatest running coaches the world has ever seen. Most all of his training principles still hold up today and guide the top runners to the pinnacle of our sport. A fantastic read that is easy and offers lots of great advice to merge into your own training.

Lydiard Way

10. Born to Run – Chris McDougall

Say what you will about the message of Born to Run or how the message was taken, McDougall is a fantastic story-teller and the book is a fun read. No matter where you stand on the barefoot argument, McDougall is a master at crafting a story that goes down one path, diverts to another story, and then comes full circle. I found Born to Run to be a gripping read that inspired me to further research running on all fronts. I can still remember sitting on my porch reading this gem then heading to Amazon.com to buy a slew of books on running and running science. If you’re looking for a great story or a look into the barefoot debate, pick up Born to Run and enjoy the ride.

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I hope that you find a few of these books on running science, training, and anatomy as entertaining, enlightening, and as useful as I have. I love each and every one of these books and often pull them off the shelf for reference and to re-read them. However, this isn’t an exhaustive list, please comment with your favorites  so I can add them to my reading list!

Always in Stride,

Jack

bikini-run

Cold Weather Running, Put One Sock On

Running in the cold is a brutal task most of the time. Sure there can be those magical runs with the snow lightly falling, trees covered in snow, temperature just right, and you’re floating along in a winter wonderland, however, that’s not usually the case. Instead you’re attempting to avoid slush puddles, shivering uncontrollably, possibly catching frostbite, losing feeling in all of your limbs, have frozen snot on your face, and can’t get any traction. Given that the latter is the more realistic cold weather running day, getting out the door can be rather tough.

DC_Snowstorm_Feb_-_Flickr_-_Al_Jazeera_English_(3)

The best trick I’ve found to get out the door for any weather or lack of motivation is to simply put one running sock on. Once you have put on one running sock, you have made your intentions clear through your actions. You’ve made a statement to yourself that the run is going to happen and it’s just a snowball effect from there. After one sock goes on, the next comes easy, then the tights, until you’re ready to head out the door and brave the cold. The momentum carries you through, after all, it would be silly to take that sock back off and retreat from your run.

One sock is all it takes!

One sock is all it takes!

Another thing I have noticed, is that I’ve never regretted a single run. I’m always glad that I got out there, even if I did freeze my butt off. I dealt with awful temperatures for 22 years but take some satisfaction in knowing I can best the elements with my favorite Patagonia Jacket and Gore-tex gloves. All it takes is the willpower, gear, and putting that first sock on. So what do you say? How about a snowy, icy, cold weather run?

I may have an addiction to Patagonia:)

I may have an addiction to Patagonia:)

Look for the next winter post in a few days on the best gear to beat the cold!

Always in Stride,

Jack