Maui Jim at Siesta Key

I do a lot of my fitness training on Siesta Key beach. I think it is one of the special places in this country if not the world. Siesta Key is gifted with white “sand” that does not get hot on a summer day. The “sand” is actually a quartz sediment (no one knows why this beach is the only one with a quartz deposit) that does retain heat. So when you are working out in the sand, sprinting, or playing volleyball, your feet will stay cool.

Here is reflection of the beach life:

#mauireflect

What Is The Best Treadmill For You in 2017?

I recently heard from Ilona from Reviews.com about their interesting testing of the various models in the packed treadmill market. While I enjoy the Florida heat and have access to run outside whenever I wish, I thought our readership who cannot always run outside or want to change their routine would really benefit from the Reviews.com research and testing.

Ilona shared what her team at Reviews.com recently put together for runners. For people looking to maximize their training without having to rely on favorable weather conditions, a treadmill can be a great solution. However, a treadmill is a hefty investment and finding the right one is not a one-size-fits-all process.

That’s why the Reviews.com research team recently spent six weeks testing and evaluating 65 treadmills currently on the market. With the help of exercise physiologists and fitness experts, they examined models for versatility, portability, and usability. Once they narrowed down their list, they personally tested the finalists to come up with their top three picks: best overall, most immersive experience, and best for race preparation.

You can see the Reviews.com research and their choices at:

The Best Treadmills

And let us know what you think.

Pedal Board: The New Workout on the Water

This past Sunday was a beautiful day in Sarasota, Florida. We had the opportunity to enjoy this warm early December afternoon on the waters of Siesta Key with Al Hurxthal of Economy Tackle demonstrating the new Hobie Mirage Eclipse Pedal Board.

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I have spent afternoons paddle boarding and even conducted company brainstorming meetings while on paddle boards, but I was stunned at the new technology in the Hobie Mirage Eclipse. We have had some paddle board participants have difficulty with basic balance and even more problems when wave activity increases. Not so with the Eclipse, the stability is amazing even when a boat drives by your boards.

We had the two board lengths: 12 feet or 10.5 feet. The 12 foot board is much more stable than the 10.5 and is the recommended pedal board. I guess the only reason to go with the 10.5 ft. board is the slightly less weight (approximately 5 pounds). This stand up board has minimal set up.  Just pop in the handle bars (“T” form) and rudders and you are good to go on the water.

The “T” handle bars also increase your stability on the board making it easy to hold on even in rough waters. The handle bars look like they have brake levers on the side (like a bicycle), but they are NOT brakes, but are control and directional tools for the rudders in the water. If you want to turn left, then squeeze the left lever. If you wan to turn right, just squeeze the right lever. It is that simple.

The Hobie Mirage Eclipse rudder technology tears up the waters as you move swiftly through waves and wind. The pedals are like your aerobic pedal stepper in the gym. Al showed us the different positions of our feet on the pedals for changing speeds. It was like having different gears with increasing range of motion. Start with your toes on the front of the pedals for the smallest range and minimal movement. Then start to move your position of your feet backward on the pedal until you reach the largest range of motion and speed as your heels hang off the end of the pedals allowing you to fully thrust into every pedal. It makes for a great aerobic workout.

A very cool feature of the Eclipse is the ability to kick up the fins (as they lie flat) by holding one pedal down. This avoids damage to the fins in very shallow waters (or beached) conditions and removes the fear of damaging the blades. A long paddle is even attached to the board if you want or need to use a paddle.

I think once you start to use the Hobie Mirage Eclipse Pedal Board technology, you will not go back to the standard paddle board technology. It was an absolute treat to pedal around the Siesta Key waters so quickly. Try the technology for yourself the next time you hit the ocean. Feel free to give Al a call at Economy Tackle if you have any questions or want more information at (941) 922-9671. Have fun with this new water workout!

Video of Hobie Mirage Eclipse:

Why Do So Many Runners Get Injured?

This question has plagued athletes for years. We have changed training techniques, running styles, and shoe structures, but still 30-75% of runners are hurt on a yearly basis as stated in an article by Alvin Powell, staff writer for the Harvard Gazette. In Powell’s article, he cites the new study done by Harvard Medical School which has found that the more softly you land with each step the better to avoid injury.  http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2016/02/where-runners-go-wrong/?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=02.24.2016%20%281%29%20B

I am still amazed at the amount of heel-strikers in the sport of long distance running. In my coaching, the heel-striker will sooner or later come down with a repetitive injury. When a heel-striker makes impact with the ground, their leg is straight which can lead to pain all way up to the lower back. Not only do forefoot-strikers have a natural pad to land on when striking the ground, but the ankle and knee joints allow proper shock absorption to avoid a repetitive injury. At the same time, I have many people who want to run on the forefoot, but are unwilling to spend the time to protect their bodies with the workouts to build up their lower extremities i.e. gastrocnemius, Achilles tendon, feet, etc. The photo of my leg below walking over a hurdle took a lot of work to build up to avoid a repetitive injury.

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I have clients that range from milers to marathoners, but everyone who comes to see me wants to run faster, without injury, and for a long time.  This high aspiration takes awareness of their running technique, strength program, flexibility program, training/running program, recovery, nutrition, mental state, and race strategies. I wish I could say that you can just lace up your shoes and run five times a week for 5 years and not have an injury. People think running is such a “natural” movement, but the more I see people run, the more I think people need help.

 

 

Performance Driven Athletic Socks

I am one of the first athletes, starting back in 2008, to begin wearing, testing, and promoting the value of graduated compression socks for any athletic activity. Increased blood flow and injury prevention are very important for me as an older athlete. Increased blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients and less lactic acid build up. Injury prevention means greater protection to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons by reducing the vibration with increased support. My sock of choice is the Sigvaris Performance socks (www.sigvaris.com) that are real graduated compression (many companies claim their socks are but fail in our testing) and go from the tip of your toes to above the calf.

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This above photo is from the store Sanbeck AG, Winterthur, Switzerland (http://www.sanbeck.ch/) is part of Sigvaris’ European promotions displaying their Performance line of socks. Sigvaris takes their extensive medical background and brings it to the athletic arena. I believe that Sigvaris is the best Performance sock on the worldwide market. I am wearing them in every one of my athletic events from running to tennis. Sometimes I forget how the graduated compression socks help my legs feel so good. All I need to do is to wear an ordinary polyester sock on a run and I really feel the difference in performance and recovery.

I used Sigvaris Performance socks in every race this summer in Greece. I am not a big advocate of the sport sleeves that are seen at many sporting events. The sleeves might be practical and easy as you can still wear your ankle height socks and wear the sleeve above them, but the science to me does not make sense. If you can imagine the graduated compression sock like a tube of toothpaste pushing the paste upwards. Even though the compression is greater at the ankle and decreases as you go up the calf, why would you not want to include the foot? I want the blood in the foot to be part of the process. I feel the difference in the effectiveness between the sock and the sleeve. I wear the performance graduated compression sock before my event for blood flow on the way to the competition, at every event for performance, post event for recovery, and in my travels as my lower extremities can swell especially on flights.

Give the Sigvaris Performance Socks a try to see if they make a difference in your next race.

3 Steps To Run A Faster Mile In Your 50s

Many people have been inquiring since I completed my 2015 www.OneMileRunner.com event, The Greek Islands Adventure, on how I was able to break 5 minutes, in 5 one-mile races, over 12 days. I promised that I would share what changes I made to my training in the months preceding the event and what changes I made during my race schedule.

So here are the 3 steps to a run a faster mile in your 50s…

  1. I still did three speed workouts a week in the months leading up to my event, but the arrangement was different. I knew for my event I had to be able to run fast on very little rest. In the past for example, I would run 8 repetitions of a 1/4 mile at race pace in one workout and I would sometimes leave beat up and in need of a greater rest period. This year I cut the repetitions in half. I did speed repeats at race pace every Tuesday and Thursday, but only 4 repetitions. I left each workout still feeling fresh. I found my speed, established it in the workout, and then left. All my speed workouts were on the road, never on the track. One thing my chiropractor and I discovered a few years ago is that my hips stay in better alignment running in a straight line. No longer do I run fast while cornering – what a difference! Pounding the corners creates an  imbalance with one side of my body contracting while the other side lengthening. After years of running my intervals on the oval track, I now only do my speed on a measured straight line 100s, 200s, 400s, and 800s. NASCAR automobiles are made for their left turns, our bodies our not especially as we get older.
  2. All my long distance base training was done on a soft surface. I took advantage of our Florida beaches, dirt trails, and a the new crushed shell trail loop at Benderson Park. I never ran slowly on the road (as I have done in the past). This really helped in not beating up my legs. As we age, our joints can no longer take the pounding of a hard surface. When I see people running slowly on the sidewalk, I know it will not be for long as it is about 10 times harder than the roads. Injuries will soon be a result of those repetitive workouts.
  3. Back in 2008 when I had to break 5 minutes in 20 different road mile races in 20 weeks, I still did a hard track workout every Wednesday afternoon in whatever city I was in for the race. I look back and remember my mind set that unless I raced every Saturday and did another speed workout on Wednesday that I was not race ready. This year at 52 years of age, it was different. I went into the races having done all my work. During the weeks of my races, all I did was travel, warm-up, run easy, and then race as hard as I could. Rinse and repeat – one after the other. No extra speed workouts were done during my race period. Focus was only on my recovery. I felt as good racing this year as I did back in 2012. It is nice to do repetitive races with bouncy legs.

Hope these steps help you wisely prepare for your races and enjoy running as fast as you can even as you age.

 

I posted an 80-Minute Mile…and I was happy with my time!

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My 80-minute mile took place traversing the Mahoosuc Notch in western Maine. Many hikers consider this mile the toughest or slowest mile of the Appalachian Trail and usually take a couple of hours to go through the notch. My brother, Richard, and I followed Ken Alden through the notch. Ken did not hesitate choosing his spots to attack the rock formations in front of him. Richard refers to Mahoosuc Notch as a “jungle gym for adults.” Each hiker must go over, under, or around massive boulders that fell from the surrounding cliffs. This hike was part of our 17-mile day hiking from Old Speck to Goose Eye Mountain (photo on the summit above near the end of our day). What a great workout that took us the entire day. Here is Ken below sneaking through a hole he found at Mahoosuc Notch.

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Before tackling Mahoosuc Notch, my Maine hiking expedition began in central part of the state at Gulf Hagas in what is referred to as “The Grand Canyon of Maine.” Richard, Aubrey (my niece), and I hiked a trail that begins with taking our boots off to cross a running river and then goes up and around the rim of the gorge. A beautiful hike with many waterfalls, it was a nice way to break in my new boots. The next two days we hiked about 20 miles of the Hundred-Mile Wilderness trail which is a challenging part of the Appalachian Trail. It was a nice way to send my niece off to college and brought back memories of her completing all the 4,000 footers in New England back when she was just 13. Richard, the consummate guide, took me through four days and 42 miles of hiking some picturesque but difficult Maine terrain.

Maui Jim is sponsoring the Maui Invitational college basketball tournament coming up in November. Because of this, Maui Jim is doing a sweepstakes that includes roundtrip coach airfare, six night hotel accommodation, rental car, a pair of tickets for each tournament day, a $500 VISA gift card and two pairs of Maui Jim sunglasses. Check out this link to enter the sweepstakes:  http://woobox.com/f66gu7

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I am traveling to the US Open tennis and then again overseas. Will be back in September reviewing my races in Greece. Have a great rest of your summer!

 

 

 

 

 

Decompressing After Greek Races

After the “2015 Greek Islands Adventure,” we flew to Munich and then took a train to Hinterthal, Austria to visit our Sarasota friends Jim and Nina (who are spending the summer in Austria). Due to their generosity and hospitality, we were able to enjoy such a special time in Austria. We went sledding down a glacier, biking/running/hiking in the Alps, and visited the picturesque city of Salzburg. Here is Jim and Nina below an amazing rainbow…

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After Salzburg, we went to a Mozart concert in Vienna, flew to beautiful Prague (my favorite city on our trip), and finished up in Frankfurt. We flew back to Florida this past week for a couple of days of recovery and reloading.

I fly up to New England tomorrow to hike “The Grand Canyon of Maine” with my older brother, Richard, and my niece, Aubrey, who is soon off to college. I have been doing some killer workouts this week in Florida trying to prepare my new hiking boots. The main focus was on doing a few thousand stairs a day on my gym’s stair stepper. New boots on a multi-day hike can be quite treacherous. I hope the boots are sufficiently broken in for the trek.

I will write again in a couple of weeks answering the many questions I have had about my training for the Greek Islands tour. Did I train differently at 52? What was the overview of my weekly workouts? What was added or removed?