I stumbled upon this movie Run For Your Life in Netflix one day when I was looking for running related movies. I did not think about it much then and just threw it in my DVD queue. Boy, am I glad that I did! I am running this year’s ING New York City Marathon (2012), and thanks to the movie, I now have a totally new appreciation about the opportunity of running this crazily sought-after marathon.
This movie is about Fred Lebow, who founded New York City Marathon. Obviously, he was passionate about running, but at the same time, he was a visionary and an inspiration. He started the event in 1970 with 55 runners completing the multiple-loop course in Central Park ($1 registration fee!). In 2011, more than 47,000 runners completed, drawing more than two million spectators out on the street of New York and enticing more than 6,000 volunteers. Who knows how much bigger this marathon is going to get (Note: not all the stats are from the movie). Running legends, such as Bill Rogers, Frank Shorter, Alberto Salazar, and Grete Waitz, just to name a few, all ran the marathon and they became celebrity there. Yes, New York Marathon created these celebrities. Lebow was the driving force behind this giant growth. Sure, he was also seen as a manipulator or a dictator, but people loved to work with him and he managed to build the largest spectator sports event in the world! And one cannot be the nicest person in the world if s/he wanted to close five bridges and busy streets in all five boroughs in New York! He got the job done! This movie documents his passion to run and his endeavors to make his dream come true. A number of people who worked for, with and against him appear and many period photos and video footage are incorporated very well into the movie. If you are running New York City Marathon, this is a must see.
I’ve watched quite a few movies about running already but this is my first on this blog as a movie review per se. I will write a review from now on when I watch running related movies.
I wish I read this book 4 weeks before. That would have let me follow one of their shorter programs for Boston (eight weeks to go!) and I could have avoided the calf/Achilles tendon strain that put me off the training past three weeks! Ugh!!
In Advanced Marathoning, Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas explain each aspect of training in detail and provide integrated solutions and training schedules for experienced marathoners. Their training methods and recommendations are convincing, because they explain it in science. For example, they break down why ‘hitting the wall’ happens and explain the physiology behind the phenomenon. Then, they explain what need to happen in order not to hit the wall in science. They do not explain anything with anecdotal facts or even common sense. There are other books that provide similar concepts, training methods and schedules, but this book is much more complete than others I have read.
This book is perfect for those who are training on his or her own without a coach or nutritionist. This book will tell him or her when to train hard and when not to (and explain why). It will also tell him or her the optimal carb loading during the training and before the big race.
Having read a few chapters, I decided to place an order in the local bookstore, so that I can have my own copy of this book and re-read as necessary during my training. Great book.
An Oregon legend, one cannot just label Bill Bowerman a legendary track and field coach at University of Oregon and on the 1972 Munich Olympic team. This nearly 500-page biography of Bowerman documents the stories of his life, and Kenny Moore, who was coached by Bowerman, is the perfect writer to tell the stories. Bowerman was an educator, a war hero, an innovator, a philanthropist, a husband and a father who loved the creative process of his being and “was motivated more by the journey than the destination.”
I originally picked up this book after having learned that Steve Prefontaine was coached by him. I watched movies about Pre (both movies discussed in this book as Bowerman was involved in key decision making processes) and read stories about Pre, and there was always this coach who had such an authority and big influence on Pre’s adult life. After a few years of knowing each other, they built a beautiful coach-student relationship firmly built on mutual trust. I wanted to read about the coach. It turned out that he developed and created dozens of national champions.
As the book cover reveals, Bowerman was also a co-founder of Nike. He was the one who started to make running shoes for his runners at Oregon and he made them at home using his wife’s waffle irons. He was responsible for founding the company which was behind the national running craze of 1970s. While I don’t necessarily agree with the good Nike shoes did to the general public, but he gave back his wealth to the University of Oregon and people of Oregon. And the philanthropic tradition still continues today.
There are many aspects of his life that are exemplary to anyone’s life, and I recommend anyone to read this book whether s/he is a runner or sports fan. His dedication to each aspect of his life was created by his strong conviction and executed with warmth and precision throughout his life. I am glad I read this book.
I bought a pair of Mizuno Wave Universe 4 in December last year since I loved its predecessor so much. Wave Universe 3 is great shoes. They are amazingly light and provides just enough support for me to run fast and not get injured at the same time. I knew about the upgrade earlier last year, but knowing WU4s are basically the same shoes with no significant upgrade, I decided to wait a little, especially MSRP was $120 then. However, as soon as I saw a price reduction ($89.97 on Amazon.com), I placed an order. Now, you can find them less expensive at Amazon, Running Warehouse, or other online retailers.
As I mentioned earlier, there are not many differences between WU3 and WU4. Technical spec on the manufacturer’s web site shows few differences. Their appearances are identical except for the color scheme and design/pattern. WU4 might be a bit heavier (3.9oz for WU4 vs. 3.8oz for WU3 in size 9). Heel to toe differential is the same at 5mm. They are both width size D, which is perfect for my feet. The toe pocket provides perfect room for my toes to fit comfortably in both shoes. I hear insole is different, but this is a moot point for me since I wear socks with these shoes.
So far, I’ve run over 80 miles on WU4 and 130 miles on WU3. Despite the light weight, sole and cushioning materials seem to have weathered the pounding very well from running mostly on asphalt and concrete. I ran Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in WU3 comfortably, and since January this year, most of my running has been in WU4, except for 20 miler long runs (worn Kinvara 2). I am still debating whether WUs are good shoes to run a marathon for me. I plan to run Boston in Kinvara 2 but keep training in WUs and perhaps run a marathon in them later this year to see if they replace Kinvara 2 in marathon, too. I will share the experience here.
A weight scale that costs over $150 might be classified as a unnecessary purchase and a waste of money by many. You can buy a pair of top-of-the-line running shoes and running shorts with that much money. The scale also monitors fat mass, lean mass, and BMI, in addition to body weight. And it comes in very sleek glass top (black as seen on the left or white). Big deal. Still, one can buy a decent digital scale that does all that in less than $50. But, what if this scale can be connected, via WiFi, to a web site that tracks all the data and displays the data in an efficient manner? And you don’t need to do anything but just step on the scale to get that information? Aha! One must want such a gadget! This Withings Body Scale makes the weight monitoring so easy that running performance management gets more efficient. Setting up of the scale is very easy and took me just a few minutes. Apart from some personalization, there is not much more to do but step on it and get your body weight, fat mass and lean mass measured. By the time you step off of the scale and get to your computer, voilà, the data is transmitted and displayed on the Withings web site. I also connected my RunKeeper profile to my Withings profile, so that RunKeeper can calculate more accurate calories burned for any given run, because it knows my fat mass and lean mass. Of course, you can share this information with your friends and blast it onto Facebook and Twitter, but that’s just too much information if you ask me.
Having read Racing Weight, I agreed with the author about the importance of weight (fat and lean mass included) monitoring and of knowing the optimal racing weight. So, I decided to invest in this gadget. If my running performance improves by monitoring my weight better over time, I will call it a great investment. Monitoring weight may get me to watch my diet and consume less beer, ice cream and potato chips. Who knows?
Racing Weight is a book about a weight-loss system for endurance athletes, and it offers a complete solution to achieve the optimal racing weight for endurance athletes. There are two books: The first book is for those endurance athletes who are in the middle of training and want to shed weight to maximize performance. The second book is for those who are starting to get into an endurance sport, or starting a new season, or maintaining off-season fitness and want to lose weight before they get into a training cycle. The author, Matt Fitzgerald, has done good research and developed a good weight-loss system for endurance athletes. However, every weight-loss system comes with responsible diet, and I am just not interested in giving up my appetite for delicious food! Also, I have been following my own training that seems to be working just fine. So, I only skimmed and read parts that explain his inspiration for his writing and logic of his system. This book would be a very good resource if I wanted to change my training or eating habit. I recommend this book to those who are looking for a weight-loss system and who are interested in following suggested diet and training.
Having skimmed through the books, I took note of the importance of tracking my weight and body-fat mass/lean body mass. I recently bought Witherings’ Body Scale that helps me track all these metrics. According to ideal body-fat percent population profiles, my optimal racing weight could be about 160LB. This is derived by Lean body mass / optimal lean body mass percentage, which is 163*0.818/0.835. Of course, I need to verify this by running some distance at this weight and see how I feel. But in the past, my weight has been pretty consistent between 160 and 165 on race days, so 160LB sounds reasonable. I have little interest in finding out if I can run faster if I am below 160LB. I have read somewhere that you could shave off two minutes in Half Marathon if you lose five pounds. I cannot see myself trying to lose eight pounds!
There are much more in these books. For example, the decade-long debate about the best way to get leaner; ie., low- to moderate-intensity exercise vs. high-intensity exercise. The reason why keeping high mileage is a better way for runners to get leaner than calorie restriction. When to eat what. What diets the elite athletes follow. Potential eight-week low- and high-volume workout. On and on and on. I would love to hear from anyone who follows this weight-loss system.