John H.

John H.

Kenzai Member
Run Grad Post 

I can hardly believe it is over, although after last weeks technical run, which I did on a frozen field, I seem to have come to a point where the field didn’t allow me the “give” it usually does, and caused a gluteus medius strain. I went to see a sports physical therapist/acupuncturist recommended by my tai chi teacher, and am feeling better; but he recommended no running for three weeks (maybe less if I am religious with my rehab work). So I have graduated without my 10k run, but so far have learned a lot through the muscle testing involved in figuring out why I got the strain in the first place.

I don’t plan on slouching On exercise during the upcoming holidays, as I love winter running more than any other time of year. I appreciated all the encouragement from my fellow runners, and the special attention from Matt. I also enjoyed seeing a few beginning runners going the distance and seeing if running was indeed for them...

I will see all of you on the blogs and certainly in other programs, I am sure. Until then, everyone keep moving throughout the holiday time and pay attention to what you eat...


Photo: my head, my two dogs, and a third we sat for Thanksgiving week.

Run - Days 51-56

I have been limiting myself to elliptical runs this week. I seem to have caused a strain in my right glute medius (above main glute onwards toward the ITBand), and don’t want to cause an injury. I also have been raking leaves like a madman to try to get them up from around our house before tomorrow’s first big snow snow of the season comes, as the leaves become hard to get up once the first big snow hits. Yesterday I was out for 5 hours into the dark. It feels like snow in the air this morning, and I don’t feel like more raking, but I will anyway.

I have also been dog sitting, so I have been walking 3 large dogs daily...a challenge at times to say the least..,they all follow their noses, and stop to sniff at will (which isn’t coordinated with each other).

I will probably do my long run this week...seeing how I feel. If It doesn’t feel right, it is easy to stop. I love running in the snow.

Photo is from a hill walk with dogs...a view from the top of a hill lookout that I have been taking the dogs too regularly...I love doing hill walks...

Run - Days 46-50

Two of my last blog posts were lost after the app froze. So I did the 9k no problem except my watch didn’t record the whole run..,no matter. I felt like I was running at a good pace, given my past runs. I wonder why after a nice buildup to 10k we don’t have a follow up program to either maintain or improve on our running performance after this one is over. I think Sculpt works really well on strengthening the running muscles, and I did do that program directly before Run; however, I think I lost the edge that I felt after completing Sculpt...there are some muscles that running alone seems to miss. I hope Sculpt is offered after Run, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t right away. Can someone point me to where upcoming program possibilities are posted? Thanks!

Run - Days 44-45

Switched days, so I did 40 minute run today...slept well the past couple days, so felt solid all the way through. Darkness falls like a lead weight these days though...getting used to using a light...I have so far only run past two bikes with lights and one dog walker with a light.

Run - Days 40-44

Technical run was very good...done at our place in Upstate, NY, running around the hay field where I cut the grass into a 1/4 mile track. Concentrating on the heels as opposed to the knees. There is an interesting cue that I teach runners that run with a is to “peel the heel.” If you run in place, you will notice that your heel comes up first, and then coming down, your forefoot lands first. If you imagine lifting from the heel to the mid-foot in a kind of incremental articulation, then coming back down just the opposite, then you do not wind up bouncing up and down as a lot of runners do, and you do not shuffle, as in “peeling the heel” up, your knees automatically go up as well. I then have my clients take really really short strides, barely moving forward, keeping the idea of peeling the heels. As time goes on, we increase the stride length, but not so much that one lands on their heels, which is thought to be the cause of many a knee problem.

The 8km run I switched to Monday, since I didn’t want to run any distance Upstate this weekend, since Saturday was the first day that one could hunt deer with a gun (it starts out with bow hunting; then the kind of guns that resemble the old blunderbuss that they call muzzle loading; then guns...rifles and shotguns). I thought I would stay out of range of any poor shots. So I did Monday’s workout on Sunday. I took the 8km run slow, and good thing I did...for some reason, a little over halfway, I noticed a significant loss of energy. It was a cool and damp day, drizzling as I finished, and later raining full on. It could have been that I had a little trouble falling asleep the night before, and wound up not getting enough quality sleep. In any case, while I did feel the loss of energy, I relaxed, and coasted through the last half of the 8k. I will have to concentrate on speed during the fartlek of this week.

Food intake is fine, although I feel that my food choices are stagnating...I tend to get into a vegetable rut with eating only string beans and broccoli (avocado every morning is something I never get tired of though). I need to diversify. I also tend to linger on roast chicken and hamburger...I need more fish.

I hope everyone is hanging in there...especially the folks in Hong Kong! It sounds like a bad dream. I wish you a workable solution appears before long.

Run - Days 37-39

Did fartlek in the darklek...mostly cloudy day, so around 5pm it was pretty hard to see. I went down to the waterfront where there is an asphalt walk surrounding a soccer field that is just the right length for 1 minute runs. I programmed my Garmin via my iPhone to do the repeats of 1 minute higher effort and 1 minute recovery, and I remember doing similar repeats a long time ago, and the idea that impressed me most was that when running fast, one should relax as much as possible. I noticed that at first, when I was doing fast intervals, I would tense and contract my muscles, thinking that I needed to do that to power my way faster. I then tried to relax as much as possible while doing the same intervals to see if I went any slower, and I found that I went slightly faster by relaxing. I know it sounds like a contradiction, to relax while trying to increase speed, but I think that tension is unnecessary.

I hope everyone is stretching and foam rolling, so as to avoid injuries. Have a great weekend. I will be running in snow Upstate...

Run - Days 30-36

All well. I have printed out the workouts so I don’t really need to use the app for the moment...I understand the new app is coming at some point.

I enjoyed the technical run this weekend, as It is nice to pay attention to one particular thing during a run. Putting my mind in my feet is something I learned to do in a summer run program I did on a track. Running on a track tends to focus your mind more than anything else due to the repetitive circling. Somehow I got to be able to feel how the bottom of my feet land on the ground. I also did a lot of barefoot running that summer on the AstroTurf holes, no garbage. I think the barefoot running helped. Granted, I didn’t do more than 10 minutes at the end of my regular running, whether it was tempo runs, speed ups, etc. but it feels very nice.

I had to switch my long run from Sunday to Monday because I had to pick my wife up from the airport on Sunday around when I usually run. The 7k was pleasant, only I really didn’t realize that it got really dark at 5:30pm. I bought a really nice headlamp...made by slonik. I took the dogs for a walk last night, and it is very bright. I will be able to easily see the trail with all its stones and roots. As I ran this evening, I just slowed down a bit and made sure to pick up my feet (you fall when you shuffle). In any case, once I got off the trail onto the main roads going home (last two miles), the LED street lamps lit the way.

Run - Days 27-29

It snowed up in the catskill mountains this weekend...I wound up switching my long run to Saturday, did the technical run on Friday (although I always think about arm movement, because I learned a long time ago that the speed you pump your arms is the speed your legs go). Sunday, I had to do more stone lifting as well as tilling our garden, as it is the time to plant garlic, and the garden is right next to an area at our farm where either there used to be a stone structure, maybe a stone wall, or someone just dumped a lot of bluestone pieces (one of the previous owners had a concrete business, and dumped a lot in this area as well). The tiller is an old gas driven thing that really brings up all the stones in the ground...I had a 4 foot high pile in the end...I took a video of myself running the machine and extracted a photo that I will post. We planted 90 garlic bulbs, which will hopefully pop out in the springtime (only a few months off).

We also had the time change to save daylight, which is rather inconvenient for both early morning and early evening runs, so I got a strong headlamp so I can see where I am running at night...also good for evening dog walks.

I totally missed the nyc marathon coverage, and window of time for planting garlic is is supposed to really snow this week, which makes it hard to plant. I hope some of you got to see it live. I do wonder sometimes how much professional athletes enjoy their running..

Run - Days 24-26

It dumped rain last night...I had to do my running on the elliptical...I was going to run before dinner, but there was a heavy much so that it became dark early, which will happen even earlier starting Sunday when we change to daylight savings extra hour of sleep.

The NYC marathon is on Sunday morning. It is always a pleasure to see how effortlessly the elite runners run. Watch the economy of their arm movements, and how most of them stay level, without bouncing up and down. It is inspirational to watch, however I don’t have the time to train for it, but who knows.

I did cross training today moving really heavy bluestone (I would estimate the biggest are 50-60 pounds). It seems a long time ago, whomever owned our farm before us dumped a lot of large bluestones and make a sort of hill. It is time to plant garlic now...late fall...and I am clearing these stones to expand our plot of dirt for the garden. An hour of doing this provided a nice upper and lower body workout.

Sleep. It is hard for me to get enough...I must make a very conscious effort, since if I don’t get enough sleep, it effects my mood as well as recovery.

Everyone have a great weekend of running!

Run - Days 22-23

Rain again, however in the afternoon it began to mist and be not too cold, so it wasn’t a soaking rain, but quite refreshing.

I stopped running with the dogs here in suburban Dobbs Ferry, New York, since whenever I run with them here, they need to be leashed, which doesn’t allow them to do their sprinting. They get their major exercise from sprinting, which they can do at will on our farm Upstate. So I started walking them and letting them off leash until someone comes along walking on the trail that either has dogs (which usually bark like crazy and lunge), or someone comes along who is running or biking (some people are really scared of dogs). They get their sprinting in, and I get to warm up a bit before my run or workout. I wasn’t sure our newer dog Sadie would listen well when I called for her to come, but’s she is coming back, so being off leash to sprint around is okay now.

I have been running a bit longer than prescribed, but I started out the program running around 5k every other day, so I am incrementally adding time. I will stop at 10k, since I want to linger there towards the end of this program. I am still staying with the prescribed speed, so I don’t get any strains or pains while increasing mileage/time.

I hope everyone is doing well, especially those doing it for the first time! The only thing niggling me is that I have been getting hungrier on run days, especially after the run, which could have something to do with my running more than prescribed. Vegetables are helping.

Run - Days 19-21

It rained today, but there was a break in the rain at 4pm and the temperature got warmer, so the run wasn’t bad. Saturday run was good...I kept to 25 minutes since we had runs two days in a row. My Apple Watch screwed up and the 25 minute timed technical run data didn’t get recorded, which is annoying. Friday cross training was a hill walk with dogs.

Run - Days 17-18

Finally, a pleasant day for a run! I felt pretty good...tried to relax my body as much as possible. I found that one runs better when one tries to relax into a run. One place I notice that I tend to tense is my toes, for whatever I consciously try to let the tension go, and the strides feel freer.

My quads have been a little sore, not from running, but from long tai chi classes, where we hold postures for a few minutes at a time, again, while trying to relax as much as possible. Tai Chi is done with slightly bent knees, which tends to make the quads burn when the postures are held for long periods...kind of like isometric exercises...not as bad as plank holding, but after holding a couple of various postures for a few minutes each, then continuing to do so, one tends to feel it.

I hope the weather is getting better wherever you happen to be. I also hope everyone is enjoying their runs and keeping injury free.

Run - Days 15 and 16

Rain again for run day. Again it wasn't bad...I past a soccer field, and the kids were practicing in the drizzle. It is getting a bit much though with every other day being darkish outside. It is fall, yet where we live near Manhattan, there hasn't yet been a frost, so a lot of the trees are still holding their leaves. Soon we will be getting snow!

Gore-Tex is the best for waterproof running gear, although it tends to be expensive. I have tried some fabrics that are supposed to be water resistant, but haven't found any yet that work as reliably as Gore-Tex.

My waterproof running shoes are Altra Lone Peak RMS Trail Shoes, but they are zero drop, which means the heel isn't raised higher than the toe. Regular running shoes vary these days with the height of the order to accommodate runners who land on their heels...the extra rise is there to cushion the heel when it hits...I have seen shoes with heels raised anywhere from 5 to 12 millimeters. The Altra running shoes are similar to running in something like the Vibram Five Finger shoes, only the Altra shoes have cushioning for running on hard surfaces, whereas a lot of what are called "barefoot" running shoes I have tried over the years have thin soles so you can feel the ground...part of an idea that proprioception of the feet against the ground is important. I took a lot of time transitioning to barefoot shoes. If you start running in them right away without transitioning gradually from the shoes with the raised heels, you will get knee and possibly ankle, foot, and other soreness due to that distance your heel is stretching down. The first Vibram Five Fingers actually came with a booklet with a timeline and exercises to strengthen your feet and ankles before running in them for any distance. Since then, Vibram was sued by a group of people who got them to buy back their shoes as part of a settlement...apparently, Vibram made claims that their Five Finger running shoes were healthier for your feet. Unfortunately, they didn't stress the transitioning enough, and a lot of people hurt themselves running in those shoes (the soles were very thin...I remember some clients of a friend of mine bruised their feet pretty badly, running right away on cement sidewalks.

Prior to these Altras, I wore Northface Hedgehogs, that were the most waterproof running shoes I had ever worn. The were thicker and slightly heavier than the Altras, but they were great in rain, mud and excellent on ice and snow. They have raised heels, so I don't wear them any longer, but I would highly recommend them to anyone who doesn't wear zero drop shoes.

Run - Days 12-14

Day 12 workout went fine. Day 13 I did a 30 minute hill walk with the dogs. Day 14 pouring rain...I put on my rain gear and did a nice run without dogs (I took them for a short walk before it began to rain). I am still amused that I can be wearing rain pants from a set I bought more than 20 years ago (not sure where the jacket is, but that fits now too...I am wearing the rain pants in my weekly photo).

It wasn’t too cold that the rain would have been a problem...also, the running trail is covered by trees that still haven’t shed their leaves yet, so they offer some shelter from the heavy rain. I ran partway on a sidewalk along a Main Street, and the rain certainly was heavier, but still not overly cold. I didn’t see anyone on the it was nicely uninhabited.

I just got a new pair of Altra Lone Peak 4 waterproof running shoes (to replace my old ones that are getting worn). They seem to be fairly waterproof...I guess it depends how long you run and how wet it is. They seemed to do fairly well. My pants, which were made with Gore Tex, may have lost their waterproof-ness.

I am pretty happy with the progress I have been making towards a 10k. I know I am going a bit longer than required, but I started at being comfortable with the 5k distance, which I had been doing regularly before Run, so I am incrementally going towards the 10k, hoping to spend a little time near the end of Run trying to get a little faster.

I hope everyone is progressing at their own rate, which is the best way to avoid injury...a lot of people get turned off to running because they either start out trying to go too fast, or they try to go too far too soon. The Run program seems to be very well progressed with time, so I would just keep going with it. Week three coming up!

Run - Day 11

A windy and cool day for a run. This one was with my dogs. I am always a bit more stressed running with my dogs because Sadie the Weimaraner tended to tear up and bark aggressively when passing other dogs on the running trail I usually run on, and we pass a lot of dogs. She also is constantly pulling in front of me instead of staying to my left as my other dog Josie even with the head halter (which is very much like a gentle leader), I must constantly pull her to my side, which keeps my left hand on her leash. I get a kind of double upper body workout as well as run.

Jim M. asked about my average heart rate, which is usually lower. I have been using my Apple Watch’s heart rate monitor, which I believe is less accurate than my Garmin watch (my last run had a flat rate for the first third of my run, which is impossible...the heart rate varies during I am skeptical about the Apple Watch). The running app I usually use on the Apple Watch, iSmoothrun, has been acting cut out and just stopped recording my Sunday I am going to go back to the Garmin. On the Apple Watch I can listen to music without having to bring my iPhone along, which is why I have been using it. As well as being a bit stressed with the dogs, which keeps my heart rate up (it is usually lower when I am relaxed, running by myself), it is also raised, again, when I don’t take slow deep breaths. I find that if I am running by myself and start taking those deep breaths, I can see my heart rate lowering (on my Garmin watch which shows constant heart rate). It really is important to run relaxed, without tension, and to take those deep belly breaths.




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