Tag Archives: marathon training

barefoot running

Pumped up Kicks: Is barefoot running for me?

No this blog isn’t about Foster the People, or songs that are good to run to.  (I will say though right now I am digging: Young Blood by The Naked and Famous, Sail by Awolnation, Somebody that I Used to Know by Gotye, and Frankenstein by Tokyo Police Club)  This blog is my opinion on barefoot running.

Today I got a new pair of pumped up kicks!  I’m super excited about them.  I spend the majority of my day on feet thus I have Shoes for Neuropathy, Jogging, Workingout and even for my Zumba classes.  Being the multi-tasker I am I feel I should be doing something positive for my body while I work. Wearing minimalist shoes while walking, working, cross training, and strength training is great for your body.  They make you recruit more muscles in your arches, calves, and glutes to support your bones structure.

barefoot running

My new Nike Frees! Thank you Norman!

So do I support Barefoot running you might ask?

That is a tricky question.  I do know it can be done right, I doubt the average person can do it right.  I don’t believe women can run long distance long term with a barefoot stride.  So what does that all mean?

I doubt the average person can do it right because of the patience required to completely rebuild from scratch.  No that doesn’t mean starting a training routine barefoot.  It means forcing yourself to decrease your mileage and speed slowly building up from less that a mile at a much slower pace very gradually over time.  I do know one runner who has done that.  (Props to you Adam Depue!)  Most runners, however, I don’t think have this patience.  If you want to prove me wrong, I will greatly credit your determination and patience!

Women on the other hand is another argument.  I do not know a runner who have done it.  They have all developed an injury at some point.  If there is someone out there who is female and has been running consistently injury free I would love to hear about it and chat with you.  I do not think this is a common case.

Born to run will argue about how our ancestors ran barefoot.  Obviously able to not only run, but also provide food by hunting and gathering in minimalist footware.  There are some holes I could punch in this argument (arguing life-expectancy for example), but I won’t.  I will give them props in saying their argument point to how sedentary we have become as a society.  If we were to go back to our ancestors example we would be stronger for it.  I do feel we could all be stronger by wearing “barefoot” shoes more often–why I got them for cross training and work!

What Born to Run won’t talk about is WHO those hunters and gathers were.  They weren’t women.  They were men.  Those were the tradition barbaric roles.  At a more scientific level, it also won’t talk about the Q angle.

barefoot running

Women’s hips are wider on average then mens.  This is so we can bare children, but it also puts our knees under greater pressure in sport (or hunting and gathering in prehistoric times.)  This is also why women are at greater risk for tearing their acl in sports like soccer.  Sharp cutting can tear the acl of woman who hasn’t built up her stability muscles much easier than her male counterpart athlete.  If a woman doesn’t have proper arch support she will be predispositioned to develop runners knee much quicker than a male would simply by her anatomy.

Long story short, barefoot runners beware.  I respect those of you who have had the patience to develop the musculature needed to support this.  I am weary of those I know aren’t strong enough to do it.  I will, however, proudly sport my barefoot shoes anytime I’m not running!

Check out good prices for Nike Frees!


Treadmill (n.): A Good Tool for Speedwork

Treadmill (n.): A torture device perfected in the 20th century, designed to destroy one’s mind though sensory deprivation and monotony. -Mark Remy Runnersworld.com executive editor, in The Runners’ Rule Book

Mark Remy is right, the treadmill is a torture device!  We should try to do most of our runs outside.  Get out on trails, run down by a river, even around your block! (at least you will be getting vitamin d!)….But the treadmill can be a great tool when it comes to speedwork.  (…and a great way to save your feet from blisters if you live in the PNW!)


Why do I need to do speedwork you might ask?

A couple reasons:

1.  It will make you faster.  When you do intervals you deplete your muscles of energy (pushing near your lactate threshold), then recover allowing your body to begin to rebuild your energy stores with aerobic metabolism.  As you do this more and more, your body becomes more efficient at removing the waste caused by harder working muscles and begins to build more mitochondria (those bacteria that live inside your muscles that eat CO2!).  This allows you to maintain higher speeds.  This is important for those of you who have PR times you would like to hit.

2.  For those of you who don’t care about your time, intervals will make your body more efficient at making energy, therefore making your “normal” pace feel much easier.  This will make marathon or 1/2 marathon day more enjoyable.

3.  For reasons outside of racing, intervals have also been shown to burn fat better.  Intervals leave you with a larger need to produce energy post workout.  This will lead the body to tap into your fat stores to make that energy both during recovery and post workout.–Don’t think you can eat a more because of this.  This only works if you stick to your normal diet!

4.  Finally intervals have been shown to boost your HDL (the good cholesterol).  This cholesterol combined with an elevated heart rate sends rushing blood through the arteries cleansing them by removing plague build-up caused by LDL. This bad cholesterol is sent to the liver where the liver can break it down.  This will help prevent heart attacks so you can outlive all your friends!–AND EAT ALL THAT STEAK!! 😉


What’s your favorite speedwork workout?

Yoga can help your running form!

One of the reasons I love yoga, is Bikram Hot Yoga has helped me improve my running form.  I may have had decent posture before I started doing yoga, but now I KNOW I have good posture and not only do I have good posture but I have learned how to actively traction my own spine.  What does that mean?  It means I can use each intercostal muscle between my ribs and vertebrae to fight against gravity and keep my spine from sinking in on itself.

This is the feeling you should have as you are running.  When I say “Chest up runners.”  I mean you should imagine I am pulling you but the shirt up and forward at a 45 degree angle.  You can try to do this all you want, but without actively using your core, intercostals, and erector spinae muscles all you are doing is bending at your hips and sticking your chest forward.

Your intercostals and erector spinae muscles are just two sets of muscles groups in which yoga will help unlock the mind body connection to. (By the way another big muscle group yoga helps you learn to activate is the gluteus maximus–you know that big muscle I’m always saying is so important to runners!)

If you want to try it this month check out this living social:  My studio is having a special.  Give it a chance, it’s crazy what your own body can tell you if you listen! 🙂


All out all the time??

One of the number one mistakes runners make when training for a goal time is they go all out all the time.  It is an easy trap to fall into.  You are training, your endurance is getting better it makes sense to try to up and up the speed on the treadmill or hit a pace on your garmin on each run.  There are a couple problems though with this training strategy.

1.  It isn’t maintainable:  Without easier days we are always pushing our bodies to the max.        Training programs are set up to create a pace range that you fall into over the week.  Without easier days (that still work on building mitochondria our CO2 eating bacterial friends that live in our muscles) we don’t develop a stimulus/recovery curve. When we do a workout we tear down our body telling it to rebuild stronger.  If you go 100% all the time all you have is stimulus.  Therefore each workout you are breaking down your body more and more until you can’t even run anymore.  People who go all out all the time are perfect candidates for stress fractures, plantar faciitis, and achilles tendonitis.

2.  Improvements in speed are marginal when we go all out all the time.:  So maybe you are an injury resistant person.  Maybe your body is tough. Maybe the above argument isn’t enough to convince you to slow down. (You will get hurt btw.  Maybe it will take a couple years but you WILL get hurt!) However, even if you are made of steel going all out will leave your legs feeling like lead every day and most detrimental on your speed days.  If you go all out all of the time you will be behind in your training than the person who is fresh for their speed work.

Think about every speed workout you do like buying stock.  This speed “stock” will mature for you roughly every two weeks helping you move faster then.  If you go all out every day you won’t be able to hit your times during speed work. (and if you can hit prescribed times going 100% every day that means you could be going even faster!)  If you don’t hit a speed workout you won’t have any stock to mature.  Your daily runs may begin to be faster by 5 to 10 seconds a mile if you push hard every day, but good speed work can increase your race pace by minutes!

Overall a training program is like a game of mother may I and your body is the mother.  We all want to sprint to the end, but that never works.  Eventually the mother turns around sees us moving too fast, and sends us back to the start.  Train hard, but train smart.  Keep your easy run days easy.  Your body and finish time will thank you!

Strength Training For Runners

Most runners want to avoid strength training.

The number one reason being they feel it will make them “bulky”.  This is isn’t true.

Not only will strength training not make you bulky, if anything it will make you leaner.

(Muscle takes up less space then fat and takes more calories to maintain.  If you strength train, if anything you will become leaner and more toned.  You all know what that “skinny fat” runner looks like.  Don’t let that be you!)

What are some benefits of strength training?

  • Stability from the hips down to help protect your knees
  • Better posture (both for running and every day life!)
  • Enhanced power and force development (Think getting up those hills faster!)
  • Better balance, stability, and coordination
  • Variation in training (give the body a different stimulus so all workouts are more effective!)
  • Better arm swing (did you know your arms help counter balance the motion of your legs, therefore if you have strong arms you can work to keep your form maintained when fatigue sets in.)
  • Strong legs help tired joints.  The stronger you are the less past damage affects you!
  • Strength training works against the damage you do sitting all day! (Think Perkier Behinds!)

The benefits go on and on, but that’s just it; THERE ARE COUNTLESS BENEFITS!  So hit your strength days! 🙂

Rainy Saturday workout


Thank you runners for meeting me this morning!  We had an awesome turnout as well as a great run!  (Eduard I cant wait to see the garmin data!)


We got a little wet!  But we all managed to make it back…


post run looking like wet dogs!

For a post run meal at the Proclub bistro …


I guess Eduard’s “PRO totoes” just weren’t what he was expecting.

+ some aloe water, coconut water, and vitamineral green to replace electrolytes


even colby jack isn't sure about that 😉

Because post run, I went to warm up at my yoga studio’s floor series tune up clinic.



awesome fixed firm becca!