Let's get back at it - this coming week does not look the best however minus 4 or minus 5 actually feels balmy, especially if the sun is out AND it is light when we start out nightly runs now - even without daylight savings which, in fact starts on the 8th - YEAH
The Saturday after next March 14th is the last long run before ATB and it is the longest run = 30K with the last 10K at race pace. This is an important run for ATB people and although there is not the main hill this year, there are plenty of hills hence we will be scheduled to do this run in Arkona. The long term weather actually looks good for this day as well = above zero and sunshine with enough clear days before to ensure clear and dry roads. Even if you are not going to ATB, it would be a good chance to try out Arkona on a nice day - let us know your thoughts?
I do not want to bore anyone with my stories however, I must make a mention about Tokyo. As many of you know, Tokyo was added to the Abbott World Major Marathons a couple of years ago. After my trip to run this marathon, I can certainly guess at a couple of reason's why. The Japanese people are marathon crazy. The running crowd is quite young, in comparison to (me for sure!) what you typically would see at a North American Marathon - a lot of teenagers and 20 somethings running. The spectator crowds along the route were also 3, 4 & sometimes 5 deep. The people are also in love with Disney, with a lot of the runners dressed up in costume - even some of the better age group runners. The Japanese people are very respectful and conscientious. If they have a cold, they wear a mask in public to prevent infecting others, some even ran with a mask! Japan is also very organized and clean. The marathon was a treat with copious amounts of volunteers at every turn. You could not want for anything. Because the route is all in the "downtown" there were scads of porta potties along the route, with volunteers directing their efficient use. First Aid stations were every 5 KM along with water and fuel stations increasing in frequency towards the end of the marathon. Food Stations after 35 KM also included fruit, salty candies and other goodies. AT most major marathons I have been at, you put your bag in a truck at the start and at the end you go to the truck and they give you your bag back. In Tokyo, at the finish, all of the bags were laid out in neat fashion on the floor in an arena and before I even got the the sign where my number was, it was picked up and ready for me because some of the volunteers were assigned out in front to shout out the numbers!! Another hall at the finished was designated as a change room where they had medical personnel making sure everyone was OK. A well run event for sure.
Lessons I learned at Tokyo
#1 "IF" your race is run in a time zone where you will be running when it is evening at your home time zone, then either plan to go a week ahead to acclimatize OR do all your long runs in the evening.
#2 Take all the food you need with you and do not eat anything different on race day - I ended up eating what was available!!! (wrong)
#3 A very large marathon is not the ideal place to try to run your best - less stress and enjoy the run is a better plan (never said I was smart) - next time
SO.... NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT SHOES
A burning question for everyone is what is the best shoe to wear when running. Minimal (barefoot) Shoes, Maximus (Hoka One One) Type Shoes, Asics, New Balance, Saucony, Nike etc etc etc. Well in my opinion there is not one shoe for everyone and although different stores will do a gait analysis on you, as well as a fitting, it will typically come down to how comfortable the shoe is on your feet, for you to know if it is right for you. BTW - a gait analysis, at the best of times, is a guess by someone who is usually paid minimum wage with little or no training in bio-mechanics. Even if done when you are running, it is typically not very accurate.
Should you know that you have ankles that invert or an arch that is fallen, or weak muscles in your feet, you should be looking at ways to strengthen your feet instead of expecting a shoe (or orthotics) to hold your foot in a fixed position to make it weaker. Constant massage, and palpation of your feet will help, or rolling with a LAX / yoga ball, plus making your feet work with a thera-band exercise band will all help your foot strength and help. There are many many exercises for the feet and ankles which will help! Just walking around the house in your bare feet will help strengthen them ("IF" it hurts when you walk bare foot - try doing it for only 5 minutes a day to start and add 5 minutes each day so that you adapt slowly - it will work)
Now.. back to shoes - the best shoe is one that protects you from the ground to keep your feet from getting injured, as well as being flexible, since the stiffer the shoe, the more energy you must put into it to make it flex. A lot of people find a shoe that they LOVE - they say, this is the shoe for me and buy 3 or 4 or more pair in case the shoe company quits making that model. This brand or type loyalty, ends up hurting you because running in the same shoe all of the time, increases the chances that you will end up with a repetitive injury, because the same shoe will cause you foot to strike the same way all the time! It is best to have a number - yes a number of different shoes and rotate them "run to run" so that your foot is never coming down in the same repetitive position each time you run. That way, every time you go out your foot is strengthening different muscles in your feet ankles and lower legs
The last thing I want to say is Please Please Please buy your shoes big enough. You should be able to wiggle and spread your toes inside the shoes. Do NOT look at the size - start one to one and half size larger than you normally wear as street shoes and see how comfortable they are. A thumbs width from your longest toe (big or second) to the front of the shoe. "IF one foot is bigger than the other this fit should be for your largest foot. ALSO always buy your shoes at the end of the day - after you have worked and been on your feet all day - I prefer to go and try on shoes after I have done a long run. Your feet swell when you run and you want a shoe large enough that it fits in this condition.
Do not be afraid to experiment the picture below is what I did to my Nike Free 3.0 before I ran Tokyo. I lobe the flexibility of these shoes but hate how narrow they are plus, I ordered this pair on line and they ran short for the normal size that I wear
Enjoy your week
Dick for FoF