Running for Your Life: Pace Setting

Next year I will mark a milestone: my fifth decade of running every other day, or at least three times a week.

In that time I’ve entered eight marathons, finishing six of them, including Boston in 2012. I didn’t try my fourth until well into my 50s.

In those years, my pace has slowed some. I have taken to heart that I will never post a better marathon PR than 3:33:08 (which I managed in Scranton, Pa., when I was 55 years old).

Still, the other day I ran four miles and felt like I was in my thirties. I didn’t run the route as fast as I did in those days, but my body felt as good. Or at least that is what my brain was telling me.

If there is a secret to any of this, a lot of it comes down to being sensible about pace setting. The “setting” of your body as you run.

That means working on your running posture. You are not going to change the way you run. That’s bred in the bone. But look around you and you’ll see what I mean.

Most casual runners of all ages will lean forward and run out in front of their hip fulcrum. In so doing, with each footfall, the force of the stride falls disproportionately on the knee joint, and isn’t shared by the lower leg and ankle in the way that allows for optimum power efficiency.  After years of running in this way, injury often results.

What to do? Last year at this time my knee blew out because of those years of pounding. My pace “setting” was off all that time. For months in physical therapy I worked strenuously to correct that imbalance by doing lunges and squats to strengthen the knees – and equally important – the butt and lower leg.

For example, doing the squat and lunge appropriately (watch as people do them and often the case they are cheating the exercise and thus the good it can do) builds butt muscle as well as the knee and lower leg. But keeping the weight behind the knee as you do the full lunge and full squat, you are not overstraining the knee as you exercise. Rather you are training the body to distribute the weight of your body – and the pounding as you run – more evenly with each exercise lunge or each training stride.

Okay, that’s the Rime of the Ancient Marathoner lesson for the day. Next up and soon! is the plan for my next half-marathon. With my No. 9 marathon a realistic goal in the not too distant future.

Running for Your Life: Pace Setting

Running for Your Life: Yeah, That Addiction Thing Again

When it comes to appeasing liberal guilt in an age of tech dominance of public policy consider this:

The American Academy of Pediatrics has just released guidelines on cellphone use for our youngest users. I saw the news item about it as part of a national TV broadcast over the weekend (Oct. 21-23). Here are the highlights:
  • ·         No screen time for children under the age of 2
  • ·         No more than one hour of screen time a day for those between 3 and 5
  • ·         Older kids? Guidelines get vague

Where to begin. While laudable, it’s hard to think of a more meaningless gesture. Imagine guidelines being set for children re: smoking. That they are cautioned against cigarette smoke intake while their parents chain-smoke through the day – and even during bedtime stories, or in their own bed, the blue light of the screen dumbing their faces as the child wanders in the room, awakened by a dream not stirred by looking into a phone.

I will believe the likes of politicians’ promises when they are not affected by the fortunes in campaign dollars being funneled to them by forces in Silicon Valley. When serious guidelines are published and distributed to warn adults against the dangers of overuse of mobile phones. Until then, do yourself a favor and read The Deep State.

Would that we could get serious about informing people of the deleterious effects of cellphone addiction. That is a cultural climate change that I’d like to see.

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Running for Your Life: Mo’ Canada

When it comes to my adopted country’s political season, where best to look for moral direction than Canada – my home and native land.

For those of you who didn’t see it on Facebook, check out this post

Are Canadians too smug in their modesty? We’d rather not stake such a claim.

Consider my recent post about the quote I discovered from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

My childhood pal Frederick Harrison points out that this quote – and many many others –  received wide distribution in Canada in November 1967 (and to radio listeners around the world from the dynamic ideas program, The Massey Lectures on CBC Radio).

Here is the link to those lectures:

As I wrote to Frederick in a recent commentary, the Massey Lectures have been truly formative in my thinking, travel and have shaped the way I see the world.  Most important for me was the 1984 Carlos Fuentes, "Latin America At War With the Past" that I listened to during the days I was employed as assistant night editor at the Windsor Star. Just a few months before I'd returned from three months living in Mexico (with a one-week tour of Cuba). In January 1985, I was back in Cuba, and in July, to Nicaragua where I wrote news articles during the sixth anniversary of the Sandinista revolution.

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Running for Your Life: Ed Whitlock Rocks!

OK, I had planned to post today about pace setting. Not in terms of racing, but just for those looking for guidance on an overlooked part of road training. Going out too fast. How do you stay within yourself? Listening to your body. Feeling comfortable with slow.

Then Ed Whitlock came along, courtesy of my pal in Canada, Susan Wright. When it comes to Running for Your Life, pause a moment to read this article and consider the last forty-plus years of Ed Whitlock's life. (I started running in 1976, so my forty-plus begins in January ...)

Rime of the Ancient Marathoner, indeed !

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Running for Your Life: If the Greats Were With Us Thursday

Imagine if Dr. King were with us. For a fleeting moment I felt he was this morning, when I saw the quote below on signage in front of a Catholic Church in Gowanus, Brooklyn:

"Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Something our political leaders (and wannabe leaders) should show. If only.

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