6 Tips For Quality Run Training

6 Tips For Quality Run Training

Tips for Quality Run Training Train no faster than one pace quicker than the race you are training for. For example, 5k pace is good for an Olympic-distance race, while half-marathon pace suffices...

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Goof Review: The Altra Impulse

Goof Review: The Altra Impulse

Altra Impulse

Are you seeing a pattern yet? Yes, I am becoming a huge fan of the 6 year-old running shoe company known as Altra.  As I have been instructing clients in form techniques, and have found that most of the models Altra manufactures, lend themselves to my favorite principles.

The Altra Impulse is no different.

What I like about the Altra Impulse

As with all of Altra’s models, my favorite advantage is their FootShape™ Toe Box.  This is the incomparable wide toe box that Altra is known for.  The toe box is makes any of Altra’s models recognizable from a good distance away.  That is how wide it is.  I enjoy the ability splay my toes and have my feet firmly hit the ground without them being cramped up.  Wider toe boxes also allow the feet to develop more strength because the shoe is not tightening around the ball of the foot or the toes.  The toes can move around, and tackle all kinds of terrain.

As you can see from the x-ray below, the amount of splay the toes are allowed in the Altra vs a traditional toe box.  Imagine having access to the full splay of your foot while you run.  What is amazing is that most runners do not even realize the limits that a traditional toe box causes.  (Hmm, maybe there is an idea for a full post.)

FootShaped™ Design

The Altra Impulse is no different in this department.  The FootShape™ toe box has been incorporated and has all the comforts of the other models I have run in.

I love the Zero Drop™ technology that Altra incorporates.  When I run I have the ability Altra Impulseto utilize the full power and flexibility of my calf not to mention I can run as if I was barefoot, as our bodies were intended.  Most traditional running shoes have a 12mm heel drop.  This means that the heel is 12mm above the ball of the foot.

When we are barefoot, the heel and the ball of the foot are equal which is a Zero Drop™.  This also helps with heel striking.  Have you ever tried to heel strike while running barefoot?  Even if you are a regular heel striker in shoes, it is almost impossible to heel strike while bare foot running.  A huge effort has to be made to do that.

So, why runners continue to heel strike?  If your heel is more cushioned in the shoe, then of course you will want to hit that area first. (Another post may be needed to explain a little more on this too…stay tuned.)Altra Impulse

 

I love the Innerflex™ which are grooves at the bottom that create a more flexible sole.

One of the huge differences with the Altra Impulse is that they also incorporated their patented StabiliPod™ technology along side the Innerflex™.  Now you have a stability shoe that is also somewhat flexible.

I have decided to put this feature as a liked feature more for others than myself.  As a pure neutral runner I prefer to work allowing my body to support me, not my shoe, but Altra is marketing this shoe not only for running and triathlon,  but for cross training as well.

The StabiliPod™ technology does really help in moving laterally, which is not something that is usual for runners, and especially those of us whom usually stick to the pavement.  This is why I do like this feature.

Altra ImpulseMy absolute favorite feature of this shoe are the drainage holes in the sole.  My very last test run with the impulse was an 8 mile run, immediately following a huge rain storm here in Tampa, Florida.

 

My route took me through numerous ankle deep puddles and while my socks remained damp, the shoe was clear of water within a few yards of the puddle.  There was no squish from the sole of the shoe or my sock because as my foot pushed down on the shoe, the holes squeezed water out the holes.  No more blisters from soaked uppers and water log socks release water as well.

The Altra Impulse also continues with Altra’s A-Bound™/EVA blend compound which sits directly under the foot and adds a return of energy and reduces ground impact.

The upper is a light material and does have a noticeable difference from the other models.  The tongue and laces are curved with the shape of the shoe which differs from the straight tongue of traditional running shoes.

Altra Impulse

I actually enjoyed this new feature.  The fit of the shoe felt more comfortable with the tongue falling in the same curve as my foot.

I rarely run without socks, but I did end up having to do go out for a couple of miles one day without socks, and they were extremely comfortable.  While the upper is not seamless it is very close.  There are only a couple of seems that surround the tongue, but they are covered with a light fabric that helps reduce any friction.

What I wasn’t so crazy about

This is probably a very individual issue, but even though I sized up to a 10 from a 9 and a-half, after a few miles my toes still ended up moving forward till I they hit the front of the shoe.  This probably has to do with the fact that I only lace my shoes tight enough to lock in my heel.

If you like your shoes laced up tight this probably will not be an issue.

The price point for the Altra Impulse is $120 dollars, which while competitive in the market place it still is a little expensive.  In this day and age where people are scrounging for liquidity, I really would like to see at least one company come out with a quality shoe that retails for under $80.  Of course that is my opinion and my opinion only.

How did the Altra Impulse Rate?

Quality – 4/5

Upper  – 5/5

Outsole – 5/5

Flexibility – 4/5

Comfort –5/5

Appearance – 4/5

Cost – 3/5

Overall – 4.2/5

Have you ever run in an Altra Running Shoe?
What were your experiences?
Which model do you like best?

Carpe Vitam!
(Seize Life!)

Goof Review: Altra Torin 2

Goof Review: Altra Torin 2

I have been a fan of the Altra line for a little while now, so I was so honored to be given a chance to review the brand new Altra Torin 2.  I reviewed the 1.5 version when it first arrived, and it became my shoe of choice for long runs.

What I love about the Torin 2

Zero Drop

One of Altra’s significant differences in the complete line of shoes is their zero heel drop and since my coaching methodology includes an emphasis on our body’s natural movement while running this is obviously one of my favorites. (I have included a explanation of what “Zero Drop” means in my previous Altra Torin 1.5 review.)

Wide Toe Box

The other difference between Altra and their competition is the wide toe box, or as Altra calls it, a “FootShape” toe box.  The ability to splay the toes plays a significant role in injury prevention and the strength of the feet.  This allows the runners body to support itself, rather tan relying on a shoe for support.

Upper

The upper has been improved in the 2.0.  The Torin 1.5 was made with a thick upper which added unnecessary weight and reduced flexibility of the shoe.  The 2.0 has been upgraded with a much thinner mesh material that breathes better and allows for more flexibility.

 Outsole

Here is where some of my favorite changes were made.  First, they moved from the heavier EVA to their lighter proprietary “A-bound” material that for me seems to add a little more spring to the ride of the shoe.  When my foot strikes the ground the material seems to not only protect from the natural impact, but reacts driving me forward.

The weight in the previous show was 10.1 ounces which was up from the original Torin which was 9.5 ounces.  The Torin 2 comes in at 9.1 ounces which is one of the lightest in this category, if not the very lightest.

Midsole

Altra added what they call Innerflex which are groves in the outsole and midsole that bend with your foot allowing substantially more flexibility than the previous models.  This too me was the single most important change they made.  The Torin has always classified as their High Cushioned shoe which most companies have traded flexibility for cushion.  Altra has found a way to give runners the flexibility I love with the cushioning I want and without giving up any of proprioception.Torin-2.0-2 sole

The have now included a Foot Pod technology which maps the bones of the foot with the Innerflex so the shoes flexes where the runner needs it to, allowing a near customized fit.

Removed

Altra went ahead and removed the toe guard and heel rudder as well.  In my opinion this not only allowed them to shed some weight, but also added to flexibility and comfort.  In a road shoe I never really thought either added any value.  These two advantages are best left for trail specific designs.

What I don’t like about the Torin 2

Obviously, not much.

The new Abound foam tends to soak in water and sweat which makes the shoe feel a little heavier during training and racing.  Even with the mesh material the shoe does not seem to drain well.  I would love to see a version of this shoe with drain holes, but of course that is the triathlete in me talking.

After about forty miles the new Abound material started to squeak while just walking ,and only in my left shoe  This does not seem to happen when I run in them, but it is a little noisy when walking through the store.  I think it may be just a problem with this pair, but nonetheless it is something I dislike.  However, it did not change the performance of the shoe.

The price of $125 is a little high in my opinion.  A better price point would be the $100 – $110, but of course that is very minor for shoe of this quality.

Let’s see how the Torin 2 ranked on my scale:

Quality – 4/5

Upper  – 4/5

Outsole – 4/5

Flexibility – 5/5

Comfort – 5/5

Appearance – 4/5

Cost – 3/5

Overall – 4/5

The Altra Torin 2 is available in men’s whole and half sizes 7-12.5, whole sizes 13-15 and in three color patterns.  It is available in women’s whole and half sizes 5-10.5, whole sizes 11-12 and in three separate color patterns.

Purchase the new Altra Torin 2.0 Now

Have you ever ran in a pair of Altra Torins (any version)?  How did you like them?

Please feel free to comment on your feedback.

Goof Review: Altra Torin 1.5

Goof Review: Altra Torin 1.5

The quest for the best running shoe can be daunting, but the search for the best zero drop running shoes can be downright frustrating.  The majority of all the Altra Zero Drop reviews I personally have read, the consensus is pretty positive, and in this instance, it will be no different, because in my opinion, it has resolved my issue of finding the best zero drop shoe on the market.  The Altra Torin 1.5.

What is Zero Drop? width=

To define zero drop is to first define heel drop, which is the difference between the height of your heel off the ground minus the height of the ball of your foot.  For instance, most of the traditional running shoes out there have a 12-millimeter drop.

The heel is raised 12 millimeters above the ball of the foot.  This causes more emphasis on the heel when running because that is where most of the cushioning is.  A more minimalistic shoe will have a drop that is much lower.

For instance, the Brooks Pure Flow has a 4 mm drop.  This shoe is great for starting the transition to a more minimal shoe giving all the benefits of a minimal shoe without causing the injury of the drastic change from traditional to minimalistic.

The Altra Torin 1.5 is a complete zero drop where the ball and the foot and the heel are equal keeping the foot more natural like walking barefoot.  While it has the zero drop of a minimalistic running shoe, it does provide the protection of a good amount of cushioning in the sole.  This is one of the reasons I truly enjoy running in this shoe.

Upper

The upper is durable but is thick throughout.  I personally like this, because I feel the security of the shoe without having to pull the laces tight.  In my opinion, the laces should never be tight.  Once the laces are tied they should really never have to be untied unless you are using a runners lace.  The laces should be tight enough to secure the heel but no more.  This allows the runner to support themselves rather than the shoe supporting the runner.

The Altra 1.5 has the same wide toe box that is consistent with the whole line of zero drop running shoes.  I love the wide toe box because it allows me to have splay my toes and grab the road with more surface area.  My feet do not feel crowded in this shoe.

Altra changed the laces in the 1.5 from the original model.  They are now flat vs the round nylon laces and they reduced the number of holes on each side from 7 to 6.   It provides more space between the touch of the laces to the foot and security in the sinch of the laces.

The shoe also seemed to have less seems and the addition of a strap that cinches the tongue to the upper.  It helps the security of the foot in the shoe.

Outsole

The outsole has not changed from the original Torin, but that is something I personally liked.  There is enough cushion in the sole for protection without losing the feel for the road or trail underneath.

Altra Torin

Altra Torin Original

altra torin 1.5

Altra Torin 1,5

The ride of this shoe is extremely comfortable.  Of course, this is why I enjoy the Altra line in the first place.  The ride is smooth with great responsiveness on the road.

The interesting part of the shoe is the weight.  When upgrading a shoe from an original version, the thought would be that the weight could be dropped, but in the new Torin 1.5 has an extra ounce added.  The shoes weigh 10.5 ounces versus the original Torins at 9.5 ounces.

The flexibility has not changed either.  The Altra Torin or the Torin 1.5 are not the most flexible of shoes, but they do have enough flexibility to give a good lever and lift from the ground.  I am chalking the lack of flexibility to the design of the shoe being for the road and not the trail.  Trail shoes should have a little more flexibility for the technical terrain.

Appearance

I do like the color of these versus the originals.  The blue and orange weren’t bad, but they went a little more conservative with the grey, yellow and black.  This is obviously a personal choice on the runner, but I thought I would put my two sense in.

The cost is a little more expensive at $120 dollars, but the shoes seem to last over 400 miles which most shoes will only last 250 to 300 before losing the cushion and ride comfort.

My Impressions:

Quality – 4/5
Upper-4/5
Outsole – 4/5
Flexibility – 3/5
Comfort – 4/5
Appearance – 4/5
Cost – 3/5

Have you tried the Altra Torin or the Altra Torin 1.5?  Have you run in any of the Altra lines of shoes?  What do you think?  Please let me know in the comments below.

Jersey Boys – The Goof Review

Jersey Boys – The Goof Review

It seems that I cannot turn on a radio, browse the internet or watch the news without hearing a story about a celebrity scandal.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a movie star, pop star, hotel heiress or a political figure, for some reason when a person gains that much fame, they feel invincible.

It seems like these situations have been occurring forever, doesn’t it?

Mar14---i-Gangster-Silhouette

Jersey Boys, at the Straz Center in Tampa, Florida, told the history of the famous Four Seasons pop group and all of the so-called “situations” they were in.  Frankie Valli, Nick DeVito and the founder, Tommy DeVito.  were four stereotypical New Jersey kids that wanted a way out.  As juveniles and young adults Tommy and Nick were in and out of trouble with the law, until Tommy decided to start a group that took different

Mar14---e-My-Eyes-Adored-Younames until they finally arrived with the Four Seasons in 1960 with the help of writer/producer/singer Bob Guido.

The play brilliantly portrays the history of The Four Seasons in four parts, with each part
narrated by a different member of the band and supposedly reflecting that band member’s perspective on the band’s history.  Most of the big hits of the group are sung either in episodic situations or portraying the band on stage either in concert or on television.

Jersey BoysForrest Theatre

A huge surprise to me, was when I opened the program and found the roll of Frankie Valli is portrayed by Hayden Milanes.  Hayden and I performed together in a couple of different shows in another life.  Without any bias, Hayden’s performance was nothing short of amazing.  The song “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, made Frankie Valli’s extraordinary range famous and Hayden seemed to recreate it with ease.  Personally, I think the amazing richness in his vocal quality followed with his research of the character honored Mr. Valli to the extreme.

What was even more amazing is Hayden’s talent was only matched by the other members of the ensemble.  Nicolas Dromard portrayed Tommy DeVito with the crassness and overpowering attitude of a bully, and sang the harmonies with excellence.

Adam Zelasko portrayed Nick with the quiet determination of the performer that took the back seat a lot of the time, but always tried to help his brother keep it together.  Adam’s voice was powerful and played homage to Nick and the rest of the group with perfection.

Mar14---c-HandshakeThe biggest corner was turned when the group was joined by Bob Guido, played by Quinn VanAntwerp.  I am not a fan of giving extra praise to one actor or another, especially in a show that is ensemble driven, but as amazing as the other members of the group were, Quinn’s acting ability gave him a stage presence that just could not be matched.  His singing had this subtle quality, that foreshadowed his actions in the coming scenes.  Quinn was nothing short of brilliant which is saying something because all of the actors on stage were amazing.

Another character worth noting was Bob Crewe, the producer that put and kept the Four Seasons working and famous.  Barry Anderson’s gifted portrayal of Bob was nothing short of fantastic.  Even as a featured actor, he had a command of the stage that allowed him to stand out in the scenes that he was in.

The rest of the actors completed the ensemble with perfection.  A few of the actors had multiple roles, and were played with such finesse that it was not apparent unless you read the program.

Mar14---b-Recording-Studio

With all the well deserved accolades I have given Jersey Boys, I did notice a few problems from my orchestra seat.  The balance of the microphones seem to be off when transitioning from singing to dialogue as there were several points where it was hard to hear.

The direction while good, had some unusual placement of the actors.  There were times when I really needed to see what the actor was feeling, but their back was to the audience.  Every novice director is taught to position the actors to face front as much as possible, but in the professional arena, those rules are thrown out the window in order to make room for new visions, art and realism.  Unfortunately, there were a few moments where if this rule would have been applied it would have made for even stronger moments within the show.

Lastly, one of the designs I absolutely loved about the show were the sets.  They were simple, and clean which allowed for the acting and singing to take center stage without focus going to some special effects.  The sets were so simple the actors were even tasked with bringing furniture and props on and off the stage.  I haven’t such simplicity since “Spring Awakening”.  It added to the charm of the show.

All-in-all, this show is worth seeing.  So many times national tours come through Tampa and just look tired.  This show is incredibly energized and fun to watch.

A MUST SEE!

Mar14---a-Finale

How to Improve Nutrition During Cancer Treatments

How to Improve Nutrition During Cancer Treatments

I personally have been involved with charities that specifically relate to Cancer for over a decade now.  With that in mind and the fact the my friend Ben Mena has taken on a challenge with the The Little Things for Cancer and created a team to run the Marine Corps Marathon, I thought this would be an appropriate time to incorporate a guest post by my friend David Haas.  His bio is at the bottom of the post, but he is very active in creating awareness and outreach for Mesothelioma.  Enjoy this great article and pass it on to anyone you know that cane be of benefit.  Carpe Viam!

How to Improve Nutrition During Cancer Treatments

Nutrition plays an important role in helping to prevent many types of cancers, but it also plays a major role for those going through cancer treatments and therapies. Eating the right foods can help you maintain your energy levels, gain needed strength to go through treatment and improve your quality of life. However, vicious side effects such as nausea, loss of appetite and extreme fatigue can seriously affect your ability to eat.

Learning how to side step these problems and improve your nutrition can make cancer treatments easier to handle.

Nausea

Common cancer therapies such as surgery, radiation or chemotherapy often result in nausea. Since weight loss can lower immune system function, sap your strength, and lower your vitality, it’s particularly important to learn how to improve your nutritional condition when nauseated.

Start by eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Sipping carbonated beverages, using foods or drinks that contain ginger; sipping clear soups and avoiding spicy foods can also help. It’s also important to stay hydrated, so focus on foods that contain plenty of liquids such as puddings, custards and creamy soups.

Loss of Appetite

The stress and emotional upheaval that comes with a cancer diagnosis can seriously affect your desire to eat. Uncertainty, fear of the unknown and strained family relationships only adds to the burden. Even if you don’t feel hungry, it’s important to eat a balanced diet that’s high in protein, fruits and vegetables. The University of Arizona Cancer Center suggests you take advantage of the time of day when your appetite is best.

Focusing on higher calorie foods for both meals and snacks will help because you won’t need to eat as much volume. Try adding fortified protein powders to milkshakes, snack on cheese and nuts, and add sauces or extra fats to your vegetables. Making sure you exercise everyday can also help to increase your appetite.

Fatigue

When you’re tied and worn out due to anxiety, medication, or treatment, poor nutritional practices only makes the depression or dragged out feeling worse. Getting plenty of liquids, exercise, and nutrient-dense foods in the form of colorful fruits and vegetables are important to keep the fatigue from getting you down.

While some causes of fatigue from cancers can’t be avoided, like the symptoms of mesothelioma, make sure you’re eating plenty of iron-rich whole-grain cereals, getting adequate sleep and eating enough protein foods such as eggs, beans and dairy. While paying attention to nutritional details can feel like it’s more trouble than it’s worth, keeping your nutritional intake high during cancer treatments can give you that extra edge you need to survive.

David Haas
Joining the MCA in 2011, David Haas is the Director of Awareness Programs. In additionDavidHaas to researching much of the information available to our site’s visitors, David often blogs about programs available and campaigns underway at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. David is a fitness enthusiast who frequently runs, climbs, and bikes for enjoyment. He is also very involved in outreach associated with awareness about the dangers of asbestos for many different organizations and groups of people.
Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/david/bio.htm#ixzz2PVMlj2OR