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rec.running FAQ, part 6 of 8

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Archive-name: running-faq/part6
Last-modified: 10 Mar 2003
Posting-Frequency: 14 days

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Shoes (Thomas Page

Here is a summary of shoe reviews gleaned from various places including
manufacturers' adds, Road Runner Sports catalog, Runner`s World, Running
Times, rec.running postings, and my own experience. I will post and update

Guide to Categories
BASICS: A good quality shoe for a beginning through mid-mileage runner.

LIGHTWEIGHT TRAINER/RACER: Typically under 10 ounces. Very light, very
fast, biomechanically gifted runners can wear these shoes as daily
trainers. Other runners may get away with using these as a second pair for
racing in or for track workouts. These shoes usually have blown rubber
soles for light weight so they wear out too quickly for an everyday
training shoe for most of us.

MC: (Motion Control) Made for over-pronators and heavier runners.

STABILITY: For neutral runners and mild over-pronators. Offers some
resistance to pronation and supination.

RACING FLAT: Most people should race in their regular trainers or
lightweight trainers. For people who can get away with it, racing flats
might buy them a few seconds in a 10k. If that is the difference between
1st and 2nd, it is probably worth it. If it is the difference between 38:04
and 38:14 it is probably not worth the risk of injury. These shoes have
very little stability, cushioning, or durability, but they tend to weigh
2-4 oz. less than a lightweight trainer.

If you remove the insole, you can tell the type of construction. Slip
Lasted shoes have a sewn seam running the length of the shoe. Board lasted
shoes have a cardboard board running the length of the shoe. Combination
lasted shoes have cardboard in the rear half, and a seam up the front half.
Slip lasted shoes are the most flexible. Board lasted shoes are the most
stable and least flexible. Combination lasted shoes attempt to compromise
giving a flexible forefoot and a stable rear. Orthotics wearers should
stick to board or combination lasted shoes. True over-supinators (these are
rare) should use flexible slip lasted shoes. Another way to look at it: if
you have a rigid foot (tends to be high arched feet), favor flexible (slip
laste) shoes. If you have a floppy foot (tends to have flatter feet and
overpronate), favor combination or board construction.

The last is the form the shoe is made on. Lasts vary from curved, to
semi-curved, to straight. Straight lasts are generally the most stable
shoes, while curved lasted shoes tend to be the most flexible. You just
have to see what last from what manufacturer fits your foot.

A good running shoe store is essential. The sales people at the sporting
goods chain stores and the mall shoe stores just don't know their products
or how to fit runners, despite advertising to the contrary. A real runner's
store should allow you to run in the shoe on the sidewalk outside the
store, or at least on a tread mill in the store and watch you run. They
should be able to tell you if you over-pronate in a particular shoe. The
advice you get in a good store is worth the price (full retail) you pay.

Don't be a jerk and pick the brains of a good running shoe store salesman
and then buy at a discount place. If you value their advice, buy a pair of
shoes from the specialty running store so they will still be in business
the next time you need them. Then, if you liked the pair you bought, go
ahead and buy it from a discount store or mail order place in the future;
you don't owe the store your business forever. Remember though, that models
change, and you will want to go back to the good store every few years.

Weight is typically listed for mens' size 9 as quoted by manufacturer and
found either in Runners World, Running Times, or Road Runner Sports
catalog. Different sources differ in the weight they report, often by as
much as an ounce. I have not been consistent about which source I use here
so you may find a discrepancy with a source you consult.

M.C. stands for Motion Control (i.e. a shoe for over-pronators).

************** SHOE REVIEWS *************

Check out:     Runner's World Online!

Active Isolated Stretching

Aaron Mattes' book Active Isolated Stretching. See RW, Feb/94
The book is $30 (+ Postage/handling).  You can reach Aaron at:

2932 Lexington St
Sarasota, FL  34231-6118

Aaron has video tapes of the stretches.  The father/son team which has
marketed themselves very well, were trained by Aaron Mattes in Active
Isolated Stretching. They videoed their tape at Aaron's.  Anyway, go to the
source and support those people who often aren't the marketing wizs yet
share so much great information.

Two great little books which would be of great help to you are from a
fellow who has shared a lot of his wisdom on rec.running.

You can reach Paul Blakey at

His books are:
         The Muscle Book         $10.99
         Stretching Without Pain $14.99

I have used them over the past several years and know that you'll find them
very helpful in learning what you need to know about your "thinking body."

Tell them Ozzie sent you.  I don't receive any financial compensation, just
want to support people who, I believe, care about helping people learn to
take care of themselves plus get some good info out to the world.


Stretching (Shane P Esau (Rocky Essex

STRETCHING EXERCISES by Shane Esau, Edited by Rocky Essex


When stretching, stretch the muscle until your feel a slight tightness,
then hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat, this time stretching the muscle a
little more. Thus it should take 1-1.5 minutes/stretch (a total of 15-20


Place your hand on the wall, with the front of your elbow as well on the
wall Now turn so that you can feel a stretch in your chest - try to keep
your elbow on the wall - your hand should be shoulder height or higheer.


Stretch your hamstrings by lying on your back, with 1 knee bent. Then bring
your other leg up to vertical, keeping your knee straight and your back
against the floor. This is a much better stretch for your hamstrings than
is the bent over stretch.


Stand erect, grab one leg and pull your foot towards your but. Remember to
keep your stomach tight - don't let your stomach relax - do this for both

Another quad stretch is to sit on your feet and bend (lean your upper
torso) backwards, keeping your knees on the ground.


Stand erect with your feet shoulder width apart. Now take your left leg and
put it behind your right leg and put your left foot about 12" to the right
of your right foot. Now lean your torso so that is upright again (take your
right hand and run it down your right leg until your feel the stretch).
Repeat with the other leg.


Try to stretch 1/2 - 1 hour/day - this includes pre-training stretching,
but at least 1 stretching session/day that is outside of training.


Take your left hand, and put it behind your head, palm facing the same way
as your face. Now, slide your hand down your spine, until you feel a
stretch. Now take your right hand and grab your left elbow, and pull your
left elbow towards your right hip (over and down). This should stretch the


First, sit on your feet, with your arms outstretched in front of you. Now,
place your left hand on top of your right hand. Now, lean back and twist
your body towards your right side (you want to try to put your right armpit
on the ground). If this is not stretching, move your hands further out in
front of you.


This is for your upper back and is easy to do - take your left elbow in
your right hand, and pull it across the front of your chest - try pulling
your left elbow all the way over to your right pec muscle - it may be
easier if your put your left forearm in your right armpit.


Lie on your back, and put your legs in the crunch position (90 deg bend in
your legs and your hips) Now, pedal your legs from bent to almost straight,
and at the same time bend at the waist bringing your elbows to your knees.
It is a killer (mainly because of the co-ordination that it takes)

It is like a leg lift on the starting part, then changes to a crunch situp
from that point on. Fingers interlaced behind head and pedal while you are


Sit down with your legs out in front of you. Now bend your left leg and put
your left foot on the outside of your right leg, between your right cheek
and your right knee- pull your left foot as close to your right cheek as
possible. Now, pull your left knee in towards your chest. If you don't feel
much, grab your left shin, and give your left leg a little twist (ie pull
your shin closer to your chest). Your should feel this. Another one is to
lie on your back, put both feet in the air, then bend your left leg again,
but this time bring your left shin in front of your roght quad. Now pull
your right leg towards your chest - you should feel this in your buttocks.
If you don't, push your left knee away from your chest, while maintaining
the distance between your right leg and your chest.

ANKLES (Mike Dotseth

Stand with feet in normal standing position. Place a hand on a wall or a
railing for a little balance. Now, 'roll' your feet around on their 'outer
edges'. Repeat 50 times. ('Rolling on the outer edges' means to tilt your
feet as far outward and inward (supination and pronationtween rock forward
on your the balls of your feet and back on your heels.) The major benefit
is the stretching and strengthening on the muscles and tendons which keep
your foot stable as you run.

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about stretching and flexibility  by
Brad Appleton can be found on:


========================================== Sweat (Sam Henry

Question: I sweat more than I can replace during a long run, ride, or
triathlon. What can I do about it?

It's hard to say what to do without knowing what you do now. None of us can
replace as much as we lose while we are losing it. The trick is to keep
from going into deficit.

Do you hydrate yourself every day, all day long? Min 2 qts/day.

Do you hydrate yourself extra before the ride (like a qt an hour for 2 hrs
or so before the start).

Do you use sports drinks to help with trace element losses? I use Exceed at
25% solution for the 1st half of long rides, orange juice at 25% for med
rides, and plain water for short rides.

What is your consumption rate during rides? I start drinking 30 mins into
the ride and drink a qt an hour whether I am thirsty or not. If you are
thirsty, it is probably getting pretty close to too late.

Do you eat while you ride? Things like bananas, oranges, and pears provide
fuel *and* coolant, along with some nifty minerals and such that your body
needs to make the cooling system work right. I eat fig newtons and such
right as I start and eat every 20-30 mins after the first hour. Pears,
particularly, are an easy-to-eat thirst slacker.

What kind of hydration regimen do you use *afterwards*? I immediately start
drinking at the end of a ride, starting with a quart of water followed by a
quart of full-strength sports drink (Exceed for me). I also find something
to eat that is high in complex carbohydrates. All this within the *first
hour* after the workout. The eating and drinking are intertwined. Then I
drink another quart of something that sounds appealing. Then I go back to
my drinking all day long to get my "normal" two quarts.

I might have thought I would slosh, but I never have. And most of my riding
is done at temps above 80 degs and in high humidity. If you are urinating
infrequently and the urine is a dark color, you are underhydrated, whether
you have exercised or not. No matter how much you sweat.

Treadmills--(contributed by Steve Pachuta,

The January, 1996 _Consumer Reports_ has a treadmill review which
features both motorized and nonmotorized models, together with some
useful criteria for evaluation.

Why use a treadmill?

     There are many advantages to treadmills, including (1) The most
obvious--weather is not a factor in your training schedule.  (2) Training
is possible any time of day--darkness is not a factor.  (3) No danger of
getting hit by a car or tripping on a curb.  (4) No stoplights, no rabid
dogs (presumably), no hecklers (presumably)!  (5) Controlled hill workouts
are possible with adjustable incline.  (6) Precise interval training is
possible.  This is a big advantage; you just need to set your speed and
stay on the treadmill to run your goal pace exactly.

Is treadmill running the same as outdoor running?

     I think the consensus in the various posts in rec.running is that
treadmill running is very similar to outdoor running.  The physiological
effects of a person moving relative to the ground vs. the ground moving
relative to a person are not greatly different.  Certainly there are some
biomechanical issues involved, notably the tendency for the treadmill belt
to slow down momentarily during each footstrike.  Many treadmills have
compensatory schemes to minimize this effect, including large flywheels and
microsensors which constantly adjust the belt speed.
     Some differences between treadmill running and outdoor running are the
absence of wind and visual motion cues on a treadmill.  The lack of wind
makes sweat generation a serious issue, and a strong fan blowing directly
into your face is almost a necessity for serious training.  The absence of
a headwind also gives a slight speed advantage to treadmills, and it is
often suggested that an incline of 1 to 2% on the treadmill will compensate
for the lack of headwind.  The lack of visual motion cues on a treadmill
can be disconcerting initially, but this is something you get used to.  It
may contribute to the feeling that you are working harder at a given pace
than you would outdoors.

What features are important in a treadmill?  Here are some things to

     (1) Motorized vs. nonmotorized.  If your goal is to bring your outdoor
running indoors, then a motorized treadmill is what you want.  Nonmotorized
treadmills will certainly give you a workout, but they do not simulate true
outdoor running since you are driving a belt as well as your body.  Many
nonmotorized treadmills only work at an incline, and pace is not constant
as on a motorized treadmill (although in this respect they are similar to
outdoor running).
     (2) Ruggedness.  If you are really going to run on your treadmill, you
need something more than the $299 specials you see at various discounters.
Some things to look for:  welded frame, large rollers (consider that some
club models have rollers on the order of 8 inches in diameter), large motor
(1.5 horsepower minimum, with 2.0 or up preferable).  THE HEAVIER AND
THINGS BECOME.  Most treadmills are not built for people weighing more
than 250 pounds.
wouldn't settle for anything less than a full 1-year warranty.  Treadmills
are like cars; they will almost certainly need some work at some point.
     (4) Maximum speed of 10 mph or more.  This is 6:00 mile pace, which
will do for most people.  There are treadmills which can achieve 12 mph (5:00
pace); I haven't heard of any which go faster, but they probably exist.
Personally, the consequences of a misstep while running indoors at 5:00
pace scare the hell out of me!
     (5) Method of belt lubrication.  Running belts can get quite warm and
wear faster if not properly lubricated.  Some models are self-lubricating;
others require periodic lubrication/waxing.
     (6) Ability to simulate actual running.  Various mechanisms have been
developed to make treadmill running feel more natural.  Without putting
in a plug for any particular manufacturer, I would recommend trying out
several different makes.  It is surprising how a treadmill that feels so
natural can suddenly feel terrible after you try a different one.
     (7) Manual vs. motorized height adjustment.  I've used both, and I
strongly recommend motorized.  If you want to run courses that simulate
real outdoor runs you don't want to be cranking a handle all the time,
especially if you're running fast.
     (8) Noise level.  This can vary considerably, but note that "quiet"
does not necessarily mean "better."
     (9) Programmability.  It should be a given that speed and incline are
adjustable during a workout.  It is also very desirable to be able to
PROGRAM both speed and incline to create your own custom courses.  Many
manufacturers include their own preprogrammed courses in their electronics,
but it is less common for them to give the user the ability to do this.
     (10) Low price?  Realistically treadmills for serious runners are going
to cost more than $1000, and they can be a lot more than this.
     (11) Incline range.  Most treadmills have inclines ranging from 0 to
10%.  There are some which can produce a decline (-2% for example).  See
below for conversion between % incline and degrees.
     (12) Board and belt type.  Some treadmills have shock-absorbing boards
and/or soft belts to provide a more forgiving workout than can be obtained
on hard pavement.

Any disadvantages or other considerations?

     The lack of wind is definitely a problem, and as mentioned above a fan
is a necessity.  Another problem with treadmills is boredom.  I am always
amazed at how much faster an hour passes when running outside than when
running inside.  I don't think you can expect to read while running on a
treadmill, but you can watch television or listen to music.  I generally
prefer loud music over television, but this is obviously a matter of
personal preference.
     Another thing to be aware of is the tendency to set the treadmill at a
fixed speed and incline and run an entire workout at these settings.  I
would recommend varying both speed and incline to give your muscles some
variety and minimize the possibility of injury.
     Some treadmills interfere with heart rate monitors and prevent their
use, though there are treadmills which come with built-in heart rate
     Safety is of some concern, and many treadmills come with protective
devices which stop the belt in case you slip or fall off.  Treadmill
manufacturers always recommend plenty of clearance between the treadmill
and the walls of a room.  Treadmills can draw a lot of electrical current,
and 30-amp circuits are recommended for some heavy duty models.

How do I convert between % incline and degrees?

     Remember your trigonometry.  Grade (or incline) = rise/run, opposite/
adjacent, height/length, or whatever you want to call it.  For percent
grade, multiply this by 100.

                   degrees = arctan((percent grade)/100)
                   percent grade = tan(degrees) * 100

Thus, 1% incline is a mere .57 degrees, 5% incline is 2.9 degrees, 10%
incline is 5.7 degrees, and 15% incline is 8.5 degrees.

Where can I get more information on treadmills?

     Start with back issues of _Runner's World_, _Running Times_, etc.  They
usually have articles on treadmills as winter approaches.  The December,
1993 _Runner's World_ contains a list of manufacturers, a chart to convert
between treadmill running at various inclines and outdoor running, and some
sample workouts.  The January, 1996 _Runner's World_ contains brief
evaluations of many different treadmills (mainly high-end models).

Weather ("The Running Book" By the Editors of Consumer Guide)


Cold weather does not present any serious problems for you, especially if
you are in reasonably good condition. If you have heart problems, consult a
doctor first. High wind-chill factors are the greatest threats to you in
cold weather, since you can suffer frostbite if you are not adequately
protected from the wind. You must remember that when you run, your own
motion against the wind increases the windchill factor and increases the
risk of frostbite. Be sure all normally exposed areas of skin are covered:
head, face, ears, and hands. The important thing to remember is that you
must dress in layers in order to create your own insulation.

When you run in cold weather, beware of ice on the road, and remember to
taper off your run slowly so you will not catch a chill. When you arrive
home, change out of your damp, sweaty clothes right away.


When you run in hot weather, your blood pressure can drop dangerously or
you could suffer heat exhaustion. If you start feeling dizzy and dehydrated
while jogging and your pulse and breathing grow very rpid, you could very
well be on your way to heat exhaustion. Stop exercising immediately. Get
out of the sun, drink fluids (tepid, not cold), and rest.

Running in heat also slows down the blood circulation, placing a greater
burden on your heart. And of course, you will sweat a lot more so your body
loses more water that usual. To replace it, drink a full glass of water
before you start and one every 15 or 20 minutes during your run. A few
pinches of salt dissolved in the water will help. But if your stomach is
empty, omit the salt or it will probably cause stomach cramps.

An important thing to remember about heat is that it takes your body about
two weeks to adjust.


If you run in a strong wind, you are going to be expending six percent more
oxygen that you would under ordinary condtitions. So, if you are running in
a stiff breeze slow down and you will get the same benefits as you would
from a faster run. When you set out on a windy day, start with the wind in
front of you at the beginning of your workout; then at the end, when you
are more tired, you will have it at your back, helping to push you along.


Rain need not be a deterrent unless you're afraid of melting, but you will
need some protection. Wear waterproof outer clothes, of course, and as many
layers as you need to keep warm. Don't linger in them after the run but get
into dry things as soon as you get home.


High altitudes are a source of special problems. When you get to 5000 feet
above sea level and beyond, it takes a lot more time for oxygen to be
absorbed into your blood and travel throughout your body. So your heart has
to work a lot harder at its job. Plan on taking at least four to six weeks
to get adjusted to a new high altitude, and adapt your jogging routine
accordingly. Most runners recommend cutting your program by about 50% at
the beginning.

Running on cold, rainy days (Brendan Leitch

1) Dress in layers
2) Keep DRY, this is done by putting the wicking layers closest to the SKIN.

What works for us: (us = the running club I belong to)

Top: 1st LIFA or some similar 'wicking' material against skin 2nd turtle
neck or long sleeve t-shirt(repeat if needed) 3rd Shell jacket, Goretex is
best, but any layered Nylon one will do the job

Bottom: 1st LIFA or some similar 'wicking' material against skin 2nd long
3rd wind pants(preferably goretex again, but nylon will do)

Head: 1st Bella Clava(a thin hat that goes around head like old fashioned
ski mask)
2nd Your shell jacket hat over the Bella-Clava

Hands: 1st light thin wicking material gloves 2nd heavier glove

Feet: your normal socks/shoes - just make sure your bottom clothes cover
ankles etc.



(1) Is it better to run in the morning or evening? "The Running Book" By
the Editors of Consumer Guide

It's' important to establish a routine for yourself, geared to your own
disposition and living habits. Some runners prefer to run early in the
morning, some even before daybreak. They seem to like the solitude
available at that hour, when the streets are still empty of traffic and

Some runners are shrewd, enough to kill two birds with one stone. They get
their exercise in while "commuting" to work. Issues to consider: Are
showers available at work? How far is it to work? What kind of work do you
do? Do you work outside or inside?

People who do their running in the morning say that it sets them up for the
day. They are more alert and less likely to become upset by the pressures
and frustrations of their work, and at the end of the day they fell less

Other runners wait to run after work, put their jobs behind them, and
headed home. A run at this time provides a nice transition for them, a time
to work off some of the tensions that may have built during the day so that
they don't carry them into family life. should end your run at least
an hour before you retire. Otherwise you may find it difficult to fall

(2) Should I run when I have a cold/fever? "The Running Book" By the
Editors of Consumer Guide

Recommended schedules should be followed as faithfully as possible, but not
blindly. There are certain times when you have no business running. If, for
example, you have the flu, a cold, or some other ailment, don't overexert
yourself and possibly harm your body by trying to run. If you feel a cold
coming on, however, running may help you get rid of it. But if you try this
cure, follow Dr. Kostrubala's recommendations. He suggests that you dress
warmly, take two aspirin in a glass of milk, and then go out for a run. Jog
slowly and see how you feel. Continue jogging until your body grows warm,
even hot, Then try to keep your temperature at that level.

(3) How often should I run? "The Running Book" By the Editors of Consumer

Most running programs, ask you to run three times a week as a minimum
requirement. This helps reinforce the habit of running, but its main
purpose is to develop cardiovascular conditioning through frequent running.
But more is not necessarily better. Experts in physical fitness tend to
agree that running days should alternate with days of rest, since rest for
the body is as much a part of developing fitness as exercise.

(4) Which of the 8 lanes on a US track is actually the '1/4 mile' one?

(Lori Moffitt writes: The long and short of it, pun
intended, is that US 1/4 mile tracks are typically 400 meter tracks, and
the runner needs to compensate for the difference by running a few yards
extra, about 10 yards. The 400 meter distance seemed to be measured 12''
from the inside curb of the track. Opinions vary about this and the
compensation distance.

(Art Overholser A perfect 400-m track,
measured 12" from the inside curb as specified by TAC, is 437.4 US yards
long, or 7'8'' shy of 440 yards. So you only need to run 8 feet (not 10
yards) extra to get the 1/4 mi. To get one mile out of 4 laps you have to
add about 10 yards.

If his figures are correct, to change this lap to a quarter mile, move out
an additional 15 inches when going around the bends. (Sherwood Botsford

(5) I have started running after having my baby and I am curious to know if
any one has some stomach exercises?

If you had your baby less than 6 weeks ago, it is likely that your uterus
hasn't returned to its normal size, and this could cause the cramps.
Remember, too, that your stomach muscles separated during pregnancy and it
takes time for them to meld together again.

The important thing to remember when returning to running after a layoff is
to ease back into running, paying scrupulous attention to how it feels. The
old adage, "listen to your body," applies here. If your stomach is
cramping, slow down, ease up.

STRETCHES (Paulette Leeper paulette.leeper@daytonOH.NCR.COM) To stretch
your abdominals, lay on your back with your knees bent and the soles of
your feet on the floor. Let your knees drop to one side, as you lay your
arms toward the other...hold for about 30 seconds and gently switch sides.
>From this same position, you can begin to strengthen your abdominals by
pressing your lower back toward the floor...holding it for increasing
increments of time. Your ability to hold your lower back to the floor will
give you a good sense of what kind of shape your abdominals are in at this

Many of the abdominal exercises recommended during pregnancy are good to
begin with post-partum. One of my favorites is to sit up with knees bent
and do a sort of "reverse sit-up." Instead of coming up from the floor,
move your torso toward the floor with your arms stretched out in front of


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