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You're Only as Old as You Run – NYTimes.com

A few years ago researchers at the German Sports University Cologne took a close look at the finishing times of 400,000 marathon and half-marathon runners between the ages of 20 and 79. They found no relevant differences in the finishing times of people between the ages of 20 and 50. The times for runners between 50 and 69 slowed only by 2.6 to 4.4 percent per decade. “Older athletes are able to maintain a high degree of physiological plasticity late into life,” the researchers wrote.

That might explain…(read more:   You’re Only as Old as You Run – NYTimes.com.

How to Avoid Heel Strike

Most Fun? Runnin' with those you love.

The proud dad–that would be me on the far left–with daughter katie and friends Bill, Ted, and Dan on a rainy Sunday in Niscene Marks Park.

Some Favorite Trails

A Sunday Morning With Friends

A Sunday Morning With Friends

A Sunday Morning With Friends[/caption]This is Split Stuff Trail in Niscene Marks Park in Aptos, CA. It’s 1.3 miles long and goes from the parking lot by the ranger’s kiosk at the park entry to the Steel Bridge. It runs parallel to the Fire Road. It is also fairly close to the road so though you may see a car once in a while, that also makes it quite safe. It is fairly challenging, but nothing extreme. And like every trail in the park…Including the Fire Road…It is wonderfully beautiful.

 

Lime Kiln Trail, Pogonip Park, Santa Cruz, CA

Lime Kiln Trail, Pogonip Park, Santa Cruz, CA

You even get a mini-history course at Pogonip where major limestone deposits were processed in the kilns to get lime which was an important ingredient in mortar and plaster. The kilns date to the late 19th Century.

A Sunday Morning With Friends

A Sunday Morning With Friends

Hannah F. on Loma Prieta Trail, Niscene Marks Park, Aptos, CA[/caption]

The flattest trail in Niscene Marks Park. Off the Fire Road, take it to the trail split at Porter House Site (0.6 mi), then take the trail to the right–Bridge Creek Trail–to Maple Falls (1.9). Mostly flat and, of course, gorgeous!

And please send me fotos of your faves and I’ll post them. I’ll even give you credit rather than stealing it for myself!

Training For An Event? What Do You Store UP?

If the event is hours away, you’re storing up water…Basic hydration. If the event is a day or so away, lots of competitors are into pasta…Loadin’ the carbs. During training, you’re storing up strength in your legs, growing mitochondria in your cells, improving cadio and respiratory capacity, and eating well to store all the crucial nutrients. All fine, all good, all necessary. What else to do?

Herb Elliott has a thought. Winner of the Gold Medal in the 1500m event in the 1960 Rome Olympics, undefeated in races over 1500 meters, sub-four minute miler 17 times, and recipient of the Order of the British Empire as “a supporter and benefactor of community and charitable organisations,” this Australian has been a student of running his entire life. Here’s what he stores up:

“Poetry, music, forests, oceans, solitude – They were what developed enormous spiritual strength. I came to realize that spirit, as much or more than physical conditioning, had to be stored up before a race.”

Oprah was wrong.

“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” —  Oprah Winfrey.

1994 Marine Corps Marathon. Time: 4:29:20. (Average was 4:44)

Nope. Sorry Oprah. Quite the opposite. We get so much more than we put in.

Of course, the marvelous Ms. Winfrey was referring to the valid idea that you can’t miss workouts, shun a reasonable diet, or make light of your competitors, whether they be other runners or your own demons, and expect to accomplish your goals. Fair enough. Yet, there are so many other payoffs to the runner or walker that far exceed the input!

What’s cool is the input is all about short-term effort while the benefits can be immediate or stretch beyond imagination.

How about hill or stair repeats? Brutal short-term; HUGE payoff. The trick is all mental…If you welcome them in your workouts, they will be your fast friends in the race!!

How about those Long, Slow, Distance runs on weekend mornings? The only effort is getting out the door…Then it’s dear friends, sweet air, and salty sweat. Trees blossoming, birds courting, and kids on bikes.  A stronger heart, more powerful lungs, and a true quality of life. Plus a sense of accomplishment that lasts the day long. And as for all those who didn’t even try to get out the door? Well, if one can be graciously smug, that’s me. And if “gracious” and “smug” are mutually exclusive?……I’m going with smug.

See you out there.

Improving

So I’m guessing it’s a bit too late to start your vocation at age four like Rory McIlroy, yesterday’s winner of the 2011 U.S.Open Golf Championship, did. Still, most of us would like to get better at what we do whether it’s work or play. And fortunately, there are lots of very productive means to do so other than trading money for info. For one, YouTube has tons of content that isn’t about young males riding their sister’s bicycles off roof tops or B. Spears wanna-be’s. You can certainly find good ChiRunning or ChiWalking info, but try something that all the best-at-anythings do……Check out those who do it well. So here’s a superb clip by one of the top American distance runners, Ryan Hall, talking about one aspect of training, the weekly dose of LSD…Long, Slow, Distance:

Can I Go Out and Run Now?

Whether we were kids in grade school trying to escape multiplication tables, teens in high school dodging any and all homework, or young adults in college, in the military, a trade school or just flippin’ burgers, the pull of the outdoors when we should have been “takin’ care of business” was–and still is–incessant. Right now, Monterey Bay is sparkling, flags are fluttering, bees are buzzing, and my fingers are drumming because my business right now is to get this website in shape…Which means web designing software, html, and two hours in a noisy coffee shop with a craigslist gem (thank god) instead of going out for a run. This seems worse than what’s-seven-times-twelve, probably because it is bugging me now rather than all those years ago. But I do remember that to get past the multiplication tables, the teacher had those who knew their tables (the girls) test those of us who didn’t (we boys). In college, that was a set up we guys strove for; but in third grade? Humiliating. Of course, a girl asking me what’s seven times twelve in college was prettying humiliating, too, but at least she would go have a beer with me after, so it was all worth it. Today, a run will make it all worthwhile, though it’s still no substitute for the company of a woman.

What makes it all worthwhile for you?