Congratulations to all Boston Marathoners

Boston StrongThe Boston Marathon started in 1897 and is the most highly coveted race covering 26.2 miles anywhere in the world today. I’d like to take just a minute to say ‘Congratulations!‘ to everyone participating in today’s race, to those who have ran before, and those of you who plan to run in coming years. Completing a Marathon is tough enough, but completing one with a fast enough time to qualify . . . yes, qualify, one does not simply fill out a piece of paper and await entry status, oh no, you’ve got to be fast & you’ve got to be good to qualify for this one, and maybe therein lies some of the appeal.

26.2 miles of hills & windings through Boston is appeal enough. When I think of Boston, I still think of the Mighty Might Bosstones, Dropkick Murphys, Sam Adams Brewing and all that fantastic Revolutionary history. Arguments have been made that if it had not been for Boston, our country would still be a scattered concoction of disgruntled colonies. Of course, history is more complex than that, but so are Marathons, so is running . . . and running is what motivates us, at least in part.

Running is really something we’re born to do. As babies, we want to move, and we want to do it fast. Back in those ‘good ol’ days’ there wasn’t all this thought, theory & blatant intellectualization into the process of what it took to run. We just did it, and for the most part, we did it well.

The years piled up in front of us and bullied us out of our natural tendencies with school, jobs, social expectations, and somewhere in the mix, we forgot how to run. Even worse, we lost the excitement for running.

Visit any library or bookstore and the volumes on form & how-to running are plentiful & myriad. It’s enough to make our heads swarm with the possibilities, but it’s also enough to discourage us from reconnecting with that instinctual urge to move fast & move well.

I’d like to be able to tell you to get out there and just run . . . keep doing it until you find that early sense of joy & freedom we all experienced, but with many of those chasmic years behind us, the divide is great, and unless we’ve done something about it, our habits keep us from getting any positive benefit from running . . . and enjoying the run, for far too many, is certainly out of the question.

There are several great running stores in & around Atlanta that offer a range of services to help us with our running, no matter how far removed from the innocence of speed & freedom of self-guided movement.

Team in Training also offers coaching, motivation, technique & strategies to get you running while raising money for an excellent cause . . . definitely worth checking out.

As overwhelming as the book selections can be, I’ve luckily encountered & devoured a few that either help with motivating you back onto your feet, or instructional in the ways of good form & technique.

Lists like these are difficult to compile, because no matter how good your intentions, you just know that you’re leaving out some good resource or another. This may well be the case here, but at least we have a starting point for where & possibly even how to start, and that’s usually better than what we had before. But, compiling & composing the perfect list (if such a thing had a chance of ever existing) isn’t the goal here . . . the goal is to celebrate runners & running, and maybe even encourage you to give it a try . . . who knows, you could soon be planning an adventure trip to Boston for your own legendary running of the Boston Marathon!


Run well, run often,


Dropping the Rut, Not the Routine

Even when we shift our mindset & application from Workout to Practice, we still face the danger of encountering Burnout & Boredom . . . two bumbling scoundrels we never want to face in group or alone. All too often we think in sets & reps & schemes & themes, and all too often we linger there too long.

One method to outwit these dastardly & buffoonish scoundrels is to string together a routine to foil their likely ambush & inevitable sabotage. As with anything that works, this isn’t the only way, but it is a way when a way is undeniably needed.

The video below, Kettlebell Routine Practice, strings together several movements that will keep your muscles firing, and add a seductive amount of variety to your established discipline.

  1. The first movement is a Kettlebell Deadlift, very easy with this low of a weight, but a good introduction nonetheless.
  2. Next, we engage our delts in a high pull, of sorts.
  3. Then, we drop into an Ass-to-Grass Squat, and roll onto our back.
  4. Rock forward, still holding the Kettlebell at the high-pull level, and stand in one fluid motion.
  5. Another Ass-to-Grass Squat sets us up for a weighted jump.
  6. Safely park the Kettlebell and align yourself for a KB Snatch.
  7. At the apex of the Snatch, step forward into a lunge with the opposite leg.
  8. Recover by standing, then lower the Kettlebell slowly to your shoulder.
  9. Single-arm Swing to mid-air-switch and repeat the Snatch-to-Lunge on the other side.
  10. Park the Kettlebell, snap, clap & celebrate (optional)

Again, this is just one method among many capable of beating the ambush set by Burnout & Boredom, and these movements are just an example of what we can string together to keep our muscles lively & happy.

Lift well & often,

Attacking the Weakness

Sometimes, in the course of human events, it’s necessary to slow the hell down and look for imbalances of movement, impurities of strength, or asymmetries of form. All too often we try to use our known strengths to rush past & compensate for undesired weaknesses. Instead, we should look at what we’re doing with an excruciatingly analytical eye, accept responsibility for our weaknesses, and train them into strengths.

Here is a video of just such an example. The situp portion of the Turkish Get Up gives me troubles at higher weights, so my approach is to isolate this sub-component of the process and work on it until the weakness has been conditioned into a strength. Doing so takes practice, and practice makes habits, so make good habits through regular & reliable practice.