Going new age

Last week(ish) I talked about going old skool, and in complete blog tradition I’m going to completely contradict myself and suggest you should try going new age. Who knows, you might surprise yourself! Here are some suggestions for your transition to new age runner…

1. Go Vegan

Maybe you could try not eating animals or animal products?

Scott Jurek is both Vegan and a very, very strong runner.

Why should I?

      • 2 x Badwater Ultramarathon (135 miles) and 7 x Western States Endurance Run (100 miles) winner Scott Jurek is a Vegan, and he is a running monster, admired by all. Also, I’ve read Scott’s book and there are tonnes of yummy recipes inside.
      • You will avoid all the gross chemicals and additives associated with modern meat production and animal products
      • As there is a fair amount of saturated fat in meat products, you will probably lose some weight and feel better
      • Meat is relatively expensive so going Vegan should be cheaper

Bellamy gets to live

Daisy also gets to live


 

  • You dont have to kill Daisy the Lamb or Bellamy the bunny

Why shouldn’t I?

  • You might find it difficult to get enough nutrients.  Sure Scott Jurek can do it, but he is a professional athlete, so it is his full time job to worry about his diet.  You may not have the time.
  • Some of those specialist soy protein products aren’t exactly cheap, so cost savings won’t always be as dramatic as you’d think
  • Your friends probably won’t invite you to dinner anymore.  Maybe they never did?  Maybe you never had any friends? Just saying…
  • You might have to make “industrial upgrades” to your toilet infrastructure as your new way of eating might not agree with your large intestines

2. Yoga

This could be good for your running, if perhaps not for the meat and two veg.

Yes, we’re really going there.  In many ways yoga, and the “yoga mentality” is the antithesis of distance running.  Runners like to run until they are out of breath and their heart rate is through the roof, whereas yoga is about controlling your breathing. Runners are often fairly inflexible and clumsy when they aren’t running, whereas yoga practitioners are supple, flexible and strong.  Runners are deeply rooted in science, explaining how to stretch an IT band or increase a lactate threshold, whereas yoga is more rooted in Eastern medicine, which is at best holistic and illuminating and at worse, a pile of old horse***t.  Also, bear in mind that I know very little about yoga (having done 3 classes and 1.5 years of pilates), so take my “wisdom” with a grain of salt!

Why should I?

  • Every yoga teacher I have ever met has been outrageously strong and flexible in a way I have never seen before in conventional sports
  • Yoga makes you calm and gives your overburdened, over-trained body a chance to properly unwind
  • Regularly strengthening and stretching your muscles will make you faster, and will greatly reduce injuries
  • That positive, meditative philosophy might help you in those dark running moments (20 miles into a marathon) when you feel like you are falling to pieces

Why shouldn’t I?

  • It takes time that could be spent training specifically for running. Still, it is worth factoring in how much time you could lose with an injury that yoga could have prevented

 

This just isn’t my thing

 

  • Bikram yoga, the one that involves no talking, wearing bathing gear and extreme heat, sounds bloody awful! And apparently some instructors wear Speedos.  That just isn’t my thing.
  • People do get injured doing yoga so this opens up a new risk
  • The yoga fraternity sometimes has a tendency to re-imagine quite complicated sciences (such as the central nervous system) as various combinations of good and bad energies

 

Beware the yoga fart

 

  • You may end up doing a massive fart in front of a group of strangers with your a**e in the air.  But maybe that is your thing?

3. Chi Running

Chi running

Cheese running

Chi Running was developed by ultra-marathon runner and T’ai Chi practitioner Danny Dreyer and is a way of running focused on efficiency. In essence, it is an application of T’ai Chi principles to running.  If you are the kind of runner that heel strikes, always runs at full tilt and will slam home that personal best even if you’ve broken 2 ribs and popped an anterior cruciate ligament, then you’re possibly not a Chi Runner.

Why should I?

  • Learning to run with a strong technique is critical for injury reduction, speed and enjoyment
  • Chi running can help you to really enjoy running and removes the competitive element, which many people find off-putting
  • T’ai Chi is a pretty cool way to warm up before running

Why shouldn’t I?

  • You could get very bored running every day with no way to accurately gauge your progress.  And you’d have no stats to bore your friends s***less with.
  • Sometimes nothing beats slogging out some interval sessions, both in terms of improving and in terms of post workout endorphins
  • You might be a happy heel striker that doesn’t want to go through the painful and risky task of changing to forefoot
  • You might get confused with “Cheese Running” and end up breaking your neck running down a hill in Gloucester

4. Barefoot Running

I’m only going to “dip in” to this subject because it causes so much division and animosity in the running world. Barefoot running basically involves running without shoes or in Vibrams (magic monkey shoes).  There is also the world of the minimalist running shoe but that is not what I’m talking about here.  I’m talking about proper barefoot.  Almost everyone who is part of this world has read Born to Run and loves it.

Why should I?

  • A forefoot/midfoot strike is considered the most efficient and is used by all leading Kenyan/Ethiopian runners
  • Runners that have experiences horrible repeat injuries in conventional running shoes may find that running barefoot eliminates hip and knee injuries that they used to have
  • If you run completely barefooted then you save on the cost of shoes
  • Running barefoot can also strengthen leg, ankle and Achilles tendon muscles which will help you avoid injuries in the course of your running career

Why shouldn’t I?

  • Statistically, running barefoot is more likely to give you an injury than avoid one. I have had plantar fasciitis  for 8 months thanks to my foray into the barefoot world.
  • You can’t run or train properly in many conditions; in particular concrete with scatterings of stones
  • If you live in an urban environment you will spend a lot of time in the hospital having glass, nails and syringes removed from your foot

 

Be careful you don’t get captured by hospital staff

 

  • Running with no shoes will make you look a little bit like an escaped mental patient
  • Vibrams are actually more expensive than conventional running shoes.  And they smell even worse!

Anyway, I hope you try at least one of the above and if you have any other new age tips I’d love to hear about them!  Obviously I’m an “old skool soldier” so this new age *** isn’t for me.  I’ll go back to “steak and intervals” right after I finish this vegan, yoga, chi-running workshop….

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