Thursday, October 29, 2015

Running style: spot the differences

Today I want to talk about running styles, or the "athletic aesthetic". A well trained and passionate runner is very easy to detect: slim, elegant, self-assured, as the man in red trousers on the picture above. What about the other guy on the left? Well, if you think he's Rowan Atkinson aka Mr. Bean you are mistaken: he's no less than the Italian Prime Minister himself, mr Renzi! 
The man is obsessed with the idea of constantly promoting his country wherever he goes. So here he is, running in Havana, in occasion of a business visit to Cuba, sporting a green-white-red (Italy flag colors) and blue outfit and accompanied by an athletic bodyguard.

Unfortunately none of his advisers had the courage to tell him the truth: he looks ridiculous. To make things worse, the PM's running style reveals both his lack of style and training. Let's go down into details:

1. Neck and head
Look at the man on the right: his neck is straight, he's looking into the horizon. The man on the left looks like he's going to attend to his dog's funeral. 

2. Shoulders
The position of head, neck and most of all shoulders says a lot about our anaerobic threshold, stamina and resistance to fatigue. In the picture above, the Italian PM seems to be running on empty.

3. Elbows
While running, many inexperienced runners keep their elbow in an inefficient position, that might cause energy consumption or more fatigue. The man on the right is a perfect example of an optimal arm running position.

4 & 5. Legs and feet
Whereas the man on the left is apparently crawling and his legs seem to be quite rigid, the real runner on the left is bending both his knees and ankles, sign of flexibility and elasticity. He looks much more tonic and reactive than his running partner. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New Personal Bests

October has arrived, fall is here, leaves drop...and so do my personal bests!

Here are my four new achievements:

5 km
22:09 (average: 4:25 min/km) - October 31 (2nd PB) 

7 km 
32:39 (average: 4:39 min/km) - September 22 (new PB)

48:53 (average: 4:53 min/km) - September 26 (3rd PB)

10 km 
48:13 (average: 4:49 min/km) - October 13 (2nd PB) - wearing new shoes :)

Reebok Dash Runner after 700 km

In April 2015 I bought a pair of Reebok Dash Runner on Amazon. I chose these running shoes mainly for the combination of a cheap price and the so-called "vintage" style (how I hate this expression! Or maybe I am just growing old?). Anyway, I used my shoes over the whole summer. After 2 injuries, 6 months, around 700 km and several sessions on the woods, at the beach and on the road, it was about time to hang up these glorious shoes. Actually I did it reluctantly, because they were not so bad: elegant, nice colors, comfortable inside. Drawbacks: a bit too heavy if compared to the shoes I used to wear, and maybe too warm (but I ran with high temperatures, so I cannot give a fair judgement).
The main reason why I decided to change them was the excessive consumption on the outside, as you can see in the pictures (I am a supinator). Moreover, they were pretty worn-out inside, and  during my last sessions I started feeling more and more uncomfortable.

Even if the Reebok Dash Runner are out of production, I happened to stumble on a German/Polish online shop selling them for a low price (29 Euro). I didn't miss the chance and I ordered them. After a few days, here they were, the same "old" Reebok, this time black and yellow. The size of the old ones was 43, the new ones is 42,5. Actually I feel a small difference in the width of the shoes: I think that my left foot is slightly larger than my right foot, and wearing the new shoes I can feel it. Anyway, today I covered 10km...and I ran like the wind!

PS: I admit that I have a bad conscience, because the Reebok I bought are made in Vietnam, probably in a sweatshop. Hopefully they were not made by children. I know that we, as consumers, can have an impact on the market, and I will try to find a sustainable brand in the future.