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Volume 19, Number 1
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Spring 2012 $5.95
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8 Starting Blocks
A Warm-up Roundup 10 11 15 29
Distances Jumps Sprints Throws
16 The Key to Running the 200 Meters 18 Mastering Rotational Control Helps Spinners Throw Farther 20 Preparing for the Championship Season 21 2012 Spring Shoe Review 21 Who Should Throw the Javelin?
Cover photo: Bernard Lagat 2012 World Championships. Victah, Photorun.net
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P u b l i s h e r ’s n ot e
Olympic years bring out the best in athletes B
ehind every great athlete is a team. At the elite level, the team includes a coach, trainer, agent, manager, and perhaps other specialists. The athletes who make it to the elite pro level in our sport number in the few thousands. Those elite pros came from a club or college program, where they stood out from their contemporaries with the big throw, the big jump, the fast run or the big championship. At the college level in the U.S., there are just over 100,000 athletes who compete in cross country or track and field. Those 100,000 athletes are coached by 5,000 coaches. That group comes from the 1.4 million high school athletes who run, jump and throw in high school. Those athletes are coached by 37,000 head high school cross country and track coaches, 46 weeks a year, six days a week, for an average of 2–3 hours a day. From June 21–July 2, the best athletes in the United States will be in Eugene, OR to run, jump or throw their way onto the best track and field team in the world: the USA Track and Field team. For most of those athletes, that journey began in a schoolyard maybe 15 years ago, and was developed over four years in high school, four years in college and for several years postcollegiately. We hope you enjoy this issue. To keep up on the Trials and the Olympics, follow us on runblogrun.com and remember to follow the major meets you like on our live blog (also on runblogrun).
Larry Eder, Publisher
Group Publisher: Larry Eder, firstname.lastname@example.org Group Editor: Christine Johnson, email@example.com Advertising: Larry Eder, firstname.lastname@example.org Writers/Contributors: Jon Godina, Dick Patrick, Wallace Spearman, Roy Stevenson, Cregg Weinmann Circulation Changes: email@example.com Photographers: Victah Sailer/PhotoRun Layout/Design: Kristen Cerer
Special Thanks To: Tim Garant, Alex Larsen, Tom Mack, Mary Atwell, Deb Keckeisen, Sydney Wesemann In loving memory of Violet Robertson, 1913–2003 www.american-trackandfield.com ph: 608-239-3785; fax: 920-563-7298 firstname.lastname@example.org American Track & Field (ISSN 1098-64640) is produced, published and owned by Shooting Star Media, Inc., PO Box 67, Ft. Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538-0067, Christine Johnson, President, Larry Eder, Vice President. Copyright 2012 by Shooting Star Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Publisher assumes no liability for matter printed, and assumes no liability or responsibility for content of paid advertising and reserves the right to reject paid advertising. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Publisher. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in any form without written permission of the Publisher.
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Starting Blocks T
he announcement of Max Siegel as the new CEO of USATF occurred on April 23, which was also the date of LeRoy Walker’s death. Let’s hope that Siegel becomes as influential in the sport as Walker. Forget the fact that Siegel is the federation’s first African American CEO, while Walker was a pioneer for African Americans as a leader in both the track federation as well as the U.S. Olympic Committee. If Siegel has an impact like Walker’s, the sport and its athletes will develop and thrive. Walker, who died at 93 in Durham, NC, was the grandson of slaves, the youngest of 13 children and the family’s only college student, who went on to earn a Master’s at Columbia and a Ph.D.in biomechanics at New York University. The length and breadth of Walker’s career track was impressive. Some highlights: a track, basketball and football coach at North Carolina Central University who became the school’s chancellor; coach of the 1976 U.S. men’s Olympic track and field team, president of The Athletics Congress (now USATF), 1984–88; USOC treasurer, 1988–92; senior vice president of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games; president of the USOC; sometime coach/consultant for the Olympic track teams of Ethiopia, Israel, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Kenya; and member of the Knight Commission for the reform of collegiate athletics. He coached Olympic medalists in the sprints, hurdles and distances. For all his accomplishments, the man most people called “Doc” Walker exuded personal warmth because of his sense of humor and lack of pretension. He liked to joke that if he were so smart, why would he leave a six-figure salary with ACOG to take a volunteer position as USOC president? In fact, that move symbolized how far he had come. A man born into the segregated South in Atlanta in 1918 helped bring the world to his hometown, which had become a model for the new South. Walker had political skills, but he wasn’t afraid to criticize no matter how unpopular his comments might be. He was against NBA players being allowed onto the U.S. Olympic team because he thought they, as superstars, were apart from the other athletes at the 1992 Barcelona Games, living in luxury hotels instead of the Olympic Village.
Siegel has his own human-interest story. The son of the record executive who signed the Beatles to a North American contract, he was forced to grow up fast after his father died of cancer and his mother, stepfather and stepmother had problems with alcoholism. When he was 10, he was paying family bills with a stash of cash and checks his ailing father provided. The first African American to graduate with honors from Notre Dame Law School, Siegel, 47, has been an agent for players, including Hall of Famers Reggie White and Tony Gwynn; headed global operations for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and was a senior VP for SONY/BMG, following his father into the music business. He was a member of the board of directors of USATF and founded a company that did consulting work for USATF, an arrangement that led to criticism that his choice as CEO was an inside job. Siegel, who has a two-year contract for $500,000 annually plus bonuses, didn’t take long to make his first move. Less than a week into his tenure, USATF COO Mike McNees, who had been the interim CEO for 1½ years, left the organization. “Mike has selflessly served USATF for more than three years,” Siegel said. “He is a former athlete and coach who gave equal attention to every constituency of our organization. As we move into the next chapter of our organizational history, we sincerely thank him for everything he has done for USATF and wish him and his family the very best.” Siegel presumably wants his own “team” in place. If he brings in sponsorship dollars and increases the sport’s profile, there will be praise. If he can establish a strong USATF “brand,” all facets of the sport will benefit, perhaps the athletes most of all. The USATF Foundation reports that 80% of the athletes in the top 10 nationally in their event earn less than $50,000 per year. Half of them earn less than $15,000, hardly sufficient to live on and train. Certainly, Doc Walker would have liked to see more of our gifted young athletes making enough money to realize their potential without worrying where their next meal is coming from. Now Max Siegel has a chance to make it happen.
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Solinsky’s Tough Break
Chris Solinsky deserves better luck the next time there’s an Olympic year. In 2008, he led most of the final 2½ laps of the Olympic Trials 5000, only to be passed down the stretch and finish fifth, out of an Olympic berth. The lesson learned: Get stronger aerobically. He did. In 2010, Solinsky had a breakthrough year that stamped him as a world-class competitor with a 10,000 debut in 26:59.60, the first sub-27 by a non-African, and a 12:55.53 in the 5000. But he encountered disaster in 2011, tearing his hamstring off the bone in August and undergoing surgery in September. This April, Solinsky announced he wouldn’t compete in the Trials in Eugene because of the setbacks he encountered in recovering from the surgery. “The timeline we asked for, it was pretty unrealistic,” Solinsky told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “I tore 90% of my hamstring off my pelvis. I’m going to have to bag it this year and swallow the hard pill that it’s not going to happen.
“It’s a matter of my body not responding. That’s part of sport. This injury wouldn’t have been that big a deal if it happened a year earlier. By this time next year I’m going to be at full strength.” Ironically, Solinsky was undone by his work ethic and toughness. Encouraged by his 2010 successes and training, which included five 120-mile weeks, he decided to increase mileage. So in 2011 he put in 12 to 13 weeks at 120 miles, almost none of it at an easy tempo. He was warned by his coach, Jerry Schumacher, who also guided him to five NCAA titles at Wisconsin, he might be pushing the training envelope too much. “I think my body kind of revolted,” Solinsky told the paper. In August he was walking down the stairs, tripped over his dog and felt a pop as he ripped three major hamstring muscles off the bone two weeks before the World Championships. He was forced to withdraw from the meet. As he came out of recovery on the day of his September surgery, he learned Galen Rupp had broken his U.S. record in the 10,000. “I didn’t do things correctly in 2008, and then to be on the other side of the coin this time, it’s like, ‘When am I going to get it right?’” Solinsky told the Journal-Sentinel. “The good news is that my health is going to be there, and I’ll have a career after this year. “I think I’m going to be a lot better off. I think the next four years are going to be possibly my best four years. But it’s going to be a long four years.”
Out of Africa In the future, Wesley Korir may be running for the USA instead of his native Kenya. He may join the likes of Meb Keflezighi, Abdi Abdirahman, Lopez Lomong and Bernard Lagat, all of whom were born in Africa and ended up starring for the USA. Korir, who has started the U.S. citizenship process that could be completed next year, won the Boston Marathon in April. A year after ideal weather conditions produced 1–2 times of 2:03:02 for Geoffrey Mutai and 2:03:06 for Moses Mosop—the two fastest times ever for 26.2 miles—Korir triumphed under hot conditions in 2:12:40. Korir was both smart and tough. Smart to focus on fluids on a day with temperatures well into the 80s. “My biology degree came into use,” said the University of Louisville grad. “I knew I had to hydrate to survive. I was more concerned about my hydration than my positioning.” Korir was tough after learning at 20 miles he was in sixth place. “I thought if I finished #5, then that would be awesome,” he said. “After I passed [runner] number five, I thought, ‘Let me get to fourth.’ I wasn’t thinking about winning, I was thinking about counting one person at a time. One by one, it just happened.” Korir, 29, came to the U.S. to attend Murray State. When the Kentucky school dropped track and cross country after his freshman year, he transferred to Louisville,
coming under the guidance of Ron Mann, who still coaches him. At the University of Texas–El Paso, Mann coached the first Kenyan to win the Boston Marathon, Ibrahim Hussein. It won’t be a surprise if Korir wins more major marathons. Last year he was second in Chicago in his personal best of 2:06:15. In the 2010 Chicago Marathon, Korir hung with the leaders through 20 miles before finishing fourth and earning the admiration of 2008 Olympic champ Sammy Wanjiru, who died last year. After the Chicago race, Wanjiru hugged Korir and told him, “Wesley, you run like a champion. I promise you one of these days you’ll be a champion.” Photo: Victah, www.photorun.NET
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Bell Lap — Chaunte Lowe, who gave birth to her second child in April of last year, won the high jump at the World Indoor Championships in March. Lowe, 27, a four-time U.S. outdoor champion and 2005 world outdoor runner-up, could be in line for her first Olympic medal. She jumped a best of 6-7½ indoors this winter and defeated Russian favorite Anna Chicherova for the title in Istanbul. — Usain Bolt of Jamaica and Carmelita Jeter only added to their favorite status in the London Olympics 100 by winning their races impressively at the Jamaica International Invitational in April. Bolt ran 9.82, after two false starts by others. He came to prominence in the 100 in 2008 at the event by winning in 9.76. Jeter won the women’s 100 in 10.81. “I have to stay healthy, humble and focused,” she said. Not a bad mantra. — Lopez Lomong (below), who competed in the 1500 at the 2008 Olympics and carried the flag in the opening ceremonies, may have some deciding to do about his Olympic event this year. Lomong, now with Jerry Schumacher’s Portland-based Oregon Track Club, won his 5000 debut in April at Stanford in 13:11.63. What made the performance more remarkable was that Lomong lost count of the laps and ran 53 seconds for what he thought was his final lap. One problem: He had run only 4600 meters. Realizing his mistake after a few seconds, he still had a 66 in him. “Lopez has a lot of potential events,” Schumacher told The Oregonian. “He’s truly an athlete who could run anything from the 800 to the 10,000 and be successful.”
Photo: Victah, www.photorun.NET
Warming up/Cooling Down:
istance runners need a solid warm-up to prepare physically and psychologically for their races and training sessions. The benefits of warming up include boosting the oxygen concentration in hemoglobin and increasing oxygen and blood flow to the working muscles. In addition, the warm up dilates the alveoli in the lungs, increases the heart rate, and facilitates the biochemical cascade in our muscles that enables us to tolerate more lactate and burn more free fatty acids as fuel. And if we time it right, the warmup meshes our neuromuscular, skeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, bringing about the “second wind”. Just as importantly, warming up helps nervous young athletes stabilize their adrenalin rush, helping them control their pre-race nervousness. Research shows that for the standard high school distance events (800m, 1600m, 2-mile), warming up improves performance; but the intensity must be above 40% of VO2 max. Studies also show that if the wait between the warm-up and the start of the race is longer than 10 minutes, some of the warm-up’s benefits are lost. Distance runners should start their warm-up about 30 minutes before their event or training session. Phase one of the distance running warm up begins with 10-15 minutes of slow jogging to increase body temperature, increase muscle elasticity, and decrease blood viscosity. Phase two follows immediately: a 10-minute stretching session, starting with static stretches and progressing to dynamic and ballistic stretches through full range of motion, such as leg swinging. Distance runners should concentrate first on the calf, hamstring, and quadriceps muscles, and then the hips and groin area, with a few stretches for the upper body.
Proceed as quickly as you can from static to dynamic stretching—research shows that static stretching may actually reduce the power and force of muscle contractions, not a condition that we want our runners to start their workout or race with! A warning here to coaches: the stretching phase of the warm up often takes far too long, negating the previous warm up effect, so keep it short, active, and sweet. Once the runner is generally “limbered up”, it’s time for the third warm-up phase, consisting of specific drills to put the finishing touches on the warm up. These usually include leg speed drills, and it is here that pre-race and pre-training warm ups diverge. The pre-race warm up needs a few (36) easy “acceleration stride throughs” over 50 meters, but no longer than this. This phase should finish 5 minutes before the race start, and all the runner needs to do until then is walk/jog to keep warm. If the warm up precedes a workout, the runner can go through a series of 5-10 x 100 meter “acceleration stride throughs” where he focuses on correct running technique and staying relaxed while maintaining a fast leg turnover. These should be done with rolling starts, where the runner gradually picks up his pace after slow jogging for the first 10 meters. Each stride through should be a little faster than the previous one, with the final one being at about 95% of top speed. After these faster efforts, many coaches have their runners do a series of drills ranging from sideways walking or running (aka carioca), backwards running, quick foot turnover in ladders and other ladder drills, cone running for agility, short high knee lift drills (walking or running), heel kick drills, lunge walking, calf walking, skipping, practice starts out to 20 meters, plyometrics, calisthenics like
squat thrusts, short uphill sprints, downhill sprints, to name a few. No need (or time) to do them all -- just pick a few different ones in each warm-up to keep it interesting and enjoyable. Following this, some coaches integrate a longer interval in the third phase, usually consisting of one repetition of 600 meters to 1200 meters at around 75% to 85% of the athlete’s current best time for 800 meters. Having completed these three phases, the distance runner is now ready for the main workout. The teenage distance runner’s total warmup time should not exceed 35 minutes or a total of 3 miles—anything longer than this runs the risk of fatiguing, overheating, and dehydrating the runner, and depleting his glycogen stores. The key to a good warm-up is to make sure each runner is ready to race without these side effects. One other warning: in hot or humid conditions, make sure your runners hydrate during the warm-up with water or diluted electrolyte drink. They should avoid sugary soft drinks because of the risk of sugar spike followed by the inevitable blood sugar crash; and they can also make the runner feel sick during the race.
Other things to note about the warm-up If the temperature is very cold, a passive warm up, where external heating agents like hot tubs, hot water bottles, and hot showers are applied, can be highly effective, prior to going outside into an active warm up. The cool down consists of an abbreviated warm up. i.e. An easy 5-10 minute jog followed by static stretching, and should not be neglected. —Roy Stevenson
Warming up/Cooling Down:
ecause of the highly ballistic nature of the jumps, they require a solid warm- up before training and competition. Warming up readies the jumper’s muscles by increasing the force of their muscle contractions and speeding up muscle contraction rate, providing the power and speed needed on the runway. Warming up also helps nervous athletes stabilize their adrenalin rush before competition.
Phase One: Start the warm up with 10-15 minutes jogging to increase body temperature—slow and easy.
Phase Two: Immediately after jogging, jumpers should perform a series of dynamic stretching exercises to reduce muscle stiffness. Although they can start with static stretches, ballistic stretches through a wide range of motion work best because they are closer to the jumper’s actual movements in competition; and research shows that static stretching exercises do not simulate rapid running movement and may actually cause a reduction in leg power.
Phase Three: The jumper progresses to 15-20 minutes of general and jump-specific drills. These drills put the finishing touches on the warm up and prepare the athlete for jump training or competition. Given the requirements for successful jumping (speed, strength, agility), the drills should include a few leg speed exercises that can easily be done with the sprinters. Typical leg speed warm up drills include series of 5-10 x 50 meter or 510 x 100 meter “acceleration stride throughs” where the jumper focuses on correct running technique and staying relaxed while maintaining a fast leg turnover. These should be done with rolling starts, where the jumper gradually picks up his pace after slow jogging for the first 10 meters. Each stride through should be a little faster than the previous one,
with the final one being at about 95% of top speed. If your jumpers complain that these accelerations are fatiguing them for the main work out, adjust the number of reps downward, so they will have plenty of energy left for their main workout. These drills could also include stationary pop-ups, where the jumper drives off his take-off leg, emphasizing knee lift and a tall body position. These can be over 30-50 meters, but no longer than this. Emphasize proper sprint mechanics and if the jumper is not mastering the drills at fast speeds, try them at a slower speed. Once the jumpers can handle these fast drills, you might consider giving them a series of general practice drills. Here are a few examples: sideways walking or running (aka carioca), quick foot turnover in ladders, cone running for agility, short high knee lift drills (walking or running), heel kick drills, forward lunge walking, calf walking, plyometrics, calisthenics like squat thrusts, and short uphill sprints, downhill sprints, and the like. It is not necessary to do all of these drills in every warm up—in fact it would be impossible! So just select a few different drills for each warm up to keep it varied, interesting, and fun. The number of repetitions of each of these drills will vary according to how long each drill takes and its complexity. Generally you would expect your jumpers to do 5-10 repetitions of each drill before moving on to the next one.
Phase Four: Jump-specific drills Follow these drills with several practice run-throughs and jumps. Start with standing long jumps and proceed to short approach drills using a 5,7, or 9step approach. Skipping, hopping and bounding drills are also excellent for jumpers. Single-leg hops also work well, but make sure you hop on both legs. Bounding drills too, are great. Triple jumpers should do alternate leg bounding. After these drills, the jumper is now ready for the main workout. Before competition, the jumper should do an abbreviated version of
this warm-up. Then all he needs to do is walk/jog to keep warm. The precompetition warm-up needs to be controlled and dampened down so that it does not deplete the jumper’s high-energy phosphates ATP and PC.
Final notes on the warm-up. If the temperature is very cold, a passive warm up, where external heating agents like hot tubs, hot water bottles, and hot showers are applied, can be highly effective, preceding the outdoor warm-up.
The cool-down The cool down is an often-neglected part of the workout and every bit as important as the warm-up. It consists of an abbreviated warm-up, i.e., an easy 5-10 minute jog followed by easy, slow static stretching. —Roy Stevenson
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Warming up/Cooling Down:
Start with 10-15 minutes of jogging – slow and easy -- to increase body temperature.
Phase Two: 10-15 minutes of dynamic stretching exercises to reduce muscle stiffness. Dynamic (also called ballistic) stretches, involving a wide range of motion, work best because they’re closer to the athlete’s actual movements in competition. Research indicates that static stretching exercises do not simulate rapid running movement and may actually cause a reduction in leg power.
Phase Three (for training): 10-15 minutes of general and event-specific drills, to prepare the athlete for the actual sprint training session. Typical drills include series of 5-10 x 50 meters or 5-10 x 100 meters “acceleration stride-throughs” where the sprinter focuses on correct running technique and staying relaxed while maintaining a fast leg turnover. These should be done with rolling starts, where the sprinter gradually picks up his pace after slow jogging for the first 10 meters. Each stride through should be a little faster than the previous one, with the final one being at about 95% of top speed. If your sprinters complain that these accelerations are fatiguing them for the main workout, adjust the number of reps downward. Follow the stride-throughs with general practice drills, such as sideways walking or running (aka carioca), backwards running, quick foot turnover in ladders and other ladder drills, cone run-
Phase Three (for racing): Start with a few (3-6) easy acceleration “stride throughs” over 50 meters (and no longer than this). Follow these accelerations with a few practice starts. This phase should finish 5 minutes before the race start Then all the runner needs to do till the start is walk/jog to keep warm. The pre-competition warm-up needs to be controlled so that it does not deplete the sprinter’s high-energy phosphates ATP and PC. Use one of your more skilled sprinters to demonstrate each drill to the rest of the sprinters before they try them. After the drills, the sprinter can then progress to practice starts, with a long recovery between each, and the main workout.
Final notes on the warm-up. If the temperature is very cold, a passive warm up, where external heating agents like hot tubs, hot water bottles, and hot showers are applied, can be highly effective, prior to going outside into an active warm up.
The cool-down. The cool-down is an oft-neglected part of the workout and every bit as important as the warm up. It consists of an abbreviated warm up. i.e. An easy 5-10 minute jog followed by static stretching. —Roy Stevenson
ning for agility, short high knee lift drills (walking or running), heel kick drills, forward lunge walking, side lunges, calf walking, skipping, practice starts out to 20 meters, hopping, bounding, plyometrics, calisthenics like squat thrusts, short uphill sprints, downhill sprints, et cetera. The coach should chose a few different drills for each warm-up session to keep it varied, interesting, and fun. The number of repetitions of each of these drills will vary according to how long each drill takes and its complexity. Generally you would expect your sprinters to do 5-10 repetitions of each drill before moving on to the next one. The drill phase of the sprinter’s warm up should take 10-15 minutes, and longer at the beginning of the season.
arming up prepares the sprinter’s muscles by increasing (1) the force of their contractions and (2) the rate of those contractions, giving the sprinter more power and speed. Warming up also helps nervous young athletes stabilize their adrenalin rush before competition, helping them better control their pre-event nervousness. Here’s a useful sequence sprinters can use when warming up for races and training sessions.
ES D A L B / M O C . KSWISS R NING RETAILE N U R L A C O L R
WALLACE SPEARMON JR. for Saucony 200 meter ace Wallace Spearmon Jr. comes by his speed naturally. His father, Wallace Sr., was a world-class 200 meter sprinter. But Wallace Jr. is something else. He’s the current U.S. 200 outdoor champion, and ranked #2 in the world by Track & Field News. In fact, since Spearmon went professional in 2005 after winning three NCAA 200 titles (including a stunning 20.10 American indoor record), he has always ranked in the top-4 in the world. He has run in the 19s every one of those six years, and his 19.65 PR makes him the fifth fastest 200 man of all time. He also medaled at 200m in the last three IAAF World Championships—Silver in 2005 and Bronze in 2007 and 2009. Oddly, in high school, Spearmon says track was his least favorite sport—after basketball, soccer and football—but once he settled on track he competed in the 100, 200, 400, 300 hurdles, high jump, long jump, triple jump, 4x100 and 4x400 relays, and the decathlon. Looking ahead, he says, “The next three years are going to be really special for me. But you can’t be thinking about the Olympics or the World Championships without first thinking about the Americans, because the U.S. is the toughest team to make.”
Photo: Victah, www.photorun.NET
THE KEY TO RUNNING THE 200 METERS From Wallace Spearmon Jr.
“You have to get faster, and to do that your core has to be strong. It’s especially important for exploding out of the blocks, and for running the turn. The core is not just your stomach—it also includes your hamstrings, your quads, your lower back, and your butt. For instance, you can’t keep an erect posture and run your fastest if your lower back isn’t really strong.”
FIND YOUR STRONG WITH THESE
1 2 3 4 5
STEPS TO A BETTER SPRINT START
Get comfortable in the blocks. The “set” position is awkward and stressful, and you have to hold it for as much as several seconds, so you should develop a style that feels as easy as you can make it. Get your coach to work with you until you’re both satisfied.
Don’t listen for the gun! Researchers have found that reacting to a sound stimulus (listening for the gun) takes an average of 0.225 seconds compared to only 0.120 seconds when concentrating on the action to be taken. So think about what you’re going to do when the gun goes off.
Concentrate on using your arms to get moving. When the gun goes off, start pumping those arms as vigorously as you can. The arm nearest your front block punches up and forward—hard! The other arm shoots backward—hard! This gets you into full running stride as quickly as possible.
Make that first step as long as you can. How? You push hard with both feet against the blocks, while pulling the rear leg through as forcefully as you can and lifting the knee as high as possible. Stay low, while continuing to lift the knees high, as long as you can.
Practice, practice, practice. Of course, you can’t work on everything at once. You have to drill, drill, drill on each action separately, then fit them into your start. Always practice your starts with a sound signal; if no gun is handy, a whistle or a handclap will do.
The Wall Drill: Mastering Rotational Control Helps Spinners Throw Farther by John Godina
Although this sounds like a simple movement, for most athletes, it is probably a first attempt at bridging the divide between rotational and linear movement. Some learning time is inevitable.
otational shot putters and discus throwers sometimes ﬁnd that the very rotation that makes their implements go farther often comes with its own set of problems. Rotating—spinning—is disorienting. It aﬀects the delicate balance mechanisms of the inner ear and confuses the thrower’s eyes. e athlete can lose track of where he or she is in the throw and end up ﬂailing in circles with no sense of direction. A simple drill—the Wall Drill—can correct the problem. It does so by creating rotational discipline for the athlete during the throw, helping to (1) create linear drive out of the back of the ring, and (2) lengthen the time the athlete has to generate power at the front of the ring. We’ll assume the athlete doing the Wall Drill is right-handed. 1. e athlete starts about 4' from the wall, facing away from the wall. 2. e athlete winds and rotates on the left leg and pushes oﬀ toward the wall just as in a regular throw. e athlete uses the wall as a visual guide to ﬁnd a disciplined stopping position, just short of the wall without touching it. 3. After pushing oﬀ the left leg toward the wall, the goal is to rise oﬀ the ground just enough to land on a ﬂat right foot with the knees already together when the right foot hits the ground. is is the only drill in the World rows Center Drill Progression where we want a ﬂat foot. 4. e real key to the drill, however, is what the upper body does, which is ... nothing. When the right foot lands with the knees together, the eyes, shoulders and palms of the hands should be facing the wall. e shoulders do not move from this position. If they turn past facing and parallel to the wall, then the drill was done incorrectly. e athlete should land with the upper body completely still.
5. Repeat the wall drill until mastered. en do it each day for about 8–10 repetitions during the oﬀseason. During season, use the wall drill if a little rotational control is needed. While this rotational control is important, don’t discount the need for linear balance as well. e athlete should be able to maintain all the above positions without actually touching the wall to stop either the linear force or the rotational force. Although this sounds like a simple movement, for most athletes, it is probably a ﬁrst attempt at bridging the divide between rotational and linear movement. Some learning time is inevitable. As the athlete gets better at the wall drill, he or she can perform more advanced versions. Try moving from 4' away from the wall back to 4½ or even 5'. After the athlete has mastered the drill with nothing in his or her hands, have the athlete try it while holding implements. Holding implements breaks a psychological barrier as the athlete gets slightly closer to the feel of a real throw. (Most athletes will revert to bad rotational habits as soon as they hold an implement.) When the athlete can perform a perfect wall drill with implement in hand, he or she is ready to explore this new rotational control and linear drive in a real throw!
John Godina is a three-time world champion and two-time Olympic medalist in the shot put and the best shot put–discus combination thrower in history. He founded and operates the John Godina World rows Center at Athletes’ Performance in Phoenix. Reach him at www.worldthrowscenter.com, www.athletesperformance.com or (480) 449-9000.
Preparing for the Championship Season
Early Season Accept whoever walks on to the team and is prepared to do the workouts. You never know who’s a diamond in the rough, and many a high school track coach has been pleasantly surprised by talented walk-ons.
The Preseason Meeting with Athletes: Setting Goals Set time and performance goals with your athletes at the beginning and middle of the season. You’ll be surprised at how many youngsters underestimate their talent and ability. Ask them what times they expect to reach by the end of the season and then compare them with their previous bests. Generally, it’s safe to shave several seconds from your distance runner’s expected times, because they frequently don’t realize how much they can improve over the course of one year with normal growth and the accompanying strength increase and consistent training. When your athletes achieve these goals, they’ll think you’re a magician, and you’ll see a whole new athlete grow as they develop confidence from their improvements.
Planning Your Lineups Avoid having athletes compete in more than two meets each week, and when possible, have athletes compete in just one event at each meet. This provides a good opportunity to put in your second string, or younger athletes in the midweek meets, so you can schedule your top line athletes for the bigger meets on Saturdays.
Before the Meet Cover the following items with your team: a plan for the upcoming meeting, decisions on specific race tactics, what to eat before the meet, what to wear, what to bring and when to THE BASIC be at the track.
Final Advice During the Meet Stay calm during the meets and celebrate every athlete’s success (or failure) with them as they finish. And always remember that you can change the race strategy with your athletes as things develop and change.
Put together your meet schedule.
When building your training plan and workout schedules, always work backward from the state championships to the first day of practice.
When planning your schedule, make sure the program alternates between easy and challenging meets.
Plan a hard day of training (racing counts as a hard day) followed by an easy day for recovery. A good rule of thumb is not to increase the athlete’s workloads more than 5% from week to week, and be cautious of increasing both volume and intensity of workouts in the same week.
Planning Your Season Schedules When planning your racing, tapering and training schedules for the season, bear in mind that you’re essentially preparing for two groups of athletes: those who are unlikely to qualify for the state meet, and those who will. The former should be tapering for the regional and conference meets, which are usually about 3 weeks earlier than the state meet. Generally the outdoor track and field season follows two distinct phases: the early outdoor phase where higher volume of training prevails, then gradually progressing into higher-intensity, lower-volume training. It’s important that you plan this gradual progression in the intensity and volume of your schedules—otherwise your athletes won’t continue to improve. Teenagers are
STEPS FOR PLANNING YOUR SEASON
Prepare for the season as far in advance as possible. If, during the meet, you find yourself being hijacked by parents, bogged down with travel plans, planning your lineups at the last minute and distracted by other “brushfires” to the extent that you aren’t spending time with the athletes and coaches, there’s probably much that you could have done in advance.
Getting Organized for the Season
remarkably resilient and as long as your schedules are realistic, and there’s balance between overload and recovery, they should continue to improve through the season. The trick is to avoid “rushing” your schedules with “panic” training, even when the team’s performances are sluggish at the beginning of the season. Watch for “injury outbreaks” because these are a good indicator of overtraining, and may be a signal that you need to cut back your training schedules. Schedules should be flexible enough to change depending on injuries, illness, or other situations that might crop up.
ith the track season looming, it’s time to review some of the things that the coach needs to do to be well prepared and to have his or her team peaking at the championships. Here are some important items you should consider.
Schedule the facility if it’s a home meet. Check and inventory all equipment and uniforms.
SHOE REVIEW SHOE REVIEWS: Neutral—20 • Performance—21 • Motion Stabilizing— 24
ll things are relative to their frame of reference. This A simplified explanation of relativity pairs well with a quote attributed to Albert Einstein, who had a passing acquaintance with the topic: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Our frame of reference, from a running perspective, was explained almost 225 years ago by Isaac Newton. Newton observed, theorized, and described gravitation and the three laws of motion (among many other things). Simply speaking, our frame of reference is about running on Earth, where the mass of the planet is greater than ours, so we are pulled toward it. We apply a force to the Earth and it gives back an equal force. In this Review, we’ve looked at and weartested shoes in the three basic categories of motion stabilizing, neutral cushioning, and faster-paced/performance
running. We describe their attributes and point out if and how the familiar has been changed, and we share some of our weartesters’ feedback. So whether you’re trying to find out what’s new, what’s changed, or what’s best for you, we’ve got you covered. As we’ve said many times before, knowledge is your best ally. To make good choices for you, you must know the shape of your feet and understand the way they move. If you don’t, you may find your local running specialty store to be a source of good advice and information. There are many shoes appropriate for your running, but if you know your foot shape, foot motion, and footstrike, you can focus on shoes that meet your needs, not someone else’s.
—Cregg Weinmann, Running Network Footwear Reviewer
RUNNING NETWORK LLC PARTNERS
WELCOME TO THE RUNNING NETWORK’S 2012 SPRING SHOE REVIEW
American Track & Field www.american-trackandfield.com
I just returned from the 2012 U.S. Open, an indoor track meet held in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Among the performances there were the fastest women’s 50 meters in 12 years (6.08 seconds, Veronica Campbell-Brown), the second-fastest men’s 50 meters ever (5.64 seconds, Asafa Powell), and a spirited battle over the mile between Silas Kiplagat and Bernard Lagat. Kiplagat prevailed, 4:00.65 to 4:00.92.
Athletes Only www.atf-athlete.com
Two weeks before, I witnessed the first Americans to make the 2012 Olympic team in our sport. Meb Keflezighi surprised everyone but himself and his coach, Bob Larsen, by running with Ryan Hall and Abdi Abdirahman for 23 miles, and then pulling away to win. On the women’s side, Shalane Flanagan and Desiree Davila dueled for 24 miles before Shalane gained some daylight. Kara Goucher held on for third, after being challenged by the surprising Amy Hastings, who finished fourth.
Austin Fit www.austinfitmagazine.com
Most of these athletes, as well as local road races and running events, are sponsored by the very companies featured in our 2012 Spring Shoe Review. While companies like adidas, ASICS, Brooks, Mizuno, New Balance, Nike, PUMA, and Saucony are major sponsors, all 44 brands we monitor put back into the sport that they market to—to the tune of over $100 million a year!
Coaching Athletics Quarterly www.coachingathleticsq.com
As you look over this Spring Shoe Review to determine what shoe you’ll run in over the next few months, we ask that you visit your local running store—that bastion of the running community—and support the brands that support your local running. And please, follow your local heroes in our sport. Several of them will be big surprises in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials for Track & Field in Eugene, Oregon June 22–July 2.
Get Active! www.healthclubs.com
See you on the roads and at the track!
Latinos Corriendo www.latinoscorriendo.com
Athletics (Canada) www.athleticsontario.ca
California Track & Running News www.caltrack.com Club Running www.rrca.org/publications/club-running
Colorado Runner www.coloradorunnermag.com
Greater Long Island Running Club’s Footnotes www.glirc.org
Marathon Guide www.marathonguide.com Michigan Runner www.michiganrunner.net
Larry Eder President, Running Network LLC
Missouri Runner & Triathlete www.morunandtri.com Running Journal & Racing South www.running.net
AWARD WINNERS BEST SHOE
RIN G 201
RIN G 201
BEST SHOE Motion Stabilizing SP
RIN G 201
RunMinnesota www.runmdra.org RUNOHIO www.runohio.com Track & Field News www.trackandfieldnews.com
adidas Supernova Glide 4
Mizuno Wave Elixir 7
Nike Lunar Eclipse+ 2
BEST NEW SHOE
USATF’s Fast Forward www.usatf.org USATF–New England’s Exchange Zone www.usatfne.org The Winged Foot www.nyac.org The Winged M www.themac.com
Brooks Pure Cadence
Saucony PowerGrid Hurricane 14
Scott MK 4
Youth Runner www.youthrunner.com
Reviewer: Cregg Weinmann Project Coordinator/Editor: Christine Johnson Designer: Kristen Cerer Proofreader: Marg Sumner, Red Ink Editorial Services Shoe Photography: Daniel Saldaña, Cregg Weinmann Advertising Sales: Running Network LLC, Larry Eder, President, 608.239.3785, email@example.com Publisher: Larry Eder, 608.239.3785 Website: www.runningnetwork.com For a Media Kit, please visit our website. This 2012 Spring Shoe Review is produced independently by Running Network LLC for its partner publications. All shoes reviewed were tested by experienced, competitive runners who were matched to the biomechanical purpose of each shoe model. Copyright © 2012 by Running Network LLC. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be stored, copied, or reprinted without prior written permission of Running Network LLC. Running Network LLC and its partner publications suggest that, as with all fitness activities, you meet with a healthcare professional before beginning or changing your fitness regimen.
22 | Running Network 2012 Spring Shoe Review
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NEUTRAL adidas Supernova Glide 4 BEST SHOE Neutral SP
RIN G 201
Always aimed at performance, the Supernova Glide 4 is a redesign that ups the ante. The upper returns to a breathable, engineered mesh unlike any used in previous versions; it’s supportive while flexible. The redesigned ankle collar adjusts to the heel shape, thanks to a healthy measure of memory foam. The lacing connects to the logo stripes for support, but is articulated at the bottom for better flexion. The midsole continues with the cushy feel, but achieves a better balance of resiliency and responsiveness in its ride. The forefoot’s blown rubber formulation has been thoroughly dialed-in, providing good traction and durability, and the adiWear heel is hardwearing. Performance is enhanced by a significant weight reduction, while maintaining the fit and ride expected in this series, and earning the Supernova Glide 4 honors as the Best Shoe in the Neutral category. “Fit well, was lightweight, and felt great while running. I wore them every day for the first week and put close to 60 miles on them, and they just keep going!” Updates the Supernova Glide 3 • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation • Sizes: Men 6.5–15,16,17,18,19,20; Women 4.5–14 • Weight: 12.2 oz. (men’s 11); 9.6 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved to curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board
Brooks Defyance 5
The Defyance 5 flirts with performance weights while delivering high-mileage protection. The switch to DNA cushioning, what appears to be a little less plastic in the shank, and a paring back of the overlays are responsible for the trim-down. The upper swings back to a more closely woven mesh, and the saddle features four elastic eyelets that flex with the foot, maintain secure lacing, and improve articulation since the eyelets are separated from each other. The midsole offers Brooks’ DNA for the first time here, smoothing the touchdown and transition of the foot throughout the stride, as well as improving the cushioning and responsiveness of the shoe. The outersole appears identical to Round 4, except for minor alterations in the heel. The Defyance remains reliably effective, so runners looking for performance in a neutral shoe should give it a serious look. “Quite snug and comfy. Immediate ‘soft’ feel, like slippers, but responsive while running. I think Brooks has come a long way and [it’s] done a great job designing a good, all-around, versatile shoe for the average person.” Updates the Defyance 4 • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15 (B,D,2E); Women 5–12,13 (2A,B,D) • Weight: 11.4 oz. (men’s 11); 8.9 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board
K-Swiss Blade Max Glide
The Blade Max Glide (and its fraternal twin, the Blade Max Stable) is new to the K-Swiss running line and is the first road outing for the Blade Max technology. The upper features a seamless interior thanks to no-sew panels at the heel, midfoot saddle, and toe-reinforcing upper; the rest is closed mesh. The midsole features K-Swiss’ new Blade Max configuration, doubled-up columns that attach to the blades, providing more cushion for larger runners than the earlier Blade-Lite set-up could handle. The outersole adds some carbon rubber to the high-wear areas of the heel and blown rubber to the medial forefoot, while the blades occupy the remainder. Overall, runners seeking a firm and responsive shoe will find it here; it’s a durable high-mileage choice for the neutral-footed. “Good fit with a comfortably plush feel. Pretty flexible and responsive ride. It’s a good shoe.” NEW • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics • Sizes: Men 6.5–13,14,15; Women 5–11,12 • Weight: 12.9 oz. (men’s 11); 10.1 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board
Mizuno Waverider 15
The Waverider has long been Mizuno’s premier neutral shoe. Round 15 features changes that are substantive and represent what’s shifting in the entire Mizuno line. The upper sports a few changes—the double-layer, uniform open airmesh is almost like last season’s—but now features a gauze-like mesh for extra support over the airmesh along the lateral vamp and into the medial arch. The lacing has been better articulated so the fit flexes with the foot better. The midsole foam has a smoother, more responsive feel, and the Wave plate has been adapted, resulting in a better overall footstrike. The outersole has the same basic set-up: unchanged in the heel, but the forefoot has realigned flex grooves and the hinge-like SmoothRide inserts have been added just behind the metatarsals for a more responsive feel. This update breathes new life into a dependable icon. “They fit comfortably, with very good toe room, and the cut for the ankle fits right. The bounce and flex make the shoe feel great for my long runs on the roads.” Updates the Waverider 14 • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16 (D,2E); Women 6–12 (2A,B,D) • Weight: 12.0 oz. (men’s size 11); 9.4 oz. (women’s size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted
New Balance 1080 v2
Last year’s category award winner has undergone significant change—it’s even better this time out. The ride and cushioning are about the same, but the shoe is more than 10% lighter. The upper has a similar two-layer mesh, pared back overlays that are welded where possible, and a new full rand, yet it’s actually more open and bends well where the foot flexes. The midsole has been reshaped, the rubbery crashpad inserts have been replaced with Abzorb so that it’s a little lighter weight without sacrificing cushioning, and a new, lightweight element called N2 sits under the heel to cushion the heelstrike and is responsible for much of the weight savings. The outersole sports significantly redesigned flex grooves and a rubber configuration that improves the forefoot feel. The Stability Web has been replaced with a torsional support called the T-Beam, which is smaller and lighter, yet as effective. The net effect of the new 1080 v2 is more performance. “Snug fit, quite comfortable. A little tighter in the toe box than I like—odd for NB—might need to go up half a size. The feel on the road is very cushy, but not mushy. They seem really pretty durable.” Updates the 1080 • Recommended for: medium-arched feet with neutral biomechanics • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15 (D,2E); Women 5–11,12 (2A,B,D) • Weight: 11.5 oz. (men’s 11); 9.0 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, polyurethane Strobel board
24 | Running Network 2012 Spring Shoe Review
PERFORMANCE adidas adiZero F50
The adiZero running line continues to broaden and now approaches a dozen shoes for faster-paced running. The F50 reaches Round 2 with both a new approach called Sprintframe and minor tweaks to the upper and midsole molding. The upper is a closed mesh with thin, no-sew overlays over the forefoot—only the toecap features any traditional stitching. The heel is supported by the Sprintframe, upswept arms of EVA that secure the midsole to the upper while offering a bit of extra support. The midsole is the effective adiPrene/adiPrene+ combo that has worked well for adidas. It also sports the ForMotion cassette that both stabilizes and cushions the ride without being overbearing. The outersole is almost a full-contact bottom, but for a small gap under the shank, shaving some weight without affecting support or traction. The result is a performance shoe that’s lightweight but substantial enough for daily training. “These have a very nice fit; not too snug (just right for me). A great, lightweight shoe for faster runs. Breathes well. Feels good. Good support and traction. I love them.” Updates the adiZero F50 • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation. • Sizes: Men 6.5–13,14,15; Women 5–12 • Weight: 10.3 oz. (men’s size 11); 9.0 oz. (women’s size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted
ASICS Gel-Noosa Tri 7
The Noosa comes to the U.S. market from the ASICS subsidiary in Australia. Its roots are in triathlon; it’s really a Gel DS-Trainer in disguise. The midsole is the same chassis as the DS-Trainer with its stable and nicely cushioned ride, along with its wellarticulated forefoot flexion. The balance between engineering and minimalism has extended here to the upper with a stretchy mesh and few overlays, but it’s still secure through the midfoot. It sports perhaps the loudest colorway seen since the ’90s. Another feature is a phosphorescent toecap that glows eerily in the dark. An elastic stretch lace (included) may be substituted for the traditional laces for rapid triathlon transitions and a snugger midfoot fit. The result is a shoe with excellent stability and cushioning that’s versatile enough for hard training miles and longer races. “They snug up around the feet and hug them nicely throughout the run. Very stable-feeling shoe. Whether running on the road or cruising the foothills, my feet were always nice and secure feeling.” Updates the Gel-Noosa Tri 6 • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–12,13,14; Women 6–11,12 • Weight: 11.6 oz. (men’s size 11); 9.1 oz. (women’s size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: combination Strobel-lasted, Solyte Strobel board (Solyte 55 heel, Solyte 45 forefoot)
Brooks Pure Cadence
The Pure Cadence is the most substantial of Brooks’ series of Pure shoes. Weighing in at a “whopping” 10.5 ounces, it’s not quite minimal but it’s definitely performance-oriented. The upper is supportive, featuring an elastic Navband that crosses the navicular bone supporting the fit and working with welded overlays to provide a smooth interior and good support. The midsole geometry features a 4-millimeter heel-to-toe drop and is designed to flex with the foot. Contoured pods on the perimeter of the outersole allow adjustments for pressure from the foot or the surface, and provide protection while keeping the weight down. The full outersole offers durable traction even though it’s thin, and features a split between the big toe and the others for better articulation at toe-off. The combination of lightness, low-profile geometry, and performance earned the Pure Cadence our Best New Shoe honors.
BEST NEW SHOE SPRING 2012
“Even though these shoes are very light, the reinforced toe doesn’t lay down across the front of my toes. The shoes have a roomy fit that gives my forefoot all the play it wants. The shoe snugs up around the instep nicely. Interesting how a minimal drop shoe feels more stable without a lot of support.” NEW • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics • Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–12 • Weight: 10.5 oz. (men’s 11); 8.4 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: slip-lasted
The Liede is the second running shoe to come to the U.S. market from Li-Ning. Very light, it borders on racing or minimalist, while meeting the performance and durability needs of runners looking for a shoe for faster-paced running. The upper is a gauzy mesh with film-like welded overlays; it wraps the foot securely, though it doesn’t offer much support. The midsole is a wellshaped, injection-molded EVA that’s flexible and well cushioned. It features a 6-millimeter heel-to-toe drop, making it more of a transitional shoe (moving from traditional drop to minimal), but with more of a distance racer’s feel. The outersole uses rubber only in the high-wear areas, and the flex grooves provide a feel for the road, allowing the foot mobility from heelstrike to toe-off. The bottom line? The Liede is a versatile shoe designed for faster-paced runs, whether racing or training to race. “Secure fit, but a ‘barely there’ feel. Pretty well cushioned and responds nicely, especially for a wispy shoe. I like its versatility.” NEW • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics • Sizes: Men 7.5–13; Women 6–11,12 • Weight: 7.1 oz. (men’s 11); 5.6 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board
Mizuno Wave Elixir 7
The Elixir has been an effective and consistent performance shoe. Like the other Mizuno shoes in this Review, the Elixir has undergone considerable change. The upper is open mesh with a wild, sublimated print that draws a fair share of attention. It’s not simply window dressing, just the beginning of the changes. The overlays have been designed in more of a saddle-like configuration, and it returns to a traditional lacing design that’s successful in its simplicity. The midsole benefits from the resilient Alpha Polymer and the redesigned Wave plate that work together to provide a smoother performance ride than earlier versions. The outersole continues with the durable X-10 carbon rubber heel and G3 forefoot, integrating effective traction and light weight. This combination of light weight, stability, and a responsive ride earned the Elixir honors as our Best Shoe in the Performance category. “Overall, an exceptional shoe. Durable, comfy, and supportive enough for daily use, yet light enough for those pickups and longer races. The only downside is the forefoot. I ended up with a few tender spots in the forefoot after running on gravel.” Updates the Wave Elixir 6 • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to mild overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 6–11 • Weight: 10.9 oz. (men’s 11); 9.1 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted
25 | Running Network 2012 Spring Shoe Review
BEST SHOE Performance SP
RIN G 201
PERFORMANCE New Balance 890 v2
When it was introduced last year, the 890 made a splash thanks to its innovative materials and serious performance. Round 2 presents a couple of refinements. The upper has subtle changes to maintain support without affecting fit: reshaped, no-sew overlays in the forefoot and welded saddle supports shave grams from an already-spare starting point. The gaps in the overlays at the throat allow better articulation with the foot as it moves and make the upper more flexible. The midsole geometry has been reworked by reducing the heel-to-toe drop slightly and resculpting the heel bevel for a smoother touchdown. The outersole sports more durable rubber in the forefoot, as the reshaped midsole encourages a fuller landing. The result is a peppy and durable high-mileage trainer that’s light, flexible, and versatile. “Very snug fitting, much like the previous model of the 890. I still really like the way they fit my feet, snugging up around the middle of the foot. Many of the lightweight training shoes I have tried have some sort of pressure spot somewhere in the upper, but these have absolutely none. Very comfy from heel to toe.” Updates the 890 • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15 (D,2E); Women 5–11,12 (2A,B,D) • Weight: 10.4 oz. (men’s 11); 8.1 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, PU Strobel board
Nike Zoom Elite+ 5
A brand new shoe, the Zoom Elite replaces the Lunar Elite. The midsole shifts back to the Cushlon-and-Zoom Air partnership favored by many fans of the original (the recent resurrection, not the late ’70s version, for those of you who go that far back!). This version is soft, yet provides a firmer and more responsive ride than did the Lunar Elite. The combinationlasted construction features a small fiber board to stabilize the heel and gets a big assist from the snug fit of the heel. The upper is a well-tailored, quasi-racer fit of open mesh with a minimal and newly developed system of midfoot straps that create a saddle-like framework that does an impressive job of securing the foot to the midsole. The outersole returns to the BRS 1000 heel with Duralon blown rubber in the forefoot. A lateral forefoot waffle tread provides additional cushioning, while medial waffles are more durable and provide a bite on softer surfaces. The effect is a reliable shoe for faster-paced runs. “They fit well, have a roomy toe box and tighten nicely around the middle of the foot. I’m not usually a Nike fan, but I liked this shoe. Comfortable ride and good cushioning, as well as stability. This is a good shoe.” Replaces the Lunar Elite+ 2 • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation • Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–12 • Weight: 11.3 oz. (men’s 11); 8.9 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: combination Strobel-lasted, fiberboard (heel), EVA Strobel board (forefoot)
Pearl Izumi Kissaki
The Kissaki takes its name from the business end of a Samurai sword. The implication is swift and agile which, not coincidentally, describes its performance. While similar in profile to the Streak and IsoTransition, Pearl’s competition offerings, here the cushioning inserts are larger, the midsole is more generous, and the addition of an EVA Strobel board add up to a comfortable shoe for up-tempo running. The outersole is durable enough for daily training, and segmented for excellent flexibility. The upper offers a close fit and seamless interior that’s kept lighter by the use of welded overlays and a medial wrap at the laces. The tongue is open only on the lateral side, which substantially shores up the foot. The Kissaki is a responsive, flexible shoe that wraps the foot securely for faster-paced runs and longer races. “These felt great the moment I put them on. I really liked the upper support for my feet. The stitched tongue gives it a secure, solid feel, while keeping things cool and dry ... no blisters or hot spots.” NEW • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics • Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 5–11,12 • Weight: 11.4 oz. (men’s 11); 8.9 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board
“Great fit, snug in the midfoot but with good room for my toes. Well-cushioned, but not too soft. Really love the ride.”
With the Charge RC, Under Armour moves in a new direction, or at least toward the fullfilment of promise. The upper trades on the compression fit Under Armour is known for, from earlier versions with a more run-of-the-mill close, stretchy fit. The upper design is split: The snug forefoot wraps from the arch to the fifth metatarsal and is overlapped by the rearfoot saddle that extends to the metatarsal heads, securing the shoe. The midsole is injection-molded EVA that provides consistent cushioning. A TPU plate adds a little flex and support to the shoe and stiffens it a bit. It also makes it more responsive in the larger sizes, though less so in the smaller sizes. The outersole is traditional carbon rubber in the heel and blown rubber in the forefoot, but it’s arranged in small pods to reduce the weight. This new direction is a positive step for Under Armour Running, and provides another quality performance shoe option. “Between the fit and the flex in the very front of the shoe, my forefoot is allowed to move in the way it wants, instead of how the shoe wants me to [move]. The ride is firm and it feels good.” NEW • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 5–10 • Weight: 10.4 oz. (men’s 11); 8.2 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted 26 | Running Network 2012 Spring Shoe Review
Under Armour Charge RC
Updates the MK 3 • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics • Sizes: Men 8–14; Women 6–11 • Weight: 9.6 oz. (men’s 11); 7.6 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved to curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted
Round 4 of Scott’s MK series (originally the Makani) has morphed into something different. The upper is open mesh over the toes and closed mesh on the saddle/rearfoot. The Ergologic Fit has been better integrated; here the gusseted forefoot and enshrouding saddle meet more cooperatively to wrap and secure the foot. The midsole foam, called Aero Foam, is completely new and resilient. Scott takes a new approach by combining the solidness underfoot with sidewalls molded into a matrix of deep grooves that resist compression without the deep flex grooves in the midsole. This allows both the necessary flex and full heel, while preserving the integrity of the lighter-weight foam longer. The midfoot is now supported solely by the carbon fiber shank, making the shoe purely neutral. The outersole is simplified: a thin carbon rubber throughout, grooved at heel and toe, textured for the traction regions, and pared away in the low-wear areas. It’s a durable and effective set-up. The combination of innovation, fit, and performance earned the MK4 honors as one of two Best Renovations in this Review.
Scott MK 4
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MOTION STABILIZING BrooksAdrenalineGTS12
Powered by gradual tweaks in fit, technologies, and materials, the Adrenaline has become the bestselling shoe in running specialty. Round 12 addresses the usual types of refinements that are made between technological jumps. The upper is slightly different with HF-welded overlays on the lateral side smoothing the interior. The stretchy saddle-like lateral overlays now feature stretch at the top and bottom and have been repositioned for a more conforming fit. The midsole has lost the plastic supports in favor of a reshaped sidewall and more specifically directed grooving in the crashpad. The forefoot features Flextra, a compound tailored to both gender and shoe size, to improve flexion and cushioning in the forefoot. All are positive changes for runners looking for stability and cushioning, and especially good news for Adrenaline GTS junkies. “Overall, they feel comfortable. Especially the fit—snug over the arch—and the mesh feels fresh while running. I also very much like the cushy feel and stability of the shoes.” Updates the Adrenaline GTS 11 • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15 (B,D,2E,4E); Women 5–12,13 (2A,B,D,EE) • Weight: 12.1 oz. (men’s 11); 9.3 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel combination-lasted, fiberboard (heel), S-257 Cushsole EVA Strobel board (forefoot)
Mizuno Wave Inspire 8
Round 8 sees the most significant changes to the Inspire yet. The breathable upper has overlays that are substantial at heel and toe, thin along the medial and lateral sides, with HF-welded overlays from heel counter to eyestay laterally with a stretchier material at the toes. The lacing set-up provides a little stretch and, since the upper group of eyelets flexes separately from the lower set, allows the foot controlled freedom. The midsole manages a softer touchdown with contouring, as Mizuno began rolling out last season. The asymmetrical Wave plate gets some tweaking to boost its effectiveness and perhaps lightens it up. The outersole features redesigned flex grooves, especially the hinge-like SmoothRide inserts in the forefoot, and the ride is a bit better. The fit and performance are the best assets of the Inspire, a franchise that continues to improve as it matures. “Very light shoes, especially great considering how much cushion and support they offer. This is my first time trying this brand, and I highly recommend Mizuno. I am converted.” Updates the Wave Inspire 7 • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to moderate overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16 (D,2E); Women 6–12 (2A,B,D) • Weight: 11.8 oz. (men’s 11); 9.0 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted
Nike Lunar Eclipse+ 2 BEST SHOE Motion Stabilizing SP
RIN G 201
Lunarlon’s introduction in 2008 launched a new line of Nike shoes; the Lunar Eclipse takes top billing for its plush reputation. In Round 2, the heel clip has been pared down; it still anchors the heel fit, but lightens things up a little. The midfoot adopts a self-adjusting framework of straps to secure the foot during motion, a task previously managed by Flywire. This new system is more effective. The closed mesh features no-sew overlays and has a soft, luxe feeling, even where the midfoot straps secure the foot. The unchanged midsole was well dialed-in with Round 1, as the Eclipse benefited from being a later arrival to the Lunar party. The outersole uses the same molding but now features “environmentally preferred” rubber, which is tough and good for traction. The combination of fit, stability, and plush feel earned the Lunar Eclipse 2 our award for Best Motion Stabilizing shoe. “Overall, a fun shoe to have on for a run. It transitions very smoothly from heel to forefoot for a quiet, gliding run. I run 250–300 miles per month. Minimal wear after 100 miles. Seems to be very durable.” Updates the Lunar Eclipse+ • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to moderate overpronation • Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–12 • Weight: 12.4 oz. (men’s 11); 9.6 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board
Puma Faas 800
The latest shoe in Puma’s Faas lineup, the Faas 800 provides stability through geometry. The midsole is shaped for full-ground contact to improve stability, while supportive molding in the medial sidewall retains integrity and durability. The midsole adds some stability with its canted shape (the medial side is just a bit taller than the lateral side), but the ride is still similar to the Faas 500 or 550. The upper is lightweight, featuring a supportive saddle of no-sew synthetic suede, and the form stripes are more prominent here, providing their support unobtrusively, but effectively. The outersole is minimal in design, with EverRide blown rubber in the forefoot and EverTrack carbon rubber in the heel, but only in the highest-wear areas. Though the 800 is on the heavy side, it’s still light for the amount of built-in stability, so it’s a more-than-fair trade-off. “Nice, light feel, fit securely. Good cushioning and stability, the way I like them.” NEW • Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to mild overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 6–12 • Weight: 11.6 oz. (men’s 11); 8.8 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board
Saucony PowerGrid Hurricane 14 BEST RENOVATION SPRING 2012
Spring 2012 ushers in significant changes to Saucony’s mainline shoes and the Hurricane features two such changes to its midsole. The first is a switch to PowerGrid foam, proven in the Cortana last fall. The second is the adoption of 8-millimeter geometry (the drop in height from heel-to-toe) allowing a more moderate footstrike, thought to improve running form and efficiency. Perhaps most impressive is that it’s at least 5% lighter. The upper adopts an articulated eyestay to wrap and move with the foot, thanks to the stretchy midfoot insert called SaucFit. The outersole features more surface contact yet has a reduced amount of rubber, and redesigned flex grooves improve flexibility and stability. The combination of stability and cushioning, lighter weight, and improved performance earned the Hurricane honors as one of two Best Renovations in this Review. “The Hurricane has been my shoe of choice for the last 5 years. This is a totally different shoe, but what a change. I love them! They are much lighter, but fit as well and have a cushier and more stable ride.” Updates the ProGrid Hurricane 13 • Recommended for: low- to medium-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15 (D,2E); Women 5–12 • Weight: 11.9 oz. (men’s 11); 9.3 oz. (women’s 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board
28 | Running Network 2012 Spring Shoe Review
Warming up/Cooling Down:
arming up for the throwing events has a similar goal to the sprinter’s warm-up. We want to increase the force of the thrower’s muscle contractions and speed up the muscle contraction rate, to maximize power and speed. The difference is that we are focusing on different muscle groups for the throws. The warm-up also helps your throwers stabilize their pre competition adrenalin rush, making them less nervous.
Here are some guidelines for warming up for the throws. Phase One: warm-up jogging. No matter how much your throwers dislike this, they need to do 5-10 minutes of jogging to warm up their muscle tissue and body temperature. The big difference between the track sprinters’ warm up jogging and thrower’s jogging is that the throwers will be a lot slower. If your throwers are too big to jog, you can have them do some stationary cycling, with fast bursts.
Phase Two: stretching exercises. Stretching should follow immediately after warm up jogging, before the muscles can cool down. Start with static stretching and proceed to dynamic, active stretches, focusing on upper body, shoulders, chest, arms, trunk and legs. Given the biomechanics of throws—that the thrower is trying to exert maximal force through a wide range of motion—your throwers should always be striving to improve their flexibility. The top throwers are highly flexible in the few movements that their event calls for. A lack of flexibility prevents many throwers from reaching their full potential, and because inflexible throwers are still throwing trying to throw through the full range of motion, they are more easily injured. U.S. Olympic javelin thrower Duncan Atwood recommends hanging from a bar or fence to improve flexibility in the scapula and torso. Three 20-second hanging sessions work fine. And javelin throwers can use the javelin as a stretching stick for a host of stretches.
Phase Three: accelerations and drills: All throws have an acceleration phase using the legs, so your throwers need some acceleration sprints, albeit over very short distances. These can range from 10-20 meters for shot and discus, to 20-40 meters for javelin throwers. Repetitions can number from 410. Allow good recovery between these drills. After acceleration drills, many coaches have their throwers do a series of general practice drills. With these drills, the coach is limited only by his imagination. Here are a few examples of general drills: sideways walking or running crossovers (without legs crossing over behind each other), backwards running, quick foot turnover in ladders and other ladder drills, cone running for agility, forward lunge walking, side lunges, calf walking, hopping, bounding, plyometrics, calisthenics like squat thrusts, and so on. The number of repetitions of each of these drills will vary according to how long each drill takes and its complexity. Generally you would expect your throwers to do 5-10 repetitions of each drill before moving on to the next one. Throwers should then proceed to more specific throwing drills using basketballs, weighted balls, medicine balls, kettle bells, the shot or discus. There are dozens of these drills available in coaching manuals, ranging from one armed throws to two arm throws, and many others. It’s not necessary to do all of these drills in every warm up—in fact it would be impossible! So just select a few different drills for each warm up to keep things interesting,. Use your more skilled athletes to demonstrate each drill to the rest of the throwers before they try them. The drills should eventually transition to the specific skills for each throwing, starting with movements that make up part of the whole throwing action, and then proceeding to the whole throwing movement. The total drill phase of the thrower’s warm up should take 15-
25 minutes, longer at the beginning of the season. Duncan Atwood describes this phase of the warm-up as “Trying to reacquaint the thrower with the neuromuscular movements that make up the throwing action, and what it feels like to do the event”. Simple actions such as standing throws help the thrower make this transition, followed by throws with a short run up, or in the case of shot and discus, reduced turns. “But” cautions Atwood, “the big mistake many high school athletes make in this phase is trying to throw too hard. Emphasize throwing far with the least effort possible”.
A final note: Before competition throwers should do not do as many drills or repetitions as before their track workouts. You are trying to do just enough drills to facilitate their neuromuscular coordination, without causing fatigue. Post competition, serious throwers will often have a moderate weightlifting session, then take the next day off, then throw fresh the following day, then lift or do drills after this. —Roy Stevenson
Who Should Throw the Javelin?
uccessful javelin throwing requires a unique type of athlete. Although you can get good local league results in the javelin from your shot and discus throwers based on their pure strength, they generally don’t have the leg speed and thoracic spine extension and flexibility to be successful javelin throwers at the top high school level. According to three-time U.S. javelin champion and two-time Olympic javelin thrower Duncan Atwood, you need a “a tall kid with good flexibility, especially in the upper body, and one who is willing to run.” When you look at the skills necessary for the javelin—namely throwing the spear while running—not many high school athletes have these prerequisites. Good javelin throwing is all about throwing the spear while you are at full gallop, to transfer the momentum into the throw. You might think that baseball pitchers would be ideal for throwing the javelin, but they are used to delivering the ball at a 10-degree downward angle off their rear foot, without a run up— not delivering a spear in a 35-degree upward angle in a linear path off the front foot, at a fast run. Says Atwood, “It’s difficult to convert a baseball pitcher to a javelin thrower because the two activities are so different. When you’re playing football and baseball, you’re releasing the ball from zero speed, but for the javelin to get high release speed at 20 to 30 meters/second, you have to preaccelerate your throwing arm by running.” There’s a legendary story about a high school coach in the late 1960s who recruited a kid who was throwing chunks of asphalt through a fourth-story window—and was apparently successful at it! The kid went on to be the first American to throw the javelin over 300". This somewhat wayward kid was doing perfect javelin training by imparting upward force without restricting, or “blanketing” the throw. So, look for an athlete who doesn’t have much throwing experience—this is actually a huge advantage (unless, of course, they can destroy fourth-floor windows with great vigor). In fact, some of the most successful javelin throwers come from a sport that doesn’t even use the upper body—soccer. Many successful javelin throwers are great soccer and
football kickers, because they have to learn how to run onto a “blocked” foot and work with momentum as they effect the kick. Look for the tall defender on your soccer team, with no throwing experience—but ask the soccer coach first if you can poach one of her or his defenders. Early weight-lifting experience is also a disadvantage to javelin throwers. Weight training is somewhat counterproductive to the javelin throwing action. With weights you are lifting heavy weights, slowly, through a limited range of motion or short distance. Throwing the javelin is quite the opposite—you are lifting a light weight, fast, through a full range of motion. Another thing the coach needs to look for in potential javelin throwers is an athlete who is prepared to do the work, often by her- or himself. They spend a lot of time walking up and down the field tossing the javelin. Thus, they have to have the mindset to think the event is interesting enough to value the effort they are putting in. Another thing to look for in potential javelin throwers is if they can do a handstand. Says Atwood, “The ability to do a handstand shows gymnastic ability, good spine extension, and demonstrates that they are able to do something scary.” He adds, “And girls who have grown too big to do gymnastics are ideal—they have an awareness of doing many movements through a great range.” Atwood stresses that “javelin throwers have to have a feel for the event right from the start.” This means they need good kinesthetic awareness of where their trunk, arm, legs and feet are, while they’re doing their run up, holding the javelin.” The current U.S. javelin prodigy, 6'5" Sam Crouser, threw the javelin 255' last year as a high school senior. He started throwing when he was 4 years old, so definitely had a feel for the event. In Finland, a country renowned for its superb legacy of javelin throwers, they start out throwing the javelin at age 7. Some final advice from Duncan Atwood for high school coaches: “Start the javelin throwers young, work on their flexibility, especially the thoracic spine, and develop their speed and strength later.”
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Published on Jun 1, 2012
Jean-Pierre Durrand, Photorun U.S. Postage Permit #50 Fort Atkinson, WI Spring 2012$5.95 Volume 19, Number 1 GREG NIXON ASICS ELITE SPRINTER...