Some cool men fitness images:
Image by timtak
1) Buy a bike and cycle, fast, and get fairly, medium-build, fit
2) Enroll in a fun run of your choice
3) Stretch your legs for about 15mins a week and a hour on the day using a hard stretch routine such as a karate warm up routine
4) Beat lots of runners in the fun run, and feel good about cycling some more.
5) Keep doing 1- 4 because your knees and achilles tendons won’t get worn out
You may have heard of "Chi-Running," ("A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running"). Forget it. Cyclo-Stretch Running (CSR) is a technique of running, fast, that cuts out the running almost entirely! Last weekend I recorded a personal best 10km run of 41 minutes 29 seconds without having run more than once in the previous year. At my age level (48) 41:29 is pretty fast, so I felt I should share the good news.
Taking part in a local fun run is motivating. A lot of people take up running precisely because they can take part in a local ‘marathon’ or shorter event. Hundreds of people turn up, so you can be confident of running with other people. You will feel the competitive heat, and enjoy the adrenalin rush whether you run 10k in sub 40 minutes (as serious runners do) or take more than one hour. With all those people running, there will be plenty of supporters and even, or especially, the person coming in last will get a cheer.
The problem is that running, especially on a road, is hard on the legs, especially the Achilles tendons and knees. It is okay if you are as thin as a runner, but if you work in an office the chances are you are not built like Mo Farah or Martin Rees.
This means that carrying on a "normal," fairly sedentary 21st century lifestyle and taking part in fun-runs, in the plural, is quite difficult. Sooner or later you are going to get injured. And a lot of us, give up.
Enter the bike. Bicycle technology is just amazing these days. You can buy a performance bicycle weighing less than 9Kg for 00 or1500 Euros. That is some serious money, but it is a price that a lot of 40 somethings can afford, when their health is on the line. If you like you can think of the bike, as an ultra-high tech, and really expensive pair of running shoes. Costing between 10 and 20 times the price of running shoes, your bike will not just ‘reduce the stress of impact with the road’, but remove it completely. If the bike is made out of carbon fibre (as the Azzurri above) then it will smooth out even minor surface irregularities allowing you to glide along really fast, like you are sprinting in mid air. You will burn off the calories and flab in a flash. Cyclists do not pound the pavement, but the raise their pulse just as much, if not more than, runners. I chase cars. If you can avoid road accidents, cycling is as easy on the body as swimming. I lost 8Kg after taking up cycling and became, at the end of the summers, almost svelte.
But what about competition cycling? Here lies the problem with cycling. Competition cycling appears to me to be more than a little fraught. There are not so many "time trial" competitions where cyclists set off at intervals and cycle on their own. Most cycle races consist of a group of cyclists riding in a formation or ‘peleton’. The ability to ‘draft,’ or use the slipstream of, riders around you means that average speeds can be in excess of 35km an hour, and that includes the corners. Cornering in a formation of hot and competitive 40 something year olds is not for the faint-hearted. The sort of injuries that can be sustained in a bike race make chilblains of runners knees.
So what do you do? The no-brain answer is to cycle to keep fit, and fairly thin, by non-competitive cycling, on your own or with friends, to places you like, or on your commute, and then to take part in the occasional competitive fun run to give yourself a goal, and to prove to your spouse that all that cash spent on the latest bike equipment is money well spent.
This may seem all very well in no-brain theory but in practice there is a problem. Precisely because running is so bad for the legs, it becomes difficult to compete with runners who are either super thin, or used to the pounding their feet onto hard surfaces. You know you want to compete with runners, but at the same time you don’t want to be quite so self-destructive.
I found that after a couple of years on my bike, I could compete with runners coming in somewhere near the top 10-20% of older men but my legs would be like logs for days after a race. I took part in a 20K race and my legs turned to logs or like, stilts during the race. I was almost bedridden the following day. All to be expected, since cyclists probably do deserve legs of death, if they compete with runners, because they have not done the training suitable to the task.
Enter karate warm up stretching. The most important two things about about running fast is being fit and thin, or thin and fit. The third most important thing is being supple. If you don’t have the suppleness in your tendons your legs are going to turn to stone. Runners’ legs are supple, since not only have they warmed-up and stretched, but also they have practiced bashing their feet on tarmac over and over again. You do not need to do this. There is an easier, dare I say ‘more intelligent’, way.
I found that if I do leg stretching such as typical of karate warm-up exercises (see videos) not only before the fun run race but regularly, then this provides the suppleness that allows me to use my cyclists legs and cardiac fitness to compete with runners. Karate stretching is not the only stretch routine that would do the trick. But since karate involves a lot of high kicking, all karate practice starts with about 15 minutes of stretching pretty much all of the tendons in the legs.
It is not as if runners have special muscles. A lot of them have have legs that are so thin that they appear to have few muscles at all. Again it is not as if running is rocket science. One can impersonate a good runner’s, short, low, high-cadence, stride-style just by turning up and mimicking a runner on the day. Of course, if you do do a little bit of running (not enough to hurt yourself) before the race, or every month or two, then that will also help.
I have only just taken up (karate) stretching and I am still very stiff. If I continue with this stretching, and I am right about the theory, then by this time next year my legs will be as supple as a runners, and it seems to me that cycling gives me cardio-fitness to spare. Will I be able to make sub 40 minutes by the time I am fifty, running only yearly on race days? It is going to be exciting to find out.
1) I did run quite a lot, non-competitively, jogging to stay fit, till my late thirties. The above is not recommended to those that have never done any running.
2) I may have a big heart, or for reasons unknown, I have a low rest-state pulse rate, typically about 50 beats per minute when I am sitting down.
3) That said, I don’t think this about me. I cycle 6 hours or 160 km or so a week (mainly commuting). Cyclists that do distance this are generally fit and not overweight. My minor peculiarity is that I want to run, have run, do run, and also do the stretching too.
4) Cycling is not recommended to those that live in large cities. Cars may break your legs faster than running will. I do not live in a large city.
5) My legs do hurt today, two days after my 10k. I am not saying that karate stretching is going to make you float around the course. However, I have only done karate stretching about 10 times, for all of 2 and a half hours. I think that if I do continue with it, I will get a lot more supple.
6) Stretching is no fun at all. It is only because I have been accompanying my seven year old son to karate practice that, rather than just sitting and watching, I have had the motivation to join in the karate stretch routine. Without this motivational factor – my son’s karate practice – I think I would have found it very difficult to keep doing even only 15 minutes of stretching a week, weak willed person that I am.
7) It still remains to be seen whether I can really improve my running times simply by cycling and stretching. I will report back.
8) On the plus side (of CSR) while I was running two days ago, I did also do it in a sort of karate style! The karate instructor tells us to stand with knees bent, low waist and straight backed, on the balls of our feet. I felt as I was running, that I was sort of mimicking not only the runners but also karate stance, cushioning my foot-falls as a ran. In other words, I may have been really "karate-running", not just cyclo–stretch-running.
9) There is a new option now to make competitive cycling less fraught (but still dangerous): asynchronous competitive cycling as facilitated by Strava and in real-time against "ghosts" with GhostRider. BE CAREFUL.
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Runners set records in 25th Army Ten-Miler 091005
Image by familymwr
PHOTO CAPTION: Three-time Army Ten-Miler champion Maj. Dan Browne of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program finishes third in the silver anniversary running of the race with a time of 47 minutes, 49 seconds on Oct. 4 at the Pentagon. (Photo by Tim Hipps, FMWRC Public Affairs)
Runners set records in 25th Army Ten-Miler 091005
By Tim Hipps
FMWRC Public Affairs
ARLINGTON, Va. – The silver anniversary running of the Army Ten-Miler produced record times in the men’s and women’s divisions. The event also featured the highest number of registered runners in the history of America’s largest 10-mile road race.
Ethiopian Alene Reta, 27, won the race around Washington’s monuments in 46 minutes, 59 seconds – 33 seconds faster than the record established in 2004 by three-time race champion Maj. Dan Browne, who finished third Sunday with a time of 47:49 while competing for the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program.
“My plan was to break the course record, and I did,” said Reta, a 27-year-old who lives in Manhattan, N.Y. “After three miles, nobody was coming, and I went to my pace and kept it.”
Samia Akbar, 27, a 2003 graduate of American University who lives in Herndon, Va., won the women’s race with a time of 55:25 – 55 seconds quicker than the mark set in 1995 by Susan Molloy of Charlottesville, Va.
“It means a lot because I went after it the last time I ran this race and now it really feels good to have it,” Akbar said. “I’m an elite runner. I run races all the time against some of the best women in the world and in the country. It’s not often that you can get a win and break a course record, so this does a lot for my confidence and my own well-being as a person.
“This is a really special race because Army and military people come from all over the world to participate in this, so it means the world. The last time I ran this race they had a bomb scare and nobody’s time counted. I remember talking to Soldiers that had come from Afghanistan for only a few days and their times didn’t count and my heart really went out to them, so I feel like today that win was not only just for my own personal satisfaction but also big cheers for things not working out before and things going so well today.”
Akbar was referring to the 2007 event, where the runners’ times were disqualified because of a suspicious package that shortened the course.
“I was really close to breaking the course record then,” she said, “so I was really pleased to do that today.”
An event record of 30,000 people registered for the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation race in a span of six days, and 21,256 runners and wheelchair athletes completed the 10-mile course that started and ended at the Pentagon.
“The night before, (race director) Jim (Vandak) told me that some Ethiopians were coming so I knew we were going to have an honest pace,” said Browne, 35, who competed in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. “It was fast, but I was confident in my fitness. It definitely pushed me. It was one of those races where I knew I was in for a hard effort the whole way.”
Reta was waiting for the challenge.
“From miles three to four, I pushed for a mile,” Reta said. “And from five to six, I pushed again, and nobody was there. I kept thinking somebody would come, but after three miles, nobody came.”
“He just never let up,” Browne said. “He was pushing and pushing. I raced him at the Monument Avenue 10K in March, and I think he came in one or two places ahead of me there, so I knew he was a tough runner.
“At the same time, I knew he was going at such a pace that if he faltered at all, I was going to be right on him. But he never really even faltered until maybe like the eight or nine-mile mark. Maybe he slowed down just a little bit.”
Reta said he slowed down a tad during the eighth mile, but that’s also where Browne slowed and dropped from 25 to 70 meters behind the leader while running along Constitution Avenue.
“Exactly,” Browne said. “That’s when I slowed down, too, so it’s just one of those things. It’s not like in a marathon where you settle into a pace. These guys were on edge the whole way. It probably was over my edge a little bit trying to stay with him.
“There were times when I sped up to like a 4:35 mile and maybe caught up a little bit of ground, but you almost can’t go faster than that. I never gave up the chase, but ultimately I succumbed to the pace a little bit. …
Especially through the 5-mile mark, I was thinking that I was going to slowly reel him in – but he never came back. He just kept pressing.”
Second-place finisher Tesfaye Girma (47:20), another Ethiopian living in New York City, passed Browne during the final two miles as they crossed the 14th Street Bridge.
“Around three or four miles, my hip started to hurt,” Girma said. “I felt better toward the end and was able to get second place. If the race was longer, I might have been able to finish first.”
The Ethiopian elite runners were sponsored for the race by ICX Technologies, based in Crystal City, Va. The Brazilian Army defeated the U.S. Army for the elite team title.
“You’ve got to compete nowadays because people just run their guts out,” Browne said. “There are not many races that I run anymore where people just kind of deke around for a while. Most of the U.S.
Championships and everything I run, it’s just like ‘boom’ right from the gun. It’s more competitive now than when I was in my early 20s. But luckily, I’m still running strong.”
Katie Read of Arlington finished second in the women’s race with a time of 56:39, and was followed by Muluye Gurma (57:20), an Ethiopian living in Silver Spring, Md., Costa Rican Gabriela Trana (58:56) and former WCAP marathoner Capt. Emily Potter (59:47) of the U.S. Army Team.
“I didn’t know what to expect because I just got back from a year in Kuwait in July,” said Potter, a United States Military Academy graduate who has applied to re-enter WCAP. “I’ve been working to get back into race shape. … I’m doing the Marine Corps Marathon in three weeks so this was a great tune-up for that. I’m naturally better suited for the marathon.”
Browne, whose goal is to make the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team, plans to make his next strong, competitive run Nov. 1 at the New York City Marathon.
“Sometimes it’s good to have a race that keeps you fired up before your big competition,” he said. “Runners don’t run their best by resting on their laurels. They run their best when they’re fired up and hungry and motivated, so maybe this will be a good thing for New York. … This race showed me that I still have speed in my legs and I’m doing the right training.”
Browne, a 14-time U.S. national road-racing champion at various distances, re-entered WCAP last November and was the first American finisher (24th place overall) at the IAAF World Marathon Championships with a time of 2 hours, 16 minutes, 49 seconds in Berlin on Aug. 22.
“Overall, my racing is going very well,” he said. “To be able to run a 47-minute 10-mile a month after a marathon is a tough effort. When I was a lot younger, I came back from the world (marathon) championships and ran 49 minutes here, so things are going in the right direction.
“I feel like this is my home,” Browne said of returning from Team Nike to WCAP and working out at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. “This is where I’m supposed to be right now and I want to finish this thing well. I want to make this (Olympic) team for the Army and for everyone out there who’s sacrificing. To me, I wouldn’t choose another home.”
Browne, 35, who missed the past four editions of the Army Ten-Miler, said he also felt back at home while running the race.
“I love it,” he said. “I got to see a lot of West Point classmates and a lot of different people. It’s funny; the Army really is relatively a very small community for having a million people. This is the most people I’ve ever seen at the Army Ten-Miler and it’s just really exciting to see the event grow. I’ll come back and run strong again.
“I think about those guys overseas lots of times while I’m running and working hard. They’re sacrificing for us, so my heart goes out to them when I’m out there racing.”
Image by A&A Photography Services
Fitness shoot I did at Club Metro USA, in Toms River NJ. More pictures to follow!
Strobist info: two sb-700’s in 24" soft boxex right and left of the person about 2 feet higher than him pointing down on top of him.flash triggers: were neweer flash trigger’s they’re (very unstable with poor mounts they work but i wouldnt recommend them, they were only 20 dollars)
Here’s a picture of the basic set up: Set up Link