Tag Archives: recovery run

New Newtons

16 Feb

I have a thing for Isaac Newton. It started in grad school when one of my professors  suggested that Newton was responsible for the form of modern drama we theater geeks refer to as social realism. Most folks in-the-know credit Henrik Ibsen as the father of social realism but it was Newton, my professor argued, who laid the foundation for the realist structure. Its heavy emphasis on logical causality and scientific reasoning are thanks to the Principia and specifically Newton’s third law. Without Newton, Ibsen may well have written nothing but pot-boiler melodramas: epic and episodic; full of coincidences; lyrical but lacking in thematic heft.

Thankfully, Newton was born. And not only because of his influence on the mind of a 19th century Norwegian playwright but also because of his influence on the feet of a 21st century American one. That’s me.

Today I bought my second pair of Newton Natural Running shoes. Here they are in all their glory:

My ladies Motus in “classic” color combination. They’re a little more subdued than my Terra Momentus (Montentuses? Momenti?):

I bought these back in November. I’d been running in Brooks and was pretty happy but increased mileage while training for my first half-marathon had blasted said shoes right to bits. Since everyone on my tri team is Newton-crazed, I decided to give them a chance.

If You’re Considering Switching to Newton Shoes Please Read the Next Paragraph.

Newton shoes require an adjustment period. Not to be confused with an Adjustment Bureau–Newton the scientist certainly would not abide by that ridiculous set-up. According to the Newton website, that adjustment period should begin very, very gently. You’re supposed to run no more than one or two miles in your shoes at first. Then every other day you increase your distance by ten minutes. And you should alternate between your old shoes and your flashy new Newton shoes frequently. The website explains why:

“Your connective tissue (muscle and tendon) and structure (the fine bones in your feet) need time to strengthen and adapt. Newtons allow your foot to feel the ground as if you were running barefoot. If you increase your running volume too quickly, you may experience calf tenderness.”

Tenderness indeed. I refer to what I endured during the first six weeks with my Newtons as “gravity calves.” This is an homage to Sir Isaac, no doubt, but also an apt description of what my legs felt like post-run: as though they were being dragged down to the earth’s molten core by unseen forces.

I was an ass. Don’t be like me.

Abide by the website’s logic, listen to your coach (especially if he is the brother of a Newton sales rep) when he tells you not to do any more than 20 minutes in your new sneakers and don’t race in them a week after the initial purchase. You may, as I did, feel AMAZING during your runs. You may feel like you’ve been born again. You may begin to delude yourself with dreams of an ultra in some far flung mountainous local. But you will probably, as I did, suffer for such dreams. And if you don’t, I hate you.

I think I have finally adjusted. I still like my Terras but they’re more of an all-terrain shoe and I really only run on one kind of terrain: hard, poured ground. I’m assuming it’s asphalt. I’m not the one to ask. And I’m built weird. I have flat feet but bowed legs so I don’t quite pronate like other flat-footed people. Still, there’s a flimsiness to my feet and ankles. My father blames it on the flamenco lessons I took when I was little. I blame it on my father and his genes. That leads me to blame Charles Darwin for making it possible for me to blame my father and his genes. And then I thank God for Sir Isaac. But then I get confused because Nietzsche killed God. And all of these guys influenced Ibsen so who really is the father of modern realism?!?

WHO CARES?!! What matters most is that I took the new Motus out for a spin today and they felt awesome. I felt awesome. Newtons have changed me. They were worth a month of suffering because running now feels like flying.  I switched to Newtons and now I’m running faster, recovering faster, and really enjoying my runs. Total cause and effect.


Recovery Monday Bars

13 Feb

Today is Monday. Monday is a recovery day. Now, before I go any further into what this particular Monday has looked like, I want to make sure we’re all up to speed on the lingo. Recovery does not mean that I am “off” or enjoying a day of “rest.” On off days, I don’t have a scheduled triathlon workout but I can take care of other stuff–like my job, my badly neglected social life, etc…I can do yoga, I can tootle around on my bike. On full rest days, I’m supposed to stay off my legs as much as possible. Full rest days normally come 48 hours before a race or 24 hours before a long training session, say a long run or a long bike or a long bike followed by a long run (a.k.a. a “brick.”)

On recovery days, I still have to run. In fact, the run that is scheduled on my Training Peaks (more on TP later) is referred to as a “recovery run.” The benefits of recovery runs are apparently hotly debated. I am learning that most techniques for effective endurance training are. Hotly debated, that is. There doesn’t seem to be any debate that recovery runs are good for the athlete, just a debate about why they are good.

I’ve been told that RRs get blood moving through the legs again after a long or hard training run the previous day and that promotes the clearance of lactic acid. This article I just found on Active, claims that the benefits are more about training the runner to run on fatigued legs. Whatever. It’s a win-win either way and I gotta do one regardless. Tonight.

I gotta recoverun (ya’ like that?) tonight because I didn’t get up and do it this morning because I really, really wanted–no, I needed–to sleep in.

Another translation: “sleep in” for triathletes means, “wake up a minute after sunrise.”

But I don’t mind running at night. And I actually look forward to Monday night recovery runs because a) they’re easy (depending on where I am in the training schedule, they can be anywhere from 30-45 minutes at a luxuriously slow pace in a luxuriously low HR zone) b) I normally do them with the group (although tonight, I have to go it alone a little on the early side so I can make 6:30PM yoga so I can get home and get to bed before 10PM so I can get up at 6AM tomorrow to get my swim in before the work day begins) and c) …wait, what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, Recovery Monday. Yoga has to happen on a Recovery Monday otherwise I won’t be able to get to class until WEDNESDAY! Oh, the humanity! Before I started participating in this ridiculous sport, I was doing yoga 4-5 days a week. Now, I’m lucky if I can get eight classes in a month. If I don’t practice 2 days a week, I find that my running suffers. My sleep suffers. My brain suffers. My mood suffers. My friends suffer. My students suffer. There’s a whole lot of unnecessary suffering.

Also on Recovery Mondays (“RM,”) I like to catch up on “life” stuff. As in, I do laundry, I grade, I prep for classes. I’m feeding my teammate’s dog this week so I did that on RM. I bought a new vacuum last week so today I took that little red devil for a spin around the old casa. I also went grocery shopping.

And the same thing happens that always happens: I go off-list for a second and suddenly find myself in the granola bar aisle. This happens constantly. I never buy anything but it has become a kind of grand dream that I will find a box of granola bars that does NOT list High Fructose Corn Syrup (or even SUGAR) as its first ingredient. And even grander still, is the dream in which I find said bars and they don’t cost $5.99 for six of them.

So I stood in the aisle and I picked up every box of granola bars on the shelf and I scrutinized the labels, trying to find ONE that had less than say, 10g of sugar per serving. I’m sure I looked like a right ass, studying a box of Fiber One bars like it was a Biology text and finally I was like, “I never studied for biology.” And I threw the box at the head of a woman standing next to me (no, I didn’t) and I ran home in a rage (no, I didn’t)  to make my own (yes, I did).

I’ve tried making protein bars and granola bars in the past and I’ve never had much success. But this batch, I think, might be a winner. I also decided to experiment with soy flour (since I never have before and it packs a mega protein punch). It’s working for me.

I can’t remember exactly what I did–silly me, I didn’t write anything down–but I think it was like 2 2/3 cups oats, 1 cup soy flour, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, a handful of dried cranberries, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1 cup canned pumpkin, like 1/4 cup blue agave nectar, some cinnamon and a twee pour of almond milk. Mixed it all together, baked it in a 9×9 pan at 375 for 25 minutes and voila. Here they be:

I kinda can’t stop eating them. But I will. I will freeze half the batch (individually wrapped) and throw them in my lunch sack when needed. Oh, I also made those muffins on the rack below. Here’s their Sears glamour shot:

These are old hat at this point. Couple mashed bananas, more canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices, white whole wheat (with some soy flour thrown in today), agave and almond milk. I make them all the time and freeze in pairs. I like to have one before a long bike. They’re totally vegan too. In fact, so are the bars!

But don’t worry. I roasted a chicken at the same time I was baking.  No pic of the chicken. That would be indecent. I will tear it apart and try not to think of it as it once was (alive) and use it in spicy chicken-vegetable hash and other such recipes this week.

So now that all that’s done, I can stuff myself into my “cold weather” running gear (it’s 60 degrees here today) and head out to recover.