I’ve mentioned before that I have been doing weight training at El Jefe as part of my marathon training. I go to the power lifting class lead by coach Vinny on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Yesterday, along with most Tuesdays, was a squat workout. In the middle of one of my sets Coach Vinny walks over and watches me as he does with everyone.
Usually after watching for a little bit Coach Vinny will tell a person what they are doing wrong, how to correct it and what they are doing that looks good. I wasn’t ready for what he told me.
“You squat like an Asian!”
WHAT?!? I don’t even know what that means.
He assured me that it wasn’t a bad thing and that he in fact liked it. Still this has had me perplexed since he said it. What am I doing differently than everyone else? This is where the internet comes in.
The Parallel (Western) squat:
This is what most of use in the US and non-Asian countries do. Definitions vary but generally it involves either the femur being parallel to the floor or the hip joint getting to just below the knee. Kinda like siting down in a chair but without the chair.
The Deep (Asian) squat:
This involves the butt getting as close to the floor as possible. Its a triple flexion movement, involving bending at the ankles, knees and hips. Folding everything up underneath yourself. Ultimately, it comes down to ankle flexibility. If you have flexible ankle you have a shot at it. Its VERY common in Asian countries. And having spent some time in Japan I can attest to that. Its the default resting position over there. According to Dr. Philip Maffetone in his book The Endurance Handbook, it is a more natural position and less stress inducing than sitting in a chair.
So, sounds to me like its a good thing its quite possibly the only time I’ve been accused of being flexible. Dr. Maffetone did observe that the ability to comfortable deep squat is more prevalent in endurance athletes. Maybe that means I’m approaching that level.
Speaking of endurance, how’s that for a segue, I went on a 16.5 mile run the other day. the schedule called for an 18 mile run but it was hot, I was hungry and I had an appointment coming up that I needed to get cleaned up for.
I was pretty concerned at the beginning since my knee had been sore for a couple of days. But coach V wouldn’t let me out of the run so I thought I would give it a try.
The first 2 miles were pure agony. I couldn’t get comfortable in my gait. there was pain in my knee every time my foot hit the ground. I tried to change my foot strike to no avail. Lengthened my gait, shortened my gait, over exaggerated my knee movement, minimized its movement. Nothing helped!
Then just after the 2 mile mark when I was about to tap out for the day. It cleared. Suddenly there was no pain anywhere. I have no idea what happened but I rode that wave through mile 6. Felt like I could go forever. Coach V and I stopped by home at mile 7 so I could use the restroom. She was starting to get some pain from being on the bike for that long, probably had something to do with being 19 weeks pregnant, so she stayed home and I continued on.
Took about a mile to find the groove again but I found it. I coasted to mile 12 and then mile legs started screaming at me. Just little short pains at first. A minor spasm here, the precursor to a cramp there…just enough to interrupt my stride. So I had to start walking more and drinking my water and the new Gatorade Endurance that coach V got me. In total it took my 3:31 to go 16.5 miles. That averages to 12:50 min miles but it was the last 4 miles that really brought that average down.
And on another topic….
Sorry couldn’t come up with a natural segue so that will have to do.
I finally found a gel that doesn’t make me wretch as some as it gets to my lips. Hammer Gel. Fueling during long runs is important and having a strategy to fuel is equal critical. So, following the guideline in Marathoning for Mortals I am taking in about 100 calories every hour on the half hour. Originally, I planned on doing this with just Gatorade chews since every gel I had tried to that point didn’t sit well with my stomach or sense of taste.
I got a couple of Hammer gels in a race swag bag and thought, “for free I’ll try it”. I actually like them alot.
So…with the impending long runs and marathon soon to come I went to their website (https://www.hammernutrition.com) and ordered a sampler pack with different flavors of gels. 14 in total. I thought it would be goo to try several different ones so I can decide what I like and don’t from a taste perspective.
This is what I expected to get:
This is what I received:
Since I’m a new customer they sent me a welcome packet at no charge. I’m seriously impressed. This is bunch of stuff when all you are expecting is some gels. I am still working on how I want to start incorporating some of it into my running routine being so close to the Marathon I may wait until after to start trying things. But, I’m really looking forward to seeing if it helps with the post marathon and 15k trail run recovery. I’m very impressed with this company so far and a lot of the literature they sent about the products lines up with the research I’ve been doing on endurance running nutrition.
OK, so, that was a lot of post. I’m getting in new shoes tonight and can’t wait to try them out and then another pair of shoes on Friday. That’s a story for another time.
So, tonight will be a run, not sure how far I’ll go but I’ll let y’all know! Until then….C-YA!