Read This Article on Shoes, Feet and Running

I posted this article instead of linking to it because some people were having a difficult time getting to it (sorry). This article was linked on the Pasadena Triathlon Club members forum and started invoking quite a few responses. I really like it and I talk a lot about many of its points in my ChiRunning® lessons, in my yoga classes and the importance of massage. I will be commenting on it over the next few days. now check it out.

The painful truth about trainers: Are running shoes a waste of money?

Thrust enhancers, roll bars, microchips…the $20 billion running – shoe industry wants us to believe that the latest technologies will cushion every stride. Yet in this extract from his controversial new book, Christopher McDougall claims that injury rates for runners are actually on the rise, that everything we’ve been told about running shoes is wrong – and that it might even be better to go barefoot…


Last updated at 8:01 PM on 19th April 2009
The painful truth about trainers

Every year, anywhere from 65 to 80 per cent of all runners suffer an injury. No matter who you are, no matter how much you run, your odds of getting hurt are the same

At Stanford University, California, two sales representatives from Nike were watching the athletics team practise. Part of their job was to gather feedback from the company’s sponsored runners about which shoes they preferred.

Unfortunately, it was proving difficult that day as the runners all seemed to prefer… nothing.

‘Didn’t we send you enough shoes?’ they asked head coach Vin Lananna. They had, he was just refusing to use them.

‘I can’t prove this,’ the well-respected coach told them.

‘But I believe that when my runners train barefoot they run faster and suffer fewer injuries.’

Nike sponsored the Stanford team as they were the best of the very best. Needless to say, the reps were a little disturbed to hear that Lananna felt the best shoes they had to offer them were not as good as no shoes at all.

When I was told this anecdote it came as no surprise. I’d spent years struggling with a variety of running-related injuries, each time trading up to more expensive shoes, which seemed to make no difference. I’d lost count of the amount of money I’d handed over at shops and sports-injury clinics – eventually ending with advice from my doctor to give it up and ‘buy a bike’.

And I wasn’t on my own. Every year, anywhere from 65 to 80 per cent of all runners suffer an injury. No matter who you are, no matter how much you run, your odds of getting hurt are the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, fast or slow, pudgy or taut as a racehorse, your feet are still in the danger zone.

But why? How come Roger Bannister could charge out of his Oxford lab every day, pound around a hard cinder track in thin leather slippers, not only getting faster but never getting hurt, and set a record before lunch?

Tarahumara runner Arnulfo Quimare runs alongside ultra-runner Scott Jurek in Mexico's Copper Canyons

Tarahumara runner Arnulfo Quimare runs alongside ultra-runner Scott Jurek in Mexico’s Copper Canyons

Then there’s the secretive Tarahumara tribe, the best long-distance runners in the world. These are a people who live in basic conditions in Mexico, often in caves without running water, and run with only strips of old tyre or leather thongs strapped to the bottom of their feet. They are virtually barefoot.

Come race day, the Tarahumara don’t train. They don’t stretch or warm up. They just stroll to the starting line, laughing and bantering, and then go for it, ultra-running for two full days, sometimes covering over 300 miles, non-stop. For the fun of it. One of them recently came first in a prestigious 100-mile race wearing nothing but a toga and sandals. He was 57 years old.

When it comes to preparation, the Tarahumara prefer more of a Mardi Gras approach. In terms of diet, lifestyle and training technique, they’re a track coach’s nightmare. They drink like New Year’s Eve is a weekly event, tossing back enough corn-based beer and homemade tequila brewed from rattlesnake corpses to floor an army.

Unlike their Western counterparts, the Tarahumara don’t replenish their bodies with electrolyte-rich sports drinks. They don’t rebuild between workouts with protein bars; in fact, they barely eat any protein at all, living on little more than ground corn spiced up by their favourite delicacy, barbecued mouse.

How come they’re not crippled?

Modern running shoes on sale

Modern running shoes on sale

I’ve watched them climb sheer cliffs with no visible support on nothing more than an hour’s sleep and a stomach full of pinto beans. It’s as if a clerical error entered the stats in the wrong columns. Shouldn’t we, the ones with state-of-the-art running shoes and custom-made orthotics, have the zero casualty rate, and the Tarahumara, who run far more, on far rockier terrain, in shoes that barely qualify as shoes, be constantly hospitalised?

The answer, I discovered, will make for unpalatable reading for the $20 billion trainer-manufacturing industry. It could also change runners’ lives forever.

Dr Daniel Lieberman, professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University, has been studying the growing injury crisis in the developed world for some time and has come to a startling conclusion: ‘A lot of foot and knee injuries currently plaguing us are caused by people running with shoes that actually make our feet weak, cause us to over-pronate (ankle rotation) and give us knee problems.

‘Until 1972, when the modern athletic shoe was invented, people ran in very thin-soled shoes, had strong feet and had a much lower incidence of knee injuries.’

Lieberman also believes that if modern trainers never existed more people would be running. And if more people ran, fewer would be suffering from heart disease, hypertension, blocked arteries, diabetes, and most other deadly ailments of the Western world.

‘Humans need aerobic exercise in order to stay healthy,’ says Lieberman. ‘If there’s any magic bullet to make human beings healthy, it’s to run.’

The modern running shoe was essentially invented by Nike. The company was founded in the Seventies by Phil Knight, a University of Oregon runner, and Bill Bowerman, the University of Oregon coach.

Before these two men got together, the modern running shoe as we know it didn’t exist. Runners from Jesse Owens through to Roger Bannister all ran with backs straight, knees bent, feet scratching back under their hips. They had no choice: their only shock absorption came from the compression of their legs and their thick pad of midfoot fat. Thumping down on their heels was not an option.

Despite all their marketing suggestions to the contrary, no manufacturer has ever invented a shoe that is any help at all in injury prevention

Bowerman didn’t actually do much running. He only started to jog a little at the age of 50, after spending time in New Zealand with Arthur Lydiard, the father of fitness running and the most influential distance-running coach of all time. Bowerman came home a convert, and in 1966 wrote a best-selling book whose title introduced a new word and obsession to the fitness-aware public: Jogging.

In between writing and coaching, Bowerman came up with the idea of sticking a hunk of rubber under the heel of his pumps. It was, he said, to stop the feet tiring and give them an edge. With the heel raised, he reasoned, gravity would push them forward ahead of the next man. Bowerman called Nike’s first shoe the Cortez – after the conquistador who plundered the New World for gold and unleashed a horrific smallpox epidemic.

It is an irony not wasted on his detractors. In essence, he had created a market for a product and then created the product itself.

‘It’s genius, the kind of stuff they study in business schools,’ one commentator said.

Bowerman’s partner, Knight, set up a manufacturing deal in Japan and was soon selling shoes faster than they could come off the assembly line.

‘With the Cortez’s cushioning, we were in a monopoly position probably into the Olympic year, 1972,’ Knight said.

The rest is history.

The company’s annual turnover is now in excess of $17 billion and it has a major market share in over 160 countries.

Since then, running-shoe companies have had more than 30 years to perfect their designs so, logically, the injury rate must be in freefall by now.

After all, Adidas has come up with a $250 shoe with a microprocessor in the sole that instantly adjusts cushioning for every stride. Asics spent $3 million and eight years (three more years than it took to create the first atomic bomb) to invent the Kinsei, a shoe that boasts ‘multi-angled forefoot gel pods’, and a ‘midfoot thrust enhancer’. Each season brings an expensive new purchase for the average runner.

But at least you know you’ll never limp again. Or so the leading companies would have you believe. Despite all their marketing suggestions to the contrary, no manufacturer has ever invented a shoe that is any help at all in injury prevention.

If anything, the injury rates have actually ebbed up since the Seventies – Achilles tendon blowouts have seen a ten per cent increase. (It’s not only shoes that can create the problem: research in Hawaii found runners who stretched before exercise were 33 per cent more likely to get hurt.)

Roger Bannister

OXFORD, 1954: Roger Bannister crosses the finish line, running a mile in 3:59.4, in thin leather slippers

In a paper for the British Journal Of Sports Medicine last year, Dr Craig Richards, a researcher at the University of Newcastle in Australia, revealed there are no evidence-based studies that demonstrate running shoes make you less prone to injury. Not one.

It was an astonishing revelation that had been hidden for over 35 years. Dr Richards was so stunned that a $20 billion industry seemed to be based on nothing but empty promises and wishful thinking that he issued the following challenge: ‘Is any running-shoe company prepared to claim that wearing their distance running shoes will decrease your risk of suffering musculoskeletal running injuries? Is any shoe manufacturer prepared to claim that wearing their running shoes will improve your distance running performance? If you are prepared to make these claims, where is your peer-reviewed data to back it up?’

Dr Richards waited and even tried contacting the major shoe companies for their data. In response, he got silence.

So, if running shoes don’t make you go faster and don’t stop you from getting hurt, then what, exactly, are you paying for? What are the benefits of all those microchips, thrust enhancers, air cushions, torsion devices and roll bars?

The answer is still a mystery. And for Bowerman’s old mentor, Arthur Lydiard, it all makes sense.

‘We used to run in canvas shoes,’ he said.

‘We didn’t get plantar fasciitis (pain under the heel); we didn’t pronate or supinate (land on the edge of the foot); we might have lost a bit of skin from the rough canvas when we were running marathons, but generally we didn’t have foot problems.

‘Paying several hundred dollars for the latest in hi-tech running shoes is no guarantee you’ll avoid any of these injuries and can even guarantee that you will suffer from them in one form or another. Shoes that let your foot function like you’re barefoot – they’re the shoes for me.’

Soon after those two Nike sales reps reported back from Stanford, the marketing team set to work to see if it could make money from the lessons it had learned. Jeff Pisciotta, the senior researcher at Nike Sports Research Lab, assembled 20 runners on a grassy field and filmed them running barefoot.

When he zoomed in, he was startled by what he found. Instead of each foot clomping down as it would in a shoe, it behaved like an animal with a mind of its own – stretching, grasping, seeking the ground with splayed toes, gliding in for a landing like a lake-bound swan.

‘It’s beautiful to watch,’ Pisciotta later told me. ‘That made us start thinking that when you put a shoe on, it starts to take over some of the control.’

Pisciotta immediately deployed his team to gather film of every existing barefoot culture they could find.

‘We found pockets of people all over the globe who are still running barefoot, and what you find is that, during propulsion and landing, they have far more range of motion in the foot and engage more of the toe. Their feet flex, spread, splay and grip the surface, meaning you have less pronation and more distribution of pressure.’

Nike’s response was to find a way to make money off a naked foot. It took two years of work before Pisciotta was ready to unveil his masterpiece. It was presented in TV ads that showed Kenyan runners padding
along a dirt trail, swimmers curling their toes around a starting block, gymnasts, Brazilian capoeira dancers, rock climbers, wrestlers, karate masters and beach soccer players.

And then comes the grand finale: we cut back to the Kenyans, whose bare feet are now sporting some kind of thin shoe. It’s the new Nike Free, a shoe thinner than the old Cortez dreamt up by Bowerman in the Seventies. And its slogan?

‘Run Barefoot.’

The price of this return to nature?

A conservative £65. But, unlike the real thing, experts may still advise you to change them every three months.

Edited extract from ‘Born To Run’ by Christopher McDougall, £16.99, on sale from April 23



Runners wearing top-of-the-line trainers are 123 per cent more likely to get injured than runners in cheap ones. This was discovered as far back as 1989, according to a study led by Dr Bernard Marti, the leading preventative-medicine specialist at Switzerland’s University of Bern.

Running in muddy terrain

Dr Marti’s research team analysed 4,358 runners in the Bern Grand Prix, a 9.6-mile road race. All the runners filled out an extensive questionnaire that detailed their training habits and footwear for the previous year; as it turned out, 45 per cent had been hurt during that time. But what surprised Dr Marti was the fact that the most common variable among the casualties wasn’t training surface, running speed, weekly mileage or ‘competitive training motivation’.

It wasn’t even body weight or a history of previous injury. It was the price of the shoe. Runners in shoes that cost more than $95 were more than twice as likely to get hurt as runners in shoes that cost less than $40.

Follow-up studies found similar results, like the 1991 report in Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise that found that ‘wearers of expensive running shoes that are promoted as having additional features that protect (eg, more cushioning, ‘pronation correction’) are injured significantly more frequently than runners wearing inexpensive shoes.’

What a cruel joke: for double the price, you get double the pain. Stanford coach Vin Lananna had already spotted the same phenomenon.’I once ordered highend shoes for the team and within two weeks we had more plantar fasciitis and Achilles problems than I’d ever seen.

So I sent them back. Ever since then, I’ve always ordered low-end shoes. It’s not because I’m cheap. It’s because I’m in the business of making athletes run fast and stay healthy.’



Despite pillowy-sounding names such as ‘MegaBounce’, all that cushioning does nothing to reduce impact. Logically, that should be obvious – the impact on your legs from running can be up to 12 times your weight, so it’s preposterous to believe a half-inch of rubber is going to make a difference.

When it comes to sensing the softest caress or tiniest grain of sand, your toes are as finely wired as your lips and fingertips. It’s these nerve endings that tell your foot how to react to the changing ground beneath, not a strip of rubber.

To help prove this point, Dr Steven Robbins and Dr Edward Waked of McGill University, Montreal, performed a series of lengthy tests on gymnasts. They found that the thicker the landing mat, the harder the gymnasts landed. Instinctively, the gymnasts were searching for stability. When they sensed a soft surface underfoot, they slapped down hard to ensure balance. Runners do the same thing. When you run in cushioned shoes, your feet are pushing through the soles in search of a hard, stable platform.

‘Currently available sports shoes are too soft and thick, and should be redesigned if they are to protect humans performing sports,’ the researchers concluded.

To add weight to their argument, the acute-injury rehabilitation specialist David Smyntek carried out an experiment of his own. He had grown wary that the people telling him to trade in his favourite shoes every 300-500 miles were the same people who sold them to him.

But how was it, he wondered, that Arthur Newton, for instance, one of the greatest ultrarunners of all time, who broke the record for the 100-mile Bath-London run at the age of 51, never replaced his thin-soled canvas pumps until he’d put at least 4,000 miles on them?

So Smyntek changed tack. Whenever his shoes got thin, he kept on running. When the outside edge started to go, he swapped the right for the left and kept running. Five miles a day, every day.

Once he realised he could run comfortably in broken-down, even wrong-footed shoes, he had his answer. If he wasn’t using them the way they were designed, maybe that design wasn’t such a big deal after all.

He now only buys cheap trainers.



‘Barefoot running has been one of my training philosophies for years,’ says Gerard Hartmann, the Irish physical therapist who treats all the world’s finest distance runners, including Paula Radcliffe.

Ethiopian Abebe Bikila on his way to gold in the 1960 Olympic marathon - running barefoot

Ethiopian Abebe Bikila on his way to gold in the 1960 Olympic marathon – running barefoot

For decades, Dr Hartmann has been watching the explosion of ever more structured running shoes with dismay. ‘Pronation has become this very bad word, but it’s just the natural movement of the foot,’ he says. ‘The foot is supposed to pronate.’

To see pronation in action, kick off your shoes and run down the driveway. On a hard surface, your feet will automatically shift to selfdefence mode: you’ll find yourself landing on the outside edge of your foot, then gently rolling from little toe over to big until your foot is flat. That’s pronation – a mild, shockabsorbing twist that allows your arch to compress.

Your foot’s centrepiece is the arch, the greatest weight-bearing design ever created. The beauty of any arch is the way it gets stronger under stress; the harder you push down, the tighter its parts mesh. Push up from underneath and you weaken the whole structure.

‘Putting your feet in shoes is similar to putting them in a plaster cast,’ says Dr Hartmann. ‘If I put your leg in plaster, we’ll find 40 to 60 per cent atrophy of the musculature within six weeks. Something similar happens to your feet when they’re encased in shoes.’

When shoes are doing the work, tendons stiffen and muscles shrivel. Work them out and they’ll arc up. ‘I’ve worked with the best Kenyan runners,’ says Hartmann, ‘and they all have marvellous elasticity in their feet. That comes from never running in shoes until you’re 17.’



Skeleton foot

Running barefoot may have some benefit in muscle strengthening as the muscles have to ‘tune in’ to the vibrations caused by impact loading.

If, like Zola Budd, you grew up running barefoot on a South African farm, your tissue tolerance would adapt over time. But for someone who has grown up wearing shoes and is a natural heel striker (see right), the impact loading will be beyond tissue tolerance level, and injury will occur.

We are all individuals, therefore it is prudent to have your own running technique assessed and work around that.

As for getting out your old worn out trainers and running in them – don’t! Based on the individual’s size and running surfaces/conditions shoes should be changed between 500-1,000 miles. It’s best to seek the advice of a specialist running store.

Running in trainers

Running barefoot

Yoga Teacher Training with Rosie Good Starts in May

Dear SoleRunners,

“If you want to learn something, teach it” Yogi Bhajan

It is my pleasure and honor to introduce you to Rosie Good. This is my yoga teacher. If you wonder why the yoga you practice with me in class or after running is so effective…this beautiful woman’s spirit and dedication to yoga is the reason.

Four years ago I began doing yoga. And three years ago I decided to take Rosie’s teacher training. Mainly just to learn more…she has more in class hours than any other yoga teacher training in Los Angeles.

Something happened to me in that training. I cannot even begin to explain the shift in consciousness…but it was profound. Runners comment every Saturday why I seem so calm and relaxed…I simply say it’s because I practice yoga.

I could barely touch my toes when I started Yoga Teacher Training with Rosie and now I have amazing flexibility.

More than that though, in a teacher training class you learn about the history, philosophy, and traditions of yoga. You read amazing books like the Bhagavad Gita and The Upanishads.

The best thing about the training for me was…I became a yoga teacher. Rosie has you teaching from day one…granted just one pose…but it builds from there.

By the time I was finished the training, I could teach for 30min – 60min easily and with confidence. Since then I’ve taught classes throughout Los Angeles, Catalina Island, Thailand, and Cambodia.

Most importantly, I’ve helped a lot of people become more flexible and recover from their running. I’ve brought a little peace and harmony and love in the world through a yoga mat. That’s pretty cool. And it wasn’t even me…it was just teaching this amazing tradition of yoga.

Well, SoleRunners is about to start in April. Since Steve and I started coaching together a few of our runners have become yoga teachers. We love to give aspiring yoga teachers the opportunity to teach to our runners or to help out our classes in the studio. We will help mentor you and give you teaching opportunities.

To tell you the truth, we need more yoga teachers. The one’s we’ve mentored like Larry and Laura have gone on to develop a busy teaching schedule beyond SoleRunners. Yes, yoga teachers are in demand.

So if you’ve been doing yoga for a while and would like to take things up to the next level, or would like to become a teacher so that you can impact the lives of many people in a positive way, then seriously seriously think about enrolling in Yoga Teacher Training.

And if that’s the case, I can think of no better teacher to study under than Rosie Good. Both Steve and I have taken many a yoga class from many a yoga teacher and Rosie is as good if not better than many of the “big” names in Los Angeles. And you get the convenience of a local yoga studio in a small class.

Her teacher training starts on May 1st and goes to October 4th. It is INTENSIVE (that’s why I loved it). You meet on Fri’s 7-9, then Sat/Sun 12-5. So if you are marathon training, you can still make the class.

The cost is $1400 which is an AWESOME price. Especially for all those in class hours and personal treatment from Rosie. Just look around on the internet for other programs…you’ll see.

So if you’re interested contact Rosie soon. Her number is 310-521-9555.

You can also visit her and talk to her about the training at her studio…

Namaste and God Bless,

Coach Gary

Yoga for Runners – Adds A Trails Run Starting Tonight, and Every Thursday

Trail Running and “Yoga for Runners” in conjunction with Lululemon

It is time to bump up the training, increase strength, work on our flexibility, breathe consciously and focus our minds. Starting tonight at 6:30 PM we will go out on a 40 minute trail run followed by a 45 minute “Yoga for Runners” class.

  • We will meet at the grass area just south of the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center – parking lot I.
  • This workout is free and open to anyone (all levels welcome).
  • You need to bring: Everything you would when going out for a run, water, yoga mat or towel, something warm as it tends to cool down towards the end of yoga.

  • The total training will last about 1.5 hours. The Run starts at 6:30 PM, the Yoga will start at 7:15 and finish at 8 PM. If you can’t make the run come for the yoga at 7:!5 PM.

    As always, you are responsible for your own safety. Please be considerate to other people on the trails and join me in coming back to the RBAC with a piece of trash. Help keep our trails clean!

    In case I have an update or need to make changes, please check SoCalRunning every Thursday or even better, become a member.

    Every other week everyone is welcome to join at a local restaurant for some food and drink. Location and address will be posted on SoCalRunning.

    Train Focused,

    Steve Mackel, Lululemon Ambassador

    Steve Teaches ChiRunning® Posture Techniques

    ChiRunning® is hot with all the marathons coming up and people getting started for their fall marathons, I thought I treat you to a quick lesson on finding the proper ChiRunning® posture.

    The Beach Runners Starts This Saturday! We have a ChiRunning® One hour workshop with the Beach runners in Long Beach this Saturday, 7:00 AM

    Beach Runners Marathon and Half Marathon Training Program

    Beach Runners Saturday Group run meets at Marina Vista Park in Long Beach (on Eliot St. near Colorado St. right by the end of Marine Stadium) Free parking on street or in Marine Stadium parking lot.
    Find Location

    Train Focused, Steve Mackel – MarathonTraining.TV Head Coach

    Saturday-Global Mala Project

    Dear Yogis,

    Saturday is a global effort to promote peace in the world through yoga.

    A mala is a prayer. So Saturday will be a prayer day. You might have
    noticed the wonderful energy in the sky this week already.

    Lots of God energy flowing through Los Angeles right now.

    To be part of it of this wonderful effort you can do the following…

    1. Come join Steve and I at the LA Convention Center. We will be there all day.
    After running. Come down for just the evening dance if need be.
    It is a twelve hour event from 10:30 to midnight or so.

    2. Do 108 Sun Salutations as part of your yoga practice that day.

    3. Say your prayer 108 times.

    4. Say “I love you” 108 times that day.

    108 is a Sacred number for the following reasons…

    THE NUMBER 108
    The number 108 carries spiritual, mathematical, and astronomical significance:
    108 is the number of names for Shiva in Hindu philosophy.
    108 is the number of Upanishads comprising Indian philosophy’s Vedic texts (depending on how you count).
    108 is used in Islam to refer to God.
    108 is six times the number “18” which is a Jewish good luck number.
    108 is the number of names for Buddha.
    108 is the number of beads on a Catholic rosary.
    108 is twice the number “54”, which is the number of sounds in Sanskrit.
    108 lines of energy are said to converge to form the heart chakra.
    108 has numerological significance in that 1^1 x 2^2 x 3^3 = 1 x 4 x 27 = 108.
    The diameter of the sun is approximately 108 times the diameter of the earth.

    See you there,


    Beach Runners Program Kicks It Up A Notch

    Yoga With the Beach Runners

    The Beach Runners kick it up a notch. I loved being open to being inspired. Last Saturday was one of those days.

    My Saturday’s started out early, yet most of my days do. I try to be in the parking lot by 6:35 AM preparing for the Beach Runners group run. Today was a usual day; Larry was there first and then slowly our participants showed up.

    Everyone arrives around 7 AM and we usually do not get started until after an informational talk, business and ChiRunning® Body Looseners. Today, I ran with the marathoners, while Gary ran with the half marathoners. Gary was in an interesting mood. It seemed his game face was on, preparing for Sunday’s 5k race.

    I was able to run with many people I have not run with yet. This is the reason to join the Beach Runners. We run with you and help you learn ChiRunning®. You cannot put a dollar value on this part of the program. The bottom line is that ChiRunning is not easy. So many people that have bought the book and DVD still need a certified teacher to get the technique. It also usually takes more than one session. I practice ChiRunning® almost everyday and I practice even when I am not running.

    During my Saturday run I was able to run with at least 50 different people over the 2 hours. We worked on cadence, arm swing, foot fall, loose ankles, chin position and much more. I started to see immediate improvements. Then I walked over to lead the marathoners in yoga, my first time teaching to this group. When I turned around I saw the hoard, 80 – 100 people. After a 2-hour run they were psyched to do another 40 minutes of yoga. I taught a moderate flow class. We followed our breath and did strength moves along with some traditional poses for stretching.

    I was inspired by the size of the group that just as easily gotten in their cars and driven home or out to breakfast. We are truly the warrior marathon training group out there. The other groups offer good training and good runs, yet when the run is over the workout is over, sometimes it feels like we are just getting started. Our yoga can be very demanding but by the end the payoff is big, you feel great. Gary and my goal is to build the world’s best marathon training program. Train with us and you will feel the difference not just on Saturday but all week long.

    Later Saturday night I had a movie night and watched “A Peaceful Warrior and Conversations With God.” I was inspired once again. I had already seen “A Peaceful Warrior” and in some ways it reminds me of my training under Coach Ilg. “Conversations With God” lit me up again too.

    So without spoiling the ending, we are ramping up our training program. Look for more of the same and more potential self-discovery. Today reminded me why I like to train, because, when I focus in on the present moment and make my training a form of my meditation, I discover parts of my true self. One that is not based in fear but based in love, one that takes on challenges with a smile on my face and does not quiver when the times get tough. I get all of this out of my training.

    If you are interested in joining the Beach Runners, do it quick. We will be offering two ChiRunning workshops in July. One more reason you get so much when you train with us. See you Saturday and feel free to Email Steve with questions.

    Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Beach Runners’ Head Coach

    Warrior Workouts and Trail Running

    Halfway Straight Up Taxman in PV, That’s Matt Pushing Forward

    Want a warrior workout, trail run with Gary or I. The number 1 reason to learn ChiRunning® from us is because we put it to use everyday. Gary’s Tuesday Night Trail Run and Power Yoga tops the charts. When you look at the picture above, know that this is what a warrior workout is all about, learning to make it to the top of a super steep, long uphill with loose rocks.

    You can work hard or ChiRun and work smart, its your choice. And don’t let this scare you. We have other trails that aren’t so difficult starting out of the same location. Everybody has to start somewhere. We thought about this and have a safe and fun way to get you going or really challenge you.

    “Tough Races in Beautiful Places” that’s our motto.

    Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Certified ChiRunning/ChiWalking® Instructor and Trail Running Instructor

    Yoga May Help Treat Depression, Anxiety Disorders

    Yoga’s postures, controlled breathing and meditation may work together to help ease brains plagued by anxiety or depression, a new study shows

    Gary’s Tuesday Night Power Yoga/Trail Run – One of LA’s Toughest Workouts

    Gary’s Power Yoga Crew, minus yours truly the photographer, and there is plenty of room for you

    It’s been a long time coming. Tuesday always used to be the night I looked forward too, as a bunch of friends and I drove to Tarzana to take Coach Ilg’s High Performance Yoga® class. At that time, it was the toughest workout in LA. Many of my friends that I was able to talk into attending were beginner yoga practitioners and learned to embrace the challenge. We’d find our way through the simplest of poses working as hard as possible gaining the internal strength to match the physical strength required, as only few yoga teachers teach. I remember many classes hanging out in child’s poses, still sweating.

    Gary and I weren’t even aquatinted yet. In fact, it would be a year later that Gary and I would becomes friends in the ChiRunning® instructors training class. We hit it off immediately. I quickly asked him to help me coach the Beach Runners.

    From the beginning of Beach Runners, yoga has been an integral part. The first season Michele, one of LA’s best yoga teachers, drove down with me to train for her first half marathon. At the end of each Saturday run instead of just doing stretching, she started teaching a full-blown flow yoga class. The people responded and Gary and I knew that with our yoga and ChiRunning® practices, we could develop this group in ways far beyond any other marathon training program out there. Hence MaraYoga was born. More about that story later.

    In those years, Gary has gone through extensive yoga teacher training and started teaching his first studio yoga class. Over those years I took him to Coach Ilg’s class whenever he was in town. Influenced by Coach Ilg’s classes combined with the graceful practice of his teacher Rosie, he started teaching one strong yoga class. This class flows like a Coach Ilg class. It is about creating strength and flexibility, understanding that these too must be in balance the same way the yin and yang together in a circle are a picture of balance.

    The funny thing is many yogis out there couldn’t run a half-mile, let alone try, because they might “tighten up.” Where’s the balance in that? Hatha yoga is balance, Ha – Sun, Tha – Moon. I can rant on that later too.

    As Coach Ilg only comes to LA a few times a year, Gary and I started the Trail Running/Yoga duathlon. It started with Gary, Al and I. Al couldn’t make the yoga part that day. Gary, Al and I ran in Griffith Park that day for two hours then were “Well Trained” in Coach Ilg’s yoga class. Who knew where this was going to take us. We only knew we had done one of the hardest workouts in LA that day.

    Fast forward to this year. Gary starts teaching his Tuesday Power Yoga class and I leave his first class thinking, “Its back!” An ass-kicking Tuesday yoga class. The really cool thing was that this time more people showed, mostly new yogis, wondering what the hell this class was. They were not used to Gary’s unique style of yoga. “I’ve never done that before, that’s not yoga,” I heard one person say. Well friends, yoga is simply stated is the union of breath and movement. Mindfully moving your finger is yoga, so are Hindu squats. Gary knows what he is doing, making us stronger and more flexible in body and mind.

    As if that’s not enough, starting last week, he decided to add a PV trail run before class. I’ll let him explain the run yet having run the hills of PV; I know that it is up and down. Trails and hills are where ChiRunners excel.

    Scared, you shouldn’t be! This is where we get our strength. That warrior spirit that Coach Ilg talks about and you’ll hear Gary and I refer too. If you are new to running and /or yoga, you’ll learn to go at your speed, this is not a competition for you. I promise after a few weeks you will be stronger. You may even catch the warrior chi and find a way to make this a regular part of your routine.

    Join us and Catch the Warrior Chi!

    Namaste and Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Aspiring Yogi

    Of Faith, Non-Attachment and Racing

    He who perceives Me everywhere and beholds everything in Me, never loses sight of Me, nor do I lose sight in him BG VI:30

    Sound like Mother Teresa who said, “I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper’s wounds, I feel I am nursing the Lord himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?”

    Today and the last week I have been focusing on the principle of non-attachment. It has just jumped out and grabbed me by the ankles or throat depending on how I look at it.

    Days away from another birthday or one more year’s experience, I would think I could do better. At least, I am working on it but let me tell you, this non-attachment stuff is a bitch.

    I know what you are thinking, what are you so attached too Steve? A bunch of stuff without getting too personal is my answer. Chocolate ice-cream could start the list and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.

    I find myself thinking I need an answer. Answers are nice and in my logic I tell myself that they can help me become a better person, yet do I really need to know? Can I go with my feelings and/or move on, My heart knows what to do? Why not just do it?

    So, I write about non-attachment because out of the blue a coach I deeply respect, Rich Strauss, posted an article on his blog about “detachment” from race results. Rich seems to me to be more of the science coach than a coach who whips out yogic principles. He knows how to use scientific data yet when race day comes around even Rich talks about, “Detaching yourself from the end result.” From this point on in his blog article, he talks about using detachment to help set up successful splits, and how to be smart in doing it. I guess I didn’t expect to read it from the science guy but he knows.

    Your best races (days in life) are the time you are completely to detached from the results and focus on the journey or moment.

    My coach, Steve Ilg and his Wholistic Fitness® training has me emptying before a race and out on the course. I am constantly letting go of any momentary thought, feeling and/or emotion that can hold me back. And if I am able to this, I always race strong. This is the art of non-attached racing.

    If I can do it in a race, I know I can do it in life. Quite often you’ll here me say that endurance training is a fantastic metaphor for life. I guess I am just reminding myself of this tonight, when I find myself struggling, and thought I’d share it with you.

    As for the top quote, I took this picture to be reminded that my most inspirational heroes see God in everything. It is not a particular religion, its people with unwavering faith of all religions. I appreciated being reminded of that too.

    Any or all of this can start with training focused. Find ways to remind yourself daily.

    Steve Mackel, CHt

    « Previous PageNext Page »