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Larger than Life!

Posted by on Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 10:58 am | Leave a reply

Sculptor Bob Zasadny makes a unique pair of Newtons

 

If you find yourself driving in western Kentucky any time soon, specifically in Madisonville, take a moment to drive by, or even run around the Baptist Health Madisonville Trover Wellness Park, which sits next to the Baptist Health Madisonville hospital campus. Here, you’ll find something that looks strangely familiar: a pair of Distance Newton running shoes. But these just aren’t any pair of Distance shoes, this pair is four-feet long, roughly 20 inches high at the back and heel and about 20 inches wide—roughly four-times the average sized shoe.

The hospital commissioned Indianna artist, Bob Zasadny, to create the giant shoe sculpture as a tribute for outgoing CEO, Berton Whitaker.  Whitaker, is a runner, who actually runs in the Newton Distance. He also was responsible, amongst other things, for the creation of the Baptist Health Madisonville Trover Wellness Park, which has 10 different fitness stations and a half-mile walking or running trail. So, the real idea here, says Zasadny, is that Whitaker is leaving big shoes to fill.

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The other surprising thing about these shoes is that they only weigh about 20 pounds each. Zasadny constructed them out of rigid polyurethane foam coated in fiberglass.  Zasadny worked at a fiberglass company in his early 20s and was always fascinated with the medium. Now, 50 years later he says, at the age of 75, he’s still working with fiberglass. “It’s an alternative material, but not a widely used thing because it’s a unique product. It’s not a pleasant material to work with and you have to be a bit technical to work with it.” But he says, “It was a perfect media for me because I could manipulate it because of my industrial experience with it. I knew how to fabricate it and I could find artistic ways to use it.”

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Typically, Zasadny likes to sculpt the forms we see in nature—sand dunes, leaf patterns, flower petals, things that are more organic. “I’ve tried to incorporate more natural things into my art. It resonates with people, they have to reach out and touch it and run their hands over it. It’s a tactile thing that you want to feel and start touching art with your hands.” But when the opportunity to create the Newtons came his way, he jumped on it. He hadn’t heard of Newton shoes prior to the project, but quickly found a pair to check out. “It was like walking on my socks and a piece of foam, such an airy feeling.” The colors weren’t lost on Zasadny either. He kept the shoes bright, but instead incorporated the four colors that matched the hospital logo.

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So what does it take to complete a project like this? Zasadny says when all was said and done, including making the tabletops the shoes are mounted on, it took him “easily 400 hours. For 6 weeks, I worked 60-70 hour weeks. We were making something that had never been made before.” And with that much time invested, you would think he might be worried about the longevity of the sculpture. But, the ultimate beauty of working with the foam and fiberglass materials is that if the sculpture gets a ding in it or is damaged in any way, Zasadny says, “I can go down there and take some material, grind it up and make the damaged area totally like brand new. It’s not as tragic for that to be vandalized as it would be for someone else’s materials.” Long live Newtons!

For more information on Bob Zasadny’s art - http://www.bobzabstractsculpture.com/

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A Holiday Salute

Posted by on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 @ 4:43 pm | Leave a reply

To Our Military, Police & Firefighters

To our military, police and firefighters, we salute you. Words cannot express how much we appreciate what you do. In recent years, we’ve been through our share of fires in our own backyard here in Colorado. We have watched as firefighting squads have fought around the clock to save lives, homes and land. This year, the fires were followed by the flood — 17 inches of rain in just a few days, when Boulder County’s annual average is just 20.7 inches. As damage spread across an almost 200-mile range covering 17 counties, we were in trouble. Relief came as Army and National Guard soldiers were brought in to help. What a mess we were in and how much we appreciated your efforts in search-and-rescue operations and flood relief and recovery. We know that hard work continued long after the rains stopped.

This is just Colorado. Across the country, our men and women of service work hard to keep our homes, communities and children safe. From Hurricane Katrina, to the Boston Marathon tragedy, you were there. And, there are those of you who aren’t at home. You’ve been stationed abroad once, twice, perhaps many times. You’ve sacrificed time with loved ones and friends to protect our country, to protect others and to help rebuild global communities. Your work makes the world a better place.

We also recognize that our men and women of service represent some of the toughest and strongest athletes around. Sure, people love to get out and do a Tough Mudder race or a Warrior Dash, but try doing those events year round, in bitter winter conditions or without warning or notice. Floods and fires aren’t planned, catastrophes don’t happen on cue. While many of us covet our daily routine, our eight hours of sleep, healthy meals, and workouts, you just keep doing what you do.

In support of our military, firefighters and police offers, Newton Running offers special discounts and promotions for members of the United States military, state and local police and fire departments and their families. To qualify, simply go to our community military page and provide proof of military status or current employment. A “.mil” or “.gov” email address counts as proof of status. It’s easy to do. On top of this discount, we’re also offering 20% off on these select items, inspired of course, by you:military

Terra Momentum, $149

An all-terrain shoe, the Terra Momentum serves as an everyday base-training shoe from roads to technical trails. Lightweight, yet cushiony, this shoe is ready for action. And we know you’re sayin’, “bring it!”

Camo Mid Height Compression Sock, $15

We know, you’re wary of the hot pink and lime green. They’re not the stuff that stealth is made of. That’s why we made these for you.

Newton Race Hats by Headsweats, $20

Everyone needs a hat, whether to run in or to be incognito every once in awhile. Made with an adjustable clip in back, this hat is made with Coolmax and nylon, which means it’s lightweight, breathable, and fast drying rain or shine.

Whether you’re home or abroad, we hope this helps to make this holiday season a little brighter. Thank you again for all that you do.

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From the Expert: Dr. Mark Cucuzzella On Single Focus Running Studies

Posted by on Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 7:55 am | Leave a reply

recent study of less than 40 East African tribesman showed that most  land on their heels while running at a slow pace on a compliant surface (not pavement) and when they sped up most changed their pattern to midfoot landing.  Some in the media then grabbed onto this small sample and somehow arrived at the following “conclusions”:

•    Barefoot running is not a good thing…the fad is over
•    This supports cushioned running shoes with elevated heels

The study looked at the Daasanach who are a pastoral tribe living in a remote section of northern Kenya. According to the New York Times, “Unlike some Kenyan tribes, the Daasanach have no tradition of competitive distance running, although they are physically active. They also have no tradition of wearing shoes.”The study looked at the Daasanach who are a pastoral tribe living in a remote section of northern Kenya. According to the New York Times, “Unlike some Kenyan tribes, the Daasanach have no tradition of competitive distance running, although they are physically active. They also have no tradition of wearing shoes.”

 

Let’s see now, the African subjects were running barefoot; but people land in different ways, and as you speed up you get more forward on your foot. Not surprising as anyone who runs, coaches, researches, or even observes runners knows .  There was absolutely no reference or relevance to injuries or footwear effects in this study. These happy tribesman were jogging slowly in their bare feet as they do daily, and I doubt any of them had or ever will have running injuries.

They were active tribal people (not habitual runners) running at a jogging pace.

This study reinforces what many of us in the Running Medicine field have been voicing for a long time. People are focusing on one variable and most often it is footwear or what part of your foot hits the ground first,  and ignoring the other 90% of the equation.

Runners get hurt by running.  Most often by running  too much, too fast, and often with poor strength and movement mechanics. Humans are also highly variable and it is doubtful any of us does or should land in the same way every time, on every surface , and at every speed.

No one of credibility in the professional field is telling runners to land on their forefoot or ball of foot in isolation, nor suggesting  for folks to chuck their shoes.  What is interesting in studies is they rarely agree on what a forefoot or midfoot strike actually is.  A true forefoot strike is probably along the base of the 5th metatarsal (outside edge of foot), not the ball of the foot or metatarsal heads.

As an often barefoot runner I land different on different surfaces at different speeds. On soft golf courses and easy pace, I roll nicely from the heel.  Running fast on concrete, I need to engage the foot more as shock absorber and to prestretch the takeoff muscle contraction.

Remember the key is running elastic– landing close to your center of mass, and engaging the posterior muscles (glutes).

I still stand behind what we filmed here as the Principles of Natural Running. Not where do we say that runners should aim to land on the ball of the foot.

Running barefoot in itself will not change most of the other variables contributing to poor form and injury, but it does have a role in the relearning process.

See our Stability and Mobility section on the Natural Running Center, and notice where the real improvements occur and do lots of progressive drills to rewire the movement pattern.

Another finding reinforcing what we know is that as the runners ran faster, they landed on their forefoot more often. This is normal and necessary.

Everyone’s form changes when they go from 9:00 per mile to 5:00 per mile. As one moves faster it is efficient to eccentrically stretch the triceps surae the load the Achilles spring. This is like jumping: .load, trigger, fire.

Instructing an 9:00 mile runner  to  emulate the 5:00 mile biomechanics is short sighted and one should not suggest it.

My personal take-home messages from this recent study of African tribesman and the “barefoot” attention that resulted from it is as follows:

•    Do not focus on footstrike in isolation
•    Gradually increase cadence
•    Mix it up….surfaces, shoes, barefoot,
•    Use your glutes and extend the hips from a stable core
•    Watching a barefoot runner land on their heel does not mean that we were not born to run barefoot or that shoes need a cushioned heel.
•    Have fun!

Click here to visit the Natural Running Center!

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From the Expert: Dr. Mark Cucuzzella Talks Elastic Recoil

Posted by on Monday, January 28, 2013 @ 2:24 pm | Leave a reply

There is a lot of confusion around the term elastic recoil vs. braking in running.  A critical feature of efficient running is a strong and stable base of support.  Without this foundation, there can be no efficient transfer of energy.

Screen shot 2012 11 12 at 4.21.14 PM resized 600Our tendons are highly adapted to storing and releasing energy under tensile strain.  Jay Dicharry uses  a slingshot analogy.  As runners we must land a bit in front of our center of mass to store the energy and it then releases as we push off the ground.  This is not braking if done correctly.

Can we tell what the runner is actually doing with a video camera?  Not exactly, as we cannot see forces?

But we can make some likely conclusions with slow-motion film as one can see a springy motion vs. a hard hit and resulting shock wave with an overstride.  Muscles lengthen and shorten in the overstride and slow cadence pattern and compromise the elastic storage, as does trying to pick up your foot too soon with active muscle contraction (this is sprinting).

Rewatch this video on the “Principles of Natural Running” below. Do some of the drills shown in the video such as the jump rope and run with tether drill to learn how to land closer to your center. Also a must read is “Anatomy for Runners” by Jay Dicharry“.

 

 

Please be sure to visit Dr. Mark at The Natural Running Center!

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From the Expert: Danny Abshire Talks Foot Placement

Posted by on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 2:37 pm | Leave a reply

Runners often exhibit form habits that can be attributed to  prior injuries, limited range of motion, and movement patterns. This generally results from years of sitting, standing and running with less than optimal alignment and running form.

Moving at a slow cadence and with sub-optimal movement patterns often results  in inefficiencies and, in some cases may lead to injury. Many runners strive to improve their running efficiency, to improve running speed or seek to have less wear and tear to the body. In the context of the above traits, some things can be improved on and other traits cannot. The goal would to be the most efficient runner YOU can be.

More parallel foot placement to the ground is going to be more efficient than a straight leg heel first landing. This is because the lower legs and feet are in a poor position to help attenuate impact and utilize the spring in the leg and foot muscles.

Slight heel landing with flexed knee is more efficient than landing with locked knee and extended heel strike. In a full foot / whole foot / midfoot landing the runner should feel the entire foot touch the ground at the same time. This means you will feel the heel touch with the rest of the foot. A midfoot strike should be more efficient than heel first because the foot and body can get in and out of maximum loading quicker. Maximum load occurs in mid-stance phase during a running gait and this is where the foot/ankle is stable and locked. The ankle and knee are flexed and the muscle/tendon complex is re-coiling like a spring.

A midfoot landing is relatively safe and efficient, but to maximize the benefits, you should have sufficient range of motion. This includes ankle dorsiflexion where the foot is raised upward. If you have past injuries of the ankle with limited dorsiflexion and over tightness in the calf muscles, a midfoot landing might be difficult to achieve..

Landing slightly on your forefoot and letting your heel relax to the ground is a very efficient foot strike and works well for faster and more efficient runners. Again, do you have the individual traits that allow you to land the way you choose or do you have some restrictions and limitations?

The mind and body connection, agility and coordinated whole body movement that comes from running form drills, an efficient cadence, core strength, core movement and relaxed foot placement can help runners become more efficient. Remember a good goal is to be the most efficient runner YOU can be to enjoy a lifetime of fun and fitness. 

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From the Expert: Ian Adamson Talks Stability

Posted by on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 @ 7:50 am | Leave a reply

Having good stability is a critical requirement for all runners. Each time your body moves over your foot (called mid-stance in the gait cycle) you are loading two to three times your body weight on your foot and a little less at each successive body part up the bio-mechnical chain – ankle, shin, knee, thigh, hip, etc.

Ian Adamson talks Stability in RunningIn mid-stance, all this force is on one leg, so you need to have good stability in order to do it safely and efficiently. If you are unable to balance on one leg with all this load, you can’t run. Put simply you will fall over. Runners with poor balance tend to rock side to side since they place their feet in a wide stance.

Stability is not just about balance, since muscular strength is required. Try this exercise to demonstrate:

1. Stand on one leg in front of a full length mirror

2. Keeping your foot flat to the ground, do a shallow squat by flexing your knee hip and ankle as far as possible

3. Make sure your body stays upright (don’t bend forward at the waist)

4. Slowly return to an upright position and keep repeating for as long as you can on two second cycles (one second down, one second up)

This is essential what you are doing (in the vertical axis) while running, but with about one body weight. Imagine doing this with two and a half. Most likely your leg will get tired and you will have to stop due to muscular fatigue.

Now do a few more repetitions and look a little more closely at your alignment (and consequently your stability.) Is your knee tracking straight and true? If not, this is almost certainly happening when you run. As a result, the misalignment at your knee will cause excess stress, which with repetition and load (that would be running) can cause pain and ultimately injury. Typical inures from knee misalignment include medial or lateral knee pain, ITB syndrome and medial shin splints (extrinsic muscles controlling the foot trying to compensate), plus a host more.

The solution is not obvious for most runners.

1. Choose a shoe that is not thick and soft so the surface under your foot is stable. Any shoe that relies on midsole foam for cushioning and is more than about 6 mm thick is probably not good. Soft foams are also unstable, the thicker and softer the worse it gets. Newton shoes do not rely on midsole foam and are essentially hard runner once you load them in a running gait.

2. Stabilize your leg to control the motion at the knee. The knee is a stable joint (like a hinge) and is controlled at either end. The primary muscle controlling the femur (thigh) in the stance phase of gait is the Gluteus Medius, the big muscle on your butt to the outside. This muscle stops your hip dropping and keeps your knee aligned side to side.

A good strength exercise for leg stability is the single leg shallow squat described above. This can be done while brushing your teeth (you do this anyway right?), with a goal of doing 30 repetitions each leg (two seconds per rep.) You have to do these exercises with precision, otherwise your are practicing poor form and will get good at doing these badly! For some people, this may only be two or three repetitions the first time until failure. Failure is when you loose control of your leg, for example knee doesn’t track straight, your hip drops, rises or you loos balance. Don’t worry, progress can be quite fast so after a few weeks you should be able to do this easily.

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I am Newton: Brandon Wood

Posted by on Monday, January 14, 2013 @ 10:43 am | Leave a reply

Here on The Running Front we’re going to be telling you guys about one of the team here at Newton Running. Since I (Brandon) am the one who handles the blog, I figured it would be the logical place to break the ice would be with myself! I tend to be a bit wordy so buckle up!

Brandon WoodSo, this is me! I grew up in Hampton, Virginia and was a very active kid. I got involved in all sports but the thing that really stuck was swimming. I began by swimming on a summer league team (shout out to the Wythe Wahoos!) and at about the age of eleven, that turned into me joining a USA Swimming club team. That meant that I was swimming year-round and once I hit about 14 years old, that also meant I was doing some form of two-a-days a lot of the time.

I should also mention at this point that, by trade and education, I am a musician. From the time I was very young (my first solo was on Christmas Eve just after I’d turned three years old) I was involved in church choir and the like. Ultimately, because the school (Virginia Commonwealth University) I chose to go no longer had a swim team, after graduation from high school I stopped swimming. Combined with the fact that I was pretty mentally burnt out from years of swimming so much, I simply let my young-ish metabolism handle my fitness and called it a day.

As many of us know, however, metabolism and youth can only take you so far. I was soonBrandon Wood pretty out of shape and though I could still hold my own in the water just based on technique and strength, that too was slipping away. (Side note: My dad likes to joke that several of my buddies and I, who could show off 6-packs when we ascended the starting blocks prior to leaving for college, now had kegs instead.) I would go through phases of trying to get in shape with a lot of lifting and some elliptical and the like, but NEVER running.

Upon finishing school, I was hired as an apprentice at Virginia Opera. Basically, the job of an apprentice artist is to tour around the state, educating kids about opera daily, singing recitals a couple times a week, covering (understudying) main stage roles and performing other roles. It’s an oddly busy existence with a lot of time spent in the car and in rehearsals, basically getting increasingly out of shape.

One day, I’m not sure exactly when but sometime in the middle of 2003, I decided I needed to do something about my fitness (or lack thereof). I decided to start running a bit. I have no idea what shoe I was in, I just know that I couldn’t run more than 3 miles without my knees feeling like they were going to explode. I combined my running with light lifting to make sure I got a workout longer than twenty minutes. I managed to drop a few pounds and get into some semblance of shape. Then I moved to New York City. Once I moved, the stress of the city and going to auditions and just the general draining that happens all took its toll on any motivation to work out I had.

In April of 2004, I got engaged and decided that I should once again, get into reasonable shape for my wedding (which was 13 months away). I did, but as the chaos of planning a wedding in Virgina (from NYC) grew, so did my waistline. I married my wife, Danielle (also a singer), in May of 2005 and we immediately drove to New Mexico to begin working at Santa Fe Opera. As soon as I arrived, myself and a lot of the guys working there decided that we were going get in shape (much to the chagrin of the costume designers since our costumes had to be taken in about once a week). I did this on the eliptical and a tiny bit while running, but still not more than that big ol’ three miles. By the end of that summer I had lost twenty-five pounds and was on the brink of something.

I’ll skip ahead a bit because you’re probably already half asleep and I don’t want you to pass out and hit your face on the keyboard. In November of 2007, my best friend, Bobby Cockrill and I decided after watching the NYC Marathon that we were going to run that race. Never mind the fact that there was a lottery and it wasn’t until 2011 that I actually got to run it.Once the reality of entering that race set in, we chose alternate races and started training. Around the same time, my brother-in-law sold me his mountain bike. Now, there aren’t too many trails appropriate for a mountain bike in NYC so I began riding the Manhattan West Side Greenway which runs the length of Manhattan on this bike…as though it were a road bike. Eventually I got a road bike and the thought occurred to me, “I have a bike. Thanks to technique I can still throw down in the water. I just need to figure out this running thing!” And so I entered my first triathlon, the Redondo Beach Sprint Triathlon in California.

Brandon WoodWhile breaking the rules by doing a tiny bit of drafting, riding a borrowed bike and slogging through the 2-mile run in 15:37, I was hooked. In about August of 2008, when I was working at an opera company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I began to actually think about why I couldn’t run very far (my farthest run to that point was probably about 8 miles). I did some digging and came upon an article by this guy named Micah True (maybe you’ve heard of him) in the New York Times. He was talking about this new, yet old, way of running. Light and fast feet and landing more on the front part of your foot. After some more digging, I came across this kind of obscure running shoe company called Newton Running.

I should back up a little bit and tell you that in February of 2008 I started a blog about me wanting to run a marathon. That blog turned into a podcast and that all turned into something pretty large with a good deal of traffic. I got my first pair of Newtons in December of 2008 and went headlong into running WAY up on my toes and overstriding (good times). This resulted in some pretty serious ITBS during my first marathon, but rather than being dicouraged I was energized to figure it out.

Later in 2009 I went on to complete my first Ironman (Wisconsin) and while I had a tough day thanks to some massive nutrition goofs, I was fine enough to run a reasonable half marathon only 6 days later. Basically, I had begun to figure out this running thing. At the same time, I was eyeballs deep in the Newton culture, figuring out how to better my technique and telling anyone who would listen how this shoe company and the technique that they taught had changed my life.

In 2011, after arriving back from a gig with my wife and our 1 year old daughter, I had one of those Earth moving moments. I realized that I was done living the life of a nomadic musician and struggling to live in the big city. The next day, I went on Newton’s Facebook wall and wrote the following:

Brandon Wood, Newton Running Social Media

About 6 weeks after talking to the right people and having some pretty amazing folks here believe in me, I joined the Newton family and on June 20th of 2011, moved to Colorado. This company started by changing my life by being a huge part of my impetus to get fit and continues to change it every day by giving me the opportunity to connect to the infinite world of the Newton social media channels. So, if you’re on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, this blog or any other Newton Running channels, you’re talking to me so say “hi!” and join me in spreading the love!

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Newton Running Social Round-up: 1.11.13

Posted by on Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 10:56 am | Leave a reply

Welcome to our weekly wrap up of Newton Running mentions from around the interwebs! This will include social media as well as random articles and posts we find (about us, of course). Want to see yourself mentioned and maybe even get a link? Keep spreading the love online and who knows? Maybe you’ll find yourself on this post next week!

First up are a few posts from our Facebook page.

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Next up are a few select tweets from super fans, running bloggers and new runners alike!

Mile Long Legs gets into the mix!

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Newton also got some love from other places around the web. This includes iBitz using our shoes for their display as part of the booth at this year’s CES in Las Vegas! iBitz is a fitness tracking app for kids that combines with a smartphone to give them a virtual pet that encourages exercise!

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if you see something that you think we should have included, let us know. Have a great weekened and keep spreading the love!!

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