Get out and find something new

This is another post about fitness as a part of a healthy lifestyle.

While I talk about running below – this could apply to walking, hiking, biking, or any activity that gets you outside and exploring new vistas.

And exploring new vistas is another one of the things that I love about getting out when I travel.  I never know just what I might find on a run or walk in a new place, but it’s always a great way to get my bearings for what’s around and see what interesting sights I might find.gators

On a recent business trip to Florida, I decided head out one day and get off of the paved paths and see what unpaved trails I could find for a run.  For me – this was like finding a prize:

While the places I discover typically don’t have warning signs like this or hold this promise of potential adventure, nonetheless it’s still fun to see what you might find as you walk/run/hike and explore your surroundings. I think you can make it a fun challenge to find new and different places to incorporate some sort of physical activity as a part of your healthy lifestyle.

So whether it’s at home, in your neighborhood or some part of the city or town you live in – or somewhere new while you are traveling – get out and explore!  You just might find a new favorite place to get out and move!

Questions, comments, or your take on this?  Use the form below – I’d love to hear from you.

Another Reason I Run

I’ve considered myself to be a “runner” for over 25 years.

What started out as a move of desperation to try to burn off some quickly accumulating post-marriage pounds became something I love, and is now a passion – one that I enjoy, and that I enjoy sharing with others.

One of the true pleasures that I get from running is sharing some of my favorite trails and routes with friends.    I’m blessed to live in the mountains of North Carolina, which gives me access to many horse trails for running.

I love the beauty of the outdoors, the fresh air, the time away from the noise and buzz of society and the opportunity to enjoy the sounds of nature.  I also enjoy being able to share these paths and trails with friends.

This also serves me well as a motivation for running.  Believe it or not – even someone who loves running needs a little motivation once in a while – whether to pick up the pace, or sometimes just a little extra encouragement to get off my butt and hit the trail.

You may also find the sense of reward and fulfillment that comes from sharing a fitness activity you love, or sharing a favorite trail – or from just helping someone make regular fitness activities a part of their lifestyle.robert2-1

In this case, I was able to share one of my favorite routes with my friend Robert.   While Robert is already a runner – he had never run this trail before.  In this picture we had just finished the 4 mile ascent and were taking a moment to enjoy the view before starting back down the trails.

Whether it’s sharing the love of running, or sharing a favorite route – I think you will also find the rewarding feeling that comes from sharing your passion for fitness with someone.  You just might be the encouragement they need to make fitness a part of their healthy lifestyle.

Questions or comments – use the form below – I’d love to hear from you.


Sometimes I Even Touch the Ground

Today’s post is from a friend and running buddy of mine.  After telling me about his new running shoes, he agreed to share his experience with them here:

Sometimes I Even Touch the Ground
Dean Moyer
Valle Crucis, NC

Last summer I was doing some speed work when a younger runner went flying by me. At one point I think he even touched the ground. As he disappeared into the distance I wondered how fast he’d be running when he was fifty. I continued. Several miles later, shortly after a turn-around, I heard the rushing of wind behind me when my young runner friend suddenly reappeared. This time he slowed, touched the ground again long enough to ask, “hey mind if I run with you?” I chuckled and said, “if you can keep up.”  As we finished out the run I asked about his shoes. Every runner I know is looking for perfect shoe, the perfect shoe deal or both. I’m no different. He told me about his SKORAS. My interest was piqued. But then a shoulder injury sidelined me for three months. Argh!SKORA

After a three-month hiatus from running, I had not forgotten about the SKORAS. In fact I had been plotting. I decided to reward myself with a new shoe. It was time. The perfect time. They were on sale. I strapped on my new BASE and I was hooked. An almost perfect fit (I’ll get to this later), cool look and an awesome feel. As a forefoot runner these were “it.” After several weeks of running in them I decided to get a pair of their premium shoe, the FORM. I’ve run in them for just over a hundred miles now. Can I tell you how much I love my new goat leather foot gloves?!

Here’s a brief review:

Sizing/Fit: For the BASE, it was suggested I order an 8. As a normal 8.5 wearer I found them to be slightly small. My toe doesn’t rub. But I’m afraid to do long miles in them. So for the FORM I ordered an 8.5. Much better. However, if truth be told, I think an 8.25 would be best. But not to worry. The elastic adjustment strap on the heal snugs the shoe to fit nicely.

Comfort: Both shoes are extraordinarily comfortable. But you can’t beat the feel of leather on skin. FORM wins! I did go through a very brief period of blistering. However, I think it may have more to do with the tenderizing of my feet due to the surgery hiatus. I wore socks once. I prefer the no sock fit and run. Neither shoe shows any signs of wear. Granted, I am not a 50 mile a week runner. But at 25 per week, they look like new. (Okay just a little worn.)

Terrain: My running route surfaces consist of mountainous paved roads, gravel roads, and trails. I feel stable and comfortable on all.

Performance: The design enables me to maintain a running form which is efficient and frankly faster. I am not a fan (One who watches from the sidelines) of the SKORA. I am runner who has found gear that helps me do what I love: run stronger, run faster, and sometimes I even touch the ground.


Questions or comments?   Please use the feedback form found below – I’d love to hear from you.


Can you change your running style and your foot-strike?

I’ll start this post with a quote from a recent New York Times article  that  I referenced on April 5th in this post: So what does barefoot running do for you?  “Proponents [of barefoot running] say barefoot running is more natural — humans evolved to run without shoes — and economical. When you lift a shod foot, you have to lift the weight of the shoe, and that requires energy. Added to that effort is the cushioning in shoes, which absorbs energy that should go into propelling you forward.”  Proponents of barefoot running also point out that a mid-foot or forefoot strike more evenly distributes the force of the strike throughout the foot structure instead of directing the force up from the heel to the knee and hip joints.

This is what makes barefoot or minimalist running so interesting and so compelling – because it forces your running style into one that is more natural, probably more efficient, and one that helps protect you from injury.  But it is important to keep in mind that the gain comes from the type of foot strike that you will naturally move toward with barefoot running and the bio-mechanics that occur when you run barefoot or with minimalist shoes.  Another way to think about it is that you will be more likely to prevent all of the possible bad effects of a heel-strike if you change to a fore-foot or mid-foot strike.   So why not just change your running style to accomplish these goals?

Good news:  you can – and you don’t even have to change shoes to do it (more on that later)

Bad news:  you have to be careful changing your style so that you don’t injure yourself in the process, you need to do it rather slowly over time to allow your body to adapt, you are going to get sore in the process, if you’ve been running (with a heel-strike) for some time, you will most likely have to retrain yourself and you’ll find that as you get more fatigued, you will probably fall back into more of a heel-strike.

The best news of all is if you are new to running.  If you start your running “career” by incorporating some barefoot running into your routine or with minimalist shoes, your style will naturally evolve to more of a fore-foot or mid-foot style.  By being careful and conscious when you do run in conventional shoes you will be able to feel when you are shifting toward more of a heel strike.

Unfortunately, if you are an established runner it’s a more difficult task – and that deserves a post of it’s own, and we’ll look at that in one of the next posts.

Questions or comments?  Use the reply form below – I’d love to hear from you.

Does your style of foot-strike really make a difference?

The last several posts have been about running and there are a few more things to cover before we move on to other topics.  In my last post, I raised the questions of whether your foot-strike really does make a difference, can you change it, and if “barefoot” running is the only way to get these benefits.

The way your foot strikes the pavement (or trail) when you run definitely makes a difference.  There are some good sports medicine articles that cover this in greater detail, but in a nutshell – when you strike with your forefoot or mid-foot, the bones and tissue of your foot absorb and distribute the force of the strike.  When you heel-strike that force is either absorbed and foot-strike2distributed by the materials and construction of the running shoe, but some of it is transmitted up the leg to the ankles, knees, and hips.

It is interesting to note that much of the running shoe development over the last several decades has been in the area of shock absorbers (gels, waffles, waves, cells, ridges and even airbags!) to absorb and distribute the force of a heel-strike and transfer that energy out through the shoes rather than up through the leg and body.  However there is always some force transmitted upward, and depending upon the how worn down the shoes are, the type of surface (cement, asphalt, trail, grass, etc) and the style of the runner, there can still be a considerable amount of force transmitted upward into the body and joints.  If you are a heel-striker you know what this feels like as the cushioning material begins to break down and you begin to feel more pounding in your knees and hips.

In the next post we’ll look at if and how you can change the type of foot-strike you have.


Questions or comments – use the reply form below.

What is the deal with barefoot running?

barefoot running on asphaltI get questions about barefoot running all the time.  People wanting to know what all the buzz is about and if it’s just a fad or something they should be doing.  This post provides a brief description of barefoot running, and I will also explain some of the benefits from “barefoot running”.  In some upcoming posts we’ll look at how you can obtain these benefits even if you don’t run barefoot and why you want them.  We’ll also cover the questions of Should I be doing it?  Does this mean I don’t need running shoes any more?  How do I do it?  Is it better for me?  How do I start?

Barefoot running is really what it sounds like – it is running barefoot without running shoes.   If you think about the history of running, barefoot running isn’t really a fad – it’s been around for a  long time, as the running shoes we wear now are a product of the last few decades of advances in running shoe science and design and for much of history, running was either done barefoot, or with the shoe wrapped in some type of animal hide or moccasin.

There is a second and closely related type of running to barefoot running – running in minimalist shoes.  There are numerous types of these from all of the major shoe companies – but the recent wave of attention to minimalist shoes was perhaps brought to most people’s attention by Vibram with the introduction of their quirky looking Vibram FiveFingers® shoes.vibram

So why the interest in and shift back to barefoot or minimalist running?  The biggest benefit that comes from running barefoot and in minimalist shoes is the way it changes the bio-mechanical aspect of running; the strike of the foot, the distribution of the force and stress of the strike, and the resulting shock transferred to the other joints (ankle, knees, hips).    In general, there tend to be fewer chronic injuries with barefoot running, though it does present it’s own set of challenges and opportunities for injury.  To answer the question I always get – does this mean everyone should switch to barefoot running?  Not necessarily  – and even if you do switch, you should do it carefully and over time.  More about that in upcoming posts.

Next up – How does “barefoot” running benefit you and do you need to run “barefoot” to get those benefits.

Questions or comments – use the reply form below – I’d love to hear from you.

what are the best running shoes for someone just getting into running?

I have recently received several questions from people who have just starting running or trying to get into it.  Some of these questions have come from reading the posts here on running, and some from people who know I run and want to try running as a way to lose a little weight, become more fit, and generally get in better shape.  One common question is:  what are the best running shoes?

Everyone’s feet are a little different, and you may have some specific issue with your feet that require special insoles or some special orthotics, but there are a couple of general guidelines that do apply to all new runners.

1.  If possible, have your shoes and feet checked at a runners store.  These people specialize in matching you with the right products and can help you get the right shoes for your feet, weight, stride, etc.  This is absolutely your best bet to get the right shoes for your feet/body/weight/strike etc.  Keep in mind that shoe brands are like other things – everyone has their favorite.  This goes for running and shoe stores as well.  It is a good idea to talk to some other runners about brands before going to get specific recommendations on the type of shoe that is the best fit for you so you can approach this with the focus being on the right fit/support for your feet and body.

2.  Check the soles of your current shoes (even better if you have some running or athletic shoes).
Here’s a very basic guideline:  if your shoes are worn evenly – you have a neutral strike.  If they are more worn on the inside edge of the sole you most likely over-pronate, and if they are more on the outside edge of the sole you most likely under-pronate (supinate).  If you pronate or supinate, you need to target shoes that will address those issues.  There are specific shoes that will address your degree of pronation.  There are also shoes designed for different calibers or runners and different styles of running.  This post will highlight three recommendations for those with a neutral strike. 

3.  Use one of the many tools available on the web to help you measure and analyze several aspects of your feet, legs, body and physiology to find the best type and fit of running shoes.  I’m a big fan of the My Precision Fit site Mizuno has set up at

So here are my top three recommendations for runners looking for a good quality neutral shoe:

Mizuno Wave Ridermizuno-mens-wave-rider-16-f-pri-410511-001F
Mizuno is my favorite brand overall, and is my first recommendation.
The Wave Rider is now in it’s 16th generation and is better than ever if you have a neutral stride and are in the low-mid BMI range. The shoes will wear well, are light, and you should many miles out of them.  For many runners these are their overall go-to shoes for training and racing.  The Wave Rider is my personal favorite and the shoes I wear for almost all of my running.

Nike Air PegasusAirPegasus-29
The Air Pegasus is a time proven favorite of many runners.  With a long history and proven track record of good performance, the Air Pegasus is a solid choice for everyday running and casual racing.  Great wear and a comfortable feel make this a good choice for many runners.  The Air Pegasus is relatively light and yet holds up well.  As with the Wave Rider, you will get many miles out of this shoe.

Brooks Glycerin
The Brooks Glycerin (and the Brooks Ghost) is another good choice for a neutral runner brooks– especially if you tend a little higher on the BMI scale.  Actually, Brooks has always been an excellent choice for a heavier or bigger runner and has engineered their shoes to hold up well to the extra stress from a heavier strike.

Each of the shoe manufacturers above have excellent websites with good descriptions of these models and their other shoes.  If you want to understand more about pronation, under-pronation, and over-pronation (supination), check out this article from Runners World.

I also highly recommend the My Precision Fit site from Mizuno – their goal with that site is “to help you find the running shoe that works in best harmony with your body.”

Questions or comments – please use the reply form below, I’d love to hear from you.

New to running – do you really need running shoes?

People who are new to running often ask me about running shoes: do they really need them and if so – why, and if they do need them – what are the best ones to get for a runner who is just starting out?
Many people figure that if they do need running shoes, they’ll get some after they’ve run for a while and “get good” or are looking to save a little money now and buy some shoes later – after they’ve been running a while. Barefoot or minimalist running shoes will be addressed in a future post.

To get right to the point: you really do need running shoes, and you shouldn’t wait, but should start out with the right shoes. Mizuno Runnng ShoesGenerally speaking – running shoes are important because they provide protection for the soles of your feet, and impact protection by distributing the force of the impact of each step properly across the bones and tissues in your foot. Running shoes will also help cushion your legs and knee and hip joints.

Don’t try to save a little by putting off buying a decent pair of shoes just for running. By having the proper gear (and thus proper protection and cushioning) in place from the start, you might avoid injury or even some of the soreness that might come from getting your body used to running. Anything that lessens your chances of injury or even soreness will help you stick with running long-term.

One “bonus” benefit you’ll get from your investment in some running shoes is that many feel a little extra motivation to keep running in order to make use of the investment they make in those shoes.

Questions or comments? Use the reply form below – I’d love to hear from you.

You don’t have to do it all at once

This blog is dedicated to one thing – helping you make little changes to help you move toward a healthier lifestyle one little step at a time. This applies to all areas of health and fitness covered here on Remember that matter how healthy or unhealthy your lifestyle is today, you didn’t get there overnight.

Keep this in mind as you read these posts about diet, lifestyle, and fitness. I receive questions from people who are just getting started at living a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes it may seem daunting or overwhelming when you read posts about running (e.g. best time of day to run, or how to do interval training, etc) and it could be disheartening if you’re just trying to get started on addressing on moving your lifestyle in a healthier direction.

It’s very important to remember that you can’t (and shouldn’t try) to change everything overnight. You might know someone who did that and changed their whole life (seemingly) overnight – diet, fitness, sleep, emotions, etc. While those all are linked and positive changes in one of these areas will help foster positive changes in other parts of your life, rare is the person who can “do it all at once” and sustain those changes.

If you keep this on mind as you read the posts on diet, fitness, and even specific areas like running, it might be easier to find small steps that you can take to incorporate these things into your life.

Coming up: posts on the best running shoes for beginners, the best way to get started with running, how to get started with weight loss, and small dietary steps you can take that can add up to big changes in terms of a healthier lifestyle.

Please keep those questions coming using the reply form below, and take advantage of the ads and partners on the special offers page as they help cover the costs of bringing this blog to you.

So how do you pick out the right running shoes?

What are the best running shoes?

I am often asked some variation of this by people who are new to running, or want to make sure they are wearing the best shoes for their feet.  This is a good question to consider, because there is a plethora of shoes available, for all different types of runners, people we weigh different amounts, people with different feet issues, and for different kinds of running – not to mention all the different brands.

pile of running shoesIs there a best way to pick out the right running shoes for your feet?  Yes – I think the best method is to people you know who have been running for some time, find out their thoughts and experience with different shoes, and then have them direct you to  a good athletic footwear store (running oriented).  A good running store should guide you through a selection practice based on a few key criteria.

They will consider your weight, your running type, the way your feet hit the ground, and they should do a visual review of how you run.  Some stores will have cameras and treadmills that do a very detailed analysis of these factors and some others to come up with a specific recommendation.  Keep in mind that not all stores carry all brands and so their recommendation may be biased toward the brands they carry.

Over the next few posts we’ll look at some of the factors to consider in choosing your running shoe, and how your shoe can affect various aspects of your running and other aspects of your physical health.

We’ll also talk specifically about a few of the brands available.  There are many good brands available and we’ll specifically look at a few of them, though I will tell you right up front that my favorite brand is Mizuno, and I will tell you why.    We’ll also look at what specific to look for in running shoe reviews.