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March 7, 1997     Cape Gazette
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March 7, 1997

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Everything you ever wanted to know about running surfaces This past week, I received re- quests for the Seashore Strider/Grove Club 10 week train- ing program for beginners that was designed by Runners World and modified by partner Bob Pb6f'd'aySIf. This program has been very successful in advancing a person from a walker to a runner and do- ing it in just ten weeks. In both in- stances, the questions were asked "What surfaces should I run on and is one surface better than an- other?" Most runners do not take the time to think about what is under their feet when they head out the door, and most runners do not think one surface may be better or worse than another. Runners World-March did an excellent article on this fact and unfortunately because all of my readers do not have a subscription to the leading running magazine, I felt that I would share highlights of the article with you hoping it may be of benefit to your running. I chose eight different surfaces and Runners World ranked them on a scale of 1-10, with I0 being the best and 1 the worst. Being a coach that has had suc- cess being trained in high school and now training youngsters with different methods of sand train- ing, I'm not sure I agree with Run- ners Worm only giving sand a rat- ing of four! The three categories I'll share are the pros, cons, and the rating. Good Luck! Grass The wide, soft greens of rolling hills, parks, golf courses, and soc- cer fields provide the purest, most natural surface for running. The best training surface for most run- ners, especially as you get older. Pros- Softness of surface is easy on legs in terms of impact, but muscles must work harder, which increases strength. Makes road running feel easier and faster, as well as a great surface for chal- lenging hill workouts. Cons- Uneven terrain can throw off stride, as well as bumps, holes, slippery surfaces may cause prob- lems and legs will tire quicker. Rating- 9.5 Wood Chips Paavo and Lasse Viren trained on wood chips, as well as Pre's Trail named after Steve Pre- fontaine in Eugene, Oregon. At least once in your running career, make it to a wood chip trail and you'll love running even more than you already do. Pros- The softness and scenic wanderings will make you want to run forever. Easy on your legs. Cons- Slow for the most part, and hard to find in the United States. Rating- 9 lJllmllmm41allltlelllllllillilmtWUilQ Dirt Found off the roads on trails of parks, forests, and mountains. Running becomes an adventure when you're running the trails of Cape Henlopen and Trap Pond State Parks. Great option if you can find them near you. Pros- Medium-soft footing provides a relief from the roads and a decrease risk of overuse in- juries. Lots of shade, usually beautiful settings, and most trails have access to bathrooms and wa- ter fountains. Cons- On rainy days, slippery mud increases risk of injury - es- pecially to the calves and Achilles tendons - and makes running diffi- cult. Some trails might be uneven or rocky. Rating- 8 Cinders A mixture of fine rock, carbon, ash, and slag which make up the majority of track surfaces from the pre-syntbetic era. Few tracks are still around like Shields Ele- mentary, Sussex Central, Milford, Seaford, W'oodbridge, and Indian River to name a few. A well groomed cinder path or track is one of the most comfortable run- ning surfaces, and can be one of the most scenic if through a park or along a river. Pros- Softer than asphalt and easier on your legs. Cons- Loose cinders create some slippage, making this a slower running surface than the road or track. Cinders also do not hold up well in rainy weather. Rating- Z5 Track Just because it's a track, you don't have to be fast. Composed of modern synthetic materials measuring 400 meters. Nothing beats a track for inspiring and building speed and motivation. Pros- State of the art surfaces are easy on the legs, and allow you to measure, monitor, and progress week to week during workouts. A good place to find partners, as well as an infield playground for kids. Cons. Stress on knees and hips, but try changing directions. Longer runs may become tedious. Rating- 7 Asphalt A mixture of gravel, tar, and crushed rock which make up the majority of roads in Sussex Coun- ty, Delaware. Most of us stride over this surface on a regular ba- sis, and even though they may not be the softest, we are surrounded by them. Although a hard surface to run on, the Convenience and smooth surface of roads are tough to beat. Pros- Asphalt is not as hard as concrete and is easily accessible just outside most front doors. It also allows you to structure your training on familiar, measured Continued on page 71 00f,o# Printed T-Shirts &, Sporlswear Geoff Vernon is now independent operation as Artwork Logo Design Quick Service Quality Work Reasonable Prices 645-2959 {0At 0b2l, lt, lthty, Meh ? -- Mm'eh iS ll(T, Ultra Caddy Tote 2 wide pockets and center handle. Recessed intedor trays for smaller items. Hunter green. 6037246 *2800 Wastebasket 24 tit. wastebasket with recessed grip handles. Green or white. 6037378,220 $ 99 Paint Thinner 100% mineral spirits solvent and thinner for oil-based paints. 13376 Laundry Basket 2 bushel basket. qite or green. Sturdy plastic to handle heavy loads. 6037196,204 88 Just Arrived: 645-6658