Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Running in art

A lot of people reading these posts may be more interested in the 'art of running' rather than 'running in art'.  However,I recently visited an exhibition at the Baltic.  The building that houses the Baltic is an old flour mill and forms a backdrop to the BUPA Great North Games which are held on the Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides in conjunction with the Great North Run weekend.

The Baltic
Great North Games 2010  
Although the exhibition I went to see has nothing to do with running, it did get me to thinking about instances where running features in the world of art, and to be honest I could not think of many.

From a historical point of view, as founders of the Olympic Games, running and sport featured in the art of Ancient Greece.

In more recent times the Tate Britain in 2008 featured Martin Creed's Work No 850, in which a single athlete ran at speed through the Duveen Galleries, every 30 seconds, all day, every day (sounds like a good rep session).  Creed proclaimed that the appeal of the running figure is simple:

"Running is a beautiful thing.  You do it without a pool, or a bike, it is the body doing as much as it can on its own."

Back to the Great North run,  in 2005 BUPA Great North Run Culture was set up to celebrate the 25th anniversary of what is the worlds largest half marathon and each year has worked with artists to provide an insight into the race through art.

This year David Blandy has been working with 13 (one for each mile) GNR participants for a film entitled 'Run a mile in my shoes'.

Previous commissions are:

- Girl Blue Running Shoes (2010)
- Parade (2009)
- Run for Me (2008)
- About Running (2007)
- Runner (2006)
- broken time (2005)

These short films can be found at www.greatnorthrunculture.org/moving-image

The picture below represents a marathon runner running in the wind.  I wonder how many of those running in the high winds during Sunday's Edinburgh Marathon can empathise with it?

Running against the wind
by Dale Wicks

Monday, 23 May 2011

Sunday run

Strong winds meant that this mornings run was a there and back affair within the comparative shelter of the Derwent Walk.  I managed 11 miles at a reasonable pace, only starting to struggle over the last mile or so.  So although I am still a long way off where I would want to be, I can see some progress.

Today's run took my weekly mileage up to 30 miles and I will be looking to consolidate this over the next couple of weeks.

I don't know if it was just the wind but there were a mass of runners on the 'walk' this morning.  Although the upcoming Blaydon Race on 9th June is usually another factor at this time of year in seeing more people out running. 

I am still aiming on making the start line for Blaydon, but the best I can probably hope for will be a good run around rather than racing.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Barefoot running

The debate on barefoot running seems to continue to rage.  I typed 'barefoot running' into google and was overwhelmed by the number of results.

In one of the blogs that I follow running on empty by Terry Lonergan has recently discussed how he practiced barefoot running in Heaton Park,  Manchester, in his younger years.

History gives us examples of elite runners such as Bruce Tullah and of course 1960 Rome Olympic Champion, Abebe Bikila, who won the Olympic Marathon running in bare feet.

Of course along with the current surge in barefoot running there has been an expected response from running shoe manufacturers.  In fact, it seems that you cannot open a running magazine these days without there being an article on barefoot running along with an associated article featuring 'barefoot' running shoes. A whole variety of brands from every manufacturer, such as the super minimalist Vibram 5 Fingers and he Nike Free range.

A 'barefoot' running shoe is something of a contradiction in terms.  So is it just a case of the shoe manufacturers jumping onto the band wagon, or is it, after 40 years or so of more and more cushioning, it is now thought that the promotion of a more 'natural running' style through your running shoes is more appropriate?  For example, shoes such as the Newton range which have been designed to promote forefoot running, rather than the 'heel strike' which is made common with the more cushioned shoe.

I have experimented with the Nike Free range.  Originally with their first version of the Nike Free, I have now just acquired a pair of Nike Free 3.0 V2, which is Nike's most minimalist shoe within the 'Free' range.  As the blurb in the promotional material states " it closely mimics the barefoot running experience while providing ample protection and just enough support for sufficient comfort".

Regular readers of my posts will know that I have some on-going knee problems and as such am very wary of doing away with cushioned shoes.  I have, therefore, limited my use of these minimalist shoes to infrequent short runs, the gym and to wearing them as a casual shoe, with the idea that the minimalist properties will help strengthen my feet.

Has anyone got any views or experiences regarding barefoot running they wold like to share?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

More 600's

Following an easy 10 miles on Sunday my knees were feeling very tender.  So it was a gym session on Monday rather than a run.  Last night, however, it was a return to the track and another session of 6 x 600m with 2 mins jog recovery.

This time I did not set my target times quite so high, instead aiming to be more consistent and reduce the overall time taken.  The conditions were cloudy and overcast with a strong breeze down the home straight and a temperature of 13C.

I must admit I was pleased with the session achieving both the targets of being more consistent (a little) and reducing the overall time of the 600's by 10 seconds.  For the record the time were:

2.06; 2.03; 2.06; 2.04; 2.04; 2.05

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Back on track

Last night saw a return to the track at Chester -le- Street. The evening was clear and sunny and with temperatures around 13C it was good conditions, despite the persistent breeze down the home straight. The session was 6 x 600 with 2 mins jog recovery and a target of 2 mins per effort.

My target time turned out to be a little ambitious as I recorded times of :

2.02; 2.04; 2.08; 2.06; 2.09; 2.09

But still at this point in time I am happy with the session and after recent history am viewing the fact that I got the session in as a bonus.

Following last Tuesday's track session I played it cautious and did a Gym session on the Wednesday. Thursday though, I let enthusiasm get the better of me. The plan was for a 4 mile steady run. When, however I reached the turn off to take me back home I decided to extend the loop making it 6 miles, then again when I reached the next turn off I again decided to extend the run by a further 2 miles.

The last mile now became quite a steep climb and unfortunately left my knees very painful. As a result I did not run the following 2 days, although on Sunday I did manage an easy 8 miles on much gentler terrain.

S0 the plan for the rest of the week is to kerb the enthusiasm a little and build up a little more sensibly.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

First one back

After a couple of weeks of easy jogging and steady running every other day, I decided to take the bull by the horns and see what state of fitness I am really in.

So headed off down to the track at Chester - le - Street. I like the track at the Riverside, it is located on the banks of the River Wear,next door to Durham County Cricket Club and overlooked by the 14th Century Lumley Castle (now a hotel).

As for the running I decided not to be too ambitious and plumped for 3 x 1000m with 2.30 recovery. It was a fine sunny evening with only a slight breeze and temperatures hovering around 9C. So all in all pretty ideal conditions.

As expected I found the session rather a struggle but I managed it and although legs were aching later in the evening there was no adverse reaction from recent back and knee problems. So that's the first real session in and now I can start moving forward again - Happy days!

For the record, the times for the efforts (and they were an effort) were 3.37; 3.41; 3.42