Saturday, 3 April 2010

Exclusive - The 4 feet Running interview

I've come up with the idea of getting some interviews on the Blog from fellow runners.

It is a great to get my first interview and I am pleased that these two guys have allowed me to have them as my first, I give you Dan Medeiros and Nik Wong, husband and wife team from the brilliant Blog and former Podcast '4 Feet Running'. http://4feetrunning.blogspot.com/



I'm sure most runners worldwide will be familiar with the Podcast, I follow the guys on Buckeye Outdoors, Go Wagon and Daily Mile....So here is the interview:

Hi Dan and Nik,


It’s been a few weeks since you’ve stopped doing the podcast, any regrets?

Dan - No, meaning I don’t regret the work that goes into doing the podcast. Our show took quite a bit of work to put together because of the way we recorded it – we purposely didn’t prepare anything we wanted to say and we left the audio recorder on for sometimes hours at a time. On a regular show we ended up with about two and a half to three hours of raw audio that had to be slowly trimmed down, sentence by sentence, to a decent length – more if it was a race. That tends to take a long while. It got to be a little bit of a grind after a while, even if the process was pretty enjoyable at the same time. The part I do honestly regret is that we have less reach to meet great new people. That was by far the best part of doing the show, finding and meeting cool people all around the world with interesting stories. But being bloggers and all over Twitter and Daily Mile, we can still keep in touch with old friends and meet new ones.

Nik - No, I really like doing the podcast, but it’s the right time to move on to concentrate on other things. I met a lot of people I truly call friends even though most I’ve never met in real life. I’ll miss that aspect of the podcast but I hope to continue the friendships though other places like twitter and the dailymile.

Dan, It obviously took more of your time up with the editing of the show, but you are both missed from the airwaves, have you considered doing occasional 1 off show’s. For example a Christmas Special?

Dan - Maybe. We put together a little video episode for a half-marathon we just ran. It’s only about 6 minutes long, but I think it’s got a loose and fun vibe like the audio show. I picture doing more of those every once in a while, actually, instead of audio shows. Personally I find videos are actually easier and faster to put together. I mean, Nik and I could always think about putting together another audio show once in a while but frankly I don’t want to get people’s hopes up because it’s not likely to happen (assuming, I mean, there’s anybody who’s hoping for that).

What trainers do you run in? Do you stick with the same brand when buying new?

Dan - I run in Brooks Addictions, plus I still have a pair of Brooks Beasts knocking around. I’ll stick with Addictions because they work perfectly for me. But honestly lately I’ve been wanting shoes that are lighter. Both those models are motion-control shoes so they’re heavier than other models. Sometimes I feel like I’m clomping around in bricks while other people are in light, fast gazelle shoes. But I need the motion control for my knees. You see why I’m annoyed. One of these days I’ll try a lighter model – I have my eye on the Brooks Adrenaline or maybe the Ravenna. (I’m in the Brooks ID program, but I’m pretty brand-loyal anyway).

Nik - I run in Nike Frees, Brooks Launches, and will run in Brooks T6 racers (they’ve been ordered but just haven’t been shipped here yet for me to try)
I’m a Brooks ID (Inspire Daily) member, so they sponsored me help promote and wear Brooks products at races. I’ve always liked their shoes since I was fist fitted in their Dyads, so I’m happy to be apart of their program.
So far I really enjoy running in lighter shoes like the Nike Free and the Launches. I can’t wait to use the Launches to run the New Jersey Marathon in May. This will be the 1st time running a marathon in something other than the Brooks Dyads, I’m excited since the Launches are lighter, more flexible and have performed well with my training runs so far.

On a race day, how do you start the day?

Dan - A little coffee, a nice cheese omelette and some toast. Oh – also water. I keep forgetting to drink enough water.

Nik - Groggily, races usually start early and I have to wake up much earlier than that to travel to them and arrive about an hour before the start time. I have eggs and fruit for breakfast and then if the race requires some travel, I usually have a chocolate soymilk and whey protein drink on the way. I have to eat every 2 hours to keep my hypoglycemia in check, so I’m very careful to keep fuelled properly before and during a race.

What time of day do you find best to do your training run’s?

Dan - I like mid-mornings, but obviously I can only manage those on weekends. Most of the time I run late afternoons or at night. Sometimes that time of day is OK because there are fewer people out on the streets to get in my way, but the downside is that it’s dark, so I can’t see where the hell I’m going.

Nik - I’m a morning runner. My day doesn’t feel started unless I’ve gotten my run in.

When and how did you seriously get into running?

Dan - Episode 1 of the podcast! A few weeks before that, Nik (who had been seriously running for a year or so before and listening to running podcasts) suggested that I give the Couch to 5K plan another try. I’d attempted it twice before without any success. She said this time, we should do it together and podcast about it every week. This time I became hooked because I saw real progress, and I’ve been happily running ever since.

Nik - I started being serious in 2006 when I signed up for my first marathon, the Cape Cod Marathon http://www.capecodmarathon.com/ I had always wanted to run a marathon, but wasn’t sure it was possible. Then I found podcasts and heard that real people like me ran them. That was the push I needed! I then read every book in our library system and listened to every podcast related to running and fitness, became a bit obsessed, and then ran my first marathon and I didn’t die and it really was possible.

If you could run with anyone for a day, who would it be?

Dan - I assume you mean besides Nik? Because given the choice I’d rather run with my wife than anyone else. I couldn’t run with any of the famous elite runners because they’d be bored stupid at my pace and I can’t keep up with theirs. Besides, I don’t really know many of those people and that’s OK. I just read recently that Abraham Lincoln was a runner. If not my wife, I’d run with him. He’d probably be fast – long legs. And he’d have a lot to talk about.

Nik - I don’t think I can decide on just one person and I’m not generally star struck to pick a famous runner. The people I most like to run with are those I’ve met through twitter, the Daily Mile and the podcast. I’ve been able to meet cyber-friends at races and it’s always made it the event so much more fun.

Why do you run?

Dan - There are so many reasons – I could be here for hours going into them all. For one thing, I run for health. I’ve never been a really health-conscious guy, and I’ve learned too late that that’s no way to be. Running is a great, relatively easy way for me to get fitter and stay that way. By “relatively easy” I mean all it takes is a pair of shoes, some clothes, and a stretch of road. But there are lots of ways to get fit and I like this one best. Probably because it’s fun. I like being outside moving around in the fresh air, seeing the sights whiz by. I’m still slightly amazed when I run past some landmark clear across town, where I think, “Jeez, I think of this thing as far away by car. I’m running past it on foot!” Doesn’t take much to amuse me, I guess. That sort of goes into why I prefer running in cities. I want to look around at tall buildings and parks and people, see interesting things up close.

Nik - Mainly for the usual reasons like health and to be able to eat lots of food nearly guilt free; my family’s health history isn’t really a good one, so I try to keep fit and eat well. I also run so I’m less cranky. (Dan can confirm that one)

I know we’ve all been reading ‘Born to Run’. After I read the book, I felt guilty running in trainers, and the fact they were probably causing problems. How do you feel about the subject of bare foot running? Surely 90% of the nation cannot be getting it wrong, can we?

Dan - “Born to Run” was a fun read and parts of it were interesting, but frankly some of its conclusions are flimsy and drove me nuts. The barefoot running stuff was such a small part of the book, much smaller than Christopher McDougall would lead you to believe in interviews. Before I read the book, I thought it was going to be a long diatribe about the perils of shoes from start to finish. There’s a little bit about it toward the end – that’s it. In an interview with CNN, McDougall said “shoes are the devil.” Yet everyone in the book except Barefoot Ted wears shoes – everyone. And McDougall shows Ted limping around at the end with bandages on his feet. Even the Tarahumara runners wear shoes. Many of them wear sandals made from cut-up tires. If you’re wearing something protective on your feet, that’s called a shoe. Even Vibrams and the other “minimalist” shoes. Those are shoes. Yet McDougall says wearing anything at all on your feet (Nike or otherwise) is unnatural and messes with your innate stride and causes you pain. I don’t buy that. People have been wearing shoes in some form for millennia. I think McDougall found the barefoot stuff was a great media hook – it’s the “everything you knew about [blank] is all wrong” sales pitch that you find in bookstores in every nonfiction aisle. Sure helped him shift a lot of books, didn’t it? Also, he says that running injuries have skyrocketed since Nike started selling running shoes. That’s a logical fallacy: correlation, not causation. You can’t correlate injuries with the selling of running shoes alone, as he does. Did he source all those injuries to determine definitively that they were all directly caused by wearing shoes, and that these people would not have been injured had they been completely barefoot? If not, then his conclusion is bogus. Loads more people are running now, more than ever before. Loads more people also run without being coached, without studying how to run, without listening to their own bodies, without paying attention to potential injuries, without a training plan, without being fitted for the proper footwear. Just because people like you and Nik and I into Garmins and training logs and plans, we assume everyone else is. But most runners I know who are not in the online running community are also not really focused about running – they go out and run like punishment or penance. They run what they feel like running without building up mileage slowly. They sometimes push themselves and get hurt and they have little to no idea what to do about it, so they keep running on an injury. They buy whatever shoes are on sale, or whatever’s their favorite color, with little regard to how well they fit their stride. People I know who are deep into running do similar things. I see people pushing themselves on injuries all the time. If more people are injured in recent years, I’d theorize it’s less likely due to an evil running shoe conspiracy to keep people hurt (which makes no sense, because then companies obviously wouldn’t sell more shoes) and more likely because orders of magnitude more people are running in recent decades without guidance. I’m not saying there’s no wisdom in running barefoot – studies suggest it’s probably a nice idea to do some light, easy barefoot running to keep your feet strong. It would be nice to have more studies to look at barefoot running, because now we basically know that you run differently when you’re barefoot than when you’re in shoes, not necessarily better – just differently. There’s still debate as to whether or not that difference is an improvement or just a difference. I’m just saying it’s highly unlikely that shoes are the sole reason why people who run get injured, as McDougall strongly suggests. I’m also NOT suggesting that he just shut up and run with the damn shoes. If it makes him feel better and uninjured to go barefoot, than obviously he should do that. But I’m highly skeptical that barefoot running is for everyone all the time and that there’s no other way to run effectively. To say nothing of germs.

Nik - Ditto on what Dan said. We’ve talked about it extensively and have both come to the same opinion.

You’re Ipod is full of running podcast’s and you can only fit 3 songs on it to listen to on your run, what 3 songs would they be?

Dan - I’d need stuff with a good tempo and steady drums to keep things moving. “It’s a Long Way to the Top” by AC/DC, “Trampled Underfoot” by Led Zeppelin, and “Am I Evil” by Metallica. Only because that last one got me up a steep hill for the first 5K I ran.

Nik - I don’t like listening to music while running. I know that’s weird but I just stick to podcasts and audio books to get me along.

What is your favourite running distance?
Dan - I’m a big fan of the 5-miler. For me, it takes about an hour and I feel like I’ve gone a proper distance without spending all day on the road.

Nik - Hmmm…as long as I’m running I’m pretty happy, but I guess it would be the marathon distance. I’ve had good races and not so good races, but it’s always the distance I think about, train for, and when I do run a marathon it’s such an exciting event. Plus all those miles means I have a long way to see all kinds of thing.

I suffered from a knee injury a couple of years ago and I always worry about that in the back of my mind that it will come back. Do you have any injuries that you worry about recurring?

Dan - I have lateral discoid meniscus in my knees. They’re really sensitive if I wear shoes that aren’t supportive enough. I’ve tried short runs in Nike Frees and, while I feel fast, my legs and feet take a major pounding and my knees get a little sensitive. I only do that once in a great while so I don’t hurt myself.

Nik - I’ve had my share of injuries over the years, though not necessarily running related, like the time I fell and twisted my knee wrong while going to the Post Office. I mostly worry about the next situation my natural klutziness will get me into.

Nik, You’ve been clocking up some decent mileage, would you ever consider an Ultramarathon?

Nik - Maybe someday, but I really like the marathon distance and whole hubbub of the event the most right now.

If you could choose to run any two of the Major Marathon’s which two would you go for?

Dan - Boston would be one of them, obviously. It’s just right up the road. Easy to get to! And I hear it’s apparently somewhat prestigious! Kidding aside, Boston is one of my favorite cities. I’d probably also want to run London. That’s got to be a great place to run. I love big cities.

Nik - I would love to run Boston one day. It’s a beautiful city and I’d love to see as a marathoner, but I probably won’t qualify, well, maybe when I’m 80 if I’m lucky.
The other marathon I would absolutely love to run is the Great Wall Marathon. http://www.great-wall-marathon.com/Default.aspx That too is a fantasy, I’ll probably be 80 by the time I could save up to travel to China and run that one.
…My calendar will be full up when I’m 80, I guess.

Dan, Photography, Running, Writing. What order would you put them in of priorities in your life.

Dan - Writing, then photography, then running. I like to run and all, it’s a lot of fun – but I’m not an athlete. I don’t have any desire to be one, either. Running is just one of the things I like to do, but it’s not the essence of my being or whatever. Somehow I feel like a jerk admitting that, but it’s true.

Do you cross train, if so what do you do?

Dan - Not nearly enough. I’d probably be a lot better at running if I did. Every so often, I try to do some weight-lifting to help lose weight, build muscle, and get a stronger core. But it bores the pants off me.

Nik - I enjoy strength training. I’ve been doing the New Rules of Lifting for Woman this year and enjoy the program. Also, I walk my dogs everyday. They demand it!

If you go away on Holiday for a couple of weeks, do you still go for a run?

Dan - Yes, definitely. It’s a great way to explore the surroundings without being stuck in a car behind glass.

Nik - My vacation is usually built around a marathon! Is there another reason to vacation?

Pepsi or Coca Cola?

Dan - Coffee! I prefer not to drink soda anymore, but if I had to pick one … Pepsi.

Nik - Sorry, I don’t drink either one, but I prefer tea.

It’s a cold dark rainy morning, what do you do to motivate yourself to get out and run?

Dan - First I remind myself that I’ll probably feel great after the run. That isn’t always true – sometimes a lousy run can ruin my mood for a week – but it usually is. If that doesn’t work, I go online and see what all my online running friends are up to. Seeing their runs helps put me in the mood to hit the road too. Come to think of it, I should probably make more “landmark” goals – like, “Hey, Dan, go run to that cannon in the park across town, take a picture of it, and come back.” That would probably work really well. I’ll go run anywhere if I can have fun a experience doing it.

Nik - We’ve had record breaking rain this past month in New England (I have flooded basement to prove it) , so I need a lot of motivation these days. It helps for me to have a schedule, I like following it; I like the comfort that I know what to do when, no questions. I do put out my clothes the night before so when I wake up, I dress right away, and then because I’m dressed, I feel ready to go…usually.

I forgot to mention to Nik about her art, but you can see her brilliant work at http://www.etsy.com/shop/painternik

I like to again Thank both Nik and Dan for taking time out to do the interview.

6 comments:

  1. Just one point to clarify...I indeed had messed up feet after the race...but I was wearing the original VFFs...which are not ideal for trail running! Based on that experience, and many others similar, the KSO was created (Keep Stuff Out).

    I am not dogmatically barefoot, nor do I think it is for everyone..., but until the book, it had been lost as an option for mainstream...and that was a shame, especially when most of the bells and whistles on running shoes are not there because of good evidence of efficacy.

    Learn to run well barefoot and you will have mastered the fundamentals of running well IMHO.

    BFT

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  2. Well done on getting the interview. This was one of the podcasts that I always listened to.

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  3. Nice interview. One of my favorite podcast.

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  4. I just found out that you have stopped your podcast and wow that's a bummer! I found it on youtube 10 months ago-and love but am onl about half way through the list.I find your banter really hilarious and motovating. Best of luck to both of you.

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  5. Wow , the experience shared is amazing, i guess i feel its fun reading about it, and i feel there is more like things can be more nice. thanks for sharing

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