Sunday, February 12, 2017

Runtech - Refine Your Run Part 1

It has been 2 years since I was involved with my team mate from 2ndSkin conducting running clinics. We collaborated with Garmin Malaysia in conducting these basic sharing/classes targeted at beginners. It is also an opportunity for Garmin Malaysia to showcase their newest products to the participants, where they will have a chance to use these during the clinics and decide what potentially suits them if they want to invest in a running GPS watch with smart function. 
Photo from Batch 8.2. Thanks Deo!
Last weekend, we managed to get Bodytech Kuala Lumpur to join us at the running clinic. Through an arrangement with Garmin and 2ndSkin, the principal of Bodytech KL was with us to share what they can do (as in services) to the participants. Specifically, for runners, they have the Runtech which focuses on runners. 
About Runtech™ by Bodytech Kuala Lumpur
Runtech has been developed to help runners identify and to improve their running form. By using video analyses and their knowledge on running dynamic. They can help beginner, recreational  , seasoned and competitive runners to understand their gaps and provide suggestion for improvement.
Selina and May Ooi providing the information on Runtech™
Last Saturday, myself and my team mate Azrul Deo received the opportunity to have our running analyzed by the team from Runtech™. We also observed two other participant that had their running video recorded as well, in the event they decided to engage Runtech™ to provide them the analysis. There was no obligation and the participants were offered a discount if they are interested. 
The video requirement can either be done at Bodytech or send in remotely to them by you
There are two variables in my opinion that may be material and effect the outcome of the analysis. First is the video recording, and the second is your perceived running form. As the services from Runtech allows you to film your own running video if you live too far away to meet up face-to-face, they prepared a guidance on how to take the video in this Youtube video

The requirement from Runtech™ during the Saturday session is for us to run to and fro at least 8-times on a straight line. A camera takes a side profile while you run and the front camera need you to run in a straight line. So, if you take your own video, I suggest you pick and choose a place without traffic (if you want to use the road line), or in a field where you can find markings. Perhaps even in a open air court may be good. As much as possible, no video indoor. You will also have to tuck in your shirt so they have a good look at how your hip moves (and as Shakira says, it doesn't lie).
You are out of line Stupe! 
Now, on your perceived running form; when you are fresh, your form will always be good - great posture, good arm swing with good leg lift and kick back, conscious landing and take off etc. But when you are tired and "want to get it done and over with", that is when you form will suffer, and you open up yourself to many possibilities of potential injuries. I am very conscious of that and in every clinic we conduct, the team (2ndSkin) will often emphasize on good posture and "be in the know" of your body position. So, what did me and Deo did?
We ran a few fast laps around the flat surface of the track and immediately went in to get our run recorded. In my case, I decided to test my 1-Mile timing. Personal best of 5:58 almost 2 years ago were at stake - actually, not much at stake as I know my personal fitness since. With a 7:00 to cover 1.65km (can I now claim it was slightly over a mile?), I know I have lost my fitness. 
Which now, present a great opportunity for me to know what I can improve on with the help of Bodytech and their Runtech™ program!
As I ran at least 8 laps, I was more conscious of my body placement and posture, my strides and even my landing, but as I was tired (I ran a HIIT of 7km earlier before the 1-Miler), i know my form is not as good. Perfect opportunity for these movements to be recorded (and it did).
Video done, what's next?

There was a sense of accomplishment as I lap around the two cameras knowing hope to beat the 5:58 timing may be in the near future. So, after filming and filling out the form for Runtech™, all I need to do now is wait for the report and how I can further improve my run. For those of you that know me, it took me a good 18months to unlearn and relearn running about 3 to 4 years ago. At this point of writing, I thought to myself how nice it would had been if Runtech™ were available 4 years back that I then can save myself from the process and focus on improvement immediately after the analyses! 
Thank you Selina and May Ooi
In the next part of the blog entry, I will share with you what are the findings for my improvement, tailored to my personal running style. I will also share more of the packages available under the Runtech™. However, if you require more information now, head over to their Facebook page here. Their main page which is known as Bodytech is right here on this link. Until then, keep running and never stop learning!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Running Pain : Upper Body

Upper body pain on neck, shoulder and arms when running distance is common with some that just started running. Our way of sitting, standing and even carrying loads on our back contribute to the discomfort we may have when running. 
And when we headed out to run, we start to over correct our bad posture and conciously or subconsciously hold our shoulder close to our ears or pull the shoulder blades together to imitate a better posture. You then start to pull your arms closer to your body.
Or in some instances, you let your body slouch and that action collapse the shoulder while restricting your chest from expanding and your airway blocked - occasionally looking up only when there are photographers around ;). Some of us run looking down because it was how we been running. If you ever wondered how and why you had that "less than good" run, it is your posture.
To start with, you need to be loose. The more fluid you move, the less likely you will tense up. You can only be fluid if you learn to relax. And you can only relax if you don't try to squeeze out all the blood from your clenched fist or be so stiff your shoulder freezes over. By being more fluid, you will have less pain. The less pain you have, the longer you can run. Sound like a good deal?

Starting from your hand, imagine that you are holding an egg in your hand. By doing this, you will allow some slack and prevent any tension or stiffness running upwards to your neck and shoulder. Bend slightly at the elbow and keep the hand between the chest and waist. I personally reccomend nearer to waist. 

Next, allow your shoulder to move along with your arm swings. Think of it like you are doing a light jab forward and do not cross your arms as you swing it. Move your arm in-sync with your stride. Your arm swing helps to regulate your stride. 

Now that is the basic of getting the upper body fluid. Now, you go and try it and hopefully, you run better and with lesser pain.

Review : Wahl Hair Clipper

Going bald was a choice I consciously made and the reason for it were for easier maintenance due to my active lifestyle primarily. And of course the advantage it gives me when i am doing the sports as it would meant less time spend washing my hair after, and less time wasted trying to dry them. Also, I don't have to worry about having to comb anything, let alone worry if the gel, wax or cream I use would run out, or if I am past the "in-fashion" hairstyle. Heading to the barber can be an expensive affair as it will cost anything between RM10 to RM12 to get a cut. 

Wahl Super Taper - Professional Clipper
I got this from a hair care supply shop after buying cheaper version from shops selling China (cheap) product. Those RM20 clippers does their job, but there is always the risk that the clipper were not built sturdily and risking your scalp to be trimmed off due to sub-standard finishing. This Wahl Super Taper is 12 times more expensive than the cheaper clippers and it was an investment. Moreover, this is made in USA as printed and verified in the unit (free of Made In China sticker)
Spell Check - all good English, a first sign that this product had QA/QC
This clipper came with a 1-year warranty and at the time I wrote this, I have been using this for the past 3-years. You must be wondering why I review something I bought 3-years ago? Well, truth was, this post was meant to be posted 3-years ago, but due to work/career change and having other priorities in life, 26 others draft blogs/review/report has taken a back seat. 
Now, on retrospect, this unit, which was bought a good 3+ years (April 2013) ago has been used at least once a week - as I usually will shave twice a week (if i remember). If you go by that "Return of Investment" ROI, I already made back the initial RM240 investment I did after shaving/clipping for 24 times by year end 2013. So, yes, apart from electricity bills (minimal, say RM1 for a 5-mins buzz), I've been getting "free hair cut"done at home in the toilet/porch by myself.
How it was packed
Inside the box was the clipper itself, very well built and ergonomically designed that you can handle it with one hand. it comes with a small brush with screwdriver end so you can adjust the speed, so to say (by modulating the power). A good 2.5m cable, a nice come, 6-clipper attachment from No.1 to No.8 (3mm to 25mm cut). 

No 8
A small bottle of mineral oil is given if you need to lubricate the blades once in a while - I have only done that maybe three times and it was mainly out of guilt of not maintaining the unit. 
The manual comes with tips on cutting hair using the clipper - if you decide to make a second income as a barber.
If you brought your son to barber or if you been to barber, you may had heard terms like getting a "zero"cut, or "kasi nampak kulit" (can see skin) -it usually refers to just using the clipper san any attachment. That gives you a 2mm cut. short enough for you to take it and shave with a good shaver for the bald effect.
I considered the clipper's attachment as good to have/nice to have as I've not used it ever on myself. But if you are new to this, you may want to learn using it with attachment if you are fearful that the clips will cut you. if there is any comfort, I've not been injured using this. 

Fits nicely, about 600grams of solid vibrator clipper
I clip my hair myself and after doing it twice, I get the hang of it. Think of it as if you are holding a large vibrating comb and start coming it against the hair-growth direction. This meant the front part is from front to back motion; and the back is from the bottom to up motion. Sides a bit trickier, but do use the other free hand to press the top of your ear down as you shave upwards. 
The awkward selfie
The clip without any attachment is safe, it may looked dangerous but with time, you gain confidence to use it. As the hair grew a bit longer after a week, the No. 0 shaved off minute level of hair which you can see in the next photo. Now, if you are planning to do this, get yourself a shoe brush as it will be the best tool to brush off the hair from the clipper edge very effectively. 
Easy peasy - the brush been with me for more than 20 years - same brush I used back in RMC!
I even use this clipper to shave my facial hair. I realised I have sensitive zone around my lips and chin and shaving causes breakout with or without ingrown hair. So, the decision to grow some facial hair is not to offset the missing hair on the head, but was more of a strategic (just like going bald) decision.
Get it if you are looking for a clipper
So once I get to the shortest level this clipper can get (think GI Joe hair), I will then use a shaving foam and 5-blade shaver to give me a smooth finish on the head. By the time it's midweek, I will get a 5-oclock shadow on the head, which makes it easy for another blade-shave, or I have the choice to let it grow out before I shave again, and continue my ROI!

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