Stuff I Nag People With

My life changed completely starting with March 2009.

Since then I gathered tons of useful info that helped me become a healthier happier person. I try to share them here, along with my daily struggle to become stronger, faster, healthier.

Romania fails at sports. I knew that already, things are picking up now, but in terms of specialized running stores and sports gear we’re lagging behind. And it makes sense, so far the only store that actually makes money selling sports goods is Decathlon and we got this one fairly recent. We have stores that sell Nike, Adidas and the ocasional Asics shoes, but it’s mostly models for men, older lines or really small sizes.

I went to Budapest for the Rammstein concert like it was the promised land. I took almost 2 full days to look for running shoes, searched a bit online and i went there dreaming about Brooks, Saucony Mizuno and New Balance.

The reality left a bitter taste in my mouth. They have specialized football stores everywhere, i stumbled upon at least 3 of them. But in terms of running shoe options, Budapest is in running stone age, way lower then Bucharest in my opinion. Again, you can find Nike, Adidas and the ocasional Asics. I even found a special running store called “Spuri” that had Saucony. The catch is they only have the most stabilized-heavy-high-heeled models from every brand. It felt like heel striker heaven. Not even AdiZero or Nike Free, not to mention newer lines with less beefy soles.

Just have to add the concert location that was complete crap and the bars that threw us out at 24:00. If it wasn’t for the awesme company and great food, the vacation would have been a complete bust. Good thing I was there with the right people :)

I know, this is an easy one! Still, I had two friends asking me recently what can they do so their calves hurt less and I had a hard time finding a movie of my favorite stretch on the internet. Most people use the “lean against a wall” method, but I have pretty weird (flexible?) ankles, because I don’t manage to feel this stretch properly. 

The stretch in the video works like a charm for me. Took some barefoot running to learn to appreciate it properly ;)

If you don’t have a step, check the second part of the video. For example I put my left foot toes against a wall, left heel on the floor and start closing the left hip to the wall / pole / tree. The difference from the video is that i keep my “stretched” leg straight and I stretch by closing the hip to the wall. They are great stretches, no matter what variation you pick!

Went with Mark on his first run! I followed the first week of 5K101, 2 mins slow jog and 3 mins brisk walk…was really awesome, and the pooch seemed to enjoy it. Also, for him it was mostly brisk walk, he just ran a bit from time to time (advantage of having 4 legs :p). I won’t push at all, but it’s nice for him to drain some energy and for my knee to start recovering actively.

This is a very nice RunnersWorld article about the top 10 mistakes people do when they use running as a weight loss tool and how to fix them. I’m guilty of some of them, check out the full article!

  • Running slowly to stay in the ‘fat-burning zone’
  • Hopping on the scales every day
  • Taking diet supplements that promise to increase metabolism or suppress appetite
  • Not eating after your run in the hope of burning extra fat as your metabolism speeds up
  • Some runners ruin their efforts to get lean by rewarding themselves with unhealthy foods after a training session
  • Going straight out for a run in the morning without eating breakfast
  • Eating a very low-calorie diet in the belief that your body will have to use its excess fat to fuel your runs
  • Using sports drinks or energy gels to fuel your short runs
  • You want to lose fat from your body, so you lose it from your plate
  • Training ever harder, faster and longer in your quest for leanness

I found a really awesome blog! Brian Martin writes it, it’s about running technique, it also has shoe reviews (yey!) and he wrote a very nice ebook I am planning to buy. You can check it here: I am very interested in the mechanics of running and when a book promises to 

make technique and the complex area of biomechanics understandable for runners of all levels of ability

it’s got my attention.

But until I get the book, I checked out this the article about exercises that improve running form and I liked it:

Approaching strength training for running the right waymakes it a legitimate and effective approach to improving running technique.  The key running technique tip is to focus your efforts on functional strength and coordinationexercises that closely resemble the muscle activation patterns needed to sustain good running form.

In a previous post and in my book I’ve written about the neurological adaptations that help stimulate improvement, and made the argument that these are critical to unlocking the possibilities of running with better technique. The“practice” element of strength and coordination training is all important to improve the overall efficiency of any complex movement – especially in running.

You can find the pdf with the exercises here:

Blog post:

Enjoy! :)