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The shape of things in 2011

Planning ahead for your New Year’s Resolution to get fit? Here’s what will be in — and out — in 2011, according to a survey of 19,000 “fitness professions” by the American College of Sports Medicine. Out: Balance training, stability balls and Pilates. “Pilates suffered the worst fall, disappearing after a ninth place ranking in 2010,” according to the ACSM. “It appears from this survey that Pilates may not have…

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Breaking in a new stretch of the Falls Lake Trail

“Usually,” Alan observed, “we wait until we’ve been hiking a while before we get lost.” Indeed, getting lost before we could even find the trailhead was a record. It was also a tribute to the trail, five newly opened sections of the Falls Lake portion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which is expanding at breakneck pace through the Triangle. Likely by year’s end, and possibly at a Nov. 21 Friends of…

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Gimme shelter, win a reflective vest

In my previous running life — in my 20s, in the ‘80s — I found myself on two occasions in New Orleans, covering conventions. On both visits it rained, and even though I’m a wimp when it comes to running in wet weather — soggy shoes, chaffing in especially sensitive places, I wear glasses, shall I go on? — I was able to put in my usual five miles thanks…

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Weekend plans? Two if by land, one if by air

The first weekend of November? Really!? You know what that means — time is running short to explore the outdoors before the weather gets really cold. A few of your options this weekend: Coast Few things make you feel like a kid more than flying a kite. The thrill of getting your kite airborne after a dogged sprint, watching it climb higher and higher into the wild blue, chasing after…

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Enjoy the night with a hike

An hour or so into the hike, the lightbulb went on for Alan. “Now this looks familiar.” The problem up until now? We’d been hiking in the daylight. Alan Nechemias and I had probably hiked this stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake — sections 10 and 9 — a couple dozen times over the past three years. But we could only recall hiking it once in daylight. The…

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Exercise your right

You’ve got more important things to do today than read a long, windy blog. Like vote and get in some exercise — which you can likely do at the same time. I just got back from fulfilling both my obligation as a member of the greatest democracy mankind has known, and my obligation to my body. Walked about a mile to my polling place, voted, walked another half mile to…

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Listen (to someone else) whistle while you work(out)

You’ve seen people jogging on the greenway or plodding away on the treadmill, oblivious to all but the ear buds pumping a driving beat into their ears. And, according to science, pumping an extra boost of juice into their workout. The American Council on Exercise recently reviewed seven studies conducted since 1999 that all agreed that listening to music has a positive impact on your workout. (There’s a caveat, but…

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Weekend plans? Hike to learn, run for fun

Cool weather returns to North Carolina this weekend, making for good hiking at the coast and the mountains, with frightfully fun running in between. Coast Mid- to late fall, in my humble opinion the best time to explore the coast. Temperatures have dropped enough that bugs — and snakes! — are less of a problem, yet they haven’t dropped enough to seriously affect the greenery. Lots to see, fewer things…

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New River Trail: 57 miles of bike trail less than 3 hours away

The physical therapist hesitated, then issued his edict. “Maybe. If it’s a short hike. And if the trail doesn’t have a lot of rocks.” He hesitated again, “I dunno … .” “What a bike ride?” I asked. It was Marcy’s first meeting with a PT to deal with a nagging case of planter fasciitis. She’d been hobbled off and on by the annoying muscle irritation; her most recent flair-up courtesy…

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Your next race: train hot, train consistently, take a calculator

News from the lab coat world that could aid your performance: Hot workouts, cool results: You know this blazing hot, record-setting summer we just endured? The one when every workout seemed like it was taking place in an equatorial rain forest under a sunlamp? If you gutted out your summer workouts, you should be an animal in fall’s cooler weather. According to a University of Oregon study published in the…

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