Friday, October 31, 2008

Barefoot Rob....AKA Jesus teams up with Chuck Norris!

I get tens of hits to this blog every day.  People from all over the country check in regularly( except a few Red states that will remain nameless).  Runners follow this blog not because I pay them, but for the hard hitting journalism and extensive coverage of the sport of running you can only get here.  This site, Faster-than-Schroff is my dedication to me someday kicking Dave Schroff's ass in every distance event ever invented except ultras (because they really suck).   Yet, I am also about SOOO much more.....I'm also about being one with running and loving all of nature (oh yeah and into all that family crap too, blah blah blah).  So in pusuit of a perect soul, I am about loving every bee and stepping over the ants on the trail (sorry, little guys, if you come in my house your toast!).  On the other hand, I have an awesome roundhouse kick!  And still, at the same time, I am about barefoot running. Not just because shoes hurt the world, pollute the environment, make me insensitive, and are used in war, but because I am as tough as rawhide and I have an incredible threshold for pain!  Still, I cry on movie night when we watch Beaches or Steele Magnolias.  I've been known to listen to Kenny Logins.  Yet being a Marine, I will not hesitate to kill a suspcted terrorist with my bare hands.  For all I am... For all I do... for all of us, the democrats will not to tax me.  I am very special and you are very lucky to be reading this.  Even still, something is not quite right.  I mean, I can do the running, but I cant quite make a total transition from regular runner to barefoot runner.  Really, I feel it's more mental than physical.  I lack a certain style.  I visit the other popular barefoot running sites (you know, the MEGA sites) and notice most guys have beautiful gray but full mane's of scraggly hair and long beards.  They kind of look like fit grateful dead fans.  I WANT THAT LOOK! But, I can't seem to be able to grow facial hair on that scale.  Plus, unlike Jesus, I work in a factory where barefooting is seriously frowned on.  Oh, well.  Screw you OSHA!  

So, if I wan’t to be both the bad ass and the freaky crunchy granola guy.  Just imagine me to be a shoeless Chuck Norris/Jesus!  Maybe not quite like this guy but close....POW!

So Schroffy, on one hand, I give you strength (brother) to carry on while at the same time I promise to never relent in my pursuit to kick your ass!  Awesome isn’t it?

Your bud,


P.S.  Do they have the Internet in North Dakota yet?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My biggest problem is that when I wake up at 5 I have to make a deal with myself to get myself out of bed -- "Okay, I'll run, but not fast."  -- Jay Covey

Monday, October 27, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Running on Ice

When watching elite athletes run I am keenly aware of how similar they are.  This video is about efficiency.  Run as if you are running on ice.  Near the end of the clip, the author, Dr. Nicholas Rominov actually runs on ice.  Rominov, is the founder of the pose method of running.  When we think about how we run and try to minimize the forces that slow us down we also may be avoiding unnecessary forces that cause injury.  When you run, envision you are running on ice.  It might prevent you from overstriding or leaning too far back.  Watch the video and comment as you see fit.

Here's another:  Haile Running in Slow Motion (Beautiful)


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

They ran like this....

This is a terrific slide show of Greg White (Big Dog), Glenn Latimer, Phil Lockwood, Mike Sonnemaker, Steve Shostrom and the rest of the gang. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be around that many great runners. In one shot, taken at Sheridan Village, Greg notes that he ran a 32:22 10k and came in 9th! Talk about a tough crowd! I would say they wrote the book on tough!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot :-). So I asked Greg about that hat...He says:

"In those days it was a painters hat made of paper or the early Tyvex. I found that hats worked great as both an insulator to keep heat in and out by soaking it with water at aid station to go as far as throwing ice in the hat and letting it melt. also great in the rain and on sunny days I could turn it around and protect my neck. Also kept my Perm in place. Hat also I thought kept me from squinting and adding tension to my face which I thought would progress down into my shoulders. also at times it made me look Cool in pictures."

I agree Greg, way COOL!

Celebrating on a bus bench in Chicago. "We could party anywhere"


Friday, October 17, 2008

Not having a good day? How bout you try being more negative! - By Glenn Latimer

(Glenn Latimer tells Rob what it takes to be faster than Schroff!)

Greg asked me to comment - see his post below
Depending on the marathon race course, even splits or negative splits are the way to go in a marathon - otherwise you feel you are "hanging on" and trying to survive/get through the last third of the race.
As Blair and Greg have correctly identified, it is training and simulation which allows one to do this type of racing.  I always preach "have your wheels under you at 30k"  - i.e. you can still control your pace when the race comes to the tough part.
Liken it to driving your car - you either control the accelerator pedal, or the car controls you.  Most people running a marathon do not have control of the accelerator pedal, and therefore the race is controlling them.
Elites train to run different paces, make injections of pace, and recover.  Most elites and sub-elites know exactly what pace they are on by experience and by feel.  There is no reason why everyone can't get the feel for pace, whatever speed they intend to run.
Age brings wisdom (maybe?) - when I ran another marathon when I reached 50, I ran the first 10M at a controlled pace, the next 10M at about 15 seconds per mile faster, and the last 10k was the fastest per mile pace of all. Wish I had practiced that when I was racing with Greg!!
Elites run within themselves through the first half of the race. Then the race really starts between 25k and 30k.  The fittest, well-trained guys run even or negative splits usually. 
The guys in Chicago last weekend got a crazy idea about 15k and ran a couple of miles at 4:36 and 4:38. As predicted it buried most of them, and lost the winner the chance of a course record. Too much too soon.
Next April in London we are planning a first half of the race in 62:00  - that is not too fast if you can run 59:00 for a half marathon.  Extrapolate accordingly to whichever level you run at, as the same principles apply.
Consult with the experts like Greg and Blair on how to do this sort of training simulation.  Greg correctly identifies that most people in training don't simulate, and therein lies the key. Put yourself under stress to learn to simulate and "control" of the pace.  Remember this is complex because you need to be able to control the pace (maintain or pick it up) just at the time when you body is "changing tanks."   Consult with the experts in Greg and Blair - they can help you.
Hope these comments help.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Greg and Blair Weigh-In on Negative Splits

Negative splits...what a question!  I've been trying to figure that one out for over twenty years without an answer but I do have some thoughts about why the elites can do it and we can't. First we don't practice it enough. Everyone is afraid to run fast in training, then run faster in training. We do a lot of GP running, but at maybe too short of distances and with too many rest intervals.  It may be best to alternate doing a 3 miler at goal pace followed immediately by a 3 miler at faster than goal pace.  Then recover to your resting pulse rate and repeat again. This may be a better way of doing a 12 mile run than a continouse 12 miler where we start slow and try to pick it up throughout with just the last 1/3 at MGP.
We also don't race at distances long enough to practice negative splits for a marathon.  Today we race too many 5K's and don't have the oportunity to RACE (I MEAN RACE !!!) a 10 miler, 20K, 1/2 or even a 30K.  Without these races, it's impossible to figure out a goal pace should be let alone determine negative split paces.  The charts out there for interpolating what you can run a marathon in rarely work unless you have 10 milers through 30k races to plug in.  For instance, using my 5K to 10K PR's showed I could have run 2:32:00 I ran 2:23:00.  But by plugging in my best 10 miler or my best 1/2 marathon time theprediction table more accurately showed I could run a 2:21:00.  This is much closer to reality but i never did that either. In other words we either need to race more at longer distances, or do more test runs to determine our ideal paces for the marathon.   One problem runers make is to set up a 10 to 16 week training cycle yet not adjust our goal paces (either up or down) for where we are in the cycleTest runs of 15 to 16 miles could do this as long as you duplicate the lead up days and you do your test on the same loop each time with weather being the only variable.
Looking at elite performances and compairing how fast these runners can race a 1/2 vs what they can run for their marathons we see they are much closer than non-elites.  When they do the first half at 2 to 3 mins slower than their PR's they are to a lesser degree resting at closer to thier training pace. Then they race the second half at close to their 1/2 marathon race pace!  Wmost often do it the oposite way because we don't know how fast we can actualy race the 1st half in before we are forced to drop back to training pace.  If you look at splits in marathons for most of us, the first thing that happens before we crash is that we slow down to the training pace of our long runs.  Then we crash.  If we knew the correct pace using a series of test runs or longer races (not past Marathon pace) we could possibly use this as an opening pace then speed up the 2nd half.  This would be a closer mimic to what the elites  do.
I did test runs without knowing it because I ran all my long runs on the same course, Boredom, adding the 4 mile Grand View loop to get to 20 miles.  So I guess I knew where I was in my cycle.  I was always able to race 30'sec faster per mile in the marathon than my 20 milers on Boredom and my 2:23 pace was my normal pace.  It was usually around 5:20 for my 12 milers on Boredom and around 5:50 for my 20 milers. I can't say this works for everyone but it's been the same for a lot of runners I worked withI'm not saying to use Boredom for your long runs exclusively, but I do believe in running somewhere that gives you regular test runs.
I'm going to quit now because I need to do my workoutI think better on the move so maybe I will come up with more thoughts.  You  know me I like to talk about training the OLD WAY!!
Greg White


When I swam competitively, distance was my specialty. We constantly worked on even pacing or negative splitting our races. The coaches felt by doing this one would conserve carbohydrates for later in the race, delay lactic acid build-up or reaching (or crossing) your anaerobic threshold too early in the race, and that you would be more efficient overall. You had to learn not to start out too hard/fast and settle in a pace you could maintain for the race, maintaining dead even splits or coming back a little faster than you went out.

Running is the same way. Look at the world records in the distance events. They were all done with even or negative splits. The front half is never more than 2-3% off the back half (e.g., out in 1:32, and back in 1:28 or vice versa for a 3 hour race). The hardest thing is to hold back in the early part of a race. You need to be cautious about not starting out too fast (Danimal) and cause the body to produce more lactic acid than it can handle. Once that reaches a critical point...the runner/swimmer will slow down or's the only way to clear it...

Greg and I worked and worked with Peggy Joseph on this type of pacing...wanting her to try and run even splits in the 15K at Steamboat. She was one who always went out way too fast regardless of distance, and tried to keep from slowing down toward the end and being passed. She hadn't won the 15K to this point in time. We worked with her a full year to where she could run even splits....not going out too fast...running somewhat conservatively early on....letting people go....only to keep her pace even and reeling in these runners as they slowed later in the race. She won Steamboat that year by running the second half of the 15k slightly faster than the first.

You need to establish a goal and your training should be geared toward reaching that goal. Run against the clock, not other runners. This will require you to hold back and follow your plan. Train at the pace you want to race at....tempo runs are great for this, or repeat miles done with very short recovery periods. Using a Garmin will help monitor pace for the miles and make sure you're on track.

I read one article on negative splits where it does state that it's very difficult to run even splits in a marathon, so it's usually better to err slightly to the conservative side than to be a little overly aggressive. Not by an average of 5-10sec/mile over the first half...which is 1-2% for most runners. Another states that if you've accurately pegged your race goal, then it doesn't matter if your splits are positive or negative as long as they are no more than 2-3% apart...that close is essentially even splits. Terrain, weather, etc....all play a part in your plan as well.....

Running and swimming even/negative splits takes time, practice, and patience to the point where it becomes second nature. I practiced this in both my swimming and running (even in my 5K's) and felt that it made me faster overall in both disciplines. It was always nice speeding up in the second half when others were slowing would give me such a mental boost passing people....

Hope this helps, Blair

Over 40, under 3? Determine the pace!

I am 43 years old.  A johnny come lately, I've been attempting to run a sub 3 hour marathon for a couple of years now.  I am making progress although it's been a journey of many dead end paths.  In Chicago, I was very close and feel had I had cooler temps a 1% increase in pace could have been realistic.  That would have allowed me to obtain my goal.  Regardless, the fact remains I didn't do it. Now, my friends who also ran the race chose what they deemed to be the "correct" pace to run the race. Some ran into unexpected difficulties. Some in aticipation, chose to fight another day. Here are our splits for each 5k segment (click on the graph to enlarge):

I started thinking about why we determine our paces in the first place.  The three hour marathon is a lofty goal for many of my running friends.  Some have smashed through this objective while others struggle with me.  Despite our varied talents and fitness, the goal remains one of the most sought after for my group.   Matt Fitzgerald wrote an interesting artical about 
marathon pacing where he speaks of the difficulty of determining an accurate pace given all the uncertainties of the marathon.  He writes:

"Can we even assume that even pacing is the best marathon pacing strategy? 

The fact that most of the fastest men’s and women’s marathon times ever recorded involved negative splits would seem to be strong evidence that negative splitting, or at least even pacing, is the optimal marathon pacing strategy. One of the world’s top experts on pacing strategies, Ross Tucker, Ph.D., finds this logical irrefutable. “I'm a big believer that there is such a thing as ‘natural selection’ when it comes to performance,” he wrote in an email. “In other words, if the very best athlete runs a negative split, then that is most likely the optimal way [for everyone] to go about it. Because given that hundreds of world-class athletes are racing, time will eventually ensure that the optimal strategy is settled upon. If a positive split were better, I have no doubt that all the great athletes would be going out and doing it, simply because it works.” 

The big problem I have here is the anectdotal evidence does not support even splits for the non-elite athlete.  There are two problems with the supposistion that it's best, first does the non-elite runner really know what the correct pace should be and is the pace for them at which a negative split becomes possible as fast for the entire marathon as the pace they might pick were they to run a positive split?

Fitzgerald continues....

"However, just because even pacing seems to be the optimal pacing strategy for the world’s best runners doesn’t mean it’s automatically the best pacing strategy for you and me. There’s a large and possibly crucial difference in the fitness levels that elite and non-elite runners bring to the marathon event. It’s plausible to me that the more modest a runner’s fitness level is, the more likely it is that he will achieve his fastest time by running somewhat aggressively in the first half and then “hanging on” in the second half. Put another way, it’s plausible to me that the smaller the difference between the most comfortable pace a runner could sustain for 26.2 miles and the fastest pace he could sustain for the same distance, the more likely it is that a slightly positive pacing pattern would produce the best overall result. "

From talking with even our very best runners seems to support this argument.  Do you agree?  Please weigh in on this if you have a moment?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chicago Marathon 08 Race Report

I headed up to Chicago on Saturday morning.  The family and I got to the expo at about 1:00.  Adam White (thanks for the donkey shirt!) had a booth for Running Central at the expo and that was pretty cool.  He really needs to get that web site point of sale set up for his store.  When you go out of your home town folks will want to order via the net.  I'd love to order on-line from him as well.  Anyways... The guys planned to all meet up before the marathon just to say “hey” and the expo at McCormick Place worked out well for everyone getting together.  I ended up hooking up with Schroff, Krause, Danimal, Matt, Jared, Robby and Lorne.   I probably spent more time than I should have walking around and talking but I was having a good time.  The BWS and his wife beat us all to the expo (a preminition of things to come) so they headed out to get to their room before I got there.  Too bad, I could have used some of his fastness essence!  After the expo, Shev drove me to the hotel and dropped me off.  She and the girls were staying with my niece at her place.  That was fine, I am not much fun the night before a marathon.  I really just want to get off my feet and chill.  Matt and Jared were planning on crashing in my room.  We all had dinner at Pizzano’s on State Street (2 blocks away). Dinner was excellent.   I chose the Pasta A “La” Dino which is a Bowtie shaped pasta sautéed in garlic and olive oil with sun dried tomatoes, shrimp and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (a value at 15 bucks)!  It came in a HUGE bowl.  I only finished half (I could have horked it down but thought it unwise) and had a Newcastle on draft with water.  The wait was about 40 minutes but expected and we didn’t sweat it because we were off our feet.   Eat early or be prepared for long waits downtown.  Especially if you want pasta on marathon weekend!  After dinner they left me at the hotel and went out for a few adult beverages and to enjoy the Chicago scene.

The morning went really smooth.  Robby, who stayed with his uncle, met us in the room at about 6:30.  We were pretty much ready to go.  I ate a bowl of lucky charms because they are magically delicious (figured I could use a bit of that).   It was warm enough that I didn’t need any cold weather gear.  I was a bit concerned about the heat playing into the marathon.  I planned on going out really slowly knowing it would not be easy.  When the gun went off, I went out and looked down at my Garmin.  It was reading 7:45 actual pace but then it almost immediately read 6:40.  My first mile was 7:05.  Perfect.  By the middle of the 3rd mile I could see the 3 hour pace guy and I just kept him in sight.  The pace felt very easy, almost boring.  Judging by how bad it got last year, I knew the feeling wouldn’t last long so I decided to enjoy the feeling until it left me.  By mile 6 I felt a bit weak but then it passed.  I was careful to hydrate at every stop and I took gels every 5 miles.  I hindsight I am very glad I did that. As I passed the 7 mile mark, I started looking for my family.  I asked my niece to make her sign stand out more this year (I comepletely missed her last year) so she wrote “Run Fatboy Run….Go Rob!”.   I saw it right away but tried to act like it wasn’t for me.  I need to thank Shev, my niece Candace and all my buds especially Matt Stevenson.  They kept me entertained during the morning.  Conditions were much warmer than I would have liked but WAY better than Chicago 07.     By the 11 mile mark it was becoming more work to stay with the group but not terrible.  I got a bit confused at the half when I came across and the clock was showing 1:34.  I was hoping to be no slower than 1:31 and was really worried about how hard I was working then I figured it out.  It kinda freaked me out until I heard one of the guys around me say he was right on time for his 3 hour goal.  In the end it didn’t matter, I didn’t have it in me.  However, I am encourage that the pace did seem much easier than it ever did before. I fell off my 3 hour pacing goal at the 30k (the lucky charms magic must have worn off) and I spent the better part of the next 2 miles chasing  a dude dressed up like Mini Mouse.  Wouldn’t that have been a great finishing photo!?!   I would definitely have to buy that one!  Matt worked with me for the last 4 miles (thanks so much) and so I finished the Chicago marathon on Sunday with a new PR 3:05:01.  I was pleased.  I really had to work to get in in that time and don’t think I had any more left to put out there.

Two of my friends really stood out, Scott Willi and Eric Bush.  They were on top of their game Sunday.  Eric ran a 2:33 winning the mens masters division (whoa)!  Scott accomplished his goal of running a sub 3 marathon (his first of many).  Great job guys.  Some of us had really tough days.  The weather definitely played a role.


Oh yeah and we had plenty-o-water this year!  Thanks Mr. Pinkowski!  Now I see I still need to improve upon my stamina in order to reach my goal of running a sub 3 hour marathon.  After all the world record is very much sub 3!   My next 26.2 will be at Boston in April.  Shev is running the Marine Corps Marathon in DC in two weeks.  After she quals (and she will) we will run it together (well at least on the same course together).  I am going to pursue my goal of achieving a personal best on a very challenging course.  In order to do that I am going to have to make some more improvements to my running. 


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lawyer And Contributing Editor Dedicates Big Part of Each Working Day to His Law Firm

Byline: Rob Fennell 

Oct. 10 --In a drawer of J. Covey’s desk is a list of 5 things he knows he can do anytime of the day.   “Sometimes, I just take it out to remind myself I don't have to be working right now.  Nobody is watching me.”

Covey… attorney, editor, dad, friend, and athlete wears many hats.  The people who come to his office have real legal problems, such as how not to pay taxes or how best to threaten a competitor with litigation so they can get some cash. 

Down the hall, nine lawyers and three paralegals are doing what they do too.  Last year, his firm helped 29 clients. Additionally, private lawyers, employed by clients working with Covey, also were responsible with helping another 337 people. Even so, that adds up to fulfilling only about half of the requests. 

Some get only literature about their legal issue, others a brief face-to-face session with a lawyer or paralegal. Most just get a brief email saying “Thank you.  But at the moment I am out of the office”.  Tens of people will walk away with no help because Covey just doesn't have the staff or other resources to handle their legal problem in any fashion. 

"This is no joke," Covey says. "legal contract problems are the No. 1 issue. It’s what pays the bills.  These people have no way to take care of some of this stuff."    So Covey, has committed himself to setting aside his interests in running, parenting, and shopping for 4-6 hours each day to focus solely on his job.   “I wish I had the time.  There’s so many ways to kill a day.  I often dream of many other things besides my job that I could be doing right now.  At times it can be downright depressing.” 

But Covey puts on a brave face, builds on the mystique of his profession, pads where he can, and juggles each day with grace and humility.  We could all use more of what he has.  Sadly he’s only one.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Robs Final-Week Taper

- By J. Covey

Monday: 3 mile jog, 1 minute slower than base pace.

Tuesday: 2 mile walk, 25-minute pace

Wednesday:  1 mile being pushed in wheelchair or adult stroller; slowly, don’t overdo it

Thursday: On La-Z-Boy recliner, pushing buttons on remote control

Friday:  Combination sleep-loading/carbo-loading:  Entire day in bed; alternating large pizzas and beer with double doses of Ambien

Saturday:  To hospital in morning to be placed in an induced coma; limousine to hotel in downtown Chicago; continue on respirator til morning

Sunday:  Servants dress you and carry you to starting line, propping you upright til the gun goes off

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vanilla reviews the Pearl Izumi Shoe

I'll be honest.  I owned this shoe and it really didn't do anything for me.  I am more of a minimalist when it comes to footwear but when Vanilla speaks, I laugh.  Enjoy:

"There aren’t many things in this world better than the smell of new running shoes fresh out of the box. You unfold the tissue paper that covers the shoes, remove the wadded up balls of it from the toes of the shoes and you catch your first whiff of new running shoe. It’s fantastic, but do you know what’s even better than the smell of new running shoes? Actually buying new running shoes. Trust me they look at you kind of strange when you ask if you can smell several pairs and then just leave the store without buying any. Do you know what’s even better than buying new running shoes? You probably don’t because you’re not awesome like me. I’ll tell you what’s better than buying new running shoes: Being given a free pair of new running shoes to review on your blog. Pretty awesome huh? Do you know what’s even better than being given free shoes? Being given a new pair of the latest Pearl Izumi SyncroInfinity running shoes. (Syncro Infinity? syncroINFINITY? I can’t figure out which one is right, Pearl Izumi must be loving this right now.)Do you know why I keep phrasing everything as a question in this post? Me neither.

Receiving a free pair of Pearl Izumi running shoes is better than receiving any other brand because it’s as if Pearl Izumi is endorsing me as a runner. It’s as if they’re saying 
“Hey Vanilla, you’re not a jogger, you’re a runner, you run like an animal, you are our kind of people, we want you in our shoes, and not all those lame joggers who read your blog,” – personally I would be offended by that last statement if I was you guys.

Now you may think that me agreeing to review their shoes in exchange for a free pair is a conflict of interest. You may call my actions 
“selling out” or “whorish behavior” but I call it“shut up you’re just jealous!” I assure you that my review of the shoes will not be tainted by the fact that the super-duper, totally awesome, stupefyingly great company Pearl Izumi just gave me free running shoes. I will not allow it to impair my judgment."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Red Eyed Tree Monkey -- Extinct?!?

Peoria, IL -- The red eyed tree monkey hasn't been spotted for almost a year in Glen Oak park leading nature observers to speculate the fate of the elusive critter.  Is it extinct or is it simply a matter of having better things to do than hang out in the park at god awful hours?  Will we ever know for sure?  

Starving Marathoner Eats Friends, Still Hungry!

Before I started running I REALLY enjoyed eating.  I still do.  But my friends are beginning to give me a complex!  I can't enjoy a hot dog anymore without thinking about how much bigger I'm gonna get!   If I get hungry I'm eating the whole plate cause the two weenies in the middle wouldn't fill me up :-)

Are Your Shoes Causing Injuries?

Here is an excerp from one of my favorite sites, The Science of Sport on the benefits of barefoot running:

To date, we have not really tackled the running shoe subject directly here at The Science of Sport, but it has come up incidentally in previous posts.

For example, it came up in the first post on our series on the Pose Running technique, where it was pointed out that ever since the "boom" in the running shoe industry about 30 years ago, the percentage of runners who get injured each year has remained pretty much the same.

So despite technological advances and developments in the industry, injury incidences have remained largely unchanged. Shoe companies make many promises, such as:

"Anti-pronation devices limit movement of the foot, reducing the risk of injury in overpronators", or "Forefoot and rearfoot cushioning devices reduce impact and the risk of injury"

Yet there's little reason to believe that this is true. The latest studies suggest that anything between 40% and 70% of runners are injured every year. And fascinatingly, in 1989, a study found that runners who ran in shoes costing more than $95 actually were twice as likely to get injured than runners who ran in shoes costing only $40! That was even after correcting for training and racing mileage! Of course, it's impossible to conclude that "expensive shoes CAUSE injury", because there are other factors that can't be accounted for. And one might argue that the typical runner of 2008 is quite different from the runners of the 1970's, who tended to be lightweight, biomechanically very different athletes. So maybe the fact that the injury rates are the same is actually a positive for the shoe industry? But let's pursue it a little further...