Run Straight e3 Grips

Run Straight e3 Grips

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To explain e3 Grips I have to start with one of my favorite quotes about marathons and running, which comes from LA Times freelance fitness writer and renowned author Roy Wallack:

"Run soft, run strong, run balanced, run fast, run less and run repaired."  

Wallack has actually added to that quote's list of how you should run in his book about running longevity, Run for Life: The Anti-Aging, Anti-Injury, Super-Fitness Plan to Keep You Running to 100.

The grips come in via #3 on the new list, run straight, which makes the complete list as follows: 

  1. Run Soft
  2. Run Strong
  3. Run Straight
  4. Run Less
  5. Cross-Train
  6. Run Faster
  7. Run Flexible
  8. Run Motivated

So what do these E3 hand grips do? And why does Wallack say they were the beginning of "running straight" and eternal running salvation? 

Wallack makes the case for the grips and running soft in his book's description of how he managed to run the Boston Marathon in 1999 despite debilitating pain in his hip just two weeks before the event.

Desperate for answers. Roy visited his friend Robert Forster, a physical therapist who runs Phase IV in Santa Monica. Forster's advice for getting through Boston boiled down to a prescription for #1 (run soft), while Steve Tamaribuchi, a visiting chiropractor, chimed in with #3, the e3 Grips prosthetic that would make Roy run straight.

"You say you've got hip pain?" asked Tamaricuchi. "Hold these [grips] as you run and it'll straighten our your arm swing, which will reduce the excessive sway of your hips. I bet the pain will disappear." 

Long story short. The advice worked like magic. Roy got through mile 20 feeling amazing despite very little training. At that point, he got a little cocky and picked up speed (by no longer running soft) because he was feeling so good.

Uh oh.

Mile 23, Roy slightly tore a hamstring. Mile 24, his calf spasmed. Then his forearms started to spasm from holding the damn Grips the whole marathon. At mile 25 his left interior quadricep spasmed. It took him 20 minutes to complete the last mile.

His conclusions after crossing the finish line in just under 4 hours?

Conclusion 1: "Soft Running and a vertical arm swing work."

But the real aha! was Conclusion 2: "Soft Running shouldn't be used just for undertrained fools like me, but all the time...It could extend your running career by many decades."

Agree to Disagree. I haven't talked to Wallack about this, but I suspect he fell a bit under the spell of the wonderful book Born to Run in aligning his "run soft" recommendation with Vibram-Five-Fingers-style shoe minimalism. For me, Hoka One One maximum cushioned shoes are an important mental part of how I "run soft." 

There's more in the book I agree with than disagree, and lots that made me examine some of my tactics. But we're absolutely aligned in terms of goal: if you do the right things, you're in for a healthier, happier long-life marathon. 

One of the right things, if you don't run straight, is to pick up some e3 Grips.