Saturday, January 08, 2011

Bioactive Runner and "Suspensionology" Expert Test Drove Z-CoiL's

Don has been a runner for 72 years. As a child he remembers running with his mom's pie pan as a wheel to steer around.
Don says," I would define myself as a mountain-trail/wilderness all terrain runner". He has ran in the Death Valley every year. It's a 4 mile trek along Golden Canyon, which is a miniature Grand Canyon. Don's unofficial world record pace running on Maiui's Mt. Haleakala Crater was 3 hours. (Guiness wasn't there to make it official)
Don has worked as a shock absorber tester doing research for 7 different companies. Now the technology has shifted from the previous spring and shock systems. Don currently writes for Car and Driver" as a specialist in "suspenseologist".
Don's favorite example of where to study the best example of shock absorbing principles are those applied in the Packard car. Packard's last major development was the Hudson derived "Torsion-Level" suspension, an electronically controlled four-wheel torsion-bar suspension that balanced the car's height front to rear and side to side, having electric motors to compensate each spring independently. Contemporary American competitors had serious difficulties with this suspension concept, trying to accomplish the same with air-bag springs before dropping the idea.
Don related how the Packard had a levelling power cushion utilizing two front shock absorbers. Two springs that were linked to the rear wheels by a torsion bar and operated on the 4 wheels. When the shock absorber moved up on the front wheel, the back wheel rose up simultaneously.
As the shock absorber went down on the front wheel, the back wheel went down at the same time. They were connected by a long torsion bar which would twist when moved.
Don developed a new running technique that now he calls "bioactive running". In 1947 he used to call it called "physinetrics". Don borrowed this style from the Packard suspension system. He duplicates the sensation in his body from the Packard design concept mentioned above.
The bioactive running technique works on the principle of equalizing and leveling. Going uphill or downhill there should be a shift of energy absorbing shock in the lower extremity. This adjustment is anticipated by an assessment of the declination or inclination noted in the terrain ahead. Going uphill or downhill there should be a shift of energy absorbing the shock in your lower extremity anticipated prior to the declination or inclination. There is no vertical body motions while equalizing/leveling. It is important your head stays level as the muscles of your front leg pull you forward at the same time as your rear leg pushes you forward. Your abdominal muscles are activated as a fulcrum.
Bioactive running follows the concept of actively adapting the body to accommodate the surface you are encountering. Bioactive running's principle is to anticipate and accommodate the upcoming force before it is delivered. You must level your body to reduce the impact in advance of a change of terrain. Keep your center of gravity and your "lever length" the same no matter what is present in the changing terrain at the impact zone.
The goal is to pre-load and lower your body as you accommodate for a bump up or a bump down.
This essentially becomes a negative force down and a positive push up.
Let gravity be the accelerator. Be proactive, put a little forward lean from your ankles while moving forward, but not much.
The end result is you reduce the force of a positive bump force on your body while running. By this technique you develop equality of body pressures by zero body vertical motion. Your hands follow your legs. Your hands should be open handed on the same side facing up.
Don got his first pair of Z-CoiL footwear. He heard of Al Gallegos invention as a possible best application for "suspensology" in footwear. Don was intrigued by the technology and sought out what developments were on the horizon. He learned about the Z-CoiL and was curious how the coils would "ride" using his bioactive running principles. Al Gallegos, the inventor of the shoe, had developed a prototype over 15 years ago. This prototype was Don's first experience with the Z-CoiL. Don says," I always wanted to make a show with coils. It only makes sense."
Don was a tester in 1988 for Nike running shoes. A friend of his at a retail store gave Don a contact in Nike. He would share his experiences using Nike's prototypes and reported what happened as the technology changed.
During Don's recent visit to Your 2 Feet he bought a new set of coils. Because of the surfaces he runs and hikes the coils wear out over time. He also bought a pair of Lyncos orthotics.
If you would like more information or to speak to Don, please e-mail us for his contact information.

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