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Movies of the Month: 2006, Page 2

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December 2006:

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Olympian Triumph
Featuring Sebastian Coe

Welcome to the golden era of British middle distance running. This tape opens with the end of Coe’s first world record from Oslo, Norway on July 5, 1979 in the 800 meters. The track announcer shows his astonishment of lowering Alberto Juantorena’s mark by 1.07 seconds as Coe races to a 1:42.33 clocking. Over the next 41 days this 22 year old also set world records in the mile (3:49.0) and 1500 meters (3:32.1). The races are magical and the scope and depth of this presentation make this, as well as the features of other track athletes (Emil Zátopek, Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses, and Daley Thompson) on this five tape collection, some of the best to be found.

Starting from an early age with home video style footage, you see Coe running and comments from his father and soon to be coach, Peter Coe. Footage showing interval training on the roadway with Peter following him in his car, from the 1985 documentary Sebastian Coe: Born to Run, is utilized with different narration. Interviews, training, analysis, and race coverage carry you through the ups and downs experienced in the 1980 Moscow and 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games. In these races you will see the start, and at least the last 200 meters (if not the entire last lap), as well as athletes on the award stand. Coe will always be known as the first man to repeat as Olympic 1500 meter champion and here are some quotes from his interviews:
  • "I used to just physically love the sensation of just running. On a sort of fairly regular basis, particularly weekends, I would think nothing, even at the age of seven or eight, of perhaps running four or five miles. It never seemed to hurt me."
  • "I think you ask any competitor they’ll tell you half an hour before an event ‘What the hell am I doing here? Why am I doing this?’ and three minutes after the event they are planning for the next one. It’s a sickness."
  • "I think natural talent is very very important but you’ve seen it in any sport, it’s not enough. There are plenty of sports where you can stand and watch somebody with all the God given talent in the world but it just doesn’t do it. And it’s that amalgam of natural talent, just that burning desire to do something better than the next person. And if you can get a synthesis of the two, plus the ability to commit 15 to 20 years of unremitting work, then you’ve got the combination but it’s a very rare one I have to say."
  • "He was madly competitive. I knew at 14 he was very good; at 16 I was certain that he would be great so that everything had to be geared around maximizing his chances by giving him the best quality training on the least amount of volume." ~Peter Coe
Many people were unaware of the viral infection that Coe had to overcome prior to his second Olympic games. John Hovell became his coach and he ran with a group from a local running club to build back his form. As Hovell explains, "It was a matter of totally rebuilding this man up to take on an Olympic program of seven races in the space of nine days, all at world class. It was like David being flung to the lions." After watching this one you will have a better sense of the talent, planning, and determination that allowed Coe to be remembered so fondly to this day. Visit Amazon.com to purchase this VHS set from a variety of available sellers.


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November 2006:

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The Injured Runner
A Balanced Solution

Most runners don’t want to think about injury or prevention, yet here is an instructional DVD that is sure to get you back on the road, or keep you there without interruption, if you use it regularly. Join Bryan Whitesides, a 20 year runner, physical therapist, and board certified orthopedic clinical specialist, as he instructs you in "the most specific program available to develop core stability, strength, balance, and flexibility." Whether you are trying to fully recover following a running injury, prevent the likelihood of future injury, or simply want to enhance your running performance, there is something to be taken from this thoroughly interactive DVD. There are five main sections of presentation after the introduction that you can easily switch between: Foundation, Level 1, Level 2, Warm up, and Stretching.

This video is ideal to observe the sets, move along with the athletes, and to inform yourself with the included verbal instruction. Although many of the techniques appear simple on screen, it may take many trials and sets before you find yourself doing these moves with confidence. The moves presented have been researched at Stanford University, The Joyner Sports Medicine Center, The University of Wisconsin, Urmia University, and Queensland University to be the most effective tools to keep you healthy. Here is an overview of each section:

Foundation: Start here for four body awareness positions that need to be mastered prior to initiating the routine. 13 minutes.
Level 1: This section is to be done four to six times a week for recovery from injury and twice a week for injury prevention. These movements are isolated and controlled to best benefit running movements. The exercises focus on the dorsiflexors, calves/achilles, quadriceps, hamstrings/lower back, hip abductors, hip flexors, gluteals, and abdominals. Sets of 15 to 30 reps, along with awareness of the breathing, are fully demonstrated. 37 minutes.
Level 2: This level provides advanced versions of level 1 exercises. The difficulty is increased with dumbbells, ankle weights, and resistance bands in addition to slightly more demanding techniques. 41 minutes.
Warm up: With only four activities presented this is not a reason to obtain this DVD. For an extensive warm up routine featuring 37 drills I would recommend another past featured instructional tape: Ultimate Sprint, Hurdle, Relay, and Conditioning Video. 6 minutes.
Stretching: Here are 26 stretching exercises focused on 13 body areas. 3 x 30 second sets are recommended when conducting these movements. The topics include: Dorsiflexors, straight knee calf stretch, bent knee calf stretch, planter fascia, quadriceps, hip abductor, hip flexor, IT band, hamstring, gluteal, lumbar flexion, lumbar extension, and lumbar rotation. At the start of each stretch a diagram shows the affected body areas as well as a description of what problems are best treated with each stretch. 38 minutes.

You may order this 135 minute production from Amazon.com and if you want to read background articles, and other printed information on various problems that you may be experiencing (such as knee pain, IT band, achilles tendinitis, shin splints, ankle sprain, calf or hamstring strain), visit the Injured Runner.com. This DVD is not a replacement for a good medical doctor, so be sure to consult with your medical professional if you are experiencing severe or chronic pain. However, by following through with these exercises you will be less likely to have medical condition over the course of your running career.


October 2006:

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The Olympiad Series: The Persistent Ones

The introduction to this film states: "In the history of the Olympic games there have been many athletes who try and fail only to try again. This is the story of the lifetime quest for an Olympic Gold medal." Following are heroic tales of athletes who persevere to overcome adversity in pursuit of the top level of the award stand. You will discover each of their stories complete with interviews, archival Olympic footage, and narration to tie all the pieces into one riveting tale.

In order of appearance, here are the featured runners:
  • Albin Stenroos, Finland, Marathon. Following the bronze medal performance in the 1912 games in the 10,000 meters, Albin broke his leg and retired from athletics. He failed to make the team in 1920 and then, at age 35, he wins the 1924 London marathon by nearly six minutes. The "Flying Finns" amazingly win every event from the 1500 meters to marathon in these Olympic games.
  • Percy Williams, Canada, 100/200 meters. In the 1928 Amsterdam Olympiad, Williams competes in his first international competition at age 20. He has eight races in four days and wins both the 100 and 200 meter final, only five years after being bedridden with rheumatic fever.
  • Donald Finlay, Great Britain, High Hurdles. In his third Olympic games, the 38 year old wing commander from World War II is leading the race until he strikes the last barrier and tumbles to the ground. Finley was the athlete of the 1948 London games who said the Olympic Oath: "We swear that we will take part in the Olympic games in loyal competition in the the true spirit of sportsmanship for the honor of our country and for the glory of sport."
  • Herb McKinley, Jamaica, 400 meters."If you really want to accomplish something you have to dream about it and believe it. You have to almost see it as a reality." McKinley was often favored to win as he was the 400 meter world record holder and also competed in the 200 meters. After his fifth final over two Olympiads, he finally stood atop the winners platform with his teammates from the 4x400 relay in the 1952 Helsinki games. The new Olympic record was 4.3 seconds faster than the 20 year old mark set in Los Angeles.
  • Alain Mimoun, France, Marathon. Over the course of three Olympic games, Mimoun had set 32 national records and had only one person who he could not defeat , Emil Zátopek, until his last event,the 1956 Melbourne marathon. In addition to Olympic competition you will view European Championship running in both the 5 and 10k.
  • Derek Redmond, Great Britain, 400 meters. Redmond won each of his first two heats in the 1992 Barcelona games, and then in the semi-finals of the 400 he pulled his right hamstring. He chose to continue around the track with his father joining him in the last 120 meters that makes this race so memorable. "For it has been written, the honor should not go alone to those who have not fallen; rather all honor to those who fall and rise again." (Note: This production was originally released in 1976 and you must obtain the 1996 release to have the Redmond race included.)
  • Etienne Gailly, Belgium, Marathon. Before his debut Olympic Marathon Gailly said "I have made myself a promise. If I am standing at the finish I will win a medal." He leads the 1948 race at half way and is even still ahead when entering the stadium. The last lap on the track to the finish line must be watched to see the outcome.
This tape is the fifth in the eight tape series released by Dreamworks SKG Television in cooperation with the United States Olympic Committee prior to the 1996 Atlanta games. After viewing the above lineup it is clear that a wide range of athletes, events and countries are well represented. It would have been nice to see some stories of women who also persevered be included in such a collection. Narration is again provided by David Perry and Bud Greenspan fulfills the role of producer, director, and writer of the script. Visit Amazon.com to purchase a used copy of this tape if you want to own it for yourself. Also be sure to check the price of the entire series as sometimes the individual tapes can be rather expensive.


September 2006:

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Evolution Running
Run Faster with Fewer Injuries

If you want to run faster or be more injury free than you may want examine your running form. There are many videos that describe proper technique, and this presentation is among the best of them all. This is the first release in the Ultrafit Multisport Training Series done by Endurance Films and Velo Press. Although Joe Friel, the series executive producer, introduces this DVD the host is coach Ken Mierke of Fitness Concepts. As Friel states: "There are three things you can do to become a faster runner. The first is to improve your aerobic capacity, same as your VO2 max. Second is to elevate your lactate threshold. Third is to improve your economy or efficiency. What we want to look at with you today on this video is the later, economy. There are many things you can do to improve economy. We want to focus on one aspect of that which is running skills. We want to improve your technique."

Coach Mierke briefly touches on improvements, research, and client results before delving into the instructional presentation that makes up the bulk of the 45 minute main presentation. Six points (propulsion, vertical displacement, support, acceleration, balance, and limb movement) are explained in relation to running and are referred to repeatedly while looking at eight aspects of "evolution running". Along the way the use of animated illustrations are well integrated with actual runners who demonstrate the main points. Quality graphics and good music make this film easy to watch and retain each instructional point. The eight points include: Balance between stride length and stride frequency, foot strike placement, methods of foot strike, developing propulsion of foot on impact, movement of foot at impact, limb movement, uphill running, and downhill running.
  • "If you only learn one thing from this video let it be this: Efficient runners take relatively short quick stride at any running speed."
  • "If you increase turnover by 20% you will run faster even with a stride length that is 15% shorter than normal."
  • "Runners that we have taught the Evolution Running technique to have improved their running efficiency by 4.5 to 8.0%. That might not sound like much, but 1% of an hour is 36 seconds, so a 4.5% improvement is over two minutes an hour."
Good form is broken down in easy to understand methods that can easily be duplicated. The theory is sound, and the presentation brings it home with numerous examples, metaphors, and concepts that you can repeat in your own program to become more efficient and faster. Although many of the observations come from the success of the African runners who often run barefoot, the expectation here is you will stay in your shoes where you can use this information to obtain similar improvements. Be sure to check out the bonus material on this DVD which provides each of the nine outlined drills, frequently asked questions, how to use a metronome, troubleshooting problems, and athlete bios. You may place an order at Amazon.com as well as learn more from the official website Endurance Films.com.


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August 2006:

Order at DrPataki.com

Championship Form: Hurdles
Track and Field Video Instructional Series

On July 12 in Lausanne, Switzerland, Liu Xiang broke the 110 meter high hurdle world record with a time of 12.88 seconds. There is no doubt that video analysis of hurdling can speed the process of development. Here is a set of elite athletic performances that were filmed during the first World Championships in Helsinki in 1983 and are still available and pertinent to running today. A 70 member team of scientists and film makers, led by Dr. Petr Susanka and Dr. Pataki, examined running, throwing, and jumping events and created an 11 tape series, including three tapes on running: Sprints, Hurdles, and Distance (800 meters to marathon).

In the hurdle tape, both the men’s and women’s high and low hurdle events are captured in their entirety as well as from specific points in the competition allowing specific references to reaction time, stride positioning, hurdle clearance, angular velocities, durations of rhythmic units, and much more. The serious consideration is broken down into milliseconds, planter flexion, maximum differences between athletes, horizontal and vertical reflections of center of gravity, that any true student or coach of an event will find both fascinating and revealing. Here is a sample of the types of analysis that is presented while watching athletes in slow motion executing the skills. These quotes are all from the hurdles video:
  • "The shortened time on the first stride is generally due to the markedly shortened duration of the support and recovery phases. These build up again in the second stride between hurdles thus adding to the total stride time. The third stride is noted for the markedly shortened time, mainly that of the recovery phase. Top hurdlers make .45 seconds, or slightly less, to clear the hurdles which makes the take off time little different from the previous two takeoff phases."
  • "The difference between the body’s center of gravity at takeoff at the highest point of the path was 11 centimeters. The culminating point was 16 centimeters ahead of and 31 centimeters above the upper edge of the hurdle."
  • "The average distance between takeoff and the hurdle is 2.17 meters with the maximum difference of 33 centimeters. The average distance between the hurdle and foot touch is 1.33 meters; the maximum difference, 39 centimeters. There is minimum of difference between the takeoff and landing spot (3.37 - 3.64 meters)."
  • "The action of the leading leg is of substantial importance for the path of the body’s center of gravity and it’s speed. The horizontal component of the speed of the leading legs’ center of gravity varied from 10 meters per second at take off to 5.6 meters per second at landing."
  • "The best average time of a rhythmic unit was achieved by the winner of this event, Edwin Moses, of 4.06 seconds. Moses took off 2.38 meters ahead of the hurdle. That is also his average stride length between the hurdles. The overall length of the clearance stride was 3.99 meters. The distance in the landing technique behind the hurdle with Moses is almost identical with the technique in short hurdling events."
The hurdle presentation takes 28 minutes to break down a little over 2 minutes of hurdling action. All the athletes in the high hurdle races are shown in entirety and most of the intermediate runners are shown to some degree. For a complete list of finishers that competed in this inaugural World Championships visit IAAF.org. Whatever your track event, there is a video in this series that can break down the specific components to aid you in your own teaching or performance. After watching these tapes you may find yourself always watching taped footage in slow motion and with your finger on the pause button. Order a copy for yourself today, with discounts available for multiple event tapes, at DrPataki.com.


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July 2006:

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Bud Greenspan’s Athens 2004:
Stories of Olympic Glory

There is none better to tell the Olympic tale of three time Olympian Hicham El Guerrouj then filmmaker Bud Greenspan. In this 2006 Showtime production nearly 20 minutes of its 96 minute run time is used to explore the six finals that started at 8:55 on the evening of August 24, 2004, in front of the 80,000 spectators in Olympic Stadium.The women’s pole vault competition would run the course of the evening and end with a new Olympic and world record. The men’s 3000 meter steeplechase would be the first running event and in conclusion the same pattern emerged, in every Olympic games since 1968 where Kenya competed they proved victorious. In the women’s 100 meter hurdles Joanna Hayes established a new Olympic record and in the women’s 400 meters Williams-Darline from Bahamas brought home their nation’s first individual gold medal. The decathletes completed their two day competition with the 1500 meter run where Roman Sebrele improved from his silver medal performance in Sydney four years earlier.

The focus of this night would be on the last running event of the evening, the men’s 1500 meters. This was likely the most anticipated track event of the games. El Guellouj and 11 other athletes took the line including Bernard Lagat, Rui Silva, Timothy Kiptanui, Ivan Heshko, Michael East, Reyes Estevez, Gert-Jan Liefers, Adil El Kaouch, Mulugeta Wendimu, Kamal Boulahfane, and Isaac Kiprono Songok. Yet before this race would be seen, a review of the experience of El Guerrouj’s past two Olympic games are reviewed. Here is how Hicham El Guerrouj describes his quest for Olympic Gold:
  • Atlanta 1996: "In Atlanta I was lacking experience. Before the final I had an incredible amount of stress and I was scared because it was my first time at the Olympics. There was so many spectators, the stadium was full and I was not prepared for this pressure so when the race started I was already in a different world. It (falling at the bell lap) was like a nighmare. A nightmare. In a fraction a a second I was on the ground."
  • Sydney 2000: "Right before the race, three hours before, I started crying like a child. It had never happened to me before. I had thoughts that I might lose and once I entered the stadium I was scared. I did not have the confidence on the first lap, second lap, third lap. I did not have the energy and the sensation that I usually have and there he goes, Ngeny, goes by me. It’s the rough spot, always."
  • Athens 2004: "I lost in two Olympics and I did not want to lose a third one, especially at the Athens Games which were more important to me. It is the birthplace of the Olympics and the history here; in my mind Athens is the supreme arena. I decided to accelerate and take the lead. It was the best time for me to do so. In the last 700 meters I started to talk to myself telling my body to perform well to stay passionate and to ultimately win the race because it was such an important race for me. A race for history. I did not want to leave it as a loser. Lagat and I were shoulder to shoulder. He then passed me, then I passed him. That was the magical part. Once we crossed the finish, big relief. I was back to reality and I started to realize that I was an Olympic champion in Athens. "
  • "It was a fantastic moment. I waited eight years to be on the Olympic podium, which for an athlete is a dream come true."
Portions of all three Olympic 1500 meter finals are shown from 1996 to 2004 as well as the Athen’s men’s 5000 meter final held four days later where 10,000 meter champion Kenenisa Bekele tries holding off El Guerrouj down the homestretch. Will Lyman provides the excellent narration and in this segment of athletics the use of split screen is employed eight times, giving the real sense of a night of track and field with multiple events being held at the same time. The other touching stories that are included in this Olympic profile are of Mariel Zagunis (fencing), Pyrros Dimas (weightlifting), Otylia Jedrezejczak (swimming), Lisa Fernandez (softball), and Anna & Kerrie Meares (track cycling). Although not formally distributed at this time, keep your eyes out for this to appear on Showtime, as well as watch for a promotional copy to appear on eBay for you to own.

Postscript: On May 22, 2006, the worlds greatest miler, "The King of the Mile", Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, announced his retirement from athletics. He still maintains the world record in the 1500 meters, 3:26.00 (July 14, 1998), and mile run, 3:43:13 (June 7, 1999), and in addition to four World Outdoor Championship gold medals he was ranked #1 in the world seven straight years.

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