Next Few Days...

Just a brief training update.  I'm slowly building back up to some big weeks ahead.  As for this week, I started slow and am ending it with a bang.  I was pretty sore after the SB Triathlon!

Monday: 4800 yd swim workout;
Tuesday: 4 hour Zone 2 ride;
Wednesday: 2 hour trail run (@ 15 miles+);
Thursday: 2 hour light spin ride

Fri/Sat/Sun -- my first "Race Simulation".  This will be a (lesser) approximation of Ultraman.  Sort of a reduced load version of the Ultraman race to help my acclimate to the 3 day stage race.  It will go like this:

Friday: 7400 yd swim workout, followed immediately by a 4 hour hard climbing ride
Saturday: 7 hour hard ride
Sunday: 2 hour run in the morning plus a 1 hour run in the afternoon

Should be interesting.  Going to experiment with my nutrition by taking in more solid foods on the rides.  Usually I am totally liquid, but for Ultraman I need to get by system used to eating actual real food on the bike.  I'll report back in on how it goes.

Juvenon Sponsorship

I'm happy to report I just picked up a second product endorsement with Juvenon, a cellular health supplement company founded by my childhood swimmer friend and business / biotech wizard Nathan Hamilton of Archangel BioVentures, LLC.  Juvenon will be a critical nutritional and anti-oxidant compenent of my nutritional regimen in prepping for Ultraman on a vegan diet.

Here's the lowdown on the product:

A patented combination of natural micronutrients, Juvenon™ Cellular Health Supplement was developed based on tests that enabled elderly laboratory animals to function at levels characteristic of much younger animals. In humans, Juvenon™ Cellular Health Supplement has an overall effect of promoting a healthier, more energetic body. Juvenon cellular energy supplements are particularly effective in protecting tissue from toxic oxidants, which increase with normal daily stress-producing activities and exercise, as well as the natural aging process.

How Juvenon™ Cellular Health Supplement Works

Juvenon™ Cellular Health Supplement acts on the mitochondria, the organelles within the cell where energy is produced. As we age, oxidants cause cellular damage, which accumulates over time. Oxidants damage mitochondria in three important ways. They damage DNA, lipids and protein. Juvenon™ Cellular Health Supplement facilitates the entry of fuel (starches and fatty acids) into the mitochondria and stimulates production of natural antioxidants that protect the cell from age-associated increases in tissue-damaging oxidants. For more information on this process, click on Science.

For more information on Juvenon, click here.

First Picture of Michael Phelps

Santa Barbara Triathlon

Just an update on the race I did on Saturday -- the beautiful Santa Barbara Long Course Triathlon -- 1 mile swim, 34 mile bike, 10 mile run.

Overall I fared much better than last year, although quite honestly I thought I would be even faster given all the work I have put in.  That said, my training is oriented around a completely different type of race.  I am definitely not used to going fast and hard -- and it hurt.  bad.

Swim: This is my strength.  I easily moved immediately into the lead for my age group wave by the first buoy and basically crusied the swim without pushing too hard.  As I increased my lead on my group, I swam in no-man's land until I started to catch up to the slower swimmers in the previous wave.  Then it became a matter of crawling over what felt like hundreds of bodies to the finish!  Felt good with this effort at 21:18, almost 2 minutes faster than last year at a fraction of the energy output.  Good start to the race and I ran up the beach feeling quite good and confident.  17th fastest swim split overall (out of 800+); not too bad considering I went pretty easy.

Bike: I had a decent T1 at 2:02 but then things went a bit downhill.  I made a couple unforgivable rookie mistakes.  MISTAKE #1: I got overexcited by seeing so many riders and immediately went hard, depriving myself of my rule of always building into a stage.  My HR was in the 150-160 range in the first mile, I quickly started to accumulate lactate in my legs and was huffing and puffing.  I should have just started easy and built into it (my pre-race strategy), but my competitive nature got the best of me.  So I never established a rhythm and just felt awful for the whole ride, a fact that was exacerbated by the fact that this was a highly technical course -- several climbs and tricky descents (there was even a really bad crash sending 2 people to ER).  I finally started to feel good the last couple miles, but by then the damage was done.  My split ended up only being about 25 seconds faster than last year when I was only riding like once a week!  But part of this is that my training is entirely oriented around maintaining a 120-135 HR all day -- no hard speed work and as such, I just can't push it and get results.  But that's fine.  Its all about Ultraman for me.

MISTAKE #2: Like an idiot, I contravened all that I know by putting clip on aero bars on my road bike (I don't yet have a proper tri bike) the night before and then raced with them without ever training or even riding on them in the past.  The result?  My back seized up quickly and I was terribly uncomfortable for the entire ride.  What an idiot.

Run: I felt strong running right off the bike after a decent 1:57 T2.  Probably should have gone easier the first mile, but again, got excited.....My left calf has been giving me problems ever since it seized up on me at the end of my 2 1/2 hour run the previous Saturday and it started to tighten up around mile 4.  I thought I might have to drop out, but I eased off and it stabilized, allowing me to run to the finish without stopping.  That said, I could feel it and its definitely an issue I need to monitor.  I finished the run in 1:12:36, which is 7:16 pace.  Not great, but not too bad either.

Results: I was 10th in my age group out of 84; 97th overall out of 830.  Nothing to brag about, but not so bad considering I have zero speed and everything I am doing is about long easy zone 2...

I am very sore and tired.  That took much more out of me than I expected and I am looking forward to getting back to some good ole Zone 2 training.

Vegan Nutrition

"Your doing what!?!?  A DOUBLE Ironman?!  That is insane!"

This almost daily response I get when telling people about my endurance endeavors is amplified exponentially when I tell them that not only am I doing it, I'm doing it VEGAN.


I get it every time.  But the truth is, I've never felt better or stronger, and my aerobic capacity and endurance is absolutely through the roof.

A former mega carnivore, I was pushing a sedentary 198 lbs when I turned 40 about a year and a half ago.  I was sick and tired of being out of shape, especially given that I am a former world ranked competitive swimmer.  By looking at me then, you would never have guessed.

So I decided to make a change.  In January 2007, I did a 7 day cleanse, using Dr. Shulze's Superfood and herbal products.  I bought a juicer and basically fed on organic fruit and vegetable juices and herbal broths using the Shulze products.  I kicked caffeine and finished the cleanse feeling amazing and ready for a new start.  This is when I embarked on a vegetarian diet and began a long slow process of getting fit once again.

But honestly, after 6 months on a vegetarian diet, I was not dropping any weight and didn't feel that much different than I did as a meat eater.  Probably because I was eating large volumes of cheese, but alas....Frustrated, I was about to abandon the plan altogether, but decided in June 2007 to experiment with going vegan.  Almost immediately, I felt a HUGE energy shift.  I felt lighter and my energy levels escalated and remained high throughout the day.  Absent were those energy lulls I felt after meals, something I thought I just had to live with.  In short, I felt amazing.  My strength and endurance levels increased quickly and my cravings for dairy slowly dissipated.  I began working out more, the weight came off and I just started feeling better and better.  I did a few traithlon races, and after only a small amount of training, I did well.  Six months into the vegan diet, I was down to a lean and mean 165 lbs (30 lb+ drop), ripped and hooked.

A year later, I am working with a coach, am training 26 hours a week and am as fit as I have been since I was 20 years old.  I'm not as fast as I was in the pool in those days, but I am handling similiar pool yardage and I have to say that my running and cycling are far better than they have ever been, despite being competitive in the sport in my 20's.  And my endurance is far beyond what I could do at that age.

I'm not saying that being vegan is for everyone.  But I am saying that it has more than agreed with me.

"What about protein?"

Without going into a discourse on the misconceptions about the body's protein requirements and the ills of conventional wisdom on this subject, suffice it to say that I get more than enough protein through a diet of vegetables, fruit and various grains.  I do supplement during heavy training weeks with some soy, hemp and rice proteins, as well as amino acid supplements and Bragg's Amino's.  And this seems to work out just fine.  Like I said, I'm ripped.  And I don't lift weights.

"What do you eat in a typical day?"

I get this question all the time.  So here is an example of some of the foods I typically eat.  Made all the easier by virtue of my wife's excellent cooking:)

Early Morning / Pre-Workout:

I drink a concoction of organic fermented enzymes and various green superfoods and antioxidants that is created by my quasi-nutirtionist Compton Rom of Ascended Health.  Mixed in with this is a powder comprised of macca and a variety of other anti-oxidant, endurance enhancing ingrediants -- I will get you the full list of ingredients on both of these potions.

During Workouts:

If the workout (whether swimming, cycling or running) is 3 hours or under, I generally only take in water and an electrolyte drink (without any whey protein) such as Cytomax, sipping in 20 minute intervals to take in roughly 300 calories / hour.  I really don't need anything more.  For longer workouts in the 4-7 hour range, I still remain on a liquid based diet of water, Cytomax and Hammer Nutrition's Sustained Energy or Perpetum, high carbohydrate drinks with a modicum of soy protein -- again at 300 calories / hour.  I try to avoid eating any solid food, but if I need it, a Cliff Bar generally suffices.

Post Workout:

I usually juice.  Organic beets, carrots, kale, spinach, blueberries with some flax seed oil, almond milk, and VEGA.  I try to have one of these drinks every day within an hour of my workout to replenish glycogen levels-- this is the key daily thing for me for overall wellness, health and post-workout recovery.  I also like FRS, a fatigue-fighting recovery drink that contains Quercetin, a powerful natural anti-oxidant.

Lunch / Afternoon:

I try to eat relatively light.  Brown rice, lentils, gluten free pasta, fruit/vegetables, black beans or a light salad with avacados and vinagrette generally does the trick.  Sometimes an eggplant salad or veggie sushi.  And always a Kombucha.  I love that stuff.


Cliff bar or Organic Green Energy Bars.  You can find them at any Whole Foods.  Or a bowl of gluten free cereal.  I like Gorilla Munch.  And you can find great organic gluten free granola at Whole Foods.  I forget the brand, but I will get back to you on this


Much like lunch.  Rice, beans, salad, lentils, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, green beans and another organic fresh juice with VEGA.  Gluten free pasta, veggie burrito and veggie sushi on other days.  Potato salad made with Veganaise (this stuff is great) or baked potato with Veganaise.

With all the calories I burn, I do not subscribe to the "low carb" fad currently so popular.  And I've found that by keeping the body vegan and all my training, I really don't worry about weight anymore.  In fact, my appetite has decreased and I now find that I generally don't binge like I used to, eating really only what my body seems to require.

I can get into more specifics on particular foods later, but this is a good overview for now.

VEGA Sponsorship

I just got of the phone with Sequel Naturals, the company that makes VEGA, my favorite vegan meal replacement & daily health optimizer.  

I'm super excited to report that they have asked me to be an "Ambassador" of the product, which basically means I will be a sponsored athlete and spokesperson of the company.  I will be featured on their website and will be promoting their product, which I truly believe in -- VEGA has been a key component in not only my training nutrition but overall health in ensuring my body is getting everything I need as I train for Ultraman on a pure plant based diet.  

What I have noticed the most through my use of the product is overall wellness, enhanced energy levels throughout the day, and a significant reduction in my recovery time between workouts.  In essence, this stuff rocks.  I stand behind it completely and they are the perfect partner in my platform to advocate plant-based organic nutrition and lifestyle for not only the average Joe but for athletes on all levels.

I can't say enough about the stuff -- they help make the case easy that plant-based whole foods are the true future of optimal health!

So what is it?  VEGA is an all-in-one, natural plant-based formula that provides 100% RDI of vitamins & minerals per serving.  Its rich in plant-based protein, fibre, Omega-3 EFA's, antioxidants & phytonutrients.  Its also alkaline-forming, easy to digest and contains no common allergens.

VEGA was created by Sequel in partnership with professional Ironman triathlete, speaker and author Brendan Brazier, one of the most well-known and influential professional athlete advocates of a 100% plant-based diet.

Find out more about VEGA and other Sequel Naturals products here, or visit your local Whole Foods Market.

Training Update

This week has shaped up to be a very time intensive, run focused week.  Not my heaviest week, but one of the heavier.  Here's a look at what I've been up to over the past several days and what's on tap for the weekend:

Sat 8/9: 6 hour Zone 2 ride
Sun 8/10: 5 hour Zone 2 climbing ride -- @ 8,000 ft of elevation gain
Mon 8/11: 4000 yd swim workout & 2 hour Zone 2 ride
Tues 8/12: 90 minute Zone 2 flat run
Wed 8/13: 3 hour 45 minute ride focusing on climbing and "Big Gear" interval work
Thurs 8/14: 4000 yd swim workout followed by a 2 hour Zone 2 / 15 mile run
Fri 8/15: 4300 yd swim workout followed by 3 hour Zone 2 ride
Sat 8/16: 2 hour 30 minute morning run & a 1 hour evening run
Sunday 8/17: 5 hour ride

Totals: 24 hours of total training for the week (35 hours if you include last weekend 9 day total) or 24:45 of riding, 7 hours of running and 3:25 of swimming.

And its just going to continue to ramp up, with a few rest week cycles sandwiched in over the next 3 1/2 months as Thanksgiving approaches.  Focus is turning to getting ready for that 52 mile run -- my biggest achilles heal and unknown.  Swimming form is slowly returning and the consistency on the bike is proving results.  Feeling great and never stronger.  Very confident in the program my coach has laid out and looking forward to the 5-6 very hard weeks ahead.  Viva Ultraman!

One issue that continues to come up is my vegan diet.  People seem to have a hard time conceptualizing that I can do this training on diet that is devoid of meat, eggs, dairy -- even gluten.  All I can say is that I've never felt better -- I'm getting stronger by the week and my recovery between workouts has been good.

Stay tuned -- I have some future postings on my nutrition and overall diet coming up soon in future posts.

Gary Hall Jr: Cavic will upset Phelps

Check out todays post from the always outspoken and sometimes outlandish Gary Hall Jr. in the LA Times Olympics blog in which he states that the pole position Serb/So Cal swimmer Milorad ("Mike") Cavic will upset Phelps in tonight's 100 fly.  From watching the prelims and semis in the 100 fly, its clear that Cavic is gunning for it big time.  I hate to say it, but Phelps is definitely in jeopardy.  I think Cavic is the biggest threat to the quest for 8.  But then again, Phelps' schedule is finally lightening up, giving him some much needed rest going into the final, airing tonight.  And if anything, Phelps is a fierce competitor, a closer.

It promises to be a true barn burner.

NYT: Age Is Little Match for Money, Science and Effort

Great article in today's NY Times on how advances in training and nutrition and sponsorship funds are paving the way for ground-breaking, never-before performances by middle-aged athletes.

In essence, it makes the case that conventional wisdom about age and sports is more urban legend than fact.

I live for articles like this.

Relay Freak Out

Gotta love Gold Medal Mel Stewart.  Check out his home video taken poolside during the 4x100 freestyle relay.

If you are a fan of swimming, check out Mel's blog Gold Medal Mel -- his video reports will make you feel like you are in Beijing with him -- he's a blogging vlogging machine.

NYT Graphic Analysis of Men's 4x100 Free Relay

From today's NY Times website.  This is a very cool analysis of the greatest swimming relay race of all time using groovy graphics to break it down.  I love technology.

Training Update

I'm back into a heavy training rotation and feeling very strong after my recovery week.

I rode 96 miles on Saturday and felt totally tapered.  Could have thrown down another 90 no problem.  Sunday I got back on the bike for a 5 hour climbing ride, taking on 3 of the harder long ascents in my area -- Topanga, Piuma and Mulholland -- altogether about 9,000 in elevation.  Felt no real residual fatigue from the previous day's ride.

Today I blasted a 4,000 yd swim workout of 10x400 and finally feel the strength returning to my upper body.  Followed this with a 2 hour ride and still feeling fresh despite the heavy weekend.

All said, my confidence in my program is growing by the week.  Can't wait to do the Santa Barbara triathlon at the end of the month to gauge my progress.

Lezak is God

Best.  Relay.  Ever.  Supplants my memory of Bruce Hayes holding off Michael Gross of Germany in the final leg of the men's 4x200 free relay at the 1984 LA Olympics.

No words to describe the superhuman performance of Jason Lezak, who split a mind-numbing 46.06 -- fastest 100 free relay split of all time.

This is what the Olympics is all about, baby.

With his hardest 2 races out of the way, I don't see Phelps failing to get his 8.  Lochte was off form in the 400 IM, leaving the 200 IM wide open for Phelps.  And according to Rowdy Gaines, Phelps pushed an incredible 51.4 100 fly in the middle of practice at the Singapore training camp, a time that would have garnered bronze in Athens.  So frankly, I just don't see Crocker beating him in the 100 fly.

Tonight -- the 200 free final.  Cant wait.

Lactate Testing

Reporting in with results from my lactate testing this past Tuesday.  Happy to report HUGE improvements in my aerobic capacity from my last test 3 months ago -- giant strides and a big confidence boost in my training program and I stare down at the last 3 months left before Ultraman.

What is lactate testing?  Its basically a structured experiment whereby my aerobic capacity (or VO2 max) is established by monitoring my blood and heart rate levels across increasingly difficult resistance.  In essence, my bike is hooked up to a stationary trainer that measures my power output in watts.  Every 4 minutes a blood and heart rate sample is taken and the wattage is increased.  I repeat 4 minute intervals, each at 30 additional watts above the previous interval until failure.  My blood is tested for accumulated lactic acid, a measure of anaerobic fatigue.  The resuls help establish my "Training Zones".

I begin with a warmup, then 100 watts.  Increasing by 30 watts every 4 minutes until failure.

I May, I began accumulating lactate in the second stage at 130 watts, where my heart rate was at 120 bpm.  Now, I am totally stable at 160 watts with a heart rate of only 115 at that level, which is a huge leap.  I don't begin to accumulate lactate until I am riding at 190 watts at a heart rate of 131.  

What does this mean?  It means that before I could only put out 120 watts and remain in my "Zone 2" aerobic zone (lactate levels below 3mmo/L), which is the zone I will be in for most of Ultraman.  Now, I can easily ride at about 175 watts in the same zone at a lactate level around only 2.5 mmo/L) -- outputting significantly more power (and thus forward motion) at the same level of exertion.

Before, I maxed out at 220 watts with a lactate level of 16.2 mmo/L.  This time, I went up to 250 watts at only 8.25 mmo/L and failed only when I got up to 280 watts.

A long way of saying that what was hard before is now easy.  I'm faster with less energy.  I can ride at 220 watts at a heart rate of only 148, whereas before my heart rate would have been 160 at that wattage.  I'm absorbing the training quite well.

This gives me renewed optimism in my plan -- can't wait to get tested again in 3 months to see more improvement.

Gary Blogs for the LA Times

My favororite outspoken and colorful swimmer Gary Hall Jr. is now blogging for the LA Times.  Check out his first post here.

At age 33, Gary was still in the hunt for a fourth Olympic berth, narrowly missing with his 21.91 50 freestyle attempt at Olympic Trials.  A time that would have won any previous Olympic Games and still landed him at 18th in the World.  At age 33.

Gary is never short on opinions or flair.  He's a guy the sport needs and right now he carries the lion's share of the PR burden in trying to keep the general public interested in the sport in the intervening years between Olympiads.

Whether its his costumed capes, his fearless indictments on doping, his laissez faire approach to life and sport, his work on behalf of diabetes (he is a diabetic) or musings on his pet monkey, I always look forward to his thoughts.  His charisma is rare in the sport of swimming and I hope he continues to share himself with the World.  I look forward to more blogs.  Keep it up Gary!

Japanese Cyclist to Wear Speedo LZR in Olympics

This is wild!  

AFP is reporting that Japanese Olympic cyclist Tomohiro Nagatsuka plans to wear Speedo’s record-breaking LZR Racer swimwear beneath his track racing suit in his quest for a medal at the Beijing Games.

Knee-length LZR shorts helped him slash his personal 250m record by about 0.2 seconds to 17.8 seconds in training, Nagatsuka told reporters, according to local media yesterday.

“I thought what was effective in swimming would be also good in cycling,” said Nagatsuka.

“I presume it is Speedo’s body-squeezing effect, not a reduction in air resistance, that helps,” added the 29-year-old.

The LZR Racer was developed with the help of the US space agency NASA. It uses a high-tech fabric of water-resistant polyurethane and is structured to squeeze the swimmer’s body into the right posture.

It has taken swimming by storm, playing a role in 44 of the 48 short- and long-course world records since it debuted in February.

“In swimming, they speak highly of LZR’s effect to constrict the body’s surface area. I myself liked the way it supported muscles with a strong embrace,” Nagatsuka said.

Will we be seeing the LZR in track & field in the near future?  Speed skating?  Luge?  Ironman? 

Its Contagious

Check out this book review from the Sunday NY Times on "Off The Deep End: The Probably Insane Idea That I Could Swim My Way Through A Mid-Life Crisis -- and Qualify for the Olympics".

W. Hodding Carter, a 45 yr old former Div III Champion in the 50 freestyle at Kenyon College just published a book about his seemingly insane mid-life crisis motivated attempt to get back in the pool to qualify for the Olympics.

In another review he quips "I probably won't make the team", leaving the reader to believe he was at least in the hunt.  Well I just checked the Omega Timing heat sheets from the Olympic Trials 50 freestyle, and well unfortunately he didn't even make it to the Trials -- a fact he conveniently omits from his book tour opining.  But I guess you gotta sell books.

That said -- mid-life crisis or not -- I still applaud the effort.  It would be duplicitous not too!  Plus my sister swam for Kenyon, so I give him more points.  Hail to all of us 40+ athletes pushing the envelope of what was previously thought possible.  Cheers to you, Hodding.

Training Update

I'm coming off a rest week cycle (13 hours of training last week as opposed to 25 hours the week prior) in my training for Ultraman and feeling quite good, although admittedly a but restless.  So counter-intuitive to "rest" when I only have 3 months of real training left before the event.  I feel like I need to be doing a 4 hour run today.  Instead I'm sitting on my butt.

But I also realize the absolute necessity of allowing the body to repair itself and recover before another bout with heavy miles and hours.  Its common sense actually -- you rob yourself of significant improvement without allowing proper recovery.

But despite the seemingly self-evident nature of "periodization" training which has become the norm in the last 10 years not only multi-sport but also in swimming, track & field, etc., this is a concept that eluded conventional wisdom in swimming during my competitive years in the 1980's at Stanford and the Curl Burke Swim Club.  Back then it was all about pulverizing your body with constant high intensity and volume twice a day for months and months on end without respite, then put all our faith in a 2 week taper at the end.  Sometimes it worked.  Oftentimes it didn't.  

During my later years in swimming, there is little doubt that I was completely overtrained.  Unable to function normally, let alone swim fast, I was basically a narcolept half the year.  So much so that I needed months to recover, not a few weeks.  Ugh, the regret......So I am excited about my training plan and trusting in my program.

Tomorrow afternoon I go in for lactate testing at Phase IV in Santa Monica.  It will be interesting to gauge my improvement from the last test 3 months ago.  I will keep you posted.

NYT - Crocker Enjoying His Ride to Beijing

Check out this piece on Ian Crocker in today's NY Times.

You gotta admit, this guy is COOL.  As much as I want to see Phelps bag 8 or 9 golds, there is something to be said for rooting for Crocker in the 100 fly...He's a real guy.

“After the Olympics,” Crocker said, “the only questions you get asked by people are about the results. ‘Did you win?’ That can be a really difficult thing because there’s so much more to it. I think the deeper part of the experience can get lost pretty easily. That was definitely one of my struggles after Athens.”

What has kept him going, Crocker said, is not the lure of gold in Beijing or his love of racing against Phelps. “Sometimes,” he said, “the only reasons I can find to get out of bed in the morning to go work out is that my swimming career offers me a learning experience that I can’t get anywhere else.”

Sisson on Doping

Check out this interesting article in today's LA Times on doping.  It offers a rather unique perspective from Mark Sisson, an incredible former marathoner and Ironman athlete who has served as Executive Director of the US Triathlon Federation and as Chairman of the ITU where he oversaw their anti-doping program.  I have had the pleasure of spending a bit of time with Mark -- he is quite an impressive guy who now runs a successful supplement company and is a faunt of great knowledge on not only training and fitness, but on overall wellness and nutrition.

Check out Sisson's blog -- Mark's Daily Apple.

In addition, this article revisits the (somewhat tragic) great Shirley Babashoff, a world-record setting swimming machine who suffered unexpected losses at the '76 Montreal Olympics at the hands of the East Germans.  Of her 13 Silver Medals, 10 were at the hands of the East Germans.  When she spoke out about her suspicions concerning doping among the East German women, she was considered a pariah sowing sour grapes and dubbed "Surly Shirley".  Check out this 2004 USA Today article on the subject.

Times have changed.

I Love My Newtons

These shoes are the latest in running technology created by a small start up company in Boulder Colorado.  What is unique about them is that the padding is placed not on the heel but on the forefoot, to promote a toe strike stride rather than a heel strike, now understood to be counter to the body's natural stride mode and a catalyst for injury over time.  In essence, when you run barefoot, you naturally land on your forefoot.  Newtons are developed to make your feet think they're barefoot, thus increasing performance.

They definitely take time to adjust to and feel quite odd at first, but over time I have adopted a new way of running based on leaning forward and landing my foot more on the toes rather than the heel.  The result has been an injury free season (so far) as well as vast improvement in my running overall.  Can't say enough about these shoes.

I have been speaking recently with the great Ian Adamson, 2006 Adventure Racing World Champion and Newton Running Affiliate about working with Newton as an ambassador for the brand.  I'm too green for them to officially sponsor me, but hoping to get some shoes and gear from them for Ultraman.  I'll keep you posted.