Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 271

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 271

I’m home from a nice weekend in San Diego. I went down to be part of a wedding shower for my nephew, but we still managed to see some of my Navy friends. The hotel we stay at, The Moxy, might be the most European hotel in the USA.
It’s always nice to walk on a beach. I went over to visit Bret Contreras and his Glute Lab is just a short walk to the beach. Now that’s a combo:
Buns and Beach!
Bret changed a number of things about my coaching. First, I think his focus on glute training is brilliant. I am no fan of those questions like “what’s your favorite muscle?” or “if you could only do one exercise?” but the answers could be “glutes” and “hip thrusts.” I bought his new hip thrust machine after we left as I am trying to get my home gym a bit more flexible with some things in training.
Now I will have TWO hip thrust stations in a home gym.
When I lived in Burlingame, I rehabbed at least twice a week on the beach. Kettlebell work on a beach is truly a great way to challenge your preconceptions about balance…and how slow carrying KBs in sand can be on a typical day.
Yet, so many people who live near the beach never use the beach! You pay a premium to live the ocean but not many people go. Of course, I live within a discus throw of some of the most amazing mountains on earth and I might not utilize them for months at a time.
There’s a life message there. I just don’t want to think about it this morning!
Like Ricky Bruch’s poem tells us: the person in the hospital bed near the window wishes they were closer to the heater. The person near the heater longs for the window. The documentary is here.
(By the way, my youtube account flashed up this video about Stefan Fernholm. If you watch it, the guy snatching at 18:23 is me. I liked him a lot. He died way too young.)
In landlocked Utah, I wish I could swim in the ocean today.
I’m a big fan of Pat Flynn’s Fast Fifteen protocol. Basically, you fast for 15 hours, then train for 15 minutes for 15 days. The devil, as always, is in the details. We discuss this, and other things, on our weekly podcast.
This week on danjohnworkouts.com:
This is the last week for the New Year’s special on the site. Thank you to everyone who has taken advantage and everyone that has let us know that it’s helping. We built this site to serve you and we’re very glad it’s helping. $29 for three months and then the regular monthly price after that. Use code NEWYEAR.
Here’s Episode 20 for the podcast.
New essays posted in the member’s area this week:
Thinking!!! And the Strength Coach
Rest and Recovery Don’t Get the Press They Deserve
Morning Rituals
Have a great week!
Let’s look around the internet this week. This article seemed to be very popular. My parents let us go out and see the world with our nightly adventures. Probably not true any more!
“Riding my bike at all hours of the day into the evening throughout many neighborhoods without being stopped or asked what I was doing there,” was one Twitter user’s answer to Jerkins’ question. Another commenter was grateful for “summer days & nights spent riding bikes anywhere & everywhere with friends, only needing to come home when the streetlights came on,” while yet another recalled “having a peaceful, free-range childhood.” Countless others cited the freedom to explore—with few restrictions—as a major privilege of their childhood.
For many of today’s children, that privilege is disappearing. American children have less independence and autonomy today than they did a few generations ago. As parents have become increasingly concerned with safety, fewer children are permitted to go exploring beyond the confines of their own backyard. Some parents have even been prosecuted or charged with neglect for letting their children walk or play unsupervised. Meanwhile, child psychologists say that too many children are being ushered from one structured activity to the next, always under adult supervision—leaving them with little time to play, experiment, and make mistakes.
That’s a big problem. Kids who have autonomy and independence are less likely to be anxious, and more likely to grow into capable, self-sufficient adults. In a video for The Atlantic, Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult, argues that so-called helicopter parents “deprive kids the chance to show up in their own lives, take responsibility for things and be accountable for outcomes.”
That message seems to be gaining traction. The state of Utah, for example, recently passed a “free-range” parenting law meant to give parents the freedom to send kids out to play on their own.

End quote
These first-person articles are a “hit or miss” for me. I’ve had a few people come train with me that were just trying to get an article out and they sometimes get a bit “look at me, look at me” for my tastes. To a writer, ten weeks probably sounds like a commitment, but to most of our readers, we consider ten years a “warm up.” Having said all of this, this one line that I share just made me laugh. Oh, and the short answer: get your sleep and intermittent fast.


“I vowed to ignore everything Pasternak said.”

End quote
This article was a page turner for me. I really had no idea it was this common (cheating in running) but I found the whole thing just fascinating.


For a sport with few material rewards, marathon running has produced some illustrious cheats. In 1980, the Boston Marathon was won by Rosie Ruiz, who set a women’s course record. Suspicions were raised by Ruiz’s unflustered appearance at the finish line and witnesses later reported seeing her joining the course with less than a mile to go. Kip Litton, a dentist from Michigan, allegedly cheated numerous times in a bid to run marathons in every state – and claimed first place in a race of his own invention. At the 1999 Comrades 55-mile ultra-marathon in South Africa, two brothers claimed ninth position after running the race in relay, swapping clothes in toilets along the route. They were only caught when photos emerged of the two men wearing watches on opposite wrists at different stages of the course..
Setting aside doping, marathon cheats can be divided into two main categories. There are the bib mules: runners who compete under another competitor’s race number, typically in order to record a qualifying time for another prestigious race. (Bib bandits – runners who forge race numbers to secure entry to events – are a related but distinct category.) Then there are the course cutters, who engage in that most rudimentary cheating tactic: jumping a barrier or ducking under some tape to skip a section of the course.
Nowadays, after almost every major race, a handful of competitors is exposed as cheats. (In some cases, more than a handful: thousands of runners were disqualified after this year’s Mexico City Marathon.) It’s difficult to know if the problem is on the rise or if there are simply more offenders being caught. As technology has improved, marathon cheating has become more of a high-risk endeavour. Competitors are now kitted out with electronic chips that register runners’ progress as they pass over timing mats installed around the course. This provides more accurate times – but it also gives organisers, and anyone who cares to look, a wealth of data to examine for suspicious results. Several nights a week, Derek Murphy settles down in front of the TV at his home in Cincinnati, opens up his spreadsheets and gets to work. By day, Murphy is a business analyst, but he’s become better known as the man behind Marathon Investigation, a blog that has been relentlessly exposing cheaters in the marathon world since 2015.

End quote
I find that just amazing. It’s not something I would even consider. I have a full week of training ahead and I will be writing a lot in the next few months. Until next week, let’s keep on lifting and learning.


For your quick access link, here’s Dan’s full OTP page, including all of his articles, books, lectures and videos, all in one place.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 124

When breakfast was over, and Master Twyti had been consulted, the Boxing Day cavalcade moved off to the Meet. Perhaps the hounds would have seemed rather a mixed pack to a master of hounds today. There were half a dozen black and white alaunts, which looked like greyhounds with the heads of bull-terriers or worse. These, which were the proper hounds for boars, wore muzzles because of their ferocity. The gaze-hounds, of which there were two taken just in case, were in reality nothing but greyhounds according to modern language, while the lymers were a sort of mixture between the bloodhound and the red setter of today. The latter had collars on, and were led with straps. The braches were like beagles, and trotted along with the master in the way that beagles always have trotted, and a charming way it is.
With the hounds went the foot-people. Merlyn, in his running breeches, looked rather like Lord Baden-Powell, except, of course, that the latter did not wear a beard. Sir Ector was dressed in “sensible” leather clothes—it was not considered sporting to hunt in armour—and he walked beside Master Twyti with that bothered and important expression which has always been worn by masters of hounds. Sir Grummore, just behind, was puffing and asking everybody whether they had sharpened their spears. King Pellinore had dropped back among the villagers, feeling that there was safety in numbers. All the villagers were there, every male soul on the estate from Hob the austringer down to old Wat with no nose, every man carrying a spear or a pitchfork or a worn scythe blade on a stout pole. Even some of the young women who were courting had come out, with baskets of provisions for the men. It was a regular Boxing Day Meet.
At the edge of the forest the last follower joined up. He was a tall, distinguished-looking person dressed in green, and he carried a seven-foot bow.

End quote
Now, “we” all know that Robin Wood (“Hood” for the ill-informed) has joined our boar hunt. As Sir Ector doesn’t mind Robin’s habits of helping himself to the king’s quarries, we also know that the king probably does.
I’ve written of the previous “dog” thing before and I don’t mind reminding everyone that T. H. White’s great love for dogs was a bit legendary during his life. He certainly did his homework on canine history. Let me repeat:
The title “Celtic Hound” probably is the best term to use when thinking of these kinds of dogs.

The following is possibly one of the earliest known breed standards, dating as it does from the middle of the second century AD. This is from the Cynegeticus of Flavius Arrianus, usually known as Arrian although he liked to style himself “The Younger Xenophon”. He was a native of Nicomedia in Bythinia (Asia Minor) and was a keen huntsman.
“There is nothing more beautiful to see, whether their eyes or their whole body, or their coat and colour. In those that are pied there is a wonderful variegation and the whole coloured ones are no less pleasing to the sight.” He says they may be rough or smooth haired and the larger the better. “A good Celt should be long, length being regarded as indicative of speed and good breeding, and should possess wide, supple hips and shoulders, broad loins and firm, sweeping haunches. The legs, of which the hind pair should be the longer, are required to be straight and well knit, the ribs strong, the back wide and firm without being fat, the belly well drawn up, the thighs hollow, the tail narrow, hairy, long and flexible, with thicker hair at the tip; the feet round and strong and the eyes large and clear and strikingly bright. Flame coloured eyes are best, next to these dark; light eyes come last, yet a good dog may have light eyes. A light, well set on head is considered the hallmark of particular excellence but such a feature is by no means regarded as essential and a hound may have a head of any shape always provided it is not heavy, or with a broad muzzle, or with a hanging dewlap. A hound may have soft ears, that look as if they have been broken, or prick ears and still be a good hound to hunt. A good Celt should have a prominent brow and a proud look, should not be afraid of people or of noise, should never stand still once it has been slipped, and should come back to the hunter without a call.”
Now, if you are trying to get your own Sir Ector kennel club, here are the modern explanations:
Lymers: Bloodhound and Red Setter mix
Alaunts: Greyhounds with thick heads
Brach(et): Beagles with all the joy that comes with beagles.
Gaze-hounds: Greyhounds
I just love this line: “The braches were like beagles, and trotted along with the master in the way that beagles always have trotted, and a charming way it is.” I can’t NOT see a beagle and not want to say: “Charming.” Now, my friends who have beagles tell me the charm wears off fast whenever the doggie finds a smell that MUST be followed to the ends of the earth.
As a reminder about Hob’s job title:
Falconers fly falcons, but austringers fly hawks. (Goshawks)
You are welcome.
Be sure to sharpen your spear.

DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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