Days Off

I think on of the main causes of my recent injuries has been the fact that I often go into the sport dead on if I was still in my prime and still around 140 pounds; I am not.  And I jump right into running 5 days a week and soon enough the stress of a 190 pound body hitting the payment leads to some injury. 

So after my 3.5 mile run on Sunday, I went and ran another 3.5 miles on Monday.  The Monday was heavy on road running, which didn't actually feel bad for the first half of the run.  It wasn't till I got tired that I lost my form and well didn't enjoy the road so much. 

So today is Sunday, it the first day that I will be running.  The blister on my right foot has healed most of the way.  My souls feel fresh and ready for a bit of hardening punishment.  Of for a run.


One week past

I wasn't supposed to run today. I told myself that I would take today off but I don't always listen. Between a couple of annoyances with Apple Inc and having to work today, I just didn't want to waist the afternoon. Not many more nice Sundays left, and if my friends and I didn't go riding today, I should at least go for a run.

Well since I managed to go running when it's still bright out, I got a chance to run some trails and realize that trails aren't quite the option I would like for them to be. I am not saying that running on trails barefoot is a bad idea, it's not. In the fall however when leaves cover the ground, it's hard to watch for where you can and can't step. It's almost a sick joke that nature plays on us. When the forest's beauty is at it's fullest, and the weather is prime for running, the forest's floor is the most dangerous to run on. Rocks and roots under leaves hurt.

For the run today I upped the distance a little bit. A mile and a half just feel like I am not even getting a warm up, so today I ran about a three and a half miles. OK, run may be over statement, but mostly I did run. Though part of the run, I would slow down and walk a few step to catch my breath. There is a comfort zone for running that I seemed to have found is a bit outside of my current ability. Each step feels lighter on my feet, my bodies posture is straitened, and my breath is strong, but I can't seem to keep this pace for long. Hopefully as I keep training and pushing my self to run correctly, my stamina will improve.

Well my first week of barefoot running is over, out of the seven days I managed to run four. My legs feel healthy, but tight. Over all I have a very bright outlook on running barefoot.


Second Impression

Thursday I was lucky enough to be let out early from class, so after a quick stop for a new pair of running shorts at the Woodbridge Running Company I was all fired up for a run of some sort.   By this point in the week my legs were barely sore so it was about time to put some distance on them.

Distance is a relative term.  In the past 3 runs I may have at most ran 5 miles, which really should be one run, but I think a nice and slow attitude to the barefoot running would lead to a healthier transition.  Don't need to jump to quickly into this and walk out with some injuries from to much stress on muscles not ready for the challenge.

I ran at most a mile on the sidewalk/grass.  I kept on trying to think about my form, about how heavy or lightly I was making my steps, but the ground seems to remind me to step lightly pretty well.  Also tried to keep track of my breath, but my recent return to running put a stop to that. (I need my lungs back.)   A ran another mile and a half on Friday.  Surprisingly, my legs felt good today.

One thing I noticed about barefoot running, was the difference between running up and down hills.  While running in shoes, a down hill is almost always welcome.  You get to relax your arms, shake out any tension, and catch your breath.  Barefoot running I found it easier to run up hills, and while keeping my form, almost as easy running on flat.

Ah form, this leads me to the final thought for the day.  I spent a bit of time this morning  and on Friday to look up some pointers about barefoot running.  Over the past 3 runs I have been focusing on my foot placement, and because of that my upper body straitened it self out and ran from the hips.  (Sounds strange, but it feels like your body is just along for the ride, and your hips simply pull you forward.)  This is a wrong approach to archive the same effect. 

The basic principle, from what I understand, is that your body learns to run smoothly and properly because of the pain caused from running the wrong way and putting more stress on your body then you need.  The blogs, say that this will be archived by making sure that my body is strait and my hips lead the run, from this your feet naturally follow.

Today and tomorrow I am taking a break from running, give my feet some much needed rest.  From the point of view of never having to run distance barefoot, I have asked a lot of them this past week.  Monday, if I have time, I will try to run 2 miles.  A slow build up.

First Impression

Monday was my first day running in the Vibram Sprints (http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/).

For some reason I felt that the experience of running in the Sprints would be terrible, and in some way making the jump to running barefoot would some how lead to a terrible injury. But after taking a few steps i felt assured in my foot. There was a kind of stability in the foot i had not really expected.

I immediately became aware of how I place my foot. After a couple of sharp rocks, i also very aware of where i step. I only ran about a mile and a half and even walked a part simple because i didn't have it in my legs to run anymore. Partially I can account this to having to have been lazy, but at the same time, areas of my legs which I have never felt to be sore after running, burned for the next two days.

I can't say I didn't enjoy it. It was the same feeling i had in my forearms first time i climbed, or even similar to the feeling of my first cross country practice back in high school. It's your body, being angry at you for not having to have used it before. And at the same time thanking you with a certain uplifting in the spirits, the aftermath of a runner high.

Over all I have to say the experience of running in the Sprints was rather pleasant, though my feet did hurt a bit, and a weird blister formed right at the base of the big toe on both legs.


Why run with out shoes. (My Running History)

For many years I have been a running, never a particularly great running, but by no means slow.  Running for me started in high school.  I joined the high school track team at the end of my high school year and started running the mile.  This is when I found that I liked running for distance.  For the rest of my high school career i ran Cross Country. 

The highlight of my running career was some time in my junior year where on a 3.1 mile course I managed to hammer out an 18 flat, which at that time was only 20 seconds from personally qualifying for states.  Never since then have i been able to reach the same status.  After junior year of high school I became fat, and my running senior year was no where near to as good, and since then also never injury free.

Several times in my life since then I have tried to get back into running, and I seem to follow the same pattern. 

  • I realize that I am getting fat and decide to start running.
  • After a couple of weeks of being very sore from running I finally get into running shape and over the next couple of month start picking up speed.
  • I drop a bunch of weight and just as I feel that I can start to compete on the same level as I used to, I start feeling pain in my knees, or shins, or leg.  And running stops for me.

Recently, I became a triathlete, there was logic that if spread the training out between swimming biking and running I would be injured less because I would be working different muscles on different days, and it seemed to help.  But really I am lazy, and I find it hard to switch between activities on a regular bases, so after a so so season, and a month or two off, I am back where I was.  200 pounds and out of shape.

So this time instead of repeating the same cycle in the same fashion, I am going to try something different.   This is where barefoot running come into play.  Maybe about three weeks ago, I picked up a pare of vibram five finger shoes (http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/) which simulate running barefoot with some added protection for the skin.  I spent the first couple of weeks walking around in them just to get used to the ball strike which barefooting requires. And then this past Monday I took a plunge into the world of barefoot running.