Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Getting the feel

Distance 10km [total: minimalist 60.5km: Barefoot 344km]

After a long weekend and not much training as I was in Melbourne visiting my brother who is over on a short holiday I managed to get out for a beach run on the Sunday.

Sunday was ANZAC Day and there were plenty of people walking along the beach.
The weather was perfect, sunny, light breeze, and low tide.
I always begin now by warming up doing some change of support, pony, and hop in place along with some light runs.
I now have a Polar heart rate monitor to help me see what area my heart rate is operating in while I am on my run.

I am finding it a lot easier getting into the right rhythm when I set off. I can feel my hamstrings doing the work now rather than the quads.
Looking at the footprints I leave behind I can see the weight is now on the forefoot with a lighter impression for the heel, this is a good sign.
I ran 8km today then soaked the lower legs in the sea, which is now starting to get colder. Will I be doing this in mid winter I wonder.

On Monday I did some training drills on the rugby oval. Three laps for a warm up then drills interspersed with sprints.
The pulse monitor showed that initially my heart rate goes up to 170bpm before settling back to a more regular 120bpm once I'm warmed up.
During the sprints I can push it up to 140bpm but that is still short of the maximum.
The coordination is much improved with the hop in place, I do 50 hops on each leg.
They are great exercises for getting the 'feel' of the hamstring working.
During the sprint I concentrate on getting the foot off the ground as quickly as I can feel it land, it is a great feeling when you get the timing right.
It feels light and effortless, not lung bursting like I experienced in the past.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend training

Distance 9km [total: minimalist 60.5km: Barefoot 334km]

After skipping a few runs during the week due to other commitments it was time to get back into in over the weekend.

On the Friday I'd been out having some drinks around the city and trying my best to limit my alcohol intake, it was tough and I ended up having about 4.5 pints of beer and some wine. I guess as I drink so little on most other occasions this would constitute binge drinking.

Despite drinking two large glasses of water on getting back I still woke in the morning not feeling the best.
It was a nice warm morning and I headed down to the beach. The tide was well out so there was plenty of flat sand to run on.
I felt a bit achy in the feet this time but it got better as I warmed up. I concentrated on form over speed and was fairly happy with the run but it was not the best.

Rather than go to the beach I walked across to the local field to do some drills this morning.
I started with 3 slow laps of the field to warm up then did sets of changing support, Pony, and Hop in Place.
I have improved my coordination on the Hop in Place over what I was doing a month ago.
I can now do fifty on each leg.
I'm much encouraged by this as it shows that I am getting a better feeling for when my hamstring is being activated, the reaction speed is faster.
This in turn helps the sprints in between the drills.

I remember when I first started doing the pose drills and running sprints in between some 3 months ago, I could feel a bit of pain in my lower back, this was caused because I didn't have the technique correct.

I am re-reading the Pose Running book again and am about 1/3 the way through it. I'm hoping to pick up on things that I missed the first time or that I will understand now whereas before I wouldn't.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Zen moment

Distance 8km [total: minimalist 60.5km: Barefoot 325km]

While out running along the beach on Monday evening I got into the 'zone'.
I haven't felt this for quite a while now, maybe some years.
The tide was high but gradually retreating and sand was soft and spongy.
While on the return leg everything just felt right, I was taking short compact strides with a high cadence, there were not aches in the muscles or anything to distract me and it felt almost like floating across the ground.
It's at times like this that you feel you can just run and run. I'm hoping that this will be a more common occurrence as I get better at the Pose running style.

What I need to do now is get a digital video camera to record my running to see if it is correct or if it just my imagination that it is.

I also had a 4km run along the beach on the Sunday. It seems the small group that would turn up had wound itself up for the winter.
It was a very windy Sunday with a strong southerly blowing, but again, it doesn't bother me as much now that I am using gravity as an ally and not expending as much energy.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Barefoot friday

Distance 12.5km [total: minimalist 60.5km: Barefoot 317km]

Friday comes around once again and it is my first longer run since I was nursing a bruised foot.
The weather looked threatening, it had been raining hard for most of the morning and now sullen grey clouds hung low in the sky.

I set off from work at about 4.10pm, now we are off Daylight Saving it will be getting darker sooner, but should still be light by the time I get home at this time of year.

I had the vibrams on for the run through the city for glass protection, there is just so much of it around that the risk is too great. Once out on the river path I took off the shoes and ran the remaining 8k without the shoes.

The last time I did this distance without shoes was back in January I think, quite a few months ago.
I was interested to see how my feet would fare with all the extra training I have done to land more gently and not push off, it is the push off that causes friction and blisters.

Well, I ran it a lot quicker than I did before & I didn't feel the same fatigue that I felt last time.
The feet came through relatively unscathed, I had a very small blister on the right foot and a small scrape on the toe but that is about it.
Not bad considering the paths were covered in bits of trees, mud & stones from the recent heavy rain.
I am still aware that my form deteriorated as the distance gets greater but it has improved by leaps and bounds over the 3 months.
I can tell just because, as I mentioned, I don't feel worn out at the end.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Training drills

Distance 2km [total: minimalist 56.5km: Barefoot 308.5km]

I have been out on the rugby field near home practicing the pose drills on Tuesday and Thursday.
I start the session with 3 laps at moderate pace around the field to warm up.
Then I practice 4 of the drills.
1. Change of Support.
2. Pony.
3. Hop in Place.
4. Forward Lunge.

In between each of those drills I run 80m, concentrating on getting my feet off the ground as quickly as possible after touching down.

I am starting to feel a difference. I am becoming aware of my hamstrings and if they are engaged correctly.
I can remember in the past when I used to practice fast sprints it was always my quads that ended up sore the next day, that is not the case now as I am not using them to same extent any more.
I am aware that my hamstrings start to get tired by the end of a training session.
My coordination is getting much better, I had trouble with the 'hop in place' initially, especially on the left leg. Tonight I managed to do sets of 50 hops on each leg.

I received an email from the Posetech website informing me that Dr Romanov was in Sydney to do a coaching session. I would have like to have gone but it is too short notice, the session is this weekend. Maybe next time.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Good again

Distance 7km [total: minimalist 56.5km: Barefoot 306.5km]

Well, I ran 7km this morning and no problems at all.
It definitely was a bruise on the underside of my foot, I could see the remnants of it as a slightly yellow area.
The jumping onto a hard surface probably wasn't the best of ideas at this early stage.
In the future I'll practice the jumping on a grass or sand surface, all this is, after all, a learning experience.

Funny how everyone was just waiting for me to get an injury to enable them to say "ah, told you so, barefoot running is dangerous and the injury proves it".

The injuries I used to suffer from were far more debilitating, the tendonitis, the shins that were so sore I couldn't touch them. The squeezed toes and blackened nails.
It has now been 6 months and I have had none of this.
I need to practice more of the Pose drills. I have about 4 of them I regularly do before a run but I need to expand my range.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Almost better

Distance 6km [total: minimalist 56.5km: Barefoot 299.5km]

After spending about 5 days with foot pain I think I am almost back to fitness again.
Wow, I wish I knew what it was that I did. I think it must have been a bruise or ligament over extension.
It's not a good situation when you cant place any weight on your forefoot, it was affecting the muscles that ran down the shin so I had a pain there as well.

Today felt better so I went out to the beach for a walk in the sand to get some movement back.
It felt ok, no extra pain as I walked so I tried some short runs. I found that the running was better than the walking as it put less pressure on my foot.
I ran I would estimate about 3km and walked another 3km and now the foot feels fine.

I will have to be more gentle in the future until they have had at least a year of running without shoes or supported shoes. Then the ligaments and tendons will be far stronger.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Foot injury

Distance 0km [total: minimalist 56.5km: Barefoot 293.5km]

For the first time since I took barefoot running/walking I have a small injury.
I must blame myself for this.

After my recent holiday and no real training for 10 days I had a had a concentrated period when I ran each day for 4 days, not huge distances 2km, 7km, 13km, 4km but I think that along with some jumping I did at the gym on the sunday I have a pain in my left foot.
It's under the forefoot and very hard to take any weight on it at the moment.
It could be one of two things, overstretched ligaments or some kind of stress fracture.
It has been sore now since Monday.
So, I am now on enforced rest until it sorts itself out.
I wouldn't have thought with what I was doing I could have caused any serious problem but you never know.

Above is a photo of a hike up to the Maitai Cave situated in the mountains above Nelson, N.Z.
I covered the whole distance, there and back without shoes, a total of about 4 hours walking.
It was really great feeling that connected with the ground you are walking over, feeling the temperature, texture and hardness or softness of the ground.
You don't really need to wear big thick hiking boots, it is good to walk quietly through a forest without heavy crunching of the ground.