Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wintery weather arrived

Distance 21km [total: minimalist 88km: Barefoot 398km]

While not quite in winter yet the weather has arrived early.
The end of the working week was cool and cloudy with the rain arriving on the Friday.

I don't mind running when it is raining, my usual provision is that it mustn't be raining when I set off but I don't mind if it rains once I have warmed up.
On the Friday though the rain started about an hour before I set of for my run home.
I did consider taking the easy option and catching public transport back but psyched myself up for an 1.5 hour run in the rain.
It wasn't too bad, I was wet through after a few km, the rain was steady but not torrential.
I gave barefoot running a try with wet feet but it doesn't really work.
The feet are too soft once wet and the ground feels much more abrasive, small stones that normally you don't notice suddenly hurt. I ran for around a kilometre then put the Vibrams back on again, which by this time were soaked.
They felt much better and I could run faster with them on tonight.

Saturday run:
Today was a day of strong westerly winds blowing from the sea and intermittent bursts of rain.
For a change I drove to West Beach, parking at the sailing club then ran to Glenelg and back along the beach.
It was very windswept and hardly anyone around. The tide was quite high and in places was right up at the rocks and I had to run through 30cm of surf. Towards Glenelg the water was too deep to run through so I had to run on the path. Once again I had the problem of the feet being too soft due to the wet surface. I retreated back to the beach where the surface was more forgiving.

I don't seem to suffer from stiff tendons at all these days, not even in the mornings when it was usually at its most acute.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cooler weather

Distance 13km [total: minimalist 75.5km: Barefoot 389.5km]

During the week I managed to get a beach run in on the Monday that was a little disappointing, mainly because I had stiffness in the legs caused by doing some over enthusiastic stretching at the gym the day before.
At the time I was thinking how I was increasing my flexibility but what I forgot was that I was well warmed up from the exercise and I was stretching a little too far.
Now I had sore hamstrings and had to run 4km where the hamstrings are the main muscle used.
I did some warm up exercises, that made it feel a little better but I just didn't have the pulling power tonight. That coupled with the high tide and soft and wet sand seemed to drain my mental energy. Live to fight another day!

Legs feeling better now, the soreness has almost gone, it took a while though. I did some training on the rugby field across from home.
I'd also just had a massage as an attempt to get my muscles more balanced and less tense.
Tonight I just had my back done, in 5 weeks I'll book in again and get the legs done.
On the field I did 2 sets of Change of support, Pony and Hop in Place. In between each I did a 50m sprint.
These always feel like really good workouts by the end and I'm usually drenched in sweat.

I missed out on my usual Friday run as I had a dinner to go to later that evening and there would be no time for running from work.
So, Saturday is here and the sky is blue, temperature a bit cool, only 10C as I head to the beach.
The tide is far out this morning but it is not nice and flat, it is very well trodden, this may indicate that there was not much tidal activity during the night. Most of the footprints would have been made the previous day.
I ran south towards the river keeping a nice even tempo. On the way back I decided that the beach was too soft and I wanted a change in surface, the beach sand was also quite cold and my feet were numb underneath.
Running on the concrete path was much better, the concrete was still cold as it was still in the shadow of the houses. In places when I did pass over areas where the sun was shining on the ground I could feel the warmth.
At the Henley Hotel the pavement switches side of the road and was in the full sun and this was great as my feet started to warm through.
At Henley Square I got into a bit of a race with some runners who were coming up behind me while I was walking through the square having a break.
It is good to have a bit of competition, it made me run faster and I realise how easy I find running on hard surfaces now.
I stayed in front for about a kilometre before the passed me as I neared my car.
All in all a very satisfying run.

I am going to have to look around for a short race to enter that I can run barefoot, I think the spring would be a good time. It would also be close to my first year anniversary of ditching the shoes.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Feeling good

Distance 12.5km [total: minimalist 75.5km: Barefoot 376.5km]

I had my Friday afternoon run home in perfect late autumn weather.
The only drawback, if you can call it that is that the sun shines right in my eyes as I'm running in a westerly direction so it makes it very hard to see the ground in front of me.
I ran 3km in the Vibrams and removed them once away from the main roads and I was in the peace and quiet of the Linear Park.
The heat of the road surface that was there in the summer is long gone, there are areas that catch the afternoon sun and I can still feel a bit of warmth there, other areas are cold due to shade from trees.
My feet got me back and were unscathed at the end. I am learning how to run and be gentle on landing, it gets better every month.

My feet are looking a lot healthier these days, I can even get slight control over my little toe on the left foot. It takes a lot of concentration to move it but it can be done.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tight again

Distance 20.5km [total: minimalist 72.5km: Barefoot 368km]

Well, another Friday is here and it's time to get the Vibrams on again for the 12.5km run from work.
The weather was good running weather, a temperature of about 20C, a bit of cloud around but some nice gentle afternoon sun.
The first half of the run was good, I can hold my efficient form now for much longer and it is almost getting to the stage of unconscious competence, up from the previous stage of conscious competence.
The running is easier I don't feel the jolting I felt when first running in the Vibrams, I'm running now with far springier bent knees.
I began to feel some calf tightness at about 6km so slowed down and gave it a massage, this helped and I could continue running at a reduced pace.
I think I may have been pushing the pace a bit too much on this longer run.
I gave the calf a good massage later in the evening, there was a knot in the lower muscle, I probably need a proper sports massage.

I rested up on the Saturday and decided to go for a run on the Sunday instead.
I headed down to the beach at 10.30am a great sunny day, warm with a northerly breeze blowing. I did my pose warm up exercises for 10 minutes then started out.
A runner going in the same direction passed me while I was warming up provided a bit of competition, he was a young guy, maybe early 20's, also running barefoot.
I did notice that he didn't have the pose running style, he was stretching out more.
This would be a good test to see if keeping up a good compact form and working with gravity would help.
It did, I raced past him but he put up a spirited fight and by the time I got to the jetty my heart rate was well above 160, I had to have a rest. He carried on going.
I need to do more of this fast paced running, hard though it is.
I took it easy for the rest of the way, just concentrating on keeping the correct feel.
I ran the last km along the gravel track and road. I have improved my road running from earlier in the year I can run quite fast without any kind of jarring or pain like I used to get with shoes.

Want to see how ridiculous the shoe industry is becoming, look no further than Z-Coil.
If it were April 1st you would surely thing it was a prank, but it isn't either.
I thought the Nike shoes with springs on the back were the dumbest things I had seen but now they have been surpassed by these beauties.

If these things don't land you in hospital within a year I would be truly amazed.
I wonder if a podiatrist is behind this design. As they are not "off the shelf" but customised to your own specifications this all sounds like lots of $$ to be spent.
How far away from nature have we travelled you have to wonder when we have to wear things like that just to walk.
I wish people could just see that you already have a shock absorption system built into your feet by nature over thousands of years, you just need to know how to use them.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Winter around the corner

Distance 16km [total: minimalist 60.5km: Barefoot 360km]

I didn't go on my usual Friday run home from work as I had neglected to buy a weekly bus ticket and it would mean paying full price on the bus just for the privilege of running home, so I got in the car.
As it turned out Friday was a beautiful Autumn day.
I did do some training when I got home from work, I did drills and training sprints on the rugby field for around 45 minutes.
I did three sets of the three basic drills with a sprint in between each drill.

A cool bright summer morning and I headed to the beach at 8.15am with the intention of putting in a longer run to make up for the missed long run on Friday.
I would do the run from Grange Jetty to the Esplanade at Semaphore.
I had my Polar watch set in interval training mode, I'm still not sure how to interpret the various beeps it emits but I'm guessing that you have to do your fast burst during the furious beeping stage then ease off when it stops beeping.
I got about 5km from Grange when I suddenly felt some tightness in my calf during a sprint stage. I think I had strained the calf as the beach was quite uneven and maybe I hadn't recovered from yesterdays session.
I had to turn around and walk back, I managed a quick trot for the last few km.

The calf was sore for two days but the massage and cold water helped it. It seems it was a strain rather than anything more serious.
Monday I did a 4km run on very soft sand along the beach in the late afternoon. The calf seemed fine then.