Sunday, September 26, 2010

Distance increase

Distance 12km [total: minimalist 124km: Barefoot 522.5km]

As the weather is slowly improving as we move deeper into spring I want to spend more time running rather than on treadmills at the gym.
Saturday morning and the weather is benign. a light covering of morning cloud and just a gently breeze rather than strong winds.
I thought I'd do a longer beach run today and see how I feel so I chose to run from Grange to Semaphore then back, a distance of exactly 12km.

The run was a success, although my right Achilles was aching a bit towards the end. That is to be expected as I have just run a distance of double what I have been doing in the past few months. I only had one short stop at the halfway point.
It took me 35mins on each leg with a few minutes added for a rest at the halfway mark.

I made sure I kept the knees well bent and only pulled the foot from the floor.

In the Pose running book there is a section on the psychology of running, how you should only concentrate on the present and not at some point in the future.
It is an important part of the jigsaw as if you let your mind drift you can end up losing your form and creating the situation that your mind predicted would happen in the future.
Only concentrate on how each foot contacts and lifts from the floor to make it as short a contact as possible, in that way there is less chance of injury to the calves or tendons.


Friday, September 24, 2010


Distance 13km [total: minimalist 124km: Barefoot 510.5km]

Well since the last posting I have had several runs that have gone quite well, no calf complaints at all.
Over last weekend I ran 7km on the Saturday, it was a beach run on firm sand with the tide at it's low point for the day.
The morning was cold and the sand was chilly as well so on the return journey I switched to run on the concrete pavement which was slightly warmer, it also gave the opportunity to see how fast I can adapt to different surfaces under foot.

I think now that my new running form is getting more and more engrained in my brain, maybe not permanent yet but give it one more year and the transition will be full.

Thursday Run:
A chilly evening with a very cold wind blowing from the south. I had intended to run about 7km again today but with the combination of the wind and the soft well trodden sand it wasn't very inspirational so I decided to save myself for a time when the weather was a bit better.
This time I covered about 4km and again came off the beach near the Henley Hotel to run back along the road.
I had plenty of company on the way back, lots of runners out this evening. I didn't offer up any competition as at the moment the shod runners take longer strides and will always try to assert their dominance on the 'weird' bloke with no shoes.
I just concentrated on keeping my landing light and springy.
It's always easy to tell if you are landing correctly as you should get no pain from the soles, no blisters or rubbing.
I remember only 9 months ago I was battling with blisters and sore feet because I didn't know how to land correctly. Your feet have to teach you.

Friday: I've not done any drills for a while so I should still put a session in once every week or two to ensure I'm still keeping the correct form. That is what I did tonight on the rugby field near home. I did drills for 30 minutes with short runs in between.
I sent of for some of the Skins compression tights to see if they are as good as they purport to be.
I bought them from a UK website as buying them in Australia is prohibitively expensive, I bought them and got then shipped over for half of the price I would have paid locally.
I use the long tights for recover to keep my calves compressed. I don't think I would like to wear the during my daytime runs as I prefer to have the sun on my legs.

Only a week or so from now and I pass the first anniversary of my change in running direction.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cold weather dragging on

Distance 10km [total: minimalist 124km: Barefoot 497.5km]

Since the last post I've put in two runs of about 5km each without any niggles in the calves so that is good.
I'm pretty sure I kicked off the problems with doing too much in the way of gym exercises without enough time for them to recover.

It chilly evening as I ran along the beach tonight.
The south wind was blowing cold air from the Antarctic, I didn't waste any time doing any drills tonight, I just set off into the headwind.
I did plan to go a bit further tonight but it felt so cold out there that it wasn't going to be any more enjoyable, save it for a day with some warm sun on my back.

I just came across one of the articles about flip-flops(thongs) making out how dangerous they are for your feet. It seems this is more rubbish from the podiatry community.
I had to add a comment to the end.

I think it is strange that in first world countries there are podiatrists on every street corner offering to sort your foot problems out.
I bet this doesn't happen in Africa or Thailand or Vietnam where flip-flop shoes would be more prevalent.
You would think that they would be rubbing their hands at the prospects of treating all those people who would have feet damages by those dreadful flip-flops.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Interesting run

Distance 4.5km [total: minimalist 124km: Barefoot 487.5km]

As we were in for some more wet weather in the next few days and as it had been a nice sunny day today I headed to the beach to give the legs a bit of a stretch.

When I got there it was close to high tide, there was a small strip of dry soft sand in the northern direction but towards the south the sea was lapping against the rocks.

The weather change was also heading in pretty quickly so I wasn't going to go too far.
As I made it to the area where the sea was about 6 inches deep I kept running through the water, good for testing out how sure footed you can be under unstable surfaces.
Ha, while negotiating one of the channels formed by the water as it ran back to the main body of water I misjudged how deep the sand would have been cut away. It wasn't a few inches as I thought but about 2 feet, so, I went straight over, crashing down into the water.
I was thoroughly soaked now but good other wise.
On the way back I was more cautious. The the rain started followed by a strong headwind that stayed with me for the 2km back up the beach.
I still found it thoroughly enjoyable, no worries about wreaking a pair of expensive running shoes just wet t-shirt and shorts.
So, covered about 4.5km, calves felt back to normal again.
I have a massage booked for tomorrow to iron out any kinks in the muscles.
I think the trick is to leave out the calf exercises at the gym, I probably don't need them.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wild weather

Distance 10km [total: minimalist 124km: Barefoot 483km]

Finally, I manage to have two runs on successive days without any calf problems.

Saturday morning - Feels mild outside, some sun but it is forecast to turn nasty by the afternoon.
I drove to the beach, the tide was far out and there was a nice flat beach to get my toes into.
The sand was a good temperature, not icy cold like on the days after a clear cold night.
I ran from my parking spot to the jetty at Henley then on to the Henley Hotel before turning around and running back, without any rest breaks.
The wind was against me on the way back but as I'm only taking small steps I hardly notice.
One thing I have to control is speed, my legs want to run faster and it pushes my heart rate over my training zone limit of 150bpm. I pull myself back mainly so I don't put too much stress on the muscle before it is fully recovered.
It was only as I was reaching the car after 5km that I got a slight feeling that if I had to do another km that I might get into trouble.
I gave the feet, ankles and calves a soak in the cold sea water.

The weather really deteriorated in the afternoon, high winds which shifted from the north around to the south, heavy rain. Trees were blown over, power was cut to many parts of the city. We have not seen a storm like this for many years.

Sunday. The storm had abated, blew itself out overnight. The morning sun was shining.
Usually I go to the gym on a Sunday morning but today I just felt like doing a few more km along the beach.
I repeated Saturdays run, feeling much better now. Any time I became aware of any message from the calves I put some more bend in the knees and slowed the cadence down.

Once again I chose the best part of the day for the run, during the afternoon the rainy weather returned.
I'll give the running a rest now until around Thursday when I'll try some more drills.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back to drills

Distance 2km [total: minimalist 124km: Barefoot 473km]

Thursday, finally we have reached the Spring after what seemed like a long winter.
Ok ok I know Australian winters are mild by comparison to northern European winters, I guess I'm just a warm weather person.

We had some really nice spring weather on the Sunday, the sun shone all day and it was probably around 18-20C.
I went on a barefoot stroll along the beach for around 3 hours, no pressure of running just relaxing.
My feet must be quite tough now as I walk over shells and stones without hardly noticing them whereas my relatives who were with me were super sensitive to anything that wasn't fine sand.

Tonight I did some Pose drills on the field near home. Felt good but didn't do any fast sprints and didn't run much distance.
I gave my feet a soak in cold water after finishing off the drills then treated them to a massage and soak in warm water with magnesium.
No running tomorrow as we are in for some substantial rain that is due to last over the weekend.
I may see if I can get out over the weekend to see if the calf will hold up to a bit of distance.