Archive for the ‘barefoot running’ Category

Barefoot running

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

While I really like the idea of barefoot running I much prefer (and need) to wear shoes. I do run in zero-drop shoes to get as close as I can to actual barefoot running, but my right leg is about a half inch shorter than my left. To correct for this I wear a lift in my right shoe. This makes actual barefoot running difficult for me at least as a full-time method. I have gone for occasional beach runs sans-shoes and it is great.But long term I would miss my lift!

A barefoot runner recently reached out to me with an article on barefoot running that I thought I would share with you all:
Take a look and please let me know your thoughts on the concept.

Running well these days

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

So again coming back into running. I have actually run a lot lately and just didn’t write about it. I kept thinking I should and even thought about topics to write about. But just never got to it. So runs this week were a couple of base runs after a long cold/flu. They were hard but I pushed through them. Both runs I took walking breaks which were needed. But the last two runs (yes, four runs since I wrote) have been really good, a recovery run and a tempo(ish) run.

Yesterday I did a great recovery run. 10k and kept my heart rate below my recovery ceiling (HR less than 144 for me) for probably 95+% of the run. I had my first slip up when a woman was running in the opposite direction of me. We both hit the end of the East Moreland Reedway blocks (or whatever it is called) looping back towards reed, her going with traffic and me across the park blocks between us, going against. I noticed she was barefoot and we chatted a bit about barefoot running, she was training for a barefoot Hood to Coast team. I was pushing it to keep up with her when I remembered that I was trying for 144 and my HR was 160! So I said so long and went slowly on my way in a different direction. It actually didn’t take me too long to get my HR down and I continued through reed and the canyon all under. I knew the hills were coming up and as I got closer I tried to bring my HR down as much as possible to get ready for the slow climb. The first set of smaller hills through campus went fine, all under. But the final stretch is significantly steeper and I had to really slow down. There was nobody around so I didn’t mind appearing to run as slowly as possible! I almost made it, but I crept up to 146 for parts of it. Still pretty darn good. The last hill went fine. I had brought my HR down to about 129 before I started and made it to the top under 144. Then crossing the street at the top of the hill I was up to 150. I didn’t sprint across the street or anything, but maybe my dislike of cars… All in all a great recovery run with an average pace of 12-13 min miles.

Today was a different story. I started pretty cool with some clouds that quickly gave way to sunshine and some warmth. I hadn’t decided what to do on this run. I found myself doing a steady brisk pace with ease and decided to push the pace throughout the run. Today’s now decided goal was sub 10 min miles for 10K. I kept strong for the first three + miles and then bonked a bit coming out of the canyon and up the hills. I slowed down for the hills but kept pushing. At the top I was still under 10 min mile pace so I pushed again. I think I even needed a last burst of energy to get me through the final four blocks. In the end, under 10 min miles easy.

So two solid runs back to back and both training runs of sorts. Ones I can at least categorize in my running log. well, tempo(ish).

Ramping back up

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Once again on the road to recovering my fitness. After two weeks off and before that short runs with the dog, I am ramping up my longer runs. Well not necessarily super long runs but 6+ milers (to start). Getting back into running after a break is always a difficult thing. The runs all seem harder than they used to be and your pace seems slower than you remember it. The frustrations appear around every corner but the only choice is to blast through them and keep going.This time no exception. The good news is that I at least feel like I have stopped on the precipice of falling out of shape and turned back. My health almost instantly feels better, I feel thinner and firmer. It might all be a mental thing, but hey I’ll take what good feelings I can get.

One bummer is that my feet seem to be aching more now. I thought that the two week rest would do some good, but it appears as if just the opposite has happened. Its as if the running develops some sort of barrier to the pain/discomfort in my feet. Taking time off removes that barrier. Maybe I am just no longer used to it and my body is reacquainting itself with the discomfort. I have done four runs since restarting and it actually does feel a bit better, but at first (and maybe I was expecting my feet to feel better from the break) I was dissapointed. Even during the break my feet were bugging me, but those first couple of runs they were barking!

Yesterday’s run was not too fast but my HR was really high through a lot of it. Made me think that I need to get back to working in recovery runs (my goal for the day!). I really would like to get back on a HR training program and perhaps that is what I will do. Time to break out the HR books and get some inspiration. For the moment, a recovery run will do!

I have also been thinking about picking up a pair of Newton shoes which are well known for their ability to mimic the barefoot runner experience while offering your feet protection (and not looking stupid, so damn important!) If they weren’t so damn expensive $150-200 I would try a pair, but I keep getting caught up with the cost. That and the fact that I haven’t seen them locally and would have to get them online. Not that that has ever been a problem for me in the past!

Natural running and speedwork at the track

Friday, February 18th, 2011

At risk of being ostracized by the popular running community I’d like to add my two cents about the barefoot running/natural running phenomena. I have been an advocate of Chi Running for many years. I think the principals behind it are solid and I have run relatively injury free for years, much of which I attribute to adopting a Ch Running style. Since the barefoot running fad broke out with the publishing of Born To Run, its theories have been adopted by Danny Dreyer, author of Chi Running. While I really enjoyed Born to Run, I wasn’t swayed to try it until Dreyer embraced it. With his endorsement I have thought more and more about it. I have figured I wouldn’t be able to do it because of the heal lift I wear to offset my shorter right leg. The barefoot folks says we should base out stance on our natural stance by not wearing any sort of orthotics whether they be in the base of running shoes or additional devices. I believe my leg correcting lift is necessary to make sure my spine is properly aligned. Doctors convinced me at an early age that I needed to keep my spine properly aligned in order to avoid back issues both in my youth and especially into old age. So barefoot running seemed like it wouldn’t be for me, Vibram Five-Fingers also seemed interesting but I had my doubts about whether they would work with my lift (they are really low on the ankle and my lift made this an even larger potential issue). So I was really interested to hear about the concept of Natural Running and this book.

So I got the book from the library and have been reading it. The author feels that barefoot running is best, but that there are pitfalls to running without protection on the feet: rocks, hot or cold pavement, glass etc. He thinks that shoes are ok to wear as long as you do a mid or forefoot strike rather than a heal strike. He says most running shoes build up the heal to such an extent that it is hard to do the fore or mid strike. He says the elevated heal causes most runners to hit the heal first (which brakes you) before rolling to the ball of your foot. My heal lift in the one side makes this even more of an issue. But despite that I have been striving for a mid-strike for years since reading about Chi Running and I think I do a pretty good job of it.

When I first started to run on the dirt roads on Pendleton, OR I was told that I should rock my foot on each step. Land on the heal and roll my step through to the lift off on the toes. At first it took so getting used to landing on the mid portion of the foot. It was good to read scientific basis for what I have been doing for years.

The book had a number of exercises to help the reader develop this mid-strike. Most of them were based on balance (so far anyway) and this is an area I could use a lot of work on. Between the shorter (and smaller) right leg and the ms, I have my issues with balance. I have been working on this and probably overdoing it as my ankles have been sore as well as my knees. I think I will back off on doing the balance stuff a bit and try to more slowly incorporate the work into my workouts. I do think better balance will have large benefits for strengthening my core and therefor bettering my running. Not sure what is happening with my knees, I rarely have issues in that area. It could also have something to do with the new shoes.

Today, I went to the track to do some more straights and curves. The track was mostly empty so that was good for my multi-paced workout. My knees and ankle soreness didn’t seem to bother me, but I did slow down my sprinting in order to respect the potential injury. Seems to have done the trick. I also added on some miles to boost my weekly totals. Ended up doing a 2 mile warm up, 2 miles at the track and 4.5 mile cool down. Good run.

Tempo followed by recovery

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Yesterday I ran an eight mile tempo run, well the second through sixth miles were anyway, I started out with a half mile warm up and then picked it up for a sub 8:30 pace for the next 5.5. It went well was I felt strong throughout, My pace dropped a bit for mile four which is up hill for half of it, but I only lost 15 seconds averaged through the mile split, then back under goal for two more miles. The HR was obviously pretty high though this in the 160s for the first three miles and then over 175 for the next three on avg. I had to push it through this fast 5.5 and then spent the next mile and first of two in a cooldown going up hill and still keeping a relatively high heart rate. The last mile and a half was really slow (12 min miles) and I kept my HR around 150 or less.

I saw a barefoot runner go by and chatted at him for a bit. he told me he had heard that Vibram runners have been cutting the heels out of them. He didn’t own a pair and was doing it full on barefoot. Said he might get some for the really hot weather.

After my hard run in the afternoon, I got up pretty early and went out again for a recovery run of six miles. It was slow going and a really good recovery run with very little time spent over my recover ceiling and a lot of it under by 5 beats or more. Boring run, slow run but a totally successful one. Recovery done, time for another quality run tomorrow! Maybe an AeT run with an HR around 160?

Base run

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

This morning was a typical base run of 6.5 miles, nothing fast, nothing slow. I felt a bit draggy this morning before I ran, but I knew once I got going that I would be fine and I was.

There was one thing I did differently this morning. I have been reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougal. In his quest to figure out why his feet hurt so much (sounds like a similar journey, eh?) he discovers the amazing Tarahumara runners of Mexico and their fantastic ability to run long distances. The book turns into a discussion of barefoot running and the advantages of using the natural foot design as opposed to all of the fancy running shoes, orthotics and inserts we runners hold dear. It made a lot of sense and I would really like to try the Vibram Five Fingers shoes he recommends. I have some reservations though, I wear a half inch lift in my right shoes to compensate for a shorter leg, I wonder how that would work with these and I also wonder if running without my lift would be a bad thing. So with barefoot running on the brain, I did the absolute opposite for my run today and embraced the evil cadre of podiatrists and wore my orthotics for the first time in a couple of months. My feet feel a bit more achey after my run and I don’t know if I want to go back to wearing them. But we’ll see.