Archive for the ‘natural running’ Category

Hard run after week off

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Not that it is surprising after my increase in miles, but I took a break for a week. Actually it had more to do with the cold wet weather w have had, but my tired body wasn’t arguing. Certainly wasn’t screaming for me to get out in that rain and run! I felt bad for our dog who has been my running partner for the last couple weeks. She gets to go out with me for the first mile and then gets dropped off at home. She loves it! It was funny yesterday near the end of our run she was getting pooped and started to lag behind. Then we cam upon a woman walking her two dogs and Fig perked up to show off darting ahead of me to set the pace. Funny pooch.

I am about 90% certain that I won’t run the full marathon in Vancouver this summer. My feet have really been aching with the increase in miles and I don’t think I want to put up with the training pain just to run the race. Also my pace has been so slow that I don’t feel inspired to really push it. That said I want to keep up with the training (gotta fit into my new jeans and all!) and we’ll see what happens. There is a mara in San Fransisco that I have always wanted to do later in the summer and perhaps that will become my goal. After all I have been threatening to do my solo trip/mara for awhile now, this would be as good a chance as any. It is supposed to be really beautiful. I think I will at least try to do the half in Vancouver, I know I can handle that for sure.

My ever present problems with pain/numbness in my feet are bugging me. A woman who is a naturopathic practitioner said I should breathe in Chi through the top of my head and exhale out the bottoms on my feet, then reverse the process. Supposed to make me feel more grounded which dovetails nicely with the natural running I have been experimenting with. I have tried it a bit, but not enough to really do anything. I have also been focusing on my balance and the position of my feet when stretching to make sure they are flat on the ground. The connection with the earth seems to help a bit there.

Well I have a nice break of sun out right now, so I think I will run a couple of errands that I have. Who knows when it will be sunny again in Portland!

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.