As I have been running pretty sporadically over the past year due to back issues, I have noticed something about minimalist running.  It gets easier and easier with time.

When I originally started barefoot running, I noticed that my feet would hurt a lot if I went too far.  I originally planned to slowly increase the mileage and speed in hopes that the aches would go away.  Over the past year I have been running as often as my back would allow, and I have been switching between barefoot running, and running in regular shoes.

Recently my back has been feeling great, and I have been able to run more often.  I have noticed that I can go farther and faster barefoot than ever before.  I still alternate running styles to minimalize the risk of repetitive injury, and it seems to be working out great!  When I used to run too often in regular running shoes, I would get sore knees, shins, and the sides of my lower legs would ache.  When I ran too far barefoot, I’d get sore feet.  By alternating between the two styles of running, I am pretty much ache and pain free.

My barefoot speed has increased to the point that I am almost running the same pace barefoot as I normally run which is great.  It used to be SO much slower.  I can also go much longer now than I could when I first started.

On another note, for anyone interested in starting to run, I came across this great and motivational running plan for beginners over at Lifetropolis.  It looks to be a solid plan to get you running up to 30 minutes non-stop – definitely worth a look!

Categories : Running
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It has been quite a while since I have been able to run regularly due to back problems.  I am slowly easing back into it again and I am beginning to train to do my first half marathon with my Vibrams.

Every time I am forced to take time off from running I get back into too quickly and push myself too hard, leading to injuries.  This time I am determined to follow a set plan where I increase my mileage and speed gradually and safely.  I am following a beginner running plan as this will be my first race in minimalist shoes.  All of my previous running has been in regular shoes (Asics Gel Kayanos).  This is the running plan I am following.  Any thoughts?

For some runners, the prospect of preparing to run a half marathon in three months is a bit daunting, so we’ve prepared this five-month training plan to offer a more gradual buildup to race day — both physical and mental — than our 12-week beginner and 16-week intermediate training plans offer. This plan starts slowly with four days of running each week over the first six weeks, later transitioning to five days of running each week as the calendar proceeds further into the training.

Because this training plan spreads out the weekly and long runs over five months, it can be used by runners who are attempting their first half marathon as well as by someone who’s run several halfs already and wants a structured approach to their training. The plan is designed to gradually ease the runner into the process with light, easy runs in the opening weeks, followed by longer, more demanding runs in the middle and later weeks, to help build your fitness level.

Check out the 20 week half marathon training plan here.

Categories : Training
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English: Vibram FiveFingers Sprint Coconut &qu...

So it’s been a while since I posted last.  I have been trying to adapt to running “barefoot” in my Vibram 5 fingers for many months now.  It is going very very slowly for me.  I can still only run for about a max of 30 minutes before my feet and calf muscles start to get sore, and my speed is still far slower than it was in regular shoes.

I read somewhere that if you want to transition from running in regular shoes to minimalist shoes, that you should first run for a while in something like the Minimus before switching to the Vibram five fingers. It sounds like it would have been a good idea in hindsight, but since I am already running a few times per week in the five fingers I might as well keep going.

The good news is that I haven’t been having any knee pain at all since switching over.  In fact, my knees have never felt better! I attribute this to the fact that I run so much more gently now, and that I can’t log as many miles as I used to.

Since it is winter I have to do my running at home on the treadmill.  I have been paying very close attention to my form. The thing I really like about barefoot or minimalist running is that it forces you to completely change the way you run. You can’t land on your heels or you will pay for it big time. It feels so much more natural to me now that I am used to it.

Hopefully I can keep building my mileage and speed up!

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Categories : Running
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I’m not getting off to the most consistent start with this blog.  I will try to do better at keeping it updated.

As I mentioned earlier, I have been slowly switching over to running “barefoot” over the last month or so. I would run for a while with my normal running shoes, and then finish up with 5 – 10 minutes without my shoes.  I didn’t have any minimalist or “barefoot” shoes so I have been pretty much sticking to the treadmill for now.  My treadmill belt gets pretty hot after 10 minutes or so, so I had to resort to wearing socks.

I decided to finally take the plunge and purchase some shoes so I can barefoot run outside.  I have always thought the five-fingers look weird / uncomfortable and so I tried a number of other minimalist shoes such as the New Balance Minimus, and the Merril shoes.  I had finally decided on a pair of Merrils, but thought I might as well try on a pair of five-fingers and rule them out.  I knew I was going to hate them so it would only take a couple of minutes to confirm.

After the initial awkwardness of trying to get my toes into the fingers, I took a little walk around the store and…. hey!  These things aren’t too bad!  I walked around some more and started really liking them.  I thought having my toes separated (although by very thin material) would drive me nuts but I hardly noticed it at all.  I put a Merril on my left foot and left a Five on my right foot and did some more walking around.  The Merril shoes were very comfortable but didn’t feel nearly as natural as the Vibrams.

So, I ended up purchasing the Vibram five-fingers.  I went for my first run in them last night.  I’m still very slowly building up my mileage with this barefoot running thing, so I only went for 1.5 miles, but it was great!

I really hope that once I am back up to running 6 miles per day that my knees and legs are going to be feeling a lot better than they have been in the past.

What are your favorite minimalist shoes?  Leave a comment below!

Categories : Running
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I have been very interested in learning more about barefoot running lately.  When I run with regular (albeit good quality) running shoes, my shins, knees, and various other body parts begin to ache after a while.  This especially happens if I run 2 or 3 days in a row.  From what I have heard, running barefoot and landing on the balls of your feet rather than your heels significantly reduces these aches and pains.  It makes sense, since you are not pounding your heels and jolting your legs and lower back with every step.

I have done a couple of very short barefoot runs on the treadmill and man does it make my calves burn.  It also feels very awkward and I have to go slowly and take very short strides.  I can see that it is going to take a long time to be able to run the same distances and speed that I am used to running with running shoes on.

Here’s a cool video about barefoot running:

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Last week I had set a goal to run every morning, even if it was just short.  By the end of the week, my legs (shins and calves) were hurting quite a bit.  I think I increased my mileage too much all at once.

I gave my legs a few days of rest, and was still expecting them to hurt this morning, but they felt great!

Last week I ran about 13 miles which is quite a bit for me as I am just getting back into running.  I weight about 245 pounds and my legs take a pretty good pounding when I run.

Anyway, this morning I ran 4.5 miles at a comfortable pace and felt good the whole way.  My pace was an average of 10:31 / mile.  Not great by most standards, but an improvement over last week.  I’d really like to get back under 10 minutes/mile again.

I added a DailyMile widget to the blog to keep track of my runs and hopefully keep me motivated to keep increasing distance and speed over time.

Categories : Runs
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Well here I am with my new blog.  The first post is always the hardest!

I guess I’ll start by saying a bit about me.  I am a runner.  I don’t always love to run, but most of the time I enjoy it enough that I think I would like to blog about it.

I am by no means a fast runner, nor a very good long distance runner.  I am working on improving in both of these areas.  I have run a few smaller races (10 k’s), and have done an olympic distance triathlon.  My next goal is to be able to run a half marathon with a decent time.

I started running as a way to lose weight and have since come to enjoy it (most of the time) as an escape from the daily grind of a busy life.  I have to admit though, sometimes it feels like a chore.

There we go, that wasn’t so bad.  Until next time……

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