Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Minimalist Running Experiment Continues

Well it's been 3 1/2 weeks since Chippewa where I made the decision to run only in minimalist shoes and thus far all is going well. It's forcing my right ankle to work a bit which I think is good and I love the feeling of running in my Minimus's as well as my VFF's. I have been running pretty much in just these shoes but I have done a couple of runs in my Peregrines which now are starting to feel way too cushioned and supportive.

Vibram FiveFingers Kso Treksport Men's Shoes White Grey CharcoalMy longest run in my VFF's was on Sunday, I went 6 miles and felt great with no issues the next day, I did walk for a minute or so every mile and I even resisted going a few more miles which I really wanted to do. So what's the plan? Real simple, to continue to add in more and more minimalist runs, focusing on turnover and slowly pushing the speed. When I get the turnover right I am moving fairly quickly with a nice short mid-footed (basically a flat footed) step. I am avoiding over-striding to run faster instead just working on my foot turnover cadence.

One idea with minimalist running that finally just registered in my brain is that I will be buying fewer shoes. Since none of my minimalist shoes have any cushion to speak of I will wear them until they fall apart. My guess is 600 to 800 miles or more.

Part of my thinking in doing this was what I picked up on a running podcast called TrailRunner Nation. They had a guest on that I have really enjoyed, his name is the Sock Doc and he has been interviewed twice. I agree with his philosophy on not wearing orthotics and on not stretching. His premise is that if you need an orthotic you are masking a problem. With regard to stretching, he says if you need to, you have other problems going on, my kind of advice, of course if you read the article I should note that I have yet to follow his advice but I still agree with his thinking. So check out the Sock Doc's website and definitely take a look at his "Training Principles" posts, well worth a read. If you want an easy way to get his insight, take a look at the notes from the podcasts and more importantly, take a listen:

(Shoes - Orthotics)/Stretching Podcast
The Sock Doc - Aerobic vs Anaerobic Training

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Running in San Jose

For my work I have to occasionally go to San Jose and on my most recent trip I took the time to get in a run in a new area. Normally when I go to San Jose, I run the Guadalupe River trail, a flat, gravel and a few paved sections along the Guadalupe river, more of a creek, make that a drainage overflow but still not a bad place to get in a short run. It's flat, boring but close to where I usually stay so easy and the section I run is at least 5 to 6 miles so you can get in a decent run.

This time, I was at a different hotel so easy wasn't quite so easy. I decided to look for a different place to run and I discovered the Rancho San Antonio Park about 10 miles from my hotel. I made it to the park in a little over a 1/2 hour, they do have about 10x more traffic than us. The trail was part fire road and part single track. I only went 4 miles more for the ankle and the amount of time I had. It was uphill for the first 1 1/2 miles then down and back out. Next time I will explore farther into the park as the wildcat canyon loop is single track and it says 7.3 miles, I only was on it for a mile or so and would like to see all of it. I was surprised by the number of people on the wildcat canyon loop probably saw 10+ people. I am used to my runs in Lebanon where I see maybe 1 or 2 other runners although lately Lebanon seems to be getting a lot busier.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Running update

I went for a short run in my VFF's on Thursday, it was only a mile and the ankle wasn't right which means my decision to drop at Chippewa was correct and it confirmed my decision to go minimalist. I found that being close to the ground allowed me to be more aware of each step and it seemed like I was running with less pain. When I was ramping up my mileage for Chippewa I didn't run in my minimalist shoes very often as I thought they might cause me more issues with my ankle and calf. I now think that I was simply not wanting to face the reality that I was having issues as I wanted to be an ultra runner again. During the last two years I have been humbled by my DNF's, before the injuries I felt that I could will myself to finish almost anything, now I am not sure I will ever finish an ultra again. I do know that I need to be able to run with less pain on each step to give myself a good shot at success.

So, Friday I took the plunge and picked up a new pair of minimalist shoes from Run N Fun (Burnsville). I bought the New Balance Minimus Trail MT10 (see the specs below as copied from the Running Warehouse)

Weight: 7.1 oz (size 9)
Stack Height: Heel (15mm), Forefoot (11mm); non-removable insole
How It Fits (based on width D) Width D=Medium
  • Sizing: Standard running shoe length
  • Heel: Medium to narrow
  • Midfoot: Low to medium volume
  • Forefoot: Medium
  • Toe-Box height: Low
  • Arch Structure: Medium height

I went for a 3 mile run in them yesterday and what can I say other than I love them. They are so comfortable that I would like to wear them all the time, interesting that less cushion and support felt better. My ankle seemed fine during the run and I was happy to confirm that the MT20's have more protection than my VFF's as I was purposely stepping on rocks and roots and didn't feel any sharp edges but I could still feel them so the ankle didn't even think about rolling. I wanted to go longer than 3 miles but chose to keep the distance short until I am pain free as even though I have done some minimalist running, I know that my full immersion will stress other parts of my body so I plan to try to go shorter but faster after a few weeks of building a minimalist base. So for the next few weeks, I will be running only in my MT20's, my VFF's and my Saucony Peregrines. I am back doing the ankle strengthening workouts that I was given last year plus a few more that I found on-line and plan to continue to do them this year. When I am pain free and can run 20 miles in any of these shoes then I will be ready to race an ultra again.


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