Monday, November 15, 2010

Doing it backwards...

After doing half of my long run barefoot last Saturday and doing probably more than I should have in my exuberance to run with naked feet, they were feeling a little sore. Not injured or anything, just a tad overworked. I upped my barefoot mileage more than 10%, a no, no. So I didn't try any bare footing until Wed. It made a difference and I will be more careful from now on out. It's hard to hold back.
Which brings me to my next topic. I took up this whole barefoot thing after seeing people in their Vibrams at last year's St. George Marathon, during the Wasatch Back Ragnar, at the Top of Utah Half, and of course, after reading Born to Run. I had heard about running more efficiently with a mid foot strike and with a faster cadence from a seminar that my doctor attended. I did a bit of research on that subject and started to change my form. It made sense to me that I should gradually step down my shoes to a flatter heel and then I would be ready to bare foot it. If I would have done better research, I would have found that I was doing it all backwards. According to the experts it's best to start barefoot, get the feedback from your bare soles, and figure out the right way to run. After you've got that down... you can wear whatever shoes you want. Of course it means completely starting over at mile one and I don't know even if I would have read that first if I would be willing to do that. Even now, I'm sure my form is not perfect.
This Saturday I didn't have enough time to do my long run so I did it on Friday on the treadmill. I still have one youngster at home during the day so it limits my time outside. 12 miles on the treadmill is a new record for me. I mentally had to break it up into 4 x 3 mile increments. I also stuck a mile on an incline of 3 in each of those groupings to break it up further. I ran the last 3 miles barefoot. I was surprised to find that I didn't have the long run feeling in my legs afterwards. It must have something to do with the treadmill or maybe I was just having a really good day. Anyway...Saturday I ran outside in 34 degrees barefoot. I did stick my socks on after about a mile and a half when my feet didn't feel like they were warming up and I was kind of numb. Then I took them off again after a few blocks and they were fine. I thought I was doing my form pretty good, I did stub my 2nd toe on a sidewalk crack that was uneven. Good thing it really didn't hurt because it was so cold. But it did later that day! And I did end up with a blister on the outside of my foot. It just felt raw during the run, I didn't feel it actually blistering. So something is not perfect with my form. I think I may not be lifting my feet as well as I should be. Something the stubbed toe would indicate as well. Last week was also a first for me as well as I ran 36 miles and am not training for anything right now. The last 3 weeks in fact, have been over 30 miles. And not one part of my body is hurting. I'm still being cautious and doing strength training and cycling. But this is very encouraging for me.
If you are interested in trying barefoot running check out the following three sites.
Each one is very informative and something I look at them all the time to make sure I am doing it right and to get inspiration and ideas. I'm currently reading a book called The Barefoot Running Book Second Edition and hope to be able to perfect my form even further. I would love to be able to rewind time a couple of months to better weather. But for now I'm kind of stuck. It's getting pretty cold and after Saturday's run I think 34 degrees may be my limit for right now. I figure the socks is a pretty good substitute until I get some Vibrams or something like that. It lets me feel all the rocks and sticks, I'm sure it's just not as good of feedback as the real thing. Anybody have any other good ideas for me?
It's really amazing how beautiful the mornings can be. I had an awful run during this beautiful morning. I think that somehow God painted the morning gorgeous to make up for a pathetic run. It was cold and misty and magical.

Monday: 4 mile run, full body weights
Tuesday: 5.5 mile run
Wednesday: 4.5 mile run (2 miles barefoot-treadmill), full body weights
Thursday: 5.5 mile run in Newtons, cycling class
Friday: 12 mile run (3 miles barefoot-treadmill)
Saturday: 4 mile run barefoot- outside 34 degrees


Julie said...

Wow! The sky with the blue and purple and pink are fantastic!!

zapmamak said...

Jen - Even though you may have thought you had it backwards, at least you did your research! Good for you! I think its probably just practice at this point. I still get the hotspots and blisters too (I'm only 2.5 months into transition) but they are becoming smaller and less frequent.

I think its a matter of keeping form consistent for the entire length of the run. The more tired we get the lazier our form becomes which is why the 10% increase is important. That's my thinking at any rate.

Sounds like you're doing awesome, girl!

Ewa said...

Just found your blog and I like it.
For my legs it takes a long time to memorize good barefoot form. Every time I revert to VFF's I end up with more aches and pains. I hope it won't be too cold so I can continue going barefoot. My feet are very cold sensitive.

Michael said...

Jen, You're 4 miles shy of 1000! Way to go. You inspire me from afar. Mike

wendy said...

I don't know where you live, but you are right about if being gorgeous!!!