Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Born to Run, sore calves, and upcoming plans

The week after the half was pretty uneventful. School started, I tried to find myself a new schedule and then we packed up and left on vacation. Yep, I pulled my kids out of school after 4 whole days. And I got up most mornings to work out while we were gone. It was actually fun working out somewhere different. And although I really wanted to run on the beach, I couldn't bring myself to ditch the family for a run.
On another note, I read Born to Run. I really enjoyed it. It wasn't your typical running book, it was a novel. It had a great story that had me excited to see how it ended. It was hard to put down. And it had all sorts of great running stuff in it too. I can see how the barefoot revolution happened because of this book. The way he explains the architecture of the foot just makes sense. One thing I was very disappointed in was the language. And I'm really disappointed that nobody warned me about it. I haven't been exposed to that kind of language since high school. But I was so wrapped up in the story I couldn't put it down. I won't lend it out without a warning to my friends.
So I'd really like to try barefoot running. Not exclusively. With the winters around here I don't know how it would be possible. Except on the treadmill, I guess. And I know better than to jump right into something new because I've learned that's the best way to get injured. I've thought about the Vibram 5 fingers. I just can't seem to do it. Whether it's because I'll be different and weird or be called monkey feet or because I'm not really sure it will work or not, I just haven't gotten up the guts to order them. I read Chi Running about 3 years ago and they have similar form suggestions.
The latest Runner's World issue was just perfect for me this month. It was all about trail running (which I've come to love and wish there were more trails around here) and then it had some exercises for strengthening the feet and injury prevention for common ailments. I go barefoot a lot just around the house. So I don't think I'm starting totally from scratch. Some programs I've seen start with just walking around without shoes for 15 minutes a day. So I tried running on the treadmill barefoot. It was good. I didn't push the speed at all, just tried to memorize what it felt like. I tried to see where my foot naturally landed under my body, where I landed on my foot, and how lightly I was landing. Every day since then I have put my lightest shoes on and tried to mimic the movement. After the first day I could barely walk. My calves hurt so bad. Each day has been a little bit better but they're still sore. I have been doing calf strengthening exercises as well. Hopefully I will get used to this new style of running. Because of this I have not been running long distances. It's almost like I'm starting over again. But maybe this time it will be for the better. I am just so sick of getting injured. The farthest I've run doing the new style is 5 miles. I hope to improve that a bit this weekend by doing 7-8 slower than I've been going.
I've been thinking about my plans for the fall and winter. Here is what I've come up with: October and November- long runs of 10-12 miles on the weekends. December- long runs of 14 miles. January- start speed work, long runs of 15-16 miles. February- alternate hills with speed work, long runs of 16-18 miles. March- add in some tempo runs, start 18-20 mile runs in preparation for spring marathon. I'm hoping that my body will get used to running longer so that marathon training doesn't seem so tough on my body. I'm hoping to get fueling worked out. I've been sick to my stomach the last 2 marathons and have thrown up. Something's not working and I need time to figure it out. I've tried raisins the last couple of long runs and they've worked well. Has anyone tried honey?
So now your opinions... is this plan sounding good? Is it too aggressive? Am I setting myself up for injury? Have you tried barefoot running or have you been tempted to try? Are you afraid of being called a monkey feet? Do you have good information to share with me?

The last few weeks:
Tuesday: 3 mile run
Wednesday: 3 mile run

Monday: 4 mile run, full body weights
Tuesday: 2 1/2 mile run barefoot
Wednesday: walked one million miles in Disneyland
Thursday: 4 1/2 mile run, full body weights
Saturday: 5 mile trail run (I got lost, came to a dead end and ended up hiking straight down to get back on the trail. It was eventful.)

Monday: 5 mile run
Tuesday: 4 mile run
Wednesday: 3 1/2 mile run
Thursday: 4 mile run
Friday: cycling class (12 miles)
Saturday: 4.5 mile run (1.5 miles barefoot)

Monday: 4 mile run, full body weights
Tuesday: 4 mile run
Wednesday: 5 mile run, full body weights