Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting Mentally Ready

I'm starting to think about and getting mentally prepared for my 50 minute tempo run tomorrow which will include a lot of hills. The weather will be a bit of a challenge as the snow hasn't melted everywhere so that will impact my pace at times and will be a bit frustrating as it may be difficult to get a consistent stride at times. However, it will be fun!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Arm Placement, Breathing & Vo2 Max

I'm experiencing something interesting regarding my arm placement. I've struggled a bit finding the most comfortable placement for my arms. Recently, I've been placing my arms a bit lower, very similar to the arm placement of Ryan Hall ( I read that Ryan Hall's dad tweaked Ryan's arm placement based on his study of kinesiology and studying other athletes with similar body types who possessed the same basic speed, and particularly Hicham El Guerrouj (Hicham and Ryan have similar body types to mine . . . I'm 6ft. and just a few inches taller than both). El Guerrouji runs with his hands down, low and relaxed. During Ryan's long runs, his dad would ride a bike along side him and periodically check Ryan's exertion level using a heart rate monitor. What he found was that as Ryan lowered his arms, even later in tempo runs, his heart rate would go down. Even later in tempo runs when your heart rate should be higher because you are more fatigued, his heart rate would go down as he lowered his arms.

So based on this I lowered my arms and it's been pretty successful. However, today I did a 3x1 interval session, meaning I ran three 1 mile intervals at 6:10 pace, 6:00 pace and 5:50 pace with 400 meter recovery in-between. For whatever reason, I raised my arms during the 1 mile intervals more in the position that you see the East Africans (for example, see Haile's arms at the 2:39 min. point in the video: When I raised my arms, my breathing was easier and more controlled. I didn't have a heart monitor or Vo2 max monitor but I was breathing so much easier and to the point that the 6:00 min.per mile pace wasn't that difficult for me to hold and I didn't feel like I was pushing my hardest. I lowered my arms and I felt like my breathing was more difficult . . . I could it but it was more taxing to hold that pace.

My question is does anyone have any experience in this area and/or could point me in the direction of some good articles? Also, any personal advice or experiences are welcomed. This is new uncharted ground for me as I started adding interval and tempo training a few months ago and now I'm running at paces I never dreamed of so this is all new areas for me. I'm starting to comfortably dip below the 6:00 min. per mile pace range and I'm able to hold it for 30 minutes or so.

Or, is this just an individual thing that I'm over-thinking? Before I just do what feels good, I want to know if there's some medical or other data on the subject.

Given that I'm 40 yrs. old, I'm sure I'm in the neighborhood where my improvement will level out but now I'm looking at specific intricacies of running like arm placement, breathing, improving Vo2 max levels, etc., as it may lead to more efficient running or shave a few more seconds off my pace.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Long Run Sunday

Finished a 14 mile run late this morning. Since we're coming out of a snow storm, the run consisted of a combination of packed snow, melting snow, and dry road. This made the run a bit tricky and I couldn't wear my YakTraks because they hurt on dry road. I was a little sore for the run as my weekly running schedule has not been as consistent in terms of when I run due to the holidays. I still finished a 40 mile week but it wasn't as disciplined with less sleep than normal which probably resulted in a more difficult long run.

Nevertheless, I completed it and I feel good about staying on schedule in terms of weekly miles.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


A good morning inspirational statement from Lance Armstrong:

"Anything is possible, but you have to believe and you have to fight."

So short, yet so true. Most often the discussion is about the physical side which is understandable but the mental side is, at a minimum, just as important and I would argue more important. The human mind is amazing and can be an asset or a detriment depending on how you approach a given situation. Personally, I never thought having started running less than 3 yrs. ago at my age (38) that I could hold the pace per minute that I'm holding but after committing to the hard training, not missing a day, and eating right (for the part), I've surpassed my tempo pace without any problem and I can hit that pace and hold it on any given run, on any given day, and do it for a good distance . . . this is due to the physical training but it's easier because I can do it mentally.

This is true for everyone and this is especially important as you get older so that we realize that age is just a number. While many try to slow down with age, I don't believe that. Amazing feats can be achieved as you get older. Our bodies were built to sustain and maintain stress and the body actually yearns for it but you must "fight and believe."


Saturday, December 19, 2009

10k PR

Just finished a great 10k race today, with 300+ runners. I finished in 41:04, 6.32 pace. I placed 3rd in my age group (40-44) . . . the winner of my age group finished in 38:43. Overall, finished 29th out of 300+ runners. I'm very satisfied and it was a PR for me. It was also hilly and about a 10 mph southwest wind that made parts of the course a bit difficult. Elevation was about 5800 ft.

A few take aways.

1. Hills workouts are invaluable. This was a hilly course and on the back half, most runners just faded on the hills but I could attack the hills due to all the hill training.

2. Interval workouts are equally valuable. I was able to hold the 6:30 pace without pushing too hard. Also, the last 1,000 meters of the race, I was able to put in a last kick and took my pace down to 5:00 min. per mile and passed about 12 runners right before the finish line (this last kick probably allowed me to place 3rd).

3. My stride length has increased tremendously. I could feel how much longer I spend in the air. I'm covering 2x the distance on each stride vs. where I was 9 months ago.

I continue to have much respect for the professional runners . . . this is a really tough sport. I also realized that I so miss competition. The butterflies, the difficulty sleeping the night before, the anticipation, the prep before the race, etc. I forgot what I felt like during my 20+ years playing basketball.

Lastly, I continue to love my racing flats . . . they are just awesome shoes. I could feel the ground and I can feel my feet continue to get stronger. At this point, they feel the same as my Vibrams.


Friday, December 18, 2009

The Jitters; I miss em'

It hasn't been since my college basketball playing days that I've experienced the pre-game time jitters like I do right now. I've decided to do a lot of races over the next 13 months (5k, 10k, 10 milers and half marathons). I started running about 3 years ago and I ran alone for the first few years and only entered a few races: 5k, half marathon and marathon (I completed them all with respective times so I'm proud of that). But now I'm going to take it up a notch and I'll start competing a lot more . . . at least one race per month and 2 races in some months.

I think competition is good and the adrenalin rush is good for the body, mentally and physically. I remember the night before basketball games when I could hardly sleep. Well, the feeling is back. I've been thinking about tomorrow's race for the past few days. Thinking about what I need, what to bring, strategy for the race, how not to start too fast, how to finish strong, anticipating the weather . . . all the things that come with preparation.

I've been a little apprehensive, if not scared, to really get competitive with my running. In fact, I forgot what it was like to be competitive. It's about challenging ones self and the only way to challenge yourself is to compete. Throw away the excuses and sign up and run. You accomplish a lot by just showing up and competing.

I'm so glad I forced myself to compete again. I spend 21 yrs. competing at a high level in basketball and I forgot what it was all about . . . UNTIL NOW.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

You got to be committed; no quick fixes

What I've found is the long term approach actually helps me approach running and helps me on a day to day basis. I know all set backs are temporary and since I have a long term approach, the set backs aren't that big of a deal because I will make up for it (I may be frustrated but time is on my side). Also, it's easier to accept slow incremental improvements which is the reality of running because I may say, I've only added x miles or y sec. per minute improvement, but it will all add up years down the road. I may want to run a 6:15 per min. pace for a 10k but I'm at 7:00 right now but if I can shave :05 - :10 per year, then I'm on my way.

I'm was always a "instant gratification" person and this running thing has completely changed not only my approach to running but my approach to life. I thought I would easily conquer running because I was a really good college basketball player. Well, that was naive. I played basketball since I was 3 so by the time I reached college, I already had been playing 24x7 for 15 years . . . you don't make up that time with some quick scheme.

So, I've decided I'm a 40 yr. old beginner and, the thing is, that's so cool. I have the rest of my life to continue to improve. I almost feel reborn. I get to compete in a new sport, learn a new sport and learn new techniques, and meet all these cool new people that I learn from. I start to smile just thinking of the road ahead. Yes, it will be long but it will be fruitful. Running is mobile so you can do it anywhere/anytime and do it in the most beautiful places in the world. You can't say that about most other sports . . . I don't need a golf course, basketball court, soccer field, etc. I just need my feet, commitment and patience.

It really is a blessing for all that make the commitment.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Perspectives on Speed

Just thought I'd share some research/data I've been reading over the past few weeks. It's all around how to increase speed. There are several coaches and sports doctors that say, " . . . faster top running speeds are achieved with greater ground forces not more rapid legal movements." Others go on to say, "To run faster, you need to apply more force more quickly with each stride. This will increase your stride length while you maintain or increase your stride frequency. The goal is to spend less time on the ground and more time in the air. And the only way to do that is to apply more force with each footfall" This is very similar to the Force Hypothesis that many of you many be familiar with. Before I go further, I am NOT recommending this to anyone. I'm looking at it because I'm spending a lot of time on speed training, and I'm actually playing around with some of the methods even though they may be immediately challenged by other barefoot and minimalist runners . . . I want to see for myself how this plays out. For example, when I "float" I am in the air longer and I am bringing down more force and although I concentrate on lifting, I'm sure there are times when I'm going my fastest that I'm pushing off also.

Now I know there will be many opinions on this and it will probably open up a good dialog but I just wanted to share with you something I'm looking into that I think is interesting. Right now I'm pouring through actual medical studies. It brings up discussions like "lifting the foot" vs. "pushing off," and "short quick strides" vs. "longer strides and higher drive with the knees." I'm also looking at uphill bounding training results.

I'm not raising this to start a discussion on shod vs. unshod or even necessarily running injury free but instead bringing up the interesting discussion of "speed." I don't want to start a " . . . well, if they were barefoot it would be different discussion" but instead I think the discussion of speed is unique in its own right. I find speed as interesting as distance. When I first started running, and especially on rare occasions when I could run along side elite level runners, I noticed that they would cover as much ground in 2 steps as it took me to cover in 3 steps . . . as if they were flying. You can't necessarily see it on video or TV but you can see it in person quite easily. The amount of ground they cover "in the air" is pretty amazing.

Two different goals when comparing those who have a goal of running injury free vs. those who are running for speed/time/pace. Is one better than the other? Is one more prone to injury? These are just some of the questions I'm looking into as the obvious answer may not be the correct answer. Some times what appears to be a "no duh" turns out to be quite a complex issue.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Yes, You Can Run Your Problems Away

I actually feel sorry for the many people out there that don't run, don't attempt to run, start running but quit, and the other myriad of reasons people don't run. I know it's a cavalier statement and many take issue with it. I've heard it all . . . I'm not in shape, I get injured, I don't like it, etc. Well, I don't buy it.

I think it's the classic Right Brain vs. Left Brain which is a major issue in modern society with all the technology available. The Left Brain is all about being logical, rational, and objective while the Left Brain is about being random, intuitive and holistic. We live in a world where you can sit your ass on the couch and never move a muscle . . . order food, use the remote for TV, and then there's the crazy crap like shoes that give you a workout as if you were actually working out . . . that's the best, get a workout without, hmmm, working out. The classic "it's too good to be true" but the Right Brain eats up that crap.

Then, there's old fashion "commitment and drive." You know why folks don't run, it's not for the reasons they say, it's because they are lazy. We are lazy society, yes, I said it. It's really sad. We are gifted with one of the best devices ever created being the human body. The human body is absolutely amazing and, in fact, it was built for pressure and stress and longs for it but we decide to abuse it by doing nothing.

Now, what does this have to do with running your problems away, which is another benefit. We talk about stresses in life and right in front of your face is one of the best stress relievers in the world . . . running. Here's an excerpt from an article I read at lunch which is right on point:

" . . . In the blackest times of my life - like when the woman I hope was The One wrote "I'm sorry" and left with another man - running has always rescued me. Not work. Not friends. Not family. "You can't outrun your problems" my housemate would say with a smirk as I headed out the door. He was wrong. Each afternoon I would run my demons hard until I left them heaving by the roadside. Finding refuge in running . . . "

Now you figure it out.


Tough Morning Workout

I did my first combo interval and tempo run today and it was one of my toughest runs yet very satisfying (after I was done). I had to do it on the treadmill b/c there's too much ice to run a fast pace.

Here it is:

* 70 minute total workout. 15 min. warm-up straight into 3 sets of 3 min. @ 5:55 pace and 2 min. @ 8:30 pace. After the 3 sets, straight into 2 miles @6:40 pace, then the remainder of the run between 7:30 - 8:30 pace, until last 5 minutes @ 9:00 pace. During the entire run, if you are on a treadmill, vary the incline from .5% - 2% (if outside, the entire run is on hills). By far, one of my toughest workouts as I haven't combined interval and tempo runs until today.

Of course, you can modify the times and pace, faster or slower, as you see fit.

I'll say this. I have to friggin' idea how the elite runners do what they do. When I was at my 2 miles @ 6:40 pace, I'm thinking of Ryan Hall doing a 18 mile tempo run at @5:00 pace and doing eight 1 mile intervals at 4:20 pace, and the entire marathon sub 5:00 pace . . . just mind boggling when you think about it.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Finally, Back Outside

It was a very warm (-3F) this morning so I ran outside and loved it. Packed snow and complete quiet and calmness. I only saw one other human being and that was a crazy runner like myself with all the layers of clothes running the other way. Other than that, it was only me and nature and it doesn't get any better than that.

I also pulled up an old email from a woman that runs in Canada and does so at (-40F/-40C) commonly so what the heck did I have to complain about as (-3f) is summer compared to what she commonly runs in. She also explained to me how to dress so I was good to go: 3 layers: short sleeve shirt, long sleeve compression shirt and running jacket with leg tights under running pants, mask covering face and ears, gloves with hand warmers and Vaseline all over your hands, feet, and most importantly, your face, eye lashes, ears, lips, etc., as the Vaseline is basically a thin layer mask to retain heat and fight off the cold . . . it works awesome.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm a Freshman Again

So, 2010 is my new high school freshman year. After the past 2.5 years of learning how to run and adapting my body to that of a runner, I'm ready to compete. I will enter into 12-20 races in 2010 and continue with dedicated weekly running which includes tough interval and tempo training and see how good and fast I can get and how much I can improve. I figure by 2014, I should be a pretty good runner and I want to see how fast I can run against the fastest runners in my age category 40-44 and then 45-49. I know runners that are still very fast in their 60's so I'm really looking forward to this.


Treadmill, maybe I love you

Well, it's the 2nd day on the treadmill but it was a blessing to have it available. This morning it was -9F (-36F wind chill) so there was no question that the only way I was running was on the treadmill. Learning from yesterday, I set the treadmill at 1% incline and completed a quick 5 mile run. It felt good and I was all caught up on my sports via ESPN.

I've decided I better find a few ways to make the treadmill work and it's feeling better. Now that I've figured I always need to have the treadmill at an incline, it feels totally different.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Back to the Treadmill

Yes, you know I'm not a fan of the treadmill, but when it's -9F wind chill outside and you have a hard interval training run, there's no other alternative than to stay inside a tough it out on the treadmill. I had someone send me an article on whether treadmills will make you crazy and it said that treadmills can make you tougher mentally. So I convinced myself of that and used it as a challenge and I finished a good/hard 40 minute interval run increasing the grade .5% every 4 minutes.

I find running on the treadmill with a grade is much more tolerable than running on level grade.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

4.5 Mile Winter Snow Race

Just finished a 4.5 mile race in snow and ice. I used my Mizuno Wave Universe 3 racing flats with Yak coil springs underneath. It was my first time using the Yak's and they were great. They are very thin and did not disrupt my form or technique.

My unofficial time was 30:40, 6:49 pace. I'm pretty happy with that time/pace considering the conditions. I'm completely sold on the Mizuno racing flats. They are great and have performed well in all weather and terrain.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Great Lunch Run

I'm not a big fan of running at lunch as I generally run very early in the morning. But, this morning it was -7F wind chill so I decided to "chill" and wait until lunch as the temperature rose to a very warm 28F :). It was a smart decision as most of the ice on the road melted by then so I could knock off a good 8 mile run in 1 hr.

I'm gearing up for a 4.5 mile race this Sunday so I'll take tomorrow off and relax.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Racing Flats Defeat VFFs

Let me start off by saying I'm a big fan of the Vibram Five Fingers models but they need to specifically focus on the running community to develop models for all weather conditions and terrains. If not, they are missing a niche group of folks like myself that live in colder weather regions and can't wear VFFs due to cold weather . . . your toes freeze very quickly. In the alternative, they could develop some type of heated sock.

With that said, I found my perfect running shoe in the Mizuno Wave Universe 3. They are the worlds lightest racing flat (3.6 oz.) . I wore them today with temperatures at 8F (-1F wind chill) in 1-3 inches of snow and they were great. I was even able to add a foot warmer sole which was very thin and did not impact my form or technique. I have to say that Mizuno has done a great job developing such a minimalist shoe. Every time I put the shoe in some one's hand, they can't believe how light this shoe is as it feels like paper. It also provides considerable ground feel and is as close to the VFF experience as I've been able to find.

This will also reduce my barefoot running as I don't see the need to run barefoot when I'm running injury free in my racing flats. I know there are those that truly believe in barefoot running and, at a minimum, I believe it's a good training aid but it's just not practical to run 100% barefoot for many folks, for many reasons. For those that can't run barefoot, for whatever reason, the good news is all the other potential footwear that is available and I'll not add the Mizuno racing flats.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Not a Treadmill Fan

The weather forced me to stay inside . . . snow, ice and very cold. I'm not a treadmill fan. In fact, I dislike them but I managed to do a very short maintenance run of 35 minutes. I sure hope I can run outside tomorrow. It's the "ice" that keeps me inside otherwise I'll deal with the other elements.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm Starting to Feel Like a Runner

After nearly 3 years of dedicated, consistent and regular running (6 days per week for the last 3 years), for the first time, I'm starting to feel like a real runner. Now, I don't know how to define "real" for anyone other than myself but I'm starting to feel like everything is coming together. My form and technique is starting to feel pretty good and my injuries are starting to disappear. I'm starting to float/glide when I run, or at least it feels that way. I'm starting to regularly hit times/paces I never thought I could hit 1-2 years ago.

I started running 3 years ago at age 37 and I would run in the 8-9 min. per mile range. Now, I comfortably run in the 6:15 min. per mile range and can take it to the 5:45 min. pace mile range when I decide to kick in another gear. Of course, this is by no means any type of elite level but for having only been running for 3 years, I'm pretty happy.

I know a big reason for this improvement is working with a running coach and having a weekly running schedule that has meaning. What I mean by "meaning" is that each run has a purpose. For the first time since I started running, I've added weekly speed work with interval and tempo training. I'm activating my fast twitch muscles for the first time. Funny thing is I'm running less miles but because I'm running smarter with purpose, I'm stronger, faster and becoming a better runner.

I use to run 60 miles per week and now I'm down to 40 mile per week and I'm a better runner. I guess, as the late Dr. George Sheehan said, Intensity is more important than Frequency and Duration. This is not to say that Frequency and Duration are not important but its the Intensity training through intervals and tempo runs that have improved my performance including my long runs. I guess Endurance and Duration is interesting because if I can cover the same distance in half the time, I don't necessarily need the same Endurance.

Lastly, my form and technique improves as I increase pace. Some of that is obvious in that cadence increases but it's more than that. All the components improve as my pace increases.
As I look back, I may have attacked this whole running this wrong. I tried to only work on running for as long as I could and become a pure endurance runner instead of working on and mastering short distances then increase duration and endurance. I guess this is why the elite marathons start as 5k and 10k specialists.


Monday, November 30, 2009

My Epiphany

I've been readying Dr. George Sheehan's articles for many months. I was turned on to him through a book by Jim Fixx. I won't go much into Dr. Sheehan's background as I'm sure some of you know of him. If not, you may want to look him up.

Long story short, he was a cardiologist who was an avid runner. He ran in high school, then stopped and didn't pick it up again until his mid 40's, then, five years later ran a 4:47 mile, which was the world's first sub five minute time by a 50 yr. old. He was not a fan of doctors or the entire profession as it related to runners and thought the profession did a major disservice to runners as it failed to understand how to deal and treat runners . . . this is probably why I like him. He professed that runner's know their bodies better than any doctor.

In any event, he has some of the most thoughtful writings and analysis of running and runners. Here is his website: for those that may be interested . . . click of "essays" and read a few . . . he also has several books including a New York Times best seller.

A few of his slogans/sayings are great including the following:

"Listen to your body"

"We (runners) are each an experiment of one"

"Soon after I started running and began having injuries, I made an important discovery: Running does not cause injuries. Some people run a lifetime without injury. Every one of my injuries had its roots in a structural weakness I was born with, a postural weakness I developed through training, or other stresses due to shoes and terrain. Once the problem was corrected, I was assured of pain free running." He was not comparing shod vs. unshod in his references to "shoes" but went on to say you must find "your" perfect shoe which may be "no shoe."

When doing research on the impacts and correlation of intensity, frequency and duration of running, he said, "These researchers established that frequency had the least effect on running performance. Duration became a factor only after it was reduced by two-thirds. This is not to say that frequency and duration are unimportant, but it points out the high intensity training, such as interval training and races, is the key to getting the most out of your ability."

Lastly, and what hit me the most was his article on "Each of us is an expert in the self." When talking about the advice provided by folks, he said, "Advice pours out of the radio. It fills the newspapers. It is the best selling staple of every bookstore. And to what avail? How much of this good advice is good for the individual? If good, how much is followed? If followed, how much does it change a person's life? The answer to all three questions is very little. Virtual cannot be taught. Experience must be experienced. Not one can be quite sure whose life is a success and whose is not. There comes a time when you must be your own teacher, your own coach, your own clergyman."

In closing, I'm going to follow something he went on say when posting on my site and as I speak to others about running and my experiences:

"Do not tell me what to do, tell me what you do. Do not tell me what is good for me, but tell me what is good for you. If, at the same time, you reveal the you in me, if you become a mirror of my inner self, then you have made a listener and a friend."

I'll continue to share what is good for me, what works for me, and what is good for me. But I'll stop there. I running basically injury free and I want everyone to run injury free but all of us should be careful in suggesting what works for us individually, will work for others . . . it might or it might not. The receiver of the information will be the ultimate decider.

On my long run yesterday, this popped into my mind, "The more I learn about me and my running, the less I know about you and your running."


Shoe Search is Over

It was my final test for my Mizuno racing flats. I tackled the historical Spanish Peaks and Cuchara mountain range at 8,500 ft. - 9,000 ft., over rocky and tough terrain (sharp rocks, etc.). The setting was perfect . . . 28F degrees, foggy, early morning, all dirt roads, and killer hills. One of those spiritual and awe inspiring runs. To give you a sense of where I was running, check these pics:

I've tried my VFFs on this terrain a few months ago and the Treks did pretty well although they can't hold up in the colder weather. This is why I had to find something else, which lead me to the 3.6 oz. Mizuno racing flats. The Mizuno's did awesome as I could feel all the rocks (even the ones that hurt a bit), terrain and ground (a very similar ground feel to the Treks).

I headed out on a 14 mile run and tackled all the most difficult mountain hills. Not only did my racing flats hold up great but I completed my easy long run at a PR pace for this terrain and elevation. These are definitely my footwear of choice and will replace my VFFs. I never thought I'd say that as I really like my VFFs but I get the same ground feel and the ability to use the racing flats in cold weather (I also don't have to switch back and forth between footwear, which I hate). This definitely was validation for me that you can run injury free in shods (at least some racing flats) and maintain the same form, technique, and cadence.

It seems like things are coming together as I enter my 3rd year of consistent daily/weekly/yearly running as my injuries have gone away (I was told by an elite runner that this would be the case but I didn't believe it initially). It makes me think about a quote from Jim Fixx:

"During my first two or three years of running, I suffered a lot of injuries. Then, mysteriously, the pain went away. Today, nearly a decade later, it is only infrequently that I feel even the faintest twinge of discomfort, and then a good run cures it. A beginning runner has to remodel his/her whole body. It can't be done overnight."


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Addicted

I must eat, sleep and run. I'm addicted to running.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Diggin' the New Running Schedule

I have a new weekly running schedule that incorporates intervals, tempo and long runs with a series of easy runs. One interval, tempo and long run per week plus 3 easy runs for 6 days of running each week.

The interval and tempo and hard runs but it's learning to make sure the easy runs are "easy" that is the challenge and the major benefit. The easy runs are essentially recovery runs and allow the body to recover while also maintaining good fitness and saving the energy needed for the 3 meaningful runs: interval, tempo and long run.

It's the speed work with the intervals and tempo runs that enable you to increase your pace for races and longer runs. Without speed work your fast twitch muscles go to sleep and you will not be able to effectively call upon them when you want to pick up the pace. Speed work also helps with your breathing and oxygen intake.

The new schedule is hard but I'm already seeing the benefits as my pace, stride and form are all improving as a result.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Your Arms are Weapons

After a training session with my running coach, I've learned a valuable lesson. Your arms are weapons and can be used to control your pace and maintain balance. I was not using my arms efficiently which also caused issues on downhill running. The first time I concentrated on my arms, the experience was amazing. I'm breathing better and I can control my pace much better, especially downhill. It is also enabling me to maintain a high cadence whether I'm warming up, at a comfortable pace or sprinting.

I now understand better how the elite runners utilize their arms. It may sound like a small tweak but it's a major improvement. Find a runner of similar height to you and study their arm positioning and movement. Then, experiment and find where you can improve.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Hill Tempos Kicked My Butt

Finished a tempo session this morning, all on hills and it kicked my butt. I'm still sore hours later. It included a 20 minute warm-up, four 5 minute sprints, and 20 min. warm down. The sprints were brutal as my goal was to average about a 6:00 min. pace and I ended up more in the 6:30 minute pace but given that I don't do a lot of hill training, I was happy. Plus, 1 yr. ago it was rare for me to consistently run below a 7 min. pace and now I commonly run in the 6:00 min. pace range and every now and then, dip into the 5:0o min. range.

With my new training schedule, I'm getting stronger and faster. This is the best I've felt in my running career (albeit, only 2.5 years). I'm diggin' it.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Getting Stronger

Since I'm focusing on middle distance running through 2010, I've had to incorporate more speed work and weight lifting. As expected, I'm getting stronger and gaining weight and, getting much faster. This is a great change of pace from the endurance running I was doing. Reducing my miles from 60-70 to 30-40 was been great and my body is responding very positively.

Who knows, I may stay with this.


Friday, November 6, 2009


How does your light shine in the halls of Shambala?

I think I was running, as fast as I can this morning, straight for Shambala. Not sure if I got there, and if I did, whether they would let me in, but I was in the right direction. I was flying (for me) running one of my fastest paces and I felt like I was floating on air at times. A hard tempo run . . . just awesome.

It's just amazing how you can run all the pressures, problems and pains right out of your body.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Figure it out on your Own

We lack adequate data on both sides of the fence . . . shoe and unshod. The shoe companies probably have the most data and, of course, they won't share that with anyone without editing and adding a spin to it for their own personal gain/benefit.

The problem is there are so many factors if we look back in time (from indigenous peoples to pre-cushioned sneakers, etc.) that it's very hard to draw broad conclusions, in my opinion. Besides cushioned sneakers and barefoot running, how often did people run? how long did they run? what surfaces did they run on? were some endurance runners and others sprinters? what were their body composition (height/weight)? did they have injuries that we can't validate or confirm? This is why I love McDougall's book, "Born to Run," as he at least tried to discuss other factors but, essentially, it's a micro study in the big picture.

Like everyone, I've read books that pre-date the modern cushioned shoe and they talk about many of the injuries we talk about today and these books discuss barefoot and shod runners, of course, in very minimal racing type flats (I don't know the % of reported injuries back then vs. today's reported numbers (anywhere from 55% - 80%) but who knows.

I hear about all the injuries folks report having tried barefoot running and it doesn't sound too different from the shod world (yes, I know, it's because they did too much; started too fast, etc., etc., etc., which I believe, but that's not the only factors). Now, I'm a huge proponent of barefoot running but I'm just calling out some holes that need to be addressed.

As this point, for me, I believe there are truths and inaccuracies on both sides. I really hope there are more unbiased reports that at least account for all the other factors that could lead to injury besides just shod vs. unshod . . . that's a great starting point but that just scratches the surface.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Running Sparks Creativity

I don't know how the creative process works, but it always seems, as I'm running, that thoughts start coming in; sentences start coming in; solutions start coming in; new approaches start coming in, and I appreciate life more . . .


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Great Interval Run

Since I changed my weekly running routines to add more purpose and focus to each run, my pace is improving. I'm consistently running in the 06:30 per mile range without a major effort. This is a result of the speed work sessions I've incorporated each week (twice per week). It really does work, otherwise your fast twitch muscles go to sleep. The other thing is my form continues to improve which is a direct result of the summer month's that I ran barefoot and I've been able to incorporate the barefoot running form and technique to my racing flats.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Another Racing Flat Week

I completed another week in the worlds lightest racing flats and I feel good . . . no pain or injuries. Over the weekend I really tested the Mizuno's with a 7 mile hard tempo run with .5 mile sprints on Saturday followed by a 13 mile long easy run with 1 min. sprints on Sunday. They felt great and I can still feel the ground as they have tremendous ground feel for a racing shoe.

One thing I've noticed is my foot seems to go through an adaption phase each time I change my running approach whether it's barefoot, VFF, racing flats, Moccs, etc. For me, it's pretty clear my feet require consistency so I'm not going to be able to make many changes to my running gear. I've decided to continue with only VFFs and my racing flats (Mizuno Universe 3's) with Mizuno's replacing VFFs as my primary running gear and using VFFs for additional strengthening. This decision is largely based on the winter forcing me to replace the VFFs and my desire to not switch shoes regularly based on weather (this may change if VFFs decide to develop a VFF for the winter/snow).

We'll see how it goes and I'll keep reporting back.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Half Marathon vs. Full Marathon

I had a friend ask me which is better, the full marathon or the half marathon. The timing of the question was interesting for me because I'm deciding whether I want to concentrate on middle distance and whether I'm interested in running another marathon or getting into ultra running. I also had this discussion with my wife who is also a runner having completed multiple marathons.

I decided to concentrate on the half marathon (and 1ok's). Having completed the marathon distance, it was very fulfilling but the training was time consuming and the recovery time limited the number of marathons I could do per year especially since you lose 3-4 months living in a region with a real winter and snow.

Here's the reasons why I decided to concentrate on the half marathon instead of marathons and ultra distances:

1. Half marathon is still challenging and you can concentrate on more speed work.
2. You don't lose entire weekends with really long runs as there is no need for a 18-22 mile run.
3. You finish the half marathon and feel fine (you can still go dancing that night).
4. If you are unhappy with your finish time, you can enter another half marathon race within weeks/months.
5. 10-15 mile long runs are all you need (less than 2 hrs. of running).
6. You don't hit "the wall."
7. I've never had post half marathon depression but I did feel a let down after completing the marathon probably due to all the training required for such an abrupt ending.
8. I've already completed the marathon including a 32 mile run.

There may be a less risk of injury just based on less miles required during training but I'm not sure as other factors weight in to that conclusion including how you train, # of miles, pace, etc.

That's my perspective. To each his/her own.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Treadmill After 14 months

After 14 months of consecutive running outdoors and straight through last winter running outside, the weather today forced me inside to run on the treadmill. It felt weird having gone so long not running on a treadmill. It was hard to not run outside but it was too icy and too dangerous. Snow and cold is no issue but ice is a killer for runners.


Winter Run

My run this week. Oh, so beautiful. Nothing like a winter/snow run.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

World's Lightest Racing Flat - Trying it out

Due to the winter weather, I've been searching for adequate footwear for the winter since my VFFs are not built for these conditions as my toes freeze in the VFFs. However, that's the beauty of the VFFs in being so minimal and providing incredible ground feel but this allows also snow, sleet, and cold air to easily penetrate the VFF and especially cold air which freezes the toes quickly.

As such, in my quest for footwear for the winter that still provides somewhat of a barefoot feel, I was lucky to come across the Mizuno Universe 3's which are the lightest racing flat in the world coming in at 3.8 ounces with very minimal forefoot, mid foot and heel cushioning. The heel is only 9mm higher than the 4mm of cushioning in the forefoot area. I completed a good 10 mile tempo run that I completed in 1 hr. 14 min. and they felt great. I could feel the ground and they provided great response off the ground. I would caution that this shoe requires good running technique and form with a high cadence (minimum of 180 strides per minute). Additionally, this shoe requires, at a minimum, a mid foot strike and optimally a forefoot strike. I'm a forefoot runner which is why my favorites runs are high marathons and 10k although I do complete marathons. If I decided to run more marathons, I would probably have to adjust to a mid foot strike since a forefoot strike puts a lot of pressure on the calfs, butt and Achilles.

In closing, there are potential alternatives for the winter. Give it a try but start very slow unless you are a more experienced runner with excellent form and technique.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Great VFF Run

The temperatures were pretty warm so I put on the VFF KSOs and hit the road. Nice 6 mile easy run. I did pick it up just a little for about 3 miles and took the pace down to 7 min. per mile. It felt great. I'm going back and forth between my VFFs (KSOs and Treks) and my racing flats (Asics Hyperspeed 3's) based on the weather. If it's not too cold, I go with the VFFs.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Shoes, Good/Bad?

After trying many different approaches to running including running barefoot, in VFFs, water socks, and racing flats, I've come to one conclusion. The barefoot runners and the shod runners are both right and both wrong to some extent, in my opinion. Many barefoot runners fail to admit that you can run in shods without injury. Many shod runners fail to admit the benefits for running barefoot. For me, the answer is in the middle.

I believe it is unrealistic to think any large percentage of runners will adopt barefoot running as their primary way to run. I also believe it possible to run injury free in shods and I'm doing it right now. The winter forced me back to my racing flats and I've been injury free. However, the real question is, "what type of running shoes are good and bad?" I think anything beyond a racing flat is bad, plain and simple. The foot doesn't need much and the built up cushion and arch systems in most shoes are bad and weaken the foot. Many racing flats are very light with minimal build up underneath which is very similar to running shoes in the 1960's and 1970's.

As for barefoot running, many college country country programs use barefoot running to improve running technique and to strengthen the foot. The trick, and real challenge, is to mimic your barefoot running technique in running shoes. This is very difficult to do and takes time and concentration to hard wire the running form in your brain so it is natural when you put on the running shoes. Things like a minimum of 180 strides per minute, bending the knees, straight upper body with slight lean at the hips, relaxing, etc., all help with this.

My main point is don't accept what the running companies say at face value and don't accept what the barefoot runners tell you at face value. Listen, research and come up with an approach and answer specific to your expectations and goals.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

What to do in Winter

Well, I've hit a snag with my VFFs. Let's just say they weren't built for cold temperature regions, like where I live. When it starts to dip below 32F, the VFFs are not built to adequately protect the foot from the cold and especially the toes. It is a double edge sword because this is what makes the VFFs so unique and great as they let you feel the ground but, in cold weather, the cold air travels from the ground right up the foot in VFFs as there's not much to block the transmission of cold air.

So, I've had to revert back to my racing flats. At least my flats are pretty minimal being about 6 oz. with a very basic construction and very little support especially at the heel. But, they are the same as running barefoot or in VFFs but compromise is required if I want to maintain my running schedule through the winter. So far, I've run 3 days in my racing flats without any injury or issues.

Let's hope that continues. I'll provide update as I continue to run through the winter.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Minimalism and Cold: Tough Combo

For those of us that live in colder climates, many of us have to find an alternative for running in the winter (cold temperatures, wind chill, snow, slush, sleet, etc.). For my run this morning, it was about 20F and a cold wind, so it was too cold for my VFF KSOs or Treks. So, I had to decide to run inside on the treadmill, which I hate, or put on some type of running shoe. I opted to run outside and tried my replica 1964 Asics Tigers (same shoe worn by Abebe Bikila in the 64' Olympics that we won the gold).

I ran for 6+ miles and it wasn't that bad. It didn't like it but I didn't hate it. It was an easy run day since yesterday was my tempo run. These older style Asics are all leather and they kept my feet warm the entire time. But, I didn't feel great at the end of the run. I had a very minor pain in my knee and I don't have knee issues. As much as I tried, it wasn't possible to keep the same strides per minute in the Asics vs. VFFs (or barefoot). I maintained 180 cadence in the Asics but in VFFs, I average about 186-188 and about 188-192 barefoot . . . it makes a big difference.

Also, it is clear that you land harder in shods even if you try to concentrate on landing softer. This must be because the foot is pushing through to feel the surface and anything in the way is a problem (the landing is harder regardless). It's a tough issue because I live in Colorado so those that recommend only barefoot, I don't think they live in the mountains of Colorado (or locations with similar weather). It might work for very short 10-15 minute runs but not for 45 min. to 2 hr. runs. I'm also not a fan of running barefoot in the summer then reverting to something else in the winter. I want the same approach for all climates which is why the VFF (KSOs and Treks) are my primary running footwear (I use barefoot for a small portion of training when possible).

I've decided to try toe warmers with the VFFs. Obviously, I can't place the warmer pad on the toes but if I place it at the base of the top of the foot, the heat may reach my toes (not sure, but I'll test it out). But, moisture will still be an issue with the VFFs. I've tried Moccs and a few other alternatives. It's also way too expensive to try all the possible footwear available. So, I'll stick with the VFFs, and try toe warmers, and ultimately, I may have to use the treadmill on days when it's just too cold.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nice VFF Trek Day

Nice run this morning. 7+ miles in my VFF Treks. Left in the morning darkness and finished as the sun started to rise. Made it an iPOD run this time. Decided to listen to all "Eagles" songs . . . can't go wrong with that. Overall, a very nice easy run.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Weekend Long Runs in VFFs

Had 2 great weekend runs, totaling 24 miles, over the weekend. One in my VFF Treks and the other in my VFF KSOs. Overall it was a good week, 50+ miles. Just to humor myself, I tried to put regular running shoes on my feet and I thought I would die. They felt like 20 lbs. on my feet and all the crap underneath was killing me . . . it's so evident that the foot does not need all that artificial arch, heel and foot support. My feet are getting so strong and the unaided body is unbelievable. But for the winters, I would go 100% barefoot so the next best thing is a thin rubber under my feet called Vibrams. That's all I need.

And, yes, I'm faster in VFFs than running shoes.

But, you all keep drinking the kool aid. It reminds about what a conformist society we live in. We do whatever is the norm and let others define the norm. It's really sad. Someone asked if I felt weird when people make comments and make a weird face because of my shoes. I laughed and said first of all, I laugh as I pass these folks because I run faster than they do but, more importantly, I have to thank my parents for teaching me to not care at all about what people think about me . . . and I never have worried or cared what they think about me. Life is way to short for that.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Great KSO Fartlek

Finished a 7+ mile morning fartlek in my KSOs. I did 2x2 mile at a 6:55 per mile pace with 3 min. rests in-between. Then a 2x1 mile up-tempo and then a cool down. I also had a good warm-up which is critical to avoid injury. I warm-up no less than 15 minutes before starting my workout . . . 20 minute warm-up is ideal.

I like my KSOs slightly more than the Treks because I feel the ground a bit better but the Treks are great in cold weather and on rough terrain.


Monday, September 28, 2009

KSO Treks Rock

I'm diggin' my new Vibram KSO Treks. This is perhaps the best footwear I've ever had for running. They also have performed well in cold weather and harsh trail terrain in the mountains. Vibram has the opportunity to increase its market share through the minimalist running community.

Unfortunately, I don't believe barefoot running will ever become widely accepted especially since there's no business model for shoe companies to make $ if everyone is barefoot. They will continue to twist the data on barefoot running and make sure most folks never try it, or stick with it. But, for companies in the minimalist category like Vibram, they have a real opportunity. All they need is a few elite runners to endorse and run in the footwear

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thinking of Writing a Short Book

I'm thinking of writing a short instruction manual/book on how to become a runner in a short period of time. I've logged every mile since I started running in early 2007 and, less than 3 years later, I'm running 40 mile weeks, completed a few marathons and half marathons, run up to a 10k barefoot, ditched shoes, etc. A ton of stuff has happened but my daily running manual could show someone how to start from scratch and become a runner with a little desire and commitment.

I'd enjoy some feedback on whether that would be a good idea.


Faster in Vibrams

Just finished a tempo run. Nothing too hard but maintained a 6:45 - 7:00 min. pace for a 10k in my Vibrams. What's interesting is I maintain the same tempo training pace when I wore running shoes. So the question is, why ever wear running shoes? It's the biggest ripe off in the world . . . really, it is. I know, I know, only a few folks have an open enough mind to even consider the idea and that's really too bad. Vibrams can last up to 3,000 miles . . . heck, they are made of rubber, similar to tire rubber which lasts 24,000 miles. So, why buy a new pair of shoes every 300-500 miles when Vibrams can last years. More interesting, if you run barefoot, your feet last your entire life. That's even a better deal.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Longest VFF run

What a great morning. Just finished my longest VFF run. 16 miles in 2 hrs. I've been working toward this distance in VFFs so I could compare it against my prior long runs in regular running shoes. Well, given this result, I can retire my running shoes. This distance/pace is every bit, if not better, than what I did in running shoes. Plus, I have complete command of my body without running shoes. I feel the surface and I can feel every tweak I make in my running form . . . it's a beautiful thing. My running form and efficiency is improving tremedously due to barefoot running and Vibram running.

If you haven't tried it, you don't know what you are missing.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Key to Running

There are many keys to running but the #1 key is a proper warmup. Not a quick warmup either but a warmup that lasts 15-20 minutes (10 minutes at a minimum). During the warmup, simply run very slowly, in the 10-13 min. per mile range. Ideally, a 2 mile warmup is perfect then start into your routine. This requires the big "D" . . . discipline and requires you to add time and distance to your running regime. However, it is worth it without question.

I just finished a 7.5 mile run; 1.5 mile warmup; 5 miles at sub 7 min. pace; and 1 mile warm down. The warm down is also as important as the warmup. When you properly warm down, your body already starts the healing process including fixing micro-tears in the muscles.

It took me 2 years to respect the warmup and warm down. Don't learn the hard way like me.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Good Running Week; Back to VFFs

Had a great week running. Put in about 50+ miles. Had to go with my racing flats for my mountain runs but, otherwise, back to VFFs. VFFs have become my primary running gear of choice and I use racing flats for tougher terrain. And, of course, I still run barefoot to keep me and my form honest.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Great Reverse Split

Hit the road this morning. Started in the dark and watched the sun rise as I finished a 6.2 mile run; first half at 8.46 pace and the second half at 6.57 pace. Felt great. Nothing like running and watching the sun rise. Very spiritual and uplifting.


Monday, August 24, 2009

8 Miles Yesterday; Rest Today

Knocked off 8 miles at 8,000 - 9,000 ft., on rough terrain. I'm resting today but I'll be back at it tomorrow. Still experimenting with this whole footwear stuff. I'm currently running barefoot, in VFFs and in my racing flats. Maybe I'll keep this combination as it feels pretty good.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to the Barefoot World

Finished 4 miles barefoot. Felt awesome. Short n' sweet. Not sure where this is taking me but the fun is in the journey not the destination.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Great early morning run

Knocked off 8.19 miles this morning. Nice good tempo run. Used by racing flats. It's all VFF tomorrow. On track for a 50+ mile week; let's see if I keep it up though.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Nice Morning Reverse Split

Nice easy run this morning. 5.39 miles doing a reverse split. 9.30 pace for the 1st half and 7:30 pace for the second half. One of those good wake me up runs . . . now I'm ready to tackle the work day.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fast run in shods after boycott

after boycotting my running shoes for 4 weeks (me and my shoes decided to seperate and live apart for awhile until we could resolve our differences, otherwise, we might be headed for divorce), i put on the asics hyperspeed 3 racing flats and knocked off a 10k in 40 minutes. pretty good pace and i also concentrated on bringing the ankles toward my butt (some call it butt kicking). it's the first time i actively tried it and it felt weird at first but then i settled in and my legs were in constant motion, then i learned forward with the hips and took off. i'm not sure how long i can maintain that but it felt awesome to get my form down even if just for 6 miles.

so, tonight i'll take another run in my ascis to see what happens. i'm not leaving my VFFs (no, i'm not a 2 timer) but i need to decide whether the asics and VFFs can co-exist or if i must divorce one of them (right now we have an open relationship).


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nice after work run yesterday

Knocked off a nice 7.5 mile run as I ran from the office to my home. I now see why, for the wrong reasons I may mention, that folks run in the evening. With an evening run, I noticed that I really didn't have much of an appetite for dinner (great weight control approach although probably not healthy at all).

Something to think about. Something that bothers me is it appears the professional ultra runners seem to look unhealthy, just too thin for me.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

VFF miles increasing

Just finished my longest VFF run. 11 miles. I just started BF and VFF running 6 4 weeks ago so I'm pleased with the increase. I'm up to 30-35 mile weeks. Once I return to 40-45 mile weeks, I'll be back to what my running schedule was in shods (of course, I'll never return to shods). I just need to add a few more miles and I will be ready for a half marathon in the VFFs (that's my goal). I'm probably 2-3 months away . . . I need to feel comfortable at about 15 miles in the VFFs for a half but I'll get there.

2 months ago I would have called this crazy and anyone doing it . . . I never would have thought I would ever switch to BF and VFF. But, I'm a convert not b/c the "personal" data is indisputable. I was told to take 2-3 months off. I immediately threw away the shoes and started BF . . . I've never stopped running; BF and VFF is why I could continue to run. I'll just continue to "rebuild" my body. I'm 40 yrs. old and I LOVE the idea of rebuilding my muscles and reverting my running form back to how I ran as a child. This is what makes life fun!!!!

It's never too late to accomplish anything in life!!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

VFFs for Life???

I just ran 6.5 miles at a 7:30 pace without pushing it. This is a faster cruise pace than when I use to run in shoes. Sure begs the question, actually many questions. Why am faster almost barefoot? I tried to put shoes back on and I can't do it. My feet have adapted back to their natural state of running without the confinement of modern running shoes. VFFs are as close as you can get to barefoot with just a think layer of rubber under the sole of the foot and toes that allow the foot and all its 26 bones and 100+ muscles and tendons to function naturally.

What a journey.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another Good VFF Day

5.67 miles in my VFFs. Felt pretty good. I'm still going back and forth between VFFs and barefoot running. I suspect I'll continue doing both going forward but it looks like my life with running shoes is over!!!!!!!!

I can't wait to get my moccasins and try them out. It would be nice if they replaced or at least supplemented my VFFs.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

BF/VFF/Sockwa Run

I did a tri run today. 1.5 miles barefoot. 1.5 miles in Sockwa socks. 3.5 miles in VFF/KSOs. I really enjoyed the barefoot warmdown.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trying some Sockwa socks

Just received my Sockwa socks which I will try as a running tool. It is a sock with a 2mm thin sole to provide some minimal protection for the bottom of the foot while providing a barefoot like running experience.

I'll report back after trying them for my run tomorrow.


Monday, July 27, 2009

All VFF run

Just finished 5.64 miles in my VFFs. I did some trail running so the minimal protection of VFFs was great. I'm currently switching back and forth between barefoot and VFFs. I'm pretty sure I'll mix both but not sure whether I'll run more BF or VFF. I'm also waiting for my moccasins to try them out; maybe they will be the best; worked for the great Indigenous tribes on all terrain.


Friday, July 24, 2009

What a Great Day, and it just started . . .

Here's the definition of a great day and this was only this morning:

1. 6.5 mile run with 2.5 miles barefoot and 4 miles in VFFs
2. walk on wet grass barefoot after the run; it feels sooooooooooo good
3. listening to the iPOD while walking on the grass barefoot listening to a song that reminds you of your baby (my incredible wife, that is).

This is why you MUST run and especially in the morning. It is practically impossible to have a bad day when you start the day with a good hard run. You've already accomplished so much before the day even begins. Trust me, get up early, get off your ass, walk out the door, and just start placing one foot in front of the other . . .


Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Moccs are in the mail

Now that I'm only barefoot (BF) and Vibram Five Fingers KSO (VFF) running, I have to think about the cold, snowy and slushy winters. Hopefully I have the solution. The Navajo, Utes, Apache, Comanche, Blackfoot (that's me), Pueblos and many of the other great Indigenous tribes made it through very cold winters in moccasins and continued to roam, hunt and run the plains.

So, why do I need Nike for a solution the Indigenous peoples solved centuries ago? Exactly, I don't need Nike or any other shoe company. I'm already running the same pace as I did in shoes with my barefeet (or the thin leave sole of my Vibrams).


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fun Combo BF/VFF run

Had a great morning run. 8.74 miles with 3.91 miles barefoot and 4.83 miles in VFFs. My barefoot and VFF pace is basically the same as my pace was when I wore running shoes. Of course, I'll never wear traditional running shoes again. Running barefoot allows you to find your true running form, stride and pace. It turns on all your nerves and you can feel your feet strengthen. You become a more aware runner and a more cautious runner which is a good thing.

Just lovin' it.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

No Shoes for Me

Another run completely barefoot. 3.52 miles in 32:38. Took my pace down to 7:57 for 1 mile, so I can run comfortably as fast as my tempo pace in shoes. Most important, running barefoot with no achilles or knee pain. So what do expensive shoes do for you? They injure me.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Week 2; All About My Barefeet

Starting week 2 of boycotting running shoes and only running barefoot or in Vibrams. Just finished a 6.27 mile run (3.01 miles barefoot; 3.26 in Vibrams) in 1:03:01 this morning. The terrain included concrete, asphalt, train and rocks but I was able to make it through. The key is to relax the body (similar to folks that lay on a bed on nails) as the key is to evenly distribute the stress throughout the body as opposed to isolated areas of the body. Also, you must bend your knees and keep your upper body straight.

There's something so refreshing to running barefoot; reminds me of being a kid.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

My first "all" Barefoot run

Just finished my first run all barefoot without taking my VFFs as a crutch. I left the house only with my natural feet so it was up to me to run and make sure I could make it home. I knocked off 6.13 miles in 1:00:36. After a 2 mile warmup, I held a 8:40 pace comfortably. After showering, I put my shoes on for work and literally my feet spoke to me and had some not so nice words for me. It's clear my feet are happy without being in prison.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Going For It Tomorrow

I'm planning my first all barefoot run (no VFFs as a crutch) tomorrow morning. Between 3-5 miles. I won't carry the Vibrams (VFFs) with me, so I'll have to deal with all surfaces and make sure I can make it home.

I'm taking the dive; no excuses.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Who needs shoes?

Just finished a 5.28 mile run this morning. 4 miles in VFFs and 1.28 miles Barefoot (BF). Continuing with the theme, I ran BF and VFF without any achilles or other pain. My achilles is getting better and it only started improving once I ditched my running shoes. After I finish the next 6 weeks boycotting shoes, I suspect I will never return to running shoes and will be a permanent BF/VFF runner. However, I do need to deal with the winter (snow, slush and ice) so I am going to try traditional Navajo moccasins, VFF Flows, or anything else I think might work.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Continuing to Boycott Running Shoes

I'm still continuing my boycot of the traditional running shoes. I just finished 7.11 miles in VFFs and barefoot with no pain or injury. Hmmm, interesting continuing pain and injury is exactly what follows me when I put on running shoes.

Most people think I'm nuts but if I'm nuts, then ALL the indigenous peoples of the world who ran hundreds of miles without any of our modern injuries must be nuts also. I think I'll listen to them before I listen to any modern doctor that directly benefits from our addiction to traditional running shoes.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Ditchin' the Shods For 1 Month Trial

Everytime I run in shoes (Shods), I seem to get injured. Conversely, everytime I run barefoot (BF) I seem to run injury and pain free. It even gets more interesting when you compare my running results in Shods vs. BF. When I run BF, my strides per minute (SPM) ranges from 204-220 but my SPM in Shods ranges from 178-184. So, I'm taking shorter and more SPM running BF. If you belief (as I do and I haven't come across any compelling data to challenge this assertion) that running BF is the natural state of running, then I'm not running correctly when I run in Shods.

The other interesting thing is that my average pace which is about a 9:00 - 9:15 min. per mile running BF and it's about 7:45 - 8:05 min. per mile in Shods. So, I'm running faster in Shods but I'm getting injured. For me, one conclusion is I run faster in Shods that my body wants to run. Also, the Shods trick me into believing I'm running at a comfortable and safe pace when I'm fact I'm not. This is very similiar to a football player shot up on cortizone and believing they are fine when they are playing and tearing their body to shreds.

Now, I've only incorporated BF and Vibram Five Finger (as close to BF as you can get) (VFF) running in the last month but I'm only added about 20% BF/VFF running vs. 80% Shod running. Well, to gather more meaningful data, I'm going to ditch all Shods for 1 month and only run in BF & VFF and commit to at least 20% only BF for my weekly running schedule.

I'll report back daily on the results.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Maybe shods are not my friend

I'm still working through some achilles issues. The interesting thing is I pretty much run pain free when I run barefoot or in VFFs but when I put on my racing Shods then the injuries start again. All I can think is that I have bad running form in Shods and in barefoot or VFFs I'm forced to run the natural way we are suppose to run. This is the secret to shoe companies. They know we are hooked on shoes even if they are bad for us and they produce shoes that make us more dependent on additional (needless) new features to try to deal with the high number of running injuries.

I'm going to spend the next few weeks running barefoot or in VFFs and see how it goes. I'll report back.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Nice Tempo Run

9.04 miles in 1:17:10. Nice and easy 8:32 pace. A little longer run than I wanted; was a little late to work but it was worth it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Feeling Better & Back From Vacation

Back from a one week vacation. Lots of fun, food and laughter. Also, lots of running. Knocked off about 40 miles over the past week at 7,000+ ft. elevation with many hills. My achilles is feeling better and I ran 3 back-to-back days without any significant pain. That's the first back-to-back running since my injury.

I'm thinking about of VFF running tomorrow but I want to be careful as I return to my regular running schedule. Achilles injuries are serious and not fun to deal with.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Coming Back From Injury

Well, after 2 days off dealing with very sore achilles tendons which are very serious and must be dealt with carefully, I returned to the pavement today and knocked off 7.24 miles in 1:00:12 . . . a nice steady 8:12 pace. My achillies feel pretty good with only a little pain. This is the best they've felt in 10 weeks which is about the time I ran the marathon. The weeks b/f the marathon my achillies were so tender that you couldn't touch them. Today is the first day, post run, that I could touch my achilles and put preesure on them. For the past 2 day I've tried a very different type of rehab and one recommended by Swedish doctors which is "eccentric achilles tendon and calf muscle loading and strengthening." It's a difficult drill and a bit scary with sore muscles . . . a bit controversial but I did it and I think it had a bit role in me coming back in 2 days and feeling this good. I'll continue to do this exercise permanently.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Searching for my "best" race

I'm searching for my "best" race. The word "best" as I use it means a combination of the following:

1. the race distance I most enjoy
2. the race distance I perform best;
3. the race distance that my body, mind and spirit thrives; and
4. the race distance where I minimize or eradicate injuries.

This morning I finished a fartlex. Overall, 7.22 miles in 56:46 with 2 miles tempos at 6:54 pace. Felt good but let's see how I feel later today and tomorrow.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

100% Barefoot

Just finished a morning father's day run of 4 miles (0:40:00) completely barefoot on the streets. Felt no pain unlike with shods. Loved the faces of the cars watching in amazement as I ran by barefoot.

Whole thing is perplexing isn't it? Dirty little secret the shoe companies don't want you to know? Maybe we don't need shoes. Maybe shoes is the problem. Maybe running is not hard on your body; if it is, then you are running wrong and with the wrong shoes (or too much of the shoes).


Friday, June 19, 2009

BF & VFF combo run

Just finished a nice 3.05 mile run. 1.5 miles in VFFs and 1.55 miles complete barefoot on asphalt street. It felt great. I also loved the drivers almost coming to a complete stop in disbelief that someone could run down a street barefoot. Oh yea and I wasn't going flow; sub 8:00 pace.


Just a nice run

5.21 miles in 45:06. Mostly trail running. Fun spiritual run.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Continuing down the Vibram path

Finished my first VFF run over 8 miles. That's back-to-back days running in my VFFs. Let's see how I feel today. I'm getting use to barefoot running and it's amazing to think I don't feel like I need traditional shoes.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Reverse Split in the Vibrams

Just finished a 10k reverse split in the Vibrams. Front half in 31:24 (10:30 pace) and Back half in 24:19 (7:30 pace). Felt good and my feet are getting stronger.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

VFFin' it and Lovin' it

Another move toward the conclusion that shoes are crap! Just finished 7.15 miles in 1:05:36. This included a long slow 1 mile warmup. I also ran 1.5 miles at 6.40 pace (part of it at 5:30 pace). And all of this practically barefoot (VFFs only). I run faster in VFFs and running shoes; I feel better; less injury and I can feel my toes and achilles doing what they are naturally suppose to do. Bottom line, no shoe can replace what the natural foot was created to do.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Easy Endurance Long Run with Good Discipline

Just finished a good endurance long run which is all about the time on your feet vs. pace/time. Just finished 14.2 miles in 2:23:19. I used my racing flats (Acics Hyperspeed 3's). I wanted to try my VFFs on a long run but my body clearly told me it wasn't ready yet. I generally running 6+ miles in the VFFs so I'll have to slowly increase the mileage until I can do a half marathon in them.


Friday, June 12, 2009

My Weekend Vibram Goal

My goal is to finish my first long run in my Vibram Five Finger KSO's. I hope to finish 12 miles tomorrow. If I can do that, then all my runs under 13.2 miles will be in my VFF KSOs. Then, I'll work to extend that to the marathon level. In the meantime, I'll stick with my low profile Asics Hyperspeed 3's for runs beyond 13 miles. Eventually, I want my VFFs to become the primary running shoe and only use the Asics for really touch trails or bad winter weather although Vibram makes a Flow model for cold weather running . . . I'll have to try it next winter.

I'll let you know how it goes.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's All About the Vibram Five Fingers

I'm not a conspiracy person but it's getting very difficult, if not impossible, to refute the data that the fancy, technologically advanced shoes are BAD, that is, AWFUL for you. I just ran a comfortable pace in my Vibram Five Fingers KSO's of 6.4 miles in 52:28. This is a 8.12 pace which is a bit faster than my regular comfortable pace in traditional running shoes. More shocking is that for 1 mile I was sprinting at about a 6.40 pace. Now, that is a big deal b/c I haven't opened up to a full stride/sprint in many months and I did it and didn't even know I was doing it until I looked at my watch and realized my stride. And to top it off, I did it pretty much pain free. I'm recovering from several injuries and I basically felt very little in terms of pain as compared to my normal running shoes.

I'm starting to become a believer that the shoe companies are evil and know what they are doing to people. Hard to argue that barefoot running isn't the best if the indigenous peoples have been running long distances barefoot without injury for thousands of years.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday & Wednesday - Hittin' the Road

6.33 miles in 53:56 on Tuesday. 8.11 miles in 1:11:19 today. Currently averaging 40+ miles per week. Dealing with a few nagging injuries but one must keep pushing forward. I suspect many people don't run for fear of dealing with injuries but any activity includes having to deal with injuries. Remember, pain is inevitable but suffering is optional . . . pushing through the injuries and you will get stronger, mentally and physically.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Good Run Weekend

12.2 miles Saturday followed by 6.35 miles on Sunday.  All at 8,000 ft. in heavy winds.  Great endurance workout.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Returning to normal running schedule

Hit the pavement this morning for 6.7 miles in 56:31.  Nice and easy 8.26 pace.  I should hit the 40 mile mark for this week which will be the first time I returned to my 40+mile weeks since the marathon 4 weeks ago.  That sounds about right as it takes many folks 1 month to return back to 100% normal form after a marathon.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nice Easy Run

Just polished off 6.19 miles in 52:58.  Feelin' good.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Great Tempo Run in the Heavy Rain

I love running in all types of weather but especially rain and heavy snow.  Today was a heavy rain morning which is a little rare for this town (this ain't Seattle).  I polished off 8.5 miles in 1:08:53.  A nice steady 8:06 pace.  The great thing about weather like this is that most folks decide to stay inside and it's so relaxing to be the only person pounding the ground.


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Great Long Run Sunday

Just dusted off 17.36 miles in 2:31:12.  Held a good pace on the front 8 and tuned it down on the back 8 and concentrated on my form and breathing.  I ran in racing flats; the Asics HyperSpeed 3's; I love em'.  I'm a big supporter of barefoot running and minimalist running.  I may never become a true barefoot runner but I do run barefoot and with my Vibram's FiveFingers which is very close to barefoot running.  The thing is that barefoot running is the natural way to run and it improves the strength of the foot and forces you back to your childhood when you have perfect running form.  It is a huge benefit when I do return to shoes although I'll never return to the big cushion shoes and various crazy technologies that add all this unncessary padding.  I can feel the ground with my Asics running flats and it feels great.  It is low enought to the ground so that my nerves can communicate with my brain and let me know what's going on with my body; when I can speed up; when to slow down; how to attack hills; etc.

I recommend this to everyone.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Next Phase of My Life

Currently, studying the physiology and science of running and the mental and spiritual aspects (just finished my 2nd marathon and targeting my first 50k).  It is basically the difference (and battle) between the right and left brain.  I just finished a life changing book in this area called “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougal.  It concentrates on the incredible Tarahumara endurance athletes in Mexico’s Copper Canyon but also touches on Indigenous tribes throughout the world that run long distances in their 80’s/90’s injury free.  It also includes their eating habits which probably explain why they are so incredible. 

I’m adopting the running habits of the Tarahumara and other Indigenous peoples as well as their eating habits.  I’m working my way to becoming a vegetarian and I made my initial dramatic shift this weekend to a semi-vegetarian (or pescetarian).  I will not eat any meat or poultry (other than eggs/dairy) but I will eat limited amounts of fish and/or seafood, however, the bulk of my eating habits will comprise of beans, rice, nuts, grains, vegetables, eggs, dairy, and a lot of pinole and chia which is the life food of the great Aztecs of which the Tarahumara are descendants.

The closer we come to our own personal edges, the more we move away from the physical and unto a mental landscape, one that is fraught with dangers, traps waiting for the unknowing. It is the place where cause and effect start to break down, where time loses its grip – a place where chaos reigns.

I’m leaning about my own personal edges and this is my journey.

First Run Practically Barefoot

Just finished a 4.18 mile run in 41:52 in my Vibram Five Finger shoes which is basically running barefoot with a think slab of rubber under your feet.  It felt awesome!!!!!  I started very slow with a 12 min. mile then increased to 8:30 min. mile in the end and even did a .3 mile sprint sub 8:00 min. mile.  I got a kick out of folks faces as they looked at my feet.  To feel that good; to have your feet wake up and do what they were built to do; and to shred the fancy shoes that were damaging my feet feels great.

The shoe companies know very well what they are doing to folks; they are injuring folks and they don't care; and Nike is the #1 culbrit; they have all the raw data to know they are building shoes that cause injury.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Continuing the Change in Running Style

It's a rainy for my run this morning but I love running in the rain.  Since the streets were wet and the trail was muddy, I switched to my low profile Asics HyperSpeed 3's.  I knocked off 7.68 miles in 1:08:34.  I think since I've made such a radical change in running style that I'll find a Chi-Running coach to work with.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Good Mountain Long Run

Had a great long run Sunday.  13.65 miles in 2:10:32.  I ran a bit slower since it was my first long run in running flats.  I ran in the Puma K-Street's (the ancestor to the original Puma H-Streets; couldn't find any H's even on e-bay; a very hard shoe to find).

Friday, May 22, 2009

1st Step Toward Barefoot Running

What's life without personal challenges?  A somewhat boring on in my opinion.  Through my research of why my heel and achilles hurts, I'm convinced we have no clue about running.  Going forward, I'll continue studying the indigenous peoples of the world who have been running 100's of miles without pain or injury and doing so well past the age of 90.  In most cases, they run barefoot and that's my ultimate goal.  The first step is to graduate down to a minimalist shoe, then run in Vibram five fingers (or Hirachi sandles), then begin running barefoot.  

Today was my first step toward my goal and my next life in running.  This will be a process as it will require me to go back to ground zero and change and rebuild my entire running posture and muscles.  I ran in my first low profile shoe this morning which is the Asics Gel Hyper Speed 3.  It wa a great run, 7.28 miles in 1:05:37.  I didn't strike my heel at all; it was all midfoot to toes which is how the body was meant to run.  I also purchased the Vibram five fingers and I did run up and down the block on payment (it's very close to run barefoot).  I was to slowly graduate to this to world of barefoot running.

I'm very excited as my feet felt so free and natural.  I'm convinced the major running companies (like Nike) know they are trying to help with the rampant injury problem with runners.  After 20 years, the injury rate (8/10 every year) for runner's remains constant.  How is this?  How can we have all this technology and continue to rack up the number of injuries yearly while many indigenous tribes run pain free.

Hmmm, makes you wonder?  Bottom line, it's about selling $150 shoes and not trying to put out a product that actually addresses the issues because that product is quite inexpensive to produce.

I'll keep providing updates on my journey.

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

My World Has Been Turned Upside Down

My World Has Been Turned Upside Down

I listened to author Christopher McDougal live as he promoted his new book “Born to Run.”  I think I’ll remember back to that day because it is changing my life with respect to running.  I’m rejecting all the mainstream running sources (doctors, magazines, etc.).  My heel and Achilles really hurt and Christopher talked about how his feel hurt until we started studying the running styles of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyon who commonly run 100+ miles and do so well into their 90’s. 

This begs the questions, “Why are runners so regularly injured in the U.S. with all out technology?” when the Tarahumara run in homemade sandals or barefoot with very few, if any, injuries during their entire lifetime.  We have all these fancy shoes, doctors, and methods yet, every year 8 out of 10 runners get injured.  It got me thinking with one simple statement I’ve heard from many minimalist runners:  We should run like we walk.  Ok, that makes sense.  But, we walk on our midfoot to toes and many of us run on our heels, hence, we aren’t doing that.  In fact, I’ve been told, heel to toes is a fine running method.  Well, it’s crap!!!!!!!!!!!  Total Lie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

The human body was build to run naturally; just like we walk barefoot.  But, of course, this would be devastating if the general public starting doing this; what the heck would shoe manufacturers do?  They need us to buy their $150 shoes.  Get this, they are many folks that run in minimalist or barefoot type shoes and put 1,500 miles on them as opposed to say, me who replaces running shoes every 300 miles.

If you run like you walk, then you strengthen your calf’s, Achilles, and, guess what, your knees feel better because you body is totally aligned.  All these crazy new shoes teach us to run with bad form and then, once injured, they doctors always have a new insert, new approach, whatever; but it generally doesn’t work and it costs a lot of money.

Bottom line, we know very little about the human body even with all our technology.  I defer to the Indigenous peoples of the world who have been running for thousands of years without our technology; living longer than us; living healthier than us; and doing so without all the pains and injuries we suffer.

At this point, I have to reject all widely accepted running sources.  That includes Runner’s World, all the shoe manufacturers and especially Nike.  I’m going back to ground zero and learn how to run correctly.  Yes, there is a right way and wrong way to run and yes, the shoes we’ve developed support the “wrong” way to run.

My venture starts today and I’ll keep you posted as I learn the Right Way To Run.



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