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

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.


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