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

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do What You Love

At my group track session this morning (about 25 folks) we broke off into groups because the majority of runners are preparing for a full marathon and half marathon in the next few weeks. It was funny because there were of 4 of us remaining that were not training for a half or full marathon. Several folks were surprised that I wasn't running the upcoming marathon and asked why. I actually had to pause and then I smiled because the answer was so easy . . . I don't like the long distances. They looked confused and I said when I did run marathons it finally hit me that I did it only because that's what everyone does and I finally realized neither the actual race nor training was fun. However, once I discovered speed and middle distances, the love of running returned.

I told them my favorite training run in the world is the 1 hr. run. (20 min. warm-up, 20 min. progressive, 20 min. hard). I guess this is why the 5k and 10k are my favorite races. Funny thing is I only run about 15% fewer miles per week than when I ran marathons but I'm healthier, stronger and faster.

It was an interesting morning because I'm wondering if there are others with similar experiences. Seems most runners, even newbie’s, naturally gravitate toward the marathon distance. However, the elites all mastered shorter distances first and some never move up to the marathon distance.

Anyway, that got me thinking.



  1. I think I agree with you but I still want to complete a couple more marathons (my pride talking I'm sure). I have completed one marathon in my short time running career and enjoyed the training runs of 1 hr to 1 1/5 hr the most. I found a joy in running and the pure physical active is truly refreshing.

    I do have a question for you...i am a forefoot striker and have recently experienced some achilles tendonitis in one foot. I run in VFF Bikilas with a little barefoot (no more than 1 mile) tossed in twice a week. Any suggestions since you have recently gotten pain free?

    Thank you for your blog. I enjoy reading about your experiences.


  2. Scott, achilles tendonitis (AT) and plantar fasciitis (PF) is not uncommon especially during the transition to barefoot and/or minimalist running. The AT is getting an additional workout with you running in Bikilas and barefoot as it is stretching more than ever before.

    How long have you been running in the Bikilas and barefoot? It takes time and patience for the body to adjust. It took me 2 years, just as reference point. Most problems are related to bad form and technique. Minimalist footwear nor barefoot running is not magical solution. However, it generally allows a person to identify their natural gait but from that point it takes a considerable amount of work and commitment to make the transition.

    I would start with strengthening your calves. Eccentric calf raises are great (you can google or youtube it to see how it's done but you must do the exercise correcty). Also, balancing on one leg for up to 3 minutes is a good exercise. I do all of this on a daily basis.

    Second, check your form and technique. Are your shoulders and hips aligned? Are you running straight? Is your body and especially your foot completely relaxed? Have you been video taped? If not, it's valuable as it provides the opportunity to identify problem areas.

    Third, have you made any changes in your running regime such as increasing pace or distance? Either can cause AT unless you build up very slowly.

  3. HHH,

    I have been changing my running style over a period of tem months. I had the big marshmellow shoes and was a heel striker and have transitioned down the VFF. Only in past three months has the AT popped up. It might have come from some speed work that I did, running a few 800m with a walk in between each session. Maybe that was the aggrevating issue. I read in one of the comments left in response to your blog that he, while suffering from AT, would still continue to run so that the blood flow would aid in the healing process.

    I will have someone video me. I think that will prove most helpful.

    Thank you for your help and success in your running.


  4. I think blood flow is key. I continued to run in the past when I had AT and PF but I slowed down the pace a lot. I believe it helped with the recovery. Adding pace/speed requires a good running plan to slowly add it but the benefits are huge.

    Definitely sounds like you are on the right path. It took me over 2 years before I started to really see the benefits and changes. In fact, it was about 6 months ago when things really started to change. It's a slow uphill climb but once you reach the top, it is well worth it.

    The key is "consistency." I've heard it takes 3 years of "consistent" running before you start to reap the benefits.


  5. HHH,

    Three years huh? Well I know there is light at the end of the tunnel but it will take patience to get there. I live in Missouri but in two weeks will spend a week in Silverthorne, CO enjoying your neck of the woods. I found out that there is a Dr. Ivo at Summit Chiropractic in Dillon is a VFF consultant. I thought I would make an appt with him to do a gait analysis.

  6. Great idea Scott. There's a huge light at the end of the tunnel "if" you stay with it. It's drive and commitment that gets you there. Over the last 1,095 days, I ran 915 days, so basically I ran 84% of time over that period. This included some dark days when I ran while suffering from AT and/or PF.

    I don't believe in rest per say unless the pain is unbearable. I know it's a controversial position but I believe you run through pain because the body will self heal and in begins with blood flow. The key is working on what caused the injury in the first place (identify the root cause) while you continue to run.

    Let me know how it goes with the consultant. Also, get ready for high altitude running :).



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