Sunday, March 28, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
weeks whereby I now do one medium intensity tempo run (about 7:15-7:45
pace) of about 3-5 miles during the middle of the week, a 10-14 mile
hard combo run (interval, tempo mix, varying paces from 6:00 - 8:30
pace) on Saturday, followed by a 10-14 mile easy run on Sunday (never
faster than 9:30 pace). This puts about 55% of my weekly mileage on
Saturday and Sunday. All the remainder of my weekly runs are easy
(never faster than a 9:00 pace) and I've cut back to 5 days of running
instead of 6 although I cover the same weekly mileage (35-45 miles per
What has been very interesting is that I've always used a "day off"
after a hard run and now I do my long easy run within 24 hours of my
long hard run. Initially I was concerned about running in a fatigued
state and, of course, the increased potential for injury. After 3
weeks, I'm actually getting stronger and adapting to the Saturday/
What is also interesting is I've been spending time studying about the
pros/cons/good/bad/advantages/disadvantages to this approach and to
running while fatigued.
I found some really good information in this article:
There's a bunch of other good articles also.
Specifically, regarding the exposure to fatigue:
1. One of the most important factors that stimulate neuromuscular
adaptations resulting in greater
fatigue resistance is exposure to running fatigue. Scientists are
rapidly learning more about the
mechanisms of these adaptations. They’ve learned that a key player in
some of them is an
immune system signaling compound called interleukin-6 (IL-6). Two
factors associated with
running fatigue — muscle glycogen depletion and muscle damage — cause
circulating levels of
IL-6 to increase dramatically. In the short term, high concentrations
of IL-6 in the brain cause
exhaustion to occur. In the longer term, IL-6 coordinates many of the
body’s fitness adaptations,
ranging from increased fat burning to greater resistance to muscle
2. Another endurance-boosting neuromuscular adaptation that occurs in
response to exposure to
running fatigue is improvement in motor unit cycling. A motor unit is
a bundle of muscle fibers that
is fed by a single motor nerve. During running, only 20 to 30 percent
of the motor units in your
working muscles are active simultaneously. But it’s not the same 20 to
30 percent of motor units
that are active throughout a run. On the contrary, most of the motor
units in the working muscles
contribute to the running effort at various times over the course of a
run, but none are active all
the time. Instead, they take turns. While some are active, others
rest, awaiting their next turn.
This cycling of motor units allows you to run much farther than you
could if any of the motor units
in your working muscles were forced to remain constantly active.
The article also talks about how fatigue forces you to change your
stride and vary pace which has great advantages. By challenging your
neuromuscular system, you forces it to get creative and utilize
various patterns of muscle recruitment, "some of which will be more
efficient, others of which will
help you resist fatigue better."
I know a few of you recommended that you should run barefoot when
tired and fatigued and I think you are right (the idea that's harder
to run correctly when tired seems to be true). It's been on Sunday,
that I learn how best to run and I'm finding very efficient tweaks to
my running form. I'm also very alert given the fatigued state and the
concern of averting injury. It also forces me to spend more time
concentrating on form since I'm fatigued to run fast, which also helps
to reduce the change of injury. Conventional wisdom has been to
take a day off, after a hard run or only do a very short, easy run.
However, I'm finding the best long run is after a hard, intensity run.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
"For me, running faster in the Mizuno's wasn't the issue. The issue was the Mizuno's have a 9mm differential between the forefoot/midfoot and heel (all running shoes have a differential as there is no such thing as a racing flat because NO racing shoe is really flat). This differential prevented my plantar muscle and achilles tendon from stretching and performing properly, as god intended. Once you naturally land on the forefoot or mid-foot, the heel kisses the ground and there's a point where the entire foot is on the ground then the plantar and achilles uncoils and returns energy as you lift the foot and are naturally propelled forward. As such, with any heel build-up, the foot can't function properly and that caused me more issues as I increased pace (basically all running shoes are high heels). Additionally, like almost all shoes, the Mizuno has a plastic device under the heel to provide heel support. The issue for me is I don't need any support and since I have high arches, the last thing I need is any arch support as the arch support prevents my arch from communicating properly. The nerves in the ball of the foot and the arch are the gating devices that communicate to the body how/where you landed and triggers the plantar and achilles as well as the bending of the leg/knee to stabilize the body and reduce the impact as most of the stress is handled by the arch for which it was built to do.
So this is a long way of saying it was the construction of any traditional shoe, and not pace, that caused my issues. The Evo is nothing more than a beefed up slipper with no arch support, no motion control, no ankle support and no heel build-up, so it allows my foot to properly function, hence the plantar fasciitis went away once I switched to this shoe (or course, barefoot is the best but this is a good compromise . . . actually barefoot running solved the PF and it didn't return because of the Evo). The Evo can cause some blisters at first because the entire shoe is flexible and bends like a water sock but I've solved than problem and blisters are minor as compared to runner's knee, achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciits, etc."
Thursday, March 18, 2010
last night (I just can't stop reading it over and over because it has
great information and valuable perspectives). During my run this
morning, I was thinking about a couple of the issues Gordon discusses
in his book.
First, he talks a lot about the time and commitment it takes to become
a good runner. This made me think about how much more in tune I am
with my body than I was last year, or the year before, or the year
before that. I looked at my 3 year log after my run, and I’ve
averaged about 40 miles per week consistently for 3 years yet it
hasn’t been until recently that I’m really starting to establish a
relationship between my mind, body and soul with respect to running.
I remembered the gentlemen (71 yrs. old; been running for 40+ years;
only suffered a few injuries early in his running life; and still runs
in marshmallow shoes; and averages 50+ miles per week to this day)
that told me it takes a minimum of 3 years of consistent dedicated
running before you even begin to understand how to run, learn proper
running form and technique, understand how to listen to your body or
what your body is even communicating to you. Gordon Pirie quoted a
study that, in talking about how long it takes to become a champion
runner said, “an average of 10.2 years was needed for champions to
My point is obviously but one we may overlook from time to time which
is while the shod vs. unshod discussion is very important, regardless
of what you put on your feet, or don’t put on your feet, it takes
drive, commitment and dedication to improve and this means, in my
opinion, continuing through the “ups, downs, good and bad.” I’ll even
go further and say, I don’t believe we were designed to be
“recreational runners.” I believe we were designed to be “full time
runners.” So what’s the difference between “recreational” and “full
time,” well if I had to give a concrete answer I’d say a minimum of 5
days per week of running is required, and to quote the gentlemen, this
consistency must be maintained for many years. Obviously, I believe
barefoot and/or minimalist running enables one to listen to their body
easier and better but the requirement for practice and dedication
Second, Gordon’s discussion about the connection of the body and feet
has changed the way I run, or at least how I perceive I run, in terms
of how my mind is tuning into my body. Gordon said:
“My first coach back in 1941 was E.J. Holt. He was a trainer of many
as well as being one of the organisers of the 1956 Olympic Games. All
of his athletes did
prancing and bounding exercises initially, to learn to run. We often
did this in bare feet, if
the weather permitted. We learned to be very conscious of the role our
feet could play in
improving our running, and inhibited our arm action during this foot-
education process so
that our minds could focus entirely on what was going on at the end of
He went on to say the following regarding the role of our feet:
“Correct running should feel like a series of very quick but powerful
pulses, with the arms
and legs working in unison, followed by a period of relaxed flying
between each power phase.
Try to take a quicker stride than is natural. Quicken up! Get your
feet back onto the ground
as quickly as possible. This can be achieved by strong arm-stopping,
which causes the foot to
land quickly but lightly on the ball/front of the foot. Do not wait
for the leg and foot to drift
away and land on its own out in front whenever it wants. Make it
snappy and quick.
Do not float along.”
I use to concentrate on lifting the foot off the ground as quickly as
possible but I’ve changed in that I concentrate on getting the foot on
the ground as quickly as possible, while trying to land as softly as
possible. This may seem like a subtle change but it’s had a dramatic
impact as my foot and leg feel better, I’m running more efficiently
(less work to generate speed), and I don’t float as much (probably
because I’m concentrating on getting the foot back on the ground as
quickly as possible).
We’ve talked a lot about getting off the ground as quickly as possible
but I found it interesting when Gordon said, with respect to how he
This "low" running posture allows me to stay in contact with the
ground longer, and makes it
possible for me to generate more power during each contact power-phase
with the ground.
If a runner is making full use of his feet and legs as shock
absorbers, he will make little if
any noise when he runs, even on the steepest downhill stretches,
because there is no vertical
pounding of the feet and legs into the ground. The body will not crash
down on the foot,
but will pass smoothly over it. For most runners, the timing of this
action does not come naturally
and takes a good deal of practice.
Again, in addition to the relationship of the foot and ground, he
ended with saying it takes a good deal of practice. I don’t mean to
preach and I apologize if it comes across that way, as that is not my
intention. My intention is to point out how important consistency is
and how important it is to continue to run through the good and bad
times. To get out of bed and run on those days the mind says no
I’m still amazed when I tell someone I run 40 miles per week which, in
my mind, is pretty average for a runner, yet the responses I get, even
from folks that run (or say they run), is “wow, that’s a lot of
running.” Then I reflect and say, “not really.” If 40 miles per week
was a lot, our ancestors would not have made it as they ran more than
that on many single days, just to survive. It reminds me of our lazy
our society is today. In addition to the shoe issue, we are changing
evolution by simply sitting and driving on a daily basis whereas that
activity would have been running many years ago.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
I find that I develop stronger legs on trails and dirt because you must work to lift the feet from the ground and small rivets in the ground unlike hard surface. I've read a few studies that say dirt is easier on the body and forces the body to work harder to run faster. In comparison, concrete/asphalt provides perfect energy return as it is much easier to run faster on hard surface and the % of bounce (i.e., energy return) is much higher. However, concrete/asphalt transmits much higher shock waves up the legs compared to trails/dirt paths.
To quote someone who lived in Kenya and trained with the elite Kenyan
"The bottom line is that trail and dirt road running produce greater leg muscle power, with less total damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, compared with hard road rambling."
I know that BF is easiest on hard surface and it's a good surface to learn BF but, in the long term, there may be a negative effect.
it is still the best footwear I've ever had. The blisters were an
issue but I've found a solution to that (top caps). The last test for
me was whether the Evo was minimalist enough to penalize me for bad
form/technique. Well, it did today.
Last week I changed my weekly running schedule such that I do a 10-14
mile hard run (combo tempo & interval on hills) on Saturday followed
by a 8-14 mile slow run on Sunday. The purpose is to run while
fatigued on Sunday and build my endurance. Yesterday was a hard run
(tempo & intervals on big hills) so my legs were really fatigued when
I did my 8 mile run today and this is when bad form/technique can
I got really tired around mile 5 and I did a heel strike and it hurt.
Suffice to say, I did not do it again. I'm a natural forefoot strike
but it shows what can happen as you get fatigued. While the heel
strike hurt, I smiled because this is what we want, that it, immediate
feedback for a mistake instead of allowing the bad habit to continue
until a serious injury surfaces.
I've been running without the insole and it makes a big difference in
terms of ground feel and weight. After the run today, my feet are
sore but I know my feet are getting a real workout in the Evo. The
best part is no PF and AT issues since I started using the Evo.
However, I continue daily feet strengthening so I'm sure that has a
lot to do with it. I still can feel my feet changing as they
strengthen and adapts to zero drop, no heel. I can literally feel my
Achilles lengthening and my plantar stretching. I never progressed
far enough with my KSOs last year to do long hard runs but I remember
the sore feet feeling I got with the KSOs and it is basically
identical with the Evo.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Like a few other folks, the top of the Evo was rubbing against the toe next to my big toe on each foot. I also had some rubbing on the back heel. I was putting athletic stretch tape on the toe and back of my heel and that was working but I was getting sick of doing it every day. However, I think I found the solution. I took some Moleskin and put it in the inside of the
forefoot of the shoe (attached it to the shoe) at the same point where it rubs on both toes and added a patch on the back of the heel of the shoe and I had no rubbing at all on my run today. The Moleskin stuck to the shoe just fine and looks like it will stay in place.
Engo patches which also attach to the shoe instead of your foot (I just happened to have extra Moleskin so I used
that) would work. Pretty good solution ($5 patch of Moleskin) in return for no Plantar Fasciitis or Achilles Tendinitis,
that's a fair deal to me. However, Evo should address this issue in their next version.
With that said, 2 weeks with the Evo and it is still the best footwear I've ever had. I have a feeling this shoe will last a long long time. The construction is so solid, yet so simple. The Evo is starting to mold to my foot like a glove yet still gives me plenty of room for my foot and toes to move around. Brilliant design, yet so simple.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
REVIEW OF THE TERRA PLANA “EVO”
· Initial Impression.
The first day I received by Evo’s, I did a 35 minute workout consisting of 15 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes outside, which included running in snow and on trails, pavement and concrete. The next day, I completed a good hard 10 mile progressive tempo run, taking my pace down to 6:20 per mile. Overall, I’d have to say the experience both days was awesome. I had a tough time controlling my speed because the Evo allowed me to run effortlessly.
What makes the Evo so great? Well, it is the fact that the Evo doesn’t do much and that’s the beauty. The Evo simply protects the foot and does not interfere with the natural functioning of the foot. The Evo did not interfere or alter the form, technique and mechanics that I developed through barefoot running. Barefoot running teaches you to land on the ball of your foot with your leg slightly bent to absorb the strain and pressure while allowing the foot to naturally roll from the outside in, taking shorter steps with a light stride while maintaining good posture alignment (I landed so softly in the Evo’s that you couldn’t hear me coming).
In other words, the Evo lets the foot do the work which should be the ultimate goal for any company that develops footwear. To achieve this desired goal, the Evo provides no stabilization support, no arch support and no heel build-up (this is a perfect “zero drop” shoe). The design allows the Arch to act as the stabilization device for the foot as nature intended without undue pressure or stress on the ankle, Plantar muscle or Achilles tendon (I’ve suffered from recent Plantar Fasciitis and I had no PF pain in the Evo)
· Design & Performance.
The Evo has a sleek and cutting edge appearance, and is constructed well (even the lace outlets are durable). The Evo has a sleek mesh micro fiber upper constructed of TPU, with a 4mm of soft rubber cushioning on the sole providing enough protection for any surface including trail running. The design allows for breathability while also providing good warmth for colder temperatures (so far I used the Evo’s in 15F and my feet stayed toasty warm). The 4mm sole provides excellent ground feel and response time. The majority of the 8 oz. weight of the Evo rests in the sole with is very durable and puncture resistant.
The 8 oz. weight is a slight negative especially since I’m accustom to running in 3.6 oz. racing shoes, so it took a few minutes to adjust to the extra weight but after 5 minutes, I completely forgot about the weight. However, even at 8 oz., the Evo is still light enough to be categorized with racing shoes from the weight perspective. Overall, I describe the Evo as a very durable slipper to protect the feet, just as the legendary Gordon Pirie described as the perfect shoe.
· Fit. The Evo provides a comfortable but not too tight fit. The toe box is sufficient for me with a medium “D” foot. My toes had enough room to move, breathe and grip as needed. The Evo is very flexible as you can bend the toe to the heel. However, one drawback due to the flexibility and micro fiber upper is that the upper pinched on one of my toes causing a small blister but nothing that major as a band-aid prevented any further issues with my run the next day.
· Summary. Next to barefoot running, the Evo is the best footwear I’ve ever placed on my feet. The Evo, along with the Feelmax Osma and the soon-to-be-released Vibram Bikila, represent the first and only minimalist footwear specifically designed, from concept to design, for barefoot runners. Up until now, we barefoot runners would find footwear designed for other purposes and adopt them for running but now we have a few companies developing footwear specifically designed for us. Again, this is the beauty of the Evo as it is designed to not interfere with the natural functioning of the foot. This is a truly a case of “less is better.” I will be purchasing a 2nd pair shortly.
Monday, March 1, 2010