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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Should you take a rest day?

I take one day off each week, and a day off means just that, a complete day off. Interesting that 2 of the best runners, Sammy Wanjiru and Paula Radcliffe take a rest day each week, or every 8 days for Paula. Additionally, many elite Kenyans don't run on Sunday for religious reasons but nevertheless, it's a complete rest day.


Where I run . . .

Monday, Feb. 28th . . . Evo recovery run

60 min. recovery trail run: 52 min. in Evo's, 8:00 min. warm-down barefoot on the treadmill. It was the perfect recovery run. I much prefer the Evo I to the Evo II.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

testing shoes on tougher terrain . . .

I put several shoes to the ultimate test during my running this weekend in the Spanish Peaks & Cucharas mountain range valley. This is a range with elevation ranging from 7,500 to over 14,000 ft. The roads and trails are very rocky and you often have to deal with heavy winds coming off the mountains but it is a heavenly place to run.

I’ve been dying to test some of my shoes in this environment. I tested the Nike Air Zoom Streak XC, Inov-8 F-Lite 195, Evo, and MWU3. I tested these shoes while running easy and at race pace.

Evo & MWU3. It became apparent very quickly that the Evo and MWU3 were not adequate for race pace running on this terrain. When running nice and easy, they were ok but the rocks were still cutting through them and as I picked up the pace and dipped into the sub 6:30 pace range, they were not constructed to protect my forefoot and specifically my metatarsals. I could run in them but it wasn’t fun and it would just take one wrong landing on a big sharp rock and I’d risk a foot injury.

F-Lite 195. The F-Lite 195’s were pretty good. The only negative was the sole which was overly aggressive for dry dirt roads/trails but I suspect they would be excellent in wet conditions. I will the 195’s a passing grade. They didn’t feel as good as the XC’s but they were good. At race pace, the F-Lite 195 was on the border in terms of protection. The spaces in the forefoot tread allowed for sharp rocks to penetration and I could feel a couple sharp stabs in the metatarsal area.

Nike Air Zoom Steak XC. The Nike XC’s were excellent (yes, I’m giving kudos to a Nike designed shoe). I actually have to give a rave review to the Nike XC because it’s the only shoe I’ve run in that is good on every surface and condition including concrete, asphalt, trails, packed dirt roads, rocky roads and trails and performs well at any pace from easy to race pace and is a very good race shoe (also, cheap at $50). It’s the first truly all-purpose shoe I’ve found (of course, this is my opinion; light (under 6 oz.), 4.5mm heel differential, 15mm forefoot cushion (I can still feel the rocks but they couldn’t penetrate). At this point, I’m not sure if I need to purchase the NB Minimus Trail or Merrill barefoot shoe because the XC performed excellent on the tough trails. The downside is the shoe is designed for medium foot folks like me and not for those with a wider foot.

Altra Instinct. I suspect the Altra Instinct would be just as good as the Nike XC and perhaps better since it’s a zero drop but I hear rumors they are developing a lighter version so I’ll wait because the XC is under 6 oz. and I rarely run in shoes over 6 oz.

Overall, it validated the differences in impact forces at fast speeds. You push off harder, land with more force due to many factors including an increased stride and air time. It was nice to finally find a shoe that worked for all surfaces/terrain.


Sat./Sun. Feb. 26/27 . .. Mountain Heaven!!!

Yesterday: 70 min. run at 7,500 ft. at the base of 13,000/14,000 ft. mountain ranges, on packed (very hilly) dirt trails with 40-50 mph winds. This may sound tough and it is but it is heaven to me. Running in this mountain valley and canyon is heaven. Hundreds of miles of hilly dirt roads. I included a 3 mile tempo at paces between 7:10 - 6:10. I sure you can guess the slower paces is into the winds. There's no defeating the winds produced by mother nature. You just adjust and run by effort level and bow to mother nature and just enjoy and respect her power.

Today: 90 min. long run. The wind has left and it was beyond heavenly running on packed dirt roads heading straight for the famous Spanish Peaks and Cucharas mountain range. At one point, I had to stop and just take in the 360 degree views. There wasn't a sound around . . . complete silence with snow capped mountains. There are no words to describe this type of experience and run, but this is why I run.

Just finished one of my heaviest mileage weeks in years . . . in the 60 mile range. I feel (beyond) great.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday, Feb. 25th . . . nice and easy

60 min. run: 20 min. barefoot; 40 min. in MWU3's. Nice and easy trail run. Looking forward to tomorrow's tempo run which will be at all all time favorite location in the Southern Mountains of Colorado, at 7,500 - 9,500 ft. I'll definitely be running based effort level as this is not only high elevation running but all hills . . . no way to avoid hills as they are continuous throughout the area.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quote of the Day . . .

I like to say, and I truly believe, that every run brings new experiences. You just don't know what they might be until you actually do the run. That's one of my major reasons for pushing out the front door as often as I do—the adventure of it all.

Amby Burfoot, Editor at Large, Runner's World

Thursday, Feb. 24th . . . trail running

61 minute run trail and grass field run: 18 min. barefoot; 43 min. in Adidas Adizero Rockets. Enjoyed it a lot. It was my first run in the Adizero Rocket's. I give them a passing grade. Not sure if they will be in main rotation but they are under consideration. I've been looking for a 3rd racing shoe but I may have to stay with 2 racing shoes being the Nike Air Zoom Streak XC and Mizuno Wave Universe 3, and or course my true minimalist Terra Plana Evo shoe.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The key is discovering your own Magic Formula

This is the absolute key to running. It's a simple statement ("discover your magic formula") but requires a tremendous amount of practice, dedication and practice. It can take years but if you stick with it, once you find your "magic formula," you will run fast, strong and injury free.

Discover Your Magic Formula

Each body is unique, and therefore each runner responds to training somewhat differently than any other runner. To realize your full potential as a runner you must discover your own personal magic training formula. This doesn't happen all at once, but rather step by step as you pay attention to how your body responds to training.

How much mileage can your body handle? How much high-intensity running? What sort of weekly workout routine works best for you? These are the kinds of questions that experience will answer when you listen carefully to your body. As each question is answered, apply it to your future training to make it more effective than ever.


Wednesday, Feb. 23rd . . . intervals

A great interval session. 800x200x200, 4 sets. Started progressively in the low 6:00 pace range, then gradually moved down to a 5:20 pace. I feel about as strong as ever. I really think I've found my "magical formula." When I abide by the following, everything falls into place and more importantly I stay injury free:

1. Good chunk of barefoot running, comprising 25-40% of my weekly running. Warm-up and/or warm-down.

2. Of the 6 days I run each week, 2 hard sessions, 4 easy sessions. For the easy sessions, mix up the terrain and generally find uneven hills and trails.

3. On the final run of my weekly cycle, run as slow and easy as possible as the purpose of the run is to increase blood for going into my 1 rest day each week which is followed by a hard session.

4. If choosing between barefoot and true minimalist shoes, always choose barefoot. Nothing provides the learning and feedback I get from barefoot running.

5. Running shoes are find provided they are light and flexible racing shoes. My racing shoe rotation is comprised of the Nike Air Zoom Streak XC, Mizuno Wave Universe 3, and Adidas Adizero Rocket.

6. A weekly workout schedule is great but always defer to listening to your body above all. If you need to deviate from the workout, absolutely do so.

7. Use minimalist shoes for walking as much as possible. My #1 choice is the Terra Plana Evo.

8. Ditch the Garmin!!! It can kill you. Run by feel and run by effort level not actual pace as it's the only way to learn to feel the different paces.

9. Other than the 2 hard sessions each week, I do not track pace of distance (again, ditch the Gramin). I run by feel . . . just run!!!

10. My hardest efforts average a 8 on a scale of 1-10, with final surges at a 9 effort level. I do not consistently race at a 9-10 effort level. It's not worth it for me. I know run just as fast as I'm more relaxed and I pass the finish line with a smile on my face and not out of breath. I run within by breath and not ahead of my breath. I will not intersect pain and running. I will run hard but not over the line into pain. Pain kills the love of running.

Just a few things I follow. Everyone has a "magic formula," but everyone has a different "magic formula." It takes time, commitment and practice to identify your own "magic formula."


Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday, Feb. 21st . . . long recovery run

70 min. recovery run (36 min. barefoot; 35 min. in MWU3's). This is the last day in my 7 day running cycle so I consider this a major recovery run with the goal of increasing blood flow to help heal from the previous harder days. I enjoyed the entire run and while my legs are fatigued, I feel great. I actually did more barefoot then shod running. I opted for the MWU3's because after 36 min. of barefoot running you don't want anything heavy on your feet and the MWU3's are the lightest shoe commercially available at 3.6 oz. (although I hear a few models are forthcoming to the market that will be even lighter).

I've learned you must treat a recovery day as just that, a recovery day. That should be easy to learn but it's oh so difficult for runners. It took me years to understand what a "easy" and "recovery" run really means. If you fail to adhere to this, then you will get injured, no if, ands or buts. You must give your body time to heal, otherwise, in addition to injury, you will not be able to call upon your body when you need it for the hard sessions and racing.

Tomorrow is my rest day (I run 6 days per week) and I love feeling good going into a rest day.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday, Feb. 20th . . . long hilly run

90 minute hilly run (20 min. barefoot; 70 min. in Nike XC's). I feel great, just like yesterday's race. No Garmin so I have no idea how far or fast and I don't care. I suspect it was a good pace because I felt fluid and strong. I've realize the value and enjoyment from simplifying my running. I actually look forward to each day and running . . . I'm having that much fun!!!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday, Feb. 19th . . . Race Report

I finished my first race of 2011. I didn't realize it had been over 3 months since my last race. Last year I ran 5k's exclusively but this year I think I'm ready to move up to the 10k, that is, I've improved my form to the point that I've earned the right to add distance. My goal last year was to break the 20 min. barrier in the 5k and I ended up just a few seconds from breaking the 18:00 min. barrier (18:02 PR) so I was very happy with what I did last year.

Today, I started with a 5 mile race. I finished in 31:58 (6:23 pace). I finished 9th out of 400+ runners. I'm thrilled as I used this race as a good tempo run and I never pushed too hard. I ran pretty even mile splits and gave a 7-8 effort. It was nice to be able to start the race at a nice pace as opposed to the full sprint from the beginning, required for the 5k. The 6:23 pace is a :15 sec. per mile improvement from my last 5 mile race 2 years ago.

Best of all I feel great. I attribute that to the increased barefoot mileage I've added daily. I warmed up with a 15 min. barefoot run, then laced up the Mizuno Wave Universe 3's. I added an insole to the MWU3's. Yes, I added an insole and it was a good decision. The race was on concrete which I hate and I've learned for races, I need at least 8-10mm of protection for my forefoot (metatarsal protection as a forefoot runner). I've taken to heart what Fred Rohe said in "The Zen of Running," when he said:

" . . . you will be able to run tirelessly if you follow this simple rule: run within your breath and do not run ahead of your breath (you have to run to discover what that means)."

My last few races, I've run within my breath and if I start to run ahead of my breath (other than a 400 meter sprint to the finish), I slow down. This probably costs me a few seconds per mile but the trade-off is worth it in that I feel great coming across the finish line. I feel like I could keep running and my body feels great and, at the end of the day, that's the most important thing.

For 2011, I'll be concentrating on the 10k distance. I have a feeling the 10k will be my best race distance because it's the perfect combination of speed and endurance. I also love locking in the 6:15 - 6:25 pace range (it's like being on cruise control). I also like being able to take a progressive pace approach as opposed to coming out of the gate in a full sprint. I also seem to get stronger around the 4 mile mark. I'm all smiles with this as a start to the 2011 racing season.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday, Feb. 18th . . . fine tuning for the race . . .

51 minutes of running: 35 minutes in MWU3's and 16 minutes of barefoot running. Included 4x100 meter surges as final tuning for tomorrow's 5 mile race. Looking forward to the race tomorrow. This will be a good meter stick as to where I'm current at and what I need to work on as the racing season is not too far away. I haven't decided if I will focus on the 5k or 10k this spring/summer so this will be a good indication.

I'm actually looking forward to some 10k's so I can take a bit more of a progressive running approach as opposed to the immediate all out approach required for the 5k.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

I like it . . .

Do the work. Do the analysis. But feel your run. Feel your race. Feel the joy that is running.

Kara Goucher, American long-distance runner

Thursday, Feb. 17th . . . the trails

70 minute run, with 20 minutes barefoot on the treadmill, and 50 minutes of back trails and grass fields. I feel good and it's nice to work different muscles running on trails and uneven grass fields which is also good for balance work. I don't carry a Garmin on these types of runs so I have no idea how far or how fast I ran and I don't care. The enjoyment is just running. I only use a Garmin for 2 runs per week (tempo and interval) but for my other 4 runs each week, I just run and that has brought all the enjoyment back to running.

As it stands, I'm still planning to do a 5 mile race on Saturday, so tomorrow will likely be a 40 min. easy run with 3-4 100 meter strides at the end to fine tune the muscles for the race.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More from Chris . . . shoes sometimes better than bare feet? sure

So how come elite marathoners don’t go barefoot?

They do. Take another look up top at Vin Lananna's take on bare feet and elites. Also, the best pro marathoners in the world — Kenyans and Ethiopians — run thousands of miles in bare feet before ever strapping on their first pair of shoes. Coach Joe Vigil estimates that Kenyan teenagers have already logged some 18,000 miles before entering competition. By the time they get their first pair of shoes, their running technique is already hard-wired for lightfooted efficiency. When it comes to a race, of course they’ll wear a racing flat. Who would risk their entire year’s payday by stepping on an acorn?

Which brings up the final point...

Shoes are sometimes better than bare feet.

Nike actually got it right with its first few generations of shoes. They were thin and light, offering just what runners needed and no more: a little protection from rough ground and cold weather. But problems arise when protection turns into correction, and marketing takes over for education. Once gimmicks take over and technique is scuttled.


I agree with Chris . . .

Christopher McDougall, author of the popular book "Born to Run," said the following which, at the end of the day, is my position as well but, for me, I have to incorporate barefoot as training tool to achieve this result:

"But ultimately, the debate isn't about Bare Soles vs. Shoes. It's about learning to run gently. Master that, and you can wear — or not wear — anything you please." - Christopher McDougall


Wednesday, Feb. 16th . . . tempo day

After a 20 min. barefoot warm-up outside on grass (local football field), I laced up the Nike XC's and ran for 40 min. including 800 meters at 5k pace, into 1 mile at 5k pace, into 800 meters at 10 pace, then a cool down.

I'm starting to slowly get into race pace shape and I'll start with 5 mile race this Saturday. The goal is to treat it like a good tempo run and not all out. I'll shoot for a pace range between 6:30 - 6:45. These types of races are perfect as I start to get back into 5k race pace shape.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fred Rohe, please meet Caballo Blanco, or the "white horse"

So you want to run fast? Well, quite trying by focusing on speed. Focus on running smoothly and within yourself, with good form and technique and the speed will come. Take note from Fred Rohe and the "white horse."

" . . . .you will be able to run tirelessly if you follow this simple rule :
run within your breath, do not run ahead of your breath. (you have to run
to discover what that means .)" - Fred Rohe

”The problem with most people is they only care about getting fast, and think that once they get fast, running will get easy. They got it backwards. First focus on getting easy, because if that’s all you get, that ain’t so bad. Once you can run easy, focus on light. Once you get light, focus on smooth. By the time you’re easy, light and smooth, you won’t have to worry about getting fast–you will be.” - Caballo Blanco


Day Off with Quotes to ponder . . .

We runners are all a little nutty, but we're good people who just want to enjoy our healthy, primitive challenge. Others may not understand running, but we do, and we cherish it. That's our only message.

John J. Kelley, Olympic marathoner

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday, Feb. 14th . . .

A total of 51 min. of running, including a 20 min. barefoot warm-up. I ran in the MWU3's as my body wanted to feel the ground. I'm letting my body dictate what I run in. I feel great.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday, Feb. 13th . . . long run day

1:22:22 hilly run, with 20:05 barefoot, in Nike Air Zoom Streak XC's. I feel great and strong. Recovery run tomorrow. Everything is falling back into place in terms of my form and technique with the return to higher barefoot mileage. Barefoot comprised 36% of my weekly running. Running with no Garmin is so refreshing. I only use the Garmin twice per week for the interval and tempo run. Form is everything.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday, Feb. 12th . . . along the hills . . .

A great 1 hr. hilly run including 15 minutes of barefoot running. Everything is falling back into place since I returned to the key things that have worked for me with running. I ran in the Mizuno Wave Universe 3's. I will likely run in the Evo's for my long run tomorrow. My body feels great.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday, Jan. 11th . . . gait analysis

I had another gait analysis. Nothing new to report. I'm a verified forefoot strider. My form has improved significantly over the years. I need to continue to work on strengthening my left foot as I'm slightly stronger on the right side.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday, Jan. 10th . . . lots of barefoot

I'm part of a bio-mechanics study at the University of Colorado that is focusing on loading rate, peaking loading, and pressure points. I can share much about the study today except to say that I completed 11x900 meter intervals on the treadmill running barefoot and in shoes with weights (varying weights).


Thursday, Jan. 10th . . . another reason I run barefoot . . .

It's all about balance and alignment . . . ask yourself when are you optimally balanced? in shoes or barefoot?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday, Jan. 9th . . . back to my barefoot roots . . .

All I can say is I feel great and I have no doubt it's because I've returned to heavy barefoot mileage. Yes, it's still cold so I was regulated to the treadmill today. After a 25 min. barefoot warm-up, I laced up the MWU3's and ran for another 25 min. which includes 8x400 intervals in the 6:00 pace range. Then, I cooled down with 3 min. of easy barefoot running.

I'm going back to my barefoot roots with 40-50% of my weekly running being barefoot. I can't explain it and I really don't care why, but as I add more barefoot running I run stronger and faster in shoes. Besides barefoot, I'll be rotating the Evo's and MWU3's.

Tomorrow I start my barefoot study at the Univ. of Colorado . . . should be interesting.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Continuing to interrupt my notes and refine and modify . . .

I thought this may be useful to some and/or interesting to others, or maybe not. Anyway, it took me 4 weeks to pour through my 3 years of daily running notes. I’ve been trying to identify trends when I’ve been the happiest and strongest with my running. I started by defining “happy and strong” periods by those times when all four themes appeared in my writing log: (1) being happy and smiling a lot; (2) feeling strong and healthy; (3) injury free; and (4) best training and racing performances.

I thought I had this nailed a few weeks ago but I realized it was going to take longer to truly go through all my notes. I’ve finally identified those periods of time and then I noted five (5) similarities and the following occurred during those periods of time:

1. No less than 30% of my weekly running was barefoot, up to 45% (treadmill in the fall/winter; grass, dirt and treadmill in the spring/summer/fall).

2. I predominately ran in Evo’s and MWU3’s and the MWU3 was the most cushioned shoe I ran in and we know the MWU3 is pretty minimal.

3. A minimum of 48 hours of easy running between hard work-out sessions.

4. Only used a Garmin (watch) on 2 or my 6 weekly runs. The 2 runs were the tempo and interval runs, but otherwise I only used a cheap Target watch to track time to make sure I got back home on time. I didn’t track total weekly mileage and only tracked pace and distance for the tempo and interval runs.

5. For intervals, I only ran at or below race pace for 400 meter intervals or less. Anything over 400 meters was at tempo pace and I didn’t push into the “hard to breath” zone. I followed this approach even during racing. Funny thing is hit my 5k PR and never even breathed heavy. Someone told me that meant I didn’t push my hardest. They are probably right but I’m ok with that. I don’t want to associate running with pain.

So, I’ve decided to take the above 5 themes and apply it to my running going forward. In fact, I already started. I should hit around 20-30% of my running this week being barefoot (I’ll be back up to 40% barefoot running shortly). I will go back to barefoot as a prominent part of my running routine and not because of any study or article. I love the feel of running barefoot. I don’t necessarily love running on hard surfaces barefoot anymore but I love the softer surfaces like grass, dirt, sand, and when I can’t find those surfaces, I even like running barefoot on the treadmill.

I’ve been back and forth SO many times (barefoot to shod to barefoot to shod) but now I see it’s all part of the process. The most telling thing for me was realizing I don’t love running barefoot/minimalist because it may or may not reduce injury or because of any article or study. I just love the feel and the more I do, the easier it is to run (and race). I wanted to prove to myself that I could run in regular shoes and I did that but there really wasn’t a point to it (now, I say so what).

I guess Fred Rohe had it right when he said:

“ . . . do your run barefoot. this gives you a foot massage which stimulates all the never reflex points in the soles of your feet, which in turn stimulate all the organs of your body. by being barefoot you also get grounded. this direct contact with great mother earth meaning that electrical equilibrium is established between you and the planet.”

I’m sure there’s so much more for me to learn. Just thought I’d share.


My day off; quote of the day and why race?

When I first started doing races, I didn't understand why people did them. I thought it was boring. But give it a try. If you're new to the sport, or maybe even an infrequent runner, try it. Once you do it and finish a race, there's such a feeling of self-accomplishment—that's really been one thing I've taken away from doing running events. Because it's just you, and you have just yourself to credit for doing what you did. It's always a great feeling afterward, because you know you did it all yourself.

Mike Bettes, Meteorologist, The Weather Channel

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday, Feb. 7th . . . more barefoot, and more minimalist on the horizon

I had a great treadmill run this morning. 20 minutes barefoot; 25 minutes in Evo's.

I'm continuing to make changes to my running approach and schedule based on the 3 years of detailed notes I've kept and I'm continuing to isolate the key components that have allowed me to run the strongest, fastest, and without significant injuries. I admit that I've been all over the place from barefoot only, to shoe only, to a mix, back to barefoot, back to shod, and it goes on and on but I know it's all part of my learning process and it's necessary and required in order for me to find my perfect mix.

I am continuing to increase my daily % of barefoot running with the goal of returning to about 30-40% of my running being barefoot which I was doing about 6 months ago when I felt my strongest. I'm also back to only tracking distance and pace on 2 days each week, those 2 days being my interval and tempo workouts, but otherwise, I just use a cheap watch to track time with no idea as to specific distance or pace as this was how I learned to "run by feel," which subsequently led to my 5k PR time.

I'm also going back to my more minimalist approach. Besides barefoot, I will maintain a shoe rotation as I think that's important but my rotation will only include very minimal shoes and at this point, I'll try a rotation that consists of the Evo, Mizuno Wave Universe 3, and Invo-8 F-Lite 195. The F-Lite 195 will be the most cushioned shoe I run in and the bulk of my running will be in Evo's and MWU3's (my current pair of MWU3's has close to 500 miles so they are as thin as my Evo's at this point). I also plan to buy a pair of the New Balance minimus trail shoes when they are available for my mountain running.

This week is a big week for me as I have 2 complex gait analysis that will be done and I can't wait for the outcome and analysis which I'll share.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday, Jan. 6th . . . lots of snow; adjusting the long run

So I had a long run planned but I woke up to 14-16 inches of snow so I had to adjust my work-out. I really enjoy running in deep power snow but you have to adjust the work-out to account for the additional leg workout from running in deep snow. I decided to increase my barefoot warm-up to 15 minutes, then laced up the Mizuno Wave Universe 3's and added the Yak Trak coils and ran for 1 hr. It was awesome. Then, I did another barefoot session with 10 minutes of barefoot running as the warm-down. Total workout was 1:25.

I've decided to spend a few months to really study and evaluate the types of shoes I run in so that I can develop a solid shoe rotation by this spring. There are so many factors when you select footwear which is one reason I love barefoot running because it's easy as all you need is your feet. As for footwear, my goal is to select 2-3 shoes that allow me to run with form and technique as close to barefoot as possible. I'll select a primary shoe rotation from the following shoes: Mizuno Wave Universe 3, Evo, Nike Air Zoom Streak XC, Nike Katana, Nike Free 3.0, Inov-8 F-Lite 195, Adam, and Adidas Adizero Rocket. My primary factors of consideration include weight, heel differential, amount of cushion, good feel, degree of muscle pre-activation, ability for my foot to flatten upon loading, and overall feel.

Of course, I'll have certain shoes based on terrain but 90% of my running is on packed dirt roads, trails and roads so I build a primary shoe rotation to address most of my running. I'll also continue to study my running log to identify trends, good and bad, based on my experiences with certain footwear.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday, Feb. 5th . . . 3x1 intervals . . .

A lot of the snow melted but not enough around my house to do intervals so I had to drive to another park that has interior roads where no cars are allowed and the roads were plowed yesterday and almost completely dry. After my barefoot warm-up on the treadmill, I got my gear, laced up the Nike Air Zooom Streak XCs, and drove to the park.

I started with a 3 mile warm-up, then moved into 3x1 mile intervals, with the 1st at 10k effort pace, 2nd at 5k effort pace, and 3rd back at 10k effort pace. I hit the interval paces at 6:30, 6:15, and 6:28. The key is this was "effort" pace and not race pace. This was 7-8 effort level which is exactly where I like to be for training. I only increase to actual race pace and 9-10 efforts levels for races. Other than short interval training, I don't train at race pace but I train pretty close, usually within :15 seconds per mile. I can make up the delta when racing with the increased focus and adrenalin levels. I feel good and that's the best part.

I've carved back my number of hard days to 2 per week as opposed to 3 per week. At 3 per week, that didn't result in increased race times and the additional hard day of running increased by chances of injury so there was no benefit to the additional hard day for me. I believe in doing the minimal race pace training to achieve my racing goals with the rest of my running at a nice comfortable pace. As you get older you really have to pay attention to how long it takes your body to recover. I'm finding I need 48 hours between hard sessions whereas prior I just needed 24 hours. It's just a reality you need to deal with.

I'm not sure what shoe I will run in tomorrow, and I'm still determining whether the Evo will be my race shoe or easy run shoe. It's a pretty tough decision based on numerous factors. I will definitely continue with a shoe rotation but the question is which shoes I use for hard sessions and which shoes for easy sessions. I'll have to wait until my body gives me the answer. I'll have to be patient as I would like the answer now but my body isn't ready to give me the answer just yet. Maybe my body is still deciding.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday, Jan. 4th . . Evo + Yak Trak + Snowy Trails = A Big Smile

Just one of those magical winter days. After my daily barefoot warm-up, I laced up the Evo II's, added the Yak Trak coils and headed out on the snowy trails for a 40 minute run. It was heavenly. It was just me, nature, the coyotes and foxes. Not another human in site. I even had to stop a few times to just take in the beauty of the surroundings. Complete silence with a very slight wind knocking snow off the branches of the big trees (evergreen and cotton wood trees). I saw several coyotes up ahead and they would check me out and when I was within 400 meters or so, they would take off. Just a surreal run.

I can feel the difference in my legs with my change to take 48 hours between hard workouts. My legs have that "pop" as I refer to it meaning they are anxious to run fast and that's the feeling I like to have the day before harder workouts. I would love to do my hard workout tomorrow outside but it all depends on how much snow melts off the ground today. It's 40F and sunny but I need the asphalt paths and streets to be pretty dry before I can do a tempo run, otherwise, it's back to the treadmill which I just can't imagine right now.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday, Feb. 3rd . . . treadmill city again . . .

Regulated to the treadmill once again. It was still hovering around -1F wind chill, so I elected to run inside again. Back-to-back treadmill days is tough for me but I got in a 45 minute easy run including .5 miles barefoot. I kept the pace nice and easy, around 8:30 pace and alternated with 2-3 minutes of 1-2% inclines to add some variety (actually to keep myself sane).

I must run outside tomorrow even if it's a very short run as I can't do the treadmill again. The challenge is finding somewhere to run with the snow/ice but hopefully if the sun comes out again today, it will melt away the remaining ice on the roads and I can get a good road run in tomorrow (no chance on the trails as they are frozen solid and way too dangerous). Hopefully by Saturday when I plan to run hard again, the roads will be pretty dry. I probably can't return to the trails for another 4-5 days given the weather conditions.

I ran in the Nike Katana's. I also purchased a pair of Adidas Adizero Rocket's today and they'll arrive in a few weeks. I like the Katana's but they have been discontinued and the replacement is the Nike Zoom Speed Racer2 which can only be sourced through China (at least my size). I have a pair on order but they may be difficult to acquire in the future so I'm looking at the Adizero Rocket as a potential replacement down the road. It's upsetting that in the U.S. it's practically impossible to find many of the best racing shoes available.

If you ever travel to Tokyo (for example) you'll see so many excellent minimal racing shoes that are quite flexible but they are not available in the U.S. because we continue to only offer over supportive, overly cushioned shoes which are not good for the feet and make it very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain good running form and technique. While I do some daily barefoot running (and I'm a big advocate of adding some amount of barefoot running to your schedule), you don't have to become a 100% barefoot or minimalist runner to develop strong feet or to acquire good form and technique. However, strong feet and good form will reduce your chances of injury, and the best way to do that is to incorporate some level of barefoot and/or minimalist running into your program. Many elites (today and in the past) have incorporated barefoot running into their program for this exact reason. You don't have to take off your shoes and run barefoot down the street (as I've done) but if you stay in motion control shoes, it will be difficult to improve.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday, Feb. 2nd . . . my favorite 5k workout

One of my favorite 5k related work-outs. I started with a .5 mile barefoot warm-up, then moved into a 45 minute run that included 2x800 intervals at 5k pace (between 5:45 - 6:10), with a 2 minute recovery, then moved into a 2 mile tempo at 6:42 pace.

Since it is still -4F (-11 F wind chill) outside, I had to run on the treadmill but it was a good workout. I ran in the Nike Air Zoom Streak XC's and they felt great.

I will make a tweak in my running schedule and allow 48 hours recovery between my hard workouts as opposed to 24 hours, so I will do a hard tempo run on Saturday, followed my a nice easy long run on Sunday. The next 2 days will be shorter easy runs. I think this will accomplish 2 things. First, it will allow my body another day to recover from hard runs. Second, it should slow me down on my long run.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day Off with Quotes to ponder . . .

How lucky am I? Tuesday is my 1 day off each week and it's -12F today. Wow, that worked out well although it won't be too much better tomorrow so I'll be regulated to the treadmill for my interval workout.

In the meantime, a few quotes to ponder . . .

My running ambition is to keep doing it until I'm way past the point where I have any business running. Just to keep doing it throughout my whole life—to stay fit and feel good. - Leroy Chiao, astronaut and runner

I have always liked running, so it wasn't particularly difficult to make it a habit. All you need is a pair of running shoes and you can do it anywhere. It does not require anybody to do it with, and so I found the sport perfectly fits me as a person who tends to be independent and individualistic. - Haruki Murakami, author


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