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

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.


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