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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday, April 30th . . . pre-race workout . . .

50 min. easy run with a half dozen 80-100 meter surges in preparation for tomorrow's 5k race.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Barefoot on Trails . . . yes you can do it . . .

Another picture in the Runner's World article. I'm running on the famous highline canal and yes, you can safely run barefoot over crushed and packed dirt trails.


Runner's World, June 2011

I'm featured in this June's edition of Runner's World in an article on "Running Form." The picture above is on page 86. Pick up a copy and let me know your thoughts on the substance of the article.


Friday, April 29 . . . rest day

nothing more to say :)

Friday, April 29 . . . rest day

nothing more to say :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday, April 28th . . . fartlek with surges . . .

60 min. fartlek on trails in the Evo's with a 10 min. barefoot warm-up. I threw in 12 x 30-60 second surges at 5k pace. I'm ready to race this Sunday. I will be running in the Evo's!!!

Running by feel and ditching the Garmin has really improved my ability to feel the paces and run relaxed. Tension is a killer in running and you have to feel what's going on with your body to understand the more relaxed you are, the faster you run, but the minute you add tension, things will start to fall apart and the changes of injury increase substantially.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday, April 27th . . . as the Eagles say, "take it easy"

Nice easy 35 minute run with 5 minute barefoot warm-up. Ran in the Evo II's since it was a bit colder out this morning and the Evo II has an extra layer of lining which also allow me to run sock-less.

There are so many basics to running that take so long to learn, especially for us recreational runners. Elite runners and/or those that ran competitively in college have a learning curve advantage over us. It doesn't matter if someone tells you to "run easy," you just can't learn what they really means until you experiment, trial and error, which also means you are likely to go through some injury cycles learning what they truly means as it relates to your body.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday, April 26th . . . speed work . . .

My last hard workout before Sunday's race. 24x200 alternating between 3k and half marathon pace. Everything felt great and I did the workout on the roads in preparation for Sunday's 5k road race.

I ran in the Evo's and I feel strong, mentally and physically.


Monday, April 25, 2011

The Great Hopi runners . . .

Great story about the history of the great Hopi Indian long distance runners. I especially liked the following:

"The Hopi runners ran barefoot and plunged into cactus and thorny bushes without the slightest hesitation." Or, they ran in ‘moccasins’ that Hopi women made for him on the reservation, and a shirt thatdepicted the legendary ‘winged’ (flying) snake of the Hopi."

Here's the full story:

As I continue to get sucked (yet again) back to my bare feet :), I've returned to the Evo's (put the Nike XC's in the closet only for mountain terrain until I find a good zero drop mountain running shoe) combined with my barefoot running. Something keeps pulling me back . . :) . . . maybe it's my "Blackfoot" blood . . .


Monday, April 25th . . . easy run . . .

I was planning to take today off but I felt good when I woke up so I decided to take a quick easy 40 min. run plus it would be good to workout after yesterday's Easter feast in which I had a few too many sweets. After many years, I'm able to enjoy these easy runs because I have the discipline (most of the time) to run easy and use easy runs to help me recovery from hard runs.

I ran in the Evo's and I'm going to stick with the Evo's for right now as the closer I get to barefoot, the better I feel. I like the Nike XC's but I'm starting to only use them when the terrain requires it. I going with the most minimalist footwear I can get away with taking into account the type of run, terrain and weather. It's also nice because my feet have adapted to the point that I can run in the Evo's sock-less without getting blisters which is great. The Evo's are awesome without socks.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday, April 24th . . . recovery run . . .

55 minute recovery run in the Evo's with 10 min. barefoot warm-up. I went sockless in the Evo's and they felt great. I'm very happy with the Evo's but I can't wait for the new Ultra.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday, April 23rd . . . followed by a great run . . . Evo land . .

So yesterday's awful run was followed by a great run today. A wonderful 90 min. run with a 10 min. barefoot warm-up, ending with 5x800 at sub 6:00 pace. Now, I'm mentally ready for next week's 5k race. I'll do some 200 meter work mid-next week, then I'll really be ready.

So what did I learn? I was quickly reminded yesterday that you can't force speed and pace. You must listen to your body and it will tell you when it's ready to run fast. You also can't run with any tension. Speed results from relaxed running. These are all things I know but didn't practice yesterday and my body quickly let me know and ended my run early but I was rewarded today . It's the great thing about running as there's always tomorrow, and it's better to alter or stop a bad workout and resume the next day as opposed to forcing the issue on tough days which commonly trigger the injury chain.

The other thing I'm learning is the difference between "feel" and "float." When I want to "feel" the run, I run in Evo's. When I want to "float" I run in the more cushioned Nike XC's. Of course, when I race, I want to "feel" the run so I'll be running in my Evo's for next week's 5k.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Worse Run in 18 Months

I have my first 5k race this year coming up so I used my Garmin for my run this morning with the intent to do 800 meter intervals on the roads at race pace and it was the worse workout I've had in over 18 months. In fact, it was so bad I stopped my workout half way through, quit and went back home. The good news is I'm finally smart enough to know when to stop.

For the first time in over a year, my left Achilles felt tight with slight soreness and the minute I felt that I stopped running, and the cause was clear. I ran the first few 800 meter intervals at sub 5:30 pace but I wasn't running my feel. I didn’t let me body set my pace because I was running according to my Garmin and a pre-determined workout I set the day before . . . 25 min. warm-up into Intervals at race pace, ending with a cool down. Well, my body wasn't ready and in fact didn't want to run at race pace today and I could hear my body telling me during warm-up that it just wanted to run nice and easy but I decided to force the issue. Then, I compounded the problem by "forcing" race pace on my body and further compounding it by looking at my Garmin to make sure I was hitting race pace, instead of running by feel. The result was not only not running by feel but actually running faster than race pace as I was more focused on my Garmin than the signals from my body . . . the complete opposite of running by feel.

I am so happy I had the discipline to stop and now I feel great with no pain . . . just frustrated by a bad workout but there’s always tomorrow which took me years to recognize. It’s much better to stop before you do something bad to your body. Recovering from a bad workout is just a mental thing but recovering from injury is the worse . . . always do the former.

This is a stark reminder as to why I ditched the Garmin in the first place and why I started running by feel. In fact, that finalized my decision to race without a watch from now on, and so my next race will be my first race with no watch and I don't be going back to my Garmin during any of my regular running/training. While I wore a Garmin during my race last month, I never looked at it once and I ran a good time and hit all the splits I wanted to hit so I don’t see any advantage to using the Garmin, at least for me as a recreational runner (I get why elites us it and other technology). Ultimately I don’t know what my new approach to running will yield in terms of race times but that’s becoming less important to me as my body is responding great to just “run hard” and the time is the time, the result is the result.

It also a reminder that you can’t “manufacture” or “force” speed and pace as it has to come naturally. In fact, forcing speed just causes me to slightly change my form. When I forced the issue this morning, I noticed I had a shorter stride and faster turnover but that’s NOT good in this case because it’s not my natural stride and turnover. Just as you can have too long or a stride and/or too low of a cadence, you can have too short of a stride and/or too high of a cadence. This is where you define your own style (i.e., watching Kim Smith at Boston was hard to watch as she runs with your arms all over the place, hips moving, etc., but she led the pack for 20 miles before having to drop out so who am I to criticize . . . maybe that’s how she is designed).

Matt Fitzgerald said in one of his books, that we ran with Haile and Haile took 9 strides to his 8 strides and when he tried to match Haile’s turnover, it just didn’t work and his form feel apart. Obviously, form and technique is something we all should constantly work on but there’s a point where you find “your own” natural form and style and it may be a mistake to alter that.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday, April 21st . . . easy run

45 min. easy run with 10 min. barefoot warm-up. I'm within the 10 day window before my first 5k race this year. Between now and race day, I'll throw in some hard 800 meter intervals, then some hard 200 meter intervals later next week, then a few easy runs before showing up the starting line next Sunday.

I'm working my way back into 5k shape as I was focusing more on the 10k (but 10k's are difficult to find so I'm back to the 5k) so I need to make some slightly adjustments, most of which has to do with the first 1200-1600 meters of the 5k. I have to come out a bit faster in the 5k than I do for the 10k, but also be careful to not come out too fast. This is why the 5k is so tricky strategically. I break down the 1st mile of the 5k into 2 800 meter sessions and I have a goal for each of the fist 800 meter sections and if I'm within that range, then I'm usually good for the rest of the race.

I'm looking forward to it.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Back to the 5k . . .

I didn't realize the 10k was a dying race, at least in the U.S. After spending last year focusing on 5k racing, I was thinking of focusing on 10k racing this spring/summer but there are so few 10k races to choose from. In fact, they are difficult to find. In speaking with a race event coordinator, she said 5k races are easy to pull together, and the half marathon continues to grow in popularity and the marathon will always be around and as a result, the 10k and 10-mile races are few and far between.

Being that I'm not one to drive a long way to run a short race, I've decided to focus back on the 5k as it's easy to find 5k races within 10-20 minutes of my house. This also means I need to tweak my training schedule and approach to get back into 5k shape. This simply means more focus on shorter intervals and faster tempo running to improve my leg turnover. It also means a mental change as it relates to a little "suffering." I don't mean suffering in a bad way but given the intensity of the 5k race, you must welcome a bit of suffering both in racing and training. In training, you need to push yourself a bit more, especially in the speed work so you get use to the feeling of going at or near "all out."


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lose Weight and Run Faster . . .

I was going through some old running articles at lunch and came across this as a reminder of the relationship between weight and speed (basically you run 2 seconds per mile faster for every 1 lb. in weight reduction).

So, when I put this in perspective for myself, I'm 6ft. 160 lbs. and Ryan Hall is 5ft. 11in. 130 lbs. and Gebre is 5ft. 10in. 120 lbs. . . . wow!

Not to mention the reduction is pressure on the body. We often talk about form and technique, but weight loss is huge.

Pounds Lost
1/2 Marathon

Tuesday, April 19th . . . trail intervals . . .

A great 65 minute run with a 10 min. barefoot warm-up into 10x400 meter intervals on the dirt trails, averaging about 80-85 sec. per split. This is a bit slower than normal but considering I've run for about 15 straight days, I'm pretty happy. Things are going well and I'm working my way back into 5k shape. I'm feeling pretty good so I may take tomorrow off as I'm preparing for a May 1st 5k race which will be my first 5k race this calendar year. It will be a good gage as to where I'm at because I'm not exactly sure what type of 5k shape I'm in. The 5k, like any distance, is its animal.

I was initially going to focus on the 10k race but they are very difficult to find and 5k races are all over the place, as is half and full marathons. The 10k is almost a dying distance in terms of finding races to run that distance. In speaking with event planners, the 5k is so easy to setup and the half and full are so popular that the 10k is the forgotten distance, which is too bad because the 10k perhaps may be the best distance in terms of combining sheer speed and endurance.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday, April 18th . . . recovery run . . .

30 min. recovery run. Legs are shot. I call this a blood flow run which is very very slow and easy with some walking in order to aid in the recovery process. I'll probably opt for a good easy run tomorrow, and do some pace work either Wednesday or Thursday.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday, April 17th . . . Sunday long run . . .

100 min. long run. Great weather and perfect fun. I feel great. Wore the Nike XC's. Varied surfaces from dirt, trails and road. Very in sync with my body.

This running without a Garmin/watch thing is just awesome. I'm running further, harder and stronger by relying on my body as opposed to some technology. It's amazing how many of my friends just can't leave the house without their Garmin/watch and they have no idea what they are missing.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday, April 16th . . . great easy run

65 min. easy run including 10 min. barefoot warm-up. 51F degrees and a nice cool breeze . . . just awesome! Ran in the Nike XC's. Form felt great and I'm feeling really good post-run.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday, April 15th . . . tempo time . . .

55 minute run (5 min. barefoot warm-up) with last 2.5 miles at 10k pace on trails. I'm always amazed at the ability of the human body to recover. 2 days ago I could barely run a 9:00 minute per mile pace, and today I'm back to the 6:00 minute per mile pace range. As always, the key is allowing your body to recovery when it needs to recover so the slow running provides several benefits as it allows the body to recover and allows you to maintain fitness but avoid the cardinal sin of pushing hard on days you need to recover.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday, April 14th . . . easy Evo run

60 min. easy run in the Evo's with a 10 min. barefoot warm-up. I feel much better than yesterday. The soreness in the left Achilles is gone. Not sure what type of run I will do tomorrow but I'm sure my body will tell me.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday, April 13th . . . shake out recovery strides . . .

At the advice of my wife, I elected to do some barefoot recovery strides as part of the recovery process from yesterday's track session which was the first time I did the entire session barefoot at race pace. My calves were pretty sore this morning, as expected. I also had some tenderness in my left Achilles and I'd have to say that's not a surprise either considering how much barefoot running I did at race pace and my left foot is not as strong as my right foot due to a long past history of left ankle injuries during my high school and collegiate basketball days.

Anyway, I did 8x200 easy strides barefoot on the roads with long recoveries in-between including walking uphill. I feel much better right now but I'll be on red zone alert for the next 72 hours. If I didn't enter the "too much too soon" world, I was close so I will be a bit cautious over the next 2-3 days and very closely listen to my body. I'm not sure what type of running I will do over the next couple days but I listen to my body and let it tell me what if wants and what it should do.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday, April 12th . . . a lot of barefootin'

I'm not sure what tomorrow holds for me. I just finished my first track workout of 100% barefoot at race pace and faster.
5 sets of 400x200x200 with 400 recovery in-between. And I did it barefoot, averaging 72 seconds for the 400's. I feel good right now but I'm nervous as to how I will feel tomorrow morning, but we'll see.

My body absolutely refused to run in shoes. I tried to put my MWU3's on and my body said "no." I tried to put on my Evo's and my body again said "no." It clearly told me it wanted no shoes and the only way it was going to allow me to run was barefoot.

I know one thing . . . tomorrow is a rest day :). I do a lot of barefoot running but not this much at race pace . . . easy runs yet but not race pace. I'm over-joyed that my feet held up and I feel good right now . . . but tomorrow will reveal the truth.


Further support for barefoot or (nearly) barefoot

Now that I'm back on the track with my training group, I started to think about the fact the best and fastest runners in the world tend to start on the track (800 meters to 10k). Then I thought about track spikes and how light and minimal they are. Then I started to read about track spikes, the history, design, function, etc. and here are a few things I found:

- "track spikes are ultra-lightweight to resemble barefoot running without any restrictions for full range of motion stride."

- " . . . running in track spikes are more akin to running barefoot which helps you achieve your best running form."

- "track spikes are so light that it's almost like running barefoot"

I've found numerous articles that reference "barefoot" when talking about track spikes and connect form and technique of running barefoot to track spikes. So, if this is the case, and it's always been the case that track spikes are light and minimal, and if the design of the spike is for performance, form, technique and speed, and that is akin to barefoot, then that further supports barefoot.

There further connections between spikes and flexibility and foot mobility so again, further support for barefoot. And, this isn't new and this has been the case for many years. Just look at the spikes from the 50's/60's and not too much has changed looking forward to today. However, look at regular running shoes and we see how they've changed over the past 40-50 years. So, why the change? Because the track is associated with elite gifted runners, when in fact, perhaps one of the many reasons they are elite and gifted is because of the minimal barefoot-like footwear they use for practice, training and racing.

Something to think about. Go down the line of the great track runners many of whom later moved to the half and full marathon and they all wore track spikes for a long time and perhaps that wasn't a difficult transition from barefoot since it may be the closest to barefoot.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday, April 11th . . . total recovery run

45 min. total recovery run. I was tired and sore so that means either I rest or make sure it's a total recovery run. I ran very slowly and just worked on form, technique and turn-over. Many folks forget that you should still have a good turn-over, even when running slowly and a recovery run is a great opportunity to work on form.

I've run 3 consecutive days in the Evo's and absent a message from my body to do otherwise, I'll continue to run in the Evo's and add more barefoot running as it gets warmer outside. I still hold out hope that I can use the TP Vivo footwear 100%. They have an Ultra that will be released pretty soon as it's under 4oz. and that could be my racing shoe. Additionally, they are working on a trail shoe and if that works for me, then I can go 100% minimalist. In the meantime, the Nike XC is working for now but I hope that's a temporary solution.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Saturday, April 9th . . . Evo time . . .

60 minute easy run with a few surges in the Evo's . . . started with a 10 min. barefoot warm-up. I'm slowly working the Evo's back into my rotation and I don't rule out the possibility that the Evo will return as my go-to shoe and replace the Nike XC, in which case I'd use the Nike XC for long runs and when my feet are tired. I can't forget all my current PR's (5k and 10k) were achieved in the Evo, not the Nike.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday, April 8th . . . easy run

Easy 55 min. trail run. I'm working to increase my cadence by 5-10%. So why am I messing with my stride if nothing is wrong? Because you can always improve form, technique and efficiency.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday, April 7th . . . progressive tempo

45 min. run consisting of a 20 min. barefoot warm-up on the treadmill, 25 min. progressive tempo run on the road in the MWU3's, with a 5 min. barefoot warm down on the treadmill. After doing barefoot 400 meter intervals on Tuesday, I opted for the MWU3's to gain more ground feel as I knew that would slightly shorten my stride which was my goal. I've been working the MWU3's back into my rotation with the Nike XC's because I can get spoiled and a little sloppy in the Nike XC's. It's also getting warmer out so I can increase my barefoot mileage.

I'm a big believer in trying to carry over as much of your barefoot running form to shoes . . . at least as much as possible. I use to think Bekele was the gold standard for running form until I saw Tirunesh Dibaba who is the world record holder in the 5k and 10k . . . she ran and raced barefoot until 17 years of age . . . check her out . . . her form is pretty flawless . . . this is why barefoot running is so helpful, in my opinion:


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday, April 6th . . . rest day

I always take a rest day after track workouts. It's something I've learned about my body. I need a full day to recovery for speed work on the track. It could be an age thing or a me thing but whatever it is, it's a rule I follow.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday, April 5th . . . tracking barefoot

8x400 meter intervals at the track with 4x400 barefoot. It verified, of course, what I already know which is that it's impossible to run in shoes the exact way you run barefoot. The goal is to try to run as close to barefoot as you can in shoes but you can not carry over 100% barefoot form to shoes . . . maybe 90% but not 100%.

I did my first 4x400 in Nike XC's then switched to barefoot and immediately my body re-alignment, posture was straighter, stride shortened and I was slightly more fluid . . . running barefoot is just so awesome!!!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday, April 4th . . . easy as it goes . . .

Easy 40 min. run over lightly snow dusted trails + no human in sight = a lovely run.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday, April 3rd . . . body says take a day off . . .

Woke up this morning planning on a long run and my body told me to take the day off. After 2 days of 70-80 minute runs at 7,000 - 9,000 ft. in the windy mountains, including interval work, I guess I was more fatigued than I thought. I could have run today but my body communicated to me through my leg muscles that I was still healing. This is the type of body understanding it took me 3 years to acquire.

I've made major changes in my approach to running this year including ditching the Garmin, watch and any other technology. I "run by feel" and let my body be the technology to communicate to me. I also don't look at running on a weekly schedule anymore as I look at a 30 day running cycle and I have an idea as to how many interval, tempo and long runs I'd like to do in that time period but at the end of the day, I always listen to my body first. I don't have a set workout for a specific day as I get up each morning and my body tells me what it wants to do.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday, April 2nd . . . easy run at 7,000-9,000 ft.

Great 70 min. mountain trail run . . . nothing like it . . . it's the reason I run.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday, April 1st . . . mountain fartlek's

70 min. fartlek mountain trail run at 7,500 feet, including 600, 1200, 800 and 800 meter surges between 5:45 - 6:20 pace. It's amazing how much harder it is run at higher elevations. I train daily at 5,500 ft. but I could feel the difference of running at 7,500 ft., not to mention the mountain winds, however, running in the mountains is inspiring and leaves me in awe of nature.

For the first time in several weeks, I decided to use my Garmin to track my surges which was completely unnecessary. At this point, there's no reason for me to use the Garmin other than to map out routes in new places I'm not familiar with but otherwise, watches are useless to me as I can not only feel the paces, but I'm getting pretty good and feeling the distances. I pretty much knew how long and how fast I was running without looking at the Garmin. I didn't look at the Garmin at all during my 70 min. run and I guessed the distances and pace of my surges and I was within :05 - :10 sec. per mile and within 5% of the distance . . . so the Garmin will go back in the closet!!!


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