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

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A week with my body not accepting conventional wisdom

Conventional wisdom would say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," and that's exactly where I'm at with my running. I've been injury free for years and other than running in Luna's this past summer, I've been running fast and injury free in Nike Zoom Streak XC's so shouldn't I be happy and satisfied? I thought so until last week when I decided to wear my Evo's to walk around all day and the next morning my body and soul refused to run in the Nike's. I woke up and my spirit and body said it wanted to really feel the power of the earth and so I laced up my Evo's and went for a short run but it turned into a long run.

The next day I had a sore right hip and I've never had a sore hip (not to mention I could feel the weight difference of the Evo vs. Nike's), so I switched back to the Nike XC's and the hip pain immediately disappeared so conventional wisdom would say keep running in your Nike's. Well, I woke up the next morning and my soul demanded again to be closer to the earth with a better feeling of the ground, even with all the snow and ice outside, so I went back to the Evo's and had a very enjoyable run and my hip pain was all but gone.

So, obviously, I was intrigued by the source of my hip pain and I had a friend count my stride rate while barefoot vs. Luna's and Evo's vs. Nike XC's and as expected there was what I consider a material deviation in my stride rate when comparing the Nike's vs. Luna's and Evo's. In the Luna's and Evo's my stride rate (per minute at a 8:30 pace) was 184 while it was 176 in Nike's. Then my friend said I ran taller (straight) while in Luna's/Evo's vs. Nike's where I had more of a forward lean. Lastly, we measured my stride and it was longer in the Nike's. So much of this is as expected but it does cause one to ponder.

First, it further validates the impact of different footwear and each deviation from barefoot has consequences. Now, for me the consequences don't translate to injury but nevertheless there are differences. Second, I started to think about potential longer term impacts. If I engage my hips when I'm closer to a barefoot state then I'm not engaging them as much in traditional racing shoes like the Nike XC's and that requires a deeper evaluation than just the injury issue (as people get older you often hear about hip problems and as such, am I weakening my hips by not engaging them enough thus leading to possible future problems . . . in other words, perhaps the focus should be on keeping the body as engaged as possible as we get older which may result in a stronger overall body . . . this is about health not racing). Third, and I personally believe this has something to do with the Blackfoot Indian blood running through my veins as the feeling was spiritual and powerful, why did my body demand to be closer to barefoot when I was already running fast and injury free in the Nike's? It was a powerful desire by my body and such that I couldn't ignore it which drove me back to the Evo's and Luna's.

I find myself in a very interesting situation. I run without issue in my Nike's (and it's fun running) but obviously something powerful is missing if at this point in my running life my body yearns to be closer to the ground (this has happened before and each time the feeling comes back more powerful, then goes away, but eventually comes back even more powerful than before). And, after all is said and done, my 5k PR of 17:42 was set in Evo's :) and my 4th fastest time was set in Luna's, not traditional running shoes.

As always, I'd appreciate everyone's thoughts. All my recent struggles have been on spiritual (I'm blessed to not be dealing with injury concerns).



  1. This was an amazing post and one that resonates with me. I have realized (thanks to you) that your body tells you more than we hear. Trying to open up that inner ear reveals a lot. When I started to get a flair of PF I wanted to be barefoot so badly but now that it is gone that over powering urge is gone. As I have learned to listen I have learned more about my body and what works and what doesn't.

    It's truly amazing, thanks

  2. Thanks. It's nice to know others are dealing with similar things.



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