Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Confession of a Barefoot Trail Runner[video]

A great video was posted on reddit. I thought I would share it. :)

Confession of a barefoot trail runner
from Daniel Martinek on Vimeo.

By the way, check out for some great barefoot running and lifestyle discussion.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break

So I had a typical college kid-styled spring break. It was fun, but it feels good to be home. I didn't do any running or strength training, but was able to snag a good picture of me running on the beach.

The other day I was teaching my mom to run in her new Merrell Trail Gloves and found how much easier it was to run at a slower pace. My mom usually runs around a 10:15 pace while I felt I could run comfortably at a 9. After running with her I noticed that I didn't feel nearly as exhausted(funny how that works eh?)

Anyway, today I decided to take it slow and do a long run. I told myself I could stop and walk at any time, stop and stretch, or even just mess around for a bit. I ended up running/walking 6 miles at 1 hour and 22 minutes. I know this is slow, but it felt good to cover a long distance and actually spend some time outdoors. I think I will incorporate more slow runs into my training as many sources say they are essential. I believe they are what man was made to do, which is why it comes so easy to us. Why fight evolution?

About 3 miles into my run I stopped and waded in the river at the park. The water was cold and worked as an ice pack. Once I started running again my little aches and pains went away.

Throughout the run my knee was tweakin' a bit. The overall run was hilly and I am not 100% used to that yet. I stopped and stretched a few times on the run and the pain went down. Right now it isn't bothering me at all, which is a good sign.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Merrell Trail Glove Evaluation

I recently purchased the new Merrell Trail Glove after 3 weeks of research and apprehension, and procrastination. I love my KSO's, but found the constant questioning from people to be beyond annoying. (Not many people point and make fun of me, I have that cranky, big old man "I will kill you" because I have with nothing to lose look) .

I spent time in the stores wearing them. I simulated rocks by throwing objects on the floor and running over them, I was driving the sales staff crazy, trying shoes on without socks, running around the store and then leaving without making a purchase...In a weak moment last week, I caved in. So, I new that I wasn't going to be totally happy. But at $110, I figured it wouldn't hurt my wallet too bad.

I took them to a local trail about 5K long with killer hills. I loved the weight of the new shoes at 6.2 oz. and the zero lift heal. BUT, I immediately noticed the lack of tactile feedback. The sole is entirely too thick! I was able to run across a rock road without any feedback. In my KSO's, I had to skirt the edge of the same rocky road due to the "positive pain feedback". After about 2K I noticed that my BFR form was not being maintained. When I let my mind drift, I caught myself over-striding and noticed my "landing" to be loud/hard. I was putting my foot down , instead of picking up. In other words, I was not running lightly. After 4K, I came to the realization that these shoes were never going to pass my test for barefoot styled running. This was expected..

My conclusions, The Trail glove has its place in my life. I will wear them as everyday shoes as a compromise to my over-supported Nikes. They will limit the questions about "those finger shoes", and decrease the the "your jumping on the band wagon" or "I can't believe your buying into that fad" comments. I will also wear the Trail Glove when running on muddy trails. The added traction on the sole that detracts from the tactile feedback will come in handy on the muddy trails. I find that my KSO's are very slick in these situations.

Although the Trail Gloves come with antimicrobial "anti stink" lining (another layer between my feet and ground), I found my feet to be very sweaty while walking around in everyday situations. I am using powder now to try to help with that. I also found the toe box to be large. I have wide feet and usually happy with the wider toe box. I think people with slimmer feet may have a problem with the added room. Another design note, I had to stop and empty out the trails dirt and little sticks that snuck into the shoe around the ankle area, not a problem with KSO's.

From another point of view, my wife, Gayle, also purchased the Merrell Pace Glove (the female version). She has been wearing them as everyday shoes and have found new muscles. This indicates to me, that she has found her shoes, in her situation, to be beneficial. She has NOT trained barefoot or minimalistic prior to her purchase. I think that she was the target audience for Merrell: People who want to try or transition to minimalistic.

I want to be clear about one thing...NEITHER MERRELL SHOE IS EVEN CLOSE TO BAREFOOT! They are more like an introduction shoe for people who want to consider minimalistic training. From Shod to minimalistic...Barefoot Tyler and other BFRs will tell you, its best to start to run totally barefoot first to get the maximal tactile feedback, develop your form, then pull back to minimalistic.. I have to agree!

I wish that someone would make a non-fingered KSO style lace-up shoe while keeping the sole to a minimum. I sometimes wonder if I would be happier putting duct tape on my soles and run. (or "man up" and go 100% barefoot)

On a side note, After logging over 300 miles in my KSO's and barefoot, I discovered my shoe size has shrunk one whole size...I have regained my muscle tone that was stolen from me by Nike. BUT, now my $300 hiking boots that I wear backpacking, no longer fit properly..ughhhh

Carpe Diem

Addendum: After three months, I find myself wearing these shoes on a daily basis for everyday living. I DO NOT RUN IN THEM. (I prefer VFF"s)
It is a compromise with the so called "real world". I wear them without socks, nobody notices them and I can be "semi-minimalistic" while fitting into society. (If I had my way, I would live in VFF's or barefoot). So I will probably buy another pair when I wear these out.But will shop for something more minimalistic at that time. Alas, I am still waiting for a Vibram NO Finger version for everyday, society excepted use.

Carpe Diem

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Splash in the Puddle

Dahlonega had some rain, along with the rest of the southeast. I skipped riding my bike to school and rode the stationary at the gym. This is definitely a different workout than the route I ride to school. The stationary bike tries to add "hills", but fails in relation to the hill I have to climb. Maybe I am just used to riding  a bmx bike and the stationary bike may be accounting for a change in gears? Either way, it is a different workout being that it feels more cardio oriented than strength based. This isn't a bad thing.

After riding the bike I had a choice to make. Should I run around the .10 mile track or go outside in the wet mess? I really dislike that little circle. It is boring and strains my right knee and right arch since I have to make a right hand turn every 10 seconds. They also make me wear shoes... Screw it, I'd rather be wet!

I drove out to the park, kicked off my Vibrams, and started my run. This was supposed to be the longest run since I restarted, at an insane 2.5 miles. :P

About 0.5 miles into my run my knee started to feel uncomfortable. I stopped and stretched, paid attention to my form, and continued on. All was going well!

At the 2 mile mark I got tired of running in the road. I played on some gravel, which was kushy and massaged my feet as I ran across it. I also ran through some puddles, chased a bird, and got back on the road to finish at 2.7 miles. A little more than I had told myself I was going to run, but I was having a great time.

Sometimes rain is a good thing.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Think I Found My Plan!

After digging through marathon training plans, I stumbled on Jeff Galloway's Marathon To Finish plan.

Unfortunately the 50k run I wanted to do is not offered this year. Now I need to hunt up a new goal!