Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Another Good Run. Bad Idea?

Had another great run today in the Vibram Fivefingers. I've been interested in what the calibration last weekend would do to my standard lunch run at work. It seems like things are more in line, and I'm still holding a decent pace. If you look back at my recent runs it looks like my calibration did reset things a bit. On my lunch loop today the run was recorded as 7.31km. The three runs prior to calibration came in at 7.71, 7.87, and 7.58. It isn't that far off, but I think the new number after calibration is closer to reality. Guess we'll see how how it logs my run in the Sun Run this weekend (assuming I can pull it off in the VFFs).

I've been fighting some foot pain in my left foot, and have been trying to get enough rest between runs. It has been a little frustrating. The pain has been strange: mostly on the top of my left foot, and very bad in the morning. But, after 10 to 15 minutes I feel fine. It is unlike other pain I've had in that it goes from feeling like I'm actually injured to feeling fine in a very short time. After my April 28th run, I was a little worried. I had some significant pain. I almost skipped running last weekend, but the weather was so good... and I wanted to calibrate the iPod... and... and... and...

I think it is easy to overdo it when transitioning to the VFFs. Since I started running I've been in running shoes: almost exclusively the GEL Kayano. I have years of training, muscle memory, and a better cardiovascular system than I've ever had. In all that time my feet muscles tendons and bones have been restricted. My foot has been held in place. I've hand my natural pronation restricted. i've been heel striking, and rolling off the front of a shoe that rolls up under the toes so they don't have to flex back. And here I've mostly switched to running with a "shoe" that does none of that. I'm landing on my forefoot and softly catching the weight of my body. My foot has been compressing, absorbing energy into my arch, springing back and returning that energy to the ground while the foot rotates from the outside midfoot to the inside ball, and pushing off of the two biggest toes as they get stretched back. None of my foot is used to this. My brain loves it and my quads love it and my cardio loves it. My feet really love it, but I think they would love it much more in moderation.

So, glancing through I come upon an article on Making the Transition to Minimalist Marathon Running in Vibram Five Fingers. OK, it appears I am making a very common mistake.

Well, I started out with a few small runs after my knee was feeling better, a few km's at a time and they felt GREAT! I could instantly feel the change it had made to my gait. I was running far more upright, with shorter steps and of course I was landing on my forefoot first. I had the obligatory calf pain, but as I had read this was "something we all had to go through!" ... Well, that was a big mistake! A few days later, my left foot ceased up (I later found out related to an extremely stiff calf!) and I was back to square one. Or was I? Was it due to the FF's? Was it my poor form? I was at a loss.
Yikes! That's me! Right down to the fact that it is my left foot and I have short, stiff calves.

So I've been trying to make sure I get enough rest between runs. I didn't run from Saturday to Monday (today). The rest did me good. I was no longer feeling injured, but I was worried about going out again. I actually got some butterflies before my run. But once I got on the pavement I felt great. Really great. I felt quick and confident and strong. I felt good the entire run. No issues. On the plus side, I'm only running 7km so far, not the 25km of that guy. Guess I'll need to see how I feel tomorrow. I think I've got enough rest time before the Sun Run that I should be able to run it. It's just 10k, right?

Am I making a mistake? Of course. Am I making a mistake big enough that I shouldn't do it? Lets see.

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