Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fartlek Run

When I started running, my plan was to run 3 times a week, increasing distance by a lap a day until I hit 9, and then change it up. That's where I am now. Now each week, I will do a fartlek run, hill repeats, and a distance run.

Today, I did my first fartlek run. For those that don't know what that is, a fartlek run is where you run slow to warm up, then run fast until you're tired, slow down until you're ready to fun fast again, run fast, and repeat. It's nice to finally be able to run fast. It's interesting trying to keep my form when running faster. I had to think about my cadence, my stride, and a few other things because running fast feels different.

I couldn't run fast for very long, but I imagine it'll be easier the more I do it. I was wondering when I should stop. Jason Robillard says he goes for a set time instead of distance. He also says that a fartlek run is based on feel, so I decided to run until I felt like I should stop, whatever that means. Anyway, after a little while, I felt a little discomfort in my left foot, so I took that as my signal. It wasn't anything terrible, so I wasn't worried. I took it as a warning that I shouldn't run fast anymore. I haven't felt any discomfort since the run, though, so I think I did it right.

I saw someone running in Vibrams today. He saw me and said, "Barefoot's the way to go." I said, "I like your Vibrams." Profound, huh? I could've said something smarter, but we were passing each other and I didn't have time to think of a response.

After my last run (9 laps), I played racquetball in my Merrell True Gloves. I found myself pounding my feet into the ground. Soon before we ended, I took them off and played barefoot. I found it harder to move around as fast, but I wasn't pounding my feet. I was being more careful, which is instinct when barefoot. Later, my feet hurt and I had shin splints. My feet are not used to stepping lightly when covered. I have diagnosed my problem.

My feet only have two modes: barefoot and shod. They don't know the difference between minimalist and padded shoes. Barefoot means be careful, and shod means pound away. It is for this very reason that I want to completely replace all my shoes with minimalist alternatives. Gradually, without the padded heel to support the problem, shod mode would evolve into something close to barefoot mode.

I would only need three pairs: casual, dress, and sandals. Maybe a purely athletic pair. As for casual, I like the VivoBarefoot Neo Trails. Yes, they're meant for trail running, but they would be nice winter shoes. They are water-resistant and the tread would be nice for snow. In the summer, I would wear sandals, possibly the Teva Zilch. As for dress shoes, probably the VivoBarefoot Ra.

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