Saturday, February 25, 2012

7:30 AM run with the Complete Runner Program

Yesterday was a much needed rest day as everything was still sore but I have mostly recovered now and felt pretty good going for the 7:30 am run with the Complete Runner program.  Lisa was there also and with the group, we set off for a 6 mile run through downtown Raleigh.  We basically ran through some of the historic neighborhoods and it was nice, not much traffic and fairly easy to navigate.  The loop we took was from Cameron Village (Clark St) to Oberlin rd. to Lake Boone Trail to Glenwood avenue and then to Brooks avenue and back on to Clark.  Brooks Avenue was the hardest because it was a long uphill climb, I wasn't sure if it was going to end.  I spent some time during the run talking to Elinor about minimal shoes. Both she and our coach, Tim, had asked me if I always run in minimal shoes and the answer is yes.  It took a good 6 months to acclimate to the minimal shoes but since I've been wearing them, I don't get any blisters, no foot pain/heel pain and my knee has only hurt twice in the last 9 months.  I suspect the knee pain is from me still running with poor form but I keep trying to be mindful of it.  I used to wear orthotics and thickly soled shoes because my right knee would throb the day after a run (all the icing in the world didn't stop the aftermath of pain) and this was the advice I got from a podiatrist and a doctor back in grad school.  And for awhile, the orthotics helped but the pain came back and I quit running for 3 years.  I started up again because I made some new friends in Raleigh that were starting to run.  I ran very very slowly and didn't have much knee pain if I kept the overall mileage low (< 15 miles/week) and didn't go very fast (~12 min/mile).  Once I started going to Forged Fitness and strengthening my legs, I was able to run for longer without any pain but noticed that my shoes would bother me (the thick soles), I took out the insoles in the shoes and felt better but never felt comfortable.  I ended up trying Vibram Five Fingers but did not like them, my toes just are not the right size for the shoes and I never could get used to them.  I decided I needed something that looked more like a regular shoe so I gave the Merrell Pace gloves a try and loved them!

Next time, I'll get a picture with the Merrells in the spotlight.
I first just wore them to Forged Fitness so it was a very easy adaptation to my crossfit workouts and short runs (400 M).  I built up my mileage running in them and sometimes still wore my trail shoes for running on the rocky trails.  I also discovered Pose running through the Crossfit Journal website, and by watching the videos, I learned how to run on the balls of my feet, lean slightly forward and not heel strike.  I could definitely stand to practice the technique but just the little I learned from Brian MacKenzie's videos in the Crossfit journal was tremendous to my running.  I felt much more graceful and was no longer struggling to run fast (relatively fast, okay?!).  By Novemer 2011, I tried the Merrell Pace Gloves in the Raleigh Half-Marathon and felt great (this was going to be my longest run ever in the minimal shoes).   The only stumbling block I had was that I was ONLY running on the balls of my feet, more so on my right foot and never letting my heel touch the ground, this caused me to cramp up in my calf and has made my achilles tendon strain.  I've tried to be more conscious of letting the heel kiss the ground before lifting my foot back up again and it's been the only thing that has required regular running to get right.  Despite how easy running may seem, there is good technique and bad technique and it behooves every runner to learn good technique! I've been much happier and have enjoyed my runs even more now that I can run with better technique, it's also opend up the possibility of getting faster and building my aerobic endurance. 


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