As I’ve progressed with the marathon training plan, I’ve been mixing in my old Vibram FiveFingers Sprints into my runs, usually using them on the shorter, slower, recovery runs. I figure they will help keep me honest with my running form, while at the same time mix things up so I don’t stress my foot the same way each run (hopefully keeping my PT tendon from acting up!)
Anyways, because I’m getting back into running in the VFF’s, I figured maybe I should finally take a look at all the new designs that they’ve come out over the past couple years (Bikila, Bikila LS, KomodoSport, TrekSport, etc) and see if there were any that piqued my fancy. It turns out that the latest addition to the Vibram stable of “shoes” is getting rave reviews and is the first to feature a standard lacing system…the Speed. They’re also probably the first VFF model that (almost) look like normal shoes too! Previously this model was only sold in Europe for some reason, but they now are being introduced in the US and are currently sold on CitySports.com for $99.95.
I ordered a pair on Tuesday and they’re set to be delivered tomorrow, so I’m pretty excited! Tomorrow is my off day from running, so maybe I’ll wear them around the house a bit to get a feel. I’m not sure I’m ready to break them out on my long run on Saturday either, but my recovery run on Sunday is looking like an ideal situation to release them into the wild.
Hopefully everyone’s Thanksgiving break was good! I meant to post a little earlier, but I got carried away with the festivities. As this is my wife and my first Christmas as a married couple and first in our new house, we had to make it memorable with some good decorations, so we spent hours this past weekend making our house the brightest on the street (for the moment at least.)
It wasn’t all good though. On Thanksgiving morning, my wife, her friend and me ran our local three mile Turkey Trot & Dip in Mystic, CT. I was running in my VFF Sprints, because at the end of the run we jump into the water (which was insanely cold!) and I figured that was the easiest way to do it. Anyways, at the half-way point, I noticed some discomfort in my left knee, which increased to be a bit painful by the race’s end. I pushed through it though, figuring that as this was my last scheduled run for the year, I would have time to rest. Unfortunately, the next day the knee was pretty sore and I wore a knee wrap for a couple days. It’s still feeling a little tweaked and I don’t want to push it in fear of doing some serious damage. Seems I’ll be taking an additional week off from running while I recover!
This is my first (and hopefully last!) knee injury, but it was probably due to over-use. I ran the Lil Rhody Runaround on Sunday, then did some squats on Monday…something I have just started including in my workout routine. I followed that up with some volleyball on Tuesday and the run on Thursday. I think my knees got more work than they’ve ever gotten in such a short time span. I plan to scale back the squats for the time being and see if that prevents this…so I can get back to running!
To be honest, I’ve been back from the honeymoon for over a week now and while things are going great on the married/house front :-), things on the running front have slowed a bit. Going into my wedding and honeymoon, my PT tendon had been a bit sore and I was hoping that over a week off from running would let it heal properly. However, I still ended up doing a lot of walking and dancing and the foot is still a bit sore.
Last week I went for a couple of 2-3 mile runs and while the foot seemed fine on the runs themselves, the following day or two it was sore again. I’ve started to get pretty frustrated with it actually, to the point where I’ve just about scrapped the idea of running the marathon in October. I guess things could change, but for now I’ve gotten the bike out of storage and am also setting up a home gym, so that I can switch between the three activities and keep in shape while my foot keeps healing. You might see some non-running posts on the site in the meantime, depending on how into biking and weight lifting I get!
Anyways, here are some links that have piled up over the past month since I last posted…
Just felt like stating the obvious, but it’s been VERY hot and humid these past few days in southeastern Connecticut. I went for a 5+ mile trail run on Monday at 9 AM and it already felt like I was running in the jungle. I’m hoping the temperature will drop a little bit, as I need to get in some solid long runs these days as I begin serious training for the marathon in October. I’m assuming/hoping it won’t be 90 degrees with 90% humidity in Newport in October! Anyways, here are some links for your enjoyment to hold you over until the next time I break away from home improvements and wedding planning
I meant to get this post out a lot earlier, but right now I’m getting pulled in all directions and unfortunately haven’t had a great deal of time to tend to the blog. Anyways, there’s some big news lately in the minimalist shoe market, with the biggest announcement being the Inov-8 Evoskin (you know, the brand that makes the F-Lite 230’s that I run in?) The Evoskin will really be the first direct competitor with Vibram Five Fingers and from the image, you can see why! If interested, check out Birthday Shoes and Fitness Footwear for reviews and product information.
Not only has the wedding planning and new house improvements distracted me from blogging, but it also caused me to forget (until very recently that is) that my second half-marathon for the year is next weekend! On June 27th I’ll be running the Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half-Marathon for the second time (ran it last year as the first half-marathon of my life) and am hoping that I’ll be able to beat my time from the Providence Half-Marathon (around 1:52), but we’ll see. The course has a bit more hills, but it is on the water for most parts, which should keep it cool enough. In case you were interested, I’ll be running in my Vibram Five Finger Sprints again.
Earlier this week though I was looking for some new running spots at the new house and headed north into Rhode Island to the Arcadia Management Area. I brought the dog, so I knew he’d only be able to handle three miles or so, since he gets exhausted pretty quickly in the heat these days! That was fine with me though, as it was after work and I didn’t want to get too far into the woods without knowing exactly how to get back to the car (other than turning around and coming back the same way.) I found a map of the place, but since I couldn’t even find the “you are here” mark, it was pretty useless! I’ve since done some research and should have a better idea of where to go next time though.
Anyways, here are some links for your enjoyment…
Barefoot Ted likes running naked from the ankle down [Seattle PI] – A great interview with Barefoot Ted (of Born to Run fame) about, what else, barefoot running! In the interview he discusses some of the fundamentals of running barefoot, along with tips for beginners and more.
The Steve Magness Interview [Tips 4 Running] – Just felt like sharing this interview, which had an interesting quote, “The key is running form. Certain shoes simply impede the process of running right. It doesn’t matter if you wear the most minimal shoe or even no shoes if you still run wrong…You can absolutely run correctly without having to go barefoot. You can run correctly in the heaviest of trainers. It will be much harder to do because you are not getting the conscious or subconscious feedback that occurs barefoot or in a minimalist shoe, but it can be done…The bottom line is that barefoot running should be a tool to improve running form. “.
Last but not least, here’s a video of Miss Canada World 2010, Denise Garrido, who makes Vibram Five Fingers look good!
At about the same time I started running barefoot and in Vibram Five Fingers and started blogging about it last year, it became apparent that there was quite a disagreement raging on the interwebs. This disagreement was between those in favor of minimalist running and those who recommended the traditional running shoe approach (and many Podiatrists, who seemed to become the face of that side of the argument.) As more and more runners read Born to Run and switch to barefoot or minimalist running though (disregarding their Nike-wearing brethren,) there seems to be a new argument brewing.
This argument is between the “true” barefoot runners and those who wear minimalist shoes like VFFs or Terra Plana Evo’s. The barefooters say that you need your soles in direct contact with the ground to get the real benefits. Even minimalist shoes allow you to ignore some of the bodies warning signals and allowing your form to suffer. The minimalist shoe wearers argue that a thin sole between them and the ground allows nearly the same form as if they were barefoot, but with the added benefit of being able to worrying less about scrapes and puncture wounds. This allows them to run at a faster speed and maintain their competitiveness in races, etc.
Even more recently however, in the Minimalist Running Google Group that I subscribe to, there was a post debating the point at which someone could refer to themselves as “Barefoot <name>.” Naturally, this would strike a chord with Barefoot Brandon! Many of those responding on the post came to the conclusion that you had to run a full marathon barefoot before you could give yourself the title. As someone currently referring to himself with the Barefoot prefix and as someone who has never run a marathon in any time of footwear (or lack of,) I figured I’d give my excuse/justification/defense…
My name is Brandon and considering all the domain name squatting going on these days, BarefootBrandon.com was just too good to let sit by the wayside until I ran a full marathon barefooot! Plus, Minimalist Brandon just doesn’t have the same ring to it…and also makes it sound like I’m promoting nudism or something
I believe in ideas and concepts behind barefoot running and use my limited (at the moment) barefoot running as training for when I run longer runs in my Vibram Five Fingers (or other minimalist shoes.)
I plan to run barefoot more often in the future, although it’ll take somewhat of a backseat until I’ve run my first marathon (in VFFs.)
I’m barefoot or wearing minimalist shoes nearly 100% of time I’m not running.
The blog isn’t all about ME! I also share links to studies about barefoot running and posts by other “true” barefoot bloggers.
However, it is MY blog and I’ll do what I like…so there!
Anyways, enough complaining, time to share some links from the past week for your enjoyment…
A Simple Kind Of Man [Competitor] – Great interview with minimalist ultramarathon runner Anton Krupicka, who recently won the Miwok 100K. Definitely interesting to see his take on the Ultra Marathon Man, Dean Karnazes.
Desperate Housewife Stalks Male Supermodel in Sports Death March [Outside] – Interesting article about extreme ultrarunner Pam Reed, who attempts to go head-to-head with Dean Karnazes for publicity in the world of ultramarathon running. While generally a reclusive and ego-free sport, Reed and Karnazes are doing everything they can to take it mainstream…whether or not anyone else likes it.
The Barefoot Running Injury Epidemic [Competitor] – Author Matt Fitzgerald discusses an apparent increase in barefoot running injuries recently, which makes sense due to the increased number of people doing it these days. He also elaborates and hints that the rate of injury is greater among barefoot runners than among those wearing shoes, which is where he starts to get into murky waters. The injuries to barefoot runners are primarily due to lack of discipline in taking it slow during the transition. If the situation was reversed (run barefoot whole life, then jump to shoes and try to run same distance,) we’d probably see an article mentioning the alarming rate of injury for runners wearing shoes. The problem is that there is still a lack of data to really tell which style of running causes/prevents injuries at the higher rate. Proper running form is probably the biggest determinate of whether you’re going to injure yourself or not anyways, so if a lot of people who have poor form in shoes are switching to barefoot and running too far to start, of course they’re going to injure themselves. Alright, enough rambling, read the article if you like.
20 Worst Drinks in America 2010 [Men’s Health] – Sticking with the beverages theme, here are the worst drinks you can find, compared to the sweets you could eat instead
Finally, just wanted to let people know that I made another purchase of Vita Coco coconut juice. I heard somewhere that coconut juice is even better than Gatorade for re-hydrating and using Amazon’s subscription deal (free shipping, plus a discount!) it’s pretty cheap!
I wanted apologize for the lack of activity on the blog these days, but due to changes at work, wedding planning and moving into a new house, it will be a little quieter than usual here at Barefoot Brandon. In terms of my training, most of this week will be a balance of shorter distance runs and work on the new (to use at least!) house. I’d love to set another personal record in terms of total distance before the half-marathon in late-June, but this weekend probably won’t be the time. Next weekend sounds like a good candidate though…thinking 15 miles this time!
Anyways, here are some links to hold you over for the next few days, including the first look at the Vibram Five Fingers Speed shoes…
With my brother’s bachelor party in the rear-view mirror (great time…even though I probably went a little overkill on the partying :-)) it’s time to get back into training mode. I’m in between the two half-marathons scheduled for this year and these next couple weeks will most likely feature a lot less road running then trail running. I’m still debating whether to run a 5 mile trail race this Sunday, but either way, I’ll be hitting the trails for sure, because as far as I can tell none of the big ultra-marathons are run on pavement! Okay, so maybe I’m not preparing for an ultra-marathon quite yet, but I still love the feeling of flying down the trails. Trail running, with all it’s uphills, downhills, and tight turns, helps boost the cardio and endurance as well, which should be beneficial when it comes to race day…even on the roads.
To get things started, today I headed to Bluff Point for what was supposed to be a 4-5 mile trail run. However, I definitely underestimated what Spring can do to the trails! The pricker bushes are rapidly trying their best to completely close off the trails, so between avoiding the trip wires laid across the trail and trying to remember exactly where I was with all the new underbrush everywhere, I ended up running nearly seven miles! After the five mile mark I decided it was time to get back to the car in the the least risky fashion, so I headed to the main path, which is a long gravel/dirt path. It’s not as exciting as the trails in the woods, but at least I could bump my speed up a bit and make it to the car without killing myself.
Anyways, here are a couple of other things that have been going on…
Yesterday, while running to the gym in my Vibram Five Finger Sprints, I saw two kids riding their bikes in their own pairs of VFFs! This is the first time I’ve seen VFFs in public when it wasn’t the day of a race…pretty cool stuff. Seems a bike might be a bit dangerous to ride with exposed toes though, but as little kids about to ride into the middle of the road, I don’t think safety was the first thing on their mind.
Since the Providence half-marathon, I’ve noticed some slight pain on the top of my left foot, between the second toe and the ankle. I’m hoping it’s just a strained tendon or something. It doesn’t hurt when I’m trail running and is only a tiny discomfort when running in VFFs on the road. Even walking around doesn’t seem to bother it, but I can definitely feel it if I push on it. This is another reason I plan to stick to the trails for a bit, so that it can recover and hopefully not turn into a (knock on wood) stress fracture or something!
Finally, here are some links from the past few days for your entertainment…
Just Say No To Headphones [Josh Snellink’s Running Blog] – I used to run while listening to music, but for my first half-marathon last year they were not allowed and ever since, I’ve been running headphones-free! Especially with barefoot/minimalist running, I think it’s a good idea to skip the music so that you can really focus on how your body is feeling. For safety reasons though, it might be a good idea to skip them no matter what shoes you run in!
A couple months ago my sister and I registered for the Seaside Shuffle 5-miler in Old Saybrook, CT, as a warm-up for the Shape Up RI half-marathon on May 2nd. Well, it seems the time has come to begin preparing for the race, with less than 48 hours between now and the start time! My goal for the race is to beat my time of 38:29 for the Leprechaun 5-miler in March, but even if that is not accomplished, I’ll be satisfied with feeling ready for the half-marathon.
Yesterday was my first 100% off-day in over a week, so it’s time to get back on the horse, starting this afternoon. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms, but that’s not going to stop me from running about three miles today, as well as tomorrow, to get ready for the race. Check back on Sunday or Monday (or check my Twitter account @BarefootBrandon) to read the race report and see how I did!
Anyways, here are a couple links from the past couple days…