Saturday, November 20, 2010

Oops! -- Wasn't Supposed to Be, But Was 130 Miles Today

No wonder my knees felt a little sore later in the day.

My plan was to run my first 3.2-mile distance since I had that weird fibular head incident a week and a half ago.

But instead, I ran over 4 miles.

My runs since the fibular head thing were:
1.44 miles
2.25 miles
2.75 miles
1.5 miles (was supposed to be first 5K but got cut short)
So, my plan for today was to get back to the 5K distance and to just maintain that until the Disney 5K in January.  But I got confused and added a bit too much without realizing it.  It felt pretty good, though.

The main thing on my mind was how cold it was at first for my feet, and how they felt numb.  I was wondering, as I was out there, if it was good to run with cold feet or not.  After all, one of the great things about running barefoot is the feedback I am getting from feeling the ground.

But with numb feet was I getting the information I needed?  Would I start to pound harder or lose control of what I was doing?  I recently had a really bad dental cavity.  My first really bad one in my life, actually.  The dentist had to numb my cheeks and give me Novocain.  When I wasn't able to feel anything and I tried to spit in the sink, it kind of went all over the place because I couldn't feel what I was doing. Does the same thing apply to numb feet?

At this point, we're still having gorgeous weather, so the cold numb part was only in the beginning, and then it all got warmed up and good.

I feel very fortunate to have been able to enjoy such beautiful barefoot running weather for so long into November.

I am also amazed at how -- yes -- my feet have acclimated to colder temperatures.  By not just immediately stuffing them into warm wool socks and shoes as soon as it got the teeniest bit cold as I usually do, I think that it has given my feet a chance to adjust to the lower temperatures (which are not yet that low).

-------------------Thoughts About Speed-----------------------------
Another thing on my mind was speed.  Yes, the girl who comes in last place practically in the 5Ks thinks about speed.  I have wondered how faster speed would be achieved for me.  I figure a certain amount of speed progress will just develop on its own as I just remain consistent.  That will be the "freebie" speed.

But then later, if I want to run faster, I will have to put forth greater effort and push myself a bit.

But that will be much later.  I still have lots of "freebie" speed increase to gain just doing what I'm doing and enjoying myself.  It's when I stop progressing that I'll have to take stock and decide what to do.

I figure it takes strength to have speed.  Well, I'll tell you, running with extra pounds on the frame does certainly build strength.  I also build strength when I add distance, because trying to keep running gently for that little bit of extra distance while I'm getting tired is where some building happens.

If I lost weight, there would be some more "freebie" speed, because I could capitalize on the strength built from moving all the extra weight.

I did try some speedy sections today.  At the end, when Daffodil knows we're going home and really wants to take off.  I decided to pick up my cadence for the last 1/4 mile.  It really felt good.

---------------Thoughts About Form-------------------
One more thing I was thinking about today was form.  I recently heard a saying from my voice teacher: "Practice Makes Permanent."  I was thinking about that as I ran along barefoot style.  I don't know how many times my feet turn over in "the barefoot mile."  But when I am repping what I'm doing, I'd better be doing it right, or it's not going to be doing anything for me at all.

If I add distance, and I get tired and my form falls apart and I start slapping my feet down, then going extra distance doesn't do a thing for me.

Maybe a few steps with form falling apart will help build a runner.  Like if the runner is tacking on a new extra 1/2 mile and she is trying her best to keep running gently and to keep running like she was when she first started out, then that is training the muscles to be stronger and endure good form longer.

But if it starts to fall apart and the runner is just too tired to keep running well, then she might as well stop and not add that extra distance, because it's not doing anything for her.

Not sure if I was able to articulate that well, but that's what I thought about, so there it is.


Anonymous said...

When I ran on Thursday the ground was COLD! My feet were numb and I kept wondering if I should turn back. I keep going and had a great run! I've noticed my form gets wacky when I get tired if I have anything on my feet, even my Lunas. Bf I don't seem to have a prb.

Janice said...

I live in Ontario, so it gets cold here! I tried to do a 5K race last spring in temperatures that were very close to freezing. I ended up injuring my foot and not realizing it until after. I'm not able to take the cold and don't want to injure myself due to a lack of feedback. This winter I'm going to try Evo Barefoots which are nice to wear. If they're too cold (and I doubt they will be with socks), I'm switching to Soft Star moccasins.

You will find that speed comes naturally for a long time. I don't deliberately work on speed. When I feel great, I go faster until I can't. Some runs are about finding a rhythm and keeping it steady -- embracing fatigue as I like to say.

I lost 30 lbs last year and that put me within the 'acceptable' range for my height. Running with extra weight gives you strength & when you lose the weight, you're definitely stronger.

Good luck with the 5K

Avocational Singer said...

Mamaruns -- I can definitely understand how shoes on the feet would add weight that would cause a real drag once a runner was tired.

With me, when I'm advancing my distance there's a definite point where I feel my legs get tired. Picking up the feet is so important in barefoot running, and when my legs feel heavy towards the end of a run where I'm increasing distance, that's when I have to stay strong.

Avocational Singer said...

Janice -- it's interesting to hear your experience with the numb feet. I think it's all right, like I said, if it's only for a short time in the beginning, but it sounds like there are issues with it if the feet don't ever get a chance to warm up.

I think Michael Sandler said that his feet actually feel hot while running in the snow. I think that happens after some kind of high level of conditioning. I also think I read on Barefoot KenBob's site that running in the cold has to be increased gradually, just like when we originally start barefoot running. But in my mind, that's an advanced barefoot task and I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.

It's great to hear your experience with speed and losing weight and being stronger. It makes me feel excited to keep on going.

ShellBell said...

I am not a speed work person at all. I do very little of it but I have found I've gotten quite a bit faster in a relatively short amount of time after switching to Vibram's & barefoot running. I run 80% VFF's and 20% barefoot right now (varies with the weather). My previous 5k time in shoes was 27 minutes and some change. My most recent 5k PR was 23:43. The biggest change for me I think was getting much better and efficient form. It still surprises me that I ran that fast. I would have thought someone was crazy if they suggested I could run that speed a year ago.

Great pictures!

Avocational Singer said...

Hi, ShellBell, nice to hear from you -- I guess you could say I got faster too just by switching to Vibrams. I had been run/walking the year before in shoes, but had to take off for an injury. When I came back after six months off running, the first day back was with the Vibrams and -- slow as I am -- I ran a bit farther and faster than I had been running before I quit. I was amazed at what happened that first day in the Vibrams.

However, once I switched to all barefoot I slowed down a bit. I'm sure that's just because I had to get my feet conditioned first. Like taking two steps backward in order to go forward.

Ewa said...

I always end up running faster in VFF's but I know my form suffers because I end up with foot pains I don't get when I run barefoot. So for now barefoot running it is. Fortunately it is not too cold here (I am a wuss).

Avocational Singer said...

Ewa -- I found it really hard to find the mid-foot strike when I was wearing any kind of running shoes. When I switched to Vibrams it seemed like I came closer, but still couldn't get it exactly right. I eventually had to get completely barefoot in order to figure it out.

I wonder why we have the experience once the shoes go on it is harder to keep the good form. I would think after repeating and repeating good footsteps while barefoot that we would have trained the form in and that the muscle memory would help once the foot coverings are on -- be it Vibrams or another shoe -- and we could be on some kind of automatic pilot or something.

Perhaps it could be almost like the form is designed to be a fluid thing, something in the moment, and not something that is "set." Something imperfect and irregular, rather than something measured and perfect? I don't know. I'm just guessing.

Ewa said...

My personal theory is that my aging mind and aging muscle memory just refuse to retain the lessons of the good form. But I am not such an old dog yet so I might still learn. :)