Thursday, 31 May 2012

30.05.12 Running Upright

So I came home from work today, determined to do a longer run.  I got changed and decided that I would do the run that I used to do when I first moved to Wellington.  As I remember the run, I recall it is around a 5km run and should take me about 30 minutes.  This is the perfect stepping stone from my 20 minute runs so I am looking forward to it.  I even put on my heart rate monitor!  The run consists of a long downhill from our house and then it flattens off after around 1km.  I have been thinking about it over the last couple of runs and I start thinking about it again today.  I have come to the conclusion that until your feet are really ready for these shoes, downhill running is not good.  The reason for this is that I am so concerned about landing heel toe that I feel like I am being very tentative in my running and it doesn't feel right.  It feels like I am taking a very short stride and almost tiptoeing down the hill.  If I was doing this for a long time on a long run, I could imagine that this would become quite sore for the bottom of your foot.  I watched a youtube video the other day about the fact that the Vibram shoes are great for training but they are not fast shoes.  "If they were fast then everybody would be wearing them" the guy said!  I can understand that they may not be so fast especially running downhill (well for the moment at least) but on a flat piece of road in a marathon or ironman, I personally think that they can be just as fast as a normal running shoe or maybe even faster!

I am now on the flat and just like the other day, I really feel like I am running upright.  I feel so upright it is almost unnatural.  My shoulders are back and I am sucking in the air with ease.  I am feeling really comfortable on the run and find myself as I have been through this whole transition process into barefoot running, really concentrating on making sure my feet are landing correctly.  On this flat section though I find myself not concentrating as much on my foot strike.  I realize that my feet are never going to go heel toe as it would be too uncomfortable and my body would react.  I try to forget about my footing and by doing this the run becomes even more comfortable.

The last section of the run is straight up a steep hill.  When I say hill I mean from 160 metres to 295 metres at our Front Door.  It is straight up for around 1km and then the last 1km is a mixture of flat and steep incline.  My calves are starting to tighten more so on my left leg than my right for some reason.  Although they are tight I know that if they are going to get really tight it is going to be on this hill.  I start the hill and feel no difference in my legs.  I am starting to tire by this stage but I am still running upright.  I make it up the hill and to the quick flat section before the last incline before home.  I am feeling really tired by now but my feet feel fine and I finish the run.  I look at my clock and the run has taken 24 minutes and was a little shorter than I expected only 4.15km.  Regardless of this I have completed two runs in two days and my legs are fine.  My bad knee is playing up a little bit.  It is a bit sore when I start my run and a little sore the following day but it is not a major concern at this stage.

Below is the graph of my run.  As you can see it is quite a steep downhill until the flat and then the uphill run home begins.  As you can see also, the blue line shows my speed.  The speed is very consistent no matter running downhill or uphill or on the flat.  The only deviation is when I stopped at a couple of lights.  This graph backs up that these shoes are making me more consistent with my speed regardless of the terrain.  It must be because I am running upright...

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