Runmeter 5K Plan W6R3 (Long Post)

Today was week 6, run 3 of the Runmeter 5K training plan.  Semi-overcast, cooler temps (only about 79F!) made for a nice run.  I ran in a new location that, so far is a favorite on many levels, but is nearly completely covered in trees, so the GPS from the phone/Runmeter combination really sucked today.  Data was totally off as the GPS had nearly 16 minutes of dropped signal/tracking.  I wonder if one of the Garmins or other GPS devices work better (stronger?).  With that tree coverage, I am not sure, but I have seen other locals who have run the same path post their runs using RunKeeper and the routes look accurate.

I don’t know.  I hate to be hung up on data, but it is nice to have some accuracy when using the technology.

I enjoy this particular location because of the variation in elevation, something my other two usual routes don’t have so much.  The path is all concrete, which would normally bother me running with old form (heel striking).  I parked, gathered my stuff and walked down to the path for the duration of the warm-up walk (barefoot), through on my Inov-8s and took off.  After yesterday’s second bout with stomach virus-esque issues, I wasn’t sure how today would go.  Didn’t matter, just felt good to be out there.  No breakfast beforehand, either….something that used to really bother me in terms of blood sugar and exercise.  Now, not much anymore.  I am not sure why.

The first run interval was easy, and short.  The last longer interval went well, but had some good hills, so my cardio is still in need of refinement and my form tends to get worse as I run longer, so I dialed it back in terms of stride, but kept pace up as best as possible, and kept refocusing myself on landing form, etc.  I try to do this as much as needed, but also try to let myself not over-think….just run, and listen to what the body says.  I also ran today without music.  Two runs now….that is strange for me.  Anyone who knows me will agree.  It was nice to be able to continue listening to my foot strike to help gauge whether I was pounding too much, especially toward the end.  The good news is, I think my impact was smoothest today consistently throughout the run.  It was a very quiet run.  I do notice that when I shorten my stride and have to dial it back a bit in places, my foot strike is more full/midfoot glide….not a heel strike, but not just on the balls of my feet either.  When I throttle forward more, and open the stride up more, the strike is more on the balls of my feet/forefoot.

Today’s intervals (Runmeter 5K W6R3 Inov-8 195s):

5 minute warm-up walk
3 minute run
3 minute walk
18 minute run
5 minute cool-down walk
(plus extra few minutes of run time)

At the end of the cool-down walk, I still had about a half or a third of a mile stretch back to the car, not terribly far, but enough that I decided to stay with my new tradition of practicing form via barefooting it. So, I took the inov-8s off and kept the app going and ran back to the entry point of the path/route barefoot.  This is the first time, though, I have truly run–stretched out with the pedal down, so to speak–barefoot.  I’ve run around a parking lot before and after runs in the past, but never on the road.  This path is a dedicated run/bike path, so I had the runway clear.  I can tell you this right now.  After running that stretch of about a half or third of a mile barefoot, I understand those who are 100% barefoot runners.  I hate shoes now.  Yes, having had foot injuries when younger provides a mental / physical concern in doing this, always wondering what foreign object will pierce through my foot, shredding it into pieces, destroying every bone in some violent news-worthy fashion.  However, this path is incredible for running this way.  They clear it of debris and maintain it very well.  It is VERY easy to see where every foot strike will land and what is ahead.  Even in my rather minimal Inov-8s that are quite lightweight and flexible, I cannot maintain a barefoot-like strike for as long.  The minute I pulled them off at that last stretch and just ran wide open, it was absolutely unreal.  I could run about 3 times faster, maybe more, with what felt like WAY less energy and less work.  It was easier to land right, and move right.  Just that stretch made me immediately understand the barefoot running movement.  My eyes roll no more.

People, here at least, think it’s crazy, and I would too normally.  Halfway on my run back, I passed two ladies running in the opposite direction.  I guess because I had my headphones in, they assumed I couldn’t hear them over my music, but because I wasn’t listening to music, I caught part of their conversation which went something like:

“That guy is running barefoot?!”

“Yeah, actually, I just read about this.  Apparently more people are running barefoot now.”

“Nuh uh….”

“Yeah, supposedly it helps with….”

That’s when I was out of range and couldn’t hear more.  At least one of them seemed knowledgeable about it, which is interesting.  I hate movements/marketing parades and trends, but when you run wide open using your bare feet, your form and your body seem to just line up.  Even my breathing was totally different…I can’t figure that out.

Barefoot runners: I get it.  My legs…knees…shins…calves…all the way, immediately felt relaxed, and efficient.  I could use some VFFs for other routes I run, or something super minimal.  I love the Newtons I’ve had and used, and I love the Inov-8s, but need less.  Less IS more.  You can’t convince me otherwise now, especially when that last segment I ran today would have worn me down to nothing with normal footwear.  I know sprinting isn’t best, mainly at end of run, but I was hauling it–light and easy.  No issues.  No soreness.  No injuries.  Nothing.

Just running.

(Tip of the day: fellow dudes, don’t forget your small round band-aids or similar products so you don’t get the irritation/bloody shirt.)