Sunday, April 24, 2011

Natural / Forefoot Running

I heard quite a bit about Natural / Forefoot/ Minamalist running from both podcasts and reading the book "Born to Run".  I was sure it was great for some people but never felt the need to explore it further.  A book come out by one of the owners of Newton Running shoes called Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger, Healthier Running and decided to read it, just for informational purposes.  I had no intention of changing my running style.

After reading, I found myself trying the forefoot running just a bit.  The main thing I really liked about the Natural Form is the lack of 'braking'.  'Braking' is the force that slows you down as your heal hits the ground as you are running.  By not landing on your heal, running becomes a continuous motion.  Makes running more smooth and efficent.  

After a couple of weeks of practicing forefoot running, I found myself unable to heal strike.   It wasn't a painless transition, there were times when my calves felt like they were broken.    Once I got over the calf issue,  natural running has become second nature.

I upgraded my shoes to Kinvaras.  They have a lot lower heel than your traditional running shoe.  If you are forefoot / natural running, you don't need that large unnatural heal on regular running shoes.  And they are super light, and super bright!

Speed has been the biggest different I noticed.   While heal striking, I found it very difficult to ever go faster than 11:00 pace.    My endurance isn't magically any better, and running is still very hard, but my pace is usually significantly better.


Hampton Half Race Report

*** Sorry for lack of updates.  Gonna do a few posts to catch up ***
It was beautiful day in Hampton.  Beautiful, cold and windy!    The day started out fun by meeting with a group of Daily Milers in the morning.  A very friendly group of people.  It was surreal seeing people in real life I only know from little avatar pics from the Daily Mile website.
The weather was cold enough that I had to wear my big goofy winter hat (it has a face cover you can pull over your face if necessary) and sweat pants.  I HATE HATE HATE running in sweat pants.   I think this race was a hint that I might want to invest in some running pants, especially if I need to training in the winter.  
The first 6 miles were uneventful, and I maintained a sub 12:00 pace which I was content with.  As with all my running, I struggled, but I  felt ok.  Soon after that, I started falling apart soon after the first and pretty much only significant hill.   Below are my splits:

As I think back to the race, I only recall the last 3 miles being really tough to plow through, but by looking at the splits, it seems mile 8 was where the trouble began.   Nothing in particular hurt, I was just tired, or tired of running.  Not sure which. 

The last 4 miles were absolutely beautiful.  Running down Rt 1, even though it was still brutally cold, the scenary was stunning.   It seemed like you could see for ever, including  every detail from the Isle of Shoals.   At this point my body was done with running and I just wanted to be done, but the fastest way home was to run.

My finish time was 2:46:53.  Less than 2 minutes better than my Manchester half, and Manchester is a lot tougher of a course.   At first I was surprised and dissapointed at this result.  After some reflection, I realize this is exactly what I should have expected.  My training for this race was almost identical as my half in Nov.   Never did a run more than 7 - 8 miles.  And both times I only did one of those.     So in the future, I need to do more, longer runs if I'm going to do a Half.    Some pics of me struggling: