Sunday, January 31, 2010

Summary - January

Well one month in and I'm feeling good. I wasn't sure if I'd bitten off more than I could chew, but I'm finding that running everyday is easier than I thought, as long as I don't overdo it. I did go barefoot 7 days in 8, and that was too much too soon, but other than that I am happy with my progress. I am definitely feeling much fitter, and my speeds and heart rate are showing that.

I want to run more km's each month than the previous month, so a starting point of 210km is a good base to begin with. Bring on the rest of 2010!

I remember the calves feeling sore in the first week, but that is all a distant memory now. I am relieved at how quickly my legs have adapted, as it might have been a bit tough keeping it up otherwise. I feel good and strong, and touch wood I don't feel even close to any injuries occurring.

Some random thoughts
  • Starting out at a very easy pace ensures your body warms up correctly and you don't place undue stress on your heart. I found the runs where I felt best were when my first kilometre or two was at a slow pace. The trick will be to find a way to achieve this same easy start in races, as you generally have too many people around at the start line to do any sort of warm up while you're waiting for the gun.
  • I think the runs where I had the heart rate spikes at the start of the run occurred because I went too quickly at a time when I wasn't feeling flash. This is related to the point above.
  • Sans music is the way to go. I didn't take the mp3 player out once and didn't miss it.
  • Sans warm-up stretch is also the way of the future. You don't need it and it's more likely to cause injuries than no stretching. 10-20 minutes of slower jogging to start out with to warm up the body is enough. A light stretch after is all I ever do, and only after harder sessions at that.
  • The barefoot feeling is fantastic, but it does take time as I've written about. I just have to give the soles more adaptation time, but they're getting there. A few more months should do the trick. The vibrams are a good way to keep up the speed and develop the fitness in the meantime.
  • Last, but perhaps most the most important discovery I have had - feeling like crap is not a good reason not to run. Feeling like crap is THE best reason to run! It will be hard at first, so go easy, but by the end of the run you should be feeling a lot better.

The numbers game
Distance : 209.48km
Tan Time Trial : 14:59
Fastest 1km time : 3:30
Number of Blisters : Too many to count
Injuries : 0
Days Rest : 0

So it's adios January, hello Feb.

Day 31. Tan Time Trial

Jack was heading down to the tan so I joined him for a few laps of light jogging, with one time trial lap thrown in the middle. After getting around in 15:27 a few weeks ago, I wasn't sure how I would go this time, but was pleasantly surprised to just pip the 15 minute barrier at 14:59. Talk about scraping it in. So the next target is 14:30. Maybe by the end of February...

It was getting warm out there even by 9 in the morning, so I'm glad we went early. This arvo would have been a killer. Although I completed about 14-15km in total, I'm just going to list the time trial run here, as I can't be bothered uploading all the other run details. Our last 1 and a half laps were done barefoot at a pretty easy pace. I had to call an end on the second trip up Anderson St as it was generating a bit too much friction even at a slower pace.

Although the tan is not the fastest track - apart from being hilly, it's a bit slower running on the sand / gravel than sealed surfaces - I think I'll make it my end of month time trial for any month where I haven't got a race coming up in the next week. The hills make me want to spew and I feel like stopping most of the way after I reach about 2km in, but that's why it's so good to do :)

So that's it for January! A summary post is on the way.

Run Summary - Tan Time Trial
Distance : 3.83km
Time : 14:59
Elevation : +41.8 / -40.0

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 30. Some intervals

Out on the aths track today after a warmup to do a few 1km intervals. These felt good, hard of course but that's the idea. I think I'll aim for a few more next time, as I felt I could have pumped out a few more today.

Run Summary
Distance : 7.23km
Time : 32:18
Elevation : +50.5 / -54.7

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 29. The two halves of barefoot adaptation

The last few days have confirmed what I already suspected. I have now been running in the Vibrams for about 7 or 8 months, and over that period I experienced the occasional tired muscle or foot / calf / ankle as muscles adjusted and were used more frequently (and correctly). This eventually disappeared and earlier this month I reached a point where I considered my legs to finally be barefoot trained, at least in a muscular sense.

However, with the excessive load I have placed on my soles as I go completely barefoot, I realised that I had only completed half of the equation. The "toughening up", or adaptation of the soles is equally important, and something that the minimalist shoes such as the Vibrams cannot help you with.

I went out today and could not even feel the blisters and "hot spots" that have developed on my soles (exclusively on the toes and balls of both feet) with the Vibrams on. When I look back at how I adapted my muscles, it was usually a case of one day of running (sometimes two), and one or two days rest. I need to apply the same strategy to conditioning the soles, and eventually building to turning the ratio around the other way, and then progressing to exclusively barefoot.

I think if I was to have my time over again, I would go 1 day vibrams, 1 day barefoot, 1 day of rest, gradually building up the distance and speed over time. But I am never one for much patience, so I don't know if I could have actually done that!

Today's run was revealing in other ways. For whatever reason I was feeling very ordinary and lethargic at the start as I headed around Albert Park lake, but by the end of the run and afterwards I felt fantastic.I realised that no matter what you feel like, just get out there and bloody well do it! Thanks to Nike for their slogan, if not their shoes :)

Run Summary
Distance : 5.78km
Time : 26:39
Elevation : +28.4 / -30.3

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 28. Can't help myself....Bad Habits...

It's time to concede I'm overdoing the barefoot. 30 odd years of wearing shoes and the resulting soft-as-butter soles can't be overcome in a month. I went against my better judgement today and decided to try to commute home barefoot. Partly because I was curious, partly because I forgot to take the VFF's to work :)

So I set out intending to take it easy, and I did, which definitely helped, but a week of barefooting distances beyond my feet's current capabilities finally caught up with me. I made it half way home before I had to call it a day. I could have kept going but may not have been able to run the next few days, so I took the smart option for once.

I have to drop 2 of the frequency, distance or speed of my barefoot runs. You can't always get what you perhaps my plan to run the R4TK barefoot is a bit too optimistic. I haven't given up all hope but it looks doubtful at this stage. Anyway, learn from your mistakes :)

Run Summary
Distance : 8.08km
Time : 42:39
Elevation : +79.0 / -57.8

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27. The return of the hump day runners

Joined the gang again for hump day running, including running to & from the city. Just a gentle run today. I have slightly overdone the barefooting (too much too soon, as is typical for me) and the feet are a little tender. There are blisters which are not overly painful but enough to feel and have forced me to slow a little. I'll give them a couple of days to recover. My plan to run to work barefoot tomorrow to work has been placed on hold. I'll get the VFF's out and run home as far as is comfortable, but no further. No point in exacerbating the problem.

While looking for info on blister prevention, I found a good website on making the transition from shod to unshod running. It's the Barefoot Running University! I guess I'm hoping to be a graduate without the degree...It mentions some common sense stuff, like if you develop blisters, you're doing too much too soon (mental note to self: duh!).

Left my watch in the office so I'll have to update the run details tomorrow.

Run Summary - Part 1
Distance : 2.53km
Time : 11:30
Elevation : +56.6 / -25.5

Run Summary - Part 2
Distance : 2.30km
Time : 11:49
Elevation : +29.9 / -67.7

Run Summary - Part 3
Distance : 1.09km
Time : 5:26
Elevation : +14.0 / -17.4

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26. Easy does it

Just a quick jog around the aths track today. First 3km's at aerobic threshold, followed by a 250 odd metre faster pace interval to finish with and give the feet a trial at a higher pace. Could feel a little friction in the balls of the feet, but nothing blister inducing. A few of those everyday should do the trick.

Run Summary
Distance : 3.28km
Time : 14:55
Elevation : +0 / -0

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 25. Longest. Barefoot. Run. Ever

Today's run was the longest I've ever run completely barefoot. On my first ever barefoot run I set out to be sensible and just give it a trial, but loved it so much I ended up running 8km and gaining 9 blisters in the process. Since then I've gotten a little less dumb about it and started building up slowly. So today's run was the first time I've gone further than that initial kamikaze style outing. Some observations:

  • At the end of the run I could feel my feet muscles tiring a little. Is good! I haven't felt that for a while, so they must be reaching a new level of fitness.
  • I could also feel the adductors tiring. Again a new experience. I think my running style is becoming more compact, and I'm starting to use the bigger leg muscles in different proportions which is causing slight changes in how things feel.
  • I think my feet have really toughened up - there were a few points on the run where there was pretty rough bitumen and I had to place extra focus on light footfalls, but other than that I never really noticed any discomfort.

Based on my progress so far I am aiming to do the run for the kids barefoot. At the moment I see a few problems I need to overcome to make this happen:

  1. I need to be able to attach the timing chip to my feet/ankles somehow! I'll have to experiment with this when the kit arrives :)
  2. I still can't run at high speeds. To combat this, I might try some short 100-250m faster pace intervals initially and build up to some 1km intervals.
I'll probably still end up wearing the VFF's just for the comfort factor, but it's a good goal to shoot for.

Run Summary
Distance : 9.01km
Time : 40:38
Elevation : +30.2 / -32.7

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24. Back to the start...

Back with Jack to the original stomping ground. We headed up to the Sherbrooke forest runs we hit up on New Years Day. This time around we knew what to expect, but it still didn't stop the hills from winning :) On the first trail, we both hit the uphill section, and our memories played tricks on us because after the first stretch, we both thought it was much easier than last time. Then we rounded the corner and it all came flooding back....there it is! The hill from hell. So the score now stands 2-0 in the hill's favour. I am determined to beat this beotch.

We then hit the second trail after a bit of brunch (no eggs bene this time), and I am proud to say I made it up without stopping, in about 8:23. Not far off my goal of 8 minutes. I thought it would take a few months to reach this fitness level, so I'm happy with the progress so far.

Love these trails. Have to take a small camera up with us next time.

Run Summary - Run 1
Distance : 6.39km
Time : 35:44
Elevation : +223.5 / -230.0

Run Summary - Run 2
Distance : 2.02km
Time : 15:41
Elevation : +117.8 / -117.8

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 23. A quickie...

Busy day today. Have been flat out this morning and off to be an assistant photographer at a wedding soon, so this is a short one, both run length and post length.

Barefoot once again. Feet feeling good, and starting out slow is definitely a keeper, regardless of what the run is aimed at.

Run Summary
Distance : 3.39km
Time : 15:54
Elevation : +9.2 / -4.7

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22. Beat the heat

Just another barefoot run around the local area. It's gonna get hot today, so I beat the heat and ran before work.

2 days in a row of barefoot and my feet feel tingly, in a good way. I'm sure there are probably a few new blisters (I haven't looked yet), but with the amount my feet have toughened up I can't really feel them any more. I have also stopped popping them, and that seems to be a much better method of dealing with them.

I was conscious of starting slow and it seemed to work again. At no point did I feel like I was labouring. Feels good!

Run Summary
Distance : 4.80km
Time : 23:17
Elevation : +1.6 / -8.5

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21. A revelation, plus more BFC

I realised today that I've forgotten something important when I head out running - start slow! Today I went out with the intention of just running slow and easy. After the first km which was a cruisy pace of 5:24, I came to the realisation that this was the ingredient I'd been missing of late - patience.

I decided to make the run a bit longer and keep the focus on going easy. Well as it turns out I ended up at a fast pace by the end and never felt like I'd got out of second gear. It could be a necessity for a fast race time (in short races at least) to go for a 2 or 3km jog as close to the start time as possible. Speaking of races, right now I am setting a goal of a sub 1 hour time for the Run for the Kids in March (14.4km). Last year when I had just started out running I finished in 70:12, so it would be a significant improvement in the space of a year if I can pull it off.

It was getting dark by the end of the run, so I had to end it earlier than I would have liked, but it was a fantastic way to jog my memory (pardon the pun) on how to go about it the right way.

Another barefoot run into the legs, and it's feeling better every time. I am now setting my sights on a barefoot commute. I think I should be able to manage that within the next 2 weeks. Looking forward to seeing how my feet go.

Run Summary
Distance : 5.63km
Time : 26:58
Elevation : +11.3 / -11.6

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 20. Commute and the Curse of the Chronic Chafing

There must be a way to run long distances without serious chafing downstairs. Since I haven't yet discovered it, I reckon I am doomed to a life of redness and pain if I choose to continue on long runs. Yeah yeah a bit of vaseline doesn't go astray, but it doesn't really offer a permanent solution. And I'm into permanent solutions (the non-Nazi kind). It was bad enough to stop me running home even though I felt up to it. Walking is painful enough.

My left knee's lack of cartilage is becoming a minor problem every now and then. Damn you old war (or basketball) injuries. It seems on the downhill sections of a run (no matter how slight) it gets a little aggravated. As soon as I hit the flats it seemed to disappear, but at the 6-7km mark I was definitely in a bit of discomfort.

By the time I'd made it into work it was no longer a problem, but it is something to keep an eye on.

So what was supposed to be a double run had to be abandoned. It happens.

Run Summary
Distance : 13.42km
Time : 105:55
Elevation : +57.8 / -91.2

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 19. BFC III

A quick spin for some barefoot conditioning tonight around the aths track. I am planning on running to and from work tomorrow, so a nice easy run, especially after the gym today.

My feet are feeling good, no new blisters coming up, although it wasn't exactly a long run or world record pace.

I still don't get how a flat as a pancake running track can register as having a 4 metre elevation change. Maybe the terrain was measured prior to the running track being built.

Run Summary
Distance : 2.48km
Time : 10:48
Elevation : +20.7 / -23.5

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18. Trot around the park

Just a quick trot around the local track today. I did one lap at pace but squibbed it a bit half way thru, till I got my second wind. Not much of note today. I think I'm over the dead legs, at least till I hit the gym again tomorrow...

Run Summary
Distance : 4.59km
Time : 20:50
Elevation : +12.5 / -17.0

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 17. Feelin good!

Today was a big surprise. After the last few days which were pretty taxing, I was expecting to be feeling pretty flat, and at first that was exactly what was going on. But then once I was going I discovered I All the lethargy just evaporated and I was buzzing along.

It felt like I was floating above the ground; it is a feeling all runners crave. Maybe it was the fact I was back on flat ground, or maybe it was the gallon of coke I drank at the movies an hour before, who knows. I wanted to keep running but I had to hold myself back a bit at the end and call it a day at about the 4km mark - other things to do (and a massive storm coming in fast). All in all a very pleasant surprise!

Run Summary
Distance : 4.41km
Time : 20:11
Elevation : +9.2 / -12.1

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 16. 1000 steps+

Jack and I wandered up to the 1000 steps in Upper FTG. That's one muther truckin climb. My legs were already pretty tired after yesterday's antics around the tan, and by the time we got to the top I was pretty stuffed.

I was deluded some time back thinking that one day I'll be able to run all the way up the 1000 steps. Talk about living in a dream world. Maybe one day it'll be possible but I don't think that day is in 2010. It's a serious climb!

After reaching the top we carried on down a side trail to get back to the car. Running down that was when I realised how bloody steep it was going up. I now have what I like to refer to as dead leg syndrome. An hour later and they still feel like jelly. I think tomorrow's run will be a little easier...

Run Summary
Distance : 6.23km
Time : 40:47
Elevation : +355.3 / -415.6

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15. Tan II

Instead of interval training, I decided on twice around the tan. Once for warm up, and one flat out to see what speed I can do it in. Before setting out, I thought if I could get close to 15 minutes I'd be stoked. Wasn't too far off in the end at 15:27, at an average of 4:02/km. Next step is to drop that to sub 4 minute average, and below 15 minutes.

Bugger me it hurt though. Going up the Anderson street hill I wanted to stop, but somehow I kept going and it was satisfying to run through the burn. The last half km was just as hard, as it's a deceptive climb after a bit of a downhill dip in between.

An hour later and I'm tired but I feel like I've recovered pretty well. The hammies feel like they've had a good workout, but they're not overly tight.

Now I'm thinking bring it on again next week. Certainly wasn't at the time! Ah ya gotta love endorphins.

Run Summary - Warmup
Distance : 4.02km
Time : 19:03
Elevation : +60.4 / -41.9

Run Summary - The real thing
Distance : 3.81km
Time : 15:21
Elevation : +43.9 / -41.7

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14. The bare minimum...

Just a warm up run today, with some barefeet conditioning thrown in. Twice around the local track only, as I had a hard gym session this morning and the legs are still feeling it a fraction. I want to keep some energy in reserve for the next few days, as I plan to do some intervals and a good hard run up in the dandenongs with Jack on Saturday.

Had a massive heart rate spike today, all the way up to near my max heart rate. Buggered if I know what caused it, since I hadn't eaten for nearly 2 hours. The mystery continues.

The barefoot is feeling easier every time. I know it wasn't a long run, but I can't feel any sore points, although I have found I am still tensing a little as I get to rockier parts, and holding my breath a little. It's funny the way you react to stress - as though taking shorter faster breaths is going to stop my feet from feeling little jabs from pebbles. Ha.

Oh, and for blister strategy - don't pop them. They take way longer to fully heal over if you do. Not that they hurt, but the skin becomes much rougher, very uneven and takes ages to get back to being smooth.

On Jack's recommendation, I'm starting a new book tonight, Once a Runner by John Parker. The book to end all running books if the hype is anything to go by.

Run Summary
Distance : 2.23km
Time : 10:40
Elevation : +3.5 / -5.0

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 13. Commute, and Hump Day more!

Well I guess it was bound to happen eventually, although it died quicker than I thought it would. The hump day runners have disbanded, citing irreconcilable differences.

So it was just the run to work today, I was expecting a second run and left a bit in the tank, when I had no need to. Not that I left that much behind. My heart was coping fine, but my right thigh seemed to be struggling. It's possibly compensating for my slightly weaker left leg, or due to bad posture, who knows.

Either way it was no big deal and I am feeling faster with each run.

Run Summary
Distance : 13.20km
Time : 1:04:12
Elevation : +57.4 / -85.2

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12. More Barefoot Conditioning

After the success of yesterday's barefoot run and the lack of any new blisters or soreness, I decided to go for another barefoot sojourn. Feeling a little more confident, I gave it 3 circuits of the MacKinnon reserve. Well I ended up with 1 new minor blister, but gained a lot of confidence running on sandy gravel tracks.

Yes the occasional pebble digs in a little but I soon wasn't even noticing or caring. Bitumen is still a little tougher, it requires a slightly slower pace to avoid friction. Soon enough that shouldn't be a problem either. Building up slowly but frequently is definitely the way to go.

One big advantage I found is my running form has improved slightly even compared to the VFF's. I was taking even shorter steps and landing even more lightly on my feet, with no loss of pace at all.

I couldn't contemplate going back to regular shoes any more. There is no way I could get the equally important benefits of enjoy running this much, staying injury free and feeling this healthy & fit. Viva la barefoot.

Run Summary
Distance : 3.45km
Time : 16:41
Elevation : +8.7 / -8.3

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11. It's f*%king hot

When its still 40 degrees at 8:30 at night things get a little crazy out there. Decided to use the heat as a reason to take it easy, and got a bit of bare feet conditioning in. Ran on the sand / gravel path, then on grass, then on the athletics track to get a feel for different surfaces. No blisters this time, didn't go overboard.

As I sit here with gallons of sweat dripping down my back, I knew I should have run this morning while it was still cool.

Run Summary
Distance : 3.36km
Time : 17:31
Elevation : +22.4 / -29.6

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 10. Brighton Beach

What a difference 15 degrees makes. Headed down to the beach for a run along the walking track. A combo of a new diet (2 days in I feel like magic, but will wait for a longer period before making a call on how beneficial it is) and a much cooler morning, and I found I had to keep checking my heart rate monitor was positioned correctly because my heart rate seemed so low.

Whatever the case, I was feeling fantastic and a lot faster than I have been previously. Decided to pick it up for a 1km interval halfway through, and without pushing it too hard still came in comfortably under 4:00 despite it being a bit uphill.

There could be something to this change in eating habits. Stay tuned.

Run Summary
Distance : 7.51km
Time : 35:55
Elevation : +35.4 / -33.4

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 9. Gardiner's Creek Track

Damn it's hot out there. No surprise that I found my heart rate elevated a lot higher than normal for the pace I was running at.

The Gardiner's Creek track is a great track winding along, well, Gardiner's Creek obviously. It was far too hot today to go very far without carrying water, so I just left it at a short run. Must get up early on these hot days and head out before the sun starts to sting.

I saw another dude wearing the vibrams! First person in Melbourne apart from Byrney that I've seen wearing them. He'd had them 2 months, picked them up in the states since they're ridiculously overpriced here. Well played sir, well played.

Still not sure what to make of the elevation correction in sporttracks. Sometimes on runs like this it seems spot on, then it goes and screws it all up on something like a running track.

Run Summary
Distance : 4.30km
Time : 22:10
Elevation : +22.1 / -21.1

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 8. Welcome to summer

A short, slow and easy run tonight. Too hot to do much else, although I did get onto the aths track and run a few 100 metre sprints afterwards to see what it's like. Have never really sprinted before. I wasn't too sure what time to expect, so I guess somewhere between 12-14 seconds seems reasonable, but it's a bit hard to time it by yourself, so who knows if that's even close to accurate.

Blisters are still there but no point bitching about them after inflicting them on myself. Besides, they're noticeable but not really that sore. What doesn't kill you and all that jazz.

Run Summary
Distance : 3.14km
Time : 17:24
Elevation : +5.3 / -9.9

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7. Athletics Track

Today I decided on something a little different. I have the advantage of living across the road from an athletics track, so today I gave it a spin...completely barefoot. Although I love the vibram five fingers, and will use them for any races I run in, I would like to toughen up my feet a bit more. To that end, I am going to try running barefoot on all types of surfaces and terrain, probably alternating between the vff's and barefooting.

So starting with a fairly flat and forgiving (albeit slightly rough) running track seemed like a good idea. And it was. At least until I decided to sprint the final lap to see what mediocre time I can run 400m in (1 minute 10 seconds for future reference). This resulted in a few blisters on my toes. I guess that's hardly surprising, since although I have been going barefoot walking a lot lately, this is a different level of workout for the soles. They don't really hurt, more a tingle than anything. Will pop them later after a shower and give them a clean up.

Having said that, I don't recommend going flat out barefoot unless you've eased into it gradually over weeks / months to allow your feet to toughen up (but not harden up - the soles do stay soft contrary to popular belief, they just need the dead skin cleaned away).

It definitely seems to help your time running on this surface. It felt like I was gliding across the track, even before hitting the gas. Being flat helps too no doubt. Although according to the gps data even after correction, it was the bumpiest track on the planet. Go figure. Guess it's not that reliable!

So that's the first week down, just under 57km. I'm amazed at how quickly my calves adapted, and even after the long run yesterday I feel completely fine. The extra load on the body hasn't yet really affected my energy levels in an adverse way, if anything I feel more energetic. As long as I don't overdo it I can see this being bloody awesome for my health & fitness.

Run Summary
Distance : 3.38 km
Time : 14.29
Elevation : 0 / -0

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 6. Commute, and Hump Day Runners

Traffic was hell this morning. Of course, I didn't give a crap, since I ran to work. Somewhere between 13 and 14kms. Had my 3 minute brekky 45 minutes before heading off. Thought this might be cutting it a bit fine but no problems.

Wasn't feeling particularly enthusiastic as I started out. I've done this run a few times and enjoyed it, but for some reason I just wasn't feeling it today. So I took it easy to start, and before I knew it I was in the groove after about 3km. Then I hit the "wall"...luckily I found a 7-11 employee kind enough to let me use the facilities!

Hydration strategy was to take a few mouthfuls of half strength gatorade every km. My watch beeps at me each time I add a click, so this part was easy. Took the camel back with 2 litres of liquid gold on board, and the strategy seems to have worked. I didn't feel thirsty at any stage and recovered fine afterwards. Thighs were a little tired in the last few km's which is interesting for the fact that the legs went before the lungs did.

I've always suspected this run was subtly but steadily downhill to work. The profile confirms it. Didn't realise that I picked up the pace once I hit St Kilda Rd till I saw the profile afterward. Guess I must have been feeling ok. I think it takes me about 20 minutes before I am properly warmed up, and then really hit my straps about 45 minutes in.

Run Summary
Distance : 13.72km
Time : 1:08:19
Elevation : +55.4m, -86.7m

After work it was off to join the lads for the hump day run. The usual route from the city and around the tan, although I finished up close to work so I could pick up my gear. This was at a pretty chilled pace, since some of the boys are still getting their fitness levels up.

Run Summary
Distance : 6.85km
Time : 37:57
Elevation : +123.3m / -107.3m

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5. Duncan MacKinnon Reserve

A short jog around the local park today, 3 circuits of Duncan MacKinnon reserve. Nothing too strenuous since tomorrow's run(s) will be pretty long and taxing. It was pretty warm out there although it didn't feel the 30 degrees that SportTracks seems to think it was.

Calves feeling better every day. Didn't eat in the 2 hours prior to the run, and voila, no heart rate spike. Seems it's just the body reaction to cope with the sudden activity on top of digesting food.

Run Summary
Distance : 3.58km
Time : 16:37
Elevation : +16.7m, -10.7m

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 4. Albert Park

A quick dash around Albert Park after work. First 2km was into the wind, which meant there was a nice little tail wind on the way home. Legs were initially feeling a little heavy from the gym at lunch time, but this seemed to disappear pretty quickly.

Stepped up the pace a little compared to the last few days and was feeling it a bit towards the end, although the calves are much better today. Could feel that Tuna & beans I had about an hour and a half before hand probably needed a bit longer to digest, but nothing too drastic.

It's definitely slower going on the gravel surfaces around the tan / albert park than on pavement. Your feet slip a little with each step. Not much, but enough to make a difference I reckon, especially when you pick up the pace.

Run Summary
Distance : 4.70km
Time : 21:00
Elevation : +35.0m, -33.4m

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 3. Time for a tan

Decided to trot around the tan today at an easy pace, trying to keep the heart rate at about 146. Had the heart rate spike again at the start of the run, although this time much less and it didn't last very long. Had a banana and some water an hour before, so maybe I need to leave it a bit longer after eating before running. Kind of like swimming really. Although has anyone ever really drowned from swimming too soon after eating? Me thinks not.

Felt pretty good today, although the calves are definitely still sore. Must be a bit of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) from the long run to begin the year. It's a good kind of sore though, I can definitely feel them getting stronger, and shouldn't be hurting within a few days.

That's pretty typical when first starting out running "barefoot" - the calves suffer due to being lazy and underdeveloped from wearing traditional shoes, but on the plus side no shin splints, arch problems or achilles tightness. Or any other pains or injuries for that matter. Just ticked over 6 months of barefoot without a single injury or any real pains other than calves. Beats the hell out of all the niggles I used to have.

Back to work tomorrow. Boo that.

Run Summary
Distance : 3.84km
Time : 19:17
Elevation : +52.8m, -51.7m

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 2. Still running...

Another day, another run. This time just a local jog around the block. The calves were a little sore from yesterday, but nothing too drastic. I was feeling the thighs a bit in yesterday's second run, but seem to have fully recovered today.

Occasionally my heart rate seems to sky rocket when I first start out on a run. Today this happened again. I did eat an apple about 15 minutes before the run, and approx 300ml of water as well. Maybe one of these or both caused this. Will have to try to find a pattern for when this happens.

It was a nice afternoon for a run, sunny with a bit of wind, but not hot at all, about 20 degrees. Wasn't feeling particularly fast or energetic, again that might be down to eating too close to the run. Or it might be the fact we ran a fair way yesterday...

Run Summary
Distance : 5.00km
Time : 24:13
Elevation: +23.3m, -28.8m*

* This article gives a good summary of the strengths and weaknesses of typical gps systems. I have used SportsTrack to correct the elevation data. Unfortunately this won't appear in the garmin account data as I can't export to this from SportsTrack.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day 1. Happy New Year!

What better way to start the new year than with a big ol' run (or two)?

Jack and I took the opportunity to head out to Sherbrooke Forest (the one in Victoria, not the Robin Hood one) for a run to kick start the year. Two runs, a big plate of bacon and eggs and a few litres of sweat later, and it was a great way to get cracking on my goal of running everyday in 2010.

My plan is to run at least 1km every day this year. I figure if I am going to get out for at least 1km each day, I'll probably end up going for longer, since by the time I've been going for a few minutes I start to get into the groove and by then the cobwebs have usually been shaken off.

I will be tracking every run on my Garmin watch if possible. I also run in the Vibram Five Fingers, which for those who aren't aware of them, are basically a "shoe" that gets you as close as possible to running barefoot, but with some protection from undesirables such as glass & sharp rocks. The benefits are numerous and the downsides virtually none. In future posts I may provide more info if I have the time.

But I digress. Here are the first 2 runs:

Run 1
Distance : 6.74km
Time : 43:17
Elevation : +262.6m, -263.1m

We started from the Grants Reserve car park, and quickly settled into a good rhythm. Thinking it would be a relatively flat run (relative to the hilly location), I was given a rude awakening when we started heading down a steep track not long into the run. Of course what goes down must come up (or something like that), and not long after we hit the mother of all hills, bringing Jack and I to a walk pretty soon into the climb.

It was a beautiful run however, and with the early morning mist still hanging around the dense forest, it was like being in a scene straight out of a movie. A big thumbs up to this track.

Run 2
Distance : 8.86km
Time : 1:04:58
Elevation : +369.9m, -367.6m

After a good break which included some of the best eggs bene I've ever had (maybe it was the hunger but they were magic), we let our brekky settle and then headed off on another track from the other side of the road.

There was no time for an easy warm up as the track quickly started climbing, and by the time we got to the top we definitely needed a breather. It was spot on 1km and a tough 10 minutes to reach the top which came out onto a gravel road. This track is going to become a personal favourite. Already I want to get that time down to 8 minutes, which doesn't sound particularly fast for 1km, but it will do me just fine. It's a tricky and winding narrow track over lots of tree roots that keeps teasing you into thinking you've reached the peak, before punching you in the guts as you round another corner to see the trail pointing upwards yet again.

After a quick breather we set off again, not really knowing where we were going since checking the map was not something we bothered to put much time into. Somehow we ended up in Belgrave, which was not quite the intention. Still, we found our way back and this was one seriously tough trail. Very steep but also very beautiful, as with the first run.

Well that's it for my first post. I will probably not be so verbose from here on in but will just stick to shorter descriptions instead. Happy reading and happy running.