Friday, 24 May 2013

Longest run to date

Today I've run 10.35 miles :)

I couldn't decide what footwear to put on before this planned long run.  Options were Vibram Classics - so far the footwear that's seen my longest run of 7 miles or so; Vivobarefoot - I didn't fancy these for a long run, because they are ever so slightly too short on the toe (my fault for being a cheapskate and buying the only remaining size in an Amazon special); or Merrel Pace Glove - super comfy when I tried them out the other day, but I've only done 2 miles in them, and the last thing I wanted was to have to cut the run short over a blister.

The other option of course was regular trainers, and I admit I was tempted with these from a safety point of view - I know I can run 13 miles in trainers, because I've done it before.  I reminded myself that my goal is to run the 10k and possibly half marathon in minimalist footwear though, and that trainers don't guarantee blister-free running (I've got the photos to prove it), so I finally plumped for the Classics.

When I ran 3.5 miles on Wednesday I had a bit of Top of Foot Pain (TOFP), and I was concerned that this might be an issue for a long run.  However, I recall Barefoot Ken saying that pain can help you refine your form, so I decided to view any pain as being welcome, so long as I could then adjust my form to prevent the pain.  Before I set off I did some Asian Squats - something I've been trying to do once a day to built foot strength and stretch my achilles / calves etc.  I also did some tiptoe exercises - I could feel the TOFP when I stood on tiptoe, so I adjusted the angle of my foot slightly and this avoided the pain.

Once running, I adopted the same foot angle as when I had practiced standing on tiptoe before setting off.  I tend to run very straight footed (if not actually turning my toes in towards each other just a little). This seems to put extra pressure on my 2nd and 3rd metatarsals.  By turning my foot out ever so slightly (ie so my feet would make a very slight v shape if I stopped and put them together - like a ballet stance) the pressure was taken from the middle toes and moved more squarely to the ball of my foot.  This seemed to do the trick and the pain was non-existent when I used this technique - just coming back if my form changed.

I took my shoes off 2.5 miles into the run, and did 1.4 miles in bare feet, and then put the shoes back on for a while, removing them again just over 7 miles in.  I did a total of 2.93 miles in bare feet (the longest I've done so far), and 7.42 miles in Classics, making a total of 10.35.  Towards the end of the run, my knees felt quite stiff, but the pain was not a 'bad' pain which concerned me, just a bit of muscle fatigue I think.  What was reassuring was that both knees were equally sore, which made me think that I must have been running nicely aligned (something which I'm sure I never used to do).

I'm very pleased with today's efforts.  I finished off with a cold bath for my knees, and my feet are a little sore on the soles, but nothing that a good night's sleep won't sort out.  If I continue to progress as well as this, I should be able to complete the half in Classics / barefoot.  Happy days.

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