SA: 21 miles (3 easy AM, 12 mile hike, 6 mile speed work out)
SU: 18 miles (6 easy AM, 12 easy trail w/some vertical PM)
M: 35 mile cardio push on stationary bike+6 miles easy on the feet+weight lifting
T: 21 (11.5 easy AM, 9.5 easy PM)
W: 15 (5.5 commute, 8 speed work+1.5 barefoot on grass/cement)
TH: 26 mile cardio push on stationary/3 easy AM+9 easy PM+1.5 barefoot pavement running
F: 19 miles (2.5 easy AM+16.5 barefoot PM)
51 miles stationary bike
113.5 miles foot travel
19.5 barefoot miles
Great week of training. This week marks the completion of a paradigm shift in running form and philosophy. My first week of barefooting proved revolutionary in my thoughts and feelings towards running as of late. Since mid-Spring I have been, at most, half-pleased with my training and shape. It has been a constant battle with my knees and their response to various shoes and, ultimately, my running form has suffered tremendously - for a spring of 130+ mile weeks I sure was sloppy. With each passing day I became more uncertain and insecure about my training; am I injured? should I take the day off? can I run the work out today, or shall it be another easy day? etc.? No consistency, always fretting and worrying about the condition of my fragile legs. Something had to change.
With the encouragement of my friends Matt and Josh I took off my shoes and ran barefoot. Wow. My world was turned upside down and backwards. Or, more accurately, it was turned rightside up and front forward. My stride corrected itself in real time based on conversations going on between the ground and my feetsies. Makes perfect sense, but it is a total paradigm shift from the greatest of shoe evolution thought that we were all reared in. Tickled pink with barefooting I was still unsure of the practicality of the sport given the surfaces I typically run on. I needed just a bit of protection underfoot for the gravel and trails that I run on; not padding or support, just a thin layer of protection. With a positive review and final note of encouragement from Matt on the Vibram Five Fingers I hurried to the nearest store (literally dropped everything that I was doing, I was smitten) and picked up a pair of Five Finger sprints.
I proceeded to run the rest of the afternoon (a little over 16 miles, probably a bit much for my first go) like a child - carefree and giddy. I ran around Missoula looking for fun and interesting surfaces to run on; gravel, pavement, cement, thick grass, thin grass, single-track trails, polished scree, pine-needle padded forest trails, large rocks and carpet. I wanted to experience it all. Feel the ground under my feet. Feel period. It was glorious.
My legs and feet are a bit sore this morning - in new and interesting places. But it is a good kind of sore. A kind of sore I haven't felt for awhile. The soreness that comes from a day of good training, not soreness or, more accurate pain, from impending injuries. Suddenly, I am rejuvenated, reawakened, restored on running. My running life had been pretty dry for awhile, but no longer. Things are turning around and in a big way. I am excited to see where the Five Fingers take me, where barefooting takes me. For now, it will likely remain a supplement to training; an arena to hone in and correct the pecularities of my "shoed" stride. Perhaps, it will become the only sort of running I do. Who knows. Doesn't matter. For now? I relish in the revelation. Peace.