Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Week 2, Day 3 - Week 3, Day 1 (6th and 7th overall)

Week 2, Day 3:
Didn't have a chance to hit the blog after this run. I was busy enjoying the weekend. Anyhow, it went well. The only trouble I had was finishing up a steep hill, which maid me want to collapse in a sweaty pile of goo. But, I kept going, and finished the run as scheduled.

Week 3, Day 1:
Last night was the first day of the new week, introducing a 3-minute continuous run. Being the first day after two days of rest, it wasn't very tough at all. In fact, the 3-minute runs made the 90 second runs seem much, much shorter. Not only that, but the total time of the run/walk was less than the first two, so I was back inside much quicker.

The weather was markedly cooler than it has been for any of the runs thus far. It was after a nice thundershower, just after dusk. It was really very pleasant.

The one concern I've been having lately is the pain in my feet. It is on the outside of the foot under the ankle, mostly my left foot. It has been pretty sore on the day-after, like today, but does seem to feel pretty good a couple days later when it is time to run again. A little Ibuprofen seems to do the trick as well. I hope this is just muscles that are not frequently exercised, and not the beginning of an injury or problem. It's more of an ache and not a sharp pain, so I am optimistic.

All things considered, the program is progressing quite nicely, and my Five Fingers are holding up well. A night of rest and then I'll be on the road again.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Week 2, Day 2 (5th overall)

Last night's run was a little bit tougher than the previous one. It was probably the hottest day of the year to date, and difficult to catch a full breath of oxygen. Besides that, I ran a different route than before, and it had a lot of uphill segments. It seemed like it was uphill in both directions, lol. My calves are burning more and more each time I run. I think this is because I am getting my form corrected and striking the ground with the forefoot more than the heel. At times they burn so much that I have to land more flat-footed just to give them a break.

I also had some pain crop up on the outside of my left foot, underneath the ankle. It might be a ligament or a muscle, I'm not sure. It really didn't hurt until the cool-down part of the run, when I really started to noticed it. I'm not sure what it is, but it seems a little better today.

All that being said, I finished the routine as planned. I was definitely going slower toward the end, but like they say, you just have to keep going, without regard to speed. I did. One more day of week 2, two days of rest, and then it's on to week 3. I think I'm ready.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Week 2, Day 1 (4th overall)

Going to keep this brief. Last night's C25K run was awesome. It was:

Brisk five-minute warm-up walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

I had no pain at all before the run, got a nice stretch in before and after, and had little trouble finishing the first day of week 2. I am completely sold on the benefits of barefoot running. If I was doing this in shoes, my knees and shins would be killing me right now. Instead, they are completely pain-free.

The only pain I have is a little in the feet, and the bottom of the calves. This is just a bit of soreness, and I have no doubt it will go away. It is just my muscles getting used to the exercise.

The toughest part of the run/walk was the last running segment. It was up a moderately steep hill, and it ignited my calves. It put me almost out of breath. But I finished it, and it felt awesome.

Onward I go!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Week 1, Day 3 (3rd overall)

Last night was the third and final run of week 1, and it felt GREAT.

My knees felt great. My shins felt great. My blisters felt better, and my calves...

...made an appearance!

That's right, I finally feel some burning in my calves. What is weird is that they didn't burn during the last run or the day after the last run, but yesterday they started whispering to me: "I am starting to feel a little sore." During the run last night, they were again silent. But today, they again feel sore. It is only a little bit, and it is only the bottom part of the calves, but it is nice to finally feel what I was supposed to feel using these Five Fingers. I feel like I am doing something right.

My KSOs felt much better last night thanks to a modification I read about on birthdayshoes.com. I noticed that my big toes were quite tight, but my other toes barely fit halfway into the pockets. What I did was heat the bottom part of the big toe with a lighter until the rubber material was warm, and then stretched it out with my hands. I repeated this several times and it doesn't stretch very much. But when I tried them on, it was like they fit perfectly. You may not feel good about applying fire to your $80 Vibrams, but I don't think there is much to worry about. As long as you don't touch the fire to the fabric on top of the shoe, you should be OK. Keep in mind I did this with KSOs. I don't know how it will work with the other models.

This modification made my blisters feel much better, as they were most likely caused by the misfitting shoes. A new one cropped up on the ball of my left foot, but it didn't hurt too bad. I have a feeling they will be nice and tough after my two day rest before starting week two of the program.

I was more out of breath last night than I was the first two days, and I think the reason is twofold. First, it was very hot and humid last night, difficult to get a full breath of oxygen. Second, I was running faster than I had before, without slowing down much as the run/walk went on. With the blisters and knees feeling good, there was no reason to slow down. It was the best workout yet. I am more than ready for the next step.

Today, the day after, feels awesome. Just some minor pain in my right foot. Everything else feels fine. No run tonight or tomorrow night. Bring on week two!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Week 1, Day 2 (2nd overall)

Last night was the second day of the restarted program for me. It went like this:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Not too strenuous, huh? Well, when blisters start forming on your pinky toes, and then your big toes, it makes this simple run/walk much more daunting.

Blisters. This was supposed to happen, is supposed to happen to Five Fingers newcomers. But that doesn't mean I can't complain about it.

They hurt! They started on my pinkies, forcing me to run more off my big toe (which perhaps I should be doing anyway...), which then caused blisters to form on my big toes. One thing that helped me along the way was the grass running parallel to the sidewalk on which I ran. During the walking segments, I walked in the grass, and it felt GREAT.

The good news about the run was that my shin splints have virtually disappeared, and my knees have no pain whatsoever. Also, I was running faster than ever until the blistering started.

The day after brings me some foot pain. Mostly the blisters, but also some general soreness in the balls and arch. My calves are surprisingly quiet, as I've read these are usually sore after using VFFs. Perhaps I am doing it wrong? I doubt that, because last night just felt so right.

I am hoping the blisters get tougher before tomorrow nights jog. I just want to get that one over with and get my two days of rest before starting week 2. Once calluses begin to form, I can't foresee many more painful issues starting, with the exception of running out of breath!

That being said, I felt full of breath for pretty much the whole run. Perhaps this is because I already completed three weeks of the program in shoes before the restart, or because of the different running style. That remains to be seen. It did feel fairly effortless, conditioning-wise.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Week 1, Day 1

Last night was day 1 of the program. I got my new KSOs in the mail, spent 10 minutes putting them on (darn pinky toe!), and went out the door.

They felt pretty good. My left foot is bigger than my right one, so I used it for sizing, so my right shoe feels just a tad loose, but my left one fits perfectly. They feel a little stiff, but I heard they loosen up after just a few runs.

I had my ipod with me. I could not do this program without it. What I have done, is compiled a "week 1" track to play during the run. It starts out with 5 minutes of Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" (warm-up walk), and then goes into 60 seconds of Static-X. It then alternates between various Floyd and Static-X tracks until it is time to warm-down, which is the rest of "Shine On." I don't have to look at a watch. I don't have to remember how long each step should be. I just run when I hear Static-X, and walk when I hear Floyd. I have chosen songs that are inspirational. For example, the first Static-X track screams "GO! GO! GO!", so you really feel like GOING! Then Pink Floyd's "Breathe" kicks in. "Breathe! Breathe in the air!" It is amazing.

My shins started hurting at the beginning. Oh no, I thought. Nothing has changed. My shin splints are going to flare up and I will be back on the couch for a week. But then a strange thing happened. I started to run faster and faster with each new 60 seconds of running, and my shins and knees felt fantastic. I think my running technique began to change as the run/walk progressed, and I started using different muscles. My feet were no longer over-pronating like they did when I wore shoes, and I think this was the cause of the shin splints. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

I know what you are thinking. It is only day one! But remember, I already did 3 weeks with shoes on, and I never felt this good. So, it was promising.

It wasn't without pain, however. The ball of my left foot and the left big toe were hurting. I don't know if I stepped on something, or if I overstressed the muscles down there, but it didn't feel great. It only hurt during the walking segments, though. It seemed to disappear when the running started. Today, the day after, it doesn't hurt at all. Neither do my shins or knees! I am very excited to continue the program. Most people say your calves are supposed to be on fire after wearing VFFs, but that is not true with me. Perhaps its because day 1 isn't all that strenuous. We'll see how they feel as I go along.

Today is a no-run day. I think I will just take my dog for a walk today, wearing my VFFs, of course.

Just an afterthought: I feel like a frog with these shoes on. I look like one. I run like one (picture a frog running on it's back legs, lol). That's ok. If they work, I don't care!

First post!

I am doing this blog not because there are a lack of "couch to 5k" (C25k) blogs, but because there are a LOT of them. The difference with mine, is that I will be using Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs) instead of shoes, and running the whole program (hopefully) with them on my feet. I hope to prove that the C25k program CAN be run in VFFs, and that it can be successful in them.

Why VFFs? Because I tried, and failed, to run the C25K in normal (cheap) shoes. I got to week three before a very painful pair of shin splints made me unable to run. I was disappointed. I did some reading on how they are caused, and how possibly going barefoot could help, and how it had already helped a lot of people. So, I got curious. Could that help me finish the program? I bought a pair of VFFs, a minimal shoe, and started the program over again. The first run went well, see my next post for details.

Just a bit about me: I am not a runner! I am still more on the couch side than the 5k side. But, I figured the program would be good for my health. What I learned in the first go around was that I actually enjoyed running, when my shins weren't killing me, that is.

I know it may be foolish to buy a pair of VFFs before being established as a runner. Then again, VFFs are supposed to be eased into, a little bit at a time, to let your feet and long-forgotten muscles a chance to catch up. So, experienced runners and newbies alike have to go slow in them at first. Seems like the perfect time to use the C25k program! So that is what I'm going to do.

Read the blog, don't read the blog, it's all good. It's really for me to write how I feel, to keep myself honest. I can't make too many excuses for not running when I have to write about it the next day, can I?

Anyway, that's the long and short of it.

Oh, here is the C25k program I will be following. Week 1, day 1, has been completed. On to the blog.