I had a barefoot 8 mile this moring that was fantastic. Everything came together and made sense on a new level. The guru's advice finally sunk in and I see things differently now.
I have been working really hard since the begining of my barefoot transition at landing with my my midfoot and going gently and relaxing my knees and ankles. The work seems to have paid off and I am on to a new level.
On this glorious run I ditched the intense focus on my foot fall I focused on my ass and hip flexors. I focused on the invisible hand on my rear end pushing me along. I imagined my Chi pushing and pulling me forward and I lifted my feet up and down faster. My mid foot and forefoot landing took care of itself and seems to be a subconscious reaction now.
I was faster and I was able to relax after I stopped thinking about my footfall. The more I relaxed the faster I went. Very little energy was expended and I finished strong. My feet are tingly and feel great. Its easier to relax sometimes when you stop working so hard to relax!
I have been struggling lately with top of the foot pain and I have been telling myself over and over that I am right in thinking that the pain is in fact not an injury and just normal shifting and moving of the bones and lengthening of tendons after changing ones running form and going with out the shoe coffins. Trusting myself to correctly assess a situation especially in the face of pain without guarantees is an accomplishment in and of itself.
Jaymon discovered some eccentric muscle contraction exercises for my sore foot and after giving them a try I was amazed to discover that the pain had decreased by at least 75% after the first time doing them. My ankle started to hurt the run after that and replaced the top of the foot pain. I told myself again that indeed it was normal and I had to keep at it and trust that I was not injured and not to get discouraged.
Today's run proved that the work is paying off.
Run with my ass and I go fast......er!
Here is a link to my barefoot friend Jason Robillard's most recent blog post. It sums up the frustration of trying to pound a nail with a screwdriver and how wonderful it feels to finally turn it around and use the tool correctly. This analogy so aptly describes barefoot running I just had to repost. Jason will be running a 100 mile race, yes I said 100 miles, in a coupld of weeks. He will be running in Vibrams Five Fingers and barefoot.
I've been running barefoot for over 2 years now, and I'm still trying to to tweak my form. I like what you said about running from your Chi. I do find that it helps me a lot of imagine being pushed or pulled from my midsection.
The cool thing about learning to relax is that the more relaxed you are, the smoother the running, and the easier it is to relax even more. There is a good reason that Ken Bob keeps stressing this point.
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