Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Barefoot Running Practice

  Today I took the opportunity to run the 1.9 mile loop around Grays Lake while the oldest spawn was at his Home Instruction testing.  I am recovering but this winter was non stop illness for me.  From stomach ulcer to flu and then colitis.  So as you might imagine my running has really fallen off over the last three months.  It was a mixed blessing since a nerve that was being pinched has now healed after the long break.  I knew I needed to take a break I just wish the universe would have chosen a different route to slow me down than illness.
  Now I can't remember for sure but it was either Beth at SUAR or MissZippy that was talking about running being something to practice but regardless it has stuck with me.   This was on my mind my entire run today.  My mind wants to run fast and far.  My body however needs to work on catching up.  Its amazing that just a few months ago I was running over 20 miles at a time barefoot.    The soles of my feet need some time to adapt but I believe I could run 10 miles with no problems with my soles.   In a month or so my soles should be back to the long distances again.

My ankles however need some strengthening.  My knees felt achy and my back was achy too.  I know from my running practice that all of this is form related.  Its interesting how my face and shoulders being tense will lead to tension in my feet and ankles.
Before being a marathoner I wanted to just be able to run a marathon. Now I want to go faster and farther.    What I am right now is what I have to work with and I have a solid base and almost 2 years experience to go from but honestly I still have to practice.  I could still do too much too soon coming back from the winter as I could just starting out.  I still have to and always will have to listen to my body and try and find that balance between my body and mind.

My mental conversation while running today went something like this.... (I cuss a lot in my head.  I toned it down a bit...)

"This feels so good.  I love being out here.  Should start off at a moderate pace though."
"kinks should be working out soon...come on kinks loosen up so I can see what I have to work with"
"Damn back hurts.  I want to be back to what I used to be."
"I really need to work on my core to strengthen so I can hold myself up better"
"It sure is pretty out here and I am kind of hot in the sun"
"Ankles are achy.  Relax shoulders, Relax"
"I want Jaymon to make me boxes so I can do box jumps."
"Hope that dude's monstrosity he thinks is a  dog does not like to chase runners"
"Relax those hands"
"aaawww, what a cute puppy!!"
"In In In, Out Out Out" and repeat numerous times. Steps with the breath
 "This seems hard. My mind is being weak. Must relax.  Gentle, light, soft, smooth."
"Hey, she smiled back at me! Hope that helped her to feel better she looked miserable."
"Relax,  Chest out and shoulders back.  Square up. Hold that torso up strong chica" (I refer to myself as chica in my mind often)
"much better"
"Still feel like a slug"
"Maybe just a little lean forward"
"Ah, theres that gravity helping out"
"Yay, I get to pass another runner."
"I should see someone about my tendency to lean to the left.  head up, level chin"
"could I land more quietly??"
"maybe I should make more noise so I don't scare these people?" cough cough
"How is my cadence?  How is my landing?  Are my hips open and relaxed?"
"Ok I can slow down, they are not looking any more."
" @#$%  I am scowling.  Better smile and loosen up those shoulders. No wonder they were tight"
"In In In, Out Out Out"

  Its pretty much a strange but effective whole body assessment the entire run with randomness thrown in for good measure.
  Since I am out of practice my mind wanders more and my body needs time to "remember" how to run on an intuitive level again but I know its not far off.  My mind needs time to remember how to be flexible and believe that not all discomfort is something to get away from.  Its hard work but that can be enjoyable.  Notice how much of what we do is work we do in our heads!  I know what I need to do and I believe in what I am doing but, BUT, it is work and it takes practice.  It always will.   Like learning to play music.  Eventually its second nature to play a song and maybe even sing and play but if you don't practice the music will slip away from you.   If you practice though it will bring great happiness both in the doing and the progress.

  Back when I started out there was not any books yet out to guide me.  It was all chatting and bonding with those on the Runners World Barefoot Running forum and then about a year later the books started to come out.
This is one of my favorites!!

RunBare's 10 Reasons to run barefoot

If you buy it through this link it helps support!


Caratunk Girl said...

After I am done with my IM I am going to explore BF running a bit more. I have done some short runs and need to work on form.

I loved what Miss Zippy said about running being a practice, that really resonated with me too.

Hang in there, you know it gets better!

misszippy said...

Love all that brain chatter! I'm sure your muscles will remember what there's supposed to do quite quickly after all the practice you've had. At the same time, I love that you are making it a continual process...that's what it takes, I'm sure!

Anonymous said...

I hear ya! My first BF run went well.. BUT I thought my calf was in the clear.. no

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

The effortlessness of running does take practice. I believe the body remembers and will quickly return to your former ease and grace in no time. And in time you'll move beyond what you thought was your potential to reach a higher level of comfort in the lifestyle that you love!

funderson said...

HA! Love your internal banter exposed! I swear A LOT inner voice is rather foul.

ShellBell said...

I like swearing too. Probably a little too much!

I get so frustrated with the winter also. I try to look at it as a good rest period but I'm not so good at that yet :)

You rock!

Penny said...

I have a hard time staying focused on my form. My mind seems to wander when I run. But I keep plugging away on trying to get bettr at relaxing and keeping my form.

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