"There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but only one view." **Harry Millner**
I've been a really lazy blogger lately, mostly because I haven't had all the much to post about. I just finished week 5 of my half marathon training plan and am feeling really good about how it is going. I've done nearly all my training barefoot, the only shod running being when I wear my VFFs for group runs on really rocky trails.
My times are improving nicely and giving me hope of actually running at respectable speeds one day, LOL. I've been posting to Hal Higdon's forums to get better coaching on my training plan (what better than to go to the source!) I've picked up a lot of good info there and had many questions answered by Hal Higdon himself. For interval training I have been doing Yasso 800's under 4.5 minutes for 4 repeats. I'll test this new pace in a 5K on Sep. 19th and see if I can sustain it for 3.1 miles straight. To curb the incessant hunger that has been waking me up an hour early, I have added a bedtime shot of protein powder. It seems to be working nicely and I'm continuing to see a downward trend on the scale. Ideally I'd like be to down about 10 pounds by November, which should be totally doable if I don't get too out of control on vacation next week.
Today was my longest barefoot run ever! Saturday was a 3 mile pace run so I ran a little over a mile to warm up and then ran 3 miles at %80 HRR (heart rate reserve.) I don't know if I could actually keep that pace up for an entire half marathon, but that is the target zone for an HM race so I thought I would give it a try and just go by heart rate without looking at my pace. It turned out that I had 2 miles at about 9:30 and one at 8:58. I was totally stunned! Needless to say, I was tired after that run. My feet were tender, although undamaged, and after my run I went to a race expo to pick up some needed gear and decided to do that all barefoot too.
Anyway, on to my point, by Saturday evening my feet were sore for the first time since I started running barefoot. I don't mean tender as in hot spots, blisters, or damaged skin, but a deep in the tissues tired like they had had a very good workout. Apparently this is a pretty common feeling for most beginner barefooters, but owing to my barefoot youth and my propensity to go barefoot in my house, my feet have been fine with my only limiting factor being the skin on the bottoms. I was a little worried about running 8 miles on sore feet, but decided they weren't too bad off.
I really didn't want to run today and nearly talked myself out of it. I was really tired from the pace run, but that is the point behind running hard the day before your long run, it teaches your body to keep going when it is tired. It was hot out, I was tired, I was hungry, I had a lot to do, we had company coming for dinner, my list of excuses was as long as my arm, but I kept moving forward, headed for the door. It was definitely one of those less fun runs. Every mile felt like slogging through molasses and I never did get my second wind. Usually by the time I pass the 3 mile mark I perk up for a couple of miles, but not today. I kept going though, up and down dead end streets, with every return tempting me to short cut home. My feet were starting to sting so I concentrated on relaxing and keeping my form good while watching my heart rate to keep it at about %70.
About half way though the run I started taking walking breaks. I don't usually take walking breaks on long runs, but I was SO tired! My running pace was staying around an 11 minute per mile pace, but the walking breaks added up to bring the whole run to a 12:15 pace, which is still about a minute per mile faster than my long runs were back in January so it wasn't too disappointing. I finished my 8 miles without being too sore or damaging my feet and now I have it behind me. Week 5 is done and I have a new record distance for barefoot running. Next week is a fall back week and we are going to Disney World. So, although I will be on my feet plenty, I'll get in a tempo run before we fly out on Tuesday, and then probably let it go for the rest of the week. If I really feel like a run there is a 1.5 mile track at the hotel, but I'm guessing several days on my feet will be enough stress for my body :-)