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Archive for June, 2009

Summer Balance Training

Posted by scott on June 18, 2009

I am starting to get addicted to balance training, and might have gone off the deep end.  I picked up a bosu first and like it, but it’s just a big too big to store where I can easily use it.  I next picked up a heavy ball and spend TV time in the evenings standing on top of it (with breaks).  It’s incredibly simplistic, but fun.  You can really feel all of the little-muscles-you-didn’t-know-you-have working together to keep you on the ball.  It’s also a great foot strengthening exercise, and a nice complement to barefoot/minimal shoe running.

So I thought with summer happening I would take the fun outside, and I picked up a unicycle and some Freeline skates.   I got good deals on Craigslist on both, because they are incredibly difficult to learn, and a lot of people throw in the towel.  I’m at the pre-natal stages of learning both, but it’s fun.  Again, I can definitely feel the micro-muscles working and this is cross-training works muscles I KNOW I don’t use at anything else.

If nothing else, I think its exciting to leave the comfort zone and try something challenging and new.  Even if these are goofball things to try, they are stretch goals for me nonetheless and will require patience and physicial training to become proficient.  And that’s its own reward.


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Minimal Footwear Is Here To Stay

Posted by scott on June 17, 2009

The continuing verdict for me is that huaraches are here to stay for summer running.  It is just a blast to have the tops of your feet open to the breeze in this great summer weather.  I’ve gone up to 13 miles in them just fine, only a bit of chafing from the laces but I have an answer for that.  Good stuff.

However I was reminded yet again that running minimal is not without its risks.  My achilles was a bit sore at the beginning of a training run last week and rather than going shorter or easier, I went all out for a 7 miler – bad call.  Stretching your Achilles Tendon gradually and safely is probably the most important change that happens when you start running minimal or barefoot.  You have to carefully increase distance and pace, as is often preached in marathon training.  The difference is that you are much more impacted by the changes.  Anyhow, I’m still resting a few days and my AT is feeling better and better so I will be back at it in no time.

I still like my New Balance 790s and will be wearing those some of the time.  I will likely still race in these at Superior.  But Feelmax, huaraches, and Vibram FiveFingers are the staple diet for me.

Another amusing change that happens when you run minimal is that your feet get bigger.  It’s a combination of letting them get more stretched, building muscles, and increases the pads on the soles (soles are not tougher from barefooting, just thicker).  I’m glad I ordered a larger pair of 790s awhile back, because my toes are bumping the front of my current pair where I used to have room.  As your toes spread, FiveFingers also get much easier to put on.  Many people say they initially had to struggle into them, but after a year or more they are able to slip into them standing up.

Posted in Barefoot, Feelmax, FiveFingers, Huaraches, Shoes | 3 Comments »