Friday was the grand re-opening of a closed portion of the nice running path by my house. For the past 8 months the 2 mile section I use the most was under repair. What a more perfect way to kick off my new weekend running plan then with a nice run to check out the new shiny path? In order just to get to the path, its a 1 mile walk down hill. That means to return home, I am guaranteed a 1 mile uphill stretch at the end of my run. Every time I've done this in the past, I've never been able to run back up the hill without walking breaks.
Yesterday was no exception to that. Although, I did run more of the hill then I ever previously remember running. My goal is to eventually be ending my run with the hill, without stopping.
Before leaving the house, I had to decide what shoes to wear. I am a classic heel striker, but I'm trying to focus on a more mid-foot strike, which still feels weird to me. When I first learned that I was running all wrong, I immediately went out an got a pair of Nike Free's. They are a nice light, minimal shoe. When I wear them, I really need to focus on not heel striking, as the shoe doesn't automatically promote that. After a few runs with sore calves, things got better. They were my CrossFit shoe of choice, since if there was a workout that involve running and weightlifting, these would do.
After spraining my ankle, I decided to get a pair of real minimal shoes to build the strength back up, but couldn't bring myself to get the Five Fingers. I settled on the NB Minimus. I liked the feel of these a lot. Tons of room in the toe, very light, they gave me the feel of barefoot, but I could still step on rocks. The minimus took the place of the Free's at the gym. Initially I wasn't doing any running or box jumps, so the NB minimus were my shoe for squats, kettlebell swings, lunges, barbell stuff- anything that didn't require me to move my feel a whole bunch.
Eventually I took the minimus' out for a test run. A short one since my ankle was still heeling up, but holy crap, my calves have never been so sore. These shoes definitely promote a different style of running. I decided that for longer runs, I'd stick with the Free's, and for most all other activities, I'd use the minimus' except of course for lifting only days- then I'd wear my Oly lifting shoes.
I was about to run 3+ miles, so I strapped on the Free's and headed out the door to warm up with a 1 mile walk downhill. I got to the newly paved path and began my run. I felt much better this week than last week. My breathing fell into a quick rhythm and it wasn't so painful getting started. I ran a little over a mile down the path, turned around and ran back. My calves were definitely feeling it, but I was up for the challenge of the big hill. Like I mentioned above, I had to take a few walk breaks, but I think in a few weeks, I'll be able to conquer the hill without stopping. My total run for yesterday (not including the walk downhill) was 3.34 miles, and I did that in just under 40 minutes. I think that's a pretty good starting point, but I can definitely improve, especially when I quit taking walk breaks coming back up the hill.