running

Faster Not Further: Minimalist Running Update

It seems I start every post about running with some idea that I’m “new to” or “continuing towards becoming” a minimalist runner. Today it occurs to me that I’ve been running sans conventional shoes for almost a year now, so I think I can just call myself a minimalist runner. I have arrived. And here’s where I’m at:

I’ve logged 213 mi in my Vibram Spyridon LS [toe] shoes, and I still love them. They’ve held up really well but are getting worn on the inside to the point where I’ve gotten a few hot spots on my last couple runs, but I’m seeing if I can push them further. Since they aren’t conventional shoes, it’s hard to know when to replace them (though this may be an indicator).

I continue to be more inspired by speed, than distance. I’m impressed by my friends that run 100 mi/mo, but I don’t think that’s for me. I like being fast. And in that endeavor, I’m doing pretty good. I’m particularly proud of my run last week: 4 mi, 7’35″/mi:

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As you can see, I still like using the Nike+ Running app on my iPhone 5c, but the GPS tracking is still a little less consistent than I’d like it. Still, it works well and seems to average out in the end.

As for injuries, I haven’t had any! This is mostly due to limiting my distance and frequency. It’s still hard for me to admit I have limits, but if I don’t rest in between runs, I do get more sore in my calves and achilles. In the beginning I attributed this to adjusting to the new format, but now I think I just have to choose between speed and distance. So I’m keeping the distance down for now to focus on speed. Running faster definitely pushes the amount of force on my knees and lower legs, and I can feel it in how stiff I am after the days I push myself harder.

I have found that now I prefer minimalist shoes to regular shoes, and there’s a certain amount of freedom I like in the “toe shoe” design. I know some people think any minimalist shoe will do, but I find having my toes separate helps emulate my natural motion. I’m considering getting another pair with slightly more protection for hiking and summer adventures, but my vain/self-conscious side still won’t allow me to ditch my “dress” Adidas.

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