I took my first minimalist run of 2014 today. The air’s been so shitty here in Fresno—we get the smog from LA and The Bay, and since this is a valley, it just hangs here—so it’s been literally too nasty to go outside. But today it cleared and I carried on (4.3 mi, 8’06″/mi).
2013 was all about transitioning from my Nike+ Free shoes to the Vibram 5-fingers (a.k.a. minimalist running). A year ago, my knee hurt so bad that I couldn’t run at all, and walking was painful. So I began the transition to losing the shoes and learning some more natural (and hopefully less painful) running mechanics. To say it was a rough road is a bit of an understatement. You can read all about it, but basically I had small injuries and muscle pulls in my calves and achilles for the first half of the year, up until July, where I finally started to gain some traction.
I started with a distance of just 0.25mi in July 2013, and slowly worked my way up to where I’m at today. I think this graph will give you a good idea of how the year went (click to enlarge):
I’m back! I started minimalist running in April 2013, and I’m currently running farther than I did per run with regular shoes, my knee doesn’t bother me at all, and now I just have to get my speed back—which I will. My last two runs, by pushing myself just a little harder, really tracking my pace every quarter mile, I took off 15 seconds/mi. So, barring any injuries, getting down to 7’45″/mi is a doable goal for 2014.