Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's Finally Here!

It is hard to believe it has been a year since we were last in Vegas for the Rock N' Roll Marathon. What a difference a year makes - rather than standing on the sidelines, we are gearing up to race.

We have transitioned for a year; working on our form and easing into more minimal shoes along the way. I can't believe it, but I have actually experienced runs with 8:00min/miles, and I have my proper form to thank for it. I have run for years, and never have I been able to break 9:30 miles. It is amazing to me looking back at my progress.

I am not sure what my run today will bring, but I am up for the challenge. I have my bagel, plenty of water, and lots of excitement fueling me up for the race.

We are prepped and ready! Just waiting to hit the road.

Are you joining us for the race? Good luck and let us know how it goes!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

No one said it would be easy…

The process of becoming a natural didn’t seem like it would be a walk…or run…in the park. I knew there would be challenges. However, I didn’t anticipate some of my most recent obstacles.  

In today’s instant gratification world, I was thinking my transition would take the suggested amount of months, but I thought I would be golden after putting in my time. However, I am coming to realize this is a constant process, just as building on my mileage is, and I was going to have to truly commit to this journey. 

When you train for a marathon, you start small, and add miles slowly to both short and long runs. You don’t just run 20 miles once on the weekend and suddenly you can do that every day. Your body can only take so much change. So when I completed my transition into my Road-X 233s, I was running comfortably in them for 3-5 miles.  As I started to up my long run mileage while preparing for Vegas, I slipped on my 233s and hit the road for a 7 miler. However, around mile 6, I noticed some soreness similar to my earlier 233 run days. Wait a minute, I transitioned! I am a 2 Arrow SHOC-ZONE natural! Feet don’t fail me now!

I walked home thinking to myself, “What did I do wrong?” It is obviously going to take time to go from 12 or even 15mm differential sneakers to zero drop…but wait…how come my 6mm drop isn’t perfected after following directions?! 

It seems that after pushing myself on mileage that my body is unaccustomed to, my Achilles, feet, legs, mind is also being tested again in lower drop shoes.  My body was used to 3-5 miles in 9mm and 6mm drops, but 7? Maybe not so much.   

I decided to try my Road-X 238s for 6 miles, and felt better. I am going to re-start the transition for my longer run days, and slowly get my body used to lower differentials with higher mileage, but I will continue on my transition journey during the week for my short runs.

Everyone is different, so maybe you aren’t experiencing this problem (I am jealous), or maybe you are running into other obstacles. What are you going through on your transition journey and what are you doing to stay on track?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Training Inspiration- The Chicago Marathon

I have to admit, one of the many things that I was excited about when taking this job with inov-8 was the prospect of traveling to iconic events, races, and competitions across the country spreading the good word about inov-8. Attending these events you get to watch the most elite athletes in the world compete. You see them push themselves to run 4 minute miles for 26 miles, or work out at maximum capacity for 4 days in a row, or run through the night through the woods by themselves. When I see that, I can’t help but think, “gee, maybe I CAN push myself HARDER"... for my 1 hour or 45 minute workout each day.

 “Do you push yourself this hard every day?”

This weekend inov-8 was at the Chicago Marathon- our first big road marathon. Attending the Chicago Marathon for the first time reminded me of the first time I saw the Boston Marathon. Watching the sea of thousands and thousands of people flooding down the streets, pushing themselves towards their goals and the feeling of accomplishment while millions cheered them on mile after mile- it gives you a rush of energy, empowerment, a sense of community- it makes you want to run.

The Chicago Marathon this weekend also reminded me of the reality of race day/weekend.  Hanging out at the expo all weekend, I met people who have been preparing for months and who are anxious, nervous and excited for the day that they’ve been training for. It made me think about how real my race was and how soon it was coming! I better get in gear!

So, I was inspired by all of these athletes and ventured out into this new city. I took my training down the Magnificent Mile, along the edge of the Lake Michigan, by the Sears Tower, down through Old Town, and wherever my inov-8s took me.  Now that I’m back from my trip- I just have to keep remembering that energy that I will feel on race day- and how ONLY MY ACTIONS NOW can improve how I feel on that weekend. Thanks Chicago and all of you that raced Sunday for inspiring me. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Commit Around the Clock Relay #CACRelay 9/29/12

The #Commit Around the Clock Relay is the ultimate relay team of all inov-8 committed athletes. We want to see how many miles can we log in 24 hours all around the world. It is a virtual relay, where you tweet your run. Legs start on the hour and you run as many miles as the hour is, i.e. 5 at 5am, 6 at 6am, 7 at 7am, 3 at 3pm, etc.  There will be prizes for runners at every hour, and the grand prize will be a pre-release pair of running shoes from inov-8s new Road-X-Treme line due to come out in Spring 2013!


More details:
On Saturday, September 29th, you will pick a time for your run, and run as many miles as the hour is, i.e. if it is 7am, you run 7 miles, if it is 8am you run 8 miles, if it is 9am you run 9 miles. Since it will be global, there will be different people doing different distances all hours of the day, but that’s okay, we just want to see how many miles we can log!

Before heading out for your run, tweet to @inov8Run your planned mileage based on your time (5@5! or 6@6!) with the hashtag #CACrelay and your shoe size (in case you win!). Then check back in on Twitter (follow the hashtag) when your done to let us know how it went and see if you won a prize!

We will award a t-shirt every hour and as we accumulate miles, we will also give away shoes! At the 155th mile, we’ll give away a pair of Road-X 155s, at the 233rd mile, we will give away the Road-X 233, at the 255th mile, we'll give away a pair of Road-X 255s. Then after another 155 miles, we'll give away some more Road-X 155s. So, if you want a chance at winning shoes and a t-shirt, you may have to run twice…which we know you all can and want to do!

At the end, we will select a grand prize winner to receive a brand new pair of pre-release inov-8 Road-X-Tremes which will available in stores Spring 2013.

Let’s see how many miles we can log next weekend, and maybe we can even break some records!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

inov-8's Commit Around the Clock Relay

My schedule last weekend:
1:00pm run
2 :00pm  keep running
3:00pm still running
4:00pm umm…run
5:00pm run, run,run!
Saturday 1:00am runnnnnn
2:00am yawn while running
3am maybe sleep while running?
4am Just. Keep. Running.

You get the picture- I participated in a relay this weekend! If you haven't ran in a 24 hour relay before, it's where lot...for 24 hours (or more)! I spent this weekend running 200 miles with 11 of my friends from the mountains of New Hampshire to the coast. It's always loads of fun- lots of smelly runners, baby wipes, vans with window paint, horns honking, the smell of icy hot mmmm.

Now, my 200 mile race was split up among 12 runners. On the other hand, we have inov-8 sponsored athletes who run 24 hours straight all by themselves- Anne Lundblad placed 9th in the 24 hour World Championships in Poland 2 weekends ago running 138+ miles in 24 hours!

This got us thinking.  We realized that with all of the #committed inov-8 fans we have, we could make one killer 24 hour relay team. So, we want to do just that- Join us for the Commit Around the Clock Relay (#CACRelay), Saturday, September 29th. It will be virtual, so all of you can participate no matter where you're from. And even though it’s a team effort, there will be individual prizes.

Oh, and did we mention, there will be a grand prize of a pre-release pair of running shoes from inov-8's new Road-X Treme line due in Spring 2013?

How it works:
On Saturday, September 29th, you will pick a time for your run, and run as many miles as the hour is, i.e. if it is 7am, you run 7 miles, if it is 8am you run 8 miles, if it is 9am you run 9 miles.

Before heading out for your run, tweet to @inov8Run your planned mileage based on your time (5@5! or 6@6!) with the hashtag #CACrelay and your shoe size (in case you win!). Then check back in on Twitter (follow the hashtag) when your done to let us know how it went and see if you won a prize!

We will award a t-shirt every hour and as we accumulate miles, we will also give away shoes! At the 155th mile, we’ll give away a pair of Road-X 155s, at the 233rd mile, we will give away the Road-X 233, at the 255th mile, we'll give away a pair of Road-X 255s. Then after another 155 miles, we'll give away some more Road-X 155s. So, if you want a chance at winning shoes and a t-shirt, you may have to run twice…which we know you all can and want to do!

At the end, we will select a grand prize winner to receive a brand new pair of pre-release inov-8 Road-X Tremes which will available in stores Spring 2013.

Let’s see how many miles we can log next weekend, and maybe we can even break some records!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Training starts NOW!

I have a confession to make, although I have been running regularly for nearly 10 years, I have never run a race (unless the Main Dunstable Elementary 6th grade race counts). Yes, it is shameful.  Since the age of 18, I have braved New England snow at 5am, ridiculously angry geese along Boston’s Charles River, and wild animal encounters while living in Northern NH, but I have been too nervous to sign up for a race.
As you know, we are running the Zappos Rock ‘N Roll Half this December. December 2nd to be exact; making it around 15 weeks away. Besides a few “woo Vegas!” thoughts, I have had a lot of “can I handle it?” thoughts. I am a regular runner, but the farthest distance I have ever run is 7 miles…and that hasn’t been recently. In transitioning, I have done a lot of 2-3 milers while adjusting to new shoes, and a 5 miler maybe once a week. That being said, I am starting my training. TODAY.

I found a plan online that features a 16 week guide that I am going to be following (adjusting a little for the timing). Although it features only 1 -2 miles in the first couple of weeks, I am going to use that time to continue to transition in my shoes and be more aware of my form.

So, who is joining us? Have you started your training?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Spartan Race- The Aftermath

OK. I’ll admit it.  I may have underestimated the Spartan Race.

5K, I thought- no problem.

Burpees? Yah, I can do a lot of those.

Army crawling in the mud? Sure, that’s lots of fun.

While those are definitely pieces of the Spartan Race…it does not even begin to describe it.

The challenge comes in when you need to overcome your mind. Your brain keeps thinking- this seems dangerous, this seems dirty, this seems hard. And your mind reels about how uncomfortable you are- whether with the types of creatures or as Nicole says, “s-words” (snakes) that could be swimming around in the thigh deep murky, root and branch filled water that your wading through. Or the heft of your mud soaked shirt that is stretching out around you with the weight of mud and water as your trying to climb a 35% incline hill carrying a 20lb sand bag. Or the pain in your hands as they blister while you pull a 40 pound cement piling on a metal chain. Burpees are a whole new challenge as sand flies in your face. Or for me, when I got grass in my eye while doing them. I had to overcome it with my mind and for me, I just thought how I was stronger than Tom Brady in this moment- I can get past grass in my eye (kidding, Tom Brady, I love you). Anyway, the challenge is not to think of the "what ifs", or the "this hurts", or the "this is uncomfortable" and just run on. 

We are proud at inov-8 of our amazing sponsored athletes who took on the challenge of their first Spartan Race and rocked it! Ben Nephew (pictured below) placed 1st in the Open division and 4th overall and Lisa Mikkelsen (pictured in the tractor pull) placed first in her age division.

Besides being an awesome challenge, running in our inov-8s was absolutely an advantage.  All around us people were slipping down hills, losing their shoes in the mud, or throwing their shoes away after the race.  My F-Lite 230s didn’t budge from my feet as the mud tried to suction me into a mucky black hole. They gripped as we went down a wet downhill rocky path, and at the end of the race, after being unrecognizable with a solid coating of mud, I stuck the hose in them, let the water drain out (it literally poured out through the upper mesh), and they looked as good as new.

Oh and one more thing- the Spartan Race was an awesome team building/bonding experience. We all laughed or cried (not literally, but almost) our way through the obstacles together and gawked at the amount of mud down our shirts (honestly, somehow even my underwear was covered in mud!). We had a blast together!

Now that I know what Spartan Races are all about- I am excited for the challenge of my next one. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Training for the Office

Caitlin, Nicole and I have been training for our upcoming Spartan Race this Saturday. I will be running in my f-lite 230's to see how they do in an obstacle race, as will Caitlin, but Nicole is going to be trying out the new Trailrocs.  

All of us feel  like we are prepared. Yes, we are road runners at heart, but we are no strangers to CrossFit workouts and off road runs. Each of us have been adding in even more diversified training to help us prepare – hitting up the CrossFit box next to our office and getting muddy on the trails a little more than we are used to. 

In addition to our #committed training, we have also been having a little fun with it in the office. 

 How are you training for Spartan

Friday, July 27, 2012

Enjoying the Challenge of Transitioning

Natural running, or minimalist running, is a whole new commitment to running for me. Running was always something that was kind of easy and just something I enjoyed. I jumped into races just for fun, even a marathon, with no training... When I started making the transition to natural running, running definitely became more of a challenge to me. Which, actually made it enjoyable in a different way.

The thing about minimalist or natural running, is that it requires you to be committed. It requires you to be patient. It requires you to listen to your body. It requires you to know your body.  And it requires mental toughness.

Instead of stopping when your hip starts nagging half a mile in, it requires listening to your body and understanding why your hip hurts. Did I start to fast or did I warm up enough? Am I compensating somehow? Instead of thinking that soreness is pain, I must get used to soreness- and take care of my body (warm up, stretch, massage) - then learn to recognize real pain (but obviously not ignore real pain).

It’s also easy to blame a not great run, or a nagging pain or anything on my new natural style of running, when in reality, I’ve always had pains, bad runs, or injuries when running in my old clunky running shoes. Excuses don’t help me improve my running form, practice does.

Although I’m super excited for my next race in my new minimalist, natural shoes - for now my biggest challenge is patience and commitment as I transition. And though there are no PRs, or medals for completing it, it will be a very big victory for me personally. I’m enjoying the challenge of my journey so far. 

We want to hear your #committed story. Win a #committed package by repinning one of our images from our "share your commitment" board on Pinterest or pin your own image and tag inov8run in the caption.  Not on Pinterest? (What are you waiting for?!) Take a picture of your commitment and post it to Facebook tagging inov8run and putting #committed in the description. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chris Davis is Becoming a Natural!

Chris Davis came in on Friday to get fitted for a new pair of inov-8s and I’ll tell you, I was so excited- I felt like I was meeting a celebrity. I was so excited because I wanted to meet him and to tell him how inspiring he was. He started at 696 lbs and is now down to 294 and aiming to reach 200lbs. After meeting Chris, if possible, I think was even more inspired by Chris and his #commitment.

Spartan Race founder Joe D. is helping Chris meet his health goals by providing him with housing, a diet plan and a training plan to get him ready for the Spartan Beast September 22nd. Chris has already completed 2 Spartan Races- including a 5mile sprint complete with sets of 30 burpees at a time, and a 10 foot wood wall soaked in slippery dish soap and water that Chris climbed. Nicole, Lizzie and I will be doing our first Spartan Race in Amesbury on August 11th and Chris will be there doing his third!

Now, some may say Chris has an advantage by having someone to help train him and work with him. But after hearing what Chris has to do every single day- living without his family and friends up in the mountains of Vermont, eating nothing but raw fruits and vegetables, and walking up and down the mountain at least 10 miles per day carrying sand bags and other heavy objects- you know that man is #committed to becoming healthy.

You could see in Chris’s eyes that this has not been easy. It is wearing to be away from home for that long, to be living on only raw fruits and vegetables and working out as much as he has, and the changes in his body are not easy either. He shared with us that because he is losing weight so drastically, it changes his center of balance among many other things and it’s hard to even walk sometimes. But when Chris reached in his bag to pull out his old, size 72 pants, that Lizzie and I could both easily fit into, you could see nothing but pride and happiness in that man’s face and you could tell that he was going to keep at it until he reached his goals.

Chris used to have trouble with fitting into his shoe size, and now we are helping him choose a shoe that will help him scale walls and climb mountains. Chris was a little worried that he wouldn’t be able to fit into a size 13, because he has a wide foot and had heard that our shoes were narrow. He also used to have to wear a size up because of the width of his feet. But since he’s lost so much weight, he was back to his normal shoe size, and they fit great!

Chris had never worn minimalist shoes before, so we are transitioning him slowly. We gave him a pair of Road-X 255, our 3 arrow, 9mm drop road running shoe for his road and hard trail training, and a pair of Terrafly 313 GTX (also a 3 arrow 9mm drop) for his hiking on the mountain. He said he could feel the difference between his motion control shoes that were prescribed to him for over pronating. He liked the lightweight feel of the minimalist shoes and we talked to him about natural running and pose running, that with training, could help strengthen his feet and ankles. He was also excited because his last shoes held water and mud and had no grip during the Spartan Race in PA he did last weekend. 

We know there are many of you #committed athletes out there, all overcoming different challenges and all with different goals. Everyone has their own challenges to overcome and PRs to set, and at inov-8 we want to help you reach those goals. Share your #committed stories with us here, or pictures on our "Share your commitment" Pinterest board, or with us on Facebook. We love to be inspired by you! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

I am a Spartan!

As you already know, inov-8 has recently signed on as the official footwear of the Spartan Race.

Along with being excited to work with Spartan, we are also terrified...

On August 11, a few of us here at inov-8 will be lacing up our X-Talons, Trailrocs, Roclites, etc. and hitting the Amesbury, MA course. Having never done an adventure/mud race of any kind myself, I have a sneaking suspicion I may be in over my head.

Caitlin and I attempted to "train" for the event, and will continue to do so after realizing we are competely incapable of rope climbing, scaling walls, etc.

We hope you join us for the event - sign up here

Stay tuned as we will share some entertaining/embarrassing training videos and pictures soon. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Slave to My Routine

I was so proud of myself.  If you've been reading my posts, you'll know that I've been in the best place running that I've been in a very long time.  I had my routine down to a science, and it was working.  So why "was" I so proud of myself?  My routine changed.  Over the past couple months, I've been traveling.  A lot.  Like, more than not.  Suddenly, I didn't have access to the same treadmill or the same neighborhood route at the same time each day.  I wish I could tell you that I adapted, worked with what I had, and ran some new routes.  I didn't.  I stopped.  If I couldn't run at 12:32pm every day, I didn't run.  The end result was being able to count my runs over 6 weeks on one hand. 

I flew in last Friday to some rain, beyond frustrated with myself and the weather.  I found myself driving directly from the airport to the gym.  I parked in a different spot, and I didn't get on my usual treadmill.  Instead of plugging my headphones into the TV and telling myself I was going to run for 45 minutes, I plugged into Pandora and said I was going to run for 10 songs.  I was completely out of my comfort zone...and I ran for 55 minutes without even realizing it.  I can't pinpoint why I was able to finally change it up, but now I have the confidence that the next time I travel, I'll be able to adapt and get my runs in.  #committed

Do you have a routine?  How do you adapt when your routine is interrupted? 


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Making Big Moves!

Two important things happened for me recently: 

1. I progressed to a pair of Road-X 233s 
2. As evidenced by the image above that I am not capable of taking that creatively on my own, I got instagram

I decided I was ready to make the big move and slipped on my new 6mm drop 2 arrows!  After finishing May in the Road-X 238s, I started out with just 10 minutes in the 233s a couple days last week, and have moved on to a couple 20 minute runs this week. Dare I say, “I like these better…” 

I must admit, I was skeptical to move down a step; worried I would be one of “those people” who needs more time. But after all the needless stressing, I feel great. Not just great, kind of perfect. And to top it off, I ran my 20 minutes today at 6.5mph (for you hardcore athletes, that is great for me)! 

I plan on taking them out for a 3-4 miler this weekend, and I can’t wait to see how they (and I) perform. 

How are you progressing with your transition?


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's National Running Day!

Today marks the fourth annual National Running Day, and it has me dreaming of ditching some to-do list items and heading out for a run. However, it is also National Business Etiquette week, so I will probably just wait until after work.

I run for a lot of reasons, to relieve stress, to stay in shape, to test myself, to get outside...
Why do you run?
Maybe you run because you got some new shoes – don’t forget to comment on our facebook photo or on Caitlin’s blog post to enter to win a free pair of inov-8s!

Monday, June 4, 2012

From Orthopedic to Minimalist

3 years ago, before I started Crossfit, my running shoes could have only been described as behemoth sized orthopedic pillows. They were stuffed heel to toe with cushioning, sadness, dead weight, and empty promises of a more comfortable running experience. “Experts” recommended these types of shoes to me based upon my low arch foot profile and over-pronation. During that I time I constantly dealt with shin splints, knee pain, and foot pain after running. It was frustrating to say the least and it really got me to the point where I wanted to just hang it up and give running the white flag or the finger.
I wanted a way out of the vicious cycle I was in, and I knew that I had to do something drastic. Coincidentally, I ended up joining a Crossfit gym and one of the coaches/owners of the gym introduced me to Inov-8 shoes during my running hiatus. He always talked about these shoes that allowed him to run more efficiently and made his running experience more enjoyable. I was intrigued and not too long after, I got myself a pair Inov-8s to find out if it was true.  
In the beginning, I was shocked at how different the Inov-8 shoes were compared to my Frankenstein shoes of past. The Inov-8s contained no unneeded “filler,” and were incredibly lightweight. Not only did the Inov-8s help keep me more stable during my lifting workouts, but also improved my running mechanics during 400m and 800m repeats. I started with 6mm drop, and found it to be perfect for the type and length of running that I was doing at the time. My running pains seemed to disappear and I felt the muscles in my feet actually get strengthened over time. It never even occurred to me that the type of shoe I was wearing could strengthen my feet rather than serve as a crutch for their inadequacies.
I have since transitioned to 3mm drop with the F-Lite 195s and have stayed there for about a year. I am very comfortable with the 195s for most Crossfit workouts, but every now and then I sprinkle in the zero drop Bare-XF 210 for rope climbs. In my experience, there is a pretty noticeable difference between the 195s and the Bare-XF 210, much more so than say the F-lite 230s and the F-lite 195s. I’ll take more time to transition fully into the zero drop shoes, but in the meantime I will continue to enjoy being pain free while running. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Worth the Wait

I just started here at inov-8 in May, so I’m a little late to the transition game. Luckily, I had a head start and had played around with minimalist running a bit. And by played around, I mean hurt myself trying to do it the wrong way (but that’s another story).  I had been interested in minimalist running since running the John Kelley Road Race in CT in 2005, where I saw my first barefoot runner. I was so impressed and confused I had to look up what this was all about. 

I read a lot of the research and well, it just made sense. However, I’m not the most patient of people, and competitive to a fault (I even take bowling too seriously). So, slowing down my pace and shortening my runs to transition didn’t seem like an option.

Then, last year, running the John Kelley road race again, by mile 10 my knee was killing me because my worn out shoes were affecting my stride. So, with 1.6 miles left to go, I took them off. My stride felt so natural and my knee instantly felt better!  I finished the race and crossed the finish line with sneakers in hand!

Now, that I’ve started at inov-8 – I get the chance to give it a real try! I’ve got my Road-X- 233s and the shoes fit perfect to my foot, so I feel like I’m really running barefoot. I promised myself I won’t go more than 2.5 miles on them at about an 8:30 pace more than twice a week so that I won’t hurt myself and so far the training is going great. My calves were howling my first few runs, which to be honest, bruised my ego because I thought they’d be able to handle it after years of Irish dancing up on my toes! But, I’ve been focusing on long warm ups and cool downs, stretching and massaging to loosen them up. 

CONTEST: Transition the RIGHT way with me!
So, what do you say? Have you tried minimalist or natural running before? Are you ready to give it a go? We’re giving away a pair of Road-X 255s or Road X-238s (3 arrow, 9mm differential) to someone who wants to give it a patient try with me.  In the comments section below, tell us how you are going to train patiently to do it right! We’ll choose a winner Thursday next week!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Need for Speed...Intervals

When you think of a treadmill, what comes to mind?


But I think most people think of boredom...and that OK Go video. To alleviate some of the mundane that is the treadmill, I have been incorporating some speed intervals in my recent gym sessions. Because honestly, there is only so much T.I. and Tiny one can handle.

Today, I did 20 minutes of 1 minute at 8mph and 30 seconds at 5mph, a workout I found in a fitness magazine and figured was "easy enough" to try. Easy was in fact incorrect.
These intervals definitely help time fly by and I notice that my form is better when running faster. It is almost as if I don’t even have time to heel strike. Plus, going that fast just makes me feel awesome and like a “real” runner. However, they were anything but easy. I was more fatigued after 20 minutes than I am after 5 or 6 miles. 
Whether you are familiar with intervals or not, one thing to always focus on is your form. When you recover, it is common for people to slack and not maintain proper form because they are fatigued. Be sure to keep an eye on yourself and remember that, if you are struggling you can walk slowly or even stand. You need to be optimally recovered for your next repeat, so take advantage of the time. If you are newer to running, you can adjust your speed pace and recover at a walk rather than a slow run/jog. Whatever you adjust to, be sure you are still challenging yourself.
Do you currently do any speed interval training? If so, share your workouts. If not, or even if you do and you don’t feel like sharing (why so secretive?), let me know what "treadmill" makes you think of.
To inspire you:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Comfortable Pace

While Nicole is working towards transitioning to a 2 arrow shoe, I am sticking with my 238’s until the end of May. After having some funky foot pain from running a bit too far in my F-Lite 230’s before I should have (shhh don’t tell), I took a brief break right at the start of my journey. I want to give myself plenty of time to transition fully and let my knees and feet catch up to the rest of me.

Today, I ran only three miles, but at a quicker pace than most as of late. Although it was a shorter run, the comfort (“comfort” might be an exaggeration) I experienced at a 6.5 on the treadmill or 9:23 mile, which I maintained for most of my run, was…exciting. I can’t believe it felt, dare I say, natural. It didn’t right away, but after a half mile or so, I settled in nicely. I could have easily continued at this pace for a couple more miles, but time got in the way.
According to Runner's World's, my true comfortable pace is when I am not gasping for air and I am at a pace that has my heart rate at 70% of its maximum rate. They recommend being able to take three strides when breathing in, and three more while breathing out. I will have to test this out tomorrow.
For their entire Tempo Running piece, click here
What is your comfortable pace? How long did it take you to get to this point?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Natural Running Transition

I’ve been transitioning over to natural running for about the last seven years. It started at a trail marathon expo back in 2004 where my wife and I met a sales rep from inov-8. We had never heard of this shoe line. Both of us being former running specialty store owners we were skeptical at first of minimalist footwear. I almost walked away from the spiel about their shoes but I’m glad to this day that I stayed around and listened. A year later I was racing for Team inov-8 and I have exclusively trained and raced in inov-8 shoes since that day.

At first mentally this was not an easy process for me. I was a heel striker back then. I have very flat feet and I’m bow legged. I fit the old shoe industry bill to a “T” for stability or even motion controlled types of running shoes, ugh! However I wanted to wear lighter and less supportive foot wear because of the improved feel and edge you get in running fast. At that time I thought I was doomed and relegated to wearing heavy supportive trainers. I was also consistently getting overuse running injuries. So I was quite nervous at first but still willing to try something new to change my chronic cycle of downtime from running.

The transition to natural running for me has been quite long but definitely well worth it. For some runners it does take time for your body mechanics to adjust to running in shoes with less support and much less heel to forefoot drop. I strongly believe that almost any runner can transition over to natural running, if they are careful and patient. Every runner is different and some can transition rather quickly especially if they have good bio-mechanics. While some runners just like me need to be a little more patient and do it slowly. Yes seven years is a long time but definitely worth it. I feel like I’m still somewhat on a journey to the zero drop running shoe one day. I’m comfortable now in a 3-6 mm heel to forefoot drop shoe even for ultra distances. What I am most ecstatic about is I have had far fewer running injuries since my transition to minimalist footwear.

The great thing about the inov-8 line is you have many choices to start you on your journey to natural running. If you are used to supportive running shoes you may need to start at the 9-12 mm heel or 3-4 arrow inov-8 models first. Unfortunately most runners are not all that patient; much like my self but running natural has huge benefits. The main benefit for me has been being healthy and running every day. I am no longer a heel striker, I’m more of a mid-foot to forefoot striker now. If you ever try running barefoot on grass you will tend to land more towards your toes regardless of what you do while wearing running shoes. This is a much more natural way to run. This type of running is so much more efficient since it was the way we were intended to run. In addition you are using less energy to lift shoes that are lighter, something runners should appreciate at any distance.

I feel that inside all of us is a natural more efficient runner. Try letting your feet function the way nature intended without being inhibited by the structure of your footwear. If a cowboy like me can go natural, having the bio-mechanics that mirror a horse rider, so can any runner. 
Thank you inov-8!