Tuesday, 30 August 2011

It All Counts - 45 days to target

I made myself have a rest today. And I mean MADE. It wasn't too difficult as it turned out because I know I need it. It will be harder to continue my rest tomorrow but I really should and then make the most of it on Thursday.

Anyway, to make up for the lack of exercise, in part, I mowed the lawns. It takes me a good 45 mins. to push the electric mower around when the grass is as long as it's grown over the last few days. So that's a banana's worth and more of calories.

Roll on Thursday, that's all I can say!
ZGTJTY85HYCF

Monday, 29 August 2011

WHEN will I Learn? - 46 days left

Today's a Bank Holiday, so there's me thinking 'a good day for a run', even though I ran yesterday, didn't feel particularly good after it and had a tiring day following it. I guess it was the feeling of free space in front of me for the day, without appointments or obligations that was the attraction. And so I ran. I was only going to make it a short run anyway, just 4k because at the back of my mind was the knowledge that today should be a rest day. But, that 'free space' was beckoning. So, I ran.

I decided to run some of my old route which I used to run all the time when I ran a few years ago. This was mistake number 2. It's a long slow incline for the first half, the opposite for most of the second half and then a shorter pull up and over and down back to home. Compared to the route I've been running recently it's quite boring and monotonous. I prefer more undulations now. This old route, because of the lack of variation, is more strain on the legs.

I was ok for the first half and just into the second, and then my left hip started to hurt. It was a pain I've never had before. I managed the 4k I'd planned but I could tell that this had been a mistake and I was glad to stop. It sort of recapped and brought home the lesson that it's best to 'listen' to what my body is saying and if there's the slightest hesitation, to err on the safer side and save my legs for another day.

Now I'm going to have to have 2 days off to make up for it. It's one of those paradoxes of life that good things can be bad for us when unwisely used. Exercise and food are good examples. I've been trying to control both for my benefit and the lessons are hard to learn.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Sunday Best? - 47 days left

I don't usually run on a Sunday, not because I've any spiritual or theological reasons against it, it's just a hard morning anyway for me. But I made an exception this morning because I felt like running and I'd had a day off yesterday. I felt ok during the run but when I got back my legs were a bit painful. I haven't a clue why that should be except that I didn't feel all that well yesterday and maybe it had something to do with that.

You can never tell how you are going to be until the experience is past. As I've remarked before, some days you can feel fine and other days feel rubbish from start to finish. The vexing thing is that sometimes you can't think of anything to put the difference down to.

Not like I could do if I was one of those staggering home in totally inappropriate clothing at 6.00 a.m. after a night's clubbing. I passed a couple of likely lads this morning wending their way home, or at least in a forward direction! I ran past the local Tesco one Saturday morning just after 6.00 a.m. and three young men and two young women were just emerging with a case of lager; no doubt to round off a 'good night'.

I do remember staggering home when I was their age, but it wasn't at dawn, it was much much earlier the night before. We had a reason to binge drink as the pubs and clubs weren't open 24/7. But binge drinking hadn't been invented then. We simply 'got drunk.' But closing hours gave the opportunity to sober up properly.

Now I'm at an age where I'm simply grateful that I can be up at dawn and out running on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I no longer get drunk, or even drink because time and tide have taken their toll and alcohol just makes me very ill before I've drunk enough to feel any real effect. Now, electrolytes and carb drinks are my post exercise poison.


Friday, 26 August 2011

Autumn Draws On - and 49 days to go

Yes, and it will soon be Winter draw(er)s on as well! I can tell the nights are getting longer. During June and July I can be up at 5.00 a.m. as it gets light at 4.30. This week it's been after 6.00 a.m. when I've been dragging myself out of bed simply because it's only coming light at 5.00. My body clock in that respect rules me. And I'm sorry but I have to abide by it. It means that during the Winter what I do now at 6.00 a.m. I do at 7.00 or even 8.00 in the Winter. I'm NOT looking forward to it.

However, good news this morning, at my weigh-in I'd lost another 2lbs. That's 2lbs less to haul around with me on my runs. It means too that I should, if I can keep the pace, hit my target of 11st. 7lb (or lighter) by the deadline of 7 weeks today. Wish me luck!!!

I had a good extended run this morning. I set my c25k app for a 30 minute run but in fact ran 45 minutes, just to see if I could. And I did. Yes! Also, I included 2 hills, a shorter one on my way out and the long one on my way back. The long hill is 700 yards long. Not sure on the incline but it's enough to get me working quite hard. When I've run it, I know about it. There are one or two of different gradient in the same area which I must try in coming weeks. I'll need to, because as you lose weight and get lighter you have to work harder to burn the calories. Oh joy!


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Back Again, thank Goodness - 51 days and counting

Yes, I took the risk of running again this morning. I couldn't not. The weather was just right and my legs felt a lot better, just a few aches here and there but a lot better.

Of course, I was only going to do 20 mins. max. But I did 42 mins and took in two hills as well! So much for easing my way back in and taking care of my legs.

I could already feel the benefit of pushing myself last Friday. Amongst the aches I could feel, or below the aches and remaining stiffness I felt stronger. I think that's why I tackled the hills; one shorter hill on the way out and a longer one on the way in. It sort of proved the increasing strength.

So, all in all it was a good run this morning. Yes, when I got back I was aching rather more than if I'd given myself another day of recovery. But come on, the longer I stay inactive, the larger the belly gets. And that I cannot have again, no matter what the pain.

Just a note here though about when I'm talking about aches and stiffness. I have to say that I haven't had one pain that I can attribute to wearing minimalist running shoes. I certainly don't get shin splints anymore like I always had with my conventional trainers. The aches and pains I get are simply from pushing myself too far, which, incidentally, I do less of now because I'm wiser and also my minimalist shoes really won't let me. Honest.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Can Enthusiasm be Bad for You? - 52 days to go

"You can have all the heart in the world, but it doesn't mean anything unless you have the legs."
(Lance Armstrong in 'Lance Armstrong - Tour de Force' by Daniel Coyle - See in I Recommend in the side bar)

Walking's been a pain and getting downstairs a nightmare since my run last Friday, but today I began to get my legs back. On Sunday I wondered if I'd ever get them back, walking was so excruciating. Maybe tomorrow morning I might manage a mile or two but if not, definitely Thursday.

Friday's run was the best ever. I felt on top of the world, carried along by the whole experience, full of enthusiasm for what I was doing. So much so that I had little regard for what it was taking out of my body. I felt like I was 16 and forgot that I'm 61. And there's the rub. My enthusiasm carried me too far and I suffered. Thinking about those who go in for extreme sports of different kinds, sometimes their enthusiasm not only makes them suffer badly, but has been known to result in their death.

Part of the story of Pheidipides' iconic run from Athens to Marathon, that's conveniently forgotten, is that shortly afterwards he died of exhaustion.

Enthusiasm isn't a substitute for having the body, the ability and the wisdom that sees you through to your goal, or to the finishing line in good shape. You need to have the equipment and it needs to be in the best working order possible and you've got to be able to use it wisely. Enthusiasm can be the death of you when you aren't equipped to make best use of it.

So, with all the pain I've suffered over the last 3 days, was my long hard run on Friday worth it?

OF COURSE IT WAS!!!!! And I'd do it again. I know I probably will some time.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Aaarrrgh! - 55 days to go

..... "I was doing fine up to Foresthill, but I've entered a world of hurt since. The pain is getting intense," I said. There was a long moment of silence, and then the Indian chief began to speak. "That is to be expected," he said, continuing to scan the sky. "Pain is the body's way of ridding itself of weakness."

So writes Dean Karnazes in his book Ultra Marathon Man (see My Recommendations in the sidebar) in an encounter at one of the check points on his first ultra marathon race the Western States 100.

Well, if what the Indian chief says is true, my legs are doing some ridding of weakness this morning! . I'm having difficulty walking this morning because of stiffness and soreness in my legs. But it takes nothing away from yesterday's run. It's all part of the process, of building up, healing, improving and learning. It'll mean at least 2 and maybe 3 days of rest, but I've learned to put up with that too.

On a more positive note, the bathroom scales tell me this morning that I've dropped another 2lbs. Step by step, pound by pound, mile by mile, I'm getting there.

Friday, 19 August 2011

THIS Makes it All Worthwhile! - 56 days left

If I've ever wondered why I'm putting myself through all the dieting and exercise, well, this morning I got the answer. This morning's run made the whole of the last 6 months worthwhile.

For a few weeks I've been wanting to get off the road because I just had a feeling, and that was all, that running on trails and country paths must in some ways be better than pounding the pavement. When I used to run some years ago, the only respite from the roadside was my circuits around the local park. But recently, something inside was telling me that off the road held something different. I didn't know what but I just had the feeling it did. I bought the trail shoes, Inov-8 BareGrip 200's, a few weeks ago so that I could try the off-road experience whenever I could. Well, this morning was my first time. And what an experience!

It was something like 6.50 a.m. when I set off - a beautiful sunny morning, blue sky and cool with the sun just risen. I'd decided to try and run some footpaths just a few miles away from home in the local countryside. For those of you who know it, I ran from Parbold Hill to Ashurst Beacon and back across the Douglas Valley. You can see the map and route I took here: My Route

My abiding impression is this: Sun, blue sky, nettled, scratched, wet feet, muddied and sheep pooh; pheasants took flight squawking furiously as I approached; sheep and cattle wondered what this idiot was doing so early in a morning, disturbing their breakfast; slanting sun making fields full of jewels as it reflected off the dew; solitude, peace and fresh, unpolluted air. When I could run I ran, when I had to walk, I walked. My time was slow but I didn't care, I was drinking in the whole thing. It was GLORIOUS, heaven on earth!

Although I was running most of the time I carried my camera (it's only very small) and took photographs. It was a good excuse to stop and get my breath back as well. I'm not the world's best photographer but I've included one or two here so you can see how beautiful a morning it was.

I did just over 10k in all, the furthest I've 'run' for about 5 years. It took me 1hr. 45mins. I'm tired and stiff now but what the heck it was worth it. And it made all the months of dieting, and slowly getting back walking and then into running again worth every moment. Days like these don't come along often but when they do it makes it all worthwhile

It's just like what Haruki Murakami wrote and which I quoted a few days ago. It might seem a pretty pointless thing to do, running through the countryside, but it's what happens in the heart that matters and only the one who does it really knows.

Long shadows over fields as the sun rises
The way to Life is narrow and few there are that find it (the start)
Early morning sun over the Douglas Valley - my destination on the horizon
Early morning sun rising on the sheep
Open trails
And wooded paths
Leeds-Liverpool Canal side by side with........
The river Douglas
Cows wondering 'what on earth' so early
Bejewelled fields, light and shade
Ashurst's Beacon - half way (or thereabouts) destination
From the summit - Wind farm off the Lancashire coast

And looking over Liverpool to the mountains of Wales
Even on country paths!
Somebody has to go to work!
The last bit of trail
Yes, I walked this bit, Parbold Hill summit round the corner
A last look back at where I'd been - the Beacon just visible on the horizon and the sun has disappeared
Happy trail runner!!!
Not so happy socks and trail shoes!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

What's so Good about Resting??!! - 57 days to the Day

Part of me hates these days between exercise, especially the perfectionist, workaholic part of me, which is practically the whole of me. The hardest lesson to learn about exercise is that the rest periods are the hours and days where all the good the exercise has done is 'banked'. Muscles heal and regenerate, glycogen stores stock up, minerals are replenished. BUT TRY TELLING YOUR EGO THAT!! I know all this but it's so hard just to 'down tools' and let be. And today's one of those days. It's sunny outside, a cool, clear morning and I just want to be on the road. But I was out yesterday and I want to be out tomorrow, so, I've got to get a grip......

Anyway, on Twitter I follow Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine and I found this earlier in one of his tweets: 'Your Competitive Advantage - Rest' I think it's a good article; a helpful reminder that rest is good for every aspect of your life. It reinforces that fact that rest is ESSENTIAL not only for our 'being', for our body, mind and spirit, but also for our 'doing', for all our activity especially that part that makes our living. And I like the way Darren suggests we build in the rest periods and make the most of them; which reminds me of something else that's been on my mind lately, the ways in which and the reasons why energy seems to leak away from me. But that's for another post.

Have a rest some time today!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

You Really Gotta Read This!!! - 58 days left

Yes, you've really got to read this post!!! Well, no you don't have to. I was just trying to attract your attention. But now I've got it you might as well read on hadn't you?

I was out again this morning. I was a bit later. I'm getting to know the cars that pass me every morning now and some of them, that I see on mt way back, passsed me on the way out today . We are such creatures of habit. And habit can get in the way of development.

When I think I've got a good thing going, I find it difficult to do something different, even though I really know it would benefit me. I think running not quite as far and thinking more about form and building myself up would be better for me just now. But somehow, running not quite as far feels like it's not really helping me improve. Just something in the mind that I'm struggling with.

I realised this morning that I'm more comfortable running on a path with a slight camber from right to left. It seems to make up for the weakness in my left foot and whatever I'm doing 'wrong' with my right leg. When I understood that, I found that I could run a bit faster. Now I think about it, I used to run like that in my old motion control trainers. But in those I got far more pain and injury. So I'm still convinced about my Neo's.


Monday, 15 August 2011

Love This Reason for Running - 60 days to go

Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami writes this about his life of running, in his book 'What I Talk About When I Talk About Running':

'Even if from the outside, or from some higher vantage point, this sort of life looks pointless or futile, or even extremely inefficient, it doesn't bother me. Maybe it's some pointless act like....pouring water into an old pan that has a hole in the bottom, but at least the effort you put into it remains. Whether it's good for anything or not, cool or totally uncool, in the final analysis what's most important is what you can't see but can feel in your heart. To be able to grasp something of value, sometimes you have to perform seemingly inefficient acts. But even activities that appear fruitless don't necessarily end up so. That's the feeling I have, as someone who's felt this, who's experienced it'.

Yes, it's what's going on inside that matters. I think it gives an explanation too for lots we do in life that seem, on the outside, to be pretty pointless to in uninitiated. It's what goes on in the heart that matters. As soon as I read that I thought; 'yes, that just about sums up having faith in God too and living life as a Christian'. It's not the first time, and I'm sure won't be the last, that running has informed my spiritual life.

This morning, it poured down with rain as soon as I stepped out the door. But I enjoy the rain when I get soaked through. It no longer becomes uncomfortable. It's just the opposite of being dry. And it kept my mind out of my legs a bit.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Now I Can Bend Down! - 62 days to go

It's often what seem to be the more insignificant things that upset us or delight us the most I think. 6 months ago, when I started this journey I had difficulty bending down to cut my toe nails, simply because my belly got in the way. It left me puffing and panting and my back aching. Now - it's far easier. It's good to weigh yourself and see the needle on the bathroom scales (my scales are ancient) going backwards. But I get far more delight out of moving along a notch on my belt and looking in the mirror and seeing that my moobs are sticking out less under a t-shirt. Those things and being able to get into clothes I wore years ago when I was much slimmer, are far greater incentive to keeping going in the battle to lose weight. My belly's still quite a bit jelly and I've a way to go yet but I'M ON MY WAY!

I continued with c25k this morning just doing the 30 min. run that comes as an 'extra' to the 9 week programme. There are a couple of others - a 45 min. run and one that you design yourself. I actually did 35 mins. It was good and less of a strain than Thursday which had me out for an hour. But I felt the weakness in my left foot for the first time and the stiffness in my right leg. I'm sure if I keep just to the 30 min. workout and don't extend too much then I'll get through those things.


Friday, 12 August 2011

Review and Reflection

JUST 9 WEEKS LEFT. 63 DAYS. 14th October is the final day! Exactly 9 weeks from today.

Today my right leg is aching a bit due to the long run yesterday. So I've decided that it was too much too soon and to rethink. I've decided that for the next 2 weeks I'll run just 30 minutes and concentrate on building up strength and correcting my running form. I've done very well so far. I finished c25k just a day behind schedule, but I pushed myself to do it; and now I'm in danger of pushing too far altogether. If I finish B210k by the end of the year I'll be happy. So there's no need to rush.

I'm going to do the exercises for strength and form from the book 'Natural Running' by Danny Abshire which I bought several weeks ago. It's a very detailed book but one which helps you understand much better how the whole body works in running and how and why injuries are caused. More importantly, it describes how to change your running style and form in a slow and progressive way that builds you up at the same time to create the best distance and speed. So I would be crazy to ignore such good advice.

Luna Sandals hasn't e-mailed me yet to say my order has been despatched. I'm going to phone on Monday if I don't hear anything today.

I weighed myself this morning and I've dropped a couple of pounds to 170lbs. (77kilos) So I'm on my way to my goal again. Thank goodness. I thought I was on that plateau for good. I want to lose another 6lbs. over the next 3 weeks which will take me to 11st. 10lbs. And by my birthday, hopefully, I'll have reached my weight goal of 11st. 7lbs. Really, I'd like to be 11st. 4lbs because I used to be at my best at that weight. So we'll see. But I'm happy that I'm on my way!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

A Rainy Start

It was warm and rainy this morning for my start on working up to 10k. I'm using b210k app on my iPhone now. I wandered all over the place trying to work out a route and it felt most unsatisfactory. I used to do ciricuits through the local park but I don't want to run in circles this time. So I'm going to have to work out a route that will build me up a bit more, something undulating with one or two short stiff hills if I can fit them in.

I'm feeling like I've been stretched this morning, which is good. I was out for an hour which is the longest I've been out running and there was about 45 minutes running in that, the rest walking. So, it feels good. The extra day rest yesterday was a wise move. I'm not sure how I'll feel on Saturday when I come to day two. I'll try and work out a proper route before that and it will make it feel better I'm sure.

A good start I think

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Being Wise?

Putting my feet up in Ouranoupolis, by Mount Athos
I decided to take another day off running today because my right leg needs it. I've over stretched myself in the past and I hope I've learned the lessons well.

It means of course that my start on Bridge to 10k is delayed, and it's a bit frustrating. But it's good to learn patience as well and to learn to listen well to my body.

And I'm doing my best to convince myself that in putting my feet up for an extra day I'm being wise!!??

Monday, 8 August 2011

On My Way to 10k

Well, I finished c25k this morning. I ran an extra 10 minutes to celebrate. I made the mistake of putting my rain jacket on because it was spitting when I opened the front door. There was no rain though so I ended up being hotter than I needed to be. Also I got a blister on a toe due to wet shoes from running on the grass verge. It's the first blister I've ever had running. So there must be a lesson in that.

I'm very pleased that I've completed 5k. A few months ago I thought I'd never do it again. Now, I can begin the journey to 10k. I'm already 2/3rds of the way there really. But I'm going to take my time. I need to think about my running form a bit more and take it more easily growing more and more accustomed to the minimalist shoes, which I'm enjoying running in very much.

It's strange how each day feels different to the last. I thought that I'd feel really good this morning but I was just ok. I didn't feel uncomfortable, but it surprised me that I didn't feel better. But the lesson there is that you never really know what you'll be like until you start to run and by the time 15 minutes or so has passed you pretty well know that how you feel is how you are going to feel for most of it.

Now, though, I'm on my way to 10k. It's 5 years since I ran that far - Great Manchester Run. I did it in 56 minutes. I wonder what my time will be 5 years older. I'm looking forward to finding out. I'm not really bothered what time it takes. The main thing is that I do it.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

And more Progress - Mind beyond Matter

After Thursday's struggle and a rest yesterday, today was a different story. My body was more in tune with my mind and spirit today. So I extended my run by 5 mins. and the total distance I covered was 5.86K. I've gone metric by the way; I thought that if I'm thinking in terms of running 5 or 10k I might as well log the training in those units.

One small thing I discovered was that when I noticed stiffness or pain anywhere, and I'm only getting twinges as you'd expect to get, if I kept my mind on the pain it was worse than if I took my mind off it. So if I took my mind and thoughts out of my body, my body would feel easier and lighter.

Today's was the penultimate day of c25k. Last day next, which I'll run on Monday as tomorrow is a hard day at work. I'll try and finish with 'the hill.' That will be celebratory. I hope I'll be in good shape. I'll have finished just a day over time, which isn't at all bad going. I might take the rest of the week easier - MIGHT! Next stop though, 10k - before Christmas.

I ran in my Neo's without socks today. I little bit closer to the earth. I thought, what's the point of dirtying socks when I can just wash my feet and legs? It's a lot easier. And, my feet felt better, more in touch, more in tune with running. Strange isn't it? All my previous running has been spent padded and protected and I was missing so much. Ok, my running pace just now is a little slower, but then I'm new to minimalist shoes -  and some years older too.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Spirit is :) but the Flesh is :(

My Neo's now looking like they've been run in
I was out early this morning for day 1 of week 9 of c25k; a 30 minute non-stop run. I was very enthusiastic in mind and spirit but I'm afraid the body wouldn't catch up. I could tell right from the start of my running that it was going to be one of those sessions where the body just refuses to get into the spirit of things. Arms and legs were all over the place. They started to complain after just a few strides and never stopped. The weakness in my left ankle and stiffness in my right calf just wouldn't go away. Adusting my form and trying to relax and run light made little difference. So, it was just one of those days even though I didn't lose heart at all and kept my body going. But because I kept going I completed the session successfully.

One of the things that added to the discomfort was a change of route for the first part of my run. I ran along the local canal towpath, the part of it that has been paved. Two things made it difficult - the paving which felt very, very hard and the fact that it was almost altogether straight and level. I'd thought that running on a level path would be easy. How wrong I was. It was just a hard and unrelenting slog. I much prefer the undulations of the highway and the unevenness of its paving. I had a bit of respite by running along the grassy verge, which I do on the highway where there is one. But I risked falling into the canal on some parts so I don't think I'll be doing that any more. I can swim so I won't drown, but I don't fancy being poisoned.

Anyway, on a positive note I found I still have a great deal of spirit for running, for pushing my body through its moans and groans to achieve a goal. Afterwards I felt really good about the fact that I'd done the run and not given up and that made the difficulty worth it. It builds no end of resilience.

Another rest day tomorrow before day 2 on Friday.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Took a Risk

I took a risk this morning and ran again. It was a risk because I really need at least one day between runs. I wanted to get the final day of Week 8 done on c25k. I felt good and I ran 'the hill' right at the end of the run. (Thinks, I must put a photo of 'the hill' on this blog as I keep mentioning it in my twitter shares from the app.) Because of that it was a couple of hundred yards shorter run than yesterday. Running the hill stretched me nicely though. I've got a bit of stiffness in my right calf and left ankle this evening, but I'd scheduled a day off tomorrow anyway before I begin week 9. I expect to complete the week on Monday next which will be just a day over what I'd planned.

I've just about ditched my old running shoes now. I can't wear them anymore because they just feel too big and clumsy. It's good to feel the freedom that the minimalist shoes provide.

I'm looking at Luna Sandals too now, not for running in but for just walking about in as I'm finding it difficult now to walk about much in shoes with heels. And holiday in Greece is approaching and they'd be just the job! VERY expensive though because they are hand made in Seattle.

I've ended up with lots of calories spare this evening. Good!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Minimal and Pain Free - It works for Me

From what I read here and there on twitter and on the internet generally, the debate about conventional running footwear and minimalist/barefoot is going on a pace. I have to say that I was convinced about minimalist/barefoot running simply by reading Born to Run. I think a lot of people have been similarly convinced by that book. I've just about transitioned now into Vivobarefoot Neo road shoes and I have a pair of Inov-8 Bare Grip 200's that I'm going to be trail running in. As I haven't run for 3 years or more and over the last couple of months I've been just getting back into it, it's maybe an ideal time to transition and to learn more about running form at the same time.

My immediate experience of running in minimalist shoes can be summed by saying 'It Works for Me'. In the years I haven't been running, I've developed arthritis in the large joint of my left big toe. When I walk in shoes with heel lift and especially my ordinary leather brogues, the joint hurts badly after about 5 minutes. When I walk in my motion control running shoes, bought because my left arch used to weaken after a couple of miles, the joint hurts, not quite so badly but it still aches. When I run in the trainers the joint hurts less but it still aches.

Vivobarefoot Neo Shoes
When I walk or run in my Neo's I have no pain at all and also, my 'weak' arch now doesn't trouble me. I guess it's now a lot stronger than it was because the padding isn't there to support it. I seem, quite naturally to 'listen' to my feet, legs and body and make small adjustments in my running form in a way I never used to do when running in my previous cushioned, motion control shoes. I think of those years when I ran in pain nearly every day because I believed that that is what runners do - no pain, no gain. And the hours I spent with legs elevated and bags of frozen peas strapped to them to get some relief!

I believe I'm more sensible too now. Because my minimalist shoes are giving me a more 'natural' running experience and I'm listening to my body and feeling the ground a lot more, I'm not over extending myself as I used to do.

Inov-8 Bare Grip 200
I do believe that my minimalist shoes actually encourage me to run in a more natural fashion simply because it's impossible to run 'unnaturally', i.e. with a heel strike. They necessitate a mid foot or fore foot strike. I know that lots of people are happy with their conventional running shoes and I've no axe to grind on the issue at all. I'm simply confirming that what I read in Born to Run, up to now, is being borne out by my own experience. So, running in minimalist shoes works for me. Maybe it might work for you. My minimalist shoes are expensive but for me, they are worth every penny because I'm enjoying my running much more than I did in the past. And I'm saving on frozen peas!

A New Week, a New Month

Vivobarefoot Neo
1st August, Lammas Day apparently. And I'm back on the road again after my stiff legs. I ran for 28 minutes in my Vivobarefoot Neo's; my minimalist road shoes. I think I'm completely transitioned to them now. My feet are a lot better in them than in my cushioned, motion control shoes. As long as I remember to 'run easy, run light' and to make the slight adjustments to form that I need to when I might feel a twinge of pain then I guess I'm there.

I'm still following the c25k app on my iPhone and this morning I completed Week 8 Day 2. So I'll have finished the progamme by early next week if all goes well. I can now run for 28 minutes without a walk break. When I complete the programme I might look to just building up on that for a month then see if I can extend further up to 10k by the end of the year. Got to have the goals! Only wouldn't it be better not to have the goals so I don't keep trying to do too much too soon? Why not just run, without any expectations other than to enjoy it?

Well, up to now it's just great to be back on the road and getting fit.