C. Beth.
C. Beth run.
C. Beth smile.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Run #147

Good run! And on the day we are leaving, I may finally have adjusted to the altitude. :) My ZEM booties did so well here in Susanville, CA. I'm guessing they'll be my running shoe of choice this winter. Today it was in the low- to mid-40s (and I only had shorts to wear--brr!!) I wore socks with the ZEMs, and my feet were warm but still had great flexibility/range of motion.

2.47 miles, 29:13 (11:49/mile)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Run #146

Short run. Still slow; I can feel the altitude difference. But my knee felt great--yay!

1.01 miles, 10:50 (10:43/mile)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Run #145

Rough run! For some reason my knee bothered me and I had to stop and stretch a bunch of times. My knees have been doing SO great since I started barefoot/minimalist running, so I don't know what was going on with my form to cause this today. Hopefully it'll be okay on my next run. Felt fine afterward.

2.79 miles, 36:20 (13:01/mile)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Run #144

Sometimes running is fun. Sometimes it's just work. And sometimes, when your teething toddler is annoying the daylights out of you by whining and crying, running is therapy.

Good therapy.

What did I do to destress before I started running?!

2.25 miles, 27:06 (12:02/mile) I am adjusting nicely to the high altitude.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Run #143

Great run, beautiful weather! I wore a jacket for part of the run...a JACKET! I'd forgotten what that felt like! :) Wore my ZEMs again (with a short barefoot portion on some nice asphalt.)

I wish I could run in Susanville, CA all summer long! But come winter...I'll be glad I'm not here, with the 15 feet of snow they get each year.

2.2 miles, 27:14 (12:22/mile)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Run #142

Susanville, CA is gorgeous--pine trees, mid-60s in the mid-morning. Aah...awesome! But my in-laws live at over 5000 feet elevation so I took it nice and slow! Beautiful run...a little reminder of what it's like to run in lovely weather.

I wore my new ZEM booties (minimalist shoes made for beach use), and they were comfy. The roads here are just a little rough (loose gravel, etc.) so the ZEMs offered some nice protection. (I'll post a full review at a later date.)

2.35 miles, 29:09 (12:24/mile)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Run #141

SLOW run. I was tired and kind of stiff. It was VERY humid (rained last night) but cloudy, which was nice. Not a great run, but glad I got all my miles in this week. Achilles tendons feeling pretty good.

We're headed to Susanville, CA (waaay up north in the state) tomorrow, and I'll be glad to leave Yuma heat behind...but I'm nervous about the altitude at my in-laws' place. It's at 5200 feet.

2.17 miles, 27:45 (12:47/mile)

Run #140

My left Achilles has been bothering me. This short run seemed to help stretch it out, and it felt so much better today!

.98 miles, 10:51 (11:04/mile)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Run #139

I got to run barefoot at the San Diego beach & boardwalk! About 1/4 to 1/3 was concrete boardwalk running, the rest sand. The sand was challenging--my calves are sore! But it was a decent run, and I wish I could run next to the gorgeous ocean more often, with the waves occasionally washing up over my busy bare feet.

2.15 miles, 26:34 (12:21/mile) Distance & pace estimated.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Run #138

Went on a run with my dad this morning! This was the longest barefoot run I've done. It counts as my long run this week. We ran through the college that's near them, and there was some pretty awful chip seal asphalt--my feet will be feeling it all day! But despite the pain, I think it's good to occasionally challenge my soles with rough surfaces.

We left a half hour earlier than I'd left yesterday, and there was a breeze, so the weather felt SO much better. I felt great today!

2.6 miles, 29:36 (11:20/mile)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Run #137

Started out great but I think I set off too fast. It was getting hot and sunny, with some humidity. (It was 87 degrees plus 53% humidity. That's about what it is for my evening runs at home...but the sun made it feel a lot worse here!) I ended up with side cramps for the last 3/4 mile or so. Not good. On the up side, my feet and legs felt good! The sidewalks and asphalt roads around my parents' house are mostly nice and smooth.

2.08 miles, 23:09 (11:08/mile)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Strengthening & stretching exercises

I was asked by my friend Autumn what my home workouts involve. I'd like to post here the various strengthening and stretching exercises I do at home.

First, though, a disclaimer--I bet an expert could come up with more organized, structured workouts than I do. I'm far from being an expert, and I don't suggest you do any of this without consulting your doctor.

My at-home workout

My total workout is usually somewhere between 45 minutes and 1 hour 15 minutes but that can certainly vary depending how many exercises you do. I actually like to do strengthening exercises three times a week, but since I've been running five times a week lately, I'm lucky to fit in my two strengthening workouts! I work out in front of the TV. (I get bored otherwise.)

Part A: Foam Roller
First I usually use my foam roller to roll out any sore or tight muscles in my legs. Don't just roll; when you get to a tight spot, focus on it for a little while to loosen it up. You can find various other uses of the foam roller doing a Google search.

I should do a bit of warm-up (marching in place, etc.) but usually don't!

Part B: Strengthening exercises
I try to choose a variety of upper body, core, and lower body exercises. My workouts usually include about 9 exercises. I alternate three exercises, doing three sets of each. (I usually do 10-12 reps per set.) I choose 3 more exercises, and repeat the process, then 3 more.

I have five-pound weights and eight-pound weights. I use the eight pound for most exercises, but some exercises I need a lower weight. Your weights may vary (lighter or heavier.)

Click the exercise name to see information on how to do it.

Upper body:
  1. Overhead tricep extensions (Careful; don't use weight(s) too heavy or drop your weight(s) on your head!)
  2. Tricep extensions
  3. Fly (I do these laying on the floor since I don't have a bench.) Note: The Fly link has a big variety of dumbbell exercises; some of them I don't do, but I may incorporate more of them. I just discovered this article!)
  4. Upright rows
  5. Bent over rows
  6. Bicep curls (I do both arms at once)
  7. Hammer curls
  8. Shoulder presses (I do both arms at once)
  9. Lateral raises (I have to use my five pounders for this. It's a tough one!)
  10. Chest presses (I do these on the floor)

Lower body:
  1. Hip exercises (These are three different exercises, and I love them! You do need a resistance band for them. I use the one that came with my Wii EA Sports Active game. The article I've linked to convinced me that hip exercises might help stabilize my knees, which I was having some issues with. I did these very consistently for a time, and I think they really helped. However, losing the shoes and improving my running form helped much more! Since these are such good exercises for runners, I try to make sure I do these exercises at least once a week, preferably more often, sometimes doing them on days that aren't normal strength training days.)
  2. Straight leg raises (Laying on your back, for quads. In the link, scroll to "SUPER QUADS.")
  3. Straight leg raises (Laying on your stomach, for hamstrings. In the link, scroll to "HAM AND LEGS." I was told at a running store do three sets of quad exercises for every two sets of hamstring exercises, since running already tends to strengthen the hamstrings more than the quads. I try to make sure I do my quad and hamstring exercises at least once a week, preferably more often, sometimes doing them on days that aren't normal strength training days.)
  4. Dumbbell squats (Make sure knees don't go in front of toes.)
  5. Note that lunges can be great; they just tend to hurt my knees sometimes, so I shy away from them. Google it to find lots of options for lunges.
  6. Side leg raises & inside leg raises (These are two separate exercises, but I'm listing them together because I always do them together; it's convenient.)
  7. Calf raises or heel raises and dips
Core or whole body:
  1. Bicycle
  2. Plank on elbows & toes
  3. Push-ups
  4. Sit-ups
  5. Curl downs
Part C: Stretching exercises
Do at least one stretch for each area, after each run and after each strengthening workout. I hold my stretches for 15-30 seconds each.
  1. Calves: Wall push-up #1 or Gastroc stretch. (These are pretty much the same stretch; one is with both legs and the other is one at a time. One at a time seems to be a better stretch, but both at a time is faster and may be fine if you don't suffer from calf tightness.)
  2. Lower calves: Wall push-up #2 or Soleus stretch.
  3. Back: Back scratch (I tend to forget to do this one after running, but it's good to do! A loose upper body helps with running form.)
  4. Hamstring: Prone hamstring stretch (my favorite!) or standing hamstring stretch.
  5. Quadriceps: Standing quad stretch or prone quad stretch
  6. Groin: Groin stretch
  7. Hips: Hip stretch (Look at the "General Hip Stretch" on the link. However, I learned mine a bit differently. Instead of crossing my legs, I have them in the basic position they're in for the groin stretch, except that one foot is in front of the other (instead of the feet being pushed together.) You should feel the stretch in one hip as you lean forward. Then move the other foot to the front, and lean forward again to stretch the other hip.)
  8. Hip flexors: Hip flexor stretch (I don't regularly do this, but sometimes I feel like I need it.)
  9. IT (iliotibial) band: IT band stretch #1, #2, or #3. (I don't like #2, but a lot of people use it!)
  10. Arms and back: I really need to do more arm and back stretches, particularly after my strengthening workouts. It looks like there are several listed at this link.
That's it, my at-home exercises! It sounds like a lot! But remember, I don't do it all at once. I'm able to stay pretty motivated because I know that strengthening and stretching help me be a better runner. I don't love hand weights or stretches...but I love running, and I want to stay healthy so that I can keep running. (And hey, it doesn't hurt to look in the mirror and see some toned muscles too!)

Run #136

My mom and I went out for a walk/run this morning (in Yuma, AZ). It went great! The weather was really great--so dry here. It wasn't hot yet (left just before 6) though it will probably be a scorcher later. My mom has knee issues, so I showed her how to run with a gentler form (getting rid of that heel strike) so she can hopefully get past the knee pain. She feels like it's going to help!

Total walk/run: 2.16 miles, 35 minutes (16:12/mile)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Run #135

I'm getting my speed back! I was going extra-fast tonight because it was getting dark, and I ran through the high school grounds, which was scarier than just running past houses in my neighborhood. I wanted to take advantage of the light as much as I could! I had energy, and this run was great!! No major aches or pains, just a good, challenging run. It's amazing how much better this new form is feeling!

I put on my huaraches for the last .89 miles because it was just getting too dark for me to see the road well (especially considering I was on asphalt at the time.) I got some new laces--very thin, flexible leather--and they are so comfortable.

2.28 miles, 24:24 (10:42/mile)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Run #134

Took it easy since it had been less than 12 hours since my last run! The top of my foot felt even better, so I think the little form adjustments I've been making are working! This route has some hills which seem to be going pretty well. It was humid of course, but it felt SO much better than last night!

I've got these little callouses on the top of the pad of each foot, under my 2nd toe.
Apparently these are connected with my Morton's Toe (2nd toe & 2nd metatarsal are longer than 1st toe/metatarsal.) That's a common place to get callouses with that foot shape. They have been bothering me on and off ever since I started barefoot running. Yesterday and today they are sore (maybe from running hills?) I'm concerned they could really bother me once my runs get longer, if I don't find a way to run without irritating that area. I could just decide to use minimalist shoes on longer runs, and that would be fine. But it would be great if I could really get past the issue without having to use shoes to do it. We'll see.

1.92 miles, 22:51 (11:52/mile)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Run #133

I forgot to stop my watch; no idea what my time was. According to weather.com it was 86 degrees but humid enough to feel like 97. The sun was barely down, so that helped.

It was a good run. I've been having that slight ache in the top of my right foot but I focused on running with my whole foot (including heel) & LIFTING my foot today (not pushing off), and it was definitely better!

Good run...but I'm glad I usually run in the morning when it's cooler! But...starting this weekend I'll be spending over a week in Yuma, Arizona, so this was probably good prep for running there!

1.92 miles

Monday, August 9, 2010

Run #132

I started with my huarache sandals today. I ran earlier than I've been doing lately, and it was still pretty dark when I started. I didn't want to step on anything. I really like running in the huaraches! I can keep my form up but I don't have to worry about stepping on things. I don't like the slapping sound they make on the road (when I've gotten so used to a very quiet barefoot stride) but I can deal with it. They're really a good minimalist running shoe. (Part One: 1.59 miles)

For Part Two of my run it had gotten bright enough to take my huaraches off and run in bare feet. (Part Two: .47 miles)

I had a lot of energy today. Starting yesterday, things just seemed to come together so much more with my new form. It suddenly got easier, more natural, more fun!

In the barefoot running community a lot of people talk about TOFP--Top Of Foot Pain. It's a common thing for new barefoot runners to suffer, and apparently it's often caused by "pushing off" with the feet (instead of simply lifting the feet), running too much on the balls of the feet (not using the heels enough) and/or doing TMTS (Too Much Too Soon)! Well, I hesitate to call mine TOFP because "pain" is too strong of a word for it, but I've started having an incredibly mild ache at the top of my right foot. I do notice that when I focus on lifting my feet, it sometimes improves, so I'll take this as a good cue for further improving my form. I also think I was running too much on my forefoot, so I've started incorporating my heels more. At this point it's so mild that it shouldn't be a problem as long as it doesn't get worse.

2.06 miles, 23:17 (11:19/mile) I ended up going .16 miles further than I'd planned today--oops. I got mixed up on the route I'd mapped in advance.

My running schedule will be a little different this week because of my husband's Tuesday/Wednesday business trip, and our vacation (which starts very early Saturday morning.) I'm hoping to still fit in all five runs, but I may end up cutting one.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My interview on Get Fit Pod!

I've mentioned Skip Orem's Get Fit Pod podcast on this blog a few times. I've enjoyed running with some of the High Intensity Interval Training podcasts, and the informational podcasts that Skip does are great too!

Awhile back, Skip asked to interview me for Get Fit Pod! I was excited, and we had a great time chatting about running. This interview was done less than a week before I looked into barefoot running and decided to become a barefoot runner. So I don't talk about barefoot running at all in this interview; the concept of "ditching the shoes" wasn't even on my radar at the time!

You can listen to the whole podcast by clicking the link below, or by searching for "Get Fit Pod" on iTunes. It's Episode 150. Part 1 of my interview starts about 9 minutes into the episode, and part 2 starts about 22 minutes into the episode.

Get Fit Pod Episode 150 (Just click the link, then the Play arrow.)

Run #131

Great run this morning! Just a quick mile. I felt really good, lots of energy.

1 mile, 10:07 (10:07/mile)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Run #130

Great run to Starbucks! I felt the most relaxed I have since starting barefoot running. When little aches cropped up I was able to quickly get past them by relaxing and slowing down. I used my huaraches for the last 3/4 mile or so. During that segment last week I had to keep switching to walking because there were areas with no sidewalks and lots of rocks. The huaraches were great! I could still feel the ground (very thin soles) but they offered protection from the harsh rocks, and I was able to keep running almost the whole time.

I wore my new little waistpack to carry my phone, Starbucks card, etc. I've written about it at C. Beth Blog: My new headpack!

It's so nice to do a two-mile-plus run! On my second week of barefoot running, I did two runs of over two miles each, but I wasn't ready for that yet. (OUCHY ankles!) Having built up gradually to this distance, it felt wonderful! Saturday is my "long" run (well, relatively long!) I'll do a short, one-mile recovery run tomorrow, and my three weekday runs next week are scheduled to be 1.95 miles each with my "long" weekend run at 2.25 miles. Hubby is traveling a bit next week; then we leave early Saturday for vacation, so we'll see what my running schedule ends up actually looking like.

2.16 miles, 27:34 (12:44/mile)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Run #129

I woke up and wasn't sure if I should run. My feet were feeling sore from yesterday and from the fast barefoot running I did when Zoodle ran away at the park the other day! (I think my form suffers when I'm sprinting!) Anyway, I'm so glad I went; I think it helped work out some sore spots, and it was a good run! My feet feel better now than they did before the run. Day off tomorrow, then slightly longer run Saturday.

Happy moment--A really friendly fellow mom walking her dog. We bonded briefly over the fact that we'd both escaped our kids for a few minutes to walk/run outside! I have to say, I really like these little conversations...the ones that have nothing to do with my bare feet. Part of me likes being a novelty, but during my runs I have very mixed feelings about the stares and comments. It's nice just to connect with someone because of what we have in common instead of because of my weirdness!

1.81 miles , 20:58 (11:36/mile)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Run #128

Overall a good run. Caught my right foot on a concrete "seam" that was sticking up. That hurt, but not for too long. Right ankle started aching for last part of run, but felt okay once I got home. Overall a nice run, but I should have started earlier. It was almost dark when I got home, and I'm lucky I didn't step on any big rocks or other "ouchie" things!

It's my one-month anniversary of starting barefoot running! I wrote an honest post about how it's going--the good and the bad--over at C. Beth Blog.

1.81 miles, 21:42 (12:01/mile)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Run #127

First 3/4 mile was with Chickie. She's so fun--chatty, chatty, chatty! I dropped her off and did the rest by myself. Have I mentioned how important being relaxed is? :) I just am learning over and over how much relaxation improves little aches that crop up while running.

Fun moment today--quite the double take from a driver. Yessir, my feet ARE bare. When I saw him, his head immediately turned back around toward the road which was probably good for his safety while driving....

1.82 miles, 26 minutes (14:15/mile) Time & pace are estimates today.