Tuesday, February 16, 2010

18km barefoot with mountains

This past Friday I made a big jump.

While I had previously run a maximum of 10km in my Vibrams, and only on the road, I decided to join my running group for a trail run with the Vibram's.

I was taking two separate risks by joining this run:
  1. The run was scheduled to be 18km, which is a big jump from 10km and I had no idea if my calves were ready for this.
  2. It was a trail run, not a road run. I had no idea how the Vibrams would feel on a trail.
So why did I do it? Because at a certain point you can't deliberate. You gotta just get out there and try. You will never know until you try.

It turned out the trail wasn't so bad. While it was pebbly, it wasn't a serious trail. It was more of an old, cracked, paved back road that was in disrepair. So the trail aspect wasn't an issue. I still think that on a real serious trail these Vibrams will not be good enough and I will need something more similar to a shoe - something more heavy duty. Maybe Vibram has something or maybe one of the other barefoot shoe models are more appropriate for serious trails.

Regarding the distance, I did it. The trail was tough - it had a lot of uphill, at a steep angle and at long inclines as well.

The first 14km I blew through. It felt like I was gliding. I was running, without feeling any pain or discomfort. I was running at an average speed I had not run since the middle of last years marathon training season - and I am right now not in great shape.

After about 14km, as we were on a long incline, I started to feel it in my calves. I slowed down a bit and continued. As the mountain got steeper, it got more difficult and I was feeling like my calves were going to explode. After hitting the summit, the last 1km was downhill and flat back to the car.

I must say that my calves were in a lot of pain until Sunday, and even slight pain continued through Monday. On Saturday I felt like I had run a marathon - I could hardly walk, especially up and down stairs. All the pain wa sin my calves.

Lesson learned. You cannot jump too fast. Gotta build up those muscles. I probably should have run 14km this time and maybe 18 next time. Now I should probably go out for a 16km run.

So far though the barefoot running has been a great experience.