Invisible Shoes - Barefoot Running Sandals

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

24, 52, 9

I don't remember ever feeling as comfortable running as I have felt the past couple of weeks. I go out and find my stride right away. It just feels good to be out running on the road.

Today I went out running with a friend. We planned a long run, expecting between 22 and 25 km. We went out on the 375 toward Elah Junction. The first 10km until Elah we ran at a great pace. It was getting hot, but we ran hard, though we were not trying to run at any specific pace. We stopped for water at Elah Junction and then continued to Tzomet Azeqa.

When we got to Tzomet Azeqa, the place where a young David, in his days before royalty, slay his warrior of an opponent, Goliath, we turned around and headed back to Tzomet HaElah. After another quick water break we geared up for what would be a tough 10km home.

We knew it would be tough because of a combination of factors. The sun was already strong and getting hotter. The wind would be against us. Most of the terrain would be uphill, though not at a steep incline.

The run was tough. The wind was very strong and dry and made it a serious struggle, but we worked hard and plowed through.

I was completely parched by the end of it, but satisfied at a great run.

As of Tuesday morning, I have now logged 52km this week. Only 9 days left to the Israel Marathon in Tiberias!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Taper Week Starts Out Great

It looks like I am getting another taper week off to a great start. I have already run twice this week for a total of nearly 20 kilometers. And it is only Sunday!

I went out Saturday night for a short run. I ran at an easy pace, a recovery run pace, and cut it at about 8.5km.

Sunday afternoon I went out for a 10km run and ended up running about 11km. The weather weas beautiful. I went out in the late afternoon, just before sunset. The day was unusually warm, and I figured by the end of the afternoon it would start cooling down. I was right. It was already getting a tad cooler, and the breeze in the air was cool as well. The sun was starting to set in the horizon so it was not strong, and it seemed like such perfect weather for a run.

I ended up running with no watch, as the battery died shortly after I began my run. Running with no watch is pretty interesting. I end up running my best because I cannot pay attention to the watch, the time, the pace. I just run my best. My best runs have been with no watch.

I know the distances, as my run was terrain I run regularly on, so I know I ran about 11km. Pace is a bit more difficult and not accurate but based on how I ran and felt, I know I was running for about 8km about 20 seconds faster than marathon pace. It is just an estimate, but that is what it felt like.

Sunday night, nearly 20km in 2 runs. Let's see what the rest of the week has in store for me!

Israel Marathon, here I come!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ramped Up Taper Mode

This past week was a great week for me running-wise. With just barely 2 weeks to go until the marathon I have had my best running week in a long time. I guess "taper mode" really suits me!

I don't remember from my school days being much of a crammer. I studied a lot for tests at the last minute as well, but I was very good at doing my work and studying in a timely fashion. It seems that entering taper mode has made me realize that I only have a short amount of prep time left..

Friday was great. I did not run with the group, but chose to run a bit later in the morning. I like to run when it is a little bit warmer, so I went out at about 9 in the morning. The sun was strong, with a cool breeze.

I ran a bit more than 13 kilometers. The day was beautiful, with runners and bikers all over the place. I ran out of RBS onto Road 10, out on Highway 375 and then back. I went out as far as the entrance to Aderet and then turned around. I ran about 8 km of the run in marathon pace (really a bit faster) and felt very strong.

This was the first week in a very long time that I ran four times in the week. My total mileage for the week was 53 kilometers.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Magic Taper

Coach Chaim's, from Al Derech Burma, introduction to Taper Mode:

Ahhh......the Magic Taper.

The mere sound of the phrase rolling off the tongue is soothing balm to the runner's aching muscles. Well, my friends, we are there. After last week's final long run, the hay is in the barn and you are officially declared marathon ready. All you need to do now is recover, maintain your peak fitness and stay healthy.

Although we gradually reduce the mileage during the taper, we do not reduce the intensity of the runs until the final week. Marathoners need to continuously be reassured that they have not lost fitness and, by reminding the body how to run fast, we will both maintain peak fitness and soothe our fragile psyches. Incidentally, there is nothing you can do in terms of workouts at this stage to get fitter. What you can do is properly target the appropriate zones in the reduced mileage that we will be doing and to get plenty of rest.

It is critical that you understand that hard training merely produces the stimulus to adapt to a new level. However, the actual adaption to a new level transpires during rest. What this means is that without the proper rest, you will not reap the benefits of the amazing training season that we just completed. The trick with tapering is to do the minimum possible volume without losing peak fitness. Resist the urge to do more than the carefully crafted schedule calls for.

As you read this, we are a mere sixteen days from the 35th Tiberias Marathon and it is an appropriate time for a little reflection. Yes, the marathon is an undeniably incredible experience. For many, it is nothing short of a life altering event where one redefines the scope of the possible in arenas far beyond the athletic.

I always envy first-timers the incomparable sense of euphoria as they cross the finish line for the first time. But whether January 6th is your first or your fifteenth marathon, you deserve to revel in what you have already accomplished. This marathon is not merely a race that will last between three and six hours. It is an odyssey that has demanded of you nearly superhuman dedication for more than one third of a year. You have woken up at ungodly hours to run distances more appropriately traveled by freight trucks, gasped through lung searing interval sessions, dragged yourself out on the road in the heat and the cold while the rest of humanity slouched on the couch and accused you of being an obsessive lunatic.

In so doing, you have transformed yourself into a hero and I am not truly not waxing hyperbolic when I say this. Any time someone transcends mediocrity by the sweat of his (or her) brow, that person has done something genuinely heroic. Most of us are simply programmed to do what our peers are doing. You, on the other hand, through sheer determination and tenacity, have become a testament to what a human being can accomplish should he choose to do so.

You are now capable of running 42,195 meters, a staggering distance by any measure. And frankly, it does not matter one whit whether you cross that finish line in Tiberias in 2:57 or 5:57, you will have transcended your physical limitations in a way that an infinitesimal portion of the human race will ever do in their lifetime. 

And while personal records and milestones are worthy goals that should be savored, it would be a serious, perhaps even tragic error to assume that they are more significant than what you have already acomplished over the past eighteen weeks.

On marathon day, naturally, we will all shoot for the stars. We will obsess about pacing, gels, isotonic drinks, negative splits and a plethora of other details that make the marathon as much of a mental challenge as a physical one. But if, by some unhappy stroke of bad luck, the weather turns against us, or you come down with a bit of a cold or you simply don't have your best stuff on that partcular morning, know this, truly know it and do not merely console yourself with it:

You have already reached the stars.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Running In Taper Mode

With just over two weeks, 16 days precisely, to go until the Israel Marathon in Tiberias, it is time to head into taper mode. I have been training mostly in taper mode, so I think the only thing I will be tapering is no long runs. The rest I plan on running a few more medium-long runs and trying to even ramp it up a bit. I think I have only run more than twice a week just a couple of times, so I dont think I deserve a taper.

In 16 days 18 weeks of training will be over. January 6th is the day man meets asphalt. Man meets himself. The marathon is really one of the greatest personal challenges anybody can undertake. It is a challenge in the physical realm, and more so in the mental realm. To will oneself, and keep motivated, for training to run 42.2 kilometers, to run anywhere from 3 to 6 hours, is a challenge that is beyond a persons normal abilities.

That is really what is great about the marathon. It is not that I love running 42 kilometers. I don't love running anything even close to that distance. I do love the challenge. I love to challenge myself to see if I can do something I know I should not be able to do. Both the physical challenge - to get myself to run such distances physically, and the mental challenge of getting through the training and even just getting through such long runs. You really get to know yourself when you train for a marathon. And it is a life-transforming experience.

Coach Chaim sent out some words to introduce the taper mode. They are words of instruction, direction, inspiration and motivation, and I will share them with you in a later post.

Despite taper mode, I went out for a 17km run this morning. I hate running in the cold, so I skipped last nights run and decided to run this morning. When I run in the cold I feel stiff and I never feel like I had a good run.

The weather was beautiful, with nice cool air and a warm sun. There was a bit of a gusty wind, but not too strong.
I decided to do a run I have not done in a very long time. When I got to Road 10 I turned left and ran eastward towards the Industrial Zone of Bet Shemesh. I only ran out 3km on the road and then turned and ran back. I then continued on to the end of Road 10, out on 375 and back. I totaled 17.2km.

I have run plenty of dangerous runs; pitch black trails, pitch black highways, highways with almost no shoulder, and more. Running on Road 10, in broad daylight, must have been the most frightening run I have ever done. I was worried the whole time about being hit by a car, and even though the shoulder is decent, for some reason it was more frightening, both running with traffic and against traffic, than any of the other crazy runs I have done.

Anyways, it was a good run. The winds were a bit of a disturbance, and ner the end it was getting a bit warm, but it felt great.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My First Barefoot Half Marathon

This past Friday (yesterday) was my first race of this marathon season. The Bet She'an Half Marathon, which is the premier half marathon in Israel, now in its 32nd year. And my Vibram FiveFinger Bilia barefoot running shoes did not let me down in crunch time. I must say though that people ask really silly questions when they see the Vibrams.

The day was forecast for really lousy running weather - strong winds and rain (the beginning of a four day storm). I went to run, shlepping two hours up north to do so, only because this is the barometer of progress before the marathon. I am familiar with the course, it is mostly flat making for a good run, and it is the premier half marathon in Israel. I had no expectation to have a particularly good run, mostly because of the weather, and partly because I have not been training with any particular level of intensity.

Yet, the forecasters seem to not know what they are talking about.

I went up north with my friends, the Running Bubby and her husband, and the weather was absolutely beautiful. The day started off sunny and cool, heating up as time went on but there was a nice cool breeze throughout.

The run started off with lots of excitement and adrenaline. I was careful to not start off running too fast, sticking to my expected pace of about 5:40km/m. I did not know exactly how fast I'd run, especially because I had been expecting a slow run due to bad weather, but I figured I could run it a bit faster than the average pace of my long runs, so I figured 5:40 was a safe pace to settle in at.

After a couple of kilometers I was feeling great and figured I could pick up the pace. At least for a few kilometers of a tempo, and then I could always slow down to my expected pace..

Not to belabor the details, I had a great run, and felt all the way through that I could keep going at my faster pace. Eventually I realized that if I can keep it up I could break my personal record from my first year running the half marathon two years ago. The trick would be to actually keep up the pace. Especially with the uphill stretch still coming up. Uphills always kill me, even if I run it decently. The run after the uphill always seems slower.

The uphill came, and the Bet She'an uphill is not really such a serious uphill, but it is significant, and I powered through it only slowing down a bit. For the first kilometer after the uphill I still felt a bit slower, and then I motivated myself to pick up the pace again. Familiarity with the route makes a big difference. I knew what was coming up and what I could expect. So speed up I did. I still felt great, though when I hit kilometer #19 or so I was starting to feel a little winded, but I was on track to a personal record so I figured I could push myself to the limit and keep it up for just a bit more.

At kilometer 18-19 people I am picking up my pace a bit and am passing other runners. The final stretch comes, and I exploded through the finish line with a new personal record of 1:51:44. It is amazing how you can make a big deal, and be so excited, about a difference of 1 minute.

Now, about the Vibrams. They generated a lot of interest. A lot of people saw them and started talkign to me about them, before, during and after the run. I actually saw one other person wearing Vibrams. I saw him after the race, in the staging hall after returning the chip - he was on his way out and I was on my way in. Because of the crowds flowing I could not ask him about his experience, but we both looked at each others feet and then up at each other as we passed by.

People ask silly questions. The silliest of them all is the question about whether I am going to be running the whole thing in them - what should I say? No, I am going to be switching to regular running shoes halfway.. Other questions like are they comfortable or do they hurt.. those are not as silly, but they get shocked when I answer no they are not comfortable. After their initial moment of shock, like if they are not comfy why are you wearing them, I say they aren't comfy but they are not meant to be - there is no padding and cushioning..

Anyway, lots of people looked and noticed and asked about them. It seems people are interested, they just are hesitant to try them out.. I suspect we'll be seeing increasing numbers in the near future. Eventually the interest will turn to people actually running in them.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Mid-Week Medium Long Run In Bikila

The most elusive of runs, for me, has been the Wednesday medium-long run. I don't think I have managed to run the 16 or 18 kilometer mid-week run more than a couple of times this whole marathon training season. It is a horribly difficult time to run. It is an individual run, it is a work day, and it is too long to just go out and squeeze in a quick run. On the other hand, it is a far more important run than the way I treat it.

Today I finally got out to run. I scheduled it with a running partner. He is normally faster than me, but he has not been training due to a recent injury, so he is now running a bit slower than his normal pace. His slow pace is my fast pace, but it means we can run together. Bad for V, good for me.

Out we go at 5 AM. We decided to run from Tzomet Ha'Elah up to the 383 (2km), up the 383 another 6km, and then back, totaling 16km. The first 2km was pretty cold, but as soon as we turned up the 383 it warmed up right away. When we got back to Highway 38, 12 km later, it was freezing cold again. The last kilometer was a bit of a struggle for me. I felt everything stiffening up from the cold. We finished the run with a 5:49km/m average pace.

Today I wore my Vibram FiveFinger Bikila shoes, and I always get a better run in them than in my other shoes.

The run was a great run, and today I conquered the elusive mid-week medium long run..

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Running in KSO

I ran tonight in my Vibram FiveFingers KSO (Men's) barefoot running shoes rather than in my Vibram FiveFingers Bikila (Men's), even though I am mostly running nowadays in the Bikila. The difference is tremendous, and while running in the KSO is still a good run, the Bikila was really designed for running rather than for general sports and provides a much better running experience.

Despue that, I still have my original KSO's, and while they are wearing out a bit, they are still fine for now. I try to rotate the shoes a bit, so I dont completely wear out the Bikila shoes too quickly. I wear the KSO on less important runs.

Tonight I ran 8km around RBS. I ran at a slow and easy pace, just to get some light running in, and burn a few calories.I ran up Yarkon, Across Yarden, and then 2 laps around Dolev. I then ran back across Yarden, down Yarkon and finished 8km at home.

It was a ncie pleasant run at an easy pace.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

38km run to Rehovot

This morning I ran a 38km run to Rehovot.

I started, as usual, before the group because of my slower speed. I was nervous about running it this time because I had been a bit under the weather for a couple days earlier this week and, while I was feeling better, I did not know if I had all my strength for such a long run. For a variety of reason and technical details that all fell into place, I ended up deciding to run it today.

I started my run at 5:15 AM, and man was it freezing cold! Much colder than I expected. I normally warm up after 3 or 4 kilometers, but I was freezing for a long time - until about 6:30 or so, after Presidents Forest.

I ran, as usual, in my Vibram Five Finger Bikila barefoot, or minimalist, running "shoes". Even after running for many months already in the Vibram's, the other guys in the group are still surprised when they see me running the long runs in them, and they always ask me how it feels, etc. Many times other people also notice and ask questions. Like today, at the end of the run, I was getting a drink and someone asked me about them. He is a runner training for the marathon, and has seen the Vibram's before but never saw anybody actually run long runs in them. They definitely draw a lot of interest.

Anyway, the run was great. I was running solid, at a good pace. I even took the hills well. The first two water stops did not exist. This run was supposed to be a non-stop run, meaning no stopping at the gas stations for breaks - just stopping for a few seconds at the side of the road to sip some water before continuing on. As the marathon gets closer, we are starting to simulate the marathon runs, as closely as we can. That means wearing the same clothes that the runner plans on running with in the marathon, using the same energy gels, salt  tablets, drinks or whatever you prefer, as you plan to use in the marathon.

So, the first two water stops didnt exist. There was no water where it was supposed to be. That meant I was looking at hitting about 21km before drinking water, as the third stop would be at about the 21km mark for me. And even if there would not be water there either, there was a gas station there so I could buy water. Thankfully, the water was there, though I still felt very strong at that point.

Continuing on, I felt strong through the next water stops, and plowed through Mazkeret Batya, 30km mark, which is always a problematic spot for me. After Mazkeret Batya I always seem to struggle. The run after MB is less pleasant, the conditions are harsher, and the MB stop always kills me. Not stopping at Mazkeret Batya was great for my run. I just plowed right through, stopping momentarily at Kiryat Eqron for a sip of water and iced tea, and then continuing on to Rehovot.

Even the Rehovot section of the run was pretty good. I felt strong through most of Rehovot, starting to weaken only in the last 1.5 kilometers.

My final average pace was 6 minutes per kilometer. We were supposed to run today about 15 seconds slower than marathon pace - most of my running was in the 5:45 per km zone, and the early hills are what slowed me down more to an average of 6. So that is a pretty good pace, whether I run 6 at the marathon or slightly better..

Sunday, November 21, 2010

running in the dark

In an attempt to make up for lost running, last night I ran 18km.

Running around the neighborhood a dozen or more times is not very pleasant, so against my better judgement I ran out to the highway.

In our rural area, the highways are not lit up at night, except at the intersections. As soon as night falls the highways are pitch black. That is great for going out and seeing the stars, but not great for running. But I did it anyway.

I ran across Kishon and back, to try to get a bit of mileage before hitting the highway. Then I ran up and out of RBS, out across Road 10, and out on Highway 375. After the satellites I turned around, ran back to RBS, again across Kishon and back and then concluded with a run home, totaling just over 18km.

It was a good run, albeit very dark. I ran it at about my expected marathon pace. I could not run parts of it faster, simply because of how dark it was, caution was needed. Stepping on rocks, animals, staying on the shoulder when cars were coming close, and more were all issues one must contend with when running in the dark.

Not a good idea, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hitting the Low Point, And Hopefully Bouncing Back

Running has its up and downs. Pretty much every runner goes through the ups and the downs, the times where it is easy to get going and run forever with tons of motivation and inspiration, and the times where you let every ache and pain become an excuse to not run, where you find every and any scheduling conflict to avoid running.

I have been going through one of those low points the past 2, 2.5 weeks. I have run, but very little. I even had big plans, scheduling runs and all, but when the time came to actually go out and run, I kept finding excuses why I could not go at that time. The next 2-3 weeks is a crucial time for marathon training. It is the last 2-3 weeks of serious training, as we begin cutting back before the marathon after this 2-3 week period. That means I have to conclude my preparation and be ready for the marathon during the coming 3 weeks or so.

Tonight was a group run - a speed workout. The schedule called for another 800m interval run. The total run on any given night, including the warmup run, is between 11km and 12km. Because I have not been running enough, I wanted to get in a longer run, and the speed workout was less important to me.

So, I started my run earlier than the group. I ran around half the perimeter of RBS, and then up to Dolev. I did 12km of loops around Dolev, about 8 loops, and then ran back down the second half of the perimeter of RBS. I finished my run at just over 17km.

Hopefully I can keep the motivation up and get out of the low point and train properly over the coming weeks.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Marathon And Running Inspiration

If you are looking for inspiration to continue running, or to motivate you to run better, you need look no further than yesterday's New York ING Marathon.

The 34 year old Chilean Miner, Edison Pena, who trained for the marathon while trapped in the mine, yesterday ran the marathon. He ran into trouble during the run, experiencing knee pain, after the halfway mark. Pena had to walk the last 12 miles, but he did not give up and drop out, but continued on and finished.

From the NY Post:
Pena ran into trouble in The Bronx, and and had ice packs strapped to the knees he injured during his subterranean ordeal.
“Bad, bad, bad, very bad,” Pena, 34, told the Post as he walked past the mile 20 marker in the Bronx today. “My knee hurts a lot."
Hero miner Edison Pena dreams of finishing the marathon, but pain from a knee injury suffered during his ordeal flared up as he ran on First Avenue.
The determined miner grimaced with each step. At the finish, the 34-year-old was draped in a Chilean flag as his favorite music — Elvis — played over the speakers.
"I'm here because I want people to feel free," Pena said. "I want them to strive for their own freedom. That's why it was worthwhile for me to come this far to run a marathon. ... I struggled with myself, I struggled with my own pain, but I made it to the finish line."
"I want people to feel free. I want them to strive for their own freedom... I struggled with myself, I struggled with my own pain, but I made it to the finish line."

That, my friends, is what it is all about.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chilean Miner trained for NY Marathon while trapped below

I you ever thought, and complained, that your training conditions were not good enough.. one of the Chilean Miners spent his time trapped in the mine training for the New York Marathon.

From the NY Post:
The 5-foot-5, 145-pound Peña earned his nickname, "The Runner," because he logged up to six miles a day through the underground tunnels, killing time during his ordeal.
"We [were] inviting him to be a guest; we [were] not inviting him to run. That's nothing short of mind-blowing," New York Road Runners president and race director Mary Wittenberg said earlier this week. "Now we've had several conversations, and he wants to run. He absolutely 100 percent wants to participate."
Peña, who gave the crowd a thumbs up as he flashed a huge smile, will be one of a record 120,000 runners who will hit the pavement on Sunday morning in the New York City Marathon.
Other people on the same flight with Peña unfurled a large Chilean flag and sang songs as he was escorted through the airport.
Peña, 34, was one of the most depressed of the trapped men, asking rescuers for Elvis music and a picture of the sun. Now Peña -- who was the 12th miner rescued at 10:11 a.m. on October 13 -- will get a chance to run in one of the world's most famous races.
"He's very confident he can make it," said Chilean Consul General Julio Fiol. "He's been preparing for this. The idea in his mind is to participate and come to the finish line. He's not going to beat anyone, but he's practicing to finish."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shoe vs Barefoot Running

This Friday was a good run for a shoe vs barefoot comparison. For the past 9 months I have been running barefoot. It has worked out well for me, though I have not become an evangelist of barefoot running. It works for me, but as they say, YMMV - your mileage might vary. What works for one doesn't necessarily work for the other.

Yet despite it working for me, I sometimes wonder if maybe I would be running just as well, or better, if I was still running in shoes. Maybe the barefoot running has not really done anything for me. But, you don't change something that works. That's why Wade Boggs ate chicken before every baseball game. That's why some players always wear the same t-shirt, or the same pair of socks or whatever. You don't change what works. So running in Vibram FiveFingers has been working for me, so I never bothered changing back to try shoes.

This Friday we scheduled a 24km run, and I was going to try to bump it up to somewhere closer to between 26km and 30km. Our small group of runners was starting the run from the Elitzur intersection (the entrance to Moshav Aviezer), running to the Elah Junction, across the 38 to Givat Yeshayahu, into the trails past the Midras and Itri ruins, through Park Adulam, and back up through the Roglit Vineyards and out to Aviezer. I started form RBS, adding a few km at the beginning.

And I ran it in shoes. I thought part of the run, the section covering Park Adulam, would be a trail. I debated if I should try the Vibrams and take the chance, run in my Nike Free Run barefoot shoes, or go for real shod running.

I finally decided to run in shoes. I figured it would be at least good to make my comparison.

I laced up my Asics Gel Krayaro shoes that I still have from last year and was on my way. I could right away feel the difference between the shoes and barefoot. The run felt different from the first step. My feet felt heavier, they were stepping differently, and I was using different muscles. I could feel the running in my knees right away, and my quads were working hard.

After the first few kilometers, I settled into a rhythm and the running was ok. After about 11km it started getting very difficult. The course of the run itself was very difficult. A lot of hills, ups and downs, mostly small hills, but some large and steep ones as well. Even if a hill is not too difficult, you get a few of them and it totally takes you off your rhythm and pace.

The run through the Park Adulam was very difficult. I was feeling pain in my hamstring through large sections of it. I struggled on the hills. My legs felt heavy. Overall, it was a horrible run. I could not even run up the final hill - I had to walk it.

The barefoot running is so smooth and natural. You get into a rhythm right away, It is a bit harder on the feet and ankles, but the run itself is so much smoother. The problem with the barefoot running is that it doesnt give you, km for km, as great of a workout as the shod running. the shod running really uses your whole body - for better or worse. Because of that the workout is so much more encompassing of the whole body.

I felt shoulder pain at the end of the run, like a large knot tied up in my shoulder. Just like at the end of long runs last year. I have noticed I am not losing as much weight with the barefoot running as I did with the shod running - I am losing weight and I notice it in both my waistline and the way my clothes fit, but when I ran in shoes I lost much more much faster. It could also be though because I am not running as much - I am maxing out at 2 times a week right now, which is really not enough.

Basically, the barefoot running works for me. In the challenge between barefoot and shod running, for me, barefoot running seems to be the way to go. But again, YMMV.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ran a great 34km to Rehovot

Friday was a long run day. The scheduled run was 34km to Rehovot.

The Rehovot run is one of my favorite, if not my actual favorite. I am not sure because how can anyone love such a run of 34 kilometers (or more, depending on the starting point), but as long runs go, this is one of the best that we do during marathon training season.

The course is beautiful, and after some hills in the beginning, the rest of the way is mostly flat (still the occasional hill, but mostly).

The weather was perfect for a long run. Cool, slightly overcast with a subtle breeze. I left very early, because I am slower than everyone else and I wanted to arrive in rehovot at around the same time. I started my run at about 4:15 in the morning, and it was pitch black out on the highway. I dont know if I will do that again - I will have to weigh it against the other options, and it will depend a lot on the timing of the scheduled taxi home and other things. It felt dangerous but there were just a few cars out on the highway at that time of day/night.

I started off at a good pace. If it was lighter out I might have tried to run a little faster, but I didnt want to trip over anything i could not see, so I took it a bit easy. The first hill was ok, as it is just a short, albeit steep, hill, but the hill up to presidents Forest is the most intimidating hill on this run. That was coming up and I would hit it at about 11km or so, as I started my run in RBS.

By the time I got to Tzomet Shimshon leading up to the Presidents Forest hill it was already getting light. I was feeling strong and running at a great pace, a pace I did not expect to be able to keep up for very long, and I attacked the hill. I ran up the hill slower, obviously, but still a great hill pace for me. This is a long and steep hill and is very difficult.

At the top was a water break, and after about a minute or so I continued on my way. From there it is mostly downhill and flat until Tzomet Nachshon, except for one more hill, and a serious one but nothing like Presidents Forest, by the Kibbutz Harel.

At the top of the Harel Hill the first other runner passed me. I was a bit surprised as I had scheduled my run to expect runners passing me only much later, and I was also running a better pace than expected. Then I was reassured because he had also left earlier than the rest of the group, so his passing me did not portend anything about the groups location.

After a momentary water stop at Tzomet Nachshon, I continued on my way to Tzomet Chulda and then across the 411 highway to Rehovot. There is one hill right at the beginning of the 411 and then another, more serious one but not long, shortly after. After that it is flat the rest of the way. I was still running at a better pace than planned and still feeling strong. I was averaging on the flats a pace of about 5:25 per km, and on the hills about 6:30 per km, both much better paces that what I am used to running.

Eventually I hit Mazkeret Batya, still feeling great. The break there that i took was a couple of minutes, and I already started to stiffen. Starting again after Mazkeret Batya was a little more difficult but a few steps in I settled down and got back into a rythm. My pace slowed a tiny bit at that point. The next two sections fo the run, the last two, are the least pleasant of the whole run - from Mazkeret Batya until Tzomet Brenner (or even until the entrance to Rehovot - Tzomet Bilu), is a few kilometers directly out in the sun and heat, and it is a concrete jungle over there with shopping centers, cars and large asphalt highway rather than fields and trees.

As mentioned, I was nearing the end already because I started at RBS so Mazkeret Batya was already 30km for me. I started to run a little slower at that point, and I concluded my run at the entrance to Rehovot, registering 34km.

That was a bit of a bad move, as I had to then walk nearly 4km in Rehovot. The Rehovot section of the run is the worst part of the whole thing. There is uphill through the main road of downtown Rehovot, you are dodging people and cars out starting their early Friday shopping and it is just an unpleasant strip of 4km. Walking it is horrible as I was stiffening up and starting to feel the soreness settle in. Even worse is that I was wearing my Vibrams and walking on all that cobblestone was very unpleasant, especially already starting to feel sore form the run. But I had time to kill so I took it easy and took my time. The runners started to pass me as I started walking in through Rehovot.

My final average pace which I checked at this point was 5:45 per km, which is a great pace for me on a long run.

Chicago Marathon day

Today is the Chicago Marathon and I am rooting for sister! Good luck, Abbey!

She isn't going to finish first or second, but here is some great video from other marathons, including Chicago, of some photo finishes..

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Last night was a 10km Progression Run.

After a 2km warmup run, we started the progression run. The progression run is meant to train you to start at a slightly slower pace, and build up to a strong finish.

You begin the run by calculating your half marathon pace. That pace will be the pace you run your last kilometer during the progression. Every km has you progressively adding 5 seconds per kilometer to the run, concluding the final kilometer at your half-marathon pace.

So, I ran the 10km starting at 00:05:50 per km, and progressively adding 5 seconds to each km, ending the final km at 5 minutes per kilometer (should have been 5:05, but I ran it a bit faster).

It was a tough run - tough to keep track of the progression accurately, and tough to keep adding speed. At a certain point I thought I had hit my limit and could do no more and would have to slow down, but I seemed to find the ability to do the whole thing properly.

Totalling 12km, 2km warmup and 10km progression.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nike Free Run + Review

Now that I have run a short run, a long run and spent a full day walking around in my Nike Free Run + running shoes I finally feel I have used the shoes enough to be qualified o write a review.

The Nike Free Run come in a few color combinations. I picked the neon yellowish-green.

The first thing you notice when you pick up the shoes is that they are extremely light. I didn't check the weight and measurements, but I am pretty sure they are even lighter than my Vibram FiveFingers, both the Bikila and the KSO. The Nike Free Run + are extremely light, and that is a major benefit to these shoes. Runners like their shoes to be as light as possible.

The unique sole of the Free Run shoes makes the shoe extremely flexible. As you can see in the pictures below, they have deep grooves throughout the sole and are therefore completely flexible, and therefore comfortable for your feet and the way you move and run. Your Free Run shoes will not inhibit your movement in any way.

Now it is time to put the shoes on and lace up. The shoes are light, comfortable and smooth feeling. The shoes slip right on and there is no tongue to speak of that needs adjustment for comfort, like many running shoes have. You actually hardly feel you are wearing them, they are so light.

The upper material breathes well and is not heavy on the foot. I ran a long run in the heat and was completely drenched, but my feet were dry and airy. My socks and shoes were not soaked from sweat.

Now for the running - these shoes are marketed as giving you the barefoot experience, providing barefoot flexibility and the like.

While the make of the shoe does give the foot flexibility, there is much more to barefoot running than flexibility. I found myself frequently striking on my heel. It is fairly uncomfortable to step flat on, and you feel like it is unstable - I assume the purpose of that is to edge you towards the front of the foot. That is very good, but it did not force anything. During the run, and even when I was walking in the shoes, I caught myself settling into a heel strike, just like when I was running shod before my barefoot days. I wouldn't say i was doing so 100% of the time, but often enough that I would not compare these to the Vibram's in regards to the barefoot experience.

By the late portion of the run, my ankles were already hurting, which doesn't happen in the Vibrams. I get sore after the run, but not ankle pain like this. Also, the day after the run I had sore muscles in places on my leg that I have not had since I started running barefoot - indicating to me again that this is not really the barefoot experience, but somewhere in between regular shoe and barefoot.

Now, I must point out that most people making the switch to the Nike Free Run are going to be doing so from regular running shoes, whereas I have already been running in Vibram FiveFingers for upwards of 10 months or so. Going from shoe to Free Run is not the same as going from Vibram to Free Run. It might be a good switch when going from shoe, but when going from Vibram you are basically going backwards in regards to developing the barefoot running experience.

Overall the Nike Free Run + is a pretty good shoe, and a nice transition when moving from shoe running toward barefoot running, but I think that calling it a barefoot experience is a bit of a stretch. Running in the Vibrams are a real barefoot experience, and this does not compare to that at all.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Roglit Vineyards

Friday's long run (30km) was the Roglit Vineyard course.

I started from RBS at just before 5am. I ran out to Roglit (a.k.a. Neve Michael), and added 1 km while waiting for the group. When the first group showed up, we started the Roglit course, running into Neve Michael and down into the path to the vineyards.

I had assumed the course through the vineyards would be at least partially trail, so I ran in my Nike Free Run + shoes instead of my Vibrams.

It is probably time for me to write my review of the Nike Free Run shoes, now that I have run both a short run and a long run in them, so look for that review to be coming soon.

The Roglit course starts off, after the highway running to Roglit has been completed, with a downhill run to the fields of Roglit. Then comes a long 3km uphill run which leads to a 6km downhill through the beautiful Roglit vineyards.

The trail ends up at Givat Yeshayahu, which then dumps out onto Highway 38. We had a water break at the exit of Givat Yeshayahu before heading out to the final section of the run. At that point I was at 17.5km, the rest of the group caught up then, and the initial group of runners I had run with turned around to run back for a shorter run home.

After the water break we continued on our way. By now the sun was up nice and high enough in the sky to be beating down on me and it was getting hotter and hotter.

The run out to Zechariya was fine, but then the Zechariya hill was very tough. Down to RBS, and then TZeelim's 3km uphill was murder in the heat. I had to walk a little bit of it at the end, but I made it 28.5km.

Next time I think I will kill the idea of running the Zachariya and Tzeelim hills at the end of long runs and see if I can run it the other way (375 to the 10 to RBS) whose uphills are not as will depend on the amount of kilometers needed..

This weeks long run is scheduled to be the run to Rehovot...

Week #5 of 18 Summary

The holidays have really messed up the running schedule, and I have not had a regular running schedule in 3 weeks. My "kilometerage" is seriously down.

Despite that, this week was slightly better.

On Sunday I went out with a friend for an early morning run. He ran 15km and I ran 18km. It got so hot when I hit 18km that I started feeling weak and just stopped..

I was then looking forward to the group Monday night speed workout run, but that was canceled to give people time off for the holiday.

Friday was the Roglit vineyard run. This was a 30km run starting and finishing in Aviv. I started and finished in RBS, so it was 28.5km for me. The Roglit vineyard is a beautiful course and was a really good run until nearly the end when the sun wa sup high enough and the heat wave kicked in, making the uphills into RBS very difficult...

That gave me a dismal 46km for the week, and even more depressing is that that is my best week in 3 weeks...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Yasso 800

Recent running, like my recent posting, has been spotty. That's what trying to schedule runs around holidays will do...

Last week I only found time for one run, and the week before that for two runs. So week and2 of 18 and week 3 of 18 were not great success stories.

Week 4 has begun. I missed the first run of the week, but it is the least important run anyway. I ran last night, and hope to run on Wednesday and Friday, so hopefully the schedule is getting better.

Last night was a group speed workout, as is the usual fare on Monday nights. Last night ran a routine called the Yasso 800s.

I don't have it entirely clear how it works, why it works, or if it works, but basically the idea of the Yasso 800s is that you run ten (we did 8 because it is early in the season) repetitions of 800 meters at your goal marathon pace, and then for the same amount of time run easy in before the next rep.

Someone helped me set my watch to monitor the distance, and easy run time properly. The problem was that it did not display the pace to me, so I had no idea how fast I was running. The first four reps I ran very fast (for me, obviously), and then the last four reps were slower. It is supposed to work by running all the reps at the same pace.

Anyways, despite the inconsistent pace, it was a good run, and I was wiped by the end of it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Drop Water on your long runs!

With the shortened running week due to the holidays I had to figure out how to squeeze a long run in. I ran a recovery run Saturday night, Monday night would be the group workout night, usually some sort of a speed workout, but Wednesday was taking the slot for the long run which would usually be on Friday.

Yet I could not see how I would manage to make the time for a long run, that would take me at least 2.5 hours (25km was the schedule so maybe even a bit more than 2.5hrs) plus cool-down time, with holiday preparations as well.

I decided I would skip the Monday night workout, and run the long run on Tuesday morning instead.

The run on Wednesday was scheduled for Highway 383. We would park cars at Park Brittanica,, run out 12.5km and then run back. I didn't have to stick to that route, as I was running alone, but I decided that it is nice to try new routes every now and then rather than running the same routes all the time.

So I planned to run from my house out to the 383 (6.3km), then I ran 6.5km out on the 383, then back, totaling 25.

It would be a difficult run, with 3 serious hills. 383 is more or less flat, with just some minor hilly spots, but going out I would have the long, but not steep, incline up westward towards Zachariya. Then on the way back I would have the steep eastward Zachariya climb, and the long, and steep in sections, climb up Nahal Tzeelim from the 38 back to RBS. The real problem anticipated was the last 2, because I would hit those when already tired from the run..

Oh, and did I say I didnt take water with me? When running with the group, there are water stops - people take turns putting water out along the route before a run. But running yourself means you have to remember to do work it out yourself. I can run about 18km or so just fine with no water, but 25 is way too much.

I was fine going out - The first hill was tough but I was ok, then I ran all the way out. When I hit 12.6km I turned around and ran back. I took a break for a moment, at about the 18.5km point when I hit the end of the 383 (the intersection with the 38) right before attacking the Zachariya hill. It was already starting to get hot and I was starting to feel the lack of water affecting me. After 2 minutes, I got up and continued towards the Zachariya hill.

It was really tough. At about 2/3 of the way up I just could not continue like that and finished the hil alternating between running and walking. I was feeling parched and worn out. Almost like hitting the wall, but I still had a tiny bit in me.

When I got to the top I started running again - from there it is 1.8km or so mostly downhill towards the RBS junction. Then I ran up Tzeelim. But that was also tough. I made it up a couple kilometers, but then felt again like I was going to drop. This time I really hit the wall. For the last 700 meters of the hill I alternated again walking and running, mostly walking. When I got to the top I finished with the final 500 meters running.

So I got my 25km run in before the holiday, though I probably ran only 24.2km of it or so, and walked part of the hills at the end. Next time I have to figure out a solution for bringing water along.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Recovery Run

Tonight I had some very sore spots that made running difficult.

After a few kilometers warmup it wasn't so bad anymore, but I still cut the run short at 8km. run from Dolev out to the end of Road 10, and back. Coming back I ran down Yarkon instead of back to Dolev and continued a bit to bump it up to 8. It's ok because Saturday night runs are the least important of all the scheduled runs, and they are called "Recovery Runs".. so I will have to recover in 8 this week instead of the scheduled 14..

This week will be an abbreviated running week. It will be tight fitting in running around selichos schedule, then the holiday starts. Right off the bat there are only 3 scheduled running days instead of 4...

Summary of Marathon Training Week #1 of 18

Sat night: 10km
Monday: 12km
Wednesday: 14km
Friday: 22km

Grand Total: 58km

Overall a great running week!

Friday, September 3, 2010


Today's run was scheduled to be 22km. The route was the Lamed Hey route, out the 10, up the 375 to Tzmet a'Elah, across the 38 back to Bet Shemesh. That is 22km when starting from "the Aviv boxes" in Bet Shemesh.

I was starting, and finishing, in RBS, so the route was only 19km.

I figured it was ok - after Wednesday's "Medium Run" that I cut short from 16km to 14km because my legs felt too tired and heavy to run, I figured that on Friday I would be lucky if I hit 18km.

So out I go, ready to conquer the world, or more likely collapse on a highway somewhere and get run over by a car.

I was expecting that the group would eventually catch up and overtake me, as I had given myself a head start, starting the same time as the group, but starting from RBS. They, however, run much faster than me - even if I am running fast and they are running slow they are much faster than me. But I never saw the group.

So out I go. I actually felt good and felt like I was running strong. At about 3km into the run my GPS watch died (it had said 'low battery" right when I turned it on, so I expected it), so I had no idea of what time it was or my pace.. I could just settle in and enjoy the run without worrying about running at any specific speeds. I knew the distance more or less because I have run this route a hundred times before.

I hit Tzomet Ha'Elah, about 9.5km, and took a brief water break. Then I continued up the 38, conquering the Zachariya mountain. I turned up Tzeelim towards RBS and decided I would extend the run. I ran up through Ramat Shilo and then turned left on Kishon and went out about 1.2km and then back home.

That gave me about 22km, maybe just slightly less.

As I said, this training program gets intense very quickly!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fartleks are back!

Wow. I forgot what these were like. It has been so long since I last ran a fartlek...

Our coach hits high intensity fairly quickly in our training regimen. He will obviously say that we are starting off slow and easing into it, but for some of us this is already high intensity.

Tonight we ran a fartlek. A fartlek is speed work. I think. The program of the fartlek is after a 2km warmup run, we divide the next 48 minutes into 12 minute segments. Each of the four 12 minute segments is broken up into 3 segments of 4 minutes each.
  • The first 4 minute segment is run at a slow pace, usually about 30 seconds slower than half-marathon pace.
  • The second four minute segment is run at moderate pace, generally half-marathon pace.
  • The third 4 minute segment is run at fast pace, generally at 30 seconds faster than half-marathon pace.
After the 3 segments are complete (12 minutes total), you repeat, slow, moderate, fast, etc.

The run was a total of 12km, including a 2km warmup, 9km fartlek, and 1km finishing and cool-down.

I ran the fartlek at about 6:10m/km, 5:40m/km, and 5:10m/km.

Wiped. Out.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Marathon Training Season

Marathon Training Season has officially begun.

Tonight was our first run. It is officially not a group run, but we have an informal group running together Saturday nights in the neighborhood.

I ran about 10km. Once around RBS, twice around Dolev, then another 2.5km around half of RBS until my house.

I probably won't be updating here after every run, but will try to update the blog frequently enough..

I am going to try to train for and run this years Israel marathon barefoot - with Vibram FiveFingers... This is the goal.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

ran in Nike Free Run barefoot shoes

Tonight I went running with a running partner. It was not a particularly good run, as my partner gave up after a short amount of time.

I did take the opportunity to try out a different type of running shoe that I have been curious about. I tried out the Nike Free Run +.

Running in Vibram FiveFingers has been pretty good for me, but I have been curious what it would be like to run in shoes that supposedly give the "barefoot experience". I did a lot of research on various brands of shoe, and I have not been able to really be confident that most of the various brands that claim to be minimalist really are.

The Nike Free Run +, on the other hand, is the only one, or the main one at least, that really sells itself on providing a barefoot experience. So I decided to test that one out, even though I have never been a big fan of Nike.

The review of the product will come later, but rest assured, it is nothing like the Vibram as far as barefoot experience is considered.

Anyways, the run was cut short at just under 6km. We ran down Tzeelim to the 38, and then back, but on the way up my partner just could not continue up the hill. I ran while my partner walked, and I ran back and forth so as not to leave my partner alone on the empty road, but eventually I just walked as well, near the end. And then I was not in the mood to start running again.

One great thing was that about 2/3 of the way down to the 38 we saw what we think were a couple of owls flying around by the trees on the side of the road. We didn't get a very good look so we cannot be 100% sure, but that's what we thought when we saw them...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

First run in the Vibram Bikila felt good

Yesterday morning I went out for a run. I got out a bit later than expected.

I was excited to be trying out my brand new Vibram FiveFingers Bikila (Men's) (which I will review at a later time).

I had actually planned Wednesday morning to already be my third run of the week, and possibly to be my long run. Unfortunately, life gets in the way, and messes up all sorts of plans and schedules. Wednesday turned out to be my second run of the week, and because I got out later than expected, I wasn't able to make it a long run.

So out I am running, and it was really a beautiful morning. The run felt great, as the weather was still pleasant, with a nice breeze. I was running along Highway 375.

At about 8.5 or so km, while I was on my way back in, it suddenly got hot and stuffy. The air was suddenly thick and it became difficult to run. I completed the run at 11.5km, but the last 3 or so km were very unpleasant.

Despite that, the feet and legs felt great and I almost went out for another run of about 10km this evening, but it didnt work out.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

increasing my base

Last night I went out fairly late for a run. It was good I did, because any earlier and I probably would have collapsed from the brutal heat! But by 23:00 it had already cooled off a bit and was decent.

I ran down Nahal Tzeelim to the Highway 38, and back. That is about 6km. I ran back up turning off Tzeelim and running through the Ein Gedi neighborhood. Then I ran the perimeter of RBS. That is just under 5km.

My total for the night was 11.5km.

It was a good run. I feel like I am moving my base run up, and getting stronger. If I can, I will try to go out Wednesday morning, early of course, for a long run...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

10km recovery run

I went out tonight to run 9km.

It was mostly going to be a recovery run, as I was still slightly sore from my 21km Thursday run.

I went out and was feeling the soreness right when I began. It was also so hot that I thought I might not make it past 5km. I was sweating profusely very quickly, and it was difficult to breathe. it was hot and muggy.

I started the perimeter of RBS, and when I got to the top of Yarden-Dolev, I went up to Dolev and did two cycles around Dolev. Then I went back down to yarden to finish the perimeter and finish the run. On Yarden I bumped into a friend who was running (shout out to Klompy!) who tured around and joined me for the rest of my run.

We ran down Yarkon, across Kishon, and then I turned back and ran home.

I concluded the run at 10km, despite the heat and discomfort.

Friday, July 30, 2010

45 kilometers

45 Kilometers.

No, I did not run 45km today. But I did run 45km this week, from Saturday night until Friday.

That is the most I have run in a very long time. And it is the most I have run in one week, in one month, ever since I started barefoot running about 6 months ago.

Let's see if I can keep up a reasonable amount of running.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A tough 21km

I ran this morning 21km. Man, am I wiped.

I made a mistake. I ran the wrong way.

There is a clear and easily defined route of about 18.5 km, and it is easy to extend by running out an extra km here or there to increase the distance. The route, as the BS Running Club usually runs it is out to the 10, right on the 375 until Elah Junction, right on the 38 passing Zechariya towards Bet Shemesh, right on Tzeelim and up to RBS. From my house to my house that is about 18.5km.

But I ran it backwards. The route as it is has two very large and steep hills near the end of the run that make the end very difficult. if those hills were at the beginning of the run it might not be so bad, but they are at the end. You hit these hills when you are already tired from running for so long.

So, I thought I could avoid these large hills by running it the other way. Sure there would still be hills, but nothing so bad. There would be a long gradual incline, but very slight. I calculated it was a better direction.

Boy was I wrong.

While I saved those steep hills, there was far more uphill than I remembered, even going in the opposite direction. Let's put it like this: there is a reason the club runs the route in the direction it does and not the other way.

There was a very long, though not steep uphill towards the peak above Zechariya. Then there was another long hill after Zechariya. Then after turning left at Elah Junction and running along the 375, the whole road in that direction is uphill, albeit most of the time at a slight incline, but in some sections more seriously.

When I hit about 16 km or so I started to feel wiped. Like I was running on fumes. The hills had gotten to me. I pressed on and finished the run at 21km, but I didn't extend the run as much as I thought I might. I only extended it enough to get it up to 21 - rather than the 24 I was considering. I wanted to hit 21, so I cut it at that. The thought of 24 was dependent on how I would be feeling, and at 21 I was feeling like I had had enough.

It was a great run, and as far as the view is concerned, running the same route all the time gets a bit monotonous. Running it backwards is a nice way to break the monotony - seeing the course from the opposite perspective is nice sometimes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Had a great 10km run tonight

I am a very slow runner. There are a number of names my type of running is known by:
  • slow running
  • slow jogging
  • Lazy Running
  • Tired Running
They all more or less mean the same thing - that I run slow.

I kind of plod along, with heavy steps, while everyone else looks like they are sprinting. I can run "fast", but usually I cannot keep it up for very long.

Running barefoot, using the Vibram Men's FiveFingers KSO has smoothed out my running, but I am still running slow (I am running slightly faster than I ran in shoes, but relative to everyone else I am still slow). OK, no problem. That's life. I am a slow runner. Big deal.

Tonight I got in a very good run. I just felt like I had to get out there, and break out, let loose.

I went out planning to keep the run relatively short - in the 9-10km range. I just ran 14km the other day after a few weeks of no running, and I felt like it was smarter to do a shorter run next.

So I head out and after about 1.5km I notice that I am running hard - much stronger than usual, and a pace that was faster by about at least 25 seconds per kilometer than any of my runs over the past few months. I figured that perhaps it was because it was the beginning of the run, but I would not be able to sustain the speed.

I kept it going for another kilometer or so, when I hit the massive Yarden-Dolev hill. I ran up the hill, and while that always slows me down considerably, tonight it only slowed me down a bit. I ran hard and conquered the hill faster than usual.

When i got to the top, I decided to turn in to Nahal Dolev with is a circuitous street that is relatively flat. The circuit of Dolev is about 1.5km. I ran the circuit twice, knwing that the perimeter run I was doing is only 4.9, and it would be too monotonous to do the perimeter twice.

After finishing two circuits around Dolev, I turned back out to the perimeter and ran back down. Getting to my starting point was still only at the 8km mark, but I was still feeling and running strong and fast the whole time. I knew I was on pace to finish 10km faster than any of my more recent runs, so I decided that I wanted to hit the 10km mark for the purpose of logging my 10km time.

I still could not believe that I had basically kept up a tempo pace for 8km, including a large hill.

So I continued straight, and ran another km out and then back, concluding the 10km at 58:55. Still slow, but faster than any of my recent runs, especially when the runs include that large, and steep, hill.

I felt good, knowing I kept the faster pace over the course of the whole 10km run. I could feel it in my legs that I was pumping harder and strengthening muscles to the point I usually do not. They will definitely be sore tomorrow.

I would like to get a long run in later this week, maybe Thursday morning or Friday morning. I would like to do it breaking 21km. I need to start increasing my distance now to be ready for marathon training season, just to give me a realistic shot at doing it.

Vibram Men's FiveFingers KSO

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Getting ready for marathon season

Last night I felt like I just had to go out for a run. It has been a couple weeks since my last run and I was itching to get out. I am still running inconsistently - i can go a couple of weeks running a couple times a week and then a couple of weeks not running at all.

So out I went, at about 9:30 pm. I had no goal, just to run until I had enough. Since I hadnt run in a couple weeks I thought I should start off with a 9 or 10km run.. I started off going around the RBS perimeter, which alone is a 4.9km run.

When I got to the corner of Yarden-Yarkon, I decided to go down to Roads 10 across to 375 and back. Then I finished the perimeter. I was still feeling great, and it was only about 9km, so I decided to go around the perimeter again.

I finished my run at just over 14km. My speed was a little slow, but this route has some serious hills, and I am out of shape.

Marathon training season starts in about 5 weeks or so, and I would really like to give it a shot this year. Hopefully I will have time to train, and more importantly be able to keep up my motivation and determination. i hope to try to run more regularly now to try to get in shape ahead of marathon season.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A rare mid-week run through history

While I have been running fairly consistently recently, I have not been running much. It has gotten down to a regular once a week, with the occasional, but rare, twice a week.

Being that it is not training season for anything, and because of my schedule I cannot run with the group very often, I have to either go out alone, or find a running partner.

Going alone is something I do, but not often anymore. It is hard to push myself to go out alone, especially in the summer heat. Finding a running partner is tough because most of the runners I know are much faster and stronger runners than I am. I have a guy I go running with, but because of our schedules that usually only works out once a week - Friday morning.

Somehow, we worked out a rare mid-week early morning run for today.

The weather was beautiful, as the terrible heat wave broke yesterday afternoon. This mornign it was cool and the skies were cloudy so we didnt have a strong sun beating down on us.

We drove out to Tzomet Ha'Eila, to get a change of pace. It gets a bit monotonous running the same route over and over again. So we started our run at Tzomet Ha'Eila, and planned to run between 10 and 12km.

We ran down highway 375 towards the satellites. The highway is busy with trucks at 5:30 in the morning, and they fly by at high speeds. At least the shoulder of the road is a decent size...

The run was great, with great weather. When we got to the 5km mark, we decided to extend it a bit before we turn around and run back. We turned off on the road towards Gush Etzion and some local moshavim. We got to the entrance of Moshav Avi'Ezer and turned around.

That road has a nice incline, so we got to strain ourselves on that a bit, and to enjoy the downhill respite on the way back.

Coming back, we concluded our run at exactly 12km.

The hills were beautiful backdropped with the bluish gray cloudy skies. Everything felt very historical, as this is the area where King David fought the Philistines 3200 years ago. Sometimes I can go out on a run and not really notice my surroundings, as I am concentrating on the run. But on a day like today I really noticed the surroundings - the fresh manure piled in the fields waiting to be spread, the browning fields as the summer heat progresses, the beautiful mountains and hills. It really is a beautiful area and a joy to be out running in such beauty.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

longest run in a few months

While I haven't been posting, I have been running, albeit not consistently. I go through a few weeks where I run a couple times a week, and then I go through a period where I dont run at all for a couple of weeks.

I am now coming off of two weeks with no running, and I really felt like I needed to go out for a decent long run.

I went out today planning to do a 12km or so run, and was thinking about seeing how I feel maybe extending it to 14km or 15km.

I went out around part of RBS and then out to the Highway 375. I ran up past Tzomet Aderet and then back. I was feeling great, albeit it was starting to get hot out in the open sun, and kept extending the run on longer paths.

In the end I ended up running (still doing the barefoot running) 17km, and I still felt like I could have kept running.

This is the farthest I have run in about 3 months, and the longest barefoot run I have done except for 1 very painful 18km run about 3 months ago. This time it was painless and felt great.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A holiday run

So, I sprained/twisted my ankle, which knocked me out of the running for the Jerusalem Half Marathon. Then came the holiday which took my time in preparation, along with not getting enough sleep, so i didn't have time or energy to run.

I am full of excuses.

I just went out now for a 10km run. I ran out of RBS and out along the 375 to the satellite dishes, and then back.

My ankle felt good. Even though it was not yet so hot, it gets very hot when running out in the bare sun....

It felt good burning off some of those holiday calories I packed in....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Jerusalem Half... maybe next year

The Jerusalem Half Marathon has come and gone, but I did not. Come and go, that is. I could not run it. I have a twisted ankle, and cannot run at all right now. A few more days I should be ok, but it is frustrating because I wanted to run the Jerusalem Half.

It is probably for the best, as I doubt I was ready for it anyway. I might have crashed at 18km if I actually had run it... Cramming does not always work.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

barefoot rocky trail

I learned a very valuable lesson on Friday - don't run barefoot on a real trail. It hurts. A lot.

I suffered through 2.5km before I decided to give it up. I turned around and walked back to the beginning of the trail, so I really spent 5km on serious rocky trail, though only about 2.5km were running.

When I got back to the road, I figured I would run along the road for a bit until the group finished the trail. My feet were so sore I could hardly run. Now it is Saturday night and they are a bit better, but still sore.

Lesson learned.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jerusalem Half

I just came back from a 13+ km barefoot run. This was my first run in two weeks. I had a light bout of bronchitis that didn't allow me to run for some time. It is difficult to run when you can breathe in... Then, the weather was bad.

But now I am back. I registered for the Jerusalem Half Marathon, which means I have to train intensely for the next two weeks.

I ran the route out RBS, via route 10, up the 3775. When I hit about 6.5km I turned around and ran back.

I was feeling good out there, so I started to think, at around 5km, that maybe I should just continue and do the whole Lamed Hey loop which totals to my house about 18.5km. As I kept runnign I decided to not do it - even though I was feelign good at 5 and 6 km, when I would hit 15km and still had 4 km uphill to go I might just crash. And then I might be so sore I wouldn't be able to run for the next 4 or 5 days. So I stuck to the plan and decided to turn around and keep the run to about 13km.

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.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Barefoot or shod?

The Science of Sport has an interesting article in which he analyzes a new study comparing barefoot running to shod running.

While he says it is not "the last word" on this debate, the study does give a big boost to the supporters of barefoot running.

It is well worth a read if you are thinking about going barefoot, or looking to resolve some of your running injuries that just won't go away...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

10km barefoot

Tonight was a cold night for a run.

I ran part of Dolev, down Yarden to the kikar by the junction with Yarkon. Then I ran back to Dolev and back to the Kikar. Then down Yarkon, across Kishon and then back home.

All together, I ran 10km barefoot, with the last 2.5km being a tempo run.

So far so good with the barefoot running. I am increasing distance and so far feel no discomfort, no pain and no problems.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

6km barefoot

Last night I went on my first real run with the Vibram's. I could clearly feel the difference in my gait, as I felt like I was running much lighter on the balls of my feet rather than slapping and pounding the pavement with my full foot, heel first, as I used to in my running shoes.

I took it easy with a light and easy paced 6km run. I know it takes time to get used to and I did nto want to push it too soon too fast. I felt like I could have easily kept going for a longer run, but I cut it short as planned. 6km was the top limit I had considered running last night and I felt it smart to keep it at that limit despite my feeling like I could continue. Next time I will run longer.

So far so good.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Gorilla Feet

I have been walking around a bit in my new Vibram FiveFinger barefoot shoes. I just went out for my first short and easy run in them.
The only thing I felt was that I am way out of shape. But I didn't feel any pain in any of the parts I was having pain in recently. Of course it was only a very short run so it might not mean anything.

I must say I did feel that I was using different muscles in my foot and leg than what previous running, with shoes, used, and I felt my legs getting tired in those areas. So it will take some time to build up those muscles.

But it was a good first attempt.