A 12K – and with other people (905K to go):

Back in Copenhagen again, which is a hello to warmer temperatures (around 0C) and everything else that comes with an urban environment. Paved roads, park trails with lots of slush and wet snow, pedestrians, heaps of bikes, cars, traffic lights, dogs, strollers, etc. All thins I am not super keen on when running. I prefer the near solitude of Greenland to be honest.

The warmer temperatures was an upside though, but thanks to the massive amount of road salt used in Copenhagen, stripping off the fiverfingers totally was not an option, but I could strap into my minimalistic seeyas (perhaps my favourite five fingers), so not as bad as it could have been. The seeyas are as close to barefoot as I can think of it, not as being barefoot in terms of ground feel, but surprisingly close and the upper is soft enough that you basically forget about them after a few minutes of running.

More or less spontaneously I decided to join a 12K training run arranged by the Danish facebook running club and at 5:30PM I met up with 3 other people for a 12K, 6 minute average training run.

Running with other people and talking was good fun in General, but it did impact my technique in a bad way. I caught myself with sloppy technique several times. It seems I am not quite strong enough technically to run with other people. Mostly I fell back into a rhythm with too long strides, sloppy legwork and to low cadence. something my Achilles tendons and calves have been paying for, judging by the soreness I feel right now.The strain under the arch of my foot even returned occasionally, but overall I came through all right given the distraction of talking and all. Even got to discuss minimalist running with another runner, who seems to be further down the path than I am.

The route was a great mix of paved roads, annoying traffic lights and slippery park trails with plenty of wet slushy snow. Here the barefoot technique came in handy. the two of us running barefoot style did not have any issues with the slippery trials, but the regular runners had a bit of a hard time staying on their feet especially when having to round a bend or corner.

Pace was a very leisurely 6ish minute average which meant a heart rate on the relaxed side of things, cadence was a barely acceptable 181SPM. I added 10K of biking getting to and from our starting point, so overall a very nice run, save for my sloppy technique.

Only 5 K from the first 100K of full time barefoot style running now 🙂

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Another 6K and a bad run (917K to go):

Weather today was actually not that bad. sunny and -12C, rather windy though and a chill factor of -24,7.

Maybe not the obvious running weather, but normally I really like to run in weather and temperatures like this.

I took a slight detour from my normal run and right from getting out I could feel that something was not quite right.

My five fingers did not feel quite right on my feet, my feet felt sore and my calves were stiff and for the first time ever I had a really hard time finding my pace and my rhythm.

Kind of hard not to guess that I had an off day coming. I decided to push on and see how things would pan out.

The first two K I could tell from my running and feet that I was out of style and doing all the wrong things.

I was forcing my body too far forward and dropping my head, making for a slight bend in the hips and a disturbed rhythm and foot placement.

ANd these bad news just keep on, after 3K I paced down and finally got my running style somewhat under control.

Cadence was OK end to end  on this race, but pace was not up to my usual standards.

As I reached the end, my right calf was (and still is) rock hard and my feet felt sore.

Bad runs are a reality for everyone, but this was my first real off day since going full time barefoot style. I chose to push through and run to the end, but in retrospect, I should not have been running today.

Ohh well, next run will be back to normal 🙂

 

Gorgeous snowy and icy 6K (623K to go)

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Already when walking to the gym this morning I knew that should time permit just after work, then I would have a run home with some amazing light and with a little luck even a section of low tide ice flake jumping pitched in 🙂

Luckily time did permit and after the now usual comments from my boss (a very successful triathlete) about my fivefingers being just a fad, plain silly and stupid looking. Comments I take as friendly banter, I zoomed out the door, past the 1.5K of ice/snow/pebbled pavement and and towards the nordic skiing trail to make my way home,

The Snow on the skiing trail have become very densely packed by now and i had several sections where I barely had snow covering my toes, but luckily also a few amazing sections of deepish soft powdery snow.

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I did make a slight detour as it was low tide and with the wind was coming in from the North, a massive amount of ice flakes will likely be lying stacked along the rocky shore, making for a whole heap of fun ice flake jumping for a few hundred meters.

Well “how much fun can 2-300 meters be?” you might ask. Well when you are jumping, sliding balancing on slippery snow covered ice flakes ranging from the size of a football to the size of a large dining table, all resting either in shallow water or on the rocks revealed by the tide, it can be “HEAPS OF FUN!” 🙂 Especially because some of them are quite unstable.

I have been weary of doing it in the past, but wearing my KSO I had enough ground feel with the ice to make it challenging and exhausting but also heaps of fun for a while.

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The way back up and home was steep, but I was so energized from the fun section that the trip home felt light on feet and amazing. My running style got a tiny bit sloppy at a point, but the upside to nearly not wearing shoes is you notice real quick.

Upon arrival home, time said 30 minutes and 20 seconds. Distance read 6,01K.

Cadence averaged out to 192 SPM, which is in the ok range for me. and heart rate felt OK save for a few spikes while running two of the uphill sections.

Last week was from a barefoot point of view of a little high mileage, especially as I had two snowboarding session over the weekend too. Something my calves and thighs definitely can feel. Thus i am quite certain that tomorrow will be a rehab day for me running wise.

I thin my running style or form as everybody seems to call it is improving by the day, now I just have to be patient enough to let my legs get back to their usual self after a very tough weekend.

Ohh and I am really getting VERY fond of the KSO as a winter running shoe, amazing ground feel and stability.

But why not conclude this post with an image of the shoreline section where i had so much fun 🙂

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A fast, sunny, cold and snowy 6,5K run (929K to go

Well saturday morning in Nuuk, Greenland was spend doing anything but thinking of running. Low overcast clouds made for a flat and borign light

The plan was to take my new pow stick and go do some groomer runs for a first dial in of bindings, boots, stance and all. Spend a few hours with friends hitting groomers and the surfy pow stick did surprisingly and well once satisfied we decided to drive back home.

It will be amazing to get it into pow country soon 🙂

After around an hour at home the sun decided to peak through and the wind to pick up, but conditions looked amazing for a quick afternoon run 🙂

I quickly strapped into my very old and worn KSO’s and hit the road or ice/snow/pebble mix that covers all the roads and sidewalks. I felt quick and light on my feets today and being back in the ultrathin KSo’s made for another amazing sensory experience feeling every contour in the snow/ice/pebble mix was an amazing experience this time. It is amazing hwo much ground feels add to any experience and how much of it ordinary shoes remove of this experience. after around 3K of fast and relatively steep ice/snow/pebble mix, I turned off the road and on to the Nordic skiing trail home. Keeping my old shod half marathon pace became really hard, but the amazing sensory input kept me going, as did the many skiers that I began to meet. I hit road again for the last 1K home The transition from various snow in all it shapes and densities, was repalced by the very hard, ice/snow/pebble mix and was able to finish the steep uphill section in my former shod pace.

Average pace for the 6,5K was 4:40, and an average cadence of 201 SPM, that is fast, the best par is that a too high heart rate aside it felt comfortable for my feet.

Add to that that it was my first time breaching the 30K a week barrier as a full time barefoot runner and that in my 3rd week. I cannot even begin to understand the massive change my running has gone through in such a short time. Of course the transition and traing for this move started back in September 2011 and I have been using five fingers for much longer as gym and sprint run shoes, but still I am amazed.

Running now seems to have gone from being about time and pace, to gravitate around sensory input, running style and fun.The very diverse and mixed winter terrain in Nuuk makes for such a diverse and varied input, I am now starting to look wonder what the raw mountains and rocks will feel like under my feet when running.

In all honesty my feet feels a little tired now and they are elevated to recover for another snowboarding session tomorrow. Think I will take out the mini and just cruise groomers, perhaps see if I can still do 360’s on it 🙂

Deep powdery snow, evening sun and 11K worth of pure joy (935,5K to go):

NWP12_WEB_002The last day and a half has been with snow falling, slowly and steadily. so seeing the sun breaking through the clouds during the day, I just knew today would be one of those magic running days. Wind was picking up as I set out, but with otherwise amazing weather, it did not really matter.

Luckily I had a bag full of running clothes and my favourite winter terrain five fingers with me. As work was done I jumped into my running clothes and set out on a route down the steep airport hill and then along what a good day or two ago would have been a nordic skiing trail, but now a mix of powdery snow, crusty snow, ice and everything in between.

It is hard to explain why running barefoot (or close to) so quickly has become soo addictive to me, but in terms of winter running in mixed terrain it is easy to explain.

The massive amount of sensory feed back from my feet as I run over, or through, the wide variety of textures is nothing short of amazing. Soft powdery snow being squeezed between my toes, the feel of a crisp snow layer bursting as I carefully weight each foot while running, and all of the surprises hidden beneath the snow. hard rock, butter smooth ice, frozen vegetation.

As i got closer to central Nuuk and ran across the lake with the multi coloured houses, I bumped into a good amount of skiers getting ready for Arctic Circle Race (one of the toughest Nordic Skiing races around) friendly nods or comments were exchanged as we zoomed past each other. The friendly atmosphere among running and skiing enthusiasts, hikers and everything in between, was another boost of energy.NWP12_WEB_003

Off the trail and another 4K of pavement, ice, snow and pebbles mix later it was time to evaluate, what seemed like an energizing and amazing run.

Snow depth between from 2-7K was anything from a few centimetres when best to knee high when worst and that did quite clearly slow on both cadence and pace, the deepest sections had me down to a 6:20 pace and a cadence of 160 Steps per minute. For the rest of the run I was back to 195 SPM average and my new normal pace of 5:10 average. Heart rate is back to my running normal and the form felt very good overall.

I think the big thing for me right now is working on being able to run longer distances again, today i broke the 10K limit for the second time barefoot style and it feels amaizng to be back running normal distances again, but i still miss my +20K runs. But i suspect they will come soon enough.

And while i love the fact that my feet look like in the last picture of this post and the sensation of running in snow, then I am deerly looking forward to strap back into my KSO or seeya and better ground feel again.

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a 6K with lots of snow (946,5K to go):

Today was an absolutely amazing run.

Snow had been falling since yesterday, temperature a steady -10C and little wind to speak of. given yesterdays poor performance of the Speed XC, I opted for a regular the regular Speeds, as they have a little thicker upper than say the seeya to give just a little warmth when running deep snow.

The run itself went from the airport down a steep and very slippery hill, into the terrain along the nordic skiing trail to down town Nuuk. Plenty of deep soft powdery snow with patches of firm snow.

I passed several skiers and a few hikers along the way, exchanging quick “have fun”s or “enjoy your workout”s. The friendly and pleasant atmosphere in Nuuk seems to reach the trails too.

Cadence and running style are improving rapidly, this being my first two consecutive days of running made it a little interesting, but it went very well, with no ill effects.

What really amaze me is how effortless running is beginning to feel, there is still plenty of room for improvement and my muscles still needs to grow strong enough for long distance running (as in more than 10K), most of which will come when it gets warm enough to strip off the five fingers completely, after all true barefoot is probably the easiest way to learn.

Heart rate was a bit high today, but the deepish snow is partially to blame I think, so overall I am not to worried about it.

Pace is OK’ish for winter conditions, with plenty of snow and ice. I am not quite satisfied with the pace, but I will rather sacrifice a little pace now and get my running style dialled in alright.

The first 50K as a full time barefoot (and/or five finger runner) has passed now and while I have been more than a year underway in terms of running style and been wearing five fingers for short runs, gym sessions, vacation hiking, etc. for years, then running bare foot full time is a different story.

The journey however is surprisingly easy on my feet and the transition way faster than expected. In fact, I just may think that running barefoot is the gentlest way to run in general 🙂

7,5K of of snow and strong wind (952,5K to go)

Arrived in Nuuk, Greenland again today adn what better thing to do when the weather outside says snow, gusts up to 40 knots and -5C than to strap on a pair of five fingers (the new Speeds XC waterproof one and take it for a test run?

7,5K of steep hils, and running conditions from blank ice to 20cm of powdery snow, which a bit of paved road mixed in. So a pretty good mix of winterly conditions.

Run was overall a load of fun, I love running in conditions like this.

Pace and running style was good, I can feel how my feet, ankles and calves are progressing quickly now. Cadence a touch lower than normal, 190 Steps per minute, but I would write that off to the combinations of hills and wind.

more of these runs are more than welcome 🙂

A quick first impression of the Vibram Five Fingers Speed XC:

The Speed XC from vibram are marketed as a trail version of the five fingers speed and the sole is surely both a lot thicker and stiffer than what I know from my other five fingers (KSO, Seeya, Speed) and from a feel point of view I much prefer the seeya (amazing shoe) or the KSO. But for trail and the conditions today the weatherproof upper and grippier sole seemed a good idea. while the sole is very different from the more minimalist five fingers like the KSO or Seeya, as in stiffer and more padded, they did seem to retaining a lot more ground feel than say a pair of nike free 3.0, while doing an excellent job masking pebbles and other stuff, so I suspect they really will do very well when running off trail too.

The only downside to the speed XC on this run was oddly enough its waterproof upper, I always run barefoot in my five fingers and the Speed XC seems to be more of a sock version, as my feet by the end of the run was very wet and sweaty. which in turn lead to blisters on the side of my foot, a first for me wearing five fingers. I will try squeezing in a pair of toe socks next time to see if that helps.

 

I am now almost 50K down the full time barefoot or minimalist running road, it is quite rewarding and seems to be very much the right path for me.

Best part is that my ankles are now totally pain free when running and that I find quite amazing 🙂