When I told my wife Nicole that I had taken two full days off from running in October, she didn't believe me, "You never take days off." I know, but it was a needed break, and I did have a huge rides those days. Nonetheless, something has given me the staying power to continue to hit the pavement day in and day out. Running is not a chore for me and finding the motivation is never the problem. Over the last two years, I have realized that those former "punishment" runs have become my forte. Running more minutes for recovery and longer distance for enjoyment. My personal running scale has tipped and I feel great.
Knowing so many exercise enthusiasts and endurance athletes over the year has given me perspective to understanding consistency and what drives people to be great. Any person that takes a step in running, competes in a race desires to be faster. But how do they shave minutes and seconds off if they are prone to injury. I have been fortunate that my running form has been closer to good than bad over the last decade and a half, rarely injuring myself through mileage alone. Yet, I am always looking for ways to increase my efficiency and effectiveness while I run, tweaking positioning and foot strike. After reading Born to Run, talking with many other runners and witnessing the positive gains from running barefoot, I set my Simplicity, or minimalist plan into action in August of this year.
On trails, I now run in a ridiculous, super light, low profile trail runner, the Inov8 X-Talon 212 for up to 2.5 hours. The freedom and sense of 'oneness' with the trail is great, but the minimalist nature changes where you land, how you propel off rocks and go downhill. You are forced to quickly pick your way through rock gardens, looking for flatter, more stable ground. No more leaping on to and off jagged edges and landing on singular small rocks. Those do make an impact and you can feel it on the bottom of your foot. I continue my hard charging downhill, but with more finesse, upright torso and high revolutions of the legs. All of these stylistic alterations are positive for my trail running and have given me an edge as the distance wears on.
I feel my minimalist form will allow me to run longer and more efficiently. The additional training miles are going to be needed for years to come. I urge runners to flip off their shoes and run through the grass barefoot. Notice how light you are on your body, landing mid foot, torso straight upright, not even grazing the back of your heel. Take your time when you convert and look to many resources for exercises in Form, Strength and Consistency. I routinely seek out new advice, mostly in video format to glean information regarding minimalist running. Here are two of the most helpful videos I utilize.
Lee Saxby: Learn to Run Barefoot
Running With Eric: Runs Drills and Technique
Go SIMPLE and don't look back.