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Breaking my first 20KM

Interrupting this space with this – running my first 20KM (LSD).

Even after a few years of running, I’ve never got around to running anything more than 13KM.

Well, there is always a first for everything and today is that day. So I’m pretty stoked! Don’t mind me but this is my personal mini milestone! Ask me to run anything more than 15KM a few months ago and I would have given you the “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” look.

I had to wake up at 5am for this (so dedicated, I know) and I am not a morning person. I got ready and had my breakfast of bread with peanut butter and a banana (YUM!).

We started running slightly past 6am. There were 7 of us including myself. We started out nice and slow, running the first 10.16KM together. We arrived at our pit stop (Petronas petrol station) 1.01 hours later. That petrol station seemed to be a popular stop for runners because there were so many of them hanging around and taking a sip before continuing.

Bought a bottle of 100plus which I regretted later because I had to run with it (but I needed it anyway). After about 7-8 minutes of rest, it was time to head back (same route). My pacer said that we will be turning our speed up a notch, I died a little inside. My left calf muscle was feeling a bit sore, probably from my run 2 days ago. I imagined myself lying at the side of the road, rolling in pain. But you gotta’ do what your pacer says you gotta’ do. I sucked it up (the pain), shoved all negativity to the side and put my game face on.

Somehow, we made it back in 52 minutes. Honestly, I didn’t think that I would have been able to complete today’s run. I didn’t really have a clue on how to pace myself, everything was by trial and error. And I guess it ended pretty well.

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I enjoyed every minute of it. I had way more fun than I thought I would. Zoning out to your tunes, enjoying the scenery and the run can be addictive! I guess this is the start of a long distance relationship… with the road!

Time to sign up for my first 21KM! Yes, No, Maybe? Whatever it is, today is a special day. Still feeling that runner’s high. WOOOWEEEE!

Some tips for those of you who are attempting your first 20KM:

-Eat a substantial breakfast (banana, bread with peanut butter, apple, yoghurt with fruit, muesli bar, cereal with milk, oats with honey and nuts etc) Don’t run on an empty tank!

-Get a good pair of running shoes. You’ll be pounding the ground for the next few hours in them, make sure they are super comfy.

-Proper running attire that will not cause chaffing or abrasions.

-Run with a group of people who are of the same pace/level of fitness. Running your first LSD can be hard, you might need some motivation and a little push from your buddies.

-Hydrate every 5KM. Plan your run and place your water bottle at designated spots. Or, make sure there is a store/mini mart nearby.

-Bring some tunes if you need some entertainment along the way.

-Get your butt out there and have the time of your LIFE.

It is a good start to my week. If you haven’t tried running anything more than 10KM, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR! THIS IS YOUR SIGN!

Freaky Looking Footwear

This year, the boyfriend gave me my first pair of Vibram Five Fingers! I’ve been wanting them for the longest time (secretly) but never got around to getting them for myself.

At first glance, it looks pretty freaky. I couldn’t stop laughing after opening the box. The base is black with green linings along the “fingers” and pink stripes all over the body! The colours are all part of the forbidden colour scheme. It is bad enough that the shoe moulds your feet. Now, with it being BRIGHT and FREAKISH looking, I guess I’m a running clown!

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Excited with my new Five Fingers, I wore them the next day. I’ve always wanted to try barefoot running but I couldn’t imagine putting my feet through the pains of running on asphalt. .The Vibram Spyridon was the closest I could get to barefoot running.

As expected, the first 20 minutes was pretty torturous. I felt a lot of pressure pressing against my feet. This forced me to land on my forefoot to reduced the overall impact. I began using different sets of muscles which were probably underused over the years. My core and calve muscles were activated to keep this running form. I had to listen to my body and constantly change my running form to reduce the pain. I was doing great and soon, the pain left and I was running wild and free!

With traditional running shoes, forefoot-striking doesn’t come naturally. I had to always remind myself of it. I tend to get lazy and put the pressure where I’m not supposed to.

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Nike Free 3.0. I still LOVE them.

Recently, much attention has been given to barefoot running or minimalist running. Before the first running shoe came about, running barefoot was the only way to go. It was probably better if humans left it at that.

Scientific research has been shown to support the benefits of barefoot running. Some cultures, such as the Tarahumaras and Kenyans, still practice barefoot running till this very day. The evolution of the running shoe towards having a more padded heel encourages the runner to heel-strike as oppose to fore-strike. The impact from heel-striking would shoot straight to your knees and hips because they’re not meant to absorb shock.

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Barefoot running has been known to reduce chronic running injuries such as the popular Runner’s knee which is a result of wearing cushioned shoes (heel-strike). Still, barefoot running remains a controversial topic and it may not be for every runner.

Transition to barefoot running would take a considerable amount of time. Be patient. Good things are ahead of you! The pain you feel when running barefoot would force you to change your running form and to land on your forefoot. Forefoot striking allows the activation of your natural shock absorbers: lower legs, foot arch and Achilles tendons. These places would hurt initially, but as you ease into it, you’ll soon be up and running in excellent form.

Say Hello to PAIN FREE RUNS! 

What do you think?