Well, ok, it wasn't really that long, 90 minutes and 6.2 miles. This is the longest run I've done since I've started the Maffetone method and probably since my last half-marathon.
I ran on a chip-sealed road and had a significant uphill and a significant downhill section on this run. Temperature was in the upper 40's with a light wind.
My average heart rate was 130. The average speed was about 4.1 mph
On the downhill stretch I was really tempted to run faster and ignore the HRM which still slowed me down.
I'm still trying to make up my mind if the Vibrams are the best shoes for me. I stumbled 6 or 7 times on this run, something that hasn't happened in other minimalist shoes more than once or twice. The Vibrams felt very comfortable but I'm wondering if the toe pockets were a little tight because I could see the impression from the seams on my skin afterwards. In this case my sensation may have been reduced, causing the stumbling. It could also be that my toes were more spread out and that is something I have to get more used to.
I did not run for the second day in a row. I did feel lazy, but I know that I really did a lot of good things today including walking several dogs and celebrating the end of my daughter's swim season with a great party. So I'll just call it a busy day with some walking thrown in.
I find myself taking a much more relaxed attitude about my exercise. Some days life just gets busy and sometimes it's a good kind of busy. On those days I remind myself that I exercise to live, not live to exercise. You could put in a lot of other words instead of exercise.
Exercise, running and swimming and horseback riding and hiking and riding my bike are all good things to do - as are the 500 other things I enjoy in life. But deciding to do just a few things every day and then doing them with passion and with energy is better then to squeeze as many activities in as possible. This is all part of using the Maffetone method, but of course Phil Maffetone did not invent these ideas, he just tied them into a holistic approach to endurance training by talking about the consequences of excessive stress in our lives.
The idea that less is often better than more is very foreign to most of our (the American) way of life. Even people who profess to live simply typically live much more complicated lives then did their grand parents. Success is so often defined by how many things we can juggle in life while maintaining a confident and strong exterior. But on the inside we may be overwhelmed or even close to collapse. The MAF test is helpful in seeing early warning signs of overdoing it in one or several areas of our lives. Getting sick frequently is another. Feeling tired all the time or lacking energy in the mid-afternoon can also be caused by too much stress. Getting to know ourselves well enough to catch these things early prevents a lot of pain, both physical and emotional.
Tomorrow I will try a longer run in my Vibram Sprint's if the weather is not too cold. Maybe I'll talk my husband into coming along. I did not run for 2 days and I miss it. I guess I have finally become a runner.
I ended up having to bathe one of the dogs and take it to the vet which took all my exercise time. It probably did not hurt to take a rest day because I woke up at 4:30 am and had trouble going back to sleep.
Tonight my daughter and I attended a local health fair with lots of booths by different organisations. At one stand, set up by dieticians, there were all kinds of nutrition advice posters and one of them suggested eating half whole grain. Half? Really? When I asked about it the people said that most people are not willing to make bigger changes in their eating habits. I understand that, change is difficult, but to SUGGEST to only eat half whole grain...
The other part that bothered me was the suggestion to look for fat-free or low-fat items. I thought there was enough evidence by now that eating fat does not make you fat. Quite the opposite, our body needs a significant amount of fat to function. Most of our brains consist of fat.
In most cases low-fat and fat free items have been processed more and have things added and the sugar content of these products is almost always higher. Since I have stopped using low-fat and fat-free products (except for foods that are naturally low in fat like fruits and veggies and beans) I have been able to maintain on far more calories. I can't say exactly how many since I hardly ever count, but around 3000 on days when I exercise for about an hour. Anyone who I have met who successfully maintains on a low-fat diet needs to keep track of calories. Coincidence? Maybe, but I don't think so.
I had not planned to buy more running shoes yesterday but when I saw that several Vibram models were on sale at a local store I decided to get a pair. I decided on the Sprint because of the combination of the thinner sole and the adjustable cross-strap which makes the shoe fit my foot better because of my high arch.
I ran in them this afternoon. Because I did not want to be distracted I left the heart rate monitor at home and focused on this new experience. The first mile I ran on the treadmill. The shoes were very comfortable although having something between my toes felt strange at first. Then I tried running outside on all kinds of surfaces: asphalt, concrete, fine gravel, very coarse gravel, grass, bark and soft dirt. I definitely had less ground feel than barefoot and surprisingly I think I had no more ground feel than in any of my different types of aqua shoes.
When I went up a somewhat uneven grassy hill the Vibrams performed better than aqua shoes because my feet did not slip around at all and I had better grip. Downhill there was less of a difference.
After that I tried some uphill walking, both on the treadmill with incline on 15 and outside. The first time I tried I got a cramp in my midfoot until I went back to jogging. The second time I focused on relaxing my feet and the cramp did not recur.
The temperature was in the upper 40's and my feet did not get too cold while running outside.
Overall I can't say that I prefer Vibrams to water shoes.
In order to be worth the price they would have to last at least 5 times as long as water shoes. In addition they cannot be worn with regular socks and toe socks are very expensive in comparison. It is possible that wearing Vibrams regularly would lead to a better distribution of body weight while running because the toes start spreading out a little more. It seemed that I was feeling a little more pressure on my big toe and less on the ball of my foot while running. After I took off the Vibrams and put my water shoes back on it felt like my heel was lower in the water shoes than in the Vibrams, which is strange because the Vibrams don't have a built-up heel.
I will try a MAF test on the treadmill in Vibrams tomorrow and see if there is any difference one way or the other.