In December 2015 I started running again properly after about an 18 month break. I had read the book ‘Born To Run’ during my road-trip through South Africa and was keen to try out this idea of running more on my toes, or the balls of my feet.
When I first heard about the whole idea I was very sceptical. But the more I read about the invention of the modern running shoe, injuries, the preponderance of injuries after the invention of the running shoe and the4 inspiring story of the author of ‘Born To Run’ himself, the more I thought, I want to try this out.
See, I was a sprinter at a school, not a long distance runner. And when you sprint, you run on your toes. So I was keen to try.
The first two months brought a lot of discomfort and my musculature adjusted to the new stance and power requirements. I found my calves and inexplicably my adductors in my hips, took the most strain. But I persisted as, even as I slowly ramped up my mileage, the old knee injury that has kept me from consistent running since 1993, just did not flare up.
It’s now been 18 months of running, my weekly training load has risen from about 8km per week to averaging between 25 and 30km. The knee complaint has still not resurfaced. An absolute record.
I have lost weight, feel really comfortable when I run and am gradually starting to get faster again. The real kicker though, is the shoes. Normally, if I run consistently for 6 months, I destroy a pair of running shoes. My Asics GT-2000 have lasted 18 months and are still good to go.
But I decide to now also buy a shoe more suited to the new style of running and got a pair (early birthday present from the other half) of Asics Dyna Flyte’s: light weight, no torsion control and more padding under the forefoot… I love them already!
I have also started to track every run I do using a Polar watch and heart monitor. I was always sceptical of running tech, seeing it as a crutch for runners that just weren’t that good, or were delusional about how good they actually were! Well, have to eat that opinion. It’s really motivational watching your graphs, monitoring your heart rate and overall fitness levels with the device. I probably don’t get the most out of it as a training device, but I love the damn thing and use it every run!
So, my stated goal for this year was to get down to 4:30 per km for a 10km race…. I don’t really think that is going to happen I must admit, but I am still gunning for it. Right now though I am training for a 16km race, the Dam Tot Dam just outside Amsterdam. I just want to finish that in under 80 minutes and I will be happy!
So, my primary sanity pillar is well and truly in place…. I firmly believe in the therapeutic power of running. I know many of you basically hate it, but if you can bear it, try it, it’s good for the soul!