Monday, October 8, 2012

Running With New Shoes

Over the past few months, really since June, I've been trying to get back into some kind of shape. I had taken nearly two and a half years off from going to the gym after having gall bladder surgery to remove a stone the size of a golf ball! At first I didn't go back to the gym because I was deathly afraid of ripping open a scar . Then I kind of got complacent and didn't work out, convincing myself "I'll start next month". Then finally I was too busy eating donuts and coffee to be bothered with working out.

20 pounds later, it was time to take it all back.

One of my biggest challenges was running. I always thought I hated running, and any time my workout came to the cardio phase, I felt a sense of dread as I climbed onto the treadmill to run. It was so bad that for a long time I would get nasty cramps in my calves that stopped me from running for a week at a time.

When I started back to working out, I decided to focus on getting my running game up to speed, so to speak. Starting slow, my goal is to get to the point where I can run 5 or 6 miles without feeling like I'm going to DIE! Which feels like an unrealistic goal when, to start, running barely a mile made me want to punch a baby and puke. But I persevered over the summer and now have work to the point where a near four mile run doesn't make me feel destroyed: on Friday I ran 40 minutes and, with warm ups, covered nearly 3.8 miles.

To reward myself for this milestone, I went out and bought a new pair of running shoes. I've been looking for a while at the various light weight shoes to get a more natural feel when running. And on Saturday I went over to the local sports shop to check out their stock. I settled on the Fila Skele-toe minimalist shoe. They have a nice, snug feel without being too tight. The fit is adjustable with a Velcro band over the top and two bands on either side of the heel on each foot. Each toe has its own sleeve except for the pinkie and fourth toe on each foot.

Running for the first time in them today (after spending the weekend wearing them around the house while my wife and oldest son made jokes about them) it was different, but not a weird experience. I had read on a few pages online that running in minimalist shoes was an adjustment and you should ease yourself into it. So I started off slowly, reducing my running speed to start off. But it felt so natural I decided to try some incline runs, which felt good! The shoes didn't feel like they were working against me, and my calves felt more relaxed as I ran. I didn't feel like my foot was on a strange fulcrum is probably the best way to describe the experience.

All in all, I'm pretty impressed with the shoes. I didn't wear socks with them, and except for a small spot on my right foot where I wasn't quite used to the new shoe's feel (which will go away) I'm quite happy with the new shoes!