Haven’t run in 2 decades, but here I go…

Why I’m doing the c2q5k: I work out at the gym pretty regularly and mountain bike once in a while, but I’m about 25 pounds heavier  (20 lbs in the last 4 years) than I was 9 years ago at my ideal,  wedding weight.  Work, kids and age mean I can’t maintain the weight that I used to with my old workout habits. I need something to kickstart things and I’m hoping barefoot running and c2q5k will be the answer.  After 8 days in, so far, so good. As far as the quantified part, I like Endomundo for tracking my mountain bike rides via my Android and GPS and I want to explore what’s possible in quantifying physical activity. It’s great incentive to be able to measure what you’ve done, to give it a little more meaning and context, and share with your friends.

My new bare feet. Fila skele-toes.

The reason I haven’t run in two decades is that I have feet that just don’t like it.  For the past 20 years, even when I’ve been pretty slim, I’ve been debilitated by shin splints after just 50 yards of traditional heel to toe running. My ankles hurt, My knees hurt. My hips hurt. Everything hurts. A large part of it is relatively flat feet. My feet tend to slap the pavement doing heel to toe, stressing the tendons in my shin.

My system: When I heard about new styles and strategies for running, including Chi Running and barefoot running, I decided to give it a try. Starting with a little research, I joined a barefoot running meetup, I talked to some people at InStep in Boulder, practiced a little running on my own real bare feet, bought Fila Skele-toes “barefoot runners” on sale for $30 (bare feet aren’t so good on rocks and thorns) and I downloaded RunDouble. RunDouble has several programs, starting with the C25K. The app monitors your distance via the Android GPS, times you, and tells you when to run or walk based on which workout in the program your own. There’s a lot of C25K apps out there, so shop around. I like RunDouble because the first 2 weeks are free, it’s easy and it’s pretty basic, but I’m no expert on C25K apps. Here’s an example runI did last week.

Pretty slow, but a good, measured start for someone either changing their running style to barefoot, or just getting off the couch. If you buy barefoot runners, you’ll need to change your style of running to forefoot-heel or you’ll miss out on the benefits. These shoes don’t have much cushion, the cushioning comes from the bend in your ankle joint. The shoes aren’t better unless you switch to different style.

So anyway, this is not an endorsement, and so far it’s working for me. I started the c25k program with RunDouble Adroid app, and thus far, minimal pain after 8 days and 4 workouts in. As of last Friday after the first 3 workouts, I’d lost 2 lbs. Running seems to have some majical ability to take more weight off than the number of calories burned like no other activity for me. I can’t seem to do the same thing on an elliptical trainer.

Doing things the old way would have left me essentially crippled by now and put me straight onto the couch again.

This beats the gym almost (it was 105F yesterday) any day.

I’m going on vacation and excited about the prospect of not needing anything to stay in shape but a pair of running shorts and a pair of running shoes, and my Android. No gym required. This is one of the great benefits of being able to run again. Hope I can keep it up.


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