Who is the Running Minimalism Dummy Now?

At some point I knew that this would happen, a minor running related booboo. No it is not serious, yes I will definitely live to run again.

However, it is the first time since I returned to real running last October that anything besides my knee has bothered me. That is why I am being a drama queen about it tonight :-P.

It is my first injury – post injury and it was running related – it seems that I am back to being a real runner ;-). The worst part is that it was self-induced by my own training mistakes.

The Snowmobile Trail Run

Last Friday, we walked almost 4.0 miles on a pretty tough snowmobile trail in the morning and then that afternoon I ran just over 5.0 miles on the same trail. It wasn’t an easy run and on one of the moguls in the beaver bog, I slipped and tweaked my left calf pretty good, but finished the run without a lot of problem.

The next few days it was sore, but I was still able to run through it and even ran a great 8.0 miler on Monday. On Tuesday night I went out and bought new running shoes the MT20s, which I really liked. However, these shoes are fairly minimal and do work your calves a lot more than regular running shoes or my Peregrines did.

Brain dead me did two pretty tough workouts in those new shoes on Wednesday and Thursday. In addition to transitioning over to the new shoes, I did some cadence work – trying keep up a 90 cadence rate per minute, which resulted in some faster times than usual.

A small problem

The only problem I really had after the runs was that little calf strain.  Apparently the calf was not fully healed when I did these two tough back-to-back runs in the MT20s, which meant that my idea of a transition plan to the them was not such a great idea.

My left calf has really been barking at me ever since I sat down and rested for a while after yesterday’s run. Today was a rest day (I was supposed to have it yesterday, but I wanted to run in my new shoes – not too bright sometimes Harold) and I have worked on the calf with heat, self-massage, TheWife generously did some pounding, kneading and beating on my calf and only a total of 3.0 miles of dog walking (very easy day).

The calf still hurts – not enough to not run if I really wanted to. However it does hurt enough that I “know”, I should let it be for another day or two. While the Tommie Copper calf sleeves are really helping a lot, but unfortunately, I just don’t heal as fast as I used to.

I don’t need to transition

Everything I did with the MT20’s totally went against everything that I had read and been warned about when you first get a pair of minimalist shoes. I basically ignored the need to transition slowly to my new minimal shoes, even though I had read a lot beforehand about why you need the slow transition. I of course didn’t listen, overdid it and am now paying for my stupidity

Everyone can go ahead and say I told you so. .

Yes I was stupid

Those of you out there who are transitioning to the minimal shoes, listen to those who have gone down the minimal path before you! I didn’t think I would need much of a transition – guess what I was wrong – even though I had worn 4MM drop Saucony Peregrines and Earth Shoe Lazers, they did not prepare me for the difference running in a much more minimal shoe.

Also if you are having any problems minor strains or pains in your calves or Achilles, you need to either go really slow on your transition to the next phase of minimalism or possibly wait until the issues are resolved before even starting the transition.

20/20 Hindsight

That damn 20/20 hindsight is kicking my butt right now 😦 and no I am not too impressed with myself. I allowed myself to get caught-up in running in a new pair of shoes, not listening to the experience that others have had or what my body was telling – to slow down and be smart.

After all I just wanted to run in the damn things, which is pretty normal for someone with new shoes. I didn’t internalize what I read from other’s first-hand experience with their transition to minimalist running shoes. Now I understand why for such a major move, most of us (me included) need transition time, instead just going for a run and hope that it works well for  you.

The reality is that

I have to figure out if I am smart enough to let the calf heal. Which probably means rest for a couple of days or if I will run tomorrow if it feels pretty good. I do know that if I run tomorrow, it will be in the Peregrines (which I operated on the last night and took out chunks of misplaced foam & fabric that were giving my heal a blister).

We will see tomorrow how smart I really am :-).

BTW – I think that I will start a much slower transition to the MT20s next week – at least I hope I will be a little more intelligent about it. We will see.


How well do you listen to the advice others give about something related to running?

Have you ever gotten a new pair of shoes and done too much in them, which resulted in downtime from running?

Were you smart about your transition to minimalist shoes?

If you were not smart about your transition to minimalist shoes, what did you do to continue your transition?

10 Things I Love About Running

Valentines heart

Over at #RunChat they are having a contest where you list the 10 Things I Love About Running for Valentines Day, which I thought was a great idea and enjoyed putting this list together.  It did make me stop and think about why I do love to run.

Here are my ten things I love about running:

  1. Running clears my head and keeps me closer to “normal” whatever normal is. 🙂 I go run when life gets tough, like it did when my dad was in the hospital recently. It gives the stress someplace to go productively, instead of food, booze or taking it out on other people. Going for those runs made it so that I was still someone people wanted to be around and I didn’t go down a dark path, which many people do in those situations.
  2. Running gets me out of the house, so that my wife doesn’t encourage me to go back to work. Since we have retired TheWife has been very supportive of my running lifestyle, but at time it becomes rather expensive and from time-to-time she hints that it might be time to look for a part-time job, if I want to continue running or start racing again.
  3. Running is mostly responsible for my loosing 30 plus pounds and 6 inches off my waist since last June. When I am actively running, I look at food and exercise differently than when I am not. I am much more aware of what I fuel my body with versus just eating.
  4. Through Running I have gotten to meet a lot of great people both online and face-to-face, that otherwise wouldn’t have been a part of my life.
  5. Running gives me confidence to do more than I think I can – what was once difficult is now routine. That little hill on the circle that I had a hard time walking up last June, is now at the end of most of my workouts and I practice “kicking” up that little hill almost every day.  I am more willing to step out of my comfort zone and try things that I might otherwise walk away from a good example of this is my involvement with #FitFluential.
  6. Running helps me break through expectations and stereotypes – I am an older guy with gray hair who has retired, therefore according to the old stereotypes I am supposed to be sitting in my easy chair, drinking beer and doing nothing but watching the games on TV. I prefer to be a participant, not a spectator and when I run I am.  I become that crazy old bastard down the road who is always outside either walking his dog or running.
  7. Running has given me a focus for my blog “A Veteran Runnah” and gives me plenty to write about. I love to write and while my blog is just a personal blog I do take pride in what I write here, the ability it gives me to put my thoughts out there and possibly have others respond to them.
  8. Running is never the same – no run is exactly the same, even if it is the same course. The weather has changed, what you are thinking about changes, whether you are with someone or not, there are far too many variables for any run to be exactly like one before it or how it will be tomorrow. That is why I think many runners can run the same courses over and over without being bored about where they are running.
  9. Running allows me to get outdoors, to enjoy and see the variety of life. I run through different neighborhoods, roads, to the many trails and the many things that I have seen on these runs are: amazing, awe-inspiring or eye candy, while other things were shameful or things I never hope to see again, but if I had not been running, I would not have seen what I saw.
  10. Most of all  after running for over 40 years, running is a part of who I am, running is not just something I do.

The reality is that

Since my return to running after a long absence, (due to a non-running related injury), I really appreciate running so much more than I had in the past – when I just took being able to run for granted. Before this injury running was something that I was always able to do, pretty much whenever I wanted to do it. This last period of not being able to run when I wanted to, really changed my perspective on what running means to me.

Hell I am even moving to more minimal footwear and trying hard to change my running form, back to the how I ran in the dark ages of the 80’s (yes forefoot striking)…which is a huge step for me. 🙂

What are the ten things you love about running?