Well, I just had an interesting run. I took my usual route and headed for the Provo River Trail. The only thing that I changed in this run was my stride. Since I started running, about ten years ago, I’ve been a heel strike kind of guy.
But because of everything I’ve learned in the last month or so about barefoot running, I decided to concentrate on landing fore-to-midfoot. The change in stride is immediate. I have a faster turnover, faster pace, and less impact on my knees. That’s my first impression, anyway.
Comparing today’s run to a similar 3 mile run from a couple of weeks ago, there is one startling difference. I am about two minutes slower, overall, today.
However, that’s a little deceiving. Because of my faster turnover and pace, I had to take several breaks. This is a breakneck pace for me. Every time I looked at my watch, I was somewhere between a 7:15 and 8:00 pace. Only 3 weeks ago, my typical pace was about 9-9:30 a mile. Here are the only differences between 3 weeks ago and now:
1. I’ve changed to a forefoot strike.
2. At the end of a few runs, I’ve finished 1/2 mile barefoot.
3. I ran a trail run on Saturday.
This faster pace presents its own challenges, however:
1. It’s easier to inflame my asthma at a faster pace.
2. I wonder about a higher propensity for injury (hopefully this is offset by a forefoot strike)
3. My energy level felt great, today, but I wonder if I can sustain this pace over a long distance (like a longer triathlon or a marathon.) This is a big deal, because the goal is not to slow down.
Anyway, very interesting. I’ll try it again. I know that my calves and shins are getting worked. I don’t feel like they’re getting hurt, but I know I need to be careful.
And finally, a disclaimer:
I probably already knew a lot of this. Many times, when I’ve run with my Dad, he’s told me that I should have a higher turnover rate and that my pace is loud. This probably translates to running forefoot. I might have been right, today, but Dad probably was right five years ago.