Thursday, November 16, 2017

Midnight Barefoot 3 K Build-Up

As part of my final phase conditioning toward the 10 K road race held this coming Sunday, I did 3 K build-up tonight after coming home from work. I ran barefoot as I'm determined to run the race without shoes.

This year my target pace for full marathon, half marathon, and 10 K is 5'11'', 4'42'', and 4'11" respectively. So I aimed at the first for the first K, and the second for the next, and the last for the last lap.

The result is as shown below:
1st lap: 4:46.98
2nd lap: 4:26.54
3rd lap: 4:03.25.

The time was a lot better for each lap than originally planned. I went home, took a warm bath, and gave both of my calves a good massage.

I'm going to give my legs a full rest tomorrow. I may do some body weight upper body exercise just to stay fit, but I'm not going to over do it. Too much exercise could fatigue the upper body, forcing my body to use much of the nutrition for the recovery of the fatigued upper body, thus delaying the recovery of my legs. That's the last thing I want.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Midnight "Almost" Barefoot Hill Intervals: 13 Sets by 1 K

Today was a big day for me. I had 13 sets by 1 K hill intervals scheduled for the night. After fueling myself with a big fat Chinese dinner I took a short nap to store up some energy for the challenge.

I woke up around  11:00 p.m., and quickly threw myself into athletic gear. I was originally going to run without any footwear, but I decided to wear 98-yen five-fingered socks from a nearby supermarket, and aqua slip-ons I bought from Amazon. They have a thin synthetic rubber-like sole and an insole that is about 3 mm. There is no cushioning like that found in a regular running shoe. That's good, because I am practicing minimalist running. Then why didn't I just run barefoot? Two reasons. One I had two blood blisters on my right sole, and another on the other, and I didn't want them to get worse. Two, I have a 10 K road race coming in a week, and any unrecoverable injury could potentially lead to cancellation. I didn't want to let that happen. So for a protective purpose, I wore a pair of five-fingered socks for intervals, and for additional protection before and after the intervals I put on the aqua slip-ons. But once I reached the hilly stretch where I always do hill intervals, I took off the slip-ons, and took off only in socks, which was a new experience for me.

The result of today's training session is shown below:
Warm Up 2 K: 11:40.18
<Hill Intervals>
1st K: 4:20.36
Rest: 2:.00.38
2nd K: 4:15.41
Rest: 2:00.59
3rd K: 4:22.01
Rest: 2:00.44
4th K: 4:31.62
Rest: 2:00.33
5th K: 4:28.75
Rest: 2:00.40
6th K: 4:26.63
Rest: 2:00.31
7th K: 4:22.93
Rest: 2:00.37
8th K: 4:24.05
Rest: 2:00.46
9th K: 4:27.77
Rest: 2:00.50
10th K: 4:29.00
Rest: 2:00.35
11th K: 4:29.21
Rest: 2:00.51
12th K: 4:24.32
Rest: 2:00.48
13th K: 4:27.83
Warm Down 6.3 K: 36:12.27
Total 21.3 K: 2:09.27

Although the socks were not so much for cushioning but rather for minimum protection of the sole from abrasion, I was glad that I put them on. As you see in one of the pictures above, they got holes on the heel, ball, and toe. I felt the left sock got a hole on the ball when the 8th lap was over. Then after that the number of holes grew larger as I went through the sets. When the last lap was over, the socks that were almost new when I started off had become pieces of ripped cloth hanging on my feet!! It's amazing to see how much friction my sole usually has to withstand when I run completely barefooted!!

Anyhow, THE biggest training session is now over! From now on until the race all I do is minor conditioning with short-distance training. I will probably do a 3 K build-up on either on Wednesday or Thursday night, and do a quick 3 K pace run on Saturday night just to stimulate my cardio vascular system. Running longer than that could have a risk of getting my leg muscles unrecoverably fatigued. I will also do some stretching between running days to allow smoother circulation of blood so that fatigue substances will break down faster.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Midnight Mixed K's in "Jikatabi"

I did mixed K's after coming home from work. I did them in jikatabi split-toe sock-like shoes favored by traditional Japanese construction workers. 

The first K was run at my full marathon pace. I then took a short rest of 30 seconds. In the second K I ran at my half-marathon pace, slightly faster than the first K. When it's done, the rest was slightly longer: one minute. Then in the 3rd K I ran at my 10 K pace. The rest after that was extended to a minute and a half. The fourth K is sit'n kick K, which means you start off at a comfortable pace, but then in the last two hundred meters or so, you kick to the finish. The rest after this is the longest: two minutes. This is one set. I did it two sets. 

The result is shown below:
1st K: 4:39.80
Rest: 30.32
2nd K: 4:21.09
Rest: 1:00.33
3rd K: 3:53.10
Rest: 1:30.33
4th K: 4:19.80
Rest: 2:00.34
5th K: 5:05.59
Rest: 30.39
6th K: 4:29.11
Rest: 1.00.38
7th K: 4:06.17
Rest: 1:30.20
8th K: 4:45.20
Total 8 K: 43.42.15

I like mixed K's because I like the gradual pressure building within myself as I go through the sets, steadily increasing the pace. The brief rest that comes after each K is a bliss. You can easily reset your motivation. Also, as you change the pace, different systems of your body seem to get to be activated. So it's good to prepare your body for strategic changing of pace. I recommend you to try it when you get tired of a long, slow run. It's also recommendable for those who find regular interval training a little too challenging. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Midnight Barefoot Intervals: 8 Sets by 1.3 K (Total 10.4 K)

I did barefoot intervals for the first time in my life. There is a 650 M quarter-pie-shaped loop near my house. You run it twice to cover 1.3 K. That's one set. I did it eight times with a short rest between sets. I started off with a short rest of a minute and a half. Then I gradually made the rest longer as I went through the sets, first to a minute and 45 seconds, and then eventually to two minutes, but I didn't make it any longer than that, because too long a rest would kill the benefit of this type of training.

The detail of tonight's training is shown below:
1st 1.3 K: 5:40.06
Rest: 1:30.31
2nd 1.3 K: 5:30.32
Rest: 1:45.35
3rd 1.3 K: 5:35.29
Rest: 1:45.43
4th 1.3 K: 5:32.65
Rest: 2:00.23
5th 1.3 K: 5:31.32
Rest: 2:00.35
6th 1.3 K: 5:31.12
Rest 2:00.22
7th 1.3 K: 5:34.31
Rest: 2:00.31
8th 1.3 K: 5:39.44
Total 10.4 K: 57:36.71

My next training will probably be this coming Sunday. I am planning to do 13 sets by 1 K hill intervals. It's going to be my last major training session before the 10 K race scheduled for Nov. 19. I got a couple of blisters on my right sole, and they hurt a little. But hopefully they will have healed by then.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Monday Park Run in "Jika Tabi" Sock-Like Shoes

I had a practice run in Yokohama today. I had a blister on my left sole, so I bought a pair of "jika tabi" for a protective purpose. "Jika tabi" is sock-like shoes that have a split toe. (See the pictures below.) They are made of cotton, and have a thin rubber sole. There is no cushioning, so they are perfect for a minimalist runner like myself.
Leaving my hotel, I headed for Yamashita Park which is 2.3 K away. Once I got to the park, I did five 1.4 K repeats. There was a short semi-circular route over a small hill in the course, so it wasn't entirely flat. 
For the remaining five laps, I did intervals. I ran one set fast, then took a brief rest and ran the next set at a pace that's not too challenging but not too easy, and then ran the following set fast again.

I went around the park ten times, and jogged back to the hotel for warm down.

The detail of tonight's training is as follows:
Warm Up 2.3 K: 10.39.41
1st 1.4 K: 7:00.11
2nd 1.4 K: 7:07.39
3rd 1.4 K: 7:02.24
4th 1.4 K: 6:45.15
5th 1.4 K: 6:33.23
Rest: 2:00.27
6th 1.4 K: 5:34.14
Rest: 1:02.42
7th 1.4 K: 6:48.45
8th 1.4 K: 5:51.96
Rest: 1:30.43
9th 1.4 K: 7:21.67
10th 1.4 K: 5:54.63
Warm Down 2.3 K: 13:44.55
Total 18.6 K: 1:34:56

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Weekend Barefoot Test-Run of the Gas Light 10 K Road Race Course

Two week to go before Gas Light 10 K Road Race held in a small local town of Yotsukaido I test-ran the course barefoot. Last year I had a similar trial-run, but the road surface was so rough that I couldn't even run the first 1 K. At the race I ran in MUTEKI, minimalist sock-like shoes that have recently become well-known thanks to the popularity of TV drama "Rikuoh" or "King of Road". I renewed my course record, which was also my second best time for the distance. 

I have run quite a few races in those now popular minimalist shoes, and have gotten quite used to running with little or no cushioning. So I hoped that this year I might be able to run it barefoot. I went to the venue by scooter, and quickly took off my wind-breaking pants and jacket. Just in case I should get my feet injured, I carried a pair of thin shoes that I bought from Amazon. (See below.) They are aqua shoes, but one guy says in his review that he uses them for running. I kept them in my pockets so that I could take them out and put them on in case my sole hurts. 

I started off slowly and carefully not to step on sharp-edged pebbles. I immediately felt my soles had gotten rougher over the course of time. But as I went on, the road surface got rougher and my soles started feeling sorer. My heart sank, afraid that I was still not strong enough to run this race barefoot. A bad memory from last year flashed back. I decided to quit and turned back, because I assumed that the road condition would continued to be the same. 

But this year one thing was different. I had a pair of shoes in my pocket. In the worst case scenario I could put them on to protect my feet to run the remaining distance. So instead of giving it up, I pressed on. 

To my surprise, once I crossed the first major intersection, the road condition suddenly changed, and it became as smooth as cream! So this may be it. It's only the first 700~800 meters that are rough, and the rest is mostly smooth like this. As I went on, I became increasingly confident that I could run the race barefoot this year. 

In about 26 minutes I reached the turning point. The last 500 meters leading to it was just a little less smooth, but it didn't cause any pain that was unbearable. The second half was very pleasant because I knew what was coming. I picked up the pace and pushed on. Then came the final challenge. The last stretch leading to the finish presented a very rough road surface. I slowed down and took smaller steps, carefully tracing the while line near the side of the road because the surface is smooth because of the paint. It helped. I surged in the final 300 meters, and crossed the finish line and stopped my watch. It said 49:35.79. Not bad. Now that I know the road condition of the entire course, I can be bolder at the race. I will probably not be able to run as fast as I did last year, but I should be able to complete the race barefoot. Should that happen, it will be my first official barefoot debut in an official race. Just a mere prospect of it thrills me enormously. I cannot wait to run the race.   

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Longest Barefoot Run That I've Ever Done: 15 K

  • After coming home from a long day's work I went for a barefoot run. I jogged to my favorite hilly stretch, taking a longer route than usual. I originally aimed for 10 K as today's target, but as I went along, I felt good, so I increased the distance. 

I did ten hill repeats and came back home through the same route, but ran extra 1 K to cover a total of 15 K.

Today's result is as follows:
Warm Up 2 K: 11:.12.89
Hill Repeats:
1st K: 5:17.67
2nd K: 5:21.24
3rd K: 5:22.29
4th K: 5:22.31
Water Break: 19.50
5th K: 5.19.27
6th K: 5:23.44
7th K: 5:25.34
8th K: 5:21.59
Water Break: 17.98
9th K: 5:21.10
10th K: 4:55.29
Warm Down 3 K: 17:18.27
Total 15 K: 1:22:18