Monday, 26 April 2010

Barefoot running?

There is an ultimate running trend about barefoot running that has arised my curiosity.

This theory, that was first addressed in a Nature magazine paper, is resumed in a magnificent Harvard's Skeletal Biology Lab review that you may find here.

This is based in a few assumptions:
- We land our foot on the heel because our overprotective cushioned shoes allow that.
- Our shoe's heel are too high and that fact predisposes to Achilles tendon injuries (that are so comon!).
- If we run barefoot we will start landing on the forefoot (landing on the heel is painful when you're barefoot) and our running will become more economic. Furthermore, we will prevent some lesions once there won't be a peak of impact on our knees, hips and spine.

I don't have any training in this area but I've always been curious about the way Kenyan's run. They appear to have springs under their soles... and that's the way forefoot running works - landing on the forefoot gives you back some of the impulse that you projected on the ground.

There is even a funny curiosity about it. The guys that try it for the first times usually feel some headaches in the end, due to the overflow of sensory information that comes from our nervous endings at the feet (that are usually numb inside the shoe).

So, wether it really works or not, I'm feeling really tempted to buy some Vibram's Five fingers to give it a try (30min run a week).

Here are some runners that were famous for running barefoot:
Abebe Bikila - former Olympic marathon world-record holder
Bruce Tulloh - former European 5k record-holder
Tegla Loroupe - former Olympic marathon world-record holder

Last weekend I went to another road race. This time, a 11.500m one. It was a tough one with a great amount of climbing and my performance wasn't good (I was tired and I was with the usual Spring polen asthma problem). However I was 2nd, after a 2h12 marathon portuguese guy.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

5th SLB 10k race

Last weekend, I did another 10km (plus 200m) race. This time, to 33'06. I did almost all the race with Bruno Pais, one of the best portuguese triathletes. One of the most demanding kilometers was the 3rd, inside the parking of the stadium with sharp turns and short steep slopes.

I ended being really slow in the last km's (thinking I was fast) and the final time was worse than expected. The race was won by Ernest Kebenei, a kenyan, followed by Licinio Pimental, National Road Racing Champion.

I'm not in my best shape but I'll keep working on that in the next weeks. I hope that, in some months, I'll be able to do a race like this with times per km similar to the firsts of this race. We'll see...

Monday, 12 April 2010

Portuguese Sprint Champion

This weekend were the National Sprint and Middle Distance Championships in the north of the country (Vinhais).

The Sprint was fine. I was able to do a regular race and avoid mistakes. Splitsbrowser here (HE).

The middle was a disaster. I wasn't fast enough, I did mistakes in the area of so many controls. The worsts were 13, 16 and 23 (even with so many mistakes I lost the possibility of a not-so-bad result in the 23th... the map was a bit criticized by the athletes and that border green in the 23th area isn't real at all). Splitsbrowser here.

Rather than running I iddeally should now focus in the map technique and in the navigation routines in order to avoid silly navigation and get better results in Orienteering. In Lisbon it's impossible to do that (nor in an 1h driving range), so I'll have to keep my running routines and simply enjoy all the opportunities that I can get to train with a map in my hands...

Spanish National Champs+Clermont Ferrand

Last weekend I've participated in the Spanish National Champs in Moralzarzal, in the north of Madrid.
In 3 days there was a Long, Middle, Sprint and Relay events and the terrain and maps were great!
In the long and middle I didn't like my performance that much. I did some major mistakes and I've noticed that I have a great difficulty in running in stony and irregular terrains (mainly downhill!). I may be faster in flat and regular grounds but I can be pretty slow in the forest. It's difficult to jog in irregular grounds in Lisbon but I'm trying to find a way to improve this.
In the relay I was the 3rd element. I started some 15sec after Ionut. Gave my best to reach him to the 1st control but then did a stupid mistake in an area full of controls. The results of the whole competition may be found here.
Then I moved to Clermont Ferrand for one week and trained there. Unfortunately I hurt my knee in a night train in the 2nd day and did the rest of the trains of the week marching. I really enjoyed the area and the great maps! It was a pleasure to navigate there and I really have to come back!