Monday, November 12, 2012

Accepting the Minimalist Transition Reality

Wow, looking at my blog console and I see my last post was in June 2012.  It's already mid-November.  I didn't think anyone actually read my blog, and yet the pageviews more than doubled since the last time I checked some 5 months ago.  If you're one of my readers, I am humbled.  Thank you.

Minimalist running, despite it's marketing and allure, logic and side-show attractiveness, does matter and does make a difference.  And I've learned that the 2 year adaptation process of the body is effectively accurate.  You can try to rush the process, but your body will only adapt at the rate that it can, no matter how hard you will it or want it.

I stopped writing in June 2012 because I became so depressed about the agony I was going through with my feet, my mileage was way down and every run felt like hell.  In the Autumn I threw away training plans, goals, consistency, statistics and technology.  I ran when I felt like it, and didn't run when I didn't feel like it.  When I hurt I rested, when I was strong I pushed it, and when I had time for a longish run, I set out at a pace I thought I could manage without looking at my Garmin all that much.  (And to completely sound  like Forrest Gump here, when I had to, you know, I went.)

Little by little my foot improved.  I experimented with little tweaks along the way, a couple of different shoes, and I abandoned my Five Fingers.  I continue to work on Pose, I strength train at least 2 days a week and include 1 speed workout a week.  Some weeks I do 6 miles, other weeks I find 12 or 17.  But mostly I'm being mindful of my age, my physical condition and 'balance' as much as I can manage.

I admit when I first got turned on to minimalist, I didn't believe that the pain I incurred was a result of anything other than some fluke thing, a mistake or oversight on my part.  At first I crawled the web for a simple explanation to my pain, how to fix it, and get back out there.  All you need to do is read through my blogposts - so many of them focus on my foot pain.  Then I grew angry when nothing worked, hated my life, cursed minimalism while still unable to abandon my deep belief in it, and cringed at reading any running blogs, especially those focused on any kind of pain.  Then, slowly, I came to acceptance.  My body is all I've got, pain is its way of letting me I'm doing something wrong, and I should listen, try something different, or rest.  Throw the goals out the window, forget the next marathon, or half, 10K or 5K.  Drop the training plan, forget the snake oils and put aside running 'obligations' and 'commitments'.

Maybe I've adapted, maybe I healed, maybe the requisite time has elapsed.  I don't know.  My foot's better, I still walk around in Vivobarefoot Ra's at work (which  I think is counterproductive to healing), wear the Altra Provisions (without the wedge) as a casual/work around the house shoe, and lately I've been running in the Minimus Road.  On occasion I slip on the 5s but after a day of walking around in them the top of my foot aches.  I sigh but accept the truth of it, and slip them off hoping in a few weeks I'll have more success.  But I don't think I will; it's just the way I'm built I guess.  Too many years of doing the wrong things I imagine.

If you have the luxury of youth with you, this is probably irrelevant, and I doubt you even read this far.  For the over-40 crowd I have 3 words for you:  Just be mindful.

1 comment:

  1. Found this page because I have had recurring calf issues this year and I'm now suspecting it's my Nike frees to blame. Perhaps not, but I'm easing back into running and will ditch them a while to see how I go. Hope you are doing ok as it's a long time since you posted.