Things are going really well in my continued adventures with minimalist / natural running. To begin with, the Inov8 F-Lite 230 shoes are amazing. Absurdly comfortable and light. Well worth the money and I keep eyeing up other shoes in their range!
The transition has gone excellently. I am now comfortably performing my usual outdoor 5k training runs. To begin with, my goal was “Get round the route with no injury; it isn’t about speed”. I realised at the end that I physically had a lot left in the tank, and had set an average time! Not bad for an effective ‘sighting lap’. It was also very obvious that any knee pain was absent. Knee soreness had become a feature of my running in ‘traditional’ running shoes, and was part of my decision to transition.
As my confidence has grown, I’ve started to increase the speed. This has taken a bit of adjustment, as before I would increase my speed by drastically increasing my stride length. Now, I am increasing my cadence instead, keeping my feet below my hips. It has felt a little strange, particularly when my GPS reports that I am hitting quick speeds but it feels like I am just gliding along!
To help with pacing, I performed the Cooper Test on a treadmill. This particular test forms part of my referee promotion in the coming season. I set it for a steady 13.5 km/h, which would equate to a 2700m distance. That’s typically what I was hitting in my old running shoes. I comfortably hit that in the new shoes, including upping the speed at the end to bring it home! Most notable to me was that afterwards, again, I had loads of energy left and no soreness. Wow!
Today I decided to run a 5k but for a good time. I had a strong pace throughout, and the end result was that I beat my PB (set last year) by 25 seconds! And, you guessed it, I had energy left at the end to up the speed for a continued duration. In the old shoes, and with my old style, my legs would have been too sore to do that.
I am really, really happy with how this is working out so far. I have increased my performance and reduced my injury level. Lots more fun to be had here! I am sure that the CrossFit and weight loss have aided this whole process, and long may it continue.