Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Barefoot Running (update) and Kettlebells

It's long overdue for a barefoot running update. In all honesty, I have not been running consistently in the past 6 months but there are a few updates to report on. In October of 2007, I finally purchased a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, during our vacation to Kauai. It was really by chance that we came across the Five Fingers. The Mister noticed it in one of those comfort feet type shoe stores in the Grand Hyatt. So I decided to try them on and I've been running and exercising in them ever since.

The good news about these "shoes" is that I no longer have any blisters on the bottom of my feet. Yea! The bad news is that my toes always feel a little claustrophobic. Don't laugh because I know some of you know exactly what I mean (the Mister laughs when I say it but he was born with shoes on). My toes are a little stubby, in a cute way that is. Just stubby enough that they feel a bit cramped in the Five Fingers. Maybe it's all mental (as the Mister thinks) but after running for about 30 minutes in them, I sometimes get a tingly sensation in some of my toes (probably not good). But wiggling a bit helps relieve the sensation, which convinces me even more that the toes may be on the tight side. Now someone is probably thinking that I should have gotten the next size up. No can do. I tried and it was way too big on my feet. The heel kept slipping off no matter how tight I pulled it. Even the one I have now is a little big in the heel (maybe it's some Asian foot thing--like that doesn't sound weird). But I've learned to live with it and it's less annoying than running on blisters.

I'm also happy to say that I have the toe-heel-toe technique down now. I know my technique is correct because I had to increase my speed to keep up the movement without exerting more energy. This is one of the benefits of running properly. Run faster and don't tire as easily. My running movements have also become smoother.

So in an attempt to kick start my workout program again (if I had a nickel for every time I've said that...), the Mister has helped me with a custom weight lifting regimen to supplement my running. The Mister purchased Russian kettlebells several years ago (before they were cool and only a handful of people knew who Pavel Tsatsouline was) and I've worked with them on and off (yes, I have my own set). If you've never worked with kettlebells before, all I can say is that it really works you hard. There's been several movies that either used kettlebell training to condition the actors (ever heard of 300?) or featured in (Rocky Balboa) and it's even being taught in some fitness centers now.

Let's just say that my start has been a sore one. More stiff than sore. It's been a very long time since I've done any real weight training (and the body shows/feels it, ugh!). I'm starting slow (although I think my legs would beg to differ) and will gradually work up to more reps and different moves. The other thing the Mister has me doing is sandbag training. Whew. I'm tired just writing about it. Guess this probably comes at a good time to counter all that frying I've been doing. Since I can't really give up good tasting food (as the Mister points out, I am not one who can live off a bean and lettuce diet--pssst, just kill me now why don't you?), I'm going to have to ramp up the exercise to counterbalance those calories.

Okay, enough about exercise and such. Next post will be about food (glorious food!!!). Now go and eat well.

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