I loved my December! I went for record distances for myself every week. 5 miles, 6 miles, then 7 miles…they all felt fantastic. I got a dose of REAL winter running. Snow, slush, ice and negative temperatures all with FiveFinger KSO’s on and all of them totally enjoyable.
I have a lot to be grateful for as the year comes to an end and the ability to run is right up there towards the top of that list.
December total miles were 47.8, a great and reasonable build from my November total of 41.
One question I get asked a lot when telling people about my running style is what I do in the winter. It’s a good question because it just recently got wintry enough to test out my only method of running, my Vibram FiveFinger KSO’s.
We have snow that is 36 inches deep in places right now, but I need to get miles in or I’ll go insane. The treadmill is really only good for speed work for me because I really don’t enjoy it. I guess the only option is to hit the roads!
So, how goes it?
First off, it depends on the conditions of the road/surface. My foot gear (as always) is my Vibram FiveFingers KSO’s (pictured on the left) with a pair of Injinjicrew socks inside. Nice and simple, just the way I like it. The temp’s outside have been cold, 20 to 30 degrees and we have active snow everyday. The KSOs handle great on the powder and cleared surfaces. My feet are noticeably cold for about .65 miles into a run but then the constant movement seems to keep them warm enough for a solid run. Slush, well that’s another story. I’ve had to jump off the powdered surfaces and hit the streets where the sidewalks are not cleared. This sucks. One of the features of the KSOs that make it such a fun warm/cool weather shoe will bite you in the winter. These things are WELL ventilated. They have a totally free flowing upper and the bottom soles have jagged slits all across the shoe. Those slits make the KSO super breathable and a quick drying machine when its nice out. In enter the winter slush. It’s wet, cold and just plain nasty. Your foot gets soaked. It’s 20 degrees out, so it freezes. If you had to have prolonged slush runs, you’d be lucky to get 30 minutes out of your feet. So that’s the bad news, just try to avoid slush and you’re good to go. The last bit, Ice. If it’s really icy, don’t risk it and hit the treadmill. The KSO is somewhat like an ice skate on ice so don’t risk injury.
All in all, winter running is totally doable with the FiveFinger KSO. I can get 1.5 hour runs on powder, 45 minutes in slush/powder runs, and about 20-30 minutes in excessive slush. The most important thing to remember: Listen to your toes. Stop often and give a hard push to each toe, can you feel it? You’ll be surprised the first time that pinky toe doesn’t respond…that’s a clear sign to stop and get home. Don’t play around with frostbite, afterall, I don’t think there are plans for Vibram to make any FourFingers anytime soon! Keep your stride small, increase your cadence and watch out for ice – oh, and have fun!
Now ideally, I’d have a pair of KSO Trek’s, but I’m still pinching my pennies to save for those. I have to believe the added traction on the sole of the Trek’s combined with the nice kangaroo upper’s would make a world of difference for long winter runs. Overall, I don’t see any reason for a little (or a lot) of snow to hinder my training plans. As soon as the roads are clear enough you can bet I’ll be pounding pavement with my feet and putting more miles behind me!
Until today, I’ve only run on a treadmill one other time since I started running in August. I did that run at the office during lunch break with my Vibram FiveFingers on and, besides boredom, had no side effects.
Well, my family and I are still in Nebraska on Christmas holiday and we’re also in the middle of a blizzard. Luckily my folks have a treadmill in the basement so I decided to hop on it prior to my shower and get a low mileage, speed-work run in. Oh, and when I say, “hop on it” I mean that literally. I just jumped on with no shoes, no shirt, and barely pants on. After about three-quarters of mile at a 8:40 pace I felt some heat…in my feet, but just kept on pushing. After a mile and a half I jumped off. My feet felt as if they may be a few seconds away from combusting. I was left with some nice foot blisters..
In hindsight, this was a dumb idea to even start from the beginning. Think about a treadmill shoveling a rubber belt under your feet and your feet just working to keep up with that belt. It’s the total opposite of the your feet working to move you on the roads and trails outside. There is bound to be some serious friction on a treadmill. Never again I tell you.
UPDATE: New-Skin is badass! I was sure my blisters were keeping me down and out for a few days because I could barely walk normally let alone run…I’ve used two applications of New-Skin after draining the blisters and my feet feel absolutely fantastic.
I really don’t advise taking your own photo while running…My buddy Rob was sending me photos of himself a month or so ago while on a 15 mile trail race and I thought he was nuts, so naturally I had to try that out today. It’s a total pace killer.
So today’s milestone run was 7.09 miles officially. I’m in Omaha, NE for the holidays so I hit the road from my folks house and started running. I gotta hand one thing to Omaha that I never noticed in my years of living here, the frikin plowing they do is AMAZING. All the neighborhood trails were fully plowed and really were a runner’s dream. I wonder why I don’t see more runner’s out here? Naturally there were some tricky spots. I hit some black ice a couple times and there was a quarter mile section where the shoulder disappeared on a somewhat major road so I had to high leg it in mid-shin high snow. It was a blast.
The miles actually went on easy. I held a 10:23 pace at an average heart rate of 148bpm. That’s about right where I want to be to sock on the miles!
What a fun run! The best part of it all? It was a family run through the streets of our town and the entry fees and toys went to local children for the holidays.
This obviously wasn’t about “racing” for us, so I went ahead and highlighted my 5K time. That’s got to be a world record, right? As well, my son is almost 10 months old, not 3…
There’s something entirely delightful about running as a family. My wife gets angry with me at times because I do have a training plan and the times when we want to run together I need to focus on the run together and not about pace, miles logged, or any of the other data points that typically come to mind. It’s really about being healthy as a family and taking time to enjoy nature’s gifts. Our health and our environment and most importantly, the example we will be setting for our family as it grows are what matter!
I’m hoping we can return next year for the Christmas Run for the Children and possibly break the 40 minute time block!