So I started training again. Nothing too intense. Just a 30 min swim and a 30 min bike. At least I think it was 30 min. I didn't wear my heart rate monitor so I just sort of looked at my watch and went from there.
I find it interesting how much more you feel after a break in routine. Not bad stuff mind you, but how much more aware I am of what's going on in my body and how it is working. It's as if I've been asleep, or perhaps numbed, to the finer sensations of movement. And that's probably the most overlooked reasons for taking a break. Aside from recovery of energy levels and tissue restoration, taking time off allows you to get back to the point where you can actually feel what you are doing.
To that end I've decided to change the shoes I train in to something more "useful." Right before Ironman Arizona, I got a pair of Vibram 5 Finger shoes (if you can call them that). They look more like foot "gloves" to be honest. At any rate I've been wearing them non stop since I got home from Arizona. This seems to be a natural progression for me. I've been wearing and training in the Nike Free 3.0's for about 2 years now after wearing the Nike Free 5.0 for a couple of years before that. I haven't spent much time in anything else. But while walking in the Vibrams for hours a day was not an issue, running in them took some getting used to. Even as flexible and low profile as the Nike Free 3.0's are, the Vibrams are in another universe altogether when it comes to running shoes.
To get used to running in them for longer and longer periods of time, I've decided to spend some time in the gym playing basketball in them. This has given me the ability to learn how to wear them under some pretty varied conditions requiring both speed and coordination while allowing me to retrain my feet and body to run properly at multiple intensities. Plus it is just plain fun learning how to take off and land without breaking my feet. I figure after a month of this running for 20 to 30 minutes will be a snap. I'll keep you posted and write a decent review after I've had them for a bit. All I know is the Vibrams are going to be my training shoe of choice. I'll use the Nike Free 3.0's to race in.