Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday and Tuesday

So I'm easing into some semblance, albeit a very light one, of a training routine. Typically I'm more of a time than a distance person anyway so seeing myself doing a couple of 30 min workouts a day for the next few weeks shouldn't be a problem as I gently move from no training, to unstructured training, to short structured workouts.

Tuesday I played basketball for 30 min in the Vibram 5 Fingers. Or VFF for short. I can really tell my stride is smoothing out. But here are a couple of other interesting things I've noticed. I've been wearing these for a little over a month. Mostly I've worn them to work and any other time I've needed to leave the house. I've also taught my yoga classes at the bike shop in them (think concrete floors in the winter). What I've noticed is my jump shot has gotten way better both in accuracy and in elevation. Meaning I not only shoot better, but I jump higher too. I think it has to do with balance and better connection through my feet in the VFF's. One of the things my rolfer (a structural integration body worker) likes to talk about is how often the body is thrown out of alignment because of poor connection through the feet. She says having the feet "firmly" connected deeply affects both our sense of balance and our ability to generate force and power in our movements. After running around in the VFF's for a month I'm starting to see what she means.

After my antics on the basketball court, I swam for 30 min. This was pretty simple following a pattern I used for most of the year last year for my drill workouts. 50m drill, 100m fist swim, 100m swim. The majority of this swim focused on my body rotation and getting the sense of generating force with my core.

Wednesday was an easy (at least it should have been easy) 45 min bike at the Veloway. This time I actually went out on to the South Mopac loop. You'd think I'd have gotten my competitive nature satiated from last year. But no, that was obviously not the case. During this time of year I really focus on two things, keeping my heart rate deeply aerobic 120-130bpm and my pedal stroke. Apparently the combination of having not been on the bike much and not wearing my monitor and the loss of fitness that goes along with not doing anything for a month, my idea of what "feels" easy and about 125 bpm is actually about 140 bpm now. That and the fact I was riding along with a couple of other guys. Still aerobic mind you, just not deeply aerobic. But I think that is to be expected. I've learned it takes a great deal of patience and discipline to train at heart rates like that. It is especially difficult after a layoff. So we'll see how things progress.

I am glad to see my hamstring issues appear to be healing well. I'm using a combination of yoga, Tai Chi and strength work. So far so good. Oh well got to get a move on. The day's getting away from me.


Mark said...

Interesting post Fred. Good luck with the rehabilitation. You're going to have to excuse my ignorance. How do basketball shoes sit on your feet? Aren't they relatively flat with little arch support? Also, I would be interested—if you know—the lifespan of the rubber on the bottom of your VFF. I just finished Born to Run. I could not put it down. Good read. Has me thinking about my arches!

Fred (aka ace) said...

Hey Mark, I think with the VFF's you are going to see the life of the shoe as the "lifespan". Unlike normal running shoes where the cushioning and support structures fatigue and are lost over time with use, the VFF's are limited by how long the rubber is effective at "protecting" your feet from debris. The shoes "defer" all cushioning and "support" to your own body. So it is more like a "glove" than a shoe allowing your foot to work as intended while providing protection from the environment. In summary, they wear out when they fall apart.

Basketball shoes for the last 30 or so years have really used much of the same cushioning technology as a particular shoe companies running shoes. The uppers are different in an attempt to provide "ankle" support and stability, but I'm willing to bet there is no evidence this is true and looking at injured list in the NBA bears this out. In many ways basketball lower leg injuries and running injuries are very similar, again because the shoe technology in them is similar. The result is people with weaker feet.

Though I will say here shoes aren't the only culprit. People just walking less overall, and subpar nutrition also their parts.