Tagged: Vibram Five Fingers Bikila

20120229-Title

On the horizon

Out: Newcastle Beach, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Back: Merewether Baths, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Trail: Bathers Way

Equipment:  Vibram Five Fingers Bikila

Distance: 8.85km

Time: 0:42:59

Thoughts: a few days to go / big weekends / which shoes for six foot

I haven’t run since Saturday, and though this isn’t a bad thing during a period of tapering, after a heavy night on the reds over the weekend it was more a test of my constitution. With an average speed of 12.4km/h though, i feel like i passed that one comfortably.

A couple of exciting events loom on the horizon, the first of which is the Six Foot Track Marathon, where i’ve been allocated to Wave 2 with number 347. This wave has an estimated completion time of 5:16, so the target is now set to break 5 hours flat.

The second event which i hadn’t planned for is the Melbourne Ironman, being held in Frankston on Sunday, March 25th. This is 2 weeks after Six Foot, and i had no intention of entering, until the runner in my brother in laws relay team pulled up with shin splints and a replacement was urgently needed. This being too good an opportunity to refuse how could i say no?

So if you happen to be around the St Kilda Sea Baths between 5 – 6pm (really rough estimate only!) keep your eyes out for me. It’ll be two marathons in two weeks, of which i’m looking to do both in minimalist runners, so who knows what state i’ll be in…

djunk

6:51pm - the horizon beyond the baths
6:51pm - the horizon beyond the baths
6:51pm - so inviting on a really humid day
6:51pm - so inviting on a really humid day
6:51pm - Merewether Baths on a cloudy evening
6:51pm - Merewether Baths on a cloudy evening
6:51pm - Surf House at Merewether Beach
6:51pm - Surf House at Merewether Beach
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
20120225-Title

Up river

Out: Newcastle Beach, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Back: Maryville, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Trail: The Hunter River

Equipment:  Vibram Five Fingers Bikila, Nathan Quickdraw Elite

Distance: 14.80km

Time: 1:16:02

Thoughts: exploratory / flat topography / gentrification

Living on a peninsula presents two options when running; the beach or the river. I’m definitely a coastal dweller, but felt like a needed to mix things up today and explore a little deeper into the heart of Newcastle.

The Hunter River has been a critical part of, and remains integral to the economic life of this city. With three coal loaders along its banks, it remains the busiest port in the country. Looking out our living room window down the coast the usual counts of ships waiting to enter port is 15 to 20. The now closed BHP steel works was also located on the river, and was the primary employer in the region for 50 years.

These days there’s a mix between heavy industry and urban renewal development, an intriguing contrast, which sees a luxury yacht club on one side of the river, and an industrial floating dry dock on the other. I’m looking forward to heading further up river, where the old school industry still resides and the gentrification stops.

7:49am - industry opposite the boardwalk
7:49am - industry opposite the boardwalk
7:59am - fishing trawler
7:59am - fishing trawler
8:25am - dry dock opposite the marina
8:25am - dry dock opposite the marina
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
20120222-Title

Between the pools

Out: Newcastle Beach, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Back: Merewether Beach, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Trail: Bathers Way

Equipment:  Vibram Five Fingers Bikila, Nathan Quickdraw Elite

Distance: 8.87km

Time: 0:39:35

Thoughts: steep / refreshing / strong

Variety is the spice of life. Without it things we once loved can become a chore. Such was the case when I hit the Bathers Way outside my apartment this evening, my go to track with a good balance of hills, flats and scenery.

This could have been just another training run, following the same route without the sense of discovery I love on the trails. Instead, the incredible pools doted along the coastline became targets, and a sprinting session between them became the journey.

With 4.7km distance to each, a fast return clip at 85% from the Newcastle Ocean Pool to the Merewether Baths turned into a brilliant session, the incentive to push harder being a cooling swim upon arrival at each.

Such a simple reward was a big driver for me tonight, as I love a post run swim. Mixing them up amongst some fast sprints gives me another reason to keep hitting this trail.

djunk

6:29pm - The Hill from Merewether Baths
6:29pm - The Hill from Merewether Baths
6:30pm - nothing beats a dip if the Merewether Baths
6:30pm - nothing beats a dip if the Merewether Baths
7:00pm - the pools at Newcastle Beach
7:00pm - the pools at Newcastle Beach
7:01pm - the old art deco facade at the Newcastle Ocean Baths
7:01pm - the old art deco facade at the Newcastle Ocean Baths
7:02pm - about to dive in head first
7:02pm - about to dive in head first
maps from RubiTrack iPhone App
maps from RubiTrack iPhone App
20120217-Title

Long time between drinks

Out: Newcastle Beach, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Back: Glenrock State Conservation Area, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Trail: Bathers Way

Equipment: Vibram Five Fingers Bikila, Nathan Quickdraw Elite

Distance: 14.73km

Time: 1:25:45

Thoughts: strength / under trained / happiness

Six Foot Track looms, work dominates, and too many train rides between Sydney and Newcastle conspire against me in maintaining a consistent training regimen. But no time to train simply means it’s fallen off the list of priorities, something to rectify in this coming week before tapering.

Waking up in Newcastle this morning and it’s easy to hit the trails with this weather. Perfect for shirtless running and trail bashing, with a chilly swim to finish all before the working day begins. It’d be a challenge to find a better definition of lifestyle.

6:57am - keen surfers at the Newcastle break
6:57am - keen surfers at the Newcastle break
7:38am - running between the flags
7:38am - running between the flags
7:41am - Merewether Baths is always spectacular
7:41am - Merewether Baths is always spectacular
7:55am - loving the downhllls at Glenrock
7:55am - loving the downhllls at Glenrock
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
20120212-Title

Familiar trails

Out: Newcastle Beach, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Back: Merewether Beach, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Trail: Bathers Way

Equipment: Vibram Five Fingers Bikila, Nathan Quickdraw Elite

Distance: 8.87km

Time:  0:43:32

Feel: tired / fatigued / hungry

Not every run is going to be great. Tonight, I was driven more by the necessity to avoid under training than by a strong desire to go out and run. It was getting late on a Sunday, i’d tallied up my training logs and come in well short of my 70km per week training load, so there was nothing for it but to head out to the nearest track and pound out the Ks.

This reminded me that the best way to ensure continued vigilance with exercise is to have a goal in mind. It doesn’t have to be lofty, but should definitely be a challenge. An event that will take you out of your comfort zone and push your limits can prove to be a powerful motivator. The Six Foot Track Marathon has done this for me, with no chance of sitting back 4 weeks out and claiming that i’ve done enough.

To allow for 3 weeks of tapering, this will be my final solid training week. And then the question will remain, have i done enough?

7:15pm - coal ships out to sea
7:15pm - coal ships out to sea
7:14pm - last swim before stumps
7:14pm - last swim before stumps
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
20120211-Title

Water, water everywhere… but not a drop to drink

Out: Newcastle Beach, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Back: Merewether Beach, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Trail: Bathers Way

Equipment: Barefoot, Vibram Five Fingers Bikila, Nathan Quickdraw Elite

Distance: 14.49km

Time: 1:20:08

Feel: fast / comfortable / strong

A quick jaunt tonight to keep the legs ticking over, and a conversation with a running mate last night got me thinking about hydration and the importance that’s placed on it in long distance running. If you’re a morning person and can get your Ks done before the hot Australian sun begins to beat down, then staying hydrated won’t seem so critical. But if you’re like me, and enjoy a sleep in whenever the chance presents, or if you run for any distance longer than about 10km, you’ll need to get on top of this one.

About the middle of last year, as I was pushing to break the 20km mark in preparation for the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon, i took on a 17km circuit around Sydney Harbour. Ambitious as this was, it wasn’t until the 12km mark that i began to struggle, slowing almost to a crawl as the effects of dehydration and exhaustion took effect. Having learnt from Dean Karnaze about the benefits of convenience stores, i stumbled into a 7 Eleven, bought a Powerade and a nut bar, and refuelled the fire for the return leg.

From that experience i learnt that for any run over 10km, i needed to maintain hydration and ensure that i had a constant intake of food. At the end of the day, we only store a certain amount of energy in our bodies, and once that’s gone it’s gone.

To keep me liquid on shorter runs, i’ve taken to using the Nathan Quickdraw Elite handheld water bottle, as this carries 600ml of fluids with space for an energy gel, phone and keys. On longer runs, it’s a 2L Camelback loaded with electrolyte drink and space for all the other essentials out on the trail. This sounds like a lot of fluid to be carrying, but on runs of 4.5 hours plus i’ve managed to get through it all.

What do you eat and drink out on your longer runs?

dJunk

6:45pm - The mouth of the Hunter River - click to enlarge
6:45pm - The mouth of the Hunter River - click to enlarge
6:57pm - barefoot at Nobbies Beach
6:57pm - barefoot at Nobbies Beach
7:00pm - The Newcastle Ocean Baths are magic in the evenings
7:00pm - The Newcastle Ocean Baths are magic in the evenings
7:02pm - kids baths mimic a flat beach
7:02pm - kids baths mimic a flat beach
7:18pm - dusk walkers at Bar Beach
7:18pm - dusk walkers at Bar Beach
7:28pm - starters block at Merewether
7:28pm - starters block at Merewether
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
title

Minimalism

Out: Newcastle Beach, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Back: Merewether Beach, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Trail: Bathers Way

Equipment: Vibram Five Fingers Bikila, Nathan Quickdraw Elite

Distance: 9.83km

Time: 0:43:53

Feel: relaxed / stiff / unshackled

It’s taken a few days to recover from my long run on Sunday, so it was only a light run tonight along the Bathers Way, sharing the cliftop with a gaggle of intrepid hang gliders.

Part of my progression into distance running has seen me transition from traditional runners into minimalist runners, seeking to mimicking a barefoot running technique with a mid foot strike, higher cadence, upright posture and zero drop running shoes. These typically consist of a light weight upper and flat or contoured single plastic sole with no additional bridge or ankle support, allowing for the natural biomechanics of the foot and leg to be engaged.

I, like many other runners, had become fascinated by barefoot running while reading Chris McDougall’s incredible novel Born To Run. This led me to believe that you didn’t need highly cushioned running shoes to travel great distances, and that they may in fact be causing more injuries than they profess to prevent. But the proof was in getting out there are trialling minimalism for myself. This was in a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, which are designed to be gloves for your feet, and while it wasn’t without difficulty and some minor injury, i haven’t looked back, feeling stronger, lighter and more free than i ever did in heavy running shoes.

My catalogue of minimalist running shoes is growing as i constantly look for what works best in differing terrains and i’ll be updating my progress on this blog. At the moment i’m alternating between the Vibram Five Fingers BikilaNew Balance Minimus Trail 10 and the New Balance Minimus Trail Zero. As this niche market grows, i’m looking forward to seeing what the growing list of manufacturers come up with.

But you don’t have to buy running shoes to try minimalism… just ditch the shoes and go for a barefoot run. Give it a try on grass at your local park and feel the difference.

6:45pm - Gliders on the updraft
6:45pm - Gliders on the updraft
6:56pm - Merewether Baths, the largest sea baths in the country
6:56pm - Merewether Baths, the largest sea baths in the country
7:02 - Hang time
7:02 - Hang time
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
20120201-Title

Don’t rain on my parade

Out: Newcastle Beach, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Back: Glenrock State Conservation Area, Newcastle, NSW Australia

Trail: Bathers Way

Equipment:  Vibram Five Fingers Bikila, Camelback, 2XU Elite Compression Tights

Distance: 11.04km

Time: 1:02:33

Feel: soaked / strong / humbled

I find the coastline an engaging environment, constantly shifting to present a different face. At times, it is calm and serene, lazy and ponderous without a care beyond indulging the pleasure of those who dwell within. At others, it is violent and threatening, chaotic and malicious, as if a single toe cautiously dipped could bring about catastrophe.

Today was the latter, with no surfers, swimmers or sun bakers out, and only the most hardened football teams forced to continue training in the sand. For me, the Six Foot Track Marathon provides all the motivation I need to keep running, as come race day if the heavens open I’ll have no other choice.

djunk

6:31pm - swimmers at Merewether Baths don't mind the rain - click to enlarge
6:31pm - swimmers at Merewether Baths don't mind the rain - click to enlarge
6:33pm - running through the rock pools
6:33pm - running through the rock pools

 

6:38pm - Burwood Beach at Glenrock State Recreation Area - click to enlarge
6:38pm - Burwood Beach at Glenrock State Conservation Area - click to enlarge
6:46pm - hills beyond Merewether Heights
6:46pm - hills beyond Merewether Heights
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
map from RubiTrack iPhone App
20120131-Title

Trails or traffic jams?

Out: Sydney City, NSW Australia

Back: Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW Australia

Trail: Centennial Park

Equipment:  Vibram Five Fingers Bikila

Distance: 11.98km

Time: 1:02:07

Feel: strong / balanced / enlivened

On weekends i take the time to head into the mountains and National Parks to find the best long trails, far away from the congestion and interruption of the city. But this takes time, a luxury which is not afforded to me during the working week. Fortunately in Sydney there are many pockets of preserved natural environment to trek through, seconds after veering off the busy streets.

Centennial Park in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs is one such area, incredibly popular with cyclist, road runners and horse ridders alike. There are 3 concentric tracks around a group of lakes which are used for each of these pursuits . But there’s also a single track further out from the others, which follows the outskirts of the wrought iron fence line.

It’s not discrete, nor isolated, but damn it it’s a trail right in the heart of the city! And it’s always amusing when the guy on foot is moving faster than the man in the steel box. This is going to be a regular when i’m down, so let me know if you also run this trail, i’ll keep my eyes peeled.

djunk

7:32am - you wouldn't believe there's a busy road behind me
7:32am - you wouldn't believe there's a busy road behind me

 

7:36am - the trail, so close to civilisation
7:36am - the trail, so close to civilisation
7:42am -trail... or traffic jam?
7:42am -trail... or traffic jam?

 

map from RudiTrack iPhone App
map from RudiTrack iPhone App

 

Bondi AM

Out: Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW Australia

Back: North Bondi, Sydney NSW Australia

Trail: Bondi Beach Sand Run

Equipment: Vibram Five Fingers Bikila

Distance: 3.49km

Time: 0:25:57

Feel: sleepy / refreshed

20120112-01
6:56am - Bondi Beach…this beach is our back yard


Thanks to my wife’s work commitments, we’ll soon be packing up and shipping off to Newcastle, NSW. This makes every morning which we can head to the beach before work all the more meaningful. It’s been 9 months since we moved here from Melbourne VIC, and there’s no place i’ve found like it on the planet. An amazing beach on the Pacific Ocean so close to a major city, one of the most populace places in Australia with a transient demographic and great restaurants and bars to boot. Between the boot camps in the morning to the tourist busses at dusk, the beach is always packed full of people.

For the many physically active residents, no morning would be complete without a few laps along this famous stretch of sand. At about 1km in length, it makes the perfect high resistance training ground to stretch the legs before the real world wakes up. Today we did an out an back, bumping into a friend on the way back, before stopping in to our local hole in the wall baristas at Bondi Massive for the obligatory morning coffee. Simply a great way to start the day…

djunk

IMG 3409
the trail
IMG 3384
6:58am - many keen runners taking on the sand this morning
IMG 3389
7:00am - the trail follows the boulevard retaining wall at about 1km each way
IMG 3394
7:07am - running between the flags
IMG 3396
7:09am - my wife getting her bare feet wet
IMG 3398
7:10am - today the runners outnumbers the surfers 2:1
IMG 3402
7:12am - the view along Bondi Beach toward Ben Buckler
IMG 3406
7:20am - a well earned coffee at Bondi Massive