Thanks to Row2K for publishing my rowing hack submission, and giving a shout out to Ever Green Boat Club! I use this hack a lot while traveling. I also find that wearing FiveFingers on the erg not only saves on space in my luggage, but also makes me pay more attention to my finish timing, as they are both more flexible and less forgiving when your technique deteriorates.
I think winter in the Northeast has finally broken – it’s not warm, but it’s trending upwards. The air is perfect for running and the days are long enough to actually be bright. I took off the Inov-8 running shoes with heavy socks and put on the Vibram FiveFingers. The new ones with laces worked really well for running. It was weird because the Inov-8s feel like lead boots in comparison, and even with low-drop shoes, it was hard to get the “heel kiss” vs. running on the forefoot when transitioning to shoes without any appreciable soles.
…go for a run in FiveFingers of course! Love a crisp cold night where I can see by the light of the moon.
This is probably one of the last semi-warm fall weekends here in New Jersey, so I went for a 10-mile land paddle on my longboard with my Kahuna Big Stick. It was a blast, but also a great full-body workout. I am finding that the way to go fast is to shift my center of mass forward using the stick as the fulcrum during the stroke, and that means quite a bit more leg and core work than usual. I am also finally getting good at going up hills and getting up to speed paddling on my left side. I am also finding that it’s much harder to paddle in regular shoes than it is in FiveFingers or Sanuks. I really like the near-barefoot feel on the board to maintain control – I had several exciting moments today because it’s harder to feel the board through thicker soles. I also experimented with using my Windows Phone as a helmet-cam. Here’s the vid:
Since Henley Royal Regatta and Wimbledon are both gearing up, I played tennis the other day. Like the haughty elitist rower that I am, I assumed it would be easy compared to a 2K at 34. I figured it would be good for active recovery, and it was a good way to do something as a family outdoors. Silly, silly man. When I was done my legs felt like jelly and I was drenched from head to toe. It is actually a great plyometric workout, especially for someone weighing 195 with very long arms. The stopping and starting is basically equivalent to doing intermittent box jumps for an hour. It is very hard work to decelerate your body mass and launch it in the opposite direction. Kind of like in Death by 10 Meters. I decided to try playing in Vibram FiveFingers Komodos, and it was great. If I had been playing in shoes I would have sprained my ankle for sure, but in the VFFs I could really feel how much my ankles and feet have strengthened over the past year. In regular VFFs it would have been suicide, but the Komodos have enough traction to make them feel just right for this type of workout.
Springtime in the east means sketchy, stormy weather for single sculling. I’ve been supplementing with quite a bit of running using Inov-8 or FiveFingers minimalist shoes. While I feel that my foot strength is now high enough not to worry about recovery as much, I am struggling with the technique after a winter of too much snow for running. I tend to land with my foot too far forward, meaning that I am actually decelerating a little before pulling through, as opposed to picking up the ground speed and adding to it seamlessly.
This is the running equivalent to “hanging at the catch” or catching too slowly and throwing up too much backsplash in rowing. Working too hard to maintain speed vs. accelerating each stroke/step.
As usual Brian MacKenzie has posted a great video that helps me visualize the correct motion – after watching this, I tried again doing short intervals and it helped me out tremendously. If you look at the dude on the treadmill, his legs look like the pistons on an old steam locomotive – very smooth, forward-pull, forward-pull. That visual helped me nail the right cadence and pick up a lot of speed.
Well I went for my first run in my new Inov-8 MudClaws (thanks Mom & Dad!) over the weekend, and I didn’t know what to expect. I went through Saddle River Park in Bergen County, NJ, with a combination of on-road and off-road running in below-freezing temperatures. Would the lug soles be squishy and unstable on pavement? Would the toe box feel too narrow, as I’ve read in some reviews of Inov-8 products? Would it feel weird to wear shoes after a summer of running exclusively in Vibram FiveFingers?
The answer is no, no, and no – these shoes ROCK in a variety of conditions!
1. On road – they are light and surprisingly flexible – almost as light as FiveFingers, and the mesh upper is so ethereal that I felt almost like I was wearing nothing. The rubber on the soles is really solid but also really light and flexible, which I can’t figure out. Great design.
2. Off road – ditto #1, except that it’s like having monster truck tires on your feet. I looked at my footprints on the frozen ground, and there was a big, wide, shredded circle where the forefoot touched down, and just a tiny little divot near the heel – clearly these things can tear it up even on packed, frozen earth. I ran some trails that involved leaf cover over pools of ice – no slippage at all. I purposely tried to run across pure black ice frozen puddles, and I was able to without slipping. I bounced up on rocks and right over a fallen tree. I deliberately stepped on some sharp jagged little rocks embedded in the ground that would have put me out of action in FiveFingers, and they were no problem. It’s like you get the shielding of 1/2 inch of rubber, without the weight or stiffness due to the sole design. Incredible. I can’t wait to try them in deep snow.
3. Toe box – I love it. I have a “Roman toe” (second toe longer than big toe), and these are the first running shoes in which I didn’t smash up the nail on the second toe. The toe box is long and narrow, which is great for me, but the area around the toe joint is very wide and very roomy, which is the best of both worlds.
4. Freezing temperatures – a standard running shoe with heavy “leather” around the lace holes and thick laces becomes like a block of ice as soon as it gets a little wet. These are made of mesh, the laces are tiny, and the lacing holes are angled so that they do not interfere with the flex at the toe joint at all. Again, because my feet were able to move and work, they were no uncomfortably cold. I am probably not using the correct “shoe” terms here, but it’s amazing that no major shoe company thought of angling the laces before this?
All in all, this is destined to become one of my favorite shoes. I can’t wait to try a Tough Mudder wearing these. I also think they would be great for doing sprints on a football field or other grass/turf surface – huge traction, tiny weight. Although they are designed as a specialized shoe, I will likely wear them all winter, for all kinds of applications. I can’t wait to try other Inov-8 products. Good show!