Used to be when I'd drag my angry ass out of bed in the morning for a run, I'd be an angry ass all day. Things are starting to change.
I think part of it has to do with the way I've changed my running form over the past year. Developing a more forefoot stride has reduced the impact my joints experience, which means I'm not rudely jarring myself awake with thousands of jolting heel stomps.
The only jarring thing about this morning's run was the sub-freezing temperature. I may have to invest in those ridiculous toe socks for my silly toe shoes. Or maybe I'll just make some of my own like a good cheapskate.
Running in the Vibram KSOs aren't the same as running barefoot, but it's as close as I can get without frostbite. If I ended my 2010 running campaign today, 8.9 percent of my miles would be completely barefoot. Another 6.6 percent were in my homemade huaraches. The rest were in racing flats.
I don't have any scientific proof that minimalist running has improved my running, but I do have PRs in every distance I've raced this year. I also felt better -- physically and mentally -- at the end of this year's Akron Marathon than I did in any of the past marathons I've run. That's enough proof for me to continue running with less shoe.
While I don't see a wholesale conversion to barefoot running in my future, I do hope that running in the Vibrams through the winter will set me up for increased barefooting in 2011. I would love to log 10 percent of my miles without shoes next year.
My calves are still slow to recover from running in the more minimal Vibrams, compared to my Brooks T6 Racers. My strategy for converting to even less cushioning of the KSOs is the same as it was for the racing flats last winter: low mileage until my legs can hack it and increase from there.
My goal for an average of 20 miles per week seems to be out of reach now. I still have a shot at breaking 1,000 miles this year and surpassing my highest yearly total. If I can consistently drag my ass out of bed in the morning, it shouldn't be a problem. Besides, what's another failure if I don't make it?