I have been running for just over ten years now. When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I gained about 25 sympathy pounds. At the conclusion of the pregnancy, she inquired as to how I intended to lose those sympathy pounds.
So I started running.
This year has found me drastically changing some of the fundamentals about how I run. Two significant adjustments were made by me in 2015.
The first is I stopped listening to music when I run. I have been listening to music while I run for about as long as I have been running. I am not 100% sure what prompted me to make this switch, but I did. It may have been I invested in a case for my iPhone and now it doesn’t fit into the armband. Or it may have been I just wanted a change. Either way, I don’t listen to music anymore. Which leads to another subtle change, I don’t use the Nike+ app while I’m running. I have switched back to using my Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS watch to track my runs. I still carry my iPhone in a small CamelBak in case I need to be gotten ahold of, but it lays dormant while I run. I have to admit, I have enjoyed this change much more than I anticipated I would. It allows me to enjoy the scenery around me more… when there is scenery to enjoy around me. I find myself running in the early morning or late night often and therefore don’t have much to enjoy from the scenery. This has been a big shift. This is a big deal, because now I have to find something to consume the space while I run. I have used it to pray, to think and just shut down my brain. Running has always been about the solitude I get from it for me… I would almost rather run by myself than with anyone. So for me, running is about time alone, space to just be with myself. And strangely, not listening to music makes that solitude more solitary.
The second big change came in the form of a change to the running shoes I run in. Several years ago, I found a pair of Vibram Five Fingers (I later determined they were KMD Sport model) on the road. I had run in them a few times, but this year I began to run in them in earnest. This was a drastic and significant change as it totally redefined the way I run. These shoes work your muscles differently due to their design. They stimulate a more barefoot style of running. This was a change that left my calves very sore for a time. I have gotten used to it now and I really like it. I like it so much, I just bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers Bikila LS. This is a dedicated running model of the Five Fingers. They are spectacular. They feel very good. I have for several years now, enjoyed a more minimalist approach to running shoes. This is by far the most minimalist I have ever had. But it kinda fits my personality too, I think. I feel more in touch with the ground and more importantly more in touch with my body. I have decreased the knee pain I have had for over a year by running on the Five Fingers. I can better feel when my legs are tired or if I am pushing myself too hard. This is a big change, that I believe has the potential to propel my running game forward.
There you go. It’s not even March and 2015 has dramatically and forever changed my running strategy. It has already been a year of paradigm shifts in running. My next dramatic shift is going to be in my overall discipline and approach to training. If I can get all aspects of my training under a disciplined control, 2015 could see the fittest most athletic Eli Westfall the world has ever known.