2021 did not turn out to be the year of running that I thought it might be.
Entering the pandemic in 2020 upended life. With everything closed, I coped by running more, clocking 5 marathon-distance runs in five weekends in the spring, then 6 marathon-distance runs in six weeks in the spring, closing out my distance season with a marathon PR. Then as fall turned to winter, I found my speed at shorter distances had increased– all my everyday runs were no notably faster.
With my gains in both distane and speed, I predicted races would resume in full force in 2021. I felt ready to set some new PRs, maybe run another block of weekly marathons.
Instead, my 2021 running season went in a different direction. In the next posts I’ll share what changed and now it turned out.
On Sunday I ran from Bloomington, Indiana to Nashville, Indiana, had lunch with some friends and ran home– a 37 mile round-trip in an almost 44 year old body. Here are seven insights I learned from the experience.
The Black Diamond Distance 8 and 15 packs recently came out. My first impression of the Distance 15 is that it could be a strong contender to de-throne the Osprey Daylite as a favorite run commuting pack. My first impression of the 8L was that it was obviously too small to hold a laptop and other stuff I need. I’m sending it back unopened.
About the Black Diamond Distance 8, I’ll briefly say this: It costs about the same as the Distance 15, it weighs about the same as the Distance 15, but it carries only about half as much. The Distance 15 comfortably handles with small or mostly empty loads. The Distance 8 is more of a single-use product while the Distance 15 while find users around town as well as on the trails.
In Part I of this post I extolled the virtues of running, which in my opinion is the next best form of personal transportation after bicycling. I described how I experimentally determined the best running style for me, which I call the front-landing style, or what is coming to be known as the barefoot running style. I describe the advantages of landing on the front of my foot rather than my heel: it’s easier to run uphill, run downhill, vary my speed, run on rough terrain, breath more deeply, and most importantly it helps me avoid repetitive stress injuries. Advocates portray the barefoot running style as more natural. That’s not particularly important to me. Speed is also not important to me. With a barefoot running style I can run marathon distances at a moderate speed. I can do it in any shoes or even barefoot. And I can do it gracefully and enjoyably. Like riding a bicycle.
No doubt you are reading this because you saw the title and you are wondering “What is the next best thing to bicycling?” No I’m not talking about sex. After bicycling, the next best form of transportation is running, pure and simple. When I’m not biking I like to run or walk briskly to my destination, and I also like to run just for fun.
Like bicycling, running has fallen out of favor as a valid means of utilitarian transportation and is nowadays considered exclusively an athletic pursuit. Runners these days also suffer from an unexpected handicap: the shoe. That’s right the shoe. And in particular the running shoe.
No doubt you are now thinking “How could the very item designed to facilitate running be bad for runners?” Don’t take my word for it. Just ask the growing number of runners who are eschewing traditional running shoes for “barefoot running shoes” or even actually running barefoot.