One of the goals that I set myself for our summer holiday in Europe was to get into a much better running shape. I will run the New York Marathon in just over 3 months, and because I likely won’t have a lot of time for the necessary long training runs, I at least wanted to make sure my basic shape is in place now already. Next to that I wanted to run outside on my Vibram Five Fingers. In Shanghai I mainly run on the treadmill in my home gym, both because of the air pollution and because it’s just too hot to run outside. But in order to run 42 kilometers almost barefoot (the Vibram FF’s feel very similar to running barefoot) you need to do quite some training on the road, or at least on another surface than a treadmill, as well.
The runs worked out much better than I had imagined. Over the past 3 weeks I did at least 5 runs over 15 kilometers (incl. 2 half marathons), and I even did a 16 km and a 21 km run within 2 days of each other. Although I still feel a bit tired after the runs I do not have a lot of muscle ache anymore (after my first runs that was still the case), and the next day I feel good enough to run again. Happy to know this, it gives me a lot of confidence for the actual marathon.
During my vacation I ran on the island of Vlieland on the beach and through the dunes, I ran in France in the hills in the Provence close to St. Paul de Vence, and I ran several times in the woods around Ommen in The Netherlands. Running in the woods is great, you don’t meet any other people once you are more than a few hundred meters away from the closest road and nature is beatiful. I found a lot of new trails to explore in the future, and with my Nike GPS+ watch I was able to find them all back on Google Maps later. I didn’t take my phone or camera during my runs, but if I had I could have shot a lot of great pictures.
In a way I was lucky that for most of the time the weather was not very good in The Netherlands. It was way too cold for the time of year and it rained a lot. Perfect for running. I like to run in the rain, it makes long distance running easier and you don’t meet any other people – most prefer to stay dry indoors. The only downside is that the trails (I ran a lot on trails in the woods) can be slippery, and you have to watch out that you don’t fall.
And of course that’s what happened to me: during a 16 km trail run I slipped after about 10 km and hurt myself. I managed to get up again and finished the run without too much pain, and I thought things were fine. But when I arrived home it suddenly started to hurt a lot, I didn’t really feel it while running. I will spare you the details, but if you fall down while running at 12-13 km/h and there are some small stones on the ground you can imagine the result… Anyway, I am fine again now, and I started running again. But I will be even more careful in the future.
Today we will fly back to Shanghai, I am happy to go back but I am not too happy that I will have to run on the treadmill again from now on. As I have said several times before already on this blog, the thing I miss most in Shanghai is running outside in nature. You can’t have it all…