After eight-weeks of MovNat Cert III preparation the progress has been steady, better then expected and encouraging. Especially in the running department.
As a summary, I’ve followed the Maffetone Two Week Food Test and dropped nearly 4.5kgs off my frame. From 80kgs down to 75.5-76kgs. This will be helpful when it comes time to tackle crawling, hanging and longer runs that are coming up in my training.
I’d like to reach a base weight of 74kgs, but we’ll see. When it comes time to really working with weight (lifting and carrying) I’ll be adding muscle so 74kgs with extra muscle might not be achievable.
I partnered the Maffetone Food Test with the Maffetone 180 Formula for running and I’ve consistently run my 3km course every second day. The consistency has allowed me to:
- Give the 180 Formula time to work
- Be able to measure and track the progress
- Ensure my dodgy knees survive the process and
- Allow me to work on my barefoot running technique.
“REMEMBER: it is impossible to evaluate, or even understand, anything that you cannot measure.” – Arthur Jones, one of America’s most influential figures in the exercise science world.
The Data Is In & The 180 Formula Is Working!
My first running effort was woeful: 3kms with 11 stops in 20mins55sec. My average pace per kilometer: 6’57″/km.
That was then.
Sticking to the 3km course and keeping as close as possible to the recommended heart rate max (my iPhone heart rate monitor is not perfect so I worked with a range of 136-145bpms) I’ve literally been able to watch the red sections fade away and my running times dropped significantly.
Here are four screen grabs covering three-weeks of Maffetone Food Test and 180 formula:
The coup de grace moment is the last image: 3.14kms in 15:46 with an average pace of 5’01km. For me that is fast. And it felt sustainably fast! Even better.
This is a big deal for me and the progress is encouraging.
I now feel strong enough to add distance to my run so this weekend I’ll try a long (for me) run of about 6-9kms and drop the speed. I’ll need to see how my recovery goes and pray that it’s all positive so I can continue to develop my run. I need to add distance, variety (hills etc), increase the cadence and time is running short.
One of the most dramatic insights I experienced from the Two Week Food Test was just how much inflammation disappeared from my body after the 5th day of the test.
I’m notorious for stiff achilles and calves, especially in the morning. Sometimes painfully so. But by day 5 of the test, without carbohydrates or sugar in my system and while drinking plenty of water, the pain was noticeably absent from my achillies in the morning. In fact, my body as a whole felt loose and more mobile during my regular training sessions.
It’s one thing to read about the inflammatory properties of food, quite another to feel it in action.
The other insight was that by having to slow down I finally had the time to feel my movement and my running style started to feel ‘smooth’. The barefoot running style (forefoot running with minimal shoes) is not easy to get right. Well not for me anyways. I’ve been trying to perfect it since 2016 and it finally, FINALLY seems to be happening.
It proves an important movement maxim:
“Slow is smooth and smooth can be fast.”
When I train my running technique I tried several things:
- I ‘shuffle run’ (that’s what I call it) and focus on one foot-fall at a time to analyse and fix it. I’ll do this over 5-8 steps and then switch my attention to the other foot. Then I’ll try to think of nothing but relaxing both feet as I run. And repeat.
- I also run in grassy parks without shoes forwards and backwards. And run down hills. This helps me emulate the right forefoot foot-fall in a barefoot running style.
During the last few weeks I’ve learned that I need about 1km to settled in. After this I start feeling relaxed. RELAXED! Never thought I’d connect that word to running. I’m actually beginning to feel (or at least I think I am) the metatarsals splaying as my foot contacts the ground. Feels good. Unusually good.
Leg Strength / Leg Power
The last thing to mention is that I’ve kept up a leg strengthening, knee stability and hill sprint routine on alternate days. They are between four and six exercises I do in a routine. With weight and without. And I’m convinced that this routine has been essential to my running progress and avoiding injuries in the process.
I’m not saying that my running component is done and dusted. Far from it. I need to increase the distance and maintain the speed. But I am starting to believe that the light at the end of the tunnel has (at least for now) been temporarily switched on.
Vivobarefoot shoes: I ONLY wear minimal shoes. I ONLY wear VIVOs. And when I exercise or run I only where PrimusLite FG. In my opinion the brand VIVO is are the best minimal shoe out there and their Primus Lite is the most versatile outdoor shoe in the range.
If you are in Australia and want a pair. I SELL THEM at great prices.
- Born To Run, (a motivational read for non-runners!)
- The Practice of Natural Movement, Erwan Le Corre (my current bible!)
- Barefoot Running: How to run light and free, Michael Sandler
- Barefoot Running Step by Step, by Roy Wallack and Ken Bob Saxton
- The Barefoot Running Book: the art and science of barefoot and minimalist shoe, Jason Robillard
- The Art of Running Faster, Julian Goater
- Daniel’s Running Formula, Jack Daniels
- Whole Body Barefoot: transitioning to minimal footware, Katy Bowman
Recently featured in TEDxPerth (LINK), Damien teaches children, young people, adults and seniors how to move and live a full life!
Olympic Fun & Fitness and The Wilding Project like Rewilding is dedicated to a movement rich life. Programs like Gymnastics, GymFIT, FootyEDGE, Parkour, Workplace Athletes, ActiveAgers and more all follow a simple philosophy, “Learn to move well and then never stop.”