March 18, 2010

90 BPM Metronome Run

The other day, I tried running with a metronome beat in my ears while running to try to increase my cadence to 90 steps per minute (from the same foot). The biggest difference I noticed while running at 90 BPM compared to my very consistent 84 BPM is that it is REALLY hard!

Before my little experiment, I thought there wasn't that big a difference between 84 and 90 BPM, I was incredibly wrong. The faster cadence felt way too fast for my sluggish legs. I made very tiny steps. I felt like I looked really silly. My heart rate felt like it was in the 190s. I also found it really difficult to relax, I was running with a lot of tension in my shoulders and muscles in my upper legs.

Some positive things I noticed were that my arms dropped to a 90 degree angle all by themselves (usually I have to think about it). I also ended up going much farther than usual. I've been running 4 minutes and walking 30 seconds times 5 intervals along the same out-and-back route for a while now and end up in about the same place every time, this time I ended up turning around much farther than my usual spot. And I only ran the higher cadence for 3 of the intervals.

Some things I'll try for next time will be to try and relax my shoulders and quads as much as possible. I'll also bring a heart rate monitor with me so I know what the difference is between my comfortable cadence and the faster one. I also think the HR monitor will help me track my progress as I practice the new cadence.

I think running at 90 BPM will help my running in the long-term so, although it's difficult for me now, I know it will get easier with more practice. And who knows, I might even end up getting faster. :)

Long Review - Soft Star Rambler

I wrote the long review for the Soft Star Rambler late last Fall and it is now up on the Living Barefoot website.

You can check it out at:

In short, they are great shoes for slipping on and doing short errands just about anywhere. They're at my back door for any trips outside I have to do while waiting for the grass to get green here (I'm allergic to dry, dead grass and get really bad hives on the soles of my feet if I walk on it in that condition so no barefooting for now). The Ramblers keep my feet warm in cooler temperatures and are comfortable with or without socks.

I took some extra pics of them recently so I thought I'd add them here. They're about six months old in these pics.

March 13, 2010

VFF Performas = Perfect Tai Chi Shoes

I took up daily Tai Chi exercises again in an effort to help my injured low back and sore SI joints. I remember one of the issues I had with it before was a lack of traction. Tai Chi requires a lot of balance, strength, flexibility, and fluidity in addition to the occasional massive amount of weight on one leg at quite a distance from centre requiring VERY good traction.

I used to do Tai Chi barefoot but found that I didn't have enough traction to relax into some of the weight-bearing stretching exercises. Then I tried my Classics but found that there wasn't enough freedom of movement with my toes (I like a lot of toe wiggling while doing Tai Chi) and my toes are a little compressed in the Classics I have now.

This time around, I tried my Performas and they are PERFECT! They have just the right amount of traction on the carpet (where I will be stuck doing Tai Chi until the grass turns green here) and just the right amount of foot freedom. I am so happy that I have finally found the answer to this minimalist footwear dilemma. I can now relax into all my Tai Chi exercises without fear that my feet will slip or holding myself tense in an effort to keep a grip on the floor. Performas are turning out to be my favourite indoor minimalist footwear.

March 8, 2010

Long Review - Kigo Star

The Living Barefoot site has released the long version of my review of the Kigo Star.

To read it, click on:

As I've mentioned before, these shoes really saved my feet during my vacation to Cancun. They are super comfortable and I'm so grateful that I have them.

Here are some extra pics I took of them. I'm still practicing taking pictures of footwear. :)

March 4, 2010

Vivo Barefoot Dundan Boot Review

My detailed review of the Vivo Barefoot Dundan Boot went online on the Living Barefoot site yesterday.

You can check it out at:

In short, I absolutely love these boots. They are incredibly comfortable and so easy to put on and take off. I think they look fabulous. I can wear them in a wide range of temperatures: for extreme cold, I wear the insole and for mild cold to normal Alberta winter/spring temperatures, I don't wear the insole. Their grip is great, even on snow (maybe not so much on ice when it's really cold as the nubs on the sole get stiff).

I've worn these boots pretty much all winter. There's practically no wear on them. The sole shows no wear and is still wonderfully flexible. The only wear marks are a few scratch marks on the leather where I walked in crusty snow one day.

They are my favourite boots to run errands when walking on concrete or asphalt because of their warmth, comfort, grip, and ease of getting on and off.

Here are some pictures I recently took of my Dundans. The photos aren't as good as Al's in the review, but I'm still working on my photography skills. :)