Nike Free 3.0 – Heavy Bag – Power Walk Into A Run
This Was A Rough Workout But I Made It Through – Persistence Overcomes Resistance
Since I began power walking I have learned a lot about how the mechanics of power walking and running work on the body, and about how bare foot, minimalist shoes, and traditional sneakers affect power walking and running. Since I started power walking and felt the difference of how my feet and legs were working in contrast to running, I felt the need to look into which footwear would be best for the natural movement of my feet.
This brought me to a lot of information about whether barefoot and minimalist shoes were good for running, and I would use this information to inform my power walking.
About a year ago I had an operation to clean up a torn meniscus in my knee, and it was a pretty bad tear. After the surgery I did therapy to rebuild the strength in my leg and I saw that the therapists wore Nike Frees. Around that time many people were trying out those glove shoes so I asked them about both. They told me they liked the free flowing minimalist shoes because they allowed the foot to move naturally. This allowed the muscles in the legs to be strengthened differently, which would align the joints in the legs better and give the legs more natural support. I was cautioned to work my way up to the glove shoes if I wanted to wear them, because jumping directly to them could cause me more injury because my leg muscles and joints would likely be shocked by the extreme change. I didn't try either at the time because I stayed away from running for a while. I just used the sneakers I had to work out on the elliptical machine, before I felt I was ready to start running again. I was very cautious working my way back up to running because I didn't want to put too much stress on my knee, and I would only run on the treadmill because I felt too much pressure on my knee running outside on the pavement.
So after I worked myself back up to running, I was introduced to power walking. I am writing this article after power walking episode one and power walking episode two. Since I was focused on power walking I was leaning towards getting the glove shoes. I liked the isolation I felt in my feet while power walking with my regular sneakers, and felt I would get even more isolation wearing the glove shoes. I did find information which basically supports that barefoot, and minimalist shoe running is good for the natural movement of the foot and leg, but if you have been accustomed to running in thick padded sneakers that restrict foot movement, then you need to slowly work your way into running barefoot or with minimalist shoes. A couple of things come into play here. Runners who tend to wear heavily padded sneakers often overstride, and land hard on the heal first, which sends a shock through the body. Though this is not good, people's body's adjust to it and people get used to it. Barefoot and minimalist runners tend to land mid-sole to toe, and have a springy step. If you are switching over to barefoot or minimalist running, then it is a good idea to take your time in making the transition. You will be using the muscles in your legs differently and a quick change can cause muscle and joint damage. Making the changeover should be done slowly to let your body slowly realign itself.
So the day I went to buy the glove shoes, I came upon the Nike Free 3.0 and 5.0. The 5.0 had a little bit more rear sole, and felt like a light sneaker. The 3.0 had thinner soles and felt like I was wearing my foot. It felt like an extension of my foot. It flexed with my foot, but did not have separate toes like to foot gloves, which I was a little weary about. I really don't like stubbing my toes. I really liked how the 3.0's felt, so I decided to buy them and then head straight to the gym for a workout.
I started off with the heavy bag work as usual. I made it back to doing 10 rounds on the heavy bag two weeks after I finished my month long fast. It was very difficult for me to do the full 10 rounds, but I powered through and completed them. The Nike Frees felt good during the heavy bag work. I was able to plant and cut, and my feet felt perfectly stable in the sneakers. The uppers are made of a flexible mesh material that snugly grab and support the feet, while the soles flex with the natural movement of the feet. I could feel the individual muscles in my legs working, and working together.
I then hit the treadmill, to show it who was in charge. (smile) The plan was to power walk for 25 minutes at a speed of 5.5 miles an hour. I quickly set the treadmill for 5.6 miles an hour and I did that for 20 minutes. My feet feel like they were moving a little too fast at the speed. I don't know if that was because I really exerted myself on the heavy bag, or I because I really reached the speed where I needed to start running. So I set the speed for 7.0 miles per hour and ran for the next five minutes. I don't know if I will do that again. (smile) While power walking for the first 20 minutes with the Nike Frees, I found myself landing more on the mid-soles of my feet and my legs were getting pumped. Once I started to run the blood must have started to rush through them at twice the pressure because they just got so tight. They didn't feel like they were cramping, so I wasn't going to let them stop me from completing that last 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes were up, I reduced the treadmill speed to 2.5 miles an hour and the tightness in my legs went away in 10 minutes during my cool-down. I was surprised that my heart-rate maxed at 165, where as during the previous power walk my heart-rate maxed at 185. That is an indication to me that I am getting in better shape and I am able to keep my breath more relaxed even when pushing myself harder.
As I was power walked with the Nike Frees on, and even as I was running, I could feel myself landing more on the mid-soles of my feet. I could feel my toes grabbing more and my legs being stimulating a lot more, like when I used to weight lift with my legs. I wear the Nike Frees even when I am just walking around and they are conditioning me to land on the mid-soles of my feet, even when I am walking barefoot at home. The only thing that will stop me from wearing them all the time is that the store I went to ran out of the black/light grey 3.0's in my size, so I settled for the grey/red ones because they felt so good on my feet. They are a little too bright for my taste. (smile)