A Compromise, A Revelation, and my First Mistake

So, time to make a start on the Cool Impossible journey

Essential equipment:

  • GPS watch and heart rate monitor - Got
  • The Cool Impossible - Got
  • Ski poles - Got
  • Swiss ball - Borrowed
  • Slant board - Need
  • Stability board - Need
  • Minimal running shoes - Need

A Compromise:
Checking on the B2R website, I couldn’t source (for UK delivery) the slant board and stability board without buying a set of three DVDs totalling 144 Euros, adding shoes as well was going to make it 265 Euros. I can’t justify this outlay just yet, so my compromise has been to make homemade slant and stability board and invest in the B2R trail shoes. Some fantastic instructions on sizes and techniques on this site (thank you Patrick Garrett), coupled with my limited but enthusiastic carpentry skill I am now the proud owner of a slant board. My B2R trail shoes are on order (free delivery and currently 35% off European orders - Excellent).

A Revelation:
Time to take the first step (literally), I’m still in my existing shoes (Asics Nimbus, super soft, super comfortable, high drop, everything I previously looked for in a shoe, now everything I have to avoid!). I re-read the relevant sections in the book, I memorised the 5 phases, I painted a mental picture, I visualised the drills.

For the 5 years I’ve been running, I never actually thought about how I run, I know I heel strike, I know I’m pretty big for a runner, and I know my previous injuries are almost certainly down to poor form. I’m about to try something different and I’m both excited and anxious.

Well, I set out for my 30 minute run, I walked a little to warm up, I was covering some concrete, but mostly grass to soften the impact, I started to run….

  • Forefoot strike - so far so good, feels weird but I guess that’s to be expected
  • Then let the heel drop - How is that ever going to work? Oh I see, by not striding out so far in front. Right, so over-striding is another of my problems
  • Drive the knees - OK, I get it, that helps bring the leg through ‘on plane’ rather than those ugly little semi-circles I’ve only ever known
  • Take off and arm carry, these seem to happen a bit more naturally

This feels weird, but good weird, I think even during the first few hundred yards I’m running better than I ever have. A genuine bona fide revelation. Had to check my pace now and then, started to pant like my dog on a hot day.

I can definitely feel my calves and soleus working like they never have, I’m half way into my route and fatigue is already impacting my form - ‘Awareness’ that’s what Eric kept saying, slow down and focus on form, keep running over those logs, keep the knees driving.

Well I finished my half hour, I felt incredible, I’d done it, I’d made the first step to correcting the way I move, lots to learn, lots to work on, lots to strengthen and lots to commit to memory, and one very important lesson…..

My First Mistake
When I woke up the following morning, my calves were on fire, I went down the stairs on my backside! I hobbled to put the kettle on, and I was desperate to find the book I thought I’d read so carefully. I found the chapter I wanted, ‘Performance Running’ I searched for the section on ‘schedule’ I and found exactly what I knew I’d read. “The goal is four runs a week at a length of thirty minutes”, I read it again. OK, maybe I was a couple of minutes over, but how the heck can I be in so much pain after one session following the book to the letter?

Then I spot it, the very next sentence, it’s now jumping off the page at me “Begin with a five to ten minute run to see how the body responds to new form”… “Once you are comfortable for ten minutes, add five minutes every week or so to build up to a half hour”.

Well, lesson learned. Guess the first stability session will have to wait a couple of days!

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Comment by Francis Flynn on January 20, 2015 at 5:08am


Just reading your post and there is a B2R Europe web site, Im in the UK also and there was no issues with delivery or price.


Comment by Robert Burpee on August 21, 2014 at 4:08am
Fantastic post Richard you had me laughing out loud, with you & at you, sorry. But you know what, you have completed the hardest part, actually starting. It all gets better from here, everyday, slowly, slowly & then one day it will click. Then the next day it will seem all wrong again but not as wrong. Eric writes about being like a martial artist with your running, endless practice honing your skills, never being completely satisfied, visualisation of your form, effort, control.
I too have a long, long way to go but Boy am I enjoying the journey & I'm absolutely sure you will too. Keep us posted of how your going & again great post.

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