After running 5 miles on Tuesday, which is a “long” run for me at the moment, I figured I would do something a little bit shorter yesterday. I tossed on my Vibram Five Fingers (after all, it was just going to be a short run), and headed out. I ended up doing 3 miles, although I had only planned on 2. My calf muscles never crossed into pain, but were tired by the time I got home – but some quick advice from a friend (Ice, and Roll on the foam roller!) helped me ensure that today they would just be tired, as opposed to crippling pain. It is amazing how much better it feels to run in them. I averaged 6.9 mph for the run – significantly faster than any of my other runs.
An interesting thing that I noticed while out on my 5 mile run, which I verified yesterday on my 3 miler. My “traditional” style of running – I don’t really use my calves. My thighs do all the work, while my calves stay at the end of my legs with enough control to not be flopping around like a dying chicken. This also explains why the VFFs are such a huge change for me – as you can’t help but use your calves. When I noticed it on Tuesday I began to involve my calves more, but not to over do it (that is saved for days I am running in the VFFs.) This is a great thing to have noticed, as it will let me begin to use my calves more in my Asics, which should also improve the distance I can go in my VFFs. I would still love to be able to do my marathon in them, but I am unsure if I can be up for that much distance as far as my calves are concerned. Using them more while running in traditional shoes – might make the difference!
I am finding that my form while running is changing, regardless of the shoes I have on. I figure that can’t be anything but good. I can also feel the difference in my hips and knees between the two sets of shoes. The minimalist Vibrams have made me much more aware of my style of running – which is helping to change it. If anyone reading this is a runner – once there is warm weather, I would suggest incorporating some barefoot running into your practices – you may find it helps your form improve as well!
My attempts at looking into p90x and Insanity are on temporary hold. I am running 5 miles with my friend that is doing the MCM with me – on saturday. I refuse to be in too much pain to complete it. My son and I are going to return to Tang Soo Do practice tonight. After our previous school had its “issues” – the instructors and senior black belts left and are doing practice over at the Endicott Boys and Girls Club – under the name “Southern Tier Martial Arts.” I am looking forward to training with them as the instructors were incredible.
you know, I had a pair of VFF that I would run in last summer. I actually ran a hole in them after only 3 months of use and minimal mileage – I was doing maybe 10 miles a week at most. But yes, they definitely make you more aware of your form and the lower parts of the leg when you run. I am contemplating getting another pair this summer and using them for shorter runs. There was something so very comfortable about hitting the road in them. While I love my Asics now, the minimalist feel of the VFF made me feel so much faster and lighter. Happy running!
I’ve been mixing some barefoot running in on the treadmill, and will do so outside once it has warmed up. I find that there are areas on my foot that I drag along the ground – just slightly. I mention this, as I have seen runners that got a year or more from their VFFs, or only a month or two. I was thinking of my running style and how that dragging could wear a hole pretty quickly. Now I have no idea if you were doing something similar – but thought I would mention it!
I’ve also been reading up online about barefoot running – trying to have your foot moving at the same speed as the road is when you set it down, touching as lightly as possible, and other techniques to help cut down on the wear and tear the body faces from running. My hope is that this will help lengthen the life span of the VFFs. I also figure the bikilas, with their tread, should last longer than the KSOs, but I have no real basis for that. I will definitely keep you informed of how well they last! I have great hope that I will be able to get the same life span out of them that I would traditional running shoes (otherwise my wife might not be too happy with my shoe choice! There apparently has been some variety in the quality/lifespan of the VFFs depending on when they were made also, but some report 600 miles or more. Here’s to hoping!
Thanks for stopping by – and Happy Running!
aaah, see i had the KSO’s and i don’t think i was dragging my feet, though i know i have a tendency to run on the front ball of the foot – which is where the hole formed. it’ll be interesting to see how those work out for you. i’m gonna give the bikilas a try the next time. 🙂