Barefoot Running Update: So Far, So Good!


A few weeks back mentioned that I had joined the barefoot running craze by trying out a pair of FiveFinger Bikilas from Vibram. At the time, I had only made one run with them, but I was already anxious to try them out further, and I heard from a number of you that you were interested in barefoot running as well, and that you wanted to hear an occasional update on my progress.
So, after two weeks and a number of other runs, I can honestly say that I’m really enjoying the experience so far. In fact, it is going better than I had expected, although I have to admit that it is difficult to keep my milage down while I get use to running with the FiveFingers. My typical workouts are 5-6 miles in length, with longer runs coming on the weekend when I have more time, and I was advised to take it slow with the barefoot approach, building up distance over some time.

For now, I’ve been continuing to run in the 1-1.5 mile range while I slowly adjust. In order to run with these types of “shoes” you need to adjust your running style a bit, shifting your pacing so that you take shorter strides and landing more on the front of your foot than the heel. Until that becomes fully natural, I’m making sure I don’t run too far, too quickly.

One of the few issues I have had with running barefoot is that, for now anyways, I’m thinking too much about my stride when I run. That has caused those runs to not feel quite as natural. But usually, about halfway through the run, I stop worrying about it and fall into rhythm just fine. I’m sure this will become less of an issue over time as well.

Surprisingly enough, aside from having a couple of tight hamstrings after the first run, I’ve also had no injuries from barefoot running. In fact, when I get home from a run, my feet and legs don’t feel any worse for wear than when I’m wearing my regular running shoes. That has encouraged me to up my milage just a bit, and I think I’ll be covering 1.5-2 miles per run this week.

I did have a particularly sublime experience barefoot running this past week however, and it was one of those points where you really start to see why people enjoy this so much. In my previous post, I noted that even after one run, I felt more connected to the road, and that has continued to be the case since then. It’s one of those things that is difficult to put into words and best experienced for yourself, but this past week I went for a run in the rain, and it was an amazing experience to say the least. Splashing through puddles while the warm summer rain fell all around me was fantastic, and definitely something I recommend you try should you pick up your own pair of FiveFingers.

Speaking of which, I’ve had two friends also join me in trying barefoot experience, and while they’re still getting up to speed as well, they are reporting good things so far too. I’ll continue to post periodic updates as I progress, but if you have any questions, be sure to drop me a note. I’m happy to answer them and share my thoughts. 🙂

Kraig Becker

7 thoughts on “Barefoot Running Update: So Far, So Good!”

  1. Thanks for sharing – it's interesting to follow runners' experiences in exploring barefoot or near-barefoot running. It sounds appealing if one can make the transition.

  2. I can tell you from my own experience, it is quite appealing, but a bit frustrating to slowly work your way back up to distances, speed, and times that you're use to. It's a slow, but fun process so far.

  3. Hi,

    Barefoot shoes are gaining its popularity and it's definitely an eye catcher especially when you see someone wearing it on the streets. My cousin has the VFF KSO model as a birthday present from her mom. I'm so envious about it and I'm also quite interested in buying the VFF Bikila. I've read a review from this site Vibrams Five Fingers Bikila , but I still need some practical advice from people who already have these type of shoes and what can they say about it.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

  4. Lana: The Bikila shoes are the ones that I've been using, and they are quite nice so far. They fit like a glove, quite literally, and they take a bit of getting use to to put them on, but once you've had them on for awhile, they feel really comfortable, and running in them is quite nice.

  5. Very encouraging post. I've been addressing my form in regular running shoes for the past few months and I'm just looking for that final encouragement to try out some five fingers or minimalist shoes. Your report puts me another step closer. I'd totally agree with what is being said here, about changing up form and really just washing away everything I've been taught about running growing up. I think the most useful tool, outside of mimicking someone who is already running in the barefoot style, is getting in some grass without shoes just too feel out the foot strike. Of course you can't forget your education, Born to Run and Chi Running.

  6. Good suggestions all around Nick. Much appreciated. I had another friend recommend Born to Run to me recently, and I definitely need to add it to my reading list.

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