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. 🙂
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