So more updates on my Vibram Five Fingers experiences since I last posted on the topic…
In May I did do several runs in my Five Fingers, even switching to running exclusively in them. I did short runs of about 4-6 miles twice a week, and longer runs of 8-13 miles once a week. I ran a 5K race in them in June. I thought I would be able to do my July 4th 5K in them.
Problem was that I started having some pains in the top of my right foot again. I do not believe this was from the Five Fingers. This was a pre-existing issue I’d had since February, that seemed to have gone away but then came back. This was an issue I developed before I’d ever bought my Five Fingers or even considered barefoot running.
In order to resolve my pains in the top of my right foot, I went back to my chiropractor a couple of times, switched back to running in my New Balance 769s for the added cushioning, and tied my shoes so there was no pressure along the top of the right mid-foot. It seems to be cured now for the last few weeks, so I’m returning to running in my Five Fingers again, but slowly.
When I first started in the Five Fingers I went in rather aggressively and I did get quite a number of blisters and calluses. Even though I’ve taken a few weeks off from the Five Fingers, the calluses are still pretty much there, except in two spots on my right foot where they peeled off.
I really enjoy running in the Five Fingers. I’m still trying to decide if it is better for me or not than my “running shoes”. Jury is still out and still making up my mind. But I do think I need to proceed more slowly with this transition.
The Five Fingers are comfortable on my feet, and I don’t have any trouble with adjusting my gait to accomodate the lack of cushioning. You do need to make sure to land mid-foot or forefoot, because you can’t land on your heel without hurting yourself. The Five Fingers actually make my stride seem more effortless and I run faster than I realize in them. After running in the Five Fingers and then switching back to “running shoes” the shoes feel like such boats. I feel like I have less control in them.
Today I did a short 10-minute run in bare feet for a distance of 1 mile. This is really slow for me. I found the sidewalk much rougher than I expected and the asphalt also. I ran on grass for a short bit, and found that delightful. Yesterday I ran about a quarter mile barefoot on the hardpack sand at the beach, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I’ve run barefoot on the beach many times in the past. That doesn’t seem to require a transition for me, at least for short distances of a mile or less.
Well, after today’s short 1-miler barefoot on sidewalk and asphalt, it does look like I have developed a new blister on the second toe of my right foot. Hmm. This is part of the penalty for barefoot running, I think. Maybe I could have gone a shorter distance, but…
Here are some resources for running either barefoot or with Vibram Five Fingers or with a mid-foot strike:
Also, check out the book Born To Run by Chris McDougall and the blog and podcast Brandon’s Marathon. Episode 50 of Brandon’s Marathon podcast will be featuring an interview with Chris McDougall and is due out next week.
Also, check out the Barefoot Running forum at RunnersWorld.com forums.