Thursday, March 25, 2010

A new era of running?

Nah, I don't think I'd go that far, but I will say I'm in for a definite adjustment in my running.

On Monday I used my REI dividend, 20% off coupon and an overly kind and unnecessary gift card from a friend (thanks Katie! and Aimee for letting me use it!) and picked up a pair of the Vibram FiveFingers for no money out of pocket. While trying them on I was one of 3 people in the shoe department and all of us were checking them out so I suppose the popularity is really starting to ramp up! It helps that REI just started carrying them; though they were already low on inventory when I grabbed mine...


Anyway, my initial impressions were good. Getting them on is a little weird as my toes kind of scrunch together a little bit and spreading them out to fit the toe holes was a bit of a chore. Once they were on though they felt comfortable and my little jaunt down the aisle of REI felt pretty easy and natural in them. It probably helps that I've been working over the last year plus on my running mechanics to use a midfoot strike (as opposed to heel).

Monday evening I put them on for a while just hanging around the house and then grabbed Cass and went for an easy 2 mile run around the neighborhood sidewalks. They felt great! Even more, I was cruising, and not on purpose either! I'd forgotten to wear my garmin so I was going by feel on pace, planning on a slower, easy run. Turns out I was down in the low 7's to mid/upper 6's for almost the entire way... Whoops!

Gave them a go at lunch on Thursday again for 2 miles, this time with the garmin and again had the same result! Though I didn't try to reel myself in when I noted a sub-6:30 pace, I felt surprisingly smooth and at ease with the high cadence running. Better yet, the running was down right, put a goofy grin on my face and laugh out loud fun!

Yeah, I got a few weird looks in general on this run...

Good times!

My only issue so far has been a sore left calf muscle from the slightly different running form, but that has been very minor in general. Otherwise, I can feel some additional muscles getting a workout but nothing hurts. Even running on the pebbles of the "trails" along the Mall was much easier then I expected. While large stones were felt, there was nothing that was outright painful. I can see the benefits of toughening up my feet but otherwise I think I'm in pretty good shape for using these "shoes".

For now I'll slowly build up my mileage to where I can do my usual entire 4 to 6 mile lunch run and see how things go. If nothing else the increased cadence work will benefit my speed and hopefully the focused form work will settle in permanently whether wearing shoes or not. Ideally I'll dial in my mechanics well enough that come fall I'll be able to start running in a MUCH more minimalistic trail shoe such as the New Balance 100's. Lightweight shoes that drain like a bathtub would be nice!



The New Balance 100's - Hopefully the new model out this fall will address the heel rub issue I've been hearing about so far.



7 comments:

TerribleTerry said...

After every run...go to the local track (or somewhere with nice soft grass) and do 8laps on the infield totally barefoot. Concentrate on your posture and keeping your legs going round and round instead of eliptical. Your feet will get strong :-)

chuck hutch said...

Dude, those are the coolest shoes. I am going to get a pair to wear around town.

KMAX said...

Terry, I would have saved the money and gone strictly barefoot... But, I just wouldn't do it anywhere around here. Not even at the local high school track less then a mile from my front door... There is just no place nearby that I'd trust going barefoot.

Chuck, I have no idea if you're joking or not here. I will say they'd probably strengthen your calves a bit just by wearing them around, which could be helpful on the bike.

I'm sure hoping so at least; I'm banking on all my running this off season (and during the coming season) to transfer solidly into strength and fitness on the SS mountain bike. Not a complete replacement for riding, but at least a solid base...

Jessica said...

Love the VFFs... definitely try completely barefoot, it's even better! Thanks for the Thanks on the RW Forum page for the pups... and I promise I'm not a 'net stalker... ;)

Bonnie said...

Those are weird looking shoes. I'm learning way too much about running/biking/conditioning on here.

KMAX said...

Jessica, Thanks for the comment. I'll have to get out and try some REAL barefooting someday. Maybe the next time I get out in "the country".

Mom, yeah, same goes for me on YOUR blog! Who knew the 21st of March was National Quilting Day?

chuck hutch said...

Not joking, just got a pair from REI, 20% plus my divedens. I don't run, but these are the way to go.