To succeed I have been told you always need to set a goal and map out the way to achieve your goal. My goal is to run pain free (and also do a 6 minute mile but that is probably another blog). I am not sure how to map my way to the pain free running goal but I have been trying many ideas to alleviate my nagging injuries. One option I have not yet pursued is what many people have loudly suggested; “quit running!” After researching running injuries on the web I came across one idea I had not tried and that is barefoot running. My feet have been in shoes for years and there was no way I was just going to run completely barefooted. I could imagine myself running down the street and stepping on a broken beer bottle and adding a new running injury to my list. I then came across the Vibram 5 Finger shoes. These are supposed to be as close to going barefoot as possible. As mentioned in the previous post I researched barefoot running and also read the book “Born to Run”. I have decided to give barefoot running a try!
I have set a goal to train and run the 15K Paris Mountain Trail Run in the Vibram 5-Fingers. This blog will chronicle my training and experience with barefoot running.
First a few words about me. I am an ordinary average guy my friends are all boring and so am I, every Saturday I work in the yard and pick up the dog do and hope that it is hard (borrowed from Joe Walsh’s song Ordinary Average Guy). During my best 5K I ran about 7:30 minutes per mile, however, I am more of an 8 minute per mile guy at best in the 5K. I did manage to run the Spinx ½ marathon where I averaged about 8:35 minutes per mile. In my mind I feel as though I should be running like a Cheetah going down the road at 6 minutes per mile. Unfortunately the reality of the situation is I am more like some strange deformed creature that crawled out of the swamp. My left foot swings out at a 30 degree angle, one leg appears shorter than the other, my head bobs up and down and my arms flail out like I am trying to fly instead of run. My wife happened to be following me one time in the car and yelled out the window that I have terrible running form. I thanked her for the comments and ambled along.
To add insult to injury, at the BWM 2-miler last year a guy pushing a baby carriage zoomed by me and beat me. I was running all out at that time! I believe all baby carriage runners should not be allowed to run in these races. These people do not realize how much it crushes one’s spirit to be passed by someone pushing a baby carriage (with the added weight of the baby in it of course).
Well enough of the crying. I am excited about trying these shoes. My first try with them on a run was Tuesday, February 16th. I did a walk/run of about 3 miles. I ran some on the street and some on the grass. I went slowly at first. I probably ran 10 minute miles. About every ¼ mile I would walk for about ¼ mile. As I became more comfortable I ran a little faster. Running in the grass felt great and natural. Running on the road was a little scary. Information on running barefoot suggest running on the balls of your feet. I am more of a heel striker so it is very awkward trying to run on the balls of my feet. I probably ended up landing flat footed. I also tried to shorten my stride and quicken my leg turnover. I have heard that the faster runners have a higher cadence than us slow guys. To speed up I tend to lengthen my stride which apparently is not a good idea. I completed the 3 mile walk/run in 34 minutes. My feet did not hurt and my knees actually did not hurt. I usually wear a knee strap on each knee to help reduce the pain of the patellar tendonitis. I did not wear the straps and virtually had no pain. At times I did have a pain in the arch of my left foot while walking. While running I did not have this pain.
So I put Day 1 of the barefoot experience as a success. My next day out is Thursday. I plan to do the walk/run again and take it slow.
Have a great day!