Monday, January 31, 2011

Bare Foot Running Transition

I have been trail running over 2 months regularly in my Vibram 5 Finger KSOs.  I originally started with the 5 Finger KSO Treksports, but returned them to REI because both my little toes were hurting.  Something was just not working.  It may have something to do with the stiffness of the Treksports.  It seems like you really do not get a good feel for the road and trail when running in the Treksport model.

However, the Treksports are great for running over rocky terrain such as rail road track beds, broken glass, and other debris that permeates an urban environment.

When I made the switch to the lighter weight KSO, the toe pain went away.  I could feel the wet blades of grass while running in the park.  I could also feel the sharp gravel stones hurting my poor tender feet on the Alameda Creek trail.  After 3 weeks of running in the KSOs, I feel totally  normal in them!  I can run an hour and fifteen minutes without the calf fatigue that I first felt.

This barefoot style  running is really an adventure.  Every day is something new.  I feel like a baby because I am afraid of stepping on crap...literally! 

Since I have been running steady for  over 35 years, I am not overly concerned about speed or winning any races.  Sub 5 minute miles are thing of my not so recent past.  Hard to believe as 17 year old that I ran a 4:37 mile on a cinder track!  Anything under 7 minutes feels fast to me.  BTW, that was nearly 33 years ago.  Bell bottoms were just going out of style.  Disco was still in.  The Rolling Stones were young and 30ish.

I am not completely sold on Vibram 5 Finger shoes.  I really don't like the squished feeling of my tootsies!  When I run barefoot in the park, that is total freedom.  I was surfing the web last night for more information on proper posture an form for runners.  Everything always points back to running barefoot to get the correct bio-mechanics.  Barefoot running forces one to run properly or it will hurt!

In my search, I came across the Huarache sandals made popular by Christopher McDougal in his best selling book, "Born To Run".  The sandals remind of the Roman sandals worn by soldiers and Jesus! 

I got busy and started reading actual user reviews.  I said to myself, "I gotta get some of these!"  I whipped out my credit card and ordered a pair for myself and 2 for my boys.  It cost me only $62 total including shipping.  Almost forgot to mention, I ordered the kits to make the sandals myself.  It's just rope and a slab of rubber.  You cut out the sole to match your own foot.  Custom shoes for $25!  The shoes will be at my home by this weekend.  I look forward to writing about them.

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