Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankfulness: Day 6 (and Barefoot Running)

Before I get to my thanks (and of course, there are many), I had to share something special that I tried today.

Now, if you are at all a member of the running community, you've most likely heard about the "barefoot running" movement that seems to be sweeping the country. A good deal of it can be tied to two sources:

the odd looking but increasingly popular Vibram 5 fingers

The persuasive and popular book (given to me by my Brother in Law) that makes a very strong argument for ditching the heavily padded footwear.

I've been reading a lot about barefoot running courtesy of one of my favorite running blogs, Running and Rambling, which gives great accounts of runs and, over the last few years, has developed a focus on barefoot running and all the different kinds of shoes that can help you join in on the minimalist movement. 

Less than a year ago, Ed decided he wanted to give some minimalist shoes a try, and picked up a pair of merrells. 

Unlike the Vibrams, these look remarkably like "normal" running shoes, with the exception that they are very lithe, light, and conform nicely to the foot (this is becoming more common with minimalist shoes, which seems a good thing, in my opinon). Ed, going against all advice, did his first run with these as a 5 miler (you are supposed to ease into them, with very short runs first). In true Ed fashion, he had no issues, and soon was using these almost exclusively for everything from 3 milers to 30 milers and loving them. He was faster, running stronger, and regular shoes now seemed to him heavy and burdensome. 

So, with the perfect advertisement for minimalist shoes living with me, I have been eager to give them a try myself.

But, there was still one major factor that held me back. 


These shoes are expensive! Granted, running shoes in general will run you upwards of $100, so minimalist shoes aren't really any worse, but I couldn't bring myself to spend that much on a shoe that might not even work for me.  Thankfully, while I was at science camp, the stars aligned to bring me my own pair of shoes, in the form of a steeply discounted sale at The Clymb, which had these lovely shoes,

(Terra Plana EVO shoes) normally $160, for only $50. I was sold, and in about 10 minutes, I had placed an order for my very own pair. It helped that Donald (on the Running and Rambling blog) had a thorough review of these shoes, saying, "they may be the most dependable all-purpose minimalist shoes I’ve tested." which made me feel confident about the choice. 

I eagerly awaited their arrival, which took about 3 weeks. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived, I was down sick, so, while I wore them to work a bit to break them in, today was the first time I had a "barefoot" run (or as close to barefoot as I'm willing to get when running on the roads). 

As I laced them up, their lightness really hit me (moreso than when I just wore them to work). They feel like nothing, compared to regular shoes, which was a pretty fun sensation. 

I had a goal of running down to the end of the block and back, which all told would be about a mile. However, as I began running, I decided to cut that in about half, as I could feel how hard different parts of my feet and legs were working. Unlike Ed, I am not impervious to injury and really wanted to be careful. 

Just like I had read, my running style was drastically different in these shoes, as the lack of cushion in the heal meant that I had to strike down on the forefront of my foot instead. I was wishing part way out that I had done a bit more research about how exactly I was supposed to be running, but I think I was close. 
I few times I tested running "normally" with a heel strike, and felt the force with which my foot hit the ground. It was pretty easy to tell that that was not how you were supposed to run in these shoes. 
After just about 5 minutes, my first minimalist run was done; I had barely covered any distance, but I finished with calves a little sore and excited to try again soon. Eventually, I hope to be like Ed, using them all the time, and loving every minute. 

For now, I'll take my barefoot adventures in 5 minute intervals.

Thankfulness: Day 6
I am thankful that....

  •  I got to try out my new shoes, and had a nice, but short, run
  • The house is still relatively clean from my efforts on Friday, so I didn't have to do a lot today to tidy it up (it is so nice to have a clean house - I must remember this!).
  • My biggest thanks is that Ed is returning after being gone this weekend at a conference. While I certainly enjoyed some alone time, I do miss him when he's away, and I cannot wait to have him home. 

Now, time to stop procrastinating, and finish sub plans for Tuesday (I'll be at a hopefully good all day training), and reading student narratives. So far, zombies is the topic of choice.. you can tell these were written in the month of October :). 

1 comment:

  1. Also, december 6th at road runner sports in san carlos there is a Newtons natural running clinic. I've been so frustrated with my stupid achilles injury I may gradually (VERY gradually) go toward barefoot.