Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Five Fingers Experiment

I am reading this book called “Born to Run” by Chris McDougal. This book has gotten a fair amount of press in the last year or so within the running community because one it’s primary themes is the centered around the benefits of barefoot running. I’ve been hearing for quite some time that barefoot running is the truest form of running, because it’s the natural way we were meant to run. There’s a plethora of barefoot running proponents who claim that they were once injury plagued, but not anymore now that they have adopted barefoot running.

So, I went out and got me a fancy pair of Vibram Five Finger Running shoes to test out. I have two friends who also run in these shoes, and they swear by them. I had to shop around to get a pair in my size – I finally found a pair at a place in Glen Mills.

The very next day after purchasing, I took ‘em to the gym to do a light run. I was cautioned to take it easy for the first couple if runs in these shoes – it takes some time for the foot to adapt to the sensation and mechanics of the shoe. I started out with a light pace. About two miles in, I started to feel some hot spots on the arches of my right foot and the bottom of my big toe on the same foot, so I bagged and switched to my regular shoes.

Saturday, I ran another three miles in my regular shoes, and everything felt ok. Sunday, however, was a shit show. I met two new running friends down at Lloyd Hall for what was supposed to be 15-16 miles for me. Luckily, the rain held off – goddamn weathermen cant get shit right.

After completing one whole loop around the Drives, I had to bag it. My feet were on fire. I had two small blisters on my right foot just north of the arch. After the first loop, I figured I could do a temporary tape job the blisters and keep going, but it didnt work. Not even 100 yard in, I had to bag it – I could still feel the blisters and I knew it wasnt in the cards for me to keep going.

Arriving home, I tenderly popped the blisters – the way to cure a blister is to pop it, and let the top layer of skin adhere to the irritated sub-layer of skin. After it dries out, the top layer of skin acts as a sheath and helps the blister heal. You gotta let it dry out though – no ointments and such. You want the top layer of skin to harden up by drying out, which then creates a really touch out layer.

As I had mentioned, I have been battling a cold for the past two weeks, and I seemed ok going into Sunday, and I guess running outside must have flared it up, because I felt like crap on Monday. I took the day off from running, and did a short three miles last night on the treadmill. Aside from feeling like the run itself was an absolute un-enjoyable slog, the feet didnt bother me at all. It only took days for the blisters to heal up.

I am feeling better today, not 100%, but good enough that I am going to head to the gym and run a couple of miles. I am laying the outside running – I dont want to aggravate the cold.

This month has been a tough month relative to my training goals, but in context of the last few months, I am doing ok. I wanted to try and break 100 miles this month, and as of yesterday, I am only at 66 miles or so. I want to run at least 20 this week, maybe more (assuming I feel good enough to get in a long run in Sunday, which is much overdue). 20 would put me at 86, which is more than last month’s total of 77, so at least I got that going for me.

So Anyway, back to the Five Fingers Experiment. So I made the very quick decision that these goofy shoes arent for me, at least right now. I have two active pair of shoes that I am rotating, one pair with about 200 miles logged, and the other with 250 miles. It’s time to start introducing another pair into the mix. The Vibrams werent cheap - $85 a pair. That kinda money is better served on a regular training shoe, so in the end, I returned the shoes to the place that I bought them. Funny side note: when I returned the shoes, the saleswoman suggested that I try a five-toed sock specially made for the Vibrams. I tried the sock on with the shoe, and I have to admit it was very comfortable, but the damn things were $14 a pair!!!! Thats highway robbery. My luck with socks isnt so good – I’d loose then suckers in about a month.

So with my $85 back in hand, I went out shopping the other night and

If I really want to get some quasi-barefoot running into my training, I have a pair of track flats that I solely use for 5k racing. Just like barefoot running, there are a number of people out there in the running world who claim that today’s technologically advanced running shoes do more harm than good by de-sensitizing the foot and forcing us into mechanics that arent natural. Many claim that minimalistic running is the way to go – less is better, and in this case, less is a no-frills, fits like a glove track flat. I am going to start working those shoes into my routine a bit more going forward.

bought a pair of Brooks Ghosts (last year’s model) and paid a whopping $35 at DSW. These shoes, new, were $100!!!

1 comment:

  1. I have a friend who uses those five finger shoes and he likes them but you have to be very careful where you run. Problem today is that most surfaces are not made for running barefoot. By the way I met that guy chris before he is a kinda strange and I beat him in a race.