Transitioning to Vibram running shoes

Transitioning to Vibram running shoes

Today I ran for the first time in Vibram running shoes and thought it might be fun to write about my transition to running in these crazy-looking new “shoes.” I get a lot of good ideas when running and unlike the ideas I get after a martini (or two), my running ideas usually turn out okay when I act on them. I’m thinking it’ll just be a series of short posts (although this opening/explanatory is gonna run long (<--get it?), I can feel it already) describing my transition and runs and thoughts (running thoughts, not martini thoughts) along the way. I am not being paid by Vibram for this. In fact, they don't even know I'm doing this and I don't know how this is gonna turn out in the long run (sorry), so I'm not endorsing Vibram's at this point. I'm not a doctor. I don't even play one on TV. I just want to share my experience because I'm a runner and a writer and I like to write about running.

The experts say you shouldn’t start out running too far in Vibrams, or barefoot, until your body gets used to them. I agree. Last summer I got all excited about barefoot running after reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, and I went out and ran a mile barefoot on the beach. Bad idea. Two blisters. And the next day I could hardly walk I was so sore.

Afterward, I got a pair of minimalist running shoes, some Puma ortholites, and started my transition, using them for shorter runs over the course of almost a year and then transitioning to them completely about two or three months ago. (Probably overkill, but I’m not in much of a hurry here, obviously.)

I bought the Vibrams a couple weeks ago at Uncle Dan's and the saleslady was super helpful. I’d tried asking about Vibrams at a bunch of running shoe stores in town, but got the run around (sorry) They don’t carry them. I suspect since barefoot running is not in their best business interest, they are not interest in supporting them. Although the lady I talked to at Fleet Feet was nice enough to recommend Uncle Dan’s.

At Nice Saleslady's suggestion, I started wearing the Vibrams around the house for a while. The hardest part is getting my toes in them. I remember struggling at the store—it was pretty embarrassing, not being able to get my foot into a shoe—and asking Nice Saleslady, “What time do you close?”

Today I went for my first run in them, about a third of a mile, when my body was all warmed up, immediately after a 3.75 regular run. Results? No blisters, although as I ran I could “feel” the outside of my left ankle, but it wasn’t’ painful. As I ran, I felt my stride shorten (over-striding is one of my many issues, says the husband.) and it was much easier to strike on the balls of my feet. I was a pretty bad heel-striker for years and am now a mid-foot striker, although when I get fatigued and my form goes, I start banging on my heels again. That was another thing I did to help with the transition; during every run, for about a quarter mile or so, a couple of times during a run, I would transition to forefoot striking. I also did some mid-foot striking in the Vibrams for about a tenth of a mile, and that felt okay, too.

After sitting down now for a while, my upper calves are stiff. I'll let you know how my legs feel tomorrow! If you're a barefoot or Vibram runner, I'd love to hear from you!

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    Hi

    You transitioned from running in shoes to running in shoes

    Those are shoes. So why do you think they are different, better or allow for more muscular development or whatever?

    I started as a "bare" foot runner and ran for a year then when it got cold and when I was walking in downtown Chicago next to a shoe store that had those shoes I thought Ill try them.

    After wrestling with them for 10 aggravating minutes I got them on. Then I pulled the velcro strap across and felt this binding of my foot like I had some kind of plastic wrap suffocating my foot. It felt worse than shoes. I too them off and threw them across the room vowing to never wear shoes while running again.

    If you think this is similar to barefoot running you are mistaken. It is not even close. Why do you think you have to "transition" from your running shoes to these minimalist shoes then down to barefoot? You don't

    You might want to read how and why to transition to barefoot and ditch the shoes altogether If you have knowledge you can succeed Here are some articles you might find useful.

    How Does The Body Spring Back Safely From Impacts Of Running and Walking?
    http://teamdoctorsblog.com/2012/06/13/video-tutorial-12-is-running-bad-for-knees-how-the-body-springs-back-safely-from-impacts-of-running/

    Self-Tests & Exercises To Reduce Over Pronation and Over Supination From Impacts During Walking and Running
    http://teamdoctorsblog.com/2012/06/18/video-tutorial-28-the-impact-absorbing-landing-muscles-of-the-human-spring-mechanism-testing-and-training-the-spring-suspension-muscles/

    You should be proud of your courage to try something new. Read these posts and take control of your destiny Ditch your shoes!

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