After taking a few weeks off from the Vibrams because of some heel pain, I went for a run in them again Saturday. I did 1.2 miles. No running in my Pumas before or after the Vibrams. I wanted to see if they were or were not the heel-pain culprits (In the mean time, I had been keeping a normal running schedule, with healthy plantar fascia, too.) The verdict? I felt great! No pain. And here’s what I think the reason is: I finally figured out how to run with a proper footstrike.
All the Vibram literature talks about how you need to strike on the ball of your foot, toward the lateral (the outside—yeah, I looked it up. You’re welcome) side, then roll back onto your heel and push off. I read about it. I watched the Harvard barefoot running videos of this. I thought with my new forefoot strike, I was doing it. But, it wasn’t until a run in my regular (minimalist) shoes, when I took a pretty steep hill, albeit a short one, that the light bulb went off. Finally. I couldn’t believe how natural it felt. When you get the one-two-three of the footfalls it’s like magic, like waltzing with yourself.
I’d read in several places about the need to experiment with running up a hill to get the natural rhythm of the stride, and I just never got around to trying it. Living in Illinois makes it a challenge (and a great excuse, too!) but the underpass at the lakefront was where I found a hill steep enough to fall into the stride. My take-away is find a hill FIRST!
I ran with my newfound waltzy footstrike for most of the last two miles home. Then I tried it in the Vibrams two days later. No pain. No soreness the next day. In other words, feeling great all the way around. I am very excited about this new development and can't wait to build up to completely incorporating this new foot strike technique into my running.
Now, if I could only find the same same kind of “aha” moment for my foot strikes per minute…
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