the joys, and slight discomfort, of learning to run barefoot


image from drawntorun.com

The first moment I got my Bikilas, all I wanted to do was head for the door and run. I had read enough books ie “Barefoot Running” and “Chi Running”, and websites ie birthdayshoes.com, to know better. Most people recommend walking around in your VFF’s for the first week or so to become acclimated to no cushioning. I noticed that just walking around in them that first week made my calves hurt.

The 2nd week the run started. I only ran 1/4 mile the first time and got up to 1/2 mile by the end of my first week. The real challenge was not pushing myself too hard or too fast. I’m a marathon runner, so a 1/4 mile run for me is a walk in the park. I did notice some slight cramping in my calves and arches, so I listened to my body and took it easy. I think this is the best advice I could give someone learning to run barefoot, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you sore during the run, stop and take a walk break, if the pain continues, head home. Too many people go out too fast and too soon, and end up with injuries.

The 3rd week and for the rest of the month, I was up to a mile, in my Bikilas. I have continued to progress this past month up to 2 miles. I have also added a pair of Treksports to my collection, which I plan to wear during the Warrior Dash in August. I would ideally like to be up to 4 miles by then. I still have days where I’m too sore to run my allotted time.

You have to think while your running and consciously change your running pattern. If you land on your heel, in VFF’s, you can cause some serious damage. If you feel like you are not running in proper form, the best thing to do is to take off your VFFs and run completely barefoot for a minute or too. Your body will automatically run in proper form barefoot, so this is a way of reminding your body what to do. Once you feel you have it down, you can then put your VFFs back on and run properly.

Anyone interested in barefoot running, this is a great link to try: http://birthdayshoes.com/how-to-transition-to-running-in-vibram-five-fingers

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