Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vibram running

My first stop looking for my new stride was finally daring to run in my vibrams. Though I love how they feel when hanging out, I'd heard such horror stories about achy calves and upset achilles tendons I'd been too scared to try. Particularly since I had a pretty serious achilles tendon injury in 2006. It was not an injury from running, but it's one of those old injuries that flare up every once in a while.

So. First run.

I thought I'd wear these toe socks. When you've got so little between your feet and the mean Brooklyn streets, every little bit of fiber counts. I'd heard you needed to start slow, so I decided to go for a mile. That's a short distance, right? So I went on a wonton soup run. I ran a few blocks north and did a short loop that ended at my favorite local Chinese restaurant.

The first few steps when I started running were terrifying. I was afraid I'd hit the pavement hard with my heel and it would crack. My heel, not the pavement.

Fortunately, it seems I'm not as much of a heel striker as I thought I was. I've been deliberately avoiding a heel strike for the past year or so but since I hadn't tested I wasn't sure whether I could keep it up.

Running in the vibrams felt a little skinny dipping. It's the same, but better. You feel everything more and it's exhilarating to the point of almost feeling naughty. It surprised me how much fun it was to feel the ground below me in such detail. Pavement unevenness was much more noticeable as were the changes in surface.

Also, my stride felt springier than I thought it would. In a way, I felt my run was lighter and kind of bouncier than usual. I left all gadgets behind and tried to focus on form. Stay on the forefoot. Make sure I lift my feet as if I'm stepping over logs. Calves going whoa!

Because I was doing such a short distance and was having so much fun I found myself going at what felt like a much faster pace.

Day after: nicely sore in the calves and glutes. The kind of pain you get from muscles you haven't used much, not the kind of pain that signals injury. I like that kind of I'm getting stronger pain. I might have to forget about ever fitting into knee high boots again.


  1. Awesome!! That first run is a mixed bag of emotions isn't it?! Its like whoa..is this going to hurt and then whoa..i think i like this and then WHOA! I feel so light and airy :)
    definitely stretch out calves and achilles really well. Looking forward to following your journey!

  2. Thanks, Indi! It was awesome. I'm actually deliberate not stretching. Will write about that soon - I promise!

  3. I had to quit running in my Vibrams over the winter, because my toes would get numb, and haven't yet gotten back into them. I want to. If it doesn't rain tomorrow I'm going for a run around the park in them!

  4. By the way, it's me, Lois... I have to figure out how to get rid of the whole Lila thing from my google account....

  5. Oh, hi Lois! That was an interesting point brought up at the reading and discussion before the Naked Run - barefoot winter running. Basically, numbness not good! Minimalist, zero drop, socks, etc... to deal with weather.

    Hope you have a good run in your vibrams tomorrow!