Friday, May 31, 2013

Barefoot Running

Today's Workout:
4 mile run

3 sets of:
50 jump ropes
25 sit-ups
25 plié squats

Hello friends and TGIF! Today I decided to run in my Vibram Five Fingers shoes. I don't typically run with Vibrams (because I'm totally a Newton girl); however, I tried them out today and I wasn't too thrilled about them. Perhaps I'm not used to running in them, which is why they felt uncomfortable, but truthfully, the feeling of being barefoot felt very awkward. I was concerned about my ankles and further injuring my knee.

So what exactly is barefoot or "minimalist" running? Minimalist running is a theory that states that runners should run without shoes. They believe that running barefoot will strengthen your feet and correct your stride. They argue that running with cushioned shoes will impair your foot's natural ability to run with proper strides. The most popular minimalist shoes are the Vibrams, New Balance Minimus  and Nike Free Run. Minimalist shoes are lightweight, flexible and have a zero-drop sole. This means that the heel of the shoe is the same thickness as the rest of the sole. Since conventional shoes have a higher heel lift, minimalist runners argue that they create imbalances of strength and weakness and stiffness in the lower extremities thus resulting in injuries.

Rules to follow when trying minimalist shoes for the first time: A) You should be injury free, B) Start by wearing your new shoes for daily activities and progress to running and c) Make sure you are regularly stretching your calves and the bottom of your feet.

Stretching my calf muscles and feet.
Stretching my calf muscles.
Cons to wearing minimalist shoes: The possibility of injury from sharp surfaces and stress on muscles and tendons that haven't been conditioned for this type of running. There's also an increased risk of stress fractures, tendonitis, bruises and lacerations.

I personally don't think that it's completely safe to run a marathon in minimalist shoes. I think they are best used for shorter distance running and walking.
What are your thoughts on minimalist running?
I'm grateful for the delicious veggie spring
rolls that I bought at Publix. The sushi
chef made one especially for me =).

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  1. I feel about the same way, I don't think they are for marathon running more for short distances. I wear minimalist shoes to lift in and I do some running in them, and I actually really like them, however, it does feel harder on my feet and ankles due to less cushioning. Since wearing my minimalist shoes, my form has gotten better and it feels weird to wear bulky running shoes. I am currently looking for shoes that aren't quiet minimalist, but aren't big bulky shoes with a high heel lift...any suggestions? I've tried Newtons and am not sure how I feel about them, they didn't work real well with my feet for longer distances.

    1. Hmmm, I was going to suggest the Newtons. I've ran in Asics, but those tend to be bulky. How about the Nike Free Run sneaker?

  2. I think trying to run a marathon in minimalist shoes without enough time to acclimate to them is a recipe for injuries. However, I think as long as you have either ran around barefoot your whole life, or have gradually transitioned to running in minimalist/barefoot-style footwear, it is perfectly safe. It's definitely not for everyone.

    I personally prefer a minimalist shoe. I recently got Merrell Road Gloves, which are zero-drop, and I love the lightweight feeling. The lack of cushioning forces me to change my form, making shorter strides and landing softly.

    1. I've never heard of the Merell Road Gloves. I'll have to check 'em out.

  3. I saw the Merrill Road Glove when I purched my hikers. They are similar in appearance to the shoes I've seen you o wear Erika. They are a light weight running shoe with little support. You would need to transition into them unless your shoes are like these. They remind me of our first track shoe in the late '70's and early '80's, absolutely no support but a great shoe feather weight for short distance track events.