I tend to have sporadic runs in my Vibrams. I have yet to run regularly in those shoes. My New Balance Minimus have taken over but from time to time I attempt to run “barefoot”. It is not easy. It is uncomfortable and I run slower than I ever have, even when I first started running. To run 1 mile it took me close to fourteen minutes. Argh! So slow, almost a shuffle. I felt ridiculous for “running” at a snails pace and I wanted to stop badly but I kept plodding along determined to finish a mile although I barely broke a sweat nor did I even really feel my heart rate increase. That was about a month ago. I decided to give it another go a few days ago and it was wholly different in ways but stayed the same in others. The same because I still ran very very slowly. I am practicing patience and in order to get my body prepared for long term barefoot running I need to gradually work towards more miles and a faster pace. What was different was no pain. Absolutely none of the discomfort that I had previously experienced. Why? I’m inclined to believe it was because I stumbled upon a site (which I will go into further detail about in the next paragraph) that noted in barefoot running one must understand your cadence will change and in order to get in balance you must have a faster turnover. I took that advice. As I ran at a slow pace I increased my turnover and was able to run 2 miles with no pain. It took me a whopping 27 minutes to complete the run but no pain! No stinking pain! A small success that increased my confidence and now I’m excited about doing more running in my Vibrams.
I found a new site that chronicles a man who is an accomplished barefoot runner. Come to find out he is a Seattlelite too! I introduce you to Barefoot Ted’s Adventures. Not only is Barefoot Ted an active barefoot runner, he offers coaching to those that desire to get running sans footwear. Since he is in Seattle I’ve considered taking classes. It wouldn’t hurt to have someone critique my form and help me improve. I found the site to be wildly informative and inspirational. At times I found myself in disbelief at his strength and stamina to run an ultra in sandals. Although I am behind this movement sometimes I shake my head and think maybe people who are dedicated to this ideal are plain nuts. Funny how I weave between believer and skeptic but, in all honesty, my faith has grown that running barefoot or in minimalist footwear is beneficial and necessary.
In September the second annual Barefoot Run will be held in New York City. Wish I could be there!