Friday, September 25, 2009

Five-fingers update.

I did my campus-tower-home run in my Vibram 5-fingers for the first time about a month ago (and several times since). Let me tell you, I was nervous. My last major run in them, the 10km with Jaime last month, resulted in 3 days of serious stiffness in my calves and not a little whining. I recognize that (re)training my lower legs and feet is a process of undoing 37 years of unwitting damage. Atrophied muscles aren't going to strengthen and flourish in a month or two. However, I do feel that I am well on my way.

I have started to think of running barefoot as a type of physiotherapy class taught to me by my own feet. I have found three distinct running styles while I am barefoot. When on grass, I jog with a typical "heel strike" method. Such as you would do all the time in running shoes. On harder surfaces, I run landing on the padding between the arch and my toes. This is what really gets the calf muscles working. When my muscles are feeling sore, or I am at a slower than usual pace, I jog with a hybrid of the previous two -- My heel barely impacting and then quickly rolling towards the front of the foot.

In the last few weeks I have started running to campus in my 5-fingers, taking a five minute break before attempting the tower, and then removing my shoes for the run home. It's 4km each way, plus the tower. I don't know how long this can continue as the weather is sure to be a limiting factor. Getting back into the fall schedule of driving bus and doing more of the home chores by myself has certainly put a kink in my running regiment

I am beginning to find that, for lengthy running, barefoot is even better than running in the 5-fingers. I admit to taking a great deal more care, and I am still 20% slower while barefoot, but it feels great.

FYI, I have added complete historical data on my Art Tower running to the spread sheet that appears at the top of the page. Naturally, it shows up at the bottom of the list. I hope to have the rest of the history data on other items available after the snow falls. Eeek! I didn't really type that, did I. After all, it did get up to 43C in my greenhouse yesterday :)