Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Minimalist Running

I've started running in minimalist shoes again.  I've had my fair share of injuries, achilles bursitis with tendonitis, IT band issues, and a stress fracture to name a few.  This past training cycle I had some foot issues, but I was so in deep with MCM training, I couldn't start from scratch again with minimalist shoes.

I got my Merrell Barefoot shoes for my birthday in May.  All of my non-running friends thought I was weird for getting shoes for my birthday.  Only a runner understands that shoes are a GREAT gift for a runner.  Just sayin'.  I was always intrigued by the idea of getting some.  I've had the above injuries and all of the research I did on barefoot running and minimalist shoes said wearing them could greatly reduce my chances of being injured again, if ever.  Running barefoot is the most natural way, but seriously, who can do that safely?  I looked at the Vibrams, tried them on, and realized those particular ones are not for me, mostly because I have a wide foot, my big toe is huge, and my pinky toe is hardly there.  I also read "Born to Run" over the summer, and that book will definitely get you thinking about at least trying it.

Right after I got them I started to wear them on short runs.  I was doing heart rate training as well, so I was already going at a slow easy pace, so I knew it'd be a great time to try them out.  It didn't take me long to get up to 6-7 miles in them.  I knew that I wanted to keep them into rotation while training for the marathon, but when the miles in the middle of the week hit 10+, it was hard to wear them and feel safe that I wasn't going to hurt myself.  So I stopped wearing them.  My foot started to hurt about a month later.  Ugh.  I pushed through the pain, made it better, and promised I'd get back to wearing them after race season was over.

And that brings us to present day.

I ran for the first time in them on Sunday.  A short 3.20 miles.  Easy peasy.  The next day my left calf was killing me!  That was to be expected, so I took Monday off from running.  I wore them again today, then I worked.  Note to self:  Not a good idea to run in minimalist shoes, then work the same day during the flu season at a pediatric office.  I ran 4.08 today in them today.  I felt great.  Funny thing is that I didn't have any foot pain since I started running in them.  My gait felt weird on Sunday since they force you to run the proper way.  Today was much better, and I was a little faster.  I did notice today that my left foot was louder than my right.  I figure it's partly because my calf was still a little sore from Sunday.  I don't know.  My foot steps are usually extremely quiet in those shoes, people hardly know when I'm about to pass them on the trail, I usually have to say "Good Morning" in order for them to know I'm around.  Today that was not the case, my left foot was smacking so hard on the trail, people in the county over heard it!  So I'm sure I'll be hitting the bike tomorrow morning instead of running.

I'm excited to be back in my Merrells.  I love those shoes.  I'm hoping I get to use this off season to get up to longer miles in them, and who knows maybe a half marathon in May?  Hmmm.....

Have you tried minimalist shoes?  If so, I'd LOVE to hear from you!!  Any advice is welcome!  If not, why haven't you tried them?

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