I hopped on the barefoot running bandwagon almost an year ago, starting with the Vibram FiveFingers KSOs. Since I wasn’t a long-time runner, switching away from the heel strike was an easy transition and I didn’t have any issues running 5Ks in them.
Enter the Chicago Half Marathon. I followed Hal Higdon’s awesome 12 week intermediate training program wearing the KSOs and God, the longer runs hurt. The thin soles weren’t providing very much protection at all and even Chicago’s lakeshore path doesn’t provide much of an exodus from running on pavement. Race day itself was rough – you can only pay so much attention to the road for that perfect landing while keeping an eye out for aid stations, other runners, fans, etc. By mile 10, even though my legs weren’t tired, my feet were beyond numb.
It’s hard to transition from barefoot running back to regular sneakers as your feet are used to the lighter, more agile shoes (not to mention the reversal in running style). Besides, that would be a step backward! To prepare myself better for the upcoming Chi Town Half Marathon, I bought myself a new pair of Vibrams – more protection, better fit, MOAR BETTER!
I’m really hoping the compartmentalized areas on the sole do a good job of softening the impact. It’s a significant difference from my old pair.
The salesman at the store also shared some cool barefoot running resources – The popular Born to Run book, a barefoot running guide that I hadn’t heard of and an aptly named barefoot running blog – BirthdayShoes.com.
Here’s to hoping this half is easier on the feet!