April 21, 2008


As I mentioned in my Trail Mix report, I had some trouble with the muscles in my feet cramping during Saturday's trail race. Not my calves - my feet. I believe that this was caused by fatigue of muscles that simply don't get used very efficiently when running exclusively on paved paths or the hamster wheel, especially when constantly encased in shoes. There is a fair amount of peer reviewed research to support the notion that today's running shoes may contribute to many of the overuse injuries incurred by runners (feel free to do your own research using the Highwire link provided under "training aids"), and running barefoot allows your body to work the way it was designed. In the past I've never had problems transitioning from asphalt to dirt, probably because I was rock climbing on a regular basis (very effective strengthener of intrinsic muscles in feet!). Since I haven't been climbing much at all this past year and Trail Mix was only my second time off road this spring, things didn't go heavenly on Saturday as far as the tootsies were concerned. Anyhoo, I already knew about the potential benefits of running barefoot, but was too chicken to actually try going sans shoes outdoors - until I found out about Vibram Five Fingers KSO's from Keith.

Vibram Five Fingers KSO with Injinji socks

Took 'em out for their maiden voyage on the dirt paths at Bredesen Park this afternoon, and...WooHoo! Got to run through puddles, on soft dirt, asphalt, over twigs (ouch) and rocks (ouch), grass, etc. Still have tender feet! I only went about 2 and a half miles - my forefeet were starting to feel mildly bruised, but I expect that I just need to get used to actually feeling the terrain that I'm running on. Calves weren't tired at all. And my feet felt light as air (unlike Saturday at Trail Mix wearing clunkers that collected mud).

Oh, and the trees are budding, and turtles are popping up on logs in the ponds. It's officially spring!


keith said...

I hope you enjoy your KSO experience! Just take it easy in the beginning!! I would also suggest some real barefoot walks/runs to really get a sense of what you body wants to do when you tell it to run.

That stitching software is really cool. I am hoping to document my uncle's farm before it gets overtaken by suburbs.

That will be a good tool to do that with.

Wayne said...

Way to get out with the KSOs, Kel. 2.5miles sounds like quite a ways... since all I'm doing so far is walking around in my house. I need to find a good place to try them out. Hmmm, maybe you'll inspire me to find a good, soft trail tonight.

Steve said...

Sounds like a fun time, Kel!! I still need to get my butt to the store and pick up some KSO's too. I've been talking about it for weeks, but hopefully this will be extra motivation for me. ;-)