They’ve been sitting around. Or at least tucked away securely in their box, keeping their beautiful white hue. A hue that has stayed around for nearly a year and a half, thanks to being hidden in that box, not seeing much light, or mud. I’ve brought them out to play a time or two; albeit, not for very long. And they’ve remained in their box, in the closet, next to a gazillion other shoes, mostly forgotten.
All that left side pain didn’t seem to effect the marathon. I think the marathon effected the pain. Afterwards, I cut back on mileage to heal up before starting Boston training. I ran what I wanted, when I wanted, and however slow I wanted. It didn’t add up to many miles. As I inched toward the end of my “off” season, I was realizing the pain was not subsiding. So I started to stretch more. And foam roll. And even iced.
Then, I remembered Born to Run.
It’s chock full of running tidbits that will make you rethink everything you thought you already knew about running (this from a runner of 19 years!). But as I battled the tightness on my left side, I began to recall particular things. Things about running in your shoes until they literally fall apart, things about minimalist footwear, things about barefoot running. And all the benefits! Running as nature intended us to run, not as nurture has coddled and cushioned us via brand names and marketing.
Now, don’t me wrong! I love to be coddled and cushioned by brand names and marketing! A lot! But just for a moment, I wondered…
If minimalist and barefoot running was so beneficial to athletes, namely in the way of preventing injury, why not attempt to run more in my Vibrams? I already have them. No purchase necessary. Can’t hurt. Well, maybe initially until my feet and calves get used to it.
I was always the skeptically one when it came to barefoot running and minimalist footwear. Oh sure, I had read all the articles I could find on the interwebs, in magazines, in books, etc., but I wasn’t sure what it meant to me.
Until I read Born to Run. Until I started feeling…injured?
I decided to unbox them a few days ago. Give them a little love on an easy 4 miler with my lululemon run club. It felt pretty good. Not a “the-pain-totally-went-away-and-these-Vibrams-are-the-CURE-ALL-for-running-injuries-and-world-peace” type of good, but a “delayed pain” sort of good. While my leg would typically start hurting right away when starting a run, this time the pain didn’t start until about 2 miles in. Don’t jump to conclusions, I told myself. Could be a coincidence.
The next day I ran 5 in those coddled, cushioned, brand name shoes, followed by an hour of yoga (yeah, I’m on that train). And today, I ran another easy 3.5 miles in my Vibrams. Not much pain at all. Hmmmm…
While each day this week I’ve been consistent about foam rolling and stretching, part of me really feels like the Vibrams are helping. Perhaps it’s because I run differently in them. You can’t help but run differently in them!
My goal now is to continue running my easy miles in them. Build up my calf muscles and my feet. Taking the leap into barefoot running?! NOT HARDLY. I know I don’t have the prettiest feet, thanks to several years of distance running, and the accompanying toenail loss, but I’m slightly too vain to get on board with that one! Have you seen their feet?! But I do want to see if I can avoid an injury by using minimalists. For research purposes, of course.