We did a post about our initial impressions of Barefoot Running, more specifically, minimalist running. After having transitioned from normal shoes to Vibram Five Fingers about two months ago, I thought it would be a great idea to give a recap list of why I am still doing it.
1. Connection with the earth
I don't want to sound like too much of a hippy or too cliché, but I really do feel much more grounded when running with these shoes. I feel every stone (good and bad!) every root, the dew on the grass. It just feels more natural, almost more peaceful.
2. Less injury
For those of you who had run with me previously to this experiment, I had a nasty habit of twisting my ankles fairly often while running. I don't know why, but I often miss-stepped on side walks, rolling my ankles. Since I've made the switch to minimalist running, I have not had a single incident. I've felt a number of times where I miss step but easily regain my footing with no injury. I am 100 percent of the opinion that it is directly related with my feet being able to feel the bad landing and compensate quickly. Having a thick sole on a shoe prevented me from feeling and reacting.
3. Run Faster
I honestly feel that I have been running faster. Previously, when I was in significantly better shape, I would consistently do about 28-29 minute 5k runs a few times a week. Now, being significantly less in shape, I am still hitting 29 minute 5k times. I am working on my form, quick turn over of my feet. It seems to propel me forward, seemingly much more effortlessly.
4. Run Farther
I've been able to run farther than I have in the past. I am not drained after my normal 5k runs. My easy 3k runs are almost a joke now. I am honestly holding myself back for fear of injury because I know I need to strengthen my feet before I push it too far.
5. Pure Fun
Running with minimalist shoes is simply fun. Most people think of running and exercise as chores, but honestly it has been a blast. On Friday I ran to and from work. On my way home, a hit pop/club song came on my Pandora station and I've never had more fun running anywhere in my life. I increased my cadence and my turn over and burned it down the street. An added bonus to it all, I am starting to really enjoy people staring when I wear my Vibrams or am out walking the dog barefoot.
Overall it has been great so far. I highly recommend it with one stipulation: seriously, take it slow. I am having a blast and the hardest part is not overdoing it. Listen to your feet, if they are sore, don't push it. Less running is better than no running.