Weekend Guest - Jay Feist
I love running in my Vibram Five Finger KSO Treks. I feel lighter, faster, and much more efficient. Running is fun again.
In February of this year, I had one of those life changing events. I
had just gotten off the examination table and was told I had two large
blood clots in a deep vein above and below the knee. Blood clots in a
deep vein are dangerous. What exactly had caused them wasn't exactly
known. But the week before, I had run around White Rock Lake in Dallas
on Sunday morning and then sat in a car that afternoon for approx 6
hours on the drive back. I had also pulled something behind the knee
during the run. The combination of injury and sitting for such a long
time probably caused the blood to clot around that injury. At least
that's the guess.
The reason I mention this, I started to really look at what I was
doing to my body. I am a runner. I love to run. But the injuries
(achilles, lower back, etc.) over the last several years made me think
there had to be a better way. I wasn't about to quit running. That was
not an option. I needed to find out why I was having all those issues
and do something about it.
That's when I discovered there are several styles of running. I read
the book on Chi Running and read about the Pose method. I also picked
up the book, Born to Run. What an inspiration that book is. But the
important take away was running barefoot. That made perfect sense to
me. I had two feet that should be more than capable of running without
heel protection and arch support.
On Sunday April 25th,
I completed the Wichita Half Marathon in my Vibram shoes. I didn't set
a PR because of the limited training schedule, but I was very happy
that I finished it in good time. I started running in Vibram's in
March. You are supposed to transition to running without shoe support
over a long period of time. It takes time for your feet to adapt.
Muscles have to get stronger, ligaments have to get stronger, and bones
have to adapt to the new stress. Being in standard shoes all the time
makes your feet and lower legs atrophy. Some say you should transition
over at least a 6-month period. I think everyone is a little different.
Depends on how strong your feet are when you begin.
I have completely changed my running style to shorter steps, faster
cadence and to a more efficient movement. I land each step on the mid
foot instead of my heels. It took a little time to get used to the new
style. In fact, I am still working on it. And sometimes I wasn't sure
exactly what I was doing. But just running barefoot on a grass field
will remind you how to run the correct way. This is a perfect way to
train your feet. Take off running across the football field or park in
your bare feet.
According to some new research, running barefoot or running in
minimal shoes places less stress on your body. Your knees, lower back,
hips, etc. all benefit from the lower stress of running on your
forefoot or midfoot instead of your heels. Running on your heels also
takes more energy since the heel strike acts as a brake to your forward
The Vibram Five Finger shoes are the closest thing I have found to
running barefoot. They offer protection from glass and small rocks.
They allow you to feel the ground beneath. And it's amazing how much
you learn about your running style and your body by feeling the ground.
Your feet will tell you if you are running correctly and efficiently. I
also know right away when I am starting to convert back to my old
style. My heels start hurting! Oh by the way, people are getting up to
2,000 miles in a pair of Vibrams.
Now that I have completed a half marathon and recently the River Run
10K, I will never go back to regular running shoes. I love the feeling
of flying over the ground. Running like my feet were intended to do.
Only time will tell if the injuries stay away. But in the mean time, I
enjoy running again. And that's the important thing!
By the way, my life changes weren't all about running. I have also
changed my diet to the Paleo diet. After a lot of research, it made a
lot of sense too. If you want more info on what I have found on either
Paleo or running barefoot, please let me know and I can send you the