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Vibram Sprints, day one

Posted May 01 2010 12:00am

Yesterday, I ran my first workout in my new Sprints.  I ran three miles in them over flat, neighborhood streets.  Already, I can tell they are superior to my handmade .  [For one thing, I don't have nylon cords rubbing the skin off my feet.]  Though they feel weird to me still, they fit perfectly. They don't rub anything the wrong way, and are -- in short -- extremely comfortable.

The road I ran on was smoothly paved with occasional bits of gravel.  As it's the sort of surface I run on 90% of the time, I figured I'd try it out.  The thing I noticed right away was that I was tending toward a slight heel strike.  This feedback came almost instantly, since there was hardly anything between my foot and the road, so I responded immediately with a more balanced footfall.  Now running more toward the balls of my feet, I could feel my calves getting a stronger workout than usual.  My forefoot seemed to land first, followed by the side-foot rolling earthward, heel striking last.  Then, as my body moved forward, my calf extended, gathering power for a strong push-off from my toes.  This whole drama took place in fractions of a second, yet I could feel each movement distinctly. 

If the running surface was less than ideal for my first attempt at running in Vibrams, my body certainly wasn't prepared for a good run either.  I chose the worst possible time of day for me [late afternoon] after I had eaten a bad lunch and was tired from the day.  My legs felt heavy, and my mood was sour. [This had nothing to do with the shoes.]  Still, complaints aside, after the second mile, everything loosened up.  I finally started running well.  Everything was clicking.  I forgot I had Vibrams on, and for the next half mile or so, I just enjoyed the run.

Toward the end, I had a choice to make.  Do another loop for a 10K, or call it quits.  What made the decision for me were my ankles starting to feel sore.  I've noticed this when I ran in huaraches or totally barefoot.  A discomfort starts building deep inside the joint, primarily on the left ankle, radiating outward.  At three miles, I was ready to call it a day.  I know this discomfort is just my body growing accustomed to a new stress, but pain of any kind is discouraging.  Slowly adding miles will sort this problem out.  I just have to curb my impatience to run in Vibrams 100%. 

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