Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Trail Running in Vibram KSOs

I've had my Vibram KSOs for sometime now, but I've only been wearing them for my runs up to 3.2 miles. I've also only been wearing them on the road.  I had yet to try them out for trail running.  All my research said to give them awhile before hitting the trails since trail running is so different than road running.  Well today, I decided it was time.  I strapped on the Vibram Five Finger KSOs and headed to Bent Creek and ran the Lake Loop which is about 1.72 miles.

WOW!  I loved them!  Honestly, there were a few small rocks that hurt like hell - one even left a small bruise on my foot - but it was amazing at how my body and running style adjusted so quickly.  I've always had a  pretty good stride length and running on trails I always felt like I was bounding over rocks, stumps, puddles etc... Not the case in the Vibrams.  On the first twinge of pain, my stride immediately shortened and my turnover rate increased.  I lost no time by shortening my stride, and in fact, I believe I actually ran faster than I would have in my regular running shoes.

I could feel every rock and stump I stepped on, but in a good way.  I could feel the sensation when going through muddy areas.  I swear at one point, I could feel myself slip in the mud before I actually slipped...like "spidey sense".  My reaction to adjust and catch my balance was seemingly super!

My legs felt fresh the whole run and whatever pain I would get here and there from sharper rocks, was gone within a step or two.  I actually felt so fresh close to the end of my run that I jumped up on a large rock in the middle of the trail like I was a kid again to avoid some sharp rocks on either side.  I  effortlessly jumped up onto the rock and back town the other side in a fluid motion.

Going up hills, I have a tendency to go up a little flat footed unless I'm running hard.  In the Vibrams, I instinctively went up on the balls of my feet which made going up the hill so much easier. 

All in all, I actually felt very primal as I ran over rocks, stumps and through mud and puddles.  The sensation of my feet contouring to stumps and larger rocks was so cool!

I think I'm quickly becoming a barefoot/minimalist running convert.  I haven't decided yet, but I'm leaning to running the Asheville Citizen-Times Half-Marathon in my Vibrams in September.  I'll let you know what happens.

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