Thursday, April 8, 2010

Oh My Aching Feet!

So for those of you that sang along with "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" never read a really good book. Okay, so it's a stretch but I'm blaming Chris McDougall's book, Born to Run, on my current achy feet. Not only did his book motivate me to sign up for Leadville 100 in the first place but it also encouraged me to buy a pair of Vibram Five Fingers(see below).

These shoes are designed to bridge the gap between bare-foot(and often bloody) running and heavy, proprioceptive reducing running shoe running. I went for a 45 minute run last night for my third run in them and here's my input:

1)Great for ultra-running pace running because they force you to go slow.
2)Good for intrinsic muscle use as the foot has to flex and stabilize itself more because the shoe is not doing it for you
3)Fair for running economy because while it does force you to avoid a heel striking(and stress fracture causing) gait pattern, it also puts you more on your toes(rather than midfoot) which can lead to things like Achilles Tendonitis and other overuse injuries. Also descending becoming far more difficult because you have to eccentrically control your foot fall.
4)No so good for proprioceptive training. Whether it's a Nike, Brooks or Vibram rubber, the truth is that any amount of material between your foot's sensory nerves and the ground diminishes your body proprioception.
5)Good for Sore Feet- My fault. Should have gone for a shorter run.

All in all, I think that I'll continue to race in flats but Vibram's may become a part of a once or twice weekly training program. We'll see.

Now where's the Ice?

1 comment:

  1. I've been a big fan of my five fingers for strengthening my feet while walking. In fact before getting my five fingers my plantar fasciitis was so bad I could barely stand on my toes anymore. I don't use the five fingers for running (and haven't used them in a while for walking) and I generally prefer a Nike Free for road. But then again I seem to be having a plantar relapse so I may be spending time in my five fingers again this spring to see if my "cure" works again.

    Adam's pacing at Leadville, we booked our flights a few days ago.