The weather has finally turned the corner and it looks like spring has finally arrived in the 'Boat. Sunny skies and drying out trails got me excited to run in my Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs). Basically a foot glove, the VFFs allow you to run so that your feet strike the ground as if unshod. This, supposedly, allows for better technique and strengthening of the feet.
Tuesday, I did the hill climb to Second Vista with Benihana. I immediately noticed a shortening in my stride, a reduction in speed and more careful foot placement. The VFFs do offer plenty of protection but the whole idea of barefoot running is to run lightly and not strike the ground so hard. This reduces overall stress on the legs as you run and allows you to run longer, both in mileage and in years. Roughly 4 miles of hills and :55 of running. I felt great afterwards and decided to do a longer, proper trail run on Wednesday.
Left the Mad Creek trailhead at 5:06 p.m. and ran the familiar and fun 4+ miles to Elk Park before turning around. My total run time was 1:34 and I could DEFINITELY feel my feet getting tender as I ran the last mile downhill to finish. My stride was very short at the end and I just straight up walked when the trail got too rocky. No serious pain, though. Just the familiar feeling of new muscles being woken up. I felt great in this morning and even better, some plantar fascitis that was developing in my left foot has actually subsided since I've been barefoot running. No shit! Even after today's light hill workout up to First Vista (2.66 miles, +600', :44), I'm doing well.
Looking forward to a mega long run with Katie tomorrow much further up Mad Creek (a.k.a. Swamp Park) Trail into the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness Area. I'm positive we'll be the first ones that far up the trail this year. Barefootin' is fun, but I'll be wearing shoes for this one!