Half marathon success, minimalist style

posted by Russ, March 20 in outside with tags , ,

1 comment so far

I don’t know how I never got around to writing about this, but after months of training, and culminating a few years after first hearing about barefoot running, I successfully completed a half marathon in my Vibram Five Fingers! Almost barefoot…

It was a long journey to get there, but in the end was a great success. I first wrote about my barefoot quest a couple years ago after reading the book Born to Run, and posted a few updates along the way.

The first 6 months or so of minimalist running showed significant progress, at which point I sort of tapered off. When I started pushing myself, I think I went too hard and injured my calf, which kept my distance low for a while. After over a year of just sticking to low miles, I decided that if I really wanted to up my distance I needed a goal, so I signed up for the Carlsbad Half Marathon.

For the 3 or 4 months leading up to the race, I actually only ran 2-3 days per week. During the week I did one or two 3-5 mile runs, and each Sunday I did my long run, with 11 miles being the most miles I actually ran prior to the race. (4 weeks prior, for the remainder of the time I was out of the country and only ran once, but that’s another story!)

On race day I went slow and steady the entire time, and finished with a time of 2:03 which was better than the time of my only other race 5 years prior. The amazing thing is I ran the 2nd half of the race 10 minutes faster than the 1st half, which means I had too much reserve at the end and probably didn’t push enough the entire time. During the final few miles the bottoms of my feet were quite sore after all the pounding on the pavement, but in the end all was well. No blisters, no pain, just some good old fashioned tiredness.

People are always curious about running in Vibram Five Fingers, and I won’t say it’s been life changing for me, but it’s definitely improved my running. Running is more fun now, I have less pain and soreness, better recovery, better form, more awareness and connection to the ground and the surface I run on, and of course it’s been a fun challenge! My advice is that if you already run fine, don’t change anything, but if you need a change, give Vibrams or barefooting a shot. Just start out slow and easy, and of course have fun!

Originally posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 6:22 AM .

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