Sunday, May 22, 2011


It is interesting to me how my legs are changing as a result of the barefoot running.

I started in the Vibram Five Fingers almost two years ago, but my running was inconsistent. Over the last couple of months, however I have been running consistently over varying surfaces and distances, and along with that I have seen changes in my leg muscles.

The first changes were in my feet and especially on the outside of my lower legs. These were simply because I needed to compensate for the loss of support the shoes provided. Being on the, uh, older end of things meant that it took longer (months) than it probably would have for a younger person. My legs were quite stiff after those earlier runs, but my feet weren't, they just felt used, like they'd had a good workout.

Since I've committed to barefooting my legs have been strengthening, basically from the bottom up. My ankles are stronger, especially now that I've added hills and longer workouts (15 miles last Thursday) to my routine. Also, I'm starting to regain some speed. Today I ran my normal 4 mile course and found that I've taken more than a minute a mile off my time since February. Interestingly, as I've increased my pace I have also felt an increase in strength around my knees.

The increase in ankle and knee strength are completely new to me. I grew up with a lot of lateral movement playing soccer, but this newfound strength around my joints is different. It feels almost as if my ankles were wrapped in tape or my knees bound in an elastic brace. My body is building up its own support which, in turn, makes me more confident about pushing my pace.

The Club Northwest All-Comers series starts this Wednesday. I haven't been on the track for more than a month, and haven't run a fast 800 meters for two years, so I don't think my time will be very good, but I am very interested in how my body will respond to pushing myself for a (barefoot) 800 meters.

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