Wednesday, February 9, 2011

First 1.5 Mile Orbit in Five Fingers

Three days after running marathon #4, I was itching to get my legs moving again...not just because my legs feel great, but also because I have been most curious about seeing what it feels like to use the Vibram Five Fingers TrekSports under more typical running conditions.

Remember that I did not want to risk my messing with my training routine by introducing something radically different into the mix a month before a race. Playing it safe allowed me to set another personal record on Sunday. I am now free to experiment.

I had only run on them once before...a mile on the track. I had run in flats before, so running without support on a flat rubberized track did not seem of any real concern. But my home orbit is all pavement, all hill.

I especially liked the idea of introducing my feet to the Vibrams during my recovery week because I figured I would not be able to go all out in them...which would potentially open the door for more injury.

That said, it is amazing how great I felt running in them this morning.

My legs had clearly recovered. Though they may have felt better the day after Los Angeles (I think the brutal open reflexology massage I had after Surf City caused more pain come Monday), my legs and feet had no issues...not even a blister...that would delay my return.

The Vibrams are so light on the feet, that my legs had an additional spring to every step, especially upon the steep inclines that start my orbit. I completely do not miss the support or extra cushioning as I pound the pavement. Unfortunately, I do not have the GPS data from this stretch to evaluate because I must have bumped some settings after the marathon that kept it from recording my pace or distance as I climbed the hill.

With the watch settings fixed, I resumed my run. My legs really started turning over fast as the hill crested...naturally wanted to run in the low 7 minute per mile range. I had to consciously decide to slow down for fear I might risk something as I reached the downhill stretch.

The only area where I really felt I needed to pay close attention to my running form was on the descent. I feared that I might revert to a heel strike on the down slope. That said, I felt no discomfort, even with an occasional mid-foot strike...and never came close to a heel strike.

When I was done, I was surprised how easily it went (a very comfortable 8:16 per mile). I felt fully recovered from the marathon. I felt I could have easily done my full 3 mile orbit in the Vibrams.

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