My son just concluded his junior season of varsity Cross Country for Halls High School in Knoxville, TN. He decided, without fanfare, to run all of the meets in his VFF Treks. He has seen me, along with his brother and his sister-in-law, convert from traditional running shoes to VFFs. James, however, is not a “trend follower”. Just “because other people do it” is more likely to be a reason for him to go the other way, especially where parents are involved! So there was no consultation, no searching of Dan Lieberman’s data for a scientific basis of injury avoidance…all I knew was he showed up for the first meet in his Treks.
James has been a distance runner for his school’s track or CC teams for over 5 years. He has completed one full marathon and is a natural fore/mid-foot runner who previously had worn track spikes in his cross country meets, even while most others wore running shoes. Even so, he had fought through shin splints and sore knees from time to time during past seasons.
For the 2010 varsity CC season, he ran all 8 meets in the season in his VFF Treks, posting a couple of Personal Records (PRs) along the way, and always finishing in the top 5 of his school team. What has been the outcome, you may ask? A County championship, maybe? A first place finish? No, regrettably there is no such happy story towards which to point, or to lay the success at the feet of his VFFs. On the other hand, unlike prior seasons, James had no injury issues all year. For me, this is the most significant outcome and educational point that can be made. Most of us on this site just want to finish, and finish well, when we undertake an event in our VFFs, whether the event is a 5K, 10K, a CrossFit WOD, or even a marathon. We want to be injury free and the fact that he put in as many miles this year virtually injury-free, at least in my opinion, is the biggest success imaginable.
Thanks for sending us your son's story Dave! Glad to hear James had a great year of healthy running and good luck during track season.