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Author Topic: I've come full circle- back into "normal" shoes for running...  (Read 2250 times)
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Cheese
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« on: May 14, 2012, 12:54:17 PM »

I'll preface this with a statement- I love my VFFs. I'm not transitioning back into standard shoes because of an injury, or due to anything other than having found a pair of standard runners that i absolutely fell in love with- the Saucony Kinvara...

I'm sorry VFFs. We had a good run together, and I'll always treasure our time. We can still see each other for crossfit, and casual wear- but when it comes to the run, I have found a new love.

It's not you, it's me.

Unfortunately, the very traits of my VFFs that made the evolution in form necessary are now becoming limiting factors- I want distance, but can't comfortably run more than 5k on pavement in the VFFs without experiencing discomfort in my forefoot. it's not excruciating, but it does cause me to back off on pace. My HR says "go faster", but my feet say "this is fine". As my pavement running distances have been increasing I have found that I can run further, and faster while in relative comfort in the Kinvaras than I ever could in my VFFs. On Saturday I went out in the Saucony's and set 3 new personal bests- for the Kilometer (4:09), The Mile (6:49), and the 5 kilometer (23:38) I realize this isn't "blisteringly fast" but considering my previous performance in each of these metrics- where i was finishing 5K in just under 28 min, and was working toward stringing together sub 6 minute consecutive splits. Saturday 4 of my 5 splits were sub 5 min, with only the 4th Kilometer coming in at 5:03. That sort of improvement is nothing short of radical.

I realize this may sound contrary, but I credit the VFFs for the dramatic improvements to my performance- without the work on form, which was inspired, and required by the VFFs I doubt I'd be running as comfortably at speed as I do today. With that said, I think the proof I require is there- It's time to evolve.

Fortunately crossfit is about to become a major element in my life. My BJJ gym is expanding into a new facility that will include full time crossfit workouts in addition to martial arts, and i fully intend to take advantage. i hope my VFFs will find their home in my locker accommodating.

P

 
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Saying "5716 People entered a race, and I beat 5021 of them" is way cooler than telling people you came in 695th"
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« on: May 14, 2012, 12:54:17 PM »

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Jeepman
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2012, 02:54:15 PM »

Just be careful because it is very well possible that the Kinvaras are covering up feedback. You can get hurt much worse in shoes with less feedback. If your body is telling to back off, then there is probably a good reason for it. Just be careful, we don't want to see you hurt. I enjoy reading your race posts too much.
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 03:00:38 PM »

I was going to say the same thing. If the forefoot hurts, there can be a pounding issue more than a shoe issue. I also would be sad to not read you anymore...
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Cheese
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2012, 04:09:28 PM »

No worries- I'll be sticking around for sure, and I still stand by my statements regarding VFFs being great mud running shoes (and just great shoes in general). I'm trying to work up to marathon distances now though, and the pavement is just brutal on my feet. It's not acute pain or anything either, just discomfort of repetitive strikes- kind of like how it feels after clapping my hands for too long- it's like a numbness. it doesn't last more than a little while after the run. It's hard to explain, but having seen video of my foot strikes I know my form is right, so I'm not sure what else to do. The more squishy Saucony's seem to remedy it a bit.

I honestly think the issue is the pavement.

I don't think man was meant to run long distances on such a hard surface. Actually, it could be successfully argued that man wasn't meant to run these ultra long distances at all! I think about these things, and it makes me think twice about my marathon goal, but I want this as a sort of feather in my cap. I purposely looked at shoes with minimal heel drop- my Kinvaras are 4mm, and they are extremely light- like 7 oz. light, which is about half the weight of my old Asics.

I have my next Tough Mudder on June 9th, and then my first 13.1 on July 17th, and 3 legs of the Wild West Relay (7, 20 & 32 = 11.7 miles) in August. I'm working towards my first 26.2 in January. That's a lot of pavement running, so I'm adapting.

P
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 04:11:25 PM by Cheese » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2012, 04:09:28 PM »

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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2012, 12:51:09 PM »

This is just the type of string I was hoping to find.  I started in Bikilas about 1 year ago and then went totally barefoot and now I am back and forth.  The transition from regular shoes has been challenging, frustrating at times, but it has been a fascinating experience that has changed my running form and eliminated low-back pain and knee pain that I previously attributed to heavy squats.  I know know that the source of my back pain and knee pain has always been the jogging.

My problem, or my current-challenge, is that I am trying to get back into tip-top cardiovascular shape through running (which is by far my favorite form of cardio) and my feet just wont let me do it.  When I get fatigued I lose my form and start tearing my feet and calves up by striking and pushing off.  In regular shoes I could continue to plod along for a couple more miles and/or increase pace but not barefoot.  I feel like once I get back to where I need to be cardiovascularly, I could probably switch back to barefoot and see if my form holds, but right now there is just no way to push it.  Are there any suggestions for a shoe that will promote proper form but bridge the gap when I lose form at the end of a hard run?  I've never worn the Kinvara but that sounds like it might be the ticket.
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Mr. Leigh
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2012, 01:18:08 PM »

Check this review out.

http://birthdayshoes.com/altra-provision-running-shoe-review

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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2012, 01:28:16 PM »

That would be the post right in front of my face.  I feel like a such a lazy member.  That shoe looks pretty cool, I might give it a try.
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2012, 03:57:18 PM »

My problem, or my current-challenge, is that I am trying to get back into tip-top cardiovascular shape through running (which is by far my favorite form of cardio) and my feet just wont let me do it.  When I get fatigued I lose my form and start tearing my feet and calves up by striking and pushing off.  In regular shoes I could continue to plod along for a couple more miles and/or increase pace but not barefoot.

This is what I went through back when I first transitioned to VFFs in 2008. I would get frustrated because my feet and caves would not hold up long enough to challenge my cardio. Finally after additional 8 months and running all through winter, I started to see improvements. I thought about why this was taking so long. It occurred to me that what was happening is I was remaking my whole lower body. When you change from heel striking to mid/fore foot running you have to develop more bone density in the metatarsals, stronger ligaments, greater ankle articulation, and calf strength. This takes a fair amount of time. Generally there are cases; 1.) You're just not cut out for it - not likely in my experience 2.) You haven't put in the time required yet. You have to pay your dues, or choose another compromise in footwear.
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2012, 04:16:40 PM »

There is nothing that motivates me more than a challenge and you have inspired me to run the summer in my bikilas.  I guess my question is this:  Is it a better strategy to beat my feet and legs up building cardio or would it be better to build up my cardio first then transition back to barefoot where I can run with better form, longer and faster?  When I am fresh I can run properly, and my feet, legs, and ankles are fine.  Its only when I become fatigued that I begin bang up my feet.  If running barefoot teaches you anything it teaches you that the goal is not to beat your feet and legs until they can withstand anything, its that running properly actually takes the strain out of running...to an extent.

Any thoughts?  Any and all responses are greatly appreciated.  I love this site.
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2012, 04:38:41 PM »

A follow-up question, which I guess was really my initial question, would also be: If what you are saying is true (I need to develop bone density in metatarsals, strengthen ligaments, increase ankle articulation and calf strength), is there a shoe that allows for these benefits, to a lesser extent than barefoot or VFF, while still providing a little additional protection when my form slips?
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« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2012, 04:43:40 PM »

Is it necessary for you to "build cardio" while running? There are other options, like riding a bike, inline skating etc.

This way, you can run until your legs are fit, and your form is correct - I would encourage you to try to run first part barefeet, then the rest of distance in your VFF - if you must wear shoes :-) - and do your cardio training on a bike or other way then running.

With such a training, your feet and legs will be happy (not beaten), as well as your heart (after working on cardio) and your brain (by completing your own training goals).

is there a shoe that allows for these benefits, to a lesser extent than barefoot or VFF, while still providing a little additional protection when my form slips?

You're looking for a short cut Cool

Some say that you can run some part of your normal running distance in barefeet or VFF, and other in normal running shoes (more or less minimal - just look at a review section of this site for advice). But what is the point of that?

Are you a professional runner? Do you need to run such and such distance? What is rushing you so much?  Wink

The older you're the longer it is going to take to rebuild your body. The more patient you need to be  Grin
Drinking milk, and eating some "white" cheese might help a little  Wink
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 04:54:18 PM by klanger » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2012, 04:51:51 PM »

Necessary? No.  I have come to this same conclusion and am biking right now.  However, I dont particularly care for biking, and I am really missing long, hard runs. 
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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2012, 05:33:18 PM »

Why not rotate? Run some days longer and harder in shoes with some protection and do lighter, slowed days in vffs. Just a thought, there are many ways to go about it. Just definitely don't beat your feet up running in vffs when you're too tired to run with good form. That's a recipe for disaster.
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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2012, 11:52:23 PM »

No worries- I'll be sticking around for sure, and I still stand by my statements regarding VFFs being great mud running shoes (and just great shoes in general). I'm trying to work up to marathon distances now though, and the pavement is just brutal on my feet. It's not acute pain or anything either, just discomfort of repetitive strikes- kind of like how it feels after clapping my hands for too long- it's like a numbness. it doesn't last more than a little while after the run. It's hard to explain, but having seen video of my foot strikes I know my form is right, so I'm not sure what else to do. The more squishy Saucony's seem to remedy it a bit.

I honestly think the issue is the pavement.

I think the issue is that you're landing just hard enough to stress and fatigue your feet.  That's how I was in my VFFs - my form was good, but little did I know that I was striking the ground just slightly harder than I could tolerate.  Over time and distance, it added up.  I didn't think I was landing too hard (I was floating compared to how I ran in running shoes), but that feeling never went away until I ditched the shoes altogether and went barefoot (TRULY barefoot).  Not suggesting you have to do the same, but it's not necessarily the pavement that's the problem, and I agree that if you're still having that feeling then you should back off a little.  With the right input from your feet, you can adjust that landing to accommodate hard surfaces, even at long distances.  That lack of ground feel from wearing any type of shoe, even in very minimal shoes like VFFs, still compromises your landing.  That is the main reason why "barefoot running shoes" are not actually like barefoot running.

If the Kinvaras work for you, great, keep on trucking.  I had a pair back in 2009, but eventually gave them away as they were just too much shoe for me.  Great option though for a lot of folks, I'm glad Saucony came out with them.  Much better than other running shoes out there.
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2012, 08:40:16 AM »

My problem, or my current-challenge, is that I am trying to get back into tip-top cardiovascular shape through running (which is by far my favorite form of cardio) and my feet just wont let me do it.  When I get fatigued I lose my form and start tearing my feet and calves up by striking and pushing off.  In regular shoes I could continue to plod along for a couple more miles and/or increase pace but not barefoot.

I thought about why this was taking so long. It occurred to me that what was happening is I was remaking my whole lower body. When you change from heel striking to mid/fore foot running you have to develop more bone density in the metatarsals, stronger ligaments, greater ankle articulation, and calf strength. This takes a fair amount of time. Generally there are cases; 1.) You're just not cut out for it - not likely in my experience 2.) You haven't put in the time required yet. You have to pay your dues, or choose another compromise in footwear.

I did a seven month transition to VFFs before I started running in them full time.  And even after that point, I couldn't get myself to run more than 20 miles per week.  My feet had been living too long in pointy shoe coffins that pass for a mens dress shoe.  However, even after that transition and a few half marathons, my feet will get to the point where they just can't take the pounding on the pavement and it's time to back off.  It actually took me over a year after the transition to finally get the proper footstrike down and maintain it for a long distance.

Since New Years Eve, I've done the equivalent of five half marathons.  My feet -- particularly my arches -- last month were finally telling me to back off.  Too much mileage, too much enthusiasm, too much giving in to the addiction to run too far, and too many half marathons and other runs already paid for.

Why not rotate? Run some days longer and harder in shoes with some protection and do lighter, slowed days in vffs.

So on the days when I do want to run long, I've been using the Altra Instinct.  I miss the ground feel, but I can maintain my form in it.

In one of Joe Henderson's books I read that if you do a race, you should give yourself a recovery of about one week for every mile of the race.  It sounds prudent, especially for those of us in our early stages of VFFs.

Bottom line is to give your feet a break and ease off just a tad on your goals.  As qcassidy and I (and many here on the forums) can attest, doing TMTS, no matter how long you've been a VFF user, can lead to TOFP or worse.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2012, 09:14:49 PM by jmijares » Logged

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