My Running Shoe Roundup and Why I Shouldn’t Wear Vibrams (But Still Do)

My brother, (who is a rockstar and is about to graduate with a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering – oh my goodness I’m so proud of you BROOO!), recently sent me a text asking:
“What running shoes do you have now?”

I have to admit, I was more than a little psyched to have an opportunity to share my running shoe love with someone, so it took exactly zero seconds for me to start typing away on my iphone and sending him pictures and links.

Ahem.

And I know you haven’t technically asked me for this, but I thought I would share my running shoe roundup, and maybe help someone looking for information or trying to make a purchasing decision!

I will also talk a little about my experience with the Vibram fivefingers – which I love in an irrational way because, well, you’ll find out.

So, here goes:

1- Nike LunarGlide+
I use these shoes for my longer runs. At about 9.7 ounces, they are lightweight, but for me still sturdy enough to hold up and give me support.

When I first bought the Lunarglide+ I was transitioning from even heavier shoes, so I felt like I was flying in them.

Another good thing about the Lunarglide+ is that it has built-in support for the Nike+ system – meaning there’s a little spot where you can put your Nike+ sensor in the shoe and you won’t even feel it there. Good for those times when I am interested in using the system.

Overall I think the Nike Lunarglide+ is a pretty good shoe, but the toe box doesn’t really fit my feet that well. I’ve had shoes that fit my feet a lot better than these do in the front – most probably because I have weird feet, but we’ll talk more about that later.

2- Adidas Adizero Boston
I love these shoes. My typical Adidas shoe for the last few years was the Adidas Supernova Glide, but I saw the Adizero Boston on sale one time (online at my favorite store to buy running shoes + gear, Road Runner Sports, which used to be a 15 minute drive from my house in Sunny Southern California. I stayed loyal even after moving away, because their VIP service is pretty amazing).

Anyway, I have to admit that what initially attracted me to the Adidas Adizero Boston was… the AWESOME color and blue stripes on the side. For some reason really reminded me of Boston, probably because I had some Adidas when I was back in Boston but they were VERY classic Adidas – white with the navy blue stripes on the side. Ah yes. :)

I feel really light running in the Adizero Boston, and I like that. They give me enough support to be able to run on the roads, but doesn’t feel clunky or heavy. They also fit my feet REALLY well, which is a feature of most Adidas that I’ve worn for running.

3- Vibram FiveFingers
My beautiful, misunderstood Vibrams. People are just trying to get to know you better, my lovelies, so don’t take offense!

I wrote a post about what got me interested in barefoot running here, but the summary is that I read Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run in early 2010, got crazy obsessed about giving barefoot running a shot, and ended up injuring myself going 7 miles without any preparation. That spells D-U-M-B. And O-U-C-H.

Couldn’t take the stairs to save my life for about 2 weeks, couldn’t walk like a normal person for about 3. Fun times.

Fast forward to 2012, I’m SO MUCH older and wiser, and I decide to take people’s (good) advice and take it easy. I bought these and started out with 1 mile, then 2, then had to do 4 one time because I forgot my other shoes at home (oops!). Things were actually still ok, so I’ve been running in them for about 4 miles at a time since then. (I may have gone 5 or 6 miles one time but never longer.)

I really like how fast I feel I can run in the FiveFingers (ahem, fast to me might be your recovery pace, but hey no judgement here). My calves and even hips feel so much stronger after a good run in the Vibrams (sore = stronger, right?).

The thing with these is:
a) I have only been using them on the treadmill (ew treadmill), mostly out of fear of hitting the asphalt with them and breaking myself.
But this summer is definitely the summer of the Outdoor Vibram Adventure – bring it on!
b) *sigh* Here’s where we talk about my weird feet (and explain why I shouldn’t wear Vibrams). See how nicely the toes are on the Vibrams? How they go from tallest to shortest? So nice and neat.

NOT the case with my toes. There’s a reason I don’t have a picture to prove this to you – I want to make sure we stay friends.

The summary is, my second and even third toes are over-achievers, and they want to be taller and more important than my first toe. Soooo, they aren’t too happy crammed into the nice and neat Vibram toes. But whatever. They like the pain (hence why I keep wearing them), just like me (DON’T YOU, OVER-ACHIEVING WEIRDO TOES? Hmmmmmm?!?!)

I hope this was helpful, and slightly entertaining, especially the last part. Please don’t tell your friends about my toes.

Run wild!

Advertisements

Barefoot (almost) running milestone

20120412-121308.jpg

4:34 a.m.
I stand, bleary-eyed and slightly disoriented, at the edge of the Chosen Treadmill.
Trying to remember how I got here, I think I can hear someone mumbling.
I look up, but the closest person is 6 treadmills, 3 ellipticals, and 4 weight machines away.

I realize, in my break-of-dawn haze, that what I’m hearing is a fight between my own Body and Brain.
So I tune in…

Body: Come on, you know you want to get back into bed! It’s way too early for this!
Brain: No! Must run! We made it all the way here, there’s no turning back now.
Body: But we haaaate the treadmill. It’s so boring.
Let’s go outside! Or back to sleep!
Brain: Negative. Too dark/damp/creepy outside. Suck it up, Body.
Body: But..
Aww come on! Pleeease can we do this another time??
Brain: Start. Running.
Body: But…
Brain: NOW!

And so began the journey of 6 vibram-clad miles – a new mileage milestone for us (us being me, my fivefingers, Body, and Brain).

The gradual mileage buildup approach has really paid off with this venture into barefoot running. No calf or foot pain today, and I think my form has just evolved to better absorb the impact.

Granted, I have only used the vibrams on the treadmill, but I’m hoping to start wearing them outside now that the weather’s getting better.

In other news, I can see the weekend peeking at me from around the corner, and I can’t wait for all that it comes with.

Back in the Running I

Dear Running,

I am back.

Froggie

Oddly and unexpectedly, I did not want to take off my Vibrams today. I always thought of them as an experiment, a way to maybe strengthen my calves and feet and see if my running felt any different in them vs. traditional shoes. This morning, I realized that I’m really enjoying how it feels to run in these non-shoe shoes. I feel engaged, present, and totally aware of every step. My whole body is awake, as if monitoring where and how my foot falls and making sure to appropriately distribute the impact.

Today’s Vibram mileage: 4

Pain Management

My official, 9-week half-marathon training plan was supposed to be kicked off yesterday with a high-intensity 5.25 mile run that included speed training as well as pace training, and was just going to simply be the best first-run-in-a-training-program anyone has ever had, because WE ONLY DO THINGS ALL THE WAY IN THIS HOUSEHOLD!

Phew. Sorry about the shouting. Things can get a little intense up in here.

So, obviously, since I was supposed to wake up at 4:17 am, Baby Z decides to wake up at 2:30 am, and keep me tethered to his bedroom for an hour, just rocking him and holding him, not wanting to be put down. I forgive him though, because I know he’s been congested and not feeling so great, AND I suspect he might be feeling the push push push of a little tooth trying to break free. (I really hope he gets a tooth soon because that’s the excuse I give him every time I can’t figure out what’s causing the fussiness. “Oh he’s teething.” “Oh, I’m sorry, he’s just teething.” “Oh he was crying? Yeah it’s because he’s teething.” So far, I’m a liar, because not even a little tip of a tooth has peeked out yet.)

Anyway, after much sulking and self-pity, I decide that I will take matters into my own hands, and modify the training plan to start TODAY, and then just cancel out the first rest day to make up for yesterday.

Everything leading up to this morning was perfect. I had a mellow and relaxing night with the boys. They went down before 8:30 pm, I got lunches ready, sat down to relax for a bit, then got myself into bed before 10 pm. I lined up my Vibrams and gym bag next to my iPhone, set the 3 alarms that go off at 4:17, 4:23, and 4:40 (just in case!) with their labels of “JUST DO IT!”, “GET UP YOU LAZY ASS!”, and “HALF. MARATHON.”, and had a great night’s sleep. No babies waking in the middle of the night, not too hot, not too cold, and I woke up ready to tackle the dreadmill!

The plan was to do the first mile of the run in the Vibrams, just to continue getting used to them, then strap on my regular running shoes for the remainder of the run. I strap on the Vibrams, gather my things, and run off to the car to get to the gym.
Perfection! I was on time, rested, READY!

I start running, then as I move my gym  bag out of the way I realize it’s lighter than it should be. Deep breath here… The reason my bag felt lighter than it should was because it was. Because I FORGOT MY OTHER SHOES AT HOME.
I stop myself short of starting to hyperventilate, and tell myself it’s ok. I’ll just work with what I’ve got. We’ll just call this the Accelerated Calf Training Program and roll with it! The show must go on! We can DO this!

I keep going, and made it to 4 miles before deciding that I should really stop before I lose my calves for the rest of the week. As I hobble off the treadmill, I realize that I need to attack this head-on in order to minimize the impact, so I devise a recovery plan that is work-attire friendly.

Here’s a visual breakdown of what went through my head:

+ 4 miles =

 

=================================================================================

Recovery Plan:

R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) =
Sitting at work for the next 10 hours +
Ice later on at home +

+  = RELIEF.

I will happily report, I am wearing those ugly white things (which are actually athletic compression socks) underneath my long boots, sitting at my desk at work, and so far, so good.
The compression REALLY seems to help with the recovery, or at the very least, reducing the amount of soreness and pain (so far!).
And the long boots do the job of disguising the socks, which, let’s be honest, there is just no way to wear white compression socks that is flattering, no matter who you are.

Ok maybe if you’re an elite runner that looks like a cheetah they can be flattering.

Here’s hoping my legs won’t fail me the rest of this week!

Daily Vibram mileage: 4 miles
Total Daily mileage: 4 miles

%d bloggers like this: