I bought the Vibram Five Fingers shoes in April and mentioned I would update this blog with my thoughts. Well, after nearly 3 months of use I can say these shoes are one of the best health purchases I've ever made! In those 3 months my runs have improved tremendously thanks to the way the shoes force me to change my stride. Prior to buying the shoes my best sprint mile time was 7:49, today I ran the same trail in 6:51!
Granted, running a few times a week would improve my speed regardless of what shoe I wore, but the day I bought the shoes my best mile went from 7:49 to 7:30 and the 7:30 mile wasn't even a sprint. Suddenly I realize how bad my form was when I wore tennis shoes and how much energy I wasted with that form. By landing on my toes first (as shown in the videos in my previous post) not only do my knees feel better but I am able to move my feet faster and cover more distance with less effort. And I love the way the shoes feel. Now I find myself running off the paths as much as possible just to feel each new texture. I've thought about actually running barefoot (no shoe at all) but after finding thorns and glass over 1/4 inch long stuck on the bottom of the Vibrams I've come to appreciate at how much they protect my foot and how running barefoot in my neighborhood could end in disaster.
For those of you who also recently bought the Vibrams, I highly recommend reading Born to Run. The book is absolutely fascinating and talksabout the Five Fingers along with a super race against the world's fastest long distance runners and also how the human body evolved to run differently than every other animal (and why the Neanderthals died out due to their lack of running ability).
Other milestones that have occured during the last 3 months since buying the shoes:
I ran my first 12k (7 miles) in 1 hr 16 minutes.
My long distance pace went from 9:30 to 8:30 per mile
My 5k went from 29:40 to 26:45
My regular mile pace (ie, I don't feel like I am dying after running 1 mile) went from 8:30 to 7:30
And my sprint mile went from 7:49 to 6:51
And 1/2 mile sprint is now 3:10
My only complaint is that the shoe is so thin and skin tight that there is no place to put my Nike+ pedometer so that it accurately measures my speed. I have to recalibrate it each mile because the force of each foot impact changes the pressure on the pedometer and it can't get an accurate read (previously the tennis shoe absorbed the impact so the pressure was constant).
I'm running a 1/2 Marathon at Disneyland this fall, hopefully by then my speeds will be even better. And all of this thanks to a piece of rubber loosely attached to my foot.