Minimalist Running

The wonderful Julia Buckley has agreed to provide some guest posts for you all to learn more about minimalist running and Vibram. For more info on Julia please check out her website here – http://www.juliabuckley.co.uk/

I’ve done my first minimalist run! 

The first Vibram FiveFingers clinic was at the Run and Become shop in Victoria last night, where I got fitted out with a lovely pair of Vibram FiveFingers SEEYA (see photo).

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You have to put them on a little differently than ordinary shoes, otherwise your toes don’t go into the compartments properly. It seems a bit fiddly at first, but coach Corrado showed me an easy way of doing it where you place the shoe on the floor and sort of press down and ease your foot into it… It’s probably one of those things that’s better demonstrated than described really! (I have some video footage of the fitting, which I’ll add shortly).

When I first put the shoes on they felt quite strange and I was very aware of the separation of my toes. I got used to them surprisingly quickly though, and after about half an hour I stopped noticing I was wearing them.

About 30 people showed up for the clinic and run. It was all very laid back and friendly. Corrado gave a short presentation on minimalist running before we all headed out for a mad-cap run around the surrounding streets. Corrado had us running forwards, backwards, around in circles, jumping in the air and crawling on the ground. London is full of visitors for the Olympics at the moment and I think some of them thought we were some kind of Olympic sideshow as they were stopping to watch and take photos!

I’d always thought you needed to learn to run differently and work on changing your technique before wearing minimalist shoes, as there’s been a lot written about how they encourage forefoot striking. But I was one of many first-timers there last night and no one suffered any ill-effects from the short run we did after a just few minutes warming up. I normally hit the ground heel-first when running, but I found that I naturally became a forefoot striker in the FiveFingers shoes. Surprisingly, it felt quite “natural” and I didn’t have to concentrate on running differently at all.

However, the Vibram team did stress that it’s important to make the transition to minimalist shoes gradually, so I won’t be trying them on runs of more than about a mile yet. But I am looking forward to wearing them for my gym workouts and finding out what differences they make there. Of course, I’ll be reporting details back you on that here too.

There are lots more Vibram FiveFingers clinics coming up across London over the next fortnight and everyone is welcome to go along. Last night the group was a real mixed bag of people, some totally new to the idea of minimalist running who’d come to find out what it was all about, and others who were barefoot veterans. It’s all free and there’s no obligation to buy the shoes. Some people joined the run wearing another brand of footwear last night and the guys didn’t mind. Those who didn’t have any minimalist shoes were given pairs to try.

I can’t think of a better way to get introduced to minimalist running, so do go along if you’re at all interested.

There’s an updated list of dates and times for the remaining clinics below (more might be added soon).

In the meantime you can see lots of photos of part one of my minimalist adventure on the Vibram FiveFingers Europe Facebook page.

Vibram FiveFingers are hosting free minimalist training clinics across London until 12th August. You can find a list of clinic dates here: http://www.fitnessrocks.co.uk/blog/vibram-fivefingers-clinics-dates-and-times 

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