This is the second in Julia Buckley’s series of guest posts on Minimalist Running. Find the first here.
In last week’s post I said that going along to one of the Vibram FiveFingers clinics would be the perfect way to get an introduction to minimalist running. But I’ve been getting a lot of messages on twitter from people who are keen to give it a try but can’t make it to any of the London clinics. I know that Vibram are planning a national tour in the near future, so hopefully there’ll be a clinic near you soon. But I thought I’d share some of what I learned at Monday’s clinic to give you a few pointers if you’re keen to get started right away.
Don’t be Afraid!
I’ll admit it – I was a bit scared of those weird looking shoes to start off with! Being so used to ordinary trainers I thought running in something with so little cushioning might hurt. I’d read a lot about making “the transition” to minimalist shoes and it sounded like quite a technical process. But I can report that it was fine. I put the shoes on and I ran. It felt good. The way I ran did change, but I didn’t have to think about it – my feet seemed to automatically know what to do!
Do Take it Slowly
Having said all that, you don’t want to go out, buy a pair of Vibram FiveFingers, and continue running your normal distances in them as if you’ve just replaced your shoes like-with-like. Because you will be changing the way you move, your body will need time to adapt and you should build up gradually.
As with most things, everyone’s different and you should listen to your body. But, as a general rule of thumb, Vibram advise people to start out running about 10% of their usual distance in the FiveFingers shoes for the first couple of weeks. Then you can gradually increase the distance by 10-20% every two weeks afterwards. They also recommend taking rest days between runs for the first month.
Don’t do Anything that Hurts
If it hurts, stop. That’s a rule you should follow whatever you are doing really! Never try and push on through pain when you run or you could turn a minor niggle into a serious injury that will keep you out of training for much longer than if you rested up right away.
Plus it’s supposed to be fun – as Corrado said at the clinic, “We already have a job, this is not work, running is to be enjoyed!”.
Do Ask the Experts
I know I had lots of questions for the guys at the Vibram Clinic and talking to them really helped me feel confident in the shoes. If you’d like to go along to one of the clinics you can get free advice and a training session with them too. But if you can’t make it in person you can reach the team on Twitter or Facebook and they’ll be happy to help.