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Day 1: Vibram FiveFingers Purchase Made
If you've known me very long, you know that I have historically bad ankles. I literally went through a period in college where I sprained at least one ankle per month. I was simply too impatient to let them heal, so I’d strap up my expensive ankle braces and head back out to the basketball court.
Here’s a quick laundry list of issues I’m facing:
Weak Stomach (core muscles)
40+ Pounds Overweight
Not a Lot of Free Time
For too long, I’ve let my body compensate for imbalances. I’ve literally relearned how to walk and run based on my attempts to run while injured.
So I did it! After a couple days of web research, I took the plunge. Just after work today, I drove to the Luke’s Locker on Legacy Drive in Plano and tried on a pair of black Five Fingers Classics. I liked the Classics because they were the simplest and most attractive of the different styles.
I don’t have a lot of time, and I’m not the most patient man in the world. So here’s my thinking:
These Vibram Five Fingers will demand that my ankles and feet get stronger in order to handle walking without all that usual sole cushion.
If those muscles strengthen more than they have in the past, then I can play basketball and get good exercise with greater confidence.
If I lose weight because I’m able to exercise in the ways most enjoyable to me, my whole quality of life will signficantly improve (and I can finally buy some new clothes)
I should be able to stand with better posture and less back pain
I’ll be a healthier, more energetic, and thus happier person
And THAT, my friends, is my goal. This image will show you how our bodies need to be lined up and how the average shoe inhibits that alignment.
The fastest runners have a style quite similar to that of a person running without shoes. They absorb shock by landing lightly on their forefeet rather than on their heels, and their landing leg is beneath the torso, with the leg slightly bent to absorb impact.
According to exercise physiologist and Olympic marathoner Pete Pfitzinger, the key to starting out is to go slowly. He advises walking barefoot for a few weeks to toughen up the skin on the bottom of the foot as well as the muscles in the ankles and feet. Once you are ready to run, start with a mere five minutes, increasing slowly and running barefoot every couple of days. From there, build to up to 20 minutes over a month. After a few weeks of this, the feet and ankles will be stronger, thus reducing the risk of injury. Possible places to train include sandy beaches and golf courses.
So there you have it. I’m starting off by getting my feet and ankles used to the difference. Then I’m moving on to brief running until I’m well adjusted enough to run for significant stretches.
And after that? Who knows. I’m dedicated to wearing my VFFs for six months. During that time, I hope to see significant improvement in my ankle/foot strength, back strength, and posture. If , after six months, I’ve met all those goals without any super special training, will YOU be ready to take the plunge?
I’ve been warned over and over again that there’s an adjustment period and to not expect any major results overnight. But I’m so excited! There’s something to be said about doing something good for your body and unusual in fashion at the same time. It’s rare to feel unique in any fashionable way. But this is unique, for sure.
I’ll be wearing these babies every day for a while, so my arches can strengthen and my body will adjust to the difference. Looking forward to telling you all about my Vibram Five Fingers adventures!