Monday, 12 August 2013

Frog feet dilemas

So in between sulking over the impending loss of my running route I’ve been thinking about why I just don’t enjoy running on the road the same. I guess part of it could be because I love to run in my silly frog shoes (vibram 5 fingers) which really don’t provide much cushioning. I’m sure a few of you are wondering why I run in these weird shoes, and not trainers like a normal person. Well asides from the obvious answer which is that I’m not normal I actually have quite a few reasons. When I first tried running a few years ago I signed up to it with a good friend of mine, who is super fit and was just incredibly encouraging, she even offered to run with me on a semi-regular basis to help motivate me. She really stressed the importance of good running shoes and dragged me along to a local running store where they made me run up and down and got me to try on a dozen different shoes. But every-time I went running in them I got horrible calf pain that disappeared the moment I removed the shoes and walked back bare-footed, I have always run off-road but at the beginning it was in parks.

At the same time I was reading a lot of running magazines as I found them motivational (this was before I discovered Pintrest and the motivational gold-mine available for free) and they were all talking about this new bare foot running craze. Well after following it up with a spot of research (access to ALL the journals can be a dangerous thing) I decided to give it a go. I bought a cheap pair (£20) to start with as I had already spent a fortune on the expensive running shoes that weren’t working for me! And immediately I felt soooo much better on my runs. The calf pain, the back pain, it al disappeared! Eventually after keeping it up for the whole summer I decided to invest in Vibram 5 fingers which everyone seemed to rave about! Thanks to my complete dis-regard for fashion and small but wide feet I was able to get a pair on the cheap. In hind-sight I should have done more research and gone for a trail version rather than the original KSO because they have no grip, but you live and learn. Anyway I digress, I LOVE these shoes. As an incredibly accident prone person I appreciate the feed-back I get from the ground with them, honestly I trip and stumble far less with these on. I’m not saying they will work for everyone, and I think part of the reason they are so good for me is that I have normal feet, I don’t over-pronate or have flat feet, so I don’t need my shoes to correct anything.

This post wasn’t supposed to be a love letter to my shoes instead I was supposed to be ruminating on why road-running doesn’t work for me. I feel un-comfortable, my ankles and knees always ache more afterwards, although I am less out of breath with it (silver-linings!). Some of this is clearly mental, I’m so self-conscious and feel more exposed running on the road. But, the physical pain isn’t mental, that’s very real and could be attributed to both the less forgiving surface and the lack of cushioning in the shoes. So as trails seem to be off the cards at the moment my question to you is do you think I should give my “normal” trainers another shot and try on the road again?

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