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Liam McKarry 01-19-2009 07:14 AM

Vibram Fivefingers - Help
I am the proud owner of a pair of KSOs since last week.

As per the general advice on this forum and elsewhere I've started off pretty slowly with regard to running. Initially just doing 400m then 600 etc.

Today I was doing a 5K on a treadmill - following the advice of set it at 1% incline etc.

I wore my KSOs with a view to doing 1K in them and then changing to my old Nike Free 5.0s. So at 1K changed shoes quickly and continued running. While I was wearing the KSOs my feet and lower legs felt fine, but about 500m into the part wearing the Frees I developed a pain in the left side of my left foot and my calves started to sieze up. I made another 1.5K before stopping in fear of doing proper damage.

I'm wondering whether this is the effect of the KSOs or whether it's that I'm getting used to the KSOs and changing shoes has affected me.

Has anyone else experienced this?

Gavin Steel 01-19-2009 07:45 AM

Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Help
Liam...I too get this problem however it is nothing to do with the vibrams...

I have a pair of the classics and have yet to try running in them. I am only using them for met-con and weightlifting.

I usually run wearing a pair of high end saucony running shoes. After about a mile in to the run I feel my calves start to tighten up. If I continue it gets to the point where I can't run anymore and even walking is painful for the next few weeks, stairs in particular.

I've made enquiries into what causes it however all I get in response is I must have tight calves and to spend time stretching them every day.

I had a timed mile and a half run at work recently and only just managed it before the tell tale signs set in.

I am hoping that switching to the vibrams is going to help alleviate my problem.

Liam McKarry 01-19-2009 08:02 AM

Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Help
I guess I'll start stretching my calves out a bit more.

Never felt it particularly before - perhaps it's something to do with having altered my running technique to landing on the mid part of the foot.

Have never been much of a distance runner before (not that 5K is too far) but I'm keen to improve this.

Brad Thompson 01-19-2009 08:24 AM

Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Help
This is the exact description I have when I run in cushy shoes. I determined that I had what is called a "Morton's Neuroma." This is common in women who wear tight high heels and men with super wide feet. I'm 6'4 and have only a size 12 foot - but my feet are extra wide. I got some relief by going to a Chiro who performed Graston Technique to the neuroma. I can run 5k in my VFFs (classics) with no prob. I can now run a 400 in cushies with no prob but I can tell it's close to irritating it.

Liam McKarry 01-19-2009 08:41 AM

Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Help
I guess the thing that kind of worries me is that when I was running with poor technique I could bang that heal down, get shin splints (frequently - also incidently used to get terrible shin splints from skipping), but never pain in the feet or calves - after 1 week with VFF I now seem to have a problem with running in cushioned soles - I think I way have been supinating my foot which has caused the problem - obviously VFFs won't let me do that without killing my feet.

Is it possible for your feet to react that quickly to Barefoot running?

As it stands I'm considering going for broke with the VFFs and just running in them for the distances - hopefully this wont cripple me. I think my feet are strong enough because of all the martial arts trainin I do bare foot.

I hate the fact i think about this stuff - once upon a time I put on runners and ran.

Alex Europa 01-19-2009 08:56 AM

Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Help

Originally Posted by Liam McKarry (Post 496835)
I think my feet are strong enough because of all the martial arts trainin I do bare foot.

And people just starting CrossFit go as Rx'd because they think that they're in shape.

I really know nothing about this topic as I don't run in my VFFs, but I just wanted to comment on this statement. I think that you may be overestimating the stresses your foot faces while running. As a martial artist, you probably have stronger foot muscles than the average Joe, but 1 week isn't nearly enough time for your feet to acclimate to barefoot running. Even Nike recommends people do 2 weeks (IIRC) of walking in the Frees before moving up to running. And those aren't nearly as extreme as VFFs.

Slow down, take a week off from running in the chores around the house, take the kids to the park, walk the dog...but don't do any running this week. Then next week, maybe do ONLY 400/800 meters 3 times per week...NOT followed by more running. You can run at other times of the day, but think of the VFF running sessions as skill work and not to be used as part of a workout. At least not at first. Slowly (like 4-6 weeks) start working up to doing more distance in the VFFs.

- Alex

Liam McKarry 01-19-2009 09:06 AM

Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Help

Thanks for the response.

Take your point regarding the VFFs being more extreme than Frees.

This was the first distance run I've done partially with VFFs. Just drove me crazy that my feet and legs started to hurt when I returned to the Frees I've been wearing for the last 12 - 18 months.

Like i said, feels like I started to supinate the left foot when I changed shoes.

When did I start worrying about shoes - sounds like a conversation my wife would have with her friends. Has my life really come to this point........

Camille Lore 01-19-2009 09:14 AM

Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Help
Build up with the vibrams and try it on softer surfaces at first.
I trained MA in bare feet too, but the first 400s I ran in my KSOs killed my calves and I ran them on a rubber track! I am always barefoot at home as well, but my feet and supporting muscles just weren't strong enough to go all out without building up.
I ran a lot in them last summer and fall, but never did a 5k and knew that would be a bad idea to do all at once!
When spring comes, I'll have to start out slow with them again as I'm sure 4+ months out of them will decondition my feet.
My theory is: do it slow and safe to avoid sitting out because of an injury.

Liam McKarry 01-19-2009 09:32 AM

Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Help
Ok - maybe I should re-phrase the original question:

Is 1K of running with VFFs going to cause problems when I change shoes to complete the rest of the 5K?

I guess from the posts that the general opinion is that 1K is to far to begin with even if it did feel fine.

George Mounce 01-19-2009 04:45 PM

Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Help
My personal thoughts (after now owning some VFFs for quite some time now) is that people need to spend 2 weeks walking in VFFs first, then keep runs below 1 mile for another 3 weeks before tackling a longer run.

Sprints are easy to do in VFFs, its how we sprint regardless of footwear. But runs...the pace along the ground slows from about 5 strides a second to 3 for most people. This causes the spring made by the ankle-knee-hip to contract more, and puts more pressure on the calves while rebounding, which doesn't happen in a normal shoe, and won't happen if you aren't POSE running in a normal shoe. It will happen in a VFF whether you like it or not, and if your musculature isn't ready for it, then you are going to feel it.

My $.02.

Another thing everyone should be doing are the 6 foot drills, which you can find here (wfs):

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