Minimalist Run #12: A Small Breakthrough

minimal_run_12If there’s one thing I’ve truly learned with this transition to minimal running, it’s patience. Over the course of 2.5 months I’ve had (only) 12 runs with a few long breaks for injury. Everyone said to take it slow and I thought I was…but my body has told me otherwise.

Running in these Vibram five-fingers, I’ve been pushed to really think about and digest each step and stride on my runs. I’ve felt muscles and other parts (tendons? ligaments?) that I’ve never felt before. My feet, achilles, and lower calf are sore and tired. And I feel great.

I’m more in touch with my body and mechanics and I’m learning to be a better runner. Or at least I hope I am. “Normal” shoes feel a bit stifling now and putting on these five-fingers is almost soothing. While camping last week I even did a few hikes minimal-style—sometimes carrying almost 40lbs. on my back—and other than a little stiffness in my arches, I really felt good during and after.

Today I started out my third run this week with a little soreness/stiffness in both achilles and it settled down a bit by the end of the run. I had three of my longest runs this week, and even with the “take it slow” mantra echoing in my head, I still feel like scoffing at the paltry 3/4mi. routes. But scoffing is what will get me injured so I’m going to keep working on being judgmental. So I ran my longest distances each time and it’s the first time I’ve been able to run every other day. Trying not to let myself get too excited, but I may be starting a bit of a streak here, we’ll see.

My little success this week has rekindled my appreciation for my freedom to move. And not just to move, but to run. I’ve prided myself on my speed my whole life. Now, I want to enjoy being able to run at all and just appreciate the art of running itself.