Monday, March 7, 2011

C25K Day 1, Week 1: Five Finger Shoes and Chi Running

Today I start Couch-to-5K (C25K from here on out). I have high hopes for this attempt, despite my fear that posting it on my blog will jinx my hip like last time. Over the past year, through a few failed attempts, I've researched running form and techniques to avoid injury. I was a long distance runner in high school, and I had a lot of natural talent, but I was given little instruction on form other than "don't clench your fists" and "don't slouch". Some of my favorite info has come from reading about the techniques in "Born to Run" and "ChiRunning". I recently found a really great video on the concept of ChiRunning that makes a lot of sense. If you want to check it out, you can find it here on YouTube.

In the course of my research, it would have been nearly impossible for me to miss all the chatter around barefoot running. From Barefoot Ted and his blog to TED talks about the history of running barefoot to stories in the aforementioned "Born to Run" book, barefoot running is everywhere. At first, I dismissed it as a fad. But the more I read about it, and the more I watched videos of heel strikes and the clunkiness of running shoes, and the more I pondered how much time I spent barefoot as a kid, running through fields and across rocks and stickers and sticks and thorns, the more I came around to the idea. Mind you, I didn't really want to take to the pavement and pound out mile after mile totally barefoot on concrete in mid-winter in Colorado. Rather, I became interested in finding a shoe that could get me as close to barefoot as possible. After several months of research, I found myself in REI last Tuesday, with Bobby, getting an early birthday present...
I got the Vibram Bikila LS, which is specially designed for running. I have very, very narrow feet so the lacing system helps me adjust the shoe to fit my foot.
The sole of this model is a bit thicker than most Vibrams, and the molding on the bottom is also more reinforced for running.
But they are still very flexible, as you can see here. And I still feel very close to barefoot. My toes splay when I walk, and I can feel the ground underneath my feet.
Flexibility works the other way too, I can curl my toes all the way under as well. With all the yoga I do (barefoot, of course) I have a lot of flexibility and strength in my feet and toes, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the Vibrams feel compared to other running shoes. One word of advice that is repeated over and over again when it comes to running in Vibrams is to start of slowly. I figure this will be the perfect opportunity, since C25K definitely starts off slowly- all 3 workouts in the first week are only 20 minutes long, alternating 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking. I plan to do a 0% incline the entire first week, and keep a moderate pace, to help my feet get used to running in these shoes. More importantly, I want to take it easy on my hip. My problem is that I'm at a decent level of cardio fitness already, and I can run a mile or so (which isn't great but it's something) but I need to force myself to go slowly to ease my body back in to running.

I'll be posting weekly wrap ups on my C25K trials and triumphs (hopefully light on the former and heavy on the latter). I'm following the original C25K running program found here so altogether this will take 9 weeks. Fingers crossed my hip cooperates, and off I go in my nerd shoes!


  1. Yea tha Cote!! Excited to see how it goes. So proud of you and everything you continue to do to improve yourself and those around you. Love you!

  2. I love C25K! I actually did mine based on distance (from the Cool Running website) instead of the timed one. Maybe you'd like that way better since you've got a little more cardio fitness already?

  3. Anon- aww, thanks bunny! Love you too!

    Sarah- I'm using the Cool Running website, but the chart I'm following only has time the first two weeks, and then afterward you can choose distance or time from week 3 on... maybe it's changed?

    I think I'm really going to do well this time. I'm working on checking my ego at the door and just going sloooowly. I'm excited to see where this takes me in my running!