Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gorilla Feet: The Results of Research

I've been having issues with threats of shin splints when I run, as well as my foot going to sleep towards the end of my half an hour of jogging and walking. NOT COOL. But, my awesome husband loves to research. So he reads up on how to prevent shin splints, and what causes them. Shin splints are caused by an incorrect stride, meaning how your foot hits the ground. In other words, I'm running wrong. I'm still on week two of the Couch to 5K program, so it's not like I'm running much, but I definitely need to prevent shin splints or I won't be going at all.

In the process of Matt's research, he found a new theory with plenty of evidence demonstrating that running barefoot is best for correct stride, and removing joint and muscle issues. You're not going to find me running barefoot. First of all I'm a woos. I don't want to step on anything that might poke my feet. Second, it's against the rules at the gym, which solves my first problem! SO...there's a brand of shoes called Vibram Five Fingers that fit like a foot glove, with a bit of rubber on the bottom. Wearing them is basically the same as running barefoot! They have several different styles in order to fit your kind of feet. I was very excited they had a pair that fit me, as I have particularly wide feet.

After Matt's extensive research, including reading a whole book about barefoot running, we decided to buy each of us a pair as our birthday present. (Both of our birthdays are at the end of the month. It's very convenient right after tax returns!) We found out that Vibrams can't be found just anywhere. Here in the Salt Lake Valley, one can find them at REI or at Salt Lake Running Co.

There is a catch. Someone who is an avid runner should not buy a pair of these and continue their usual running routine. A person's stride needs to be correct, otherwise the feet begin to hurt and can be seriously damaged. Lucky for me, I'm just getting back into my fitness routine and am not yet running a lot. Even with switching to a new stride, the calf muscles are not used to the new angle of work and become very sore. So my calf muscles are being strengthened! For now I'm just wearing them around the house to get used to walking correctly. Tomorrow I may attempt to run my C25K routine in them to begin my gradual switch to "barefoot running."

Matt has already found a great reduction in pain from wearing his for one day! He's been having knee and hip pain the past few weeks. At this point, when he's on his feet, he's not in pain! Just because his stance is better with the barefoot adjustments. Now if only he could work on his computer standing up!

Today is day two for me. In a few weeks I'll let you know how they're treating me.

Vibrom's regular price is about $100 a pair. YIKES! I know. But if you normally buy running shoes, you know that you'd spend that much anyway. They say to replace your running shoes every 500 miles. The good news is some long distance runners are reporting 5000+ miles on their Vibrom's! That's nine pairs of shoes I won't have to buy (should I decide these work for me), then saving me approximately $900 dollars! I look for good deals and use coupons, so realistically it's saving me $450.

Anyway, at the Barnson's we're all about the weirdness, the geekiness, and all that jazz. This particular health kick involves what I call Gorilla shoes! It's weird having my toes individually wrapped, like toe socks. Meanwhile, I have some running habits to change. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Rhoda said...

I had to search for them so I could see a picture! They look cool except for the toes...that just looks weird. You'll have to keep us updated on how they are holding up.

I love how Matt researched shin splins so he could help take care of his wife...ahhhh!