Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Path to running a Marathon with VibramFiveFingers

Many people running with VFF or barefoot, all with difference types of reasons. Some said it helps to prevent injuries; some belief that BF or VFF allow a better biomechanical form in running. Some like it simple, and some may even think this is hot and sexy by doing something out of ordinary.

My reason of running in VFF/BF is because it is simple. There are no/minimum barrier between you and the road surface make you felt that all your senses are activated and you are running as a WHOLE person. There are so many disturbances on our daily life, most of the time we do thing half-heartedly but hoping for the best. Running is one of the activities that you can throw in the whole of YOU and working towards your personal best. Running in VFF or BF put it to an extreme (try day-dreaming via running in VFF/BF, and then you will understand this). And this feeling is very addictive.

I am with my KomodoSport for 10 months now. I lost track on how far it goes, but guess it should be only >500km. Due to my lazy feet, the outsole is in bad condition. Both legs have similar problem but the left leg is slightly better. Other parts are still in good condition.

How to start running in VFF?
Start with walking in it first. I used it as shopping shoes for 2 weeks before I start running with it. There are not guidelines for how long you needed in this stage. Take your time to enjoy the walking in VFF until you are comfortable with it. You should not attempt your normal mileages right away, build you mileages in VFF with the usual practice you had with normal shoes. Start with short distances of 20~30minutes. Slowly increase in weekly basis and stop pushing further when you encounter pain especially in knees, heels or ankles.

Running in VFF or BF is all about landing on your mid-forefoot. So, if you are a forefeet striker, tentatively your calf muscles are more ready then other to adopt the additional load from its barefoot liked running style. If you are heel striker, then you need more time. While adapting to VFF via walking, you can also train up your calf muscles by hill works. Focus on your landing and make effort to land on mid foot on each step. This can be done relatively easy in slow pace, try it with 1~2 minutes on top of your normal marathon pace (or 9~10min/km). Shorten you strides, but fire them rapidly. Your cadences should be faster than 170~180spm. The fast churning will not only help to regulate the breathing, it also prevented you to overstrike.

How far and how soon you are ready for a Marathon? Its all depend on how flexible and adoptable your feet are. Some runners took years just to moving from heel striking to mid foot landing, some just took a few weeks to adjust. You will need to listen to your body to avoid TMTS (too much too soon). When should you start running Marathon in VFF? I would suggest you to consider that only after you done a 32km LSD in VFF without feeling abnormal amount of pain especially in your calves and soles. It will be definitely a painful experience to run 32km or a Marathon, the judgment I made is at least your calves and soles are ready to take the pain.
Retiring VFF KomodoSport
New VFF KomodoSport
New VFF KomodoSport Black & Silver Color Scheme
I completed my first VFF Marathon in ENR2012. I got my second pair of VFF KomodoSport (Black and Silver color scheme, I still prefer the previous Yellow color scheme) and the New Balance MR00. I will be on full time minimalist running shoes. Next race is to challenge the sub-5 Marathon in SCKLM with VFF. Not too confident I can do it, but I will try.
New Balance MR00


  1. Very informative post on Vibrams Neoh! I just got my pair of KomodoSport the other day from TCM too. Ankles and calves are really sore (not to mention appearing blisters on the forefoot) after the first trial but it's all good. Will learn to listen to my feet during the next round.

    1. Great to have your feed back on the VFF too :)
      Thanks for dropping by.