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Kristen's Adventures as a minimalist, Barefoot and Vibram, runner Transitioning Achilles Tendons to Run in Vibram Five Fingers Sprints and Sport Treks
 Posted By: Kristen Westlake
 Posted On: Oct 15 2010 7:45PM
 
Vibram Five Fingers Sport Treks that I use to run the rocky trails in the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

 

Transitioning to barefoot or Vibram running from the traditional running shoe involves some time. The number one requirement is Patience, especially true for those of us who are used to going out and sailing through miles of trail at a time.

Thanks to Clear Water Outdoor I am a total Vibram addict! 

I'll tell you what  ..., after being patient (or kind of patient) now for almost four months since my maiden voyage run in Vibram Five Finger Sprints (a 9 mile run that was too much probably out of the blocks) I am finding so much joy in the transition. I find frustrations and then I'm thrown a bone and have a great run. I've learned to listen to my body more than ever.. I have to.
Where most people have issues with their calves being sore, my "achilles heel" is my achilles tendon. It's slowed me down enough to keep me holding back the reigns to transition so that I will experience running for another 31 years + another 31 years -  "au naturale"! ..
I never had the sore calves that most people claim ownership of while running bare or darn near it. My tendons have been sore to the touch but are getting stronger with the right holistic and patient approach.  ...

 

My favorite Vibram Five Fingers: Sprints. The sole is 2 mm compared to 12 - 13 mm soles of the traditional running shoe. I can FEEL the earth with these .. and barefoot is 0 mm!

 

Barefoot and Vibram running will help to cure what ails you in many cases. We weren't born with shoes on .. we were born to run bare. Many muscles and bones engage themselves in a barefoot runner's run. Put shoes on and just like over medicating, the body gets lazy. Just like the immune system slacks when the body is over medicated, many muscles and bones in the legs and feet atrophy as they let shoes do the work for them. ... This does not make the body or the feet and legs stronger. What was intended to strengthen or help us (medicine, shoes, etc) actually weakens us. If we trust the capabilities of our amazing bodies we will find out that we are capable of so much more in mind, body, and spirit than we ever give ourselves credit for.

Back to Vibram and Barefoot running.  .. My arches are amazingly strong compared to what they were when I was a shod runner (and I've been running for 31 years). My toes are straighter, I don't have bad runs anymore, I feel the earth as well as rocks or roots and I don't trip over them anymore. My foot feels around them and reacts quickly to avoid tripping.
 
Why is my achilles tendon sore? Your achilles tendon has been shortened by wearing high heeled running shoes (12 - 13 mm average sole vs 2 in vibram sprints or 0 barefoot) for years. This means it will take time for the tendons to lengthen and stretch back to where they want to be. It really takes time. They stretch and this makes them sore.
 
What do I do for sore tendons?
1. I listen to my body. I've backed off the milage and I listen to what my tendons will give me each run. If they are sore, I stop.
2. Arnica massage tendons to get rid of scar tissue. Scar tissue presents itself as small bumps on top of the tendon. This is what makes your tendon feel sore.
3. Eccentric Calf stretches.
4. Massage calves to loosen any tightness. Looser calves help the tendons to stretch!
 
Enjoy being bare!

 

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