I hope you found yesterday’s Q&A about VFF helpful! Here are some more questions and answers!
So how do I get started? I started wearing them as much as possible, just walking around the grocery store or whatever. Also, I’m always barefoot in my house so I think that helped build the muscles in my feet…running in VFF using the muscles in your feet in a different way than traditional running shoes. When you want to start running in VFF, take it very gradually to avoid injury, particularly stress fractures in your feet and arches. I followed this schedule (approximately):
- Week 1: run ½ mile, 3 times a week on non-consecutive days; I ran Monday, Wed. & Sat)
- Week 2: increase each run to 1 mile, following same schedule
- Week 3: increase each run to 2 miles
- Week 4-6: mid-week runs are around 3-4 miles; I stayed at this distance for a while just to continue to strengthen my feet and calves
- Week 7 and on: mid-week runs stay 3-4 miles, but I’ve started adding one mile to my long run of the week (on Saturdays)
In the beginning weeks, when I wanted to run longer, I switched to my Asics after the initial mileage in the Vibrams.
If you want to read about my first-ever run in Vibram FiveFingers, click here.
Do you wear them all winter? If so, how do you keep your feet warm, especially on long runs? How is the traction? I haven’t run in VFF through the winter, but my lovely friend Ashley from The Edible Perspective has and this was her feedback on the matter: “I ran in them through the winter when it was about 30* at the coldest. I ran with them on packed snow but not fresh powdery snow. If it’s really wet [melted snow] I don’t advise running at that time as the water will make your feet really cold. During the winter I did wear the Injinji socks, which helped. I never had a problem with my feet being cold. It usually took them about 1 mile to feel warm. Before going out to run a good idea is to jog in place for a minute, do 10 pushups, jog in place, do 10 pushups, like 3-5times. It will get your blood pumping and your feet warmed.”
Also, there are other models of VFF that might help keep your feet warmer and help with traction, like the FiveFinger Treksports or Flow.
Some of you mentioned that you are crazy blister prone, get blisters at the base of your big toe, etc. Would Injinji socks to help with blisters? I haven’t run with Injinji, but again, Ashley has and here are her thoughts: “They do help with rubbing and keeping your feet warmer. Wearing the socks also help prevent the VFF’s from stinking as fast. I was getting blisters at the top of my big toe as well and honestly I think it’s more of a form problem. There shouldn’t be much friction. Since doing a lot of research and walking in them a lot and easing into + finding my stride, I have no blister problems. I guess it could depend on your toe size, but a lot of times people haven’t changed their stride enough. Keeping steps under your torso, not striding out, quick light steps, 3x the amount of steps compared to normal running stride, popping UP motion when your feet hit the ground instead of pushing off the ground w/your feet will all help.”
Do you think there is a maximum mileage for VFFs once you’ve gotten used to them? I have no idea. I would imagine as long as you built up slowly, used good form and listened to your body that there wouldn’t be a “maximum” mileage. But I would think everyone’s personal “max” would vary, regardless of shoe type. Some people will never run more than 5 miles at a time and some will run ultramarathons…so there’s probably never a set-in-stone max, ya know?
Which VFFs do you run in? I run in the Sprints.
What surface do you typically run: road or trails? I do most of my running on roads, but I have done some gentle trails and it felt fine in the Sprints. I don’t think the Sprints would be great for hard-core trail running, but you definitely could find another model for it.
So I was wondering–did YOU order your pair online? If so, I’m guessing you got the right size? No fitting problems? Nope, I got mine at a local retailer so I was able to try them on first. If you do order them online, I would suggest a company that has a good return/exchange policy, like REI.
I get nervous the first time doing the plate loaded leg press with them. And I am especially nervous about it this time with VFF. Have you used your VFFs for any kind of strength training? I was nervous about strength training in them too. I wore them for about a month before I did strength training in them since doing squats without a lot of support under my feet freaked me out. I now do all my strength training in them and actually feel that I have much better balance since I do all free weights. Almost all of my strength training is done in Body Pump, so I never use the leg press. (I rarely use machines for strength training but that’s a difference story.) So, to be specific, I’ve never tried it on the leg press, but I’ve done loads of squats and lunges in them and have been fine. I would wear them for a few weeks before loading up on weight though, just so your feet and arches can support you better.
Your feet will be sore. It’s kind of weird. They don’t necessarily hurt, but they get sore after runs. If you experience pain, definitely take a few days off!
Try to land lightly. You naturally will anyway, but try to make it a conscience effort, especially in the beginning.
*Remember, I’m not a doctor or running coach, but am just sharing my experiences. Please check with your own health professional before making changes to your exercise routine and always consult a professional for injury diagnosis and treatment!