CrossFit/ Running

Why I Stopped Running in Vibrams (Part 2)

If you missed Part 1 of this series, which is where I wrote about why I started running in Vibram FiveFingers in the first place, you can start here.

Why I stopped running in Vibrams is a pretty simple answer:

They just stopped being comfortable.

About a year and a half ago, I suddenly starting experiencing crazy shin splints and my calves were really bothering me (super tight, bordering on pain), and my stride just didn’t feel fluid.

Why I think that happened is a longer answer.

I was pretty surprised to suddenly struggle with running since I had been running successfully in Vibrams for over four years, including running a 22 miler, countless halfs, setting PRs in every race distance, with minimal injuries. And any injuries I had during those four years were, like most runners, usually related to overuse, not enough rest and not enough stretching.

I had never experienced shin splints or any of the other issues I was suddenly having though, so I evaluated what changed and it was an easy answer: I had added in CrossFit. (You can read about my intro to CrossFit here.) While I had regularly lifted for years, CrossFit was a different ballgame. The intensity is much higher than what I had been doing on my own, there was much more rebounding, and the weight was much heavier.

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As a result, my muscles were being challenged in new ways, and at first, I think this was a major shock to my body. Everything was sore, including places I didn’t know I could be sore. And the new injuries and discomfort was my body’s way of asking for additional additional support and more cushioning.
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I had been doing the WODs in New Balance Minimus trainers, which I don’t think had enough support for heavy lifting, but they were okay for the metcon portion of the workout, including wall balls, burpees, running, etc. But running felt uncomfortable and my feet were aching after almost every CrossFit workout. I finally broke down and bought some “real” running shoes (Brooks PureConnects) and some “real” CrossFit shoes (Nano Sprints).

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My running improved in the Brooks PureConnects almost immediately. My lifts improved with the Nano Sprints and my feel stopped aching.

Now that I’ve been running in “real” shoes for about a year, I’m still fine tuning some things and trying to figure out what’s the best shoe for me. I still don’t feel like I’m in as strong of running shape as I was when running in Vibrams. I haven’t been able to get my mileage up for various reasons, but I’m much stronger and fitter overall since adding in CrossFit, and that, to me, is worth the fine tuning it’s taken to figure out running again.

I’m currently in the market for new CrossFit shoes since I’ve definitely worn out my Nano Sprints, and my feet have started aching again. I’m leaning towards Nike Metcons since they should work well for heavy lifts and more cardio intensive workouts. (Update – I did buy Nike Metcons and love them!)

I’ve also recently added a new running shoe to my rotation, the Adidas Adizero Boston, and I LOVE THOSE SHOES.

Finding the right running shoes was really a difficult process and transitioning out of Vibram FiveFingers was much harder than expected. I’ll blog about that in the next and final post on this little series about why I stopped running in Vibrams. 🙂

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  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed
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    I just purchased the Nano 5s because I found them for 50% off!!!! I had been wearing the 3s for a while so I was due for some new shoes and when I saw the deal, I couldn’t not buy them.