Falling in love with running (when I used to hate it)

October 22, 2010


I once jumped into a marathon to run 6 miles with a friend till the end.
I never run, so 6 miles was a big deal. It felt great, but for a week my knees felt so shot they would buckle as I walked.


I didn’t take up running again until now.


There’s a theory that modern shoes are actually the cause of many injuries such as knee pain. The idea is very simple… our feet were engineered to run. They are well-designed machine that takes care of everything, including shock absorption.  Before the days of shoes (a couple million years worth of time in the history of the homo sapien) the bottoms of our feet were used to rugged terrain, and our toes were wide creating a stable base, so we could run on anything.   Now our feet have the same design, but the skin is soft, so we just need a good cover for it and a way to spread out our toes.


Enter the vibram five fingers.


I bought the Bikilia model, named after Ethiopian Abebe Bikila who ran a world-record 2:15:17 marathon at the 1960 Olympics in Rome – barefoot. And I just went on my first run tonight.  And all I have to say is holy shit. I usually have to take a break every lap and this time I kept going and going like I was flying. At times it felt like my feet barely hit the ground.  I had to stop myself because I knew the muscles and feet have to get used to it (you run on the middle of your foot, instead of striking at the heel).


Beyond just running, it feels amazing for the real shape of my foot to touch the earth. It’s very grounding. I highly recommend it, even if you don’t want to run in them. (If you do buy them for running, read Tim Ferriss’ blog post first.)


I love simple solutions.