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Transitioning to Vibram Five Fingers + how I feel

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Transitioning to Vibrams can wreck your body is you’re not careful. Here’s how I’m building up in them, plus some FAQs about running in Vibrams.

Build up mileage in Vibram Five Fingers

My loose schedule right now is:

  • Monday – run in Vibrams 2 miles*
  • Tuesday – Body Pump
  • Wednesday – run in Asics 3-5 miles
  • Thursday – Body Pump
  • Friday – teach cycle
  • Saturday – longer run in Asics (5-7 miles, switching to Vibrams for the last 2 miles) and/or Body Pump
  • Sunday  – rest

I might toss in a 1 mile run on Tuesday or Thursday evenings in my Vibrams, mostly to exercise my the boxer dog. 🙂

*I built up to 2 miles gradually, completing two runs at each distance with a day of rest in between: 0.5 miles, 1.0 miles, 1.5 miles. (So I ran 0.5 miles the first time, then rested a day, then 0.5 miles again, then rested, then 1.0 miles, then rested, etc.)

I’ll probably keep this schedule for a few weeks and then try to increase the distance in my Vibrams some more.

I love the responses I got running in Vibrams and why I’m doing it. And I think the majority ruled that it’s pronounced “VIE-brams” not “VEE-brams.” 🙂 Some background about making the switch!

  • I am a pronator and have always run in stability shoes. Asics, to be precise. The Asics 2100 series to be very precise, including the 2120, 2130, 2140, and 2150.
  • I am switching between my Asics 2150 and the Vibrams. No, I don’t know if that’s OK or counterproductive. But I’m doing it anyway.
  • Last Saturday, I ran in my Asics. Honestly, it was nice just to run and not have to be so conscious of my form and landing. But my legs felt like LEAD and my SI joint starting hurting after a while. I switched to my Vibrams after 3.5 miles for one more mile loop and felt great.
  • Maizey thinks minimalist/barefoot running is the only way to go. She’s so progressive.

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How I feel so far

  • I went for a short & speedy run yesterday in my Vibrams. I was really frustrated and the run was a great stress reliever. It sounds weird, but it was like the frustration was escaping through my feet through the Vibrams, like it was just flowing from me to the ground without the extra barrier of a thick sole. Hard to describe, but I loved it.
  • My left shin hurts today. I haven’t had shin splint problems in over 10 years. I’m not sure if it’s related to running in the Vibrams yesterday, Body Pump or something else.
  • I plan to run in my Asics on my longer runs until I build up my foot and ankle strength by gradually increasing my distances in my Vibrams.
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    51 responses to “Transitioning to Vibram Five Fingers + how I feel”

    1. that is an awesome photo. it is so artistic! do you like being the only girl or do you wish you had a sister? or, i guess now that you have in laws, i mean do you wish you had a sister when you were little?

      • You know, I didn’t know any differently so it was fine by me! I love the bond that so many sisters seem to have and would have liked that, but I’m close to all my brothers and I knew they always had my back! 🙂

    2. Now you are going to have readers searching for their own Marlboro Man going after your brother. You’ve read pioneer women’s blog right?

      • LOL!!!! hahahahahahaha! Yes, I’ve read the PW’s story! hahaha!Your comment made my day. 🙂

    3. All that goes into the Vibrams really intrigues me. Glad they seem to be a good fit for you overall and I hope your shin feels better.

      I tend to have a schedule so I can stay more organized with my workouts. I don’t mind switching things around if I have to though. I do hate the thought of waking up and not having any clue what is on plan for the gym that day. I think I would be a lot more likely not to get in a workout that way.

      • He’s 31. I can’t disclose his exact location at the moment since it’s hunting season. Yes, you can date him. As long as you aren’t crazy. 😉

    4. I’ve been thinking about getting a pair of Vibrams; one of the trainers I work with suggested I try barefoot running because right now when I run, my knee kills me. Something about the foot strike being different when you run barefoot, and therefore allowing you to absorb more impact with each step? Anyway, glad to see that you like them! Have you had issues with blisters or rubbing?

      • I think there is just less impact overall running in Vibrams because you have to learn to land more lightly and it’s not so jarring to your body landing up on your forefoot. It takes time to adjust, but I definitely feel like it’s less jarring to my body.

        I haven’t had any problems with blisters or rubbing yet. I know some people get those five finger socks to wear with them when they have. I think they are Iniji socks or something??

    5. That is such a cool picture of you and your brothers.

      I have a loose workout schedule. During the school year I know I want to have 3-4 cardio sessions, 2-3 strength sessions and maybe a yoga in there too. I vary up intensities and just go with how my body is doing.

    6. Love that photo!! 5 brothers … gosh, that’s a lot! 🙂 I’ve always wanted an older brother … well, nothing my mum could have done *g*, so she gave me a younger sister … but I still want one!
      I think it’s great that every one of your brothers looks really different!

      I actually don’t have a set workout plan but since I do study really hard for final exams of my clerkship at the moment, I don’t do any strenous workouts. I do a mix of yoga (about 4 times a week) and Jillian Michaels’ 30day shred dvd … this means I do get a bit of cardio, some strength moves and plenty of stretching and relaxing and focusing from yoga! (love yogadownload.com)
      And I really watch what I eat concerning nutrients and a good balance of protein, fat and carbs which helps me with studying and keeps major weight gain at bay when all you do is study and sit on your butt 😀

      I’ve never commented here, I think, so : Love your blog! Always lovely to read your posts – thanks for taking all this time!

      a chocolaty hello from Germany 🙂

      • That is so great you do yoga so often! I’m lucky if I get it in once a week. I need to be better about it. I love yogadownload.com too! I’d kind of forgotten about it though – thanks for the reminder!

        And thanks for saying hi all the way from Germany! so cool!!

        • My pleasure! 🙂
          I really recommend “Power Yoga #3” (slower but reeeally stretching your muscles), “Power Yoga #5” and “Power Vinyasa Flow#1 ” if you need a quick but rewarding 20min session!

    7. Do people look at you funny and confused when they see you running in those? funny looks might be the best part of wearing them ! haha!

      Roger looks cute! and i love the picture as well.

      • oh, they totally give me funny looks. It’s kind of my favorite part of wearing them.

        I’m convinced you and Roger would love each other. If it wasn’t for that whole boyfriend thing of yours… 😉

    8. Beautiful photo! I love artistic family shots. They are best at capturing the personalities of everyone.

      I’m still only walking in my Vibrams. After my Oct. race, I plan on trying to transition properly. Each time you post, I’m taking notes!

    9. i want your vibrams! they’re so pink 🙂 i’m also thinking of switching over soon but I’m scared that it will slow down my running progress (not that I rack up crazy mileage). do you not run with the socks then? how does it feel?

      haha i’m in love with those cowboy hats.

    10. I have a HUUUUGE thing for cowboys and if I wasn’t married, I’d be BEGGING to go manure walking with that single wannabe badass brother named Roger!! lol

    11. I love that picture. Love. And I do whatever the heck I want to do on any given day. I do a lot of the same stuff (run, BodyPump, spin) but I switch up the location, the time of day and what day just based on how I feel. It works for me! I get 5-6 workouts in a week so I’m not worried about it =)

    12. Glad you are loving the Vibrams. I usually stick to a pretty typical running schedule to get 30+ miles a week and do my strength training at night. It’s a lot right now but I’m hoping to switch things up after my marathon.

    13. Those “shoes” are sooo cool! I saw a guy at my work wearing them and he also said that they were super comfy, he was like wearing them around the house and just left home with them…..I can’t wait to try them myself 🙂 and yes your dog is very smart by going barefoot, so comfy!

    14. Workout schedule for sure! I may mix up the days I do things but it’s nice to keep in my head the workouts to be done each day and make sure I make time for them.

    15. Dear, Teri
      I have found this post to be rather intesting. I normally dont read food blogs but I was informed about some intersting personal information that you may have posted about ME! Love the description! I am sooo excited for the paybacks I have planned…………
      please send all the girls to me on my facebook page. hahaha

    16. Love the pictures!! Both the one of you and your brothers and the one of your and Maizey’s feet in your minimalist running shoes. 😉 So cute!

      Also…I thought I was saying it because I pronounced it VIE-brams. I felt like an idiot when “hard core” runners who actually wore them told me it was “vee-“. But now I guess I’ve been saying it right all along…?

    17. Just stumbled on your blog and am really enjoying it. I’ve been debating the fivefingers for a year or so and am considering finally biting the bullet. I don’t run but I already lift barefoot because of ankle and tight calf issues and am hoping to use them as part of my general training.

      It’s VEE-bram. I work for an outdoor retailer and their rep was in this last weekend and he switches back and forth between the two but the correct way of saying it is VEE bram. Their soles are on pretty much every major hiking boot brand and until the fivefingers came out I’d never heard anyone call the brand anything other then VEEbram, if you call the company that’s how they pronounce it as well.

    18. Oh it me for sure! I didn’t know I had to monitor Teri’s website! I will be watching it for sure from here on! haha
      I have a red heeler and he is awesome!

    19. I love heelers! I’m a border collie person, so of course I was sure you had one of those. 😉

    20. That is a very cool photo! Love black and white. Sounds like you’re doing a good job of easing into the vibrams and I’m sure it takes quite a while for the bod to build up the appropriate strength for those longer miles.

    21. i stumbled across this post looking for info and advice on converting to running in vibrams. what specifically caught my attention was your mention of having SI joint pain when going back for a run in your asics (i’m also a heavy pronator and have been running in the 2100 series for years). i’ve had SI joint issues for the last five months and am considering the switch to barefoot running in hopes that it might improve my form, lessen my aches and pains and all together improve my run. looks like it’s been a little while since you’ve written in this blog but i’d love to get an update on your experiences. oh, and much like many of the other women who commented before me i’d also like to add that roger is hot and i’d date him 🙂

    22. my mistake. i see you write in this blog pretty regularly. i showed this as your last post until i played around more. i’ll go read more recent posts to see if you’ve written more about your vibrams.

      • I haven’t written in great detail about the vibrams yet, but I do have a guest post going up on another blog this weekend and will also be posting a Vibram Q&A next week, so stay tuned for more detailed information!

        Long story short, I still haven’t had the SI joint issues since running in the Vibrams for 3 months!!

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