Longest Five Finger run to date!

Yesterday I did my longest five finger run and it was awesome! Previously the furthest I’d run in them was 6k. They say you should build up slowly in them so your leg muscles get a chance to adapt and get stronger. Back in November 07 I started by running 3.2k once a week in them. I didn’t get the usual sore calves because I spent the first half of 07 running in flats (Nike Jana Waffles) so I had already built up my calves with those. I did get achillies pain though, so I was really taking it slow. Recently I have been running 5-6k 3 or 4 days per week in the five fingers. I still get achillies pain at times. Never sure if it’s to do with the shoes pressing hard against my heal (point of pain is right there) or because I am pushing myself too much. I always find that if I warm up with a 5 or 10min walk and run slower, that the achillies pain diminishes or is even gone altogether.

Lately I’ve been getting a few shin niggles, which I feel while wearing my regular running shoes (Asics DS Trainers). It feels like overuse to me, rather than the old debilitating shin splints, as I don’t feel the pain in the bone (yet). I never feel any niggles or injury issues while wearing the five fingers.

As this week was supposed to be an ‘easy week’, I decided to do a ‘short’ long run in the five fingers. I had always done all long runs in the DS Trainers but this time I didn’t want my shins complaining, and I also hoped that the five fingers would stop me getting too enthusiastic and I wouldn’t run too far. So I decided on 13-15k.

Well I started with my previous 13k loop. Walked the first km as a warm up to prevent achillies pain. The route was mostly on concrete, which I find very easy to run on. There are these HORRIBLE cobble stones on Para Rd. I have no idea why the council thought it would be nice to have a cobble stone footpath there. It’s not even a nice area. The shops are mostly industrial – a magic/costume/party hire shop, a chainsaw shop, granny flat shop, and the hydroponics shop – so I can’t imagine too many people taking a walk along there admiring the cobble stones. Bloody hell they hurt. With every step I swore under my breath, limping terribly if I misplaced a foot. After the cobble stones was some gravel – this is where the council thought it would be good to have no footpath at all and a mix of gravel, dirt and pine needles formed a path down to a cricket ground. I aimed my feet on pine needles, which felt divine after the cobble stones, but occasionally I’d land on an unseen rock, large piece of gravel, or some other uncomfortable thing causing me to swear again.

Back to a real footpath sometimes concrete, sometimes bitumen. I got to a point where I could either go up the Horrible Horrible Hills of grass or turn and go via the not so horrible hills of Yallambie Rd. The Horrible Horrible Hills actually seemed appealing, but that would mean later running past some workers laying a new footpath, and with my ridiculous looking five fingers, I didn’t really feel like running past them, so did the Yallambie Rd option. Continued round, finished my loop, and realised I’d only have done 12k by the time I got home, so continued round again. Those cobble stones were about a million times worse the second time round. Each step was agony and I was hobbling around trying not to slow to a walk. Ran on the grass near the cricket ground which felt so luxurious, like trying on a new pair of cushy shoes for the first time and running on clouds. Decided to cut along the river path and head home.

Well I was up to about 14k then and was feeling really good so thought I may as well add one of my regular short loops. Decided on the regular Flat 4k I used to do. Well my feet started to feel like someone had smashed them soon after that. I guess it was partly due to the cobble stones, occasional rock and the cold. It was so cold that my feet felt cold most of the run, which is very abnormal for me, and I think this exacerbated the pain. Anyway I had already decided to do the 4k loop so I wasn’t going to let myself back out.

Got home with a total of 18.8k feeling fantastic! The soles of my feet felt quite sore, but nothing bad. No calf pain, which I think indicates I can run any distance with the five fingers without the associated calf pain. I did have some achillies pain where the back of the five fingers hits my heal, but it wasn’t as bad as it sometimes is. May have even been better if it wasn’t so cold.

My right foot is still a little sore, right on the ball of the foot. This happened last weekend too, so I reckon that foot just has a low pain tolerance. Other than that I’ve pulled up 100%! I think I might have to look at getting some injinji socks though because I really don’t like having such cold feet. I just don’t know how the five fingers will fit with socks on! They really are tight. I reckon I could even go up a size, could even alleviate the current achillies issues. I’ll have to try some injinjis on and if they don’t fit with the five fingers, then that probably means the five fingers are a little small, as I have read other blogs of people comfortably wearing socks with them. We’ll see…

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