Reeducating My Legs · 4 July 2013

I thought that my legs would be ready for at least the same mileage in my FiveFingers as I could run in my Merrels. Unfortunately, they need to be reeducated. Again.

I remember ignoring good advice and running farther than I should have with mostly supportless shoes. I paid for it with sore muscles and a funny walk for a few days. When I got my completely supportless FiveFingers, my no-shoe shoes, I ignored the advice again. After all, I figured that I had already paid my dues and my legs would be fine. But they are not as strong as they need to be. At least not yet. Thankfully, the only payment I have had to make so far has been soreness.

Last August, when I decided to do the minimalist shoe thing, I did not realize that the running shoes I got had little bit of arch support. Like I said before, it took almost a year for that arch support to start hurting my feet, but looking back, I believe those shoes helped me transition to no-shoe shoes. They helped my arches get stronger by providing a little bit of support. However, now I need to take the time to make a final transition. I need to finish the reeducation of my feet and legs to no-shoe shoes.

I jumped right into running the same mileage with my new shoes because I thought that my calves and all my supporting muscles were stronger from having little support when running this year. I did not realize that they needed to be even stronger until I was sore after running a few miles in my new no-shoe shoes.

At first, I thought that my form was wrong. I thought that I must be overstriding. That my foot must be striking in front of my body instead of directly below it causing a braking effect and putting extra stress on my calves. But as I look at myself, I believe my form is good. I might be slightly overstriding, but I believe I just need to get used to having no-shoe shoes. Still, getting used to my newest shoes has been much better than when I first ran in minimalist shoes. And there is no comparison to what it was like in the old days.

In the past, new shoes usually brought blisters and pain. There was a long breaking in period to get used to new shoes. To get used to support in new and different places than the old shoes had. To get used to unnecessary padding. It seemed to take forever before the blisters and pain went away. Now, I do not have any blisters or pain, just a few aches. I know I just need to take it slowly and ease into the mileage. Thankfully, I just need to be strengthening instead of breaking my body.

I wish I could say that I had already paid my dues and was ready to run lots of miles nearly barefoot. But even though I still have soreness to pay for the miles, I am thankful that I do not need to break my body. For fortunately, with no-shoe shoes, all I really need to do is reeducate my feet and legs. Again.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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