I've taken a week off and just started running again yesterday. Torrential rains plus having gone a bit too far too fast and being sore for it convinced me to take a week off and reflect on progress. Let's go through an inventory:
- Fewer aches and pains? I'd have to say that they've only moved. My feet feel better than running with shoes. Hamstrings are tighter and seem to be getting more of a workout. IT-band issues about the same.
- Faster? Maybe. I'm still going such short distances (2+ miles) it's hard to say. My comfortable pace is still pretty slow at around 7 to 7.5 mi/hr.
- More fun? Yes with bare feet, maybe not with the Vibrams.
Maybe the novelty will wear off, but the barefoot experience is still exhilarating. My feet tell me a lot about how fast I can safely run. I get a thrill from feeling the temperature and texture of the concrete, rocks, sticks, etc. It takes my full concentration looking for obstacles, landing gently, etc.
Gravel paths are still challenging
With the Vibrams, it's closer to the shod experience. I'm more likely to get lazy and revert to poor form. I don't get the input from the environment.
Ben Franklin is often paraphrased about those who choose safety over freedom deserve neither. Is the same true for running? It's probably a stretch, but I'm leaning towards more barefoot fewer Vibram runs.