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My First Time: A New Approach to Fitness

by Kat » on Jun 07, 2013 3


It’s been a while since we shared one of our loyal community member’s stories, so there’s no better day than today!

It seems like everyone has a different reason for why they got involved with minimalist running. It’s funny how some of the biggest advocates for barefoot running laughed at the concept before they learned the overwhelming benefits. Alex was one of those people.

Here’s his story:

Like most of the stories you’ve likely heard, mine started with a pretty decent dislike of running. I started lifting weights after high school with a friend and we’d end most training sessions with a simple one-mile jog that would consistently grind me into the ground for the sheer misery of it. After a year or so of this, I decided to take a college running class because I needed the P.E. credit, I’d already taken fencing and yoga, and because I was hoping I’d get over my hatred. And for a while there I did. The entire semester was simply building up to completing three miles, and I did so without any issues. It was even getting to be peaceful, like yoga, a portion of the day where I could shut my brain off and just move. I didn’t even mind the shin-splints too terribly much…

Fast forward to after college and my working a desk job. After a few months, I could see my newly sedentary lifestyle having an adverse effect on me, so I started in on DVD programs like P90X and Insanity. They were great for what I needed at the time, but got stale and boring, and I began my own programming once I felt I was up to it. I was excited to strap on my old Nike’s and get out running again, but suddenly my body didn’t share my enthusiasm. My manageable shin splints became monstrous, my hips and lower back were screaming during and after, and I was usually hovering around just a two mile mark. Hilariously, around this time that friend that I had lifted with before told me about an article he’d read regarding running barefoot, and what’s more, these “funky toe-shoes” people were buying, and we laughed at how ridiculous they seemed, how dangerous they must’ve been.

In searching for tips on creating body weight resistance routines, I came across a blog called NerdFitness, which sought to combine health and fitness-related information with geeky pop culture references–it was just what I needed. Combing through the archives, I found several articles expounding on the usefulness of Vibrams, the value of barefoot running, and numerous references to Chistopher McDougall’s Born to Run. I found the book in a store, read the first four chapters while waiting on my girlfriend to finish a meeting she was in, went home, and immediately downloaded it. I was sold. The next day after finishing it, I Googled around looking for sales, found Travel Country, a site that is consistently selling them at a discount and bought a pair of black-and-orange (admittedly, not the color or style I would’ve liked best) for $30 and have proceeded to wear them through ever since (there’s even a little tear in the left big toe where my nail must’ve punched through).

I wear them while I’m lifting, running, going out for pleasant walks, even just casually hanging out with friends. They have proven themselves to be the most comfortable, enjoyable shoes I’ve ever owned. And best of all, no shin splints, no joint pains, and I’m training now to complete my first half-marathon (the goal is to run a full one before my 25th birthday in late 2014). Thanks to my Vibrams, I finally feel really comfortable calling myself a runner again, and I’m back to that calm, meditative, enjoyable feeling, but this time racking up miles while barely touching the ground.

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