The last few days have confirmed what I already suspected. I have now been running in the Vibrams for about 7 or 8 months, and over that period I experienced the occasional tired muscle or foot / calf / ankle as muscles adjusted and were used more frequently (and correctly). This eventually disappeared and earlier this month I reached a point where I considered my legs to finally be barefoot trained, at least in a muscular sense.
However, with the excessive load I have placed on my soles as I go completely barefoot, I realised that I had only completed half of the equation. The "toughening up", or adaptation of the soles is equally important, and something that the minimalist shoes such as the Vibrams cannot help you with.
I went out today and could not even feel the blisters and "hot spots" that have developed on my soles (exclusively on the toes and balls of both feet) with the Vibrams on. When I look back at how I adapted my muscles, it was usually a case of one day of running (sometimes two), and one or two days rest. I need to apply the same strategy to conditioning the soles, and eventually building to turning the ratio around the other way, and then progressing to exclusively barefoot.
I think if I was to have my time over again, I would go 1 day vibrams, 1 day barefoot, 1 day of rest, gradually building up the distance and speed over time. But I am never one for much patience, so I don't know if I could have actually done that!
Today's run was revealing in other ways. For whatever reason I was feeling very ordinary and lethargic at the start as I headed around Albert Park lake, but by the end of the run and afterwards I felt fantastic.I realised that no matter what you feel like, just get out there and bloody well do it! Thanks to Nike for their slogan, if not their shoes :)
Distance : 5.78km
Time : 26:39
Elevation : +28.4 / -30.3