Sunday, 13 May 2012

Having a shared hobby can strengthen your relationship

It is really great that Anny and I can enjoy running together, and now that she has followed my lead and bought a pair of Vibram FiveFingers it is even more fun.  I have now gone one step further and started running completely barefoot from time to time, and whether she will ever follow this lead I don't know, but at least she can enjoy some of the great sensations (of feeling the ground beneath her feet) that I am getting.

Today was the first time she has been out in her VFFs.  She wanted to start using them gradually, so we went running for 5km first, with her in normal running shoes and me in my VFFs, and then we stopped and changed, with her slipping into her VFFs and me going completely barefoot.  She decided to wear Injinji toe socks inside her VFFs as she had her nails painted recently and wanted to protect them.  It took her quite a while to get her feet into the shoes, and I reassured her that it will become easier the more times she does it.  It is probably easier to get them on when you are not wearing socks, as there is slightly more room and your feet can glide over the fabric.

Before Anny set off I gave her a few words of advice regarding the difference between running in normal shoes and in minimalistic shoes like VFFs.  I told her to try to land on the ball of her foot and to focus on small, light, quick steps rather than bounding.  I didn't want to spoil her fun of trying them out though, so after those few words I left it to her to experiment for herself.  Also I am by no means an expert.  Quite the opposite in fact.

The barefoot section of our run was on the Finnenbahn in Irchelpark, and I really like running barefoot there.  It is now my second time running round it completely barefoot.  Today was slightly more comfortable than the first time, and I think my feet will toughen up very quickly if I continue like this.

I asked Anny what she thought of running in the VFFs compared to running in normal shoes.  She said that she enjoyed the sensation of feeling the ground beneath her feet and she felt the muscles in her toes were being engaged as the two main upsides.  When I asked her if there were any downsides she said not at present.  The key for her to continue enjoying the experience in my opinion is for her to go step by step.  Running in her VFFs on asphalt would not be as enjoyable for her as running on wood chips and also would be harder on her knees.  So I think that for the time being she should stick to the wood chips and increase the distance bit by bit.  I will keep you updated on her progress.

As well as running together, we are also going to start dance classes together as from tomorrow.  We have chosen to do a course of Kizomba, which is a dance originating from Angola.  It is meant to be a sensual dance that is easier to learn than tango.  If you are interested in knowing more about it, as I had never heard of it until recently, here is some more info  Dancing is of course a very enjoyable workout.

Finally in closing I would like to say that if any of you have recently took up barefoot running or minimalistic running I would be interested to hear how you are finding it.  What are the pros?  What are the cons?  Do you share it in common with your partner?  Has it made your relationship more enjoyable?


  1. Wow Anny is very adventurous trying out new experiences with you. Hope you enjoy the dance lessons. I don't think I will every get your dad to dance lessons!!! xxxx

  2. Loving the 5 fingered approach and the barefoot approach. Perhaps I'll trial this but my legs are killing after my run yesterday.
    Really enjoy these inspirational blogs keep on running and writing

  3. I am curious for the updates. I am wondering if barefoot would be a good way to toughen my feet up for 2013 MDS. I also feel at times like running shoes are just too cushioned for no real reason !

  4. It certainly can't hurt SJ, as long as it doesn't cause you to get injured by doing it. I have noticed my knees start to ache if I go too far in my VFFs. My calves also ache quite a lot the next day. So far my limit is around 10km. I hope to have that up to half marathon distance in a few months. As for running completely barefoot I am going to have to build that up really slowly as till now I have only done it twice. I haven't decided yet which shoes I will wear in the Ticino Trail race, but I am certainly not doing it barefoot so I will divide my training time between shod and non shod sessions. I could try to do it in my Newtons.