Saturday, 3 April 2010

Learning the hard way. Transitioning to barefoot running requires patience

It’s been more than two weeks now since I last ran, since then and I’ve been hobbling around on crutches. The pain when I try to put weight on the ball of my left foot is nowhere as bad as it was a week ago, so I’m hoping I’ll make a full recovery (full recovery = being able to hop on my left leg pain free) in the next few weeks. Those who know me know that when I’m injured and can’t exercise I’m a prick. Thankfully I’ve been able to hobble to the gym and lift a few weights, plus I can use the exercise bike if I push from the heel end of my foot.

One positive is that injury brings a little bit of perspective. Here’s what I’ve learned:
  • I’m not as patient as I thought I was
  • I should cherish my health every day
  • I should have spent a long time walking in the VFFs before I even considered running in them
  • I should never have run through pain, I should have switched to my Nikes until I’d properly recovered
  • I should have alternated between running in my Nikes and the VFFs
  • The VFFs are a tool, and there’s a right way and a wrong way to use them
  • Using crutches is hard work
  • People on crutches are touched much more often by random acts of kindness
What now? At first I never wanted to slip the VFFs on ever again. Like an affair, cheating on my Nikes with a bitter end. Now that the initial anger has passed, I’m convinced that running is a skill, regardless of the footwear. The VFFs still have a part to play in becoming a better runner, I just need to be more realistic in my targets and expectations.

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.


  1. Hope that rabbitty looking left foot of yours is on the mend soon.

  2. whatthef**k....
    this is a totally compelling blog. not only because you're somebody i know but also it's about something so far removed from anything i would ever read. or do. i'm susbcribing now.
    hoep all's well old chummer. love to mrs hh

  3. Cheers Jamie.

    Gav, you're my first subscriber and there's a fabulous prize for that. I'll deliver it personally next time we're back in the UK. All is good except this feckin' foot.
    Love to all the family!

  4. can i win a prize if i subscribe too; or is the deal not open to family? Wife x

  5. Yes darling, there's a prize for you too.

  6. Hi Paul,

    I just came across your blog while browsing the net for bare foot runners in Dubai. I finished reading born to run couple of months back and interested in learning the technique. Where did you get the VVF's from. did you purchase it in Dubai? if yes please let me know.

    my e-mail ID is

    Thanks dude.

  7. Hi Preet
    As yet there are still no stockists in the Middle East. I ordered my VFF's from the Vibram Europe website, they were shipped from Italy to brother-in-law in the UK, who was coming out to Dubai to visit us the following week.
    I hope this helps.

  8. Thanks Paul. I am placing the order from USA. I hurt my calf muscle as well running bare foot and then came across your blog. Got good insight from your list of things you learnt. im going through the same.