Running in Slovenia: Vivo Barefoot Transition Blog 1

This is the first blog in a four part series of blog posts I am writing for Vivo Barefoot, which I will also share here on my own blog. The focus of the blog posts will be on how it feels to use barefoot shoes instead of regular running shoes. In this first post I describe my experiences running during a recent trip to Slovenia.

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As always when I travel, I packed my running shoes with me, planning to run in between relaxing and enjoying time in the sun by the lakes and in the mountains. I took with me a pair of road training shoes (Nike Pegasus) and my Vivo Barefoot Primus Trail SGs. My intent is to start incorporating more barefoot running in my training, after a great first experience at the off trail race in Trillevallen (near Åre in the Swedish mountains).

Going to Slovenia I was also looking forward to finding some more off-trail mountain running, the type I do not get in Stockholm. My first two runs (7 km and 13 km) were around Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, two beautiful lakes in the north-west corner of Slovenia. They are picturesque in the summer, and the perfect place to visit for people like me who love nature - with a mix of lakes, rivers and mountains to choose from.

Lake Bled, with views of Island Bled and the Bled castle in the background

Lake Bled, with views of Island Bled and the Bled castle in the background

Lake Bohinj, a trail running and hiking paradise

Lake Bohinj, a trail running and hiking paradise

My next two runs (6 km and 8 km) were trail and off-trail, so I wore my barefoot shoes. There is something special about the feel of your foot and the connection it feels to the ground in this minimal shoe. I noticed this from the first time I wore them. For me it is the most noticeable difference between traditional shoes and barefoot shoes like the Primus Trail SGs. Because I have worn shoes with thick soles for so long, I have become used to this disconnect between the feet and the terrain. Now I was feeling the ground, whether that be dirt, grass or stones in the rivers!

In barefoot shoes, I became more aware of where I was stepping, how I was stepping, and my stride length. There is no doubt that having greater feel for the ground in the soles of the feet was the cause of this. The feedback you get from a stride with heel strike is immediate, and this can only be a good thing for improving my running technique to more forefoot landing.

Vivo Barefoot Off Trail SG

At the same time, as I started to run barefoot in Slovenia I felt a little nervous, and this is because I have heard of problems during transition like plantar (the tissue at the bottom of the foot) fasciitis or achilles issues. For some people, problems can occur when the muscles that support the foot are too weak, which is a concern for me given I have always run in shoes. But I did not have any soreness after my barefoot runs in Slovenia, or any pain in the achilles, so was happy.

Overall I feel like the first barefoot runs in Slovenia were a great success and I will continue to incorporate barefoot running sessions into my routine in Stockholm, where I am currently training for the 30 km Lidingöloppet.

Happy running!

Dan