Help me find the right pair of minimalist shoes! I've been a member of a Crossfit gym for six months, which means I've been exposed to the peer pressure regarding Vibram FiveFingers. Plus, I'm starting to travel a lot (and lightly) and want a pair of running shoes that have a small footprint (heh) when packed in a suitcase. Recommendations for this recreational runner? Are Vibrams a good option? Which model? How do I size them? I'm training for next October's Portland Marathon, if that makes a difference. Bonus points for shoes available at REI (though that's not a requirement).
I went to see my doctor yesterday for a running injury (IT band). He says that basically I'm fit but that I have the "flexibility of a two-by-four". He wants me to do a stretching regimen three times a day — more if possible. He showed me a couple of stretches, but I'd like to do more. Can you recommend any good individual stretches or stretching routines, especially for a novice runner (and especially for one having trouble with his IT band)? YouTube clips a HUGE plus. Yoga's fine, but there's now way in hell I can do the pigeon pose (I have the flexibility of a two-by-four, remember?).
ExerciseFilter: I am old (36). I am fat (5'8" 190#). I am out of shape (no real physical activity for a couple years). I have a bad knee (ACL replacement and some cartilage replacement two year ago). I want to run a half-marathon on Halloween. What can I do to prepare? Specifically, what can I do to minimize the risk of reinjuring my knee? [more inside]