Bunchgrasser’s World

My unique filter on life

Ahhh, running barefoot…

Posted by bunchgrasser on July 13, 2009

Ok, when was the last time that you actually ran barefoot outside? For me, the answer is last week. However, prior to that I cannot recall the last time I ran barefoot because it was probably 20-30 years ago. For many of us adults, the idea of running barefoot never enters our mind. Most likely because it either seems unsafe (broken glass, rusty nail) or it seems unclean (probably is).

I’ve been very intrigued by this concept of a “barefoot movement” and the potential benefits to be gained by spending more time out of your shoes, thereby strengthening long-lost foot muscles. I’ve done quite a fair bit of reading on this topic and have been amazed by some of the success stories people have shared.

I recently purchased a couple of pairs of Nike Free 5.0’s and I have managed a few short runs (4-6 miles) in them. As I’ve mentioned before, the feeling was amazing and very different from all of my other running shoes. Actually feeling the surface underneath your feet changes something. I felt faster, lighter and more energetic when running in the Free’s.

Last week, while on my normal run (in my Free 5.0’s) I stopped off at a local soccer complex and spent some time on the soft artificial turf field running barefoot. I started with a few slow laps around to get a feel for the barefoot experience. After that I ran some midline sprints…well actually I’m not sure you could call them sprints – but I was running faster than my normal pace. The purpose wasn’t to injure myself, but to just see what it felt like. And, it felt GREAT! I went home with a feeling that I had accomplished something really cool. The next day I woke up with very sore muscles in places I’ve never experienced before. Predictable, I guess…

I’ve since healed up and I’ve been out running in my “standard” shoes (Asics) a few times, but the memory lingers. I’m not planning to switch over to the Free’s full time, or anything crazy like that. I’m constantly worried about injuring myself – so most likely I’ll try to grab a shorter run here and there in them. With the Portland Marathon coming up in early October – I’m very focused on a singular goal: to arrive on race day without any injuries.

I believe there is something very exciting, and potentially very beneficial here. I don’t think I’ll ever be running barefoot down a paved street, but if I can rehabilitate some of my foot muscles it will make me a stronger runner.

More info on barefoot running

Cheers

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One Response to “Ahhh, running barefoot…”

  1. I tried barefoot running (in Vibram five fingers), and I completely agree with you, the feeling, the sensation was incredible. It was more of an adventure.

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