I am a big advocate of barefoot running. Not minimalist or five finger type shoes, however real barefoot running. Growing up, I was worried about every little thing. One thing I was worried about was getting dog or cat worms from the soil. After reading Born to Run, my wife switched to the funny looking shoes with individual spaces for each of her toes. She introduced the book to a great friend of ours. Now, he runs all sorts of half, full marathons, 50 and 100 kilometer races barefoot. Real barefoot. He’s run the Leadville as well. He introduced the book to me and it makes sense. I spoke with a physical therapist friend and colleague of mine. He has worked much with biomechanics and gait. As of spring 2012, he could not find definitive research demonstrating one way or the other as to which is better: to run shod or barefoot. Therefore, I shall leave it up to the individual.
For the past 1.5 years, I have been running barefoot some and shod as well. If you choose to run barefoot, approach it slowly. I found it beneficial to start and advance in quarter mile increments. It is nothing for me to go out and run 5-13 miles. It takes time, but once you train your mind to control your body and breathing, most anyone can run comfortably. Many people I know went out and bought the funny looking shoes then painfully regretted the next day, having attempted 3 or more miles. So, I advise people to start low and slowly increase as your body adjusts. Start with a quarter mile. That’s it. You may think its no big deal. Really, just a quarter mile. Then stop, stretch and hydrate. Wait for two days then repeat it again. If you are not in discomfort, add a second quarter for a total of a half mile. Then repeat every other or every third day. If you are in pain, then don’t run that day. Wait. Wait until the discomfort is gone. Then slowly advance by another quarter mile. Seriously, take it slow and you will see positive gains. If you push too hard too quickly, you may set yourself back.
To date, the furthest I’ve run barefoot is five miles. I have come to realize in my fear of worms, and bugs and generally the unknown are two things. First, we could die at any moment. Secondly, we have medication for those worms and parasites.
With that being said, get out there and enjoy today.
Today’s workout is hill repeats for one mile. Barefoot.
Again, if you run with shoes, enjoy the hill repeats. If you run barefoot, start slow.
Make It Fun !
God Bless You.