Fresh thoughts on barefoot running...
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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Fresh thoughts on barefoot running... on 07/01/2010 23:38:49 MDT Print View

1. On tonight's trail run (~10 miles) I started to bonk at about mile 6.5. I have a cough, a busted up left arm, didn't eat much today, and generally felt sluggish...surprise.

So I'm reduced to walking. And I figure since I'm going so slow, I might as well take my shoes off...and next thing I know, I'm running again and feeling great. I think getting my mind on my feet and out of my own head was just what I needed.

As I log more and more miles barefoot (about 35-45 per week right now with ~12/week barefoot, all on trail), I'm finding that time sure flies when my shoes are off, despite a slower pace. I'm sure it's due to the requisite concentration.

2. Much is made of the idea that running barefoot is more in tune with our "natural" running form and that this form reduces risk of injury. I certainly subscribe to the idea- in light of millions of years of evolution, it just makes sense.

But it also occurred to me that the reduction in joint issues/stress injuries that many barefoot runners cite (it's certainly been my experience) could be not only due to the form, but simply the fact that barefoot simply makes you SLOW DOWN. I know from experience that it's pretty tough to run at high speeds down rocky singletrack while barefoot- the type of running that also happens to blow your knees.

When looking at human evolution and running barefoot, maybe it's not simply a matter of not being "meant" for shoes solely because of issues with form, but also because the body has trouble dealing with the stresses caused by the speed and reckless nature shoes allow...?

Just some thoughts...

Clayton Black
(Jivaro) - MLife
Re: Fresh thoughts on barefoot running... on 07/02/2010 05:43:37 MDT Print View

I think you would enjoy the book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. He discusses these things while telling a story about some really amazing people.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Fresh thoughts on barefoot running... on 07/02/2010 06:57:32 MDT Print View

that is a very interesting thought Craig and seems to make good sense. Kinda like a runners high without the high.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Fresh thoughts on barefoot running..." on 07/02/2010 10:38:47 MDT Print View

Craig,

You do state an excellent observation, I too have thought about that same idea.

Ryan Zahynacz
(creep) - F
I agree on 07/10/2010 22:22:54 MDT Print View

Hi Craig,

I run barefoot as well, and I find that the benefits stem almost entirely from one being light on thier feet (which you have to be on rough trails). Running slow also helps but I think that comes from the second side effect of going barefoot: you have to start running from scratch.

No one switches from 50 miles a week in shoes to 50 miles a week barefoot. You start back at one or two miles and build again from their (in speed and distance).

I think Ken Bob put it best when he described your feet as "quality control" for the rest of your body. They are your first and weakest point of contact with the ground and have the most sensitivity to when something is not working. Shoes are like turning off the QC.

T kawa
(kitsune) - F
bearfoot (picture a guy with hairy claws for feet=) on 10/21/2010 11:42:49 MDT Print View

to you #1, I think it might just be it's easier because you don't have weights on your feet!

#2, I think it has more to do with form and not heel striking than going slow, I'm fairly sure I can run faster barefoot than i could with shoes on, because of the wieght and because the faster I go barefoot the more on my toes I get, rather than just taking longer strides in shoes.
down rocky areas perhaps a bit slower, but you have to go slow in shoes so you don't turn your ankle right?
anywho, glad you're enjoying your bearfootedness=D