Monday, September 3, 2012

The Great Barefoot Experiment: Episode Four

Yesterday I did my first real test as far as barefoot running goes.  Running a slow mile in the soft grass is easy enough for most people to accomplish.  It is not a very good indicator, however, if barefoot running is right for you, and it does nothing to for your form, so I've heard.  Running on hard surfaces is supposed to be where you start.  So that's what I did.

Originally I set out to run barefoot for three minutes.  I drove to the Birke Gilman Trail, parking near Fred Meyer because I had a few things I needed to pick up.  This trail is smooth asphalt with the exception of street crossings.  Sounded the perfect surface for my first time barefoot.  Once I got there I decided that three minutes sounded a little too conservative so I decided to go for five.  I set my garmin to go off at two and half minutes and was off.

Felt strange and foreign and first, and people always give strange looks to people with no shoes on.  I was more nervous than I should have been.  It very quickly became very natural feeling and the smooth asphalt was a wonderful surface to run on.  It was a little rough running across the few street crossing in that part of the trail, the ball of my right foot found a rock that I didn't see.  Other than that, like I said, it was very comfortable and natural feeling.  My timer went off and I turned around.  Not sure what happened but it took me longer to get back back and my five minute turned into five minutes and fifty seconds.  It is what it is.  After that I went back to my car so I could dust off my feet and put on my shoes and go for a normal run.  I had a hard time getting a decent picture with the blinding sunshine but here's how my feet looked, happily dirty.

My planned run with shoes was only two miles.  I haven't been running much lately and quickly realized how much fitness I've lost when I ran a three mile run that felt like it should have been 10.  The first thing I noticed, and it's probably just from switching from one to the other so quickly, my legs, mainly my shins, were feeling a little achy and fatigued right off the bat.  Before I had even gone half the distance as my mini barefoot run.  I really don't know if that means anything but I thought it was interesting to note.  My two miler felt long (out of shape) but good.  Feels good to be getting back out there again.  I also stopped by the running store today to try on a pair of Merrell Pace Gloves.  Oh yes, those will be mine.

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