Monday, August 8, 2011

Barefoot Running No More



So after 6 weeks of the 12 week plan, I decided to take a week off barefoot running, which became two weeks, then three. During the break, I don't think there was ever a time when I actually missed having barefoot running as part of my training. In retrospect, there were some things I appreciated about barefoot running, but not missing it shows me quite a bit as well.

So what were the takeaways?
  • Barefoot running really made me conscious of what I was doing, no more autopilot runs where I didn't think about what I was doing.
  • Including barefoot running improved my running form - thinking about bending my knees and focusing on lifting my feet rather than pushing off always makes me feel less tense, though no less dorky.
  • Barefoot running made me slow, which is a good thing, since too many of my runs were at a singular pace, when the LSDs should be much more relaxed than the tempos.
  • Barefoot running never felt "natural" to me, perhaps if I ever ran barefoot on trails or for a complete run it might have been different, but the lacing/unlacing, putting socks on and off became more of a hassle than it was worth. On the positive side, it was good practice for starting up again after a break, which is a useful skill in ultrarunning.
  • Coinicidentally or not, I haven't had much foor or ankle pain in the last few weeks of this 10 week interval. Perhaps the barefooting strengthened my body, perhaps the improved form helped, or maybe it was just a cyclical thing.
So now what?

I think that barefooting will have a place in my training, not sure that it will be the minimum 25% that Barefoot Ken Bob suggests, but there was enough there that once a week or so I think I'll be baring my soles, reconnecting with the ground, and working on my form.

21 comments:

  1. I think you have it exactly right.

    i.e. Harvest the benefits without overdoing it.

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  2. I am nowhere near thinking about barefooting it. It has just never appealed to me.

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  3. Sounds like a neat experiment. I think you are wise to keep a bit of barefoot running in your plan.

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  4. I agree. I'm finding that a little bit of barefoot goes a long way. I also don't wear the same pair of shoes consecutively if I can to keep switching it up.

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  5. To each their own and kudos to you for trying something new and determining whether or not it fits for you.

    "Barefoot running really made me conscious of what I was doing, no more autopilot runs where I didn't think about what I was doing."

    This has helped me significantly!

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  6. Great thoughts - thanks for sharing!

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  7. My one blog read for today! (at least for now). A good pick. Interesting. I enjoyed reading about your barefoot experiences. I do think it probably helps us with our form and to be a strong runner and really get to know our bodies a bit more. I am going to play around with it on a VERY minimal level just so I can write at least a paragraph about those barefoot sandals I have to mention.

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  8. So glad to see a non-crazy barefoot running critique (so many barefoot articles are so strongly one way or the other that I can't really take them seriously).

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  9. Really like how you went into this with an open mind and ended up making the best decision for you. Also enjoyed following your progression - thanks for sharing.

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  10. I agree with Kim. Thanks for a balanced look at barefoot running. I, myself, don't think I'll ever be interested in going that route, but it's been educational to hear what others say.

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  11. Thank God the coolaid wore off. Good for you to try and rock it.

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  12. Maybe a barefoot frolic on the beach?

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  13. Sounds like it was definitely a good learning experience (my key words for the week).

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  14. You gave it a good effort. BF running doesn't appeal to me at all but I have all sorts of respect for those who do. You're right, though. Trying it every now and then has to be good for our form.

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  15. this was a very honest post. sometimes you just have to try things. sometimes they work, other times.. not so much.
    but i have to agree that barefoot running sure would make you much more aware of what you're doing. no doubt.

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  16. Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts. I like the way you are going about this.

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  17. I'm just about to the same point as you. I've been running BF for almost the same amount of time and I don't see the ah-ha! moment other BF bloggers do. I feel great when doing it and look forward to it but sometimes, it just makes me feet hurt and not worth it.

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  18. Well put. I haven't tried barefooting but I imagine I would have similar experience. I see the benefits but I don't know how much I would actually enjoy it. Angela on the other hand LOVES it. She is a 5 fingers girl, all the way!

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  19. barefoot running has totally taught me how to run in shoes. I couldn't do it before and now I can without lower back pain and shin splints when I have to wear shoes in winter or when the terrain is too tough. Its a great tool to improve your overall running skill.

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  20. 25% would be a lot of miles for sure. But, just like everything else, it seems like you've learned from the experience and are better for it!

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