Wednesday, April 19, 2006

You've Come A Long Way, Baby

I hate carrying my shoes. But I am at the point in my barefoot running life that sometimes I start a run in them and get tired of wearing them and just have to get them off when I am still miles from home. I have done some runs where I take them off and put them back on, depending on the quality of the pavement or terrain several times. Sometimes the ground in the grassy park where I like to run is painfully hard or cold or covered with tree litter, so I run barefoot on the road to get there, carrying XC spikes that I put on once I get there.

The subject of going to 100% barefoot vs. mixing barefoot and shod running is one of debate in the barefoot running community. Some people feel the mixing hinders barefoot running technique development. Others (me for one) believe it isn't a bad thing. It isn't bad for you because I am assuming runners discovering barefooting want to maintain their current mileage. If you try to switch to running barefoot at your current mileage right away, you would probably get injured. I suggest you keep track of your barefoot percentage and raise it a few percent each week. (I use this Excel file for tracking.) Chuck any heavy trainers and wear minimal shoes when you do run in 'em. Stick with it for the long haul and before you know it, you will be running many more of your miles barefoot.

Case in point - I am doing more barefoot running than I could ever imagined. I ran 7 miles yesterday; 1.5 were barefoot on grass, 4 were barefoot on pavement, 1.5 were in Gola Harrier retro trainers. I never could have forseen that I would be able to do that much barefoot as recently as last November, let alone when I started sheding my shoes on grass for 5 minutes every-other day two years ago.


Scooter said...
These shoes almost make you look barefoot. This blog post got me to look at them.
Be well!

Papa Louie said...

I am using my track warmup and cooldowns running barefoot. I wonder how long will it take before I can run my fast 800's running barefoot? I run 6x800 in about 2:42 with shoes but realize no way can I do that speed without shoes.

Thinnmann said...

Louie -
Barefoot does make you run slower. Gotta pay more attention to form and can't just blast through any terrain features. Unless there is nice soft grass. Then you are fast! Try 800's on grass - you will go just as fast or faster. Nobody said you have to to 800 intervals on a track.