Barefoot Running – First Thoughts

Rubber tile wasn’t the best place to start. It rubs…

Reading up on barefoot running there seem to be two extremes: go for gravel right off the bat or keep it to nice smooth concrete. We’ve got plenty of the former where I live, the freeze thaw cycles during the winter really eat up the concrete pretty well. This also leads to a shortage of smooth concrete to run on.

Oddly enough, my mom weighed in with the gravel side unintentionally by talking about how she and her brothers ran on gravel roads barefoot when they were kids. “It took a few days to get used to after the winter, but we’d end up without problems.” I’m not saying it was impressive.

Neither side seemed impressed with rubber tracks.

They rub… Not all that surprising for a surface that is supposed to give added traction.

The result is that I didn’t run far, just some half mile runs with a little warm up and cool down to get a decent impression. I could easily have run farther, and I’m fairly confident that it isn’t faster than wearing my vibram fivefingers… Yet.

I am not sure running barefoot changes any of the form that I have learned from the five fingers, but I’m slowly allowing my feet to be more sensitive to the ground. Hopefully, that will yield some technique improvement and higher training volumes and faster paces. The sensation of the rubber felt great for the first half a mile, but it was not as relaxing doing the drill work – grape vines, backward runs, and skips.

I’m not sure why I have romantic ideas of running barefoot or minimally shod, but I do. It seems more honest to form and function, and while it isn’t a good idea on the streets of the town I live in, there are trails I cannot wait to tackle barefoot and at speed down in the canyon. As the weather turns nice, I’m getting excited about running and cycling down in the canyon.


About Sean Smith

Husband, Father, Pastor, Swimmer, Writer, Reader, and attempted Adventurer!
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