I don’t want to seem stupid. More than that, I don’t want to BE stupid, so I have been somewhat cautious about going completely barefoot for my running. I did try a very short distance on asphalt last year, but have let Vibrams and other running moccasins provide my soles with a certain amount of protection. I tried to incorporate all that I read about running barefoot into my form, but found that I was still getting some aches in various joints every time I ran.
I did some more research and found a good book which is written by a extremely experienced barefoot runner. Now, I was ready to really try to go completely bare, except for in the deep of winter. I started yesterday with one mile. Since I have been running without the padded, confining shoes, I figured that my form was close enough to handle that. It was the bottoms of my feet that I needed to worry about most. I chose a level, shaded, but slightly rough asphalt path. I left the dog at home to avoid any need to correct her for over protectiveness. I relaxed and didn’t worry about going too fast.
There really is something about just being barefooted. It is fun. It tempted me to increase my speed in celebration. However, I held back, letting my cadence rather naturally go faster and thinking about lifting my feet and curving my toes. After my mile, my legs felt good, but my feet were a warm tingly. I was surprised to find that the bottoms didn’t look any different. The sensation went away over the next couple of hours and I began to congratulate myself on a good start.
(Me right after the run)
(My feet a little wet from the grass)
(My feet a couple of hours after the run)
Then, about 4 hours post run, I began to get a bruise-like ache in the ball of my left foot. I was discouraged. I gave it time to work itself out and looked at it, albeit without my reading glasses. It just got worse. Finally, getting ready for bed, I put on my reading glasses, got a hand held mirror and discovered a teensy black spot in the center of the ache. A gentle push released a piece of rock no larger than a grain of pepper AND the ache went away immediately. I also found I had a pin-head size blister on the pointer toe of the same foot, but I am going around barefoot and in flip=flops today and can’t even feel it. I guess the moral of the story is to take a closer look at the feet sooner next time.
(yep, that speck showing below the glasses was the problem. I can see it in the photo above, but I know where it was.)
Today, over 24 hours after the fun (run), I don’t have any of the soreness I had after my first barefoot run. Also, I don’t have the aches that I was still experiencing running with the minimalist shoes. I still want to consider preparing for a short triathlon (if I can get over my discomfort with open water), so I may do what was mentioned in the book, that is, beginning and ending my run with completely bare feet, gradually increasing the percentage of the time I have bare soles. And I will continue dancing barefoot, having found that it mimics several of the drills in the book!
I have registered with The Barefoot Runners Society and found this article about potential trouble with barefoot running to be very good. I intend to keep baring my soles.