Happy feet – sore feet

As I slowly emerge from a draining summer of work-stress, my exercise routine is starting to take shape again. Besides martial arts I have also recently discovered running. Previously, I enjoyed an occasional run in the woods, but generally I preferred my bike.

Yesterday however, I ran for the first time barefoot – just a couple of miles in the neighborhood – and it felt like a total revelation to me. Yes – my feet are sore and I got a blister (just one). But the soreness is really mostly the muscle soreness I expected. An important point for me is to get a cardio workout that complements the karate training and helps my sparring endurance. Barefoot running seems perfect for that since we spar – of course – barefoot.

I did not quite expect how much more fun running barefoot is compared to shod running. In shoes a road is just a road. But barefoot I noticed all the different textures, the rocks, the mud, the branches and tree debris (we had a couple of serious thunderstorms recently). I cannot afford any more to just trample along the side of the road. I have to pay much more attention to the path and I have to learn to tread lightly. And the soles of my feet really came to life with all this stimulation and exercise. This reconditioning of my feet really is a fascinating process.

There is quite a lot of information about barefoot running on the web and I started reading about how to improve my running technique. The whole thing started earlier this year, when I discovered my current favorite shoes – my Sanuks which got me interested in low-tech footwear. Then recently I saw an interview with Chris McDougall about his book “Born toRun” about how he discovers barefoot running while working on a story about the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico. He is a serious advocate of barefoot running and that idea sparked my interest. So I googled “barefoot running” and started reading.

So far, my favorite website is Barefoot Ken Bob’s runningbarefoot.org which unequivocally advocates taking off your shoes and listening to your feet. He advocates starting slowly, but not avoiding rough or hard surfaces. That’s the advice I am following. Wikipedia has (of course) a page about barefoot running with more links and info. There is also a ton of info on YouTube, incl. Barefoot Ken Bob’s channel.

This evening I took a brisk 1-mile walk. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow. I’ll keep posting occasional updates here on my progress with this experiment.

2 Responses to “Happy feet – sore feet”

  1. Fladdermusen Says:

    I think you will really see the benefits when winter sets in.

  2. yovo Says:

    Aloha Fladdermusen!
    Yeah – I already see benefits. I enjoy running. And I have a great reason to loose those shoes. Not sure what will happen when temperatures drop. How low can I go … barefoot? No clue. It’ll be fun to find out!