There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.
- George Sheehan

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sunday's Run

Seven mile barefoot run on concrete at 6am.  Not a scratch on my feet.  Had a running buddy.  Had fun!  Not every run is perfect, but most are pretty close!!  ;-)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Barefoot Running Style Lessons

"The human foot is a work of art and masterpiece of human engineering." - Leonardo DaVinci

This video was put out by Dr. Mark Cucuzzella of Two Rivers Treads Center for Natural Running and Walking (  He is a family practitioner as well as a USAF Reserves Lt Col, and serves as the USAF Marathon team coach.  His center and website are wonderful sources of information for natural running, whether barefoot or in minimalist footwear.  Check out that website and see all the amazing info he's got to offer.

This beautiful video is a great example of the peace that can be found out running when it stops being a chore.  It's a lovely thing to watch, and has many words of wisdom.

Key points from the video:
Running is not a battle between you and your body.
And it's not about running's about barefoot running style.  (ie. running naturally, even in footwear)
The harder the surface, and the less between your feet and the ground, the softer the landing.
Get strong in the right places.
Get loose in the right places.
Be in balance.
Progress slowly.
Your feet are the messengers...listen to them.
Do not overstride.
Relax and breathe.
Run and have fun.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Not every run is perfect

Yesterday's run was proof that on some days, you just don't have it.

I went out for an easy 30 minute run Friday afternoon (had to rush back to see the Bruins win the Stanley Cup!!), thinking that it was going to very straightforward.  Unfortunately, waiting until the late afternoon on hot days to run barefoot can really hurt.  Literally.  I didn't realize how hot the concrete would be.  Holy cow!

Normally the high turnover rate (faster running cadence) means that hot surfaces aren't really a problem.  My feet aren't on the ground long enough to really cause any damage when the concrete is warm.  But not today.  Wow...right off the bat I had serious doubts about whether or not I'd be able to even do five minutes on the running trail, it was so hot.  But soon after, I settled down and felt well enough to carry on.  I wouldn't get too far though before I changed my tune. 

I only completed about 20 minutes of my run barefoot before I had to put my Vibram Sprints on and finish.  Why?  Because the heat was beginning to cause "hot spots" (aka the beginning of blisters) on both my feet, making the run rather uncomfortable.  This was a great example of why carrying some sort of footwear (heck, maybe even socks!) on runs is important.  You just never know.  I run with a waist pack that fits a water bottle or a pair of Vibrams nicely, plus some other pockets for my keys, cell, band aids (very useful sometimes), and whatever else I need.  Comes in handy when I'm a few miles away from my car.

Also, running in the Sprints (my favorite type of Vibram FiveFingers) again was a nice reminder.  I don't like running in any shoes now, but it's necessary to on occasion.  It's amazing how muffled the ground feel is, even in something as minimalist as the Sprints - and they are extremely minimalist!  The feedback you get from your skin is so incredible, and is the perfect teacher.  I found myself focusing on form, speed, and landing softly so intensely in the Vibrams, while barefoot I don't need to.  It's a significant difference between barefoot and "barefoot shoes."  They are not the same.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Sound of Silence

Thud.  Thud.  Thud.  Thud...

Oh, here they come.


Yep, right behind me...


Enjoy your run, folks.  

Yep, I hear that script a lot when I'm out running.  It never ceases to amaze me how loud some people are when they're out for a jog.  I was running at the gym once, on the indoor track, and was perfectly shocked when I heard some man approaching me, slowly gaining on me, and I first noted he was behind me when he was about 30-40 off.  I heard this guy running 40 feet BEHIND me.  That's not natural.  It happened again today when I was outside on the concrete running trail, only not quite as extreme.  This guy I probably heard only 15-20 feet behind me.  But still!  And this guy didn't have terrible form - he seemed to be landing midfoot in his Addidas running shoes rather than slamming his heel.  But it's quite incredible how hard people run, and how much work that really is.

Barefooters typically run silent.  I sneak up on animals all the time because they don't hear my coming until I'm right up on them.  The only thing I hear when I'm out there is the sound of my breathing and my car keys rattling in my pocket.  It's extremely relaxing.

The point of all this?  If people learned to run lighter, I think they'd also learn to run happier.  They'd spend less energy.  They'd suffer fewer injuries and less fatigue.  Running would probably be more enjoyable.  That's why I stick with barefoot running.  Yes, it's interesting and keeps my mind occupied, but it also keeps me running sounder (healthier).  I think if people weren't terrified to take off their shoes every now and then and at least try some barefoot training, they'd see the benefits too.