Barefoot Run #1: Post-Mortem

Posted: June 14, 2010 in Running

So that…that was interesting. Managed to do 2 miles in 30 minutes and, this is the important part, actually found myself smiling occasionally. Hell, I even managed to eck out one more sprint at the very end to round out the 30 minutes!

I think a few factors are weighing in here – my overall level of fitness has improved since I ran last summer (thanks to ATA stepping up fitness training at my Tae Kwon Do classes) and, without my shoes, I didn’t feel weighed down. In fact, I didn’t realize how weighed down I was feeling until I did the run. It’s entirely possible that I have been doing it All Wrong. But, in shoes, I am a consumate heel striker. I come down hard and my ankles and shins pay for it. You can’t do that barefoot. I tried to do that at first, but had to adjust or I was never going to make the 30 minute goal I set for myself.

So I shifted – up on the ball of the foot to the point where I felt I was jumping forward rather than just running (note to self, look up “pacing” in the dictionary). My stride was longer and I felt like I was actually getting somewhere! Granted, I’m still Not a Runner, so frequent walk breaks factored in; but on the back-half of the run, where I’d usually feel like a clomping Frankenstein’s Monster, I was energized and blew past the little goals that I was setting for myself (“OK, run to the mailbox…oh, that’s gone…that truck…past that too…the Stop sign!”). This was different than the running I have forced myself to do in the past. This was running that I can see myself working on to the point where there’s a sustainable pace.

The downside – I can already feel that the soles of my feet are going to hate me tomorrow, and there’s a bit of soreness in my calf muscles already (usually I feel it all in the shins and knees). Once I can find a pair of Bikilas, they’ll be a welcome addition (especially as the thermometer hits 100 and the sidewalks are hot enough to cook your feet); but for now I’ll just wait for sunset, throw on some running shorts and see how far I can get. This might be fun.

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