Shoes? I don’t need no stinkin’ shoes!

I ran on the road today. More about the prep and research leading up to this in subsequent blogs—I’m going non-linear on you—but briefly I did two short barefoot runs on the treadmill last weekend and then tried to run with a barefoot style stride on my normal runs this week. Today I gave it a go for real.

The conditions were perfect (for Boston in January). It was about 40 degrees with the sun shining on the dark surface all morning. Farrar Road was resurfaced this summer and so about as smooth as a road gets. And, there’s been no significant snow in a couple weeks, so the surface is substantially clear.

Bottom line, it was a success. My icy driveway was the worst part

, and I confess I wore shoes from house to street. My roundtrip to the end of the road is just under a mile. And it’s flat, so the run didn’t feel that different from the treadmill.

The balls of my feet were a little cold on the way out particularly when I hit the few wet spots. But I hardly noticed the cold on the way back; maybe my blood circulation sufficiently warmed them by that time. I felt my calves as I have in my last few runs, and the soles of the ball and outside of my feet felt mildly chafed. Surprisingly, my foot muscles seem to be in good shape. Overall, I felt great when I finished, in fact good enough to walk back over the driveway. Twenty yards of ice was cold and painful…gotta avoid that shit.

Thirty minutes later, the feet are completely normal…and I’m feeling smug.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Barefoot Running, Experience

4 Comments on “Shoes? I don’t need no stinkin’ shoes!”

  1. Brian Says:

    Well I gotta commend you. I need to get out and start running again but it ain’t gonna be barefoot. As a matter of fact if I saw someone running barefoot down the street I would wonder if they were running out of a burning house and just didn’t have time to put on their shoes.

    How do you prevent shin splints, damage to knees, etc. When you run on the beach or as the Mayan’s through the woods, I am imagining a soft, giving surface. You decided to run on asphalt. Is it a different cadence, style, etc. or do you just run the same but work you way up to it, conditioning your body on the way?

  2. Phil Odence Says:

    Mayans ran on surfaces as hard as asphalt as well as softer ones. The modern running shoe was invented only a few decades ago and the incidence of injuries, like shin splints and knee damage, has escalated in parallel. The argument is the shoes allow you to painlessly slam your heel on every strike, but the impact of 200 lbs just translates up through your shins and to your knees. Arched feet are designed to make you run safely, but immobilizing them in padded cocoons causes foot muscle atrophy and subverts the natural protection.
    I’m parroting from my research; stay tuned for empirical evidence.


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