Archive for May 2010

More sole searching

May 29, 2010

Barefoot Preston had a very interesting take on the hotfoot thing. He says the feet will toughen up, if you go barefoot enough. And that it’s important to extend barefooting beyond just running.

Barefoot Preston w/Born to Run author Chris McDougall

Preston’s been at this for a long time having started many years ago with Barefoot Ken Bob in southern Cal.  Like BKB, he’s a lifestyle barefoot guy. So in addition to being into the running, he essentially avoids shoes when he can. You might take his view with a slight grain of salt for that reason, but he’s got some good logic to back it up.

I (and others) are surprised at the lack of calluses on the bottoms of my feet as I’ve been doing at least 10 barefoot miles a week for a number of months. Actually, (more…)


Heat on the Street under Feet

May 25, 2010

…not too sweet. My soles occasionally tingle after a run; it been months since I’ve had more than a spot problem here or there, but nothing significant. Today after three miles they were hurtin’ and swollen…and bothered me for several hours.

The merc was hittin’ about 90 and I headed out 15 mins before the blazing sun hit its zenith. It had been directly slamming the dark asphalt for a couple hours at that point. Get the pic? It was hot as hell.

I felt fine for the first mile or so, but by some cumulative effect my soles began to get uncomfortably hot. Shorter, quicker steps seemed to help and shade and grass on the roadside offered havens. By mile two and a half I was seeking the narrow shadows of electrical wires. Walking was not an option, that was really bad. I was glad to be done and to do my post run stretch on some serious grass. I don’t think I could have gone much further.

For at least a couple of hours my feet were noticeably sore and swollen. In retrospect, I should have tried cold packs. That was 8 hours ago and they are fine now. Will I build up resistance? Do I need to find an alternative to lunchtime runs in mid-summer? Is this another job for Vibram VFFs?

Can’t wait go get out there tomorrow for some more data collection. Maybe.

Are wet feet softer?

May 24, 2010

A friend who was following my blog raised a question about running under wet conditions. She had an upcoming 10K and was concerned as to whether she might have sole problems given the wet forecast. Do feet get soft in rainy conditions and are soles more exposed to wear? I hadn’t really thought about it at the time, but responded that I thought the concern was reasonable.

Last week on a drizzly Wednesday, I paid attention and now believe it’s non-issue. I’ve been doing mostly 3 mile runs (with an occasional 5 or 6). I mostly run on asphalt. On Wednesday I ran 4 in a light rain. To make sure it was a good test, I splashed in a few puddles early on and made sure to take on some crappy, graveling roads along the way. My conclusion is that the rain made no difference on the toughness of my soles. In fact, if anything, the wet provided some lubrication between my feet and the asphalt. Puddle splashing is fun, and refreshing.

Like a mailman, I try never to let the weather deter my from my appointed rounds. Now I’ve got one more reason to get out there.

Why do my legs always feel so much better when I run barefoot?

May 15, 2010

My friend Larry is the first person who mentioned it to me. “My legs never have that heavy feeling anymore,” he said. The simple explanation, of course, is that Larry’s not lifting a pound of shoe with each foot lift. But when I pulled out my old physics book and calculated the work required to lift a one lb shoe a few inches, even 120 times a minute, it just didn’t add up to much, so there’s more to the story.

Scientists have concluded that barefoot running is about 4% more efficient than shod running. This article explains that the extra work comes of accelerating and decelerating that extra mass, all the more work because the extra mass is located far end of the lever arm (in this case a leg). Imagine how much harder (more…)

In favor of meet ups with barefoot brethren

May 9, 2010

Last weekend I came off the red eye at Logan and went straight to a barefoot fun run. Six of us had a great time traversing the Battle Road in Minute Man National Park. (That’s not a bad number considering the world record set last Friday was 140 barefooters in one place.) Kudos again to the Preston, Jim and the Metro Boston Barefoot Runners for pulling it together.

I’m pretty much of a lone runner. Most of my outings are at lunchtime from work and I don’t work with anyone on the same program. In fact, much of the appeal of running for me is the convenience factor of being able to do it alone. But, I have to say it was a kick to get out with a gang. I might have slid by the various National Park visitors without turning a head, but I promise you that no one was missing six pairs of bare feet gliding by. We got a few comments; all positive.

My weekends tend to be packed, but I’ll make an effort to get out with the gang when I can.

Extra, extra…barefoot news

May 6, 2010

There’s a lot going on in the barefoot community these days, so this is a roundup of some of the top stories.

Vibram Five Finger Bikilas For Sale On-Line: At City Sports. Before you get too excited, it’s still pretty limited. First of all, guys only. Sorry, ladies, I don’t get it either. And they are only in blue, but although I like my gray/red ones best, I think the blues are pretty cool too. And, evidently only in 45, 46, 47 (I have American size 11.5s and wear 44 Bikilas). I have the feeling that these are the leftovers from the initial shipment of 450 pairs to City Sports. But, it’s a start and I have it on good authority form a Vibram insider that are on the way to City Sports this week. I am also told that 10,000 (more…)

The Barefoot Running Book Review

May 3, 2010

I just read Jason Robillard’s The Barefoot Running Book: a practical guide to the art and science of barefoot and minimalist running. Now that’s a mouthful, but it’s also a pretty good description of what’s inside. I would recommend the book to any beginning barefoot runner.

The first thing that struck be about the guide is that it is a compact 60 pages, and that’s a good thing. The reality of our sport is that it’s pretty simple. There’s only so much one can say. At the same time, as one who is more or less, self-taught, I would have found Jason’s recipe very useful when I was starting on what he calls “the journey.” And, the book would have given me a heads up on most of the questions that occurred to me along the (more…)