Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saoili runs barefoot, take 1

I've been reading a lot of things lately that have me considering taking up barefoot running. The foremost of these is Christopher McDougall's excellent book Born To Run. I've also read warnings against simply throwing your shoes in the bin and expecting a lifetime of injury free barefoot running to come straight from that. So this morning, despite not having read much detail on the actual mechanics our techniques of the whole thing, I decided to give it a shot. Not quite throwing my runners away and heading out the door. I ran two miles to the nearest beach, took off my shoes and socks and ran half a mile down the beach and turned around. I put my shoes back on when I reached them and ran back to the house.

My personal best pace is just under 8 minute miles, on a track, at peak fitness, on a calm night, in a race. Since I ran a marathon I've only once or twice managed to sustain 9 minute miles for any length of time. Which is why, when I glanced at my GPS watch .15 of a mile down the beach and it told me that my pace was 7 minute 14 second miles, I figured I should probably slow down, and did so. I was kinda sorry later, because it probably would have been a better experiment if is kept going at whatever pace felt comfortable until the end. About a quarter of a mile in I remember thinking about how I'd read that one of the reasons barefoot running is better is because your feet tell you things. I figured that any minute my feet were going to be to numb from the cold to tell me anything. By the turn around point they were clearly communicating. They were saying ow. Not just the cold, but the unfamiliar uncushioned impact hurt a lot. This will take practice. In short, I was glad to put my shoes back on, but I also look forward to taking them back off.

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