Sunday, October 11, 2009

Back to Barefoot (Running)!

So I finally got over to a nice rubberized track today to do some sprints with my new stopwatch. It was a sad, sad state of affairs. My legs felt tired and "mushy" before I even started, but I figured (or hoped) that it would go away once I warmed up. No such luck. I suppose running MWF this week really did me in. It was so bad that I almost tripped three times in the middle of my 100m time trial, and the time was embarrassing enough that middle school girls would probably beat me. I think the tripping may have been caused by my shoes, though. I switched back to my running shoes for the sprints, and it's the first time I've worn them running in about 6 weeks. Usually I wear thin-soled Adidas shoes that are most certainly not meant for running, with the hope that the thin heel will help promote mid-foot striking rather than heel-striking. But when I go back to my running shoes now, it feels like I'm wearing huge pillows on my feet.

Short aside: I had to give up on the barefoot treadmill running after a month or so, as it was too painful for my feet. My soles kept blistering, and one of my arches started hurting too, so I switched back to shoes.

Despite the demoralizing sprints, it was still a great workout. I spoke to a former Stanford Track member a couple weeks ago, and he confirmed that the team indeed did some barefoot training, mainly in the form of strides on the grassy infield. So after my sprints, I decided to do a couple 100-130m strides on the grass. It felt incredible! I can't remember the last time I ran with any significant velocity barefoot. It's amazing feeling the grass beneath your feet, feeling the entire spring action that your foot naturally has, just feeling everything. I'm totally sold. But I would still recommend to anyone considering giving barefoot running a try to take it slow at first. Your feet probably are not used to it, and they need to build up strength in order to avoid injury.

Till next time, keep it real, and real means no shoes!

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