Thursday, January 28, 2010
In which I try barefoot running and end up with holes in my feet.
On my way home from work yesterday I heard a story on NPR about barefoot running. I've heard a lot about barefoot running lately: how it protects your knees, makes you land on your toes, etc. I figured I'd try it for a short run. This was really stupid. I get paid to stand on my feet for 8 hours a day...and I'm running a 30k race on Sunday! It is never a good idea to makes holes in your feet, but it's a really bad idea to experiment right before a race. Silly me. I slipped on some old socks and hit the road.
I only went about 3.5 miles, but here's my summary:
- It does feel good on your joints. It's a very cushioned, springy way to run.
- You use the backs of your calves more this way: I actually felt it in my muscles, and I generally never feel sore after running (even long races, although my joints will hurt).
- You can increase your speed quite a bit unknowingly, which I did. I was so surprised at my time because I thought I was keeping it slow to try the new technique. I was about 45 seconds faster per mile than I thought.
- It hurts like hell. Even with socks on I have ... holes in my feet. I got a few blisters and some red spongy spots on the tips of my toes (see graphic image above!) and on the balls of my feet I actually wore through my skin and have little red spots where blood is oozing out. Disgusting and monumentally painful.
- If I did this again I'd have to find a better way to protect my feet! New Orleans streets are rough!
The funny thing is that I was stopped halfway through by this guy in Vibram five finger "shoes" who wanted to know who made my barefoot shoes and what they were called. I responded, "Dollar Tree socks???" and he thought I was joking. No, friend, I was really running in socks from Dollar Tree. Got a problem with that?
How about you: Have you tried barefoot running? If you haven't, what do you think of it? Do you think it does protect your body - or is it actually going to cause an injury in the long run?