In this 9 second video, I am barefoot er sock walking on the treadmill to warm up to try out the experience of barefoot running. So why do this odd thing?
Over at the Daily Mile, they have been doing Barefoot Running Week, and I had heard of the concept of barefoot running a couple years ago. Makes sense because sneakers weren't around when the caveman was running away from the dinosaurs, right? Okay, I watch lots of cartoons.
When I started the Chi style of running back last summer to help see if that would help my right knee pain (which it did btw), I met on Twitter a bunch of people into Chi running who also did barefoot running, and were really into wearing Vibram FiveFingers which look like rubber socks to me but are fascinating looking shoes.
At the time, I thought the barefoot running sounded like something interesting to try but I stuck to my Asics. Today, since I am now doing this 112-day one-mile of exercise per day streak and blogging about it, well, I need variety for both me and my audience....
soooo....I took my shoes off and left my socks on and got on the treadmill and started with a slow walk like at 2.3 MPH, and believe you me that was smart! I didn't want to go outside yet because uh, baby steps. Let's start slowly on a treadmill like the Daily Mile post suggested.
The Daily Mile post suggested that you start off real slow and that my friends is beyond so true! Really, even starting to walk at 2.3 on the treadmill is really, really slow for me normally, but just walking barefoot felt really weird. I mean your whole body is now moving different, and I felt it everywhere especially in my feet and believe it or not in my posture. I felt all gangly and awkward in my body.
I slowly moved up the pace to 2.8 MPH and that's when you really start to feel significant difference without the shoes namely in how your foot strikes the ground. Then I bumped it up to 4.0 to start a slow jog.
Safety note: On the treadmill, going no faster than 4.0 a slow jog, the socks are okay, but faster will most likely cause slippage so not safe. Plus, I'm thinking most public gyms won't let you workout on the treadmill in socks or bare feet as a safety/liablity thing. The ideal is the Vibram FiveFingers because they are rubber and technically a shoe.
Now back to my first time running barefoot...
Wowza that was hellah weird! I lasted a full minute and went back to walking because my left foot just started to ache. I felt it most in the bones in my big toe down inside to the heel. But mostly I stopped because it just felt soooo weird. Seriously dood, it was weird...and yet utterly fascinating!
I walked a few minutes, then decided to try it again. I ran for 2 minutes straight, again at 4.0 MPH, and there was less foot pain, and I got a better hang of things, but still it's weird. Three minutes was enough for me, and I think it's a great beginning to trying something new. I did a total run/walk time of 12minutes.
I'm a normal pronater but I have a tendency to roll my ankles inwards. In fact, see my socks after my treadmill sock run/walk, you can see I have normal arches according to Runner's World foot typing.
At first when started to jog barefoot, I didn't know how to strike my feet, weird again. I had to think about it. Normally, you just run, well now, with no shoes, uh, you gotta think about what to do with your feet.
In Chi running, you strike forefoot first then heel, and actually, I'm glad I started learning the Chi style running first in the shoes because it has trained me to be conscious of running on the forefoot already.
When I started the barefoot jog, my feet were kinda all over the place, but then you naturally start running on the forefoot because well there is more padding up there and it feels better. Striking heel first kinda hurts...oh and it's loud on the treadmill. It sounds like your Sasquatch running. When you run forefoot first, it's much quieter. Not if that makes a difference at all, but it was quite noticeable to me.
Besides the weirdness, and the slight pain in the bones of my left foot, the other big noticeable thing to me was my right knee felt great, no pains! I almost felt the knee smiling a bit as if to say, "ahhh we like that...feels good to us."
So, am I going to try barefoot running again? Heck yes! I think for experiment #2 I will try the sock running in the parking lot of my complex. It's a huge lot, and I can jog around and not feel so weird outdoors. Experimenting is fun!!