I have to admit, when I first read Wendy and Jen’s posts on barefoot running – I was a skeptic. How can running possibly be enjoyable without footwear to absorb all that pounding on the pavement? Improve your stride? Well, maybe that made sense, but surely nothing else about running barefoot did.
But then it happened. Wendy posted on running barefoot in the rain. I love running in the rain. Could the experience possibly get better doing it barefoot? My curiosity got the best of me. While I wasn’t ready to head out into the streets, I thought I could handle a try at bare-footing it on the treadmill.
As is my usual practice when I run on the treadmill (a practice that I find to be extremely boring) I turned on the TV – motivation to keep going. I was a tad unsure, so I started out slow.
As I adjusted to the sound of my feet on the treadmill, surprisingly louder than when I wear sneakers, a funny thing began to happen. I became less aware of the TV and more aware of my body. I could feel myself paying attention to my spine and my abs. I felt more assured about my pace and my form. I began to purposefully tune out the TV, in fact it became down right annoying, and I began to enjoy paying attention to my body. It was invigorating! I ran faster and faster, like a kid who discovers that the sheer act of running is fun. I ran with abandon and passion. Before I knew it, the timer sounded and the treadmill stopped. I had run 6.5km in 30 minutes. And to make it all the more worthwhile, the next day I felt none of the usual side-effects of running – no squeaks anywhere, no thoughts of ‘I really should’ve stretched my IT band more after that one’. I felt great! I felt stronger. I had even more fun than usual running around with my kids.
My last two runs have now been fast and barefoot – I’ve squeezed 6.5km into 30mins, running my heart out, barefoot, on the treadmill.
Barefoot running? I have completely and utterly been soled out.