After a long run the other day on the Silver Comet Trail, for some reason I decided to take off my shoes and run another half mile barefoot. I’m not even sure what inspired me to do this, but I took off my shoes and socks, left them on a bench and took off. In a strange way, it almost felt like jumping into the ocean naked.
It was January, so I could feel the cold wind between my toes and although the asphalt of the Silver Comet roughed up the skin on my feet, the cold helped numb them up. I was skeptical at first, but as I ram further, I could definitely understand why barefoot runners are so into this. Running on the front part of your foot forces you to turn over faster and take shorter strides. You actually feel like you’re running faster – and according to my watch – I was!
As I got back to the parking lot, I could feel gravel and pebbles beneath my feet and you really have to watch where you step. As a distance runner, I like to keep my head up and look forward, but it truly impossible to do barefoot – you have to keep your eyes in front of you to avoid rocks, glass, dog poop, etc. I knew that if I wanted to run barefoot again, I would have to be on a well paved road or trail, build up the skin on my feet or get some of those “barefoot shoes”.
The next day, my legs were sore in ways they never had been before. I had no pain in my knees but my calves were on fire! I could tell that all of the stress of pavement pounding was absorbed by my calves and not jarring my knees anymore. I knew I had to try it again…