So as it turns out, bare-footing may have a learning curve… and it might be mostly fun and games, but it’s not all fun and games. Apparently every 2 miles or so my left foot gets lazy and I get what you might call a little “toe-drag on the up-stroke.” 1st two times on the run it just kinda bruised me, the third time was a charm, however, and caused a blunt force laceration, leaving a pretty red trail all the way home.
But seriously, now that I have your attention, here is the run down on barefoot running, why its better for you, and a few resources.
Barefoot running provides a solution to physiological problem. As pointed out in “Born to Run,” studies have shown a direct correlation between the price of your running shoe (read “amount of padding therein”) and your chances of getting a running injury. The idea is that the more padding you have, the more likely you are to run with a high impact gait, and the more trauma is introduced into your feet, ankles, knees, back and neck. When you take off your shoes, you are forced to adjust your gait in response to an instant feedback mechanism known as “pain.” You will eventually find your self adjusting the bad habits in your running gait in order to achieve pain free, impact free running. Just take it slow, as you can see above there is a learning curve.
Barefoot running provides a sustainable hobby. While most hobbies these days require 500$ worth of start-up gear and at least 100$ maintenance or area use fees per month, barefoot running can be done on the roads for which you already pay your taxes, and the only gear you need is a pair of running shorts and shirt (if thats your thing). Looking for a minimalist hobby that puts the least amount of trash to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? This is your gig!
Barefoot running provides a psychological analogy and sandbox. The major capacity you will learn to use while barefoot running is the ability to 1) listen to the messages your body is sending you and 2) to adjust your behavior in response to these messages. This lesson can be carried into the emotional/social/psychological realm as well. Once you experiment with tuning your behavior to bring about physiological peace, balance and homeostasis you can experiment with applying this capacity towards bringing about psychological peace, balance and homeostasis.
So there you have it, barefoot running and some applications in the physiological, social and psychological realms. Now obviously there are some down sides, such as incurring lacerations, but there again, nothing worth having is free.