Friday, June 12, 2009

What I've learned from running in my birthday shoes

There is a whole barefoot running world out there that I was ignorant of until last week. Here are the two most important things that I've learned from reading into it and trying it myself:

1. No, running in flat shoes does not count. You're either barefoot or you're not. If you're wearing socks, you're not barefoot either. And if you're not barefoot, you can't learn how to run correctly. If you decide to wear some kind of small layer of something to protect your feet from sharp things, you may get injured because you don't have the full sensibility of the nerves in the soles of your feet to tell you what to do, and, if this is the case, you are not allowed to complain. (The barefoot approach is not for the meek or wussy-footed, in other words). That being said, it really doesn't hurt, although some surfaces are more comfortable than others (the idea is the same as the bed of nails-- it's all about weight distribution). Barefoot runners that I have read about do not prefer grass, sand, and other soft surfaces. For them, hard or soft, it's all good.

2. Eureka! Relax your ankles when you run. I tried it this morning (with shoes) and it changes everything. It forces you to bend your knees more and gets your hips into the action, which essentially distributes the work throughout the body, making running, gulp, easier!

Don't worry, friends, I ran barefoot so that you wouldn't have to. If I think of any other things that can be translated into shoe running to help you become a better runner, I will let you know...


  1. as you know...i am closely following your experiment. thinking i am going to wait to try it til after seattle marathon on the 27th...don't want to do something stupid til AFTER i finish that one...(although i'll probably do a bunch of stupid stuff...just not run in my 'birthday shoes'!!!

  2. In the meantime relax those ankles Michael B!! :D

  3. OMG, you did it? You are a fearless warrior. I'm down for trying anything one, but like Michael, I will have to try this phenomenon after marathon training. By then, you would have probably moved to Africa to train with the Masai tribe and run up Mt. Kilimanjaro.