When I talk about running, I'm not really giving the term justice, nor the folks out there making tracks with actual skill and training. I try to get out there two or three times per week on average, three miles each time, and it generally takes me thirty about minutes. I'm kind of a slowpoke. It's the method of exercise that is most challenging for me. Which is perhaps part of the reason I stick with it and refuse to give up.
However, before I learned the secret, I could not run at an even slower pace or more modest distance. Shin splints set in within the first quarter mile regardless how much I stretched and warmed up. So painful that I'd have to ease to a hobble and stop after just a few minutes into the run. Subsequent ill effects included significant knee and ankle pain as well as lower back pain. After many attempts I thew in the towel and stopped trying altogether in my twenties.
Years later came the advent of Vibram Five Finger Barefoot Shoes and this concept, new to me, of barefoot running. While I wasn't running because of the aforementioned ailments, I was spending much of my days barefoot. Do you every deliberately walk over gravel with bare feet? Do you feel the tingling up and down the spine and across the cranium when you do this like I do? The benefits of being barefoot were already apparent to me. But while running?
As the weird looking shoe gained popularity, I was especially intrigued by the sight of a guy running down the street one day wearing a pair. This contradicted everything I ever knew about running and our footwear. I did a little Googling and found articles and videos about running barefoot and its myriad benefits. So, strange as they appeared, I decided to give a pair a try and go for a quick run. For the first time I did so without any of the aforementioned ailments that prevented me from taking part in this form of exercise in the past.
Since then I have experimented with—and often continue to—run (and hike) without shoes altogether. But, gotta protect those tootsies. Not all surfaces are suitable for naked feet. Over the years I have tried different brands of barefoot wear and eventually landed on Vivo Barefoot, to which I am now loyal and have not only their trail running shoes but also the hiking boot. The fit and high quality construction, along with their dedication, immediately won me over.
Never again have I experienced shin splints. No more ankle and knee pain nor lower back pain. I feel a greater connectivity with the ground and environment because I can feel everything beneath my feet and I now get considerable enjoyment from running and it adds more to hiking as well. It takes some time to learn the proper technique and one must ease oneself into it. But you may find going barefoot with running to be of great benefit to you as well.
Below is a nice introductory video from the Vivo Barefoot Training Clinic Studio about barefoot running to get you started.
Thank you for reading.