Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Barefoot Runnin'

Now, I wouldn't call myself a runner. I have terrible form, I'm overweight, I become that really unhealthy-looking red color that makes people worry, and I am S-L-O-W.  However, in a weird way I love the feeling I get after a run. That runner's high coursing through me. I feel like I can conquer anything after a run...even if I'm red-faced and super sweaty.

I recently finished reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.  My brother-in-law suggested it to me after I had to bail out of running a 5-mile race with him because of a wicked (small according to the doctor) heel spur and a horrible case of plantar fasciitis.  I gotta tell you, I'm hooked (on the book, not the injuries).  If you are into running and you haven't tried barefoot running, or if you're wondering why you have a variety of injuries due to running, READ THIS BOOK!

I have spent the last two months spinning so that I can keep up my cardio while waiting for my foot to heal.  In the meantime I have been missing my runs, which is ironic because when I'm running, I'm wishing that I could stop and give up.  One of the things that came to light is that I have been running to lose the baby weight, I wasn't necessarily running because I enjoyed it. I don't enjoy it because I hurt. My knees hurt, I can barely get out of bed some mornings because my knees hurt so much, and my feet hurt, etc., etc. I want to enjoy my run. Again, I love finishing a run and feeling like I've conquered the world.  However, If I run because I find it enjoyable, then I would not only lose the baby weight, I'd get rid of the "I just want to be done" feeling.

In reading the book I found out that our bodies were built for running. That our shoes actually prevent us from running the way we were meant to run. According to the local running store I'm an over pronator who needs a stability shoe. (Read: I'm too fat to run in good form. Yes, in my research as to why I have injuries, my tendency to over pronate, and the kind of shoe that will work for me, I found out that really, I'm an overweight runner. And I am. I'm probably a good 20 pounds overweight and only 5 of those pounds can be attributed to the last of the baby weight).  Anyhow, in reading Born to Run, I realized I can be a better runner, enjoy running, and have less injury if I learn how to run they way we are supposed to run.

My husband thinks they look like alien feet :)
So what did I do? I joined the barefoot running revolution. This past weekend I bought my first pair of Vibram 5 Fingers (V5F) running shoes and I am so excited. It is a completely different approach to running. I have to unlearn the last 34 years of running.  I have to go S-L-O-W in order to strengthen my feet. It's kind of hard to do since all I want to do is run, run, run. It is highly recommended to make the transition slowly between "traditional" running shoes and running barefoot.  Follow the Vibram 5 Fingers training plan.  It's good to start how this way. With coming back from an injury I thought it would be a good time to learn how to run barefoot. So here I go. I'll keep you up to date on my progress. So far I've just been walking around the house in my V5F getting used to wearing them and I've been running in my backyard completely barefoot with nothing but the soles of my feet touching the dewey grass. I'm nervous and excited all at the same time.   If you wear V5F or are a barefoot runner, let me know what you think. I'd love to read your comments and learn from you.

Happy Trails!


  1. I LOVED that book! I don't run outside, but I do run barefoot on the treadmill. I'd love to hear how the new "shoes" work out! I'm thinking I'd actually run outdoors if I had a pair of those!

    P.S. I'm a slow runner, who also gets sweaty and disturbingly red in the face. High five!

  2. High Five back at ya! How do you like barefoot running on the treadmill? I hear that it tears up the bottom of your feet. I'lll let you know about the shoes. I think I'm going to give them a whirl this Friday. I'm supposed to go only about an 1/8 to 1/4 mile at first go, so we'll see. Happy Running!