Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Time for More Barefoot Running

I got up this morning and looked at my old motion control running shoes and walked around in them a bit but as I thought about it, I couldn't come up with any good reasons to ever run in them again. It's not because I fear getting hurt. In fact, I seriously doubt I would get hurt with a single run as it would take a period of time of continuous running in those shoes before I got injured. For me, I didn't get injured in the motion control shoes until I decided to up my pace and miles "too much, too soon," which led to injury. This is when the doctor told me to take 6-8 weeks off and I refused and started to look for alternative solutions. That's when I discovered Christopher McDougall and his book "Born to Run," Barefoot Ted, Barefoot Ken Bob, the Barefoot site, and the Minimalist running site. This is when, contrary to medical advice, I didn't stop running and immediately started running barefoot outside and continued to do so for 8 weeks, even with Achilles Tendinitis and Plantar Fasciitis.

In any event, I couldn't come up with any useful data or information that would result from using the motion control shoes for 1 run, 1 day.

So, I did the opposite. I did a 5 mile run on the treadmill barefoot, including 2 miles at 8:30 pace, and 1 mile at 6:30 pace, all barefoot. As I was running and thinking, I've come up with a new training program I'm going to try. This all started when I went 2 months 100% Barefoot in the Spring of 2009, and by the end, I was up to 40+ miles weekly, all Barefoot (of course, it was warmer outside).

So I thought of something . . . Barefoot Ken Bob told me something when I stated this journey, when I told him I'm not interested in being a 100% Barefoot runner but I believe 100% in the benefits of Barefoot running. So he said that he has a friend that does all warm-ups barefoot. I thought to myself, "that makes sense," because if you warm-up barefoot then immediately transfer to racing flats, there's a better chance to replicate the barefoot form and technique, plus what a run way to warm-up. So, starting this weekend, I will do 2 mile warm ups barefoot on the treadmill before starting my normal workout and on easy days, I'll just subtract the 2 miles from the daily mileage as I generally spend a few miles warming up anyway and for interval and tempo runs, that's also a great warm-up. For races, subject to the weather, I'll find a place to warm-up barefoot (Ken Bob said his friend even warms up at races barefoot, then puts on his racing flats).

This makes a lot of sense. It's immediate application and transfer of Barefoot to racing flats as the mind and body will be in the Barefoot mindset when the change is made. More importantly, that would give me about 12 miles per week of barefoot running which is about 20%-25% of my weekly mileage. That's a pretty good mix I think. Then in the summer, maybe I can push that percentage closer to 30%-40% of BF (and add some VFF) running and 60% in my racing flats. Monetarily speaking, this is good because it will increase the lifespan on my racing flats with less miles (it may save me buying 1 pair per year . . . maybe more).



  1. Harry,
    Great story. I ran 'too much, too soon' also and ended up with a stress fracture. I ditched my over cusioned running shoes and now I'm running between Vffs and Bare Feet.
    No injuries so far and things are going great.
    I did run outside today but I decided to run in my New Balance 883s because it has been so cold in Michigan lately. Due to me running in Vffs and Bare Foot on my Treadmill I was Mid Striking while running a six mile trail today.
    I'm still on the hunt to find a pair of minimalist running shoes but have not found them yet. I want to use them when the temps outside are to cold to run in Vffs.

    Take care

  2. That's great to hear. I understand the issue with cold weather. It's how I located the Mizuno Wave Universe 3's which are the lightest (3.6 oz.) most minimalist racing flats in the world. They are the closest racing flat you can get to the VFFs.


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