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

Monday, January 7, 2013

The role barefoot plays . . .

I was recently asked how much barefoot running I actually do and what role in plays in my running program. Well, barefoot accounts for about 25% of my overall running which is a good chunk.  Over the past 4-5 yrs., I gone back and forth from doing a lot of barefoot running to no barefoot running to a few miles, here and there.  However, when I'm running my best and feeling my strongest, two (2) things occur.  First, I do more pace workout and less overall weekly mileage.  I'm a fast twitch runner so doing heavy mileage doesn't fit my make-up.  Second, I do a good amount barefoot running because it's critical in enabling me to maintain good form, technique, balance, turnover and just keeping a good stride (basically, barefoot running allows me to be able to run in shoes, albeit minimalist shoes).

My favorite surface for barefoot running is the treadmill or an astro-turf football field.  I tend to have a 4-6 stride per minute delta between unshod and shod, that is, I have a quicker turnover while barefoot which is pretty normal but the key is that barefoot running allows me to maintain a healthy turnover while in shoes and, as importantly, it keeps my stride controlled to avoid over-striding.  I don't believe in the super short stride that folks talk about with barefoot running because you can under-stride just as much as over-stride and both are damaging although over-striding is more problematic.  I true barefoot runner actually has a healthy stride length yet still lands balance, controlled and with a good center of gravity (just watch Zola Budd).

Best of all, when you really have tired legs and need a true recovery run, there's nothing easier than barefoot running, nothing lighter than your barefoot and nothing as light and easy as barefoot running.


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