Thursday, September 2, 2010
I've been reading a book called Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. A fascinating story about the Tarahumara and how running is what they do - legs are their vehicle of choice. I've just gotten to the part about barefoot running and it's rekindling my desire.
As a girl, we never had much money for expensive shoes. My dress pair was always beige and boring, no matter what color I wore, I had to wear these plain beige shoes. So when it came to play shoes, which were often outgrown, we went with bare feet for the most part. I learned to be able to run on gravel. In our hayfields, I remember pretending to be a gazelle, leap running through our hilly hayfields and never falling. I could feel the ground as I landed and adjusted my foot placement if needed. The only times I sprained ankles was when I was walking.
I had a neighbor friend who lives 1/4 mile away, and I would run for fun down the road. I'd also run home from our bus stop, which was down a long hill. My mom would say should could hear me "thundering down the road." It made me more conscious of my running, but I still did it because I enjoyed it. And I did it in any shoes - which means cheap Kmart or Target ones.
All this to say that I used to know how to run barefoot. I didn't have to read books, articles, how-to's on the proper form. Granted, I was a kid and had a little more joint flexibility. However, I can't remember once ever having a running in jury or being sore.
Tomorrow, I'm going to do my run on our treadmill, barefoot. I think it's a good place to start because the treadmill is an even ground and is softer than asphalt. I may make Fridays my barefoot day if this works well. Eventually I'd love to be able to run barefoot, or with a flat shoe for all my runs. I remember the last time that I tried this, I felt no pain in my arches, no foot falling asleep and no calf burning. There was some foot soreness the next day or two, but I believe that was due to building foot and toe muscles. It wasn't an injured feeling, but muscle soreness.
The Tarahumara run in sandals that they make - a sort of rough form of flip flops (though more secured). Made from recyled tire treads and leather straps, they truly have the corner on green running. Ironically, you can now order these sandals using the link above for only $48.70. So much for being natural and free!