Running barefoot (unfortunately minimal as well) for almost two years, my last 3 consecutive long runs on the weekend I experienced a change in the body going from footwear to bare. I really never experienced this before, because last year at this time I was training for my first marathon and all my long runs were in Vibrams, this year is different, I am looking to run my first barefoot marathon so I am running barefoot as much as possible during this winter.
Let me retract and mention again why I started running barefoot, it seemed different and fun to do! That’s it. Anything that is different I tend to flock too. I ran for 16 years in shoes without one injury, but during those 16 years I wasn’t running as much as I am now, and not going long, my longest run would be 10 miles, so maybe i didn’t have time for the shoes to injury me, who knows. But I have no glamorous story of why I transitioned to barefoot running, boring I know. I always knew that barefoot running can correct form, easy on knees, etc. but never really paid attention to all the scientific methodology of why. I knew I liked it, and that was it.
Back to my point, the last 3 consecutive weekends I ran a 15, 16, and 17 miler. Each starting out with Vibram sprints, my reason was it was either to cold, or wet. During each run I would end up taking off the sprints during the half way points and running the rest barefoot. What I noticed was a dramatic change in my body once the footwear came off, I set into this more comfortable zone of running, my legs and muscles relaxed more, my speed picked up (though I do run slow on my long runs on purpose), and my endurance and desire to go farther increased. For me running in minimal footwear, even huaraches has no comparison to the comfort and grace I feel when I run barefoot.
I basically created a monster wanting to run barefoot just because it seemed cool! My number one choice is to run barefoot. If I didn’t live in New England, I would be running 100% barefoot all year. No wonder Ken Bob moved to California. Vibrams are minimal footwear, but in my book they still are running shoes. Anyone who wants to start running barefoot, forget the minimal footwear at first, go in full force barefoot, it’s what I did.
To conclude, I can say during these 3 runs of mixing footwear to bare, I am 100% self-assured that running barefoot does have a method behind the madness.