On Wednesday November 16th, I went running with UVM's Running Club on a 5 mile run. Now for the average shod runner that's almost entry level, especially seeing as their pace was very slow. Nevertheless, for a barefoot runner coming out of transitioning, I had a lot to learn.
In the beginning I was doing fine, just holding my form and speeding up my steps when I needed to keep up with the group. I lost the pack on downhills but could still see them. When we got to flat turf I would speed up my steps and catch back up. However, after a while I began to lose the group and had to alter my stride a bit to keep up. I believe I opened my stride like I would if I was wearing conventional shoes. By the time we approached campus, I was still in the back of the pack. The group had decided to power it out and I could keep up with them. One reason I couldn't keep up was my arches were KILLING me! By the time we reached our starting point, my feet were throbbing. "Stupid, stupid," I kept telling myself, "You get what you deserve." I had thought I had done a good job transitioning and modifying my form, turns out I had been lying to myself. A vacation from running 100% barefoot and instead running in my huaraches at a slow pace had convinced me I was ready to move up. This just wasn't so.
My next move was to stay away from running for a while to prevent any real damage from being done. Yesterday, Wednesday November 30th, was the first time I ran since that 5 miler. I decided that my form was off and I needed to go back to square one in a lot of ways. This meant 100% barefoot running, except this time it is cold.
Here in Vermont it is a balmy 35 degrees Fahrenheit, with wind in Burlington. Today I went on my second barefoot run since my "injury" two weeks ago. Before I went out yesterday I watched several videos on YouTube and revisited old sources to refresh my memory on good form. I also practiced in my room a bit to get myself used to it before I ran out in the cold. I decided on this video:
Even though he runs in shoes in the video, his form was correct compared to various sources I have read over the past year. I still looked at other videos to compliment but I mainly used this one. With this form in mind I set out to run around campus for a >1 mile jog. I focused on keeping excellent form and put on my Original Chocolate Runamocs when I got cold. Once my feet warmed back off I took of my mocs and ran barefoot again. My form feels much better now, but I still have a slow pace and don't have a relaxed upper body yet. Holding my arms up so high creates a little tension. Nevertheless, I plan to continue this pattern until there is snow on the ground.
Thanks for reading, as always, take off your socks and shoes and go barefoot!!!