A week and a-half ago I came across an article about the benefits of running barefoot as compared to wearing running shoes. I thought, "Hmm, why not?" I'm an excellent test case. I have practically no arches to speak of. I'm over 50 and just a few pounds overweight. Most of all I'm willing to give it a try. Besides, I prefer being barefoot.
Now my callouses aren't that thick so I've been building them up by gradually increasing the distance I can tolerate running barefoot. I carry my shoes and when the soles of my feet start to sting I put my shoes back on. I'm sure it looks odd to see some old man running barefoot carrying a shoe in each hand. Hey, you know you can put those on your feet. Today I ran 4 miles during lunch and 1.4 of that was barefoot. On asphalt. And it felt great. Well, except for my still-not-thick-enough soles but that will come with time.
One observation I have is that my running form changes when I'm unshod. At first I was slamming my heels down on the pavement just like I do when I'm wearing shoes. That hurt since I didn't have a shoe's cushioned heel absorbing the impact. My form changed (Naturally? Maybe, it wasn't a conscious process.) to a more comfortable one that I can't really describe just yet but after doing some online research--I had no idea there was so much about barefoot running--I think this is a pretty close description. I notice I have more spring pushing off and I land lighter. Plus, I'm maintaining my 9-minute mile pace. (Yeah, I know. I'm settin' land speed records here.)
So I think this is worth pursuing. When I told Kathy what I was doing, she remarked, "You sure are a quirky guy."
I hope she meant that in a good way.
Sunset at Fort Phoenix. Fairhaven, MA
2 days ago