Friday, January 1, 2010

Barefoot Running - Lab Rat Style

(Photo by Josh Greer)

It is winter and the roads are slushy today, at least in my neighborhood, so I used that as an excuse to try barefoot running on the treadmill. I can sum up my experience in two words. Hated it.

But then I detest the treadmill and its ilk anyway. Give me the outdoors and fresh air.

In the plus column I did not get any blisters. I could feel every time my feet moved on the belt--mostly when I'm lifting--and that helped me focus on my form.

On the downside, it just didn't feel the same as running outside on pavement, cement and ground. The smooth surface on the belt gave my feet very little feedback. I know that runs counter to my focus on the form point earlier, but I'm referring to the stimuli my feet receive courtesy of the wide variety of textures on pavement, cement and ground. I also ran it at different speeds and found I was smoother at faster ones. But instead of being out for an enjoyable run, I felt like I was being tested or something. I called it quits after 35 minutes and half expected someone to show up wearing a lab coat and making notes on a clip board.

So the treadmill will be used as a last resort, which it is anyway. I don't remember the last time I was on it before today.


Barb Chamberlain said...

I'm reading "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall now, and I finally understand the barefoot running after all this time. I almost want to try it (although I want some Vibram FiveFingers).


Hank Greer said...

There is no shortage of barefoot running info online. A good place to start is