I don't remember exactly when I first heard about barefoot running, but some time ago I decided to try. As I currently live in the most rainy city of Europe (Bergen) I figured I should wait until I move to San Francisco this summer.
I plan to participate in the San Francisco Marathon this summer (or at least the half marathon), but I've had some serious knee problems the last couple of weeks when trying to intensify my running, something that barefoot running allegedly will make a thing of the past. After reading the first few pages of Barefoot Running Step By Step it became obvious what I'll have to do.
As you need at least one month of practicing barefoot running before running anywhere near as far as you're used to, I have to start running barefoot right now. The SF Marathon takes place July 29th, and that leaves me about two and a half month to get used to running with the most minimalist shoes in the world, my bare feet, and get in shape to run a half marathon with my new technique.
This morning I decided to try barefoot running for the first time. This is how it went:
The weather was beautiful, at least for Bergen. Quite sunny and 6°C (that's 42°F!). After powering up Endomondo, I went outside. The asphalt was ice cold, but I suck it up and start running.
In my head I was trying to remember the ten rules of running barefoot from the book. Look straight ahead, relax shoulders, keep your torso upright, bend your knees enough, try to do the 1-2-3 landing properly, and so on. Every time I caught myself breaking one of the rules I immediately adjusted my technique, and I could feel the rewards right away. The running required less energy and it became more comfortable for my feet, knees and calves.
I did have to stop a few times to brush off some pebbles that got stuck in the sole of my feet, but other than that the run went better than expected. Although my did feet hurt a little, it was probably due to the cold ground and my unpolished technique. And probably also because of some stairs like this:
It was actually quite nice to feel the surface I was running on, and getting feetback (feedback from my feet) along the way.
Luckily my feet were almost whole after the run. Other than a small cut on my right big toe, I had no "injuries".
Following the advice given in the book, I'll start with short runs and increase gradually over the next four weeks. My first run was only 1.2 km (about 0.8 miles), and took about 8 minutes.
For those interested, here's my workout:
I'll post updates on my progress towards running the SF Marathon barefoot in July. Wish me luck!