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The barefoot running conversation

Posted by | Posted in Running Sandals | Posted on 30-07-2011

Vibrams – $100
Invisible Shoes Kit – $24.95
This video – PRICELESS!

The important barefoot running blister

Posted by | Posted in Barefoot Running | Posted on 24-07-2011

Getting a blister from barefoot running was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

Let me back up and tell you the whole story so you can understand why.

On my second barefoot run ever, I was so fascinated by the sensations, and so transfixed by experimenting to see the effects of different stride patterns, that I didn’t even notice I had run 5k. Now that may not sound like much to you ultra-marathon guys, but I’m a sprinter. I’d never run more than a mile before!

About 20 minutes after the run, though, I noticed that I had a big blister on the ball of my left foot, under my 2nd toe.

It wasn’t lost on me that I only had a blister on one foot. And it was particularly interesting that it was my left foot, because most of the injuries I’d been getting (the ones that inspired me to try barefoot running, with the hope it would cure me), were in my left leg.

Clearly, I was doing something with my left leg that caused the blister, something I wasn’t doing with my right leg, which felt fine.

A week later, I went out for another barefoot run, well before the blister had fully healed. I thought that I’d experiment some more and see if I could run in a way that didn’t hurt. And, I figured, if I couldn’t find a way to run pain-free in about ten minutes, I’d just stop and try again when the blister was gone.

As a ran, I kept thinking, “How can I stop doing with my left leg what I’m already not doing with my right?” But no luck.  For the first nine minutes of that run I was in pain. I couldn’t find a way to move my leg, or meet the ground, that didn’t hurt.

I put my attention on my good leg, my right leg, and wondered, “How can I just do THIS, whatever that is, with my left leg?”

About a minute later, something changed.

At the time, I didn’t know what it was, all I knew is that I was able to run without my left foot hurting. I wasn’t doing whatever it was that caused the blister in the first place.

And, simultaneously, I started running easier, faster, lighter and with less effort than I ever had. I finished the run (only about 3k this time, but still…) and felt fine.

That was the last time I’ve been injured from running.

What changed? I know now that I was doing 3 things:

  1. Overstriding (reaching out with my foot rather than placing it under — or closer to — my center of mass)
  2. Pulling my foot towards me (which puts strain on the hamstring)
  3. Pushing off with my foot with a slight “pawing back” motion (instead of placing my foot then lifting it off the ground)

I don’t recommend getting blisters, but one of the best things about barefoot running is that you learn to listen to the feedback — sensations — you get, and use those to coach yourself to become a better runner. It’s an ongoing process of continual improvement.

That blister was the best thing that ever happened to me as a runner.

Hey Barefooters: do you have Shoeguiltitis? We have your cure.

Posted by | Posted in Barefoot Running, Barefoot Running Shoes, Huaraches, Training for Running | Posted on 22-07-2011

Oh, the joys of being barefoot. We will all be able to look back and think of this time as “the enlightenment” when we finally ditched our constrictive foot coffins and let our toes emerge, shaking and crooked, to see the light and heal. The more you adjust to ditching the shoes, the more you find yourself heading out shodless or in something minimal (not everyone wants to get kicked out of a restaurant or pay attention to every shard on the street).  Unfortunately, this pedal liberation does have its costs. You may now find yourself struck with a case of shoeguiltitis (SHOO-gilt-ite-iss).

The Problem:

This affliction generally creeps on slowly, but as you embrace your barefoot life more fully, you may quickly and unknowingly find yourself in its grips. Do you avoid looking at the piles of shoes in your closet? Do you find yourself making negotiations when passing the shoe rack? Oh, I will wear them next week. But next week never comes. Do you feel regret and see $$$ signs oscillating through the air when confronted with your shoe collection? Do you suppress a strong urge to hurl all of your shoes out the window and into the nearest dumpster? Then feel the inevitable guilt for the landfill waste you would be contributing to as well as the hundreds of wasted dollars spent? Do you feel the urge to run with your old shoes only so you can get your “money’s worth” and use them until they are “done”? If you have answered yes to one or more of these questions, you have Shoeguiltitis.

The Solution:

Fear not, my barefoot amigos! While you have moved on from your raised-heel, toe-spring, arch-supportive motion-control running  shoes, there are others that will find hope and safety in your shoes. Soles4Souls can take your old shoes, clean them up, and donate them to those in need. I know what you’re thinking – why would I want to give someone else the very shoes that had me feet up with two bags of frozen peas on my knees? Here’s why: in other countries where clean water isn’t as plentiful and infectious disease isn’t as easily controlled, there are children and adults who can protect themselves from sickness and disease by wearing shoes. For others, they may have access to clean water, but may have lost everything they own due to devastating circumstances. You can make a difference.

Soles4Souls was founded on the mission to “change the world, one pair [of shoes] at a time.” After seeing the devastation of the 2004 tsunami in Asia and later damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina, CEO Wayne Elsey felt compelled to do something. When television coverage aired a single shoe washing up on a beach, he knew he had found his calling. From there S4S was formed and has since donated well over 14 million pairs of shoes to 127 countries including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal and the United States. Every 7 seconds, a pair of shoes is placed into the hands of someone in need. Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) organization recognized by the IRS and donating parties are eligible for tax advantages.

How to Donate: Follow this link and find a drop-off location nearest you.

Learn More: www.soles4souls.org

 

Take a few minutes and cure your Shoeguiltitis just in time for the summer sunshine.

 

Feel the World!