Running Barefoot…Literally

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On Sunday, I went for a run to try to loosen up from Saturday’s 11-miler. I ran 3.5 miles at an easy pace and for the last 1.25 miles, I ran completely barefoot. No Vibrams. No socks.

Why? Well, during Saturday’s run (in my Asics), I felt like I was running with lead feet. My shoes felt so heavy and constricting. Halfway through the run, all I could think about (besides the ever-building pressure in my quads) was taking off my shoes. But I didn’t. On Sunday, I ditched the Asics and wore my Vibrams.IMG_0719But a few miles into my run, I got that same urge again, even though I was in barely there “shoes.” So, I took them off and just held them as I ran.

I had a lot on my mind that day. And it sounds a little crazy, but it seemed like the weight of my thoughts was escaping through the soles of my feet. Plus, I’m a big believer that simply being outdoors can clear the mind and calm the soul. And being barefoot seemed like one more step towards “communing with nature.” [I just realized I might be 1/4 hippie in addition to my 1/4 Scottish heritage.] Never mind the fact that pavement isn’t exactly a product of nature…baby (barefoot) steps.

Did I run faster barefoot? Nope. Slower actually.

Did I step on anything? Nope. But ran strategically to avoid a few sticks and goose poop. There was a rough patch of asphalt that was a little uncomfortable, but really it wasn’t painful running barefoot.

Were my feet nasty afterwards? Um, yeah… I took pictures but I gotta draw the line somewhere. And pictures of dirty feet is crossing the line. But dirt was the extent of it – I washed ‘em and all was well.

Would I do it again? Yep. And I’d love to find a freshly paved road for it.

What clears your mind and calms your soul?

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    60 responses to “Running Barefoot…Literally”

    1. I always see people running barefoot down my street. It’s a main street so I am always concerned that they are going to step on something and cut themselves. I’m glad you didn’t cut yourself!

    2. Wow, I can’t believe you ran completely barefooted. I used to run barefoot all the time as a child and didn’t think about it twice. I feel really relaxed when I’m at home with my family or after taking a good yoga class.

    3. Right on girlie!! I did quite a bit of complete barefoot this summer..loved it!! I’ve read it’s really where you’re supposed to start. It trains your feet to react the most from the impact and land the lightest, even in comparison to the Vibrams because that thin layer of padding. Slowly but surely I”ll get there!

    4. oh my gosh girl i totally relate! i think i really am part hippy somewhere back in the family line 🙂 i bought my nike free 5.0 version six months ago and i cannot say enough of how much i love them. my hip, knee and shin problems are nothing but a memory! my brother has the VFFs and loves them. i previously ran in asics, adidas and new balance. each of them had things i really liked but the freedom i feel running in my barefoot runners is incredible. i know what you mean about feeling encumbered by your asics. other shoes feel so bulky and restricting now. i’m not a long-distance runner but so far i have worn them up to a 10 mile run and they work great for me.

      I love your blog 🙂

      • I’ve been thinking about getting the Nike Frees – so glad to hear you love them! I want something with a bit more bulk than the Vibrams but not Ascis.

        So glad you love my blog. 🙂

    5. Hiking, walking, snowshoeing, and running all help clear my mind and calm my soul! Anything where I can get outside and “commune” with nature. Just for the record, I might be 1/4 hippie too…haha.

    6. I know a few people who run completely barefoot regularly and love it. Although, in the heat their feet turn into one giant blister that scares little no pain tolerance me, haha. Glad you liked it!

    7. I really enjoy reading your barefoot & Vibram thoughts! I’ve been wearing a more minimalist running shoe the past month, and it feels so much lighter and closer to the ground. When I wear my other shoes, they feel so big & heavy.
      Running & yoga clear my mind. I can always count on a run to calm me down and help me focus.

    8. I run in regular running shoes, but I have had on and off random injuries over the years…shin splints, knee pains, foot pains, etc. I have been debating buying vibrams or Nike frees…mainly because I am scared that I won’t be able to run as far. I know it seems like a silly concern….But I think that the more I hear about running barefoot or in vibrams, the more I am sold.

      Were you really nervous to switch over?

      • I know it’s not the case with everyone, but my chronic running injuries (mostly IT band issues) completely disappeared after I switched. I was nervous about the need to drop my mileage, which was true. I couldn’t run as far at first. You have to start VERY gradually to avoid food injury, but I ran a half marathon in them last December, so you can build up some decent mileage! And I’ve heard of others doing full marathons in Vibrams. I’d say to give it a try!

    9. Girl, you are crazy. I ran 2 miles last night…with shoes…on a treadmill, and I thought I was going to die, seriously. How did I get so severly out of shape? In my defense I did run after I had already done the stair climber for 20 minutes…but still, embarrassing, yet I’m still typing it out and sharing it in a public forum.

      You will forever be my running hero.

      • I’m happy to be any type of hero of yours.

        And I hardly believe you are out of shape.

        I <3 you.

    10. I’m with you on the 1/4 hippie, 1/4 Scotish too for that matter.

      Being in nature clears my mind and calms the soul for me. Running is getting close to that point for me. Now just need to get to some trails to combine the two!

    11. Hooray!!! There is nothing more freeing for me than running without any shoes! I always feel like a little kid running around barefoot on a hot day…it’s the best.

    12. That sounds exactly what I need right now. When I lived at my parents house I used to go run around the property barefoot and it was amazing. First off I loved the feet of grass on my feet, but it was also so freeing.

    13. I ran hurdles in high school and we would run barefoot all the time… it drove our coach crazy because he thought we would step on something and mess up our feet… or hit our bare feet/ankles on the hurdle and hurt ourselves. We only ever ran on the grass field though so it wasn’t too bad.

    14. My husband was listening to a show on NPR one day about the benefits of barefoot running, and in his over-zealous mind, he decided it would be wise to take off for a 3-mile jog around our neighborhood–barefoot. Well, let’s just say that wasn’t the smartest thing. . . he came back with at least 3-4 blisters, and he never ran barefoot again.

      I, on the other hand, am a little smarter 😉 and will run 800 meters barefoot on the track after a speed workout. We would do this often after a track practice in college, but the key is not to run more than what your feet can tolerate. I suggest starting with 800-1200 meters and working up from there. I also like using the track because there is usually less debris on it.

    15. yoga or a dance class it what clears my mind…and during the warmer months, I am always barefoot…i love free

    16. That sounds awesome and freeing! I used to run around bare foot all the time as a kid, but never went for an actual run barefoot (unless you count the beach). I think I’d be a little scared to run barefoot for fear I’d step on something.
      What clears my mind? A nice long run as the sun is coming up!

    17. nice! why were you running in your asics??? I was bummed when my foot guy told me it wasn’t a good idea for me to run in my newtons (which promote a more mid/fore-foot strike like you’d get with vibrams… or barefoot!) due to my biomechanical issues 🙁 i miss even walking in my vibrams, and i know i’m going to hate my sneakers when i’m given the go-ahead to run again!

      • I was running in my ascis because my calves have been REALLY tight lately and the Vibrams work my calves much more than Asics. Just trying to give them a break!

        I’ve heard great things about newtons – sad you can’t run in yours anymore! 🙁

    18. I would have stubbed my toe and that would’ve been the end of it. Have u ever experienced any pain in the balls of your feet when running in vibrams? I seem to have it, but only in my right foot.

    19. I remember running barefoot in gym class back in 10th grade. I think my shoes were hurting my feet or I didn’t bring gym shoes that day. I honestly can’t remember. I just remember the blisters I got afterwards. I was barefoot on a track; not recommended.

      Anyway, what clears my mind and calms my soul? Getting my heart rate up to 180 and listening to music at the same time. Or just listening to music in general. Or playing music. But, combining it with my heart pounding and sweat pouring down my face, makes it so-much-better.

    20. gah, i want to get up the nerve to do this so bad. i met a barefoot running friend a couple months ago and have been thinking of it ever since…

    21. The whole concept of barefoot running intrigues me, but I could not get past the pain!!! I am a wimp, I suppose. 🙂 I wonder if you could do BodyPump barefoot?!? haha…don’t drop that bar!!

    22. i have those vffs too but in teal! i don’t think i could ever totally ditch them because i live in a city. i love them though! i still use my asic gel nimbus for runs longer than 2.5mi since i don’t run very often.

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