Slow and steady is the way to go with transitioning to barefoot running, barefoot living. (I run in minimalist shoes, walk in either minimalist sandals, shoes, or actual barefoot at home) My journey to living “barefoot” started about 3-4 weeks ago. Over the last few days here is what I’ve experienced and how I’ve handled it.
Running More Barefoot Miles – Need to Listen to Body
On Monday this week I ran 4 miles of very hilly terrain on a mostly pavement sidewalk. I originally set out to run 3 miles, but at my 3 mile turnaround point I felt so incredibly good that I decided to extend it to 4 miles. I finished with an improved pace even with all the hills. The next day I felt no soreness in any part of my body.
On Tuesday I set out to run 4 miles again on a mostly flat course that was mostly pavement. When I set out, it was cold and windy, about 35 degrees F. This course starts off on a hill – pretty much the only real hill in the course. My ankles felt cold. They were the one part of my skin that was exposed. The rest of me was warm.
But I noticed right away that my left ankle and lower calf, near the Achilles tendon felt strained slightly. I could discern whether it was cold or strain. As is often the case with running, these initial sensations usually go away. And it did for the middle part of the run as my body warmed up.
But by the end of the run, that left ankle felt a little sore. I noticed that I was favoring it and not running with a normal gait. When I finished the run I walked it out for about 10 minutes as I always do upon the advice from a great book called “Slow Burn: Burn Fat Faster By Exercising Slower” by Stu Mittleman. (This gets the lactic acid moved out of your muscles so as to have less or no soreness the next day. It works.)
After finishing walking, I didn’t notice any soreness. As the day went on, no soreness. This morning, Wed, I noticed a little clicking in my Achilles tendon upon waking. So I decided to run today using my traditional sneakers because I know that there would be a little less stress on that tendon with the heel rise in traditional running shoes.
I ran 3 miles on my hilly course. I took it slow, being sure to warm up slowly working up to my “normal” pace over the course of the 1st mile. My Achilles felt totally fine running today. No pain in my ankle. I did notice a tightness in my hips however after the run was done. It its a tightness that I usually would experience after running in traditional running shoes.
I haven’t recalled feeling this hip tightness after running “barefoot” so perhaps that tightness has been related to traditional shoes. More time will tell on this.
What I Learned
- I need to make sure that my body is properly warmed up – before heading out on a course that starts out on a fairly steep uphill, especially if it is cold.
- I need to keep ALL my joints warm in cold weather. I noticed that adding an extra layer over my running tights helps with stiffness in my hips and knees. I think I need to make sure my ankles are covered well too with higher socks.
How I’ll do this:
- Warm up with jogging/jumping in place for about 5 minutes before heading out. Or however long it takes for those muscles and joints to feel warm, lubricated, and ready to go.
- Wear higher socks and maybe a pair of Running Gaitors if it’s really windy.
What About You?
Have you tried barefoot walking or running? What has been your experience with the transition? Would love to hear from you!
Look forward to hearing from you in the comments below or on your favorite social media site, Twitter, FB, Stumble, etc.!