Posted by: Steven Hammer | May 9, 2010

A long yet useful week

It’s Sunday night and I’ve not run for a week. It’s been a little nerve-wracking: am I losing fitness and benefits of my hard training? Will it hurt again when I resume training? Why am I injured? Et cetera… Despite the anxiety and racy thoughts, I’ve had some (I think) valuable time to reflect, review, and revise my approach to running.

It started one week ago on my (not so) long run. The pain was awful until I removed my shoes and socks to walk home. My feet felt sensitive, raw, ticklish. But I felt no more pain. I felt silly as I walked through puddles and across the streets barefoot. I even winced a few times as I walked over some sharp gravel. It has been a very long time since my bare feet have touched anything but carpet (aside from the lake, etc.) and it was strangely invigorating.

The next day I stood in front of my arsenal of running footwear. Here sat 5 pairs of shoes, ranging from an old pair of Nike Frees to racing flats to my now-demonized motion control shoes. I laid them in a row and, shaking my head, wondered why I hadn’t seen it before. The more support I have, the more injuries I suffer. I guess I get caught up in the promised safety and security offered by supportive shoes. They just destroy me…

I’m a self-admitted obsessive. I google, and google, and google. So naturally, I’ve been digging into the barefoot running phenomenon. I have a few friends who have at least dabbled in this strange movement, but never felt terribly compelled to follow along. The more I read, though, the more it seemed to make sense and the more it seems to gel with my goals, at least as a runner (if not as a person).

So, I’ve been doing some exploration of barefoot running, it’s practices and theoretical underpinnings. I’ve taken my dogs on daily barefoot walks this week, mostly because it feels good and is another opportunity to practice mindfulness. I’m going to dip my toes into barefoot running and see what happens. But, at the very least, I’m going to begin training full-time in my racing flats to veer back to my forefoot-striking ways.

I’ll begin running (cautiously) again tomorrow, and I’m terrified that injuries await me. But I’m trying–just trying–to stay away from goals that contain numbers, and instead view this as an extension of a journey toward mindfulness. Enjoy the week, friends!



  1. Shoeless Steve!

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