I ran today with no shoes. My plan today was to run/walk 5min./2min twice at the gym after my spin class. I hopped on the treadmill, and just decided that today would be the day I would try to run without my shoes.
My doctor is actually the person who advised me to do this. There is a growing group of runners who are running barefoot or with a very minimalist shoe. The theory behind this movement is that modern running shoes coddle our feet too much, and really keep them from performing the way God made them to perform. The cushioning in a typical running shoe allows us to run in ways that are really bad for our bodies by "protecting" our feet from the pain they would feel if we didn't have the cushioning. If you are running barefoot, you will strike with the forefront of your foot and not your heel. Forefoot striking sets the body up for a smoother stride without decceleration every strike. I found some great articles and explanations at http://www.barefootrunner.com/.
The first five minutes of my run felt great. I had very thin socks on since I was running on a treadmill. My stride was definitely different and much lighter than my stride with shoes. Even during my two minute walk I noticed that my strike was lighter. If I tried to walk the way I normally do, I was pounding right on my heel every foot strike. During the second five minutes I started to feel a hotspot on my right big toe. I ran through it, but I knew I would have a blister there when I was done. After the second round, my feet were a little tingly like they feel after a long walk on the beach, and I did have a blister on my toe. BUT, my foot didn't hurt at all! I do think my calves will be pretty sore tomorrow, since it almost seemed like I was running on the balls of my feet. I'm really hoping that not only will easing into running barefoot keep me injury-free, but it will also change up my running so I can have a bit of a breakthrough. I'm definitely due.
There are quite a few shoes made specifically for barefoot-type running. They protect your feet, without over-cushioning. I'm going to check these out, and see if any of them are going to be right for me. Barefoot running is something I will have to ease into. From my research online, it seems like it takes a good month to be able to feel completely comfortable. Since I am just easing back into running anyway, this will be a great time to give it a try.
I'll keep you posted!! Happy training!