Having finished physical therapy for my banged-up knee recently, I started barefoot running again this last week with great results. I’m more motivated than ever after having ran 5k barefoot with no problem (no knee pain, no blisters, just endorphins)! I’m also excited to begin a new training program and am confident it will soon take me to my very first barefoot 10k.
I started cautiously with very short distances (not even 2k!) to make sure I didn’t do any damage to my feet in case my form was bad since it had been so long since I last ran barefoot. But it felt so good that two days later I ran 5k with a friend because I was just enjoying it so much I couldn’t bring myself to stop before the end of the complete route! It was a fortunate confluence of factors that made that experience ideal: first long barefoot run, running buddy with me, super great weather conditions, easy flat terrain, no traffic.
However, the plan is to stick to small distances, even if I don’t feel winded, and only one longer run a week, gradually increasing weekly distance and/or pace. I expect that this way, ceteris paribus, I could run a 10k in less than 3 months. Don’t want to get a case of TMTS (Too-Much-Too-Soon) and get sidelined again. I’ve ran 10ks before, but not barefoot! The idea this time around is to make sure the muscles, skin, tendons and ligaments of the feet are ready for it.
I haven’t quite figured out how to incorporate differing terrain into the mix. I am certain, however, that avoiding tougher surfaces is a mistake. Barefoot Ken Bob points out that they are what keeps you in good form (minimum of 180 steps per minute, relaxed, vertical torso, NO toe push-off, etc). Running on a different type of surface requires its own learning process, so I can’t expect to run the same distance on gravel as I do now on smooth asphalt. The best I think will be to reserve one of the short distance workouts that are scheduled each week for a different terrain.
But that is hardly a real worry for me at the moment, I’m just happy to be running again! The most important thing is to have fun. Let’s keep it simple.
So, excuse me, but I gotta run…