Running in the Buff

Well, not completely in the buff. Even if I had a million acres all to myself for naked running, there would be far too much jiggle goin’ on. Amusing, but not pleasant! No, I’m referring to naked feet.

As you may or may not know, I plan on running a half marathon in October. I was ready for the race last year but then hurt my knee and was out of commission for a while. I’m back to running short distances, but I still feel that worrisome twinge in my knee at times. Most running injuries occur because of stress and wear – the consistent pound, pound, pounding the pavement can really take its toll, most commonly on knees and ankles.

Because I am dead set on doing the half marathon and really, really don’t want to give up running, I’ve decided to give barefoot running a try. It’s a growing trend all over the world for lots of reasons – after all, it’s how we were made to run, isn’t it? I wasn’t born wearing a pair of Nikes. Shoes completely alter the way we run, forcing the heel to strike the ground first, which creates the jarring and pounding that puts stress on our joints. Barefoot running uses only the forefoot; there is no injury-causing heel strike at all!

I’m only walking for now. My mom and I did a shoeless half mile this morning, then I (begrudgingly) put my shoes on and ran 2.5 miles. You’re supposed to ease into the barefoot thing gradually. Because our feet are accustomed to shoes, they’re weak and need to be strengthened by walking barefoot before running. I ran a few barefoot laps up and down my driveway the other morning out of curiosity and had some foot soreness later, but I loved the “light on my toes” feeling while running – so liberating!

My driveway is DIRTY. And my feet are chubby…and I like it. Ever heard Jack Johnson sing about bubbly toes? Yup, he wrote than one for me.

I can already tell it will be difficult to train myself to run in a completely foreign way, but if it rids me of my knee problems it’s totally worth it. The only downside I can see is eventually having some tough, crusty feet. Gross. Maybe if I slather them with gobs of vaseline at night and wear socks to bed… 

Have you experienced barefoot running? Would you ever be willing to try it?

~Becky, a barefoot skinnyfat girl

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