Boom goes the death star!
If you read this blog closely (and I'm sure you do), you've probably already noticed a little change in the
blahblahblahsub-title header content. I am no longer laying claim to the "barefoot runner" title. Yes, I am fully aware that absolutely no one in the universe cares, but I have a blog so I get to bore you with my thoughts so thanks.
I've been frustrated with barefoot for a little while now, feeling like I was always getting hurt and had traded one category of injury (knees, back, aches) for another (abrasions, impact ouchies and the like). I wasn't improving as a runner in any way, which was the whole point of trying barefoot running anyway. I mean, sure, I hadn't had shin splints or knee tweaks in almost six months...
Sure wish I had a helper robot to warn me...
So yeah, I actually thought the whole "I haven't had achy knees or shin splints in ages, just some little rock-induced foot bruises" consciously to myself. The VERY. NEXT. DAY I ran. Barefoot. And got shin splints, achy knees, AND the rock-induced bruise pain on my foot wouldn't go away. Awesome. In my non-running time I got to thinking and came up with a hypothesis.
Donuts will cure pain!
It isn't actually a new hypothesis; it's something I've been thinking on for quite a while now. What if barefoot running has had absolutely zero, zilch, nada to do with my ability to run frequently without traditional running related pain? What if the approach I took to running while barefoot was the key to injury free running? OK, let's back up a step or three and explain further: When I took up barefoot running I started out super slow not so much pace-wise, but in intensity. I started with 1/4 mile a day, every other day, because all the stuff I read on barefoot running said it was the best way to condition my body to the new/different stresses of barefoot running. What if I took the same approach to running like the rest of the general population? What if I started slow, over short distances and conditioned myself to running gradually? Would I have the same success I found at the outset of my barefoot escapades?
It's a big question, get it?
Well, we're about to find out. I am currently waiting out some pretty major shin splints, and once they've faded, I'm lacing up my running shoes (real ones like this: ) and going for a short, quarter mile run. Then I'm going to wait two days and do the same thing. After a week of doing this I'll add another eighth-mile every second day until I hit a mile or my legs fall off, whichever comes first. Then I'll follow my barefoot running progression with a mix of two and three mile runs and see how it goes.
Maybe it won't be any better than it ever was; maybe it will. But I won't know until I match my methodologies evenly against one another and see how it all shakes out. I mean all I really want to do is run, preferably far and fast (well, fast for me anyway...).