Friday, June 21, 2013

You don't have to be Barefoot to Barefoot Run

It's pretty apparent that my focus on distance running since January has slowed my transition to barefoot running, but I'm still moving toward that goal.  Good thing, or I'd have to change the name of my blog.

My current running shoes, Saucony Kinvara 3s, are a transition shoe.  They have a padded heel, but the drop (i.e. difference in height) from heel to toe is only 4mm, which there's not a ton of padding in the heel.  Spoke to a Saucony Rep and the Kinvara 4s maintain the same drop, while improving the durability of the padding in the heel.  The shoe is light and the toe box does not constrict at all, making it very easy to run barefoot style.

The vast majority of my training runs have included some time running barefoot style. However, I can't emphasize this enough, it's not just about the kind of shoe.  It's also about where you land on your foot and stride...

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Some runners use a "run for a while, walk for a little" style for the specific purpose of giving their running muscles a break.  This is supposed to ensure that the runner can continue for the distance of the race.  It may be as simple as walking through the water breaks.

I think that moving back and forth between the barefoot and traditional style might accomplish the same goal.  I previously posted a graphic showing which muscles are doing the work when running barefoot and in a more padded shoe.

With a transition shoe, I believe you can run farther if you move between the two styles as you notice your muscles fatiguing.

Today was an 8 mile day...the first one since the Half in May.  No stops, and  I maintained a reasonable pace of about 10:15 per mile (1:22:03 total run time).  I'm guessing that about a mile of that was done barefoot style.  But I am certain that giving my quads a rest by periodically running barefoot style definitely helped me go the distance.

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