Thursday, March 10, 2011

Barefoot Running

One day this blog will turn back into a blog about patristics, theology, and language pedagogy. I have a PhD application being processed, and I'm still waiting for someone to agree to mark my MTh thesis. In the meantime...

Apart from weightlifting, I've taken up barefoot running. When I tell people this, they usually think I'm crazy. A quick search around the internet will tell you that barefoot runners form a small, dedicated clique of runners, and there is a rather decisive and vehement split over the issue. Barefoot advocates argue that the biomechanics of running barefoot are far superior to running shod, and advocates of shoes tend to think barefoot runners are a bit loony.

For my own part, I think barefoot running *is* better, and it also makes sense to me as a Christian. Barefoot advocates tend to argue that our bodies have evolved to run barefoot. I would just say that it makes sense that God designed our bodies to work without shoes just fine.

I did a few runs around Christmas barefoot, but foolishly (ignorantly) went for 5-6kms, which is about how far I was used to running with shoes. This resulted in blisters that lasted several days and left me hobbling around. More internet research and I realised my problem - too much too soon.

So then it was learning to restrain myself. I started again with a more restricted regime. The first run was literally around the block. Then two blocks. Then three. This week I've just completed two 7km runs. I'm planning to add some sprint training, and think about working up to a 13km run from church to home or something.

Weightlifting is going well by the way. I'm almost dead on track for my April lifting goals. We'll see how we go for the June goals though. Consuming enough is one of my main challenges, not so much the lifting part of things.


Alistair Bain said...

Are you running on grass? Sounds painful.

Seumas Macdonald said...

No, I run on pavement and road.

Adjusting to hard surfaces is actually easier than soft ones.

And people think it sounds painful, but I don't experience any pain from it.

Luke Isham said...

What about dog poo and broken glass, but no doubt you get asked that all the time.

Do you have good pronation? I don't think I could do that sort of running because I need corrective orthotics.

Seumas Macdonald said...

Yes, I get the glass question a lot. My answer is, "I look where I'm going."

As for pronation and supination issues. I wouldn't be keen to argue from my ignorance, but advocates would argue that running without shoes allows the feet to self-correct to some extent: particularly to allow the various muscles in the foot and ankle to grow strong enough to handle what they are doing.