Monday, January 01, 2007

Review of my Barefoot Running Career

I began running barefoot in August 2004 as recovery from a very painful and debilitating bout of plantar faciitis. My running developed from a "zero" level and progressed very slowly. I was up to running a couple of miles at a time by March, 2005 when I got a stress fracture in my left foot. So I had to take about 10 weeks off for that to heal. It left me with some toes on my left foot that are no longer straight. I picked up my running again in June, 2005 and have been steadily building since then.

I've had to overcome my brain which kept on imposing its own idea of how running should be. This has taken a long time to overcome. So my running in 2005 was very spotty, lots of foot abrasions, setbacks, and disappointments. My longest runs were about 4 to 5 miles with the need to rest and heal after nearly every one. Despite the difficulties, I have actually enjoyed running barefoot very, very much! I have felt my deeper foot structures strengthening and developing along the way.

In 2006 I was determined to figure it out - to get it right! So I re-examined my running form and really concentrated on practicing pure correctness, so my body could overpower my brain. It has been working. I have focused on key form habits that I needed to develop and each time my running has improved. By the end of 2006 I have finally been able to run with very little to no foot abrasions at all, which means I have been able to start pushing my distances up. This has allowed me to develop my cardio-vascular conditioning as well as strengthen my running muscles -- thighs, calves, hips, back, etc.

My running development took one small downturn one month ago with a piece of glass in a toe that developed a very deep blister around it and then got infected (because I kept running on it). So I finally got to the bottom of it, got the glass out, and have been healing. I have run very little for the past couple of weeks because of it.

This last week I only ran 6 miles, a test run which went very well. But I still felt I should rest and recover some more so I have been taking it easy!

My goal in 2007 is to build steadily upon my current levels, develop more cardio-vascular and muscle strength, then to run more races, including 1/2 marathons and marathons! I want to travel and run with other barefooters, too.

Looking forward to 2007 - a very good year!

Ryan

2 comments:

Papa Louie said...

Good luck with your barefoot running career. I love the idea that running barefoot will "strengthen the deeper foot structures".

Winona said...

Keep up the good work.