Monday, October 31, 2011

Barefoot Winter Survival : Treadmill Tips

It's November in New England and the days are getting shorter and cooler. It is about the time of year that my barefoot running would start to tail off. I'm not that hardcore about it and I prefer to be comfortable in the cold so winter equals minimal shoes when outside.

Last year was my first winter as a minimal/barefoot runner and I dabbled a little on the treadmill through the dark months. I'm pretty convinced that it helped me really keep my form and foot condition in tact. I would say I did about 30% of my treadmill time without shoes last year.

This year, I have much better form and slightly tougher feet and I don't see myself wearing shoes at all this winter while on the dreadmill. I've definitely learned one or two tricks that have helped me immensely.

1. Buy your own treadmill and put it in front of a TV or iPad. I haven't heard of many gyms that allow you to be truly barefoot on their equipment and I really am not a fan of gyms anyway. We've had a treadmill at Casa Durtyfeets for about 10 years. It cost about $800 at Sears and has thousands of miles on it from winter running. It doesn't owe me a dime. Having my own treadmill also lowers the bar a ton for the spur of the moment winter evening runs. It's not the greatest but it's better than sitting on my butt.

2. Pawback! This is a slight alteration of your stride so that you start pulling your foot back slightly before touchdown so that it is moving at about the same speed as the belt. Good trick to reduce foot to belt friction which can be problematic. Jason wrote a good post on it over at BRU last year. You should definitely check it out.

Here's the money advice.

3. GET FAN AND BLOW IT DIRECTLY ON THE BELT! The belt gets pretty damn hot on my treadmill. Until I learned the fan trick, I used to have to move around to different spots to allow areas to cool down like Jason suggests in #2. I ended up with slight burns a few times. Nothing terrible but it was uncomfortable enough to make me stop. I fixed all that by getting a big box fan and putting it at the end of the belt. Problem solved. The belt stays plenty cool enough.

So there you have it. Winter sucks for runners and really sucks for barefoot runners but you don't have to let it get you down. Just take off your shoeshine up a good movie on Netflix and jump on the treadmill.

- Cheers!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vivobarefoot Sale 30% off

For those who are lamenting the price of Vivobarefoot shoes, do what I did.  Wait for the sales.
30% off until 1Nov.  Pick up your pair of Ra now.

Use the code VBHALLOWEEN30


Make sure you don't end up terrified this Halloween. Don't miss out on our Halloween sale, where everything is 30% off when using the code VBHALLOWEEN30 at checkout.  

Take your style to the streets and look dapper in our Dalston or simply stock up on your favorites, like our best-selling Evo. Try out our newest addition, the Neo Trail, which is the perfect complement for enjoying the outdoor fall weather off road.   

The styles may differ, but all VIVOBAREFOOT shoes have an ultra-thin, puncture-resistant sole for maximum proprioception with protection for the best possible barefoot experience. 

This offer is only available October 27th - November 1st on

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fun Run in the Trails! | City Sports Blog

Woohooo! I'm very excited to meet Jason Robillard and go for a run with the crew. I just hope I can get permission from the family. :-)

29 October in Wellesley!

Fun Run in the Trails! | City Sports Blog:

'via Blog this'

Monday, October 17, 2011

Barefoot Newport Half Marathon Race Report

Newport Half Marathon 16Oct11

This was my first barefoot half marathon and my second half marathon all together.  The course views were spectacular with views of Rhode Island Sound from Brenton Point Park.
Looking out towards Jamestown from Ocean Drive

The course meandered through the Newport Mansion district as well if you wanted to do some house-hunting.

The weather was absolutely perfect and the half marathon course had a nice cool tailwind for much of the race.
This did not suck.

I was pacing for a friend who was running the full marathon so we had a good time chatting it up and having fun with the spectators and other runners.  I absolutely love getting hi-fives from kids.  It makes your day.

My friend Bethany on her first full marathon

 It was also pretty fun to thank the mansion bus-tour people as if they were spectators as they waited to cross the street.  Many of the folks were not really sure what to do when some sweaty guy wearing nothing but  shorts, a do rag, and funny leg warmers comes by and thanks them for coming out to cheer.

I have to admit that the road surface wasn't particularly pleasing for me.  The pavement was rough for about 75% of the course.  More seasoned barefooters would probably find this course fine.  It was a bit challenging for me and really made me focus on form.  Unfortunately, after about mile 8, my hip flexors got tired and my form went to crap.  The result was a few blisters but nothing terrible.  Just uncomfortable and no need to go to my bailout shoes

Despite the minor discomfort, I had a huge smile on my face for most of the race.
Shirtless, shoeless, smiling nut job on the course.  

During the race, several folks asked me about barefoot or minimal footwear and I ran for the last mile with another barefooter doing the full marathon.

I will definitely do this race again and maybe even try this as my first full marathon next year.  I will be probably wearing huaraches or other minimal shoes, though.

My own personal cheering section visiting me in the beer garden with my celebratory 'Gansett tall boy


ASIDE:  I'm definitely noticing more interest from "normal runners" in the whole barefoot and minimal thing.  It was probably a 70/30 split of people striking up a conversation and asking genuine questions about my experience vs. the usual under the breath comment about how "that guy is nuts."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Barefoot in a half marathon???

Hello! It's been a while. Life has really interrupted this bloggin thing and I'm still looking for my muse. Anyhow........ I'm running in the Newport Half Marathon tomorrow and I'm thinking of trying my first barefoot half. My longest barefoot was a 10k earlier this summer. It was great. The paved trail was fine on my feet. I'm a little worried about my ability to push that to 13.1 though. I'm not really sure what the roads are like either. At this point, I'm ganging to say f-it and chuck the shoes. I'll carry my huaraches in case my form goes to hell. Here goes nothing! Cheers!