Friday, July 20, 2012

Barefoot Heresy

Today was a perfect day for a barefoot run at lunch. It was cloudy and 71 deg and the road in the office park was freshly paved. Absolutely PERFECT conditions to run barefoot. It was nice to take the shoes off and get out there but it was different. I was coming off a rest day and I had fresh legs and they wanted to fly. My form just does not permit fast while barefoot. Instead of punishing myself and getting a hot spot from pushing too hard, I just plugged along enjoying myself and lost in thought. Along the way, I realized something about myself.
I'm not a barefoot runner anymore. I've been running barefoot on and off since July 2010. I've done a few races including a barefoot half marathon so I have the experience. However......
I love to run more than I love to barefoot run.
I run because I enjoy running. I enjoy running on trails. I enjoy running long distances. I enjoy running fast (for me) when I feel like it or I'm running with my speedy friends. Barefoot hinders all of those.
Were I to try any of the above with no shoes on, I would enjoy it less. Period. I like the error margin that my minimal shoes give me. I know I can slow down on trails if I'm barefoot but that wouldn't be as fun. I know I can build up my endurance to run long while barefoot but I don't really want to put in that effort. I know I can work on that last little bit of my form to get faster barefoot but again, I'm just not that passionate about it.
Lots of people in my circles talk about using the least amount of shoe for a given terrain or circumstance. In other words, barefoot is the default and shoes are tools. I completely agree with this but I think at this point in my life, I tend to prefer a shoe so that my overall enjoyment is maximized. Of course, my shoes are all as minimal as possible.
Please don't kick me out of the Barefoot Runner's Society. I'll still run barefoot sometimes. :-)