Welcome to our Wild Workout Wednesday link up! Each week I link up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Angelena Marie from Angelena Marie: Happy, Healthy & Balanced, and Sarah at Creating Better Tomorrow to bring you workout ideas, motivation, inspiration and recipes to try. Join us for a wild workout each week by reading along or grab the button and link up if you have a fitness or healthy living post to share!
I recently posted about my love affair with Newton Running and how even getting new Newtons was tough for me. But something happened at my track workout last week that had me nervously contemplating, ‘could I give up my Newtons??’
The fact that the very thought of that would pop into my head was unnerving, but what I would possibly give them up for was far more unnerving–no sneakers at all.
Simply put, my barefoot running experience was purely accidental. Like any fit, running mom, I left the house with 3 bags, 1 car seat, a jabbering 3 year old, all my hydration, but no running sneakers. By the time I realized, we were pulling into our parking spot at the track. After a brief moment of panic (I was really looking forward to 2 sets of 4×400 and 2 sets of 4x200s!) I had a moment of enlightenment–I’ll just run barefoot.
There is actually another barefoot runner in our group, so I wouldn’t have to feel like some running weirdo (not that it should matter), but there were also 3 reasons why I wasn’t nervous about running barefoot.
1. I’ve been previously intrigued about barefoot running
Clearly if you are going to be spontaneously thrust into a barefoot running track workout (which I do not recommend as your first barefoot run!) it helps if somewhere deep inside you actually do or have wanted to try it. I love being barefoot all the time and I dread when I have to actually wear socks. I’ve tried on Vibram Five Fingers and dabbled in barefoot treadmill running–but never took it any further than that. So when I decided I was going barefoot, I was actually a little excited.
2. I have very tough feet
I can basically walk on anything. Hot sand. Rocks. Shards of glass. Probably fiery coals. So I wasn’t really worried about the track.
3. I run (correctly) in Newtons
This is probably the most important reason why I was actually able to complete the track workout. Like I posted here, I started out in bulky stability sneakers that did nothing to teach me how to run, and actually resulted in injuries. I moved to Newtons and taught myself how to run in them–I’ve been injury free and faster ever since. Running in Newtons is similar to running barefoot, except in the Newton running sneakers you have the lugs to cushion your impact. I found a great blog post from Newton about their stance on barefoot running. Being as into my Newtons as I am, I found it to be an interesting read that confirmed what I had been thinking during my workout.
So when I ran the track workout with no sneakers at all, I executed the same form. I’ve always tried to keep my cadence quick and my feet under my body–barefoot running made me work on this even more.
I really have to say that my accidental barefoot running experience was very positive (although I don’t think I’m ready to give up my Newtons!).
There are 3 really great things about barefoot running that I realized during my track workout:
1. My connection with the ground
I loved the feeling of my feet physically connecting with the ground on every stride. Yes, it started to burn after a while, but there was something very invigorating about feeling my foot push off the ground. I felt 100% in control of my running, whereas with sneakers there is that comfort to rely on. When I do run with sneakers, I rarely wear socks. I need my toes to be free to stretch around and feel like they are gripping the ground. Obviously being barefoot, this is 100% the case.
2. Enhanced attention to form
I always focused on form with sneakers, but I had no choice but to focus completely on form when I was barefoot. Every stride, every movement of my legs was intentional with the goals of foot strike and cadence never leaving my mind. Additionally, I was focused on running with my core to lighten the load of the impact. My entire body was involved in 100% the workout instead of focusing solely on my splits and the finish line.
3. Free Flying
It was fun. I felt like a true runner. Like from the book Born to Run, I envisioned myself like the Tarahumara just flying across the land.
In the end, I don’t think I will intentionally go barefoot again, but I will be cognizant of barefoot running principles moving forward in my Newtons (as I always kind of had!)
I am definitely not trying to convince anyone to go barefoot–I just felt compelled to share a somewhat unique experience.
Stay in touch!
Would you (or have you) ever run barefoot?
What would you have done if you forgot your sneakers?
Also linked up with Jill Conyers for Fitness Friday!