My whole life, I have had a recurring dream:
In this dream, I run in the desert, and I feel free, like in flight. This dream always leaves me extraordinarily happy when I wake up.
Every time I have attempted to run in real life, I always hated it. I trained myself to run 20 minutes on a treadmill once, but then my knee hurt and I stopped. It felt like drudgery, and I am not the kind of personality to stick with drudgery. I switched back to the elliptical machine, and figured I must not be a “natural runner.”
A few months ago I had this dream again. I thought, I MUST be a runner…these dreams are too strong. There has to be something to this dream!
How can I run like I run in my dream?
In the beginning of this summer, I bought some Vibram Five Finger KSOs and hiked around in them.
I loved feeling connected to the ground. The Vibram soles allowed me to feel more sensation while protecting my feet on trails from rocks and roots. I walked on the beach, rocky river beds, and climbed rocks with no discomfort. It was really fun!
However, I needed more information on how to run in these toe shoes. It’s funny, because the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall had been on our kitchen table for months, and I never read it. It got boxed up and put in the basement with other books while cleaning. I thought “that book about ultra marathoners is about crazy guys.”
About a month ago, I downloaded the audiobook. I think I am now on my 4th listen, and the story is crazy…crazy amazing!
Realistically, I don’t see myself running ultra marathons, however, how about a 5k….barefoot?
To support my newly awakened foot muscles and tendons, I have been doing training exercises to strengthen the tendons in my feet, and relax my hips and calves. Reading Barefoot Running Step by Step by Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton has been so informative and helpful when getting started with correct barefoot running form. I grew up with dance training, and most recently studied bellydance. Months of barefoot bellydance training totally helped prepare my feet for the midfoot foot placement required to safely walk and run barefoot; it is in my muscle memory. I also stand for long periods of time in leather soled sandals. I dread the colder days ahead when I will have to put on covered shoes!
feet right after barefoot run on gravel
Take it slow….take it slow…
Since I always consider myself a beginner runner, I definitely take it slow. A week ago, I completed a daily 5 minute barefoot on gravel everyday. Today, I am up to 10 minute runs, mixed with barefoot walking on trails and gravel paths.
Barefoot running requires that I listen to my body, and any pain or strain that arises. Now, going barefoot feels better than wearing the Vibram Toe Shoes, since I have much more balance and more accurate information coming form the soles of my feet, which informs if my form is correct. I can feel my feet getting stronger everyday, and the feeling of being barefoot on the trail is very addictive!
Time to go barefoot!
To the Forest!