We finally had a gorgeous spring day here in southern Oregon, so I hit the trail in my new Merrell Pace Gloves. Lately, my husband and I have been taking off our shoes at a point in the trail where it’s mostly sandy and pebbly to get our feet acclimated. And now I understand the advice to start truly barefoot and then go with a minimalist shoe.
As I read Jason Robillard’s The Barefoot Running Book, it seemed counterintuitive to me to start that way. Why not ease into it with a minimalist shoe and then go totally barefoot?
Because when you’re barefoot, you can’t fake it. You can’t get lazy and fall back into your old stride because your heel won’t like being pounded against rocks and hard ground. You need the cushioning your forefoot provides. Also, the barefoot stride is lighter in general and your feet are better protected when your foot strikes aren’t thudding along. Barefoot running keeps you honest.
I remember my husband cautioning me about a particularly pebbly section of the trail, and I hit it full force today. Immediately, my feet sensed it and sent miniature shockwaves that my body reacted to by contracting certain muscles. It’s as though my feet are thinking for me, because all of it is automatic. I’m also guessing I look totally ridiculous doing this, tiptoeing around the pebbly parts. People probably wonder, “Why doesn’t she just put her shoes back on?”
Because. It feels good. And? It’s fun.