Tuesday, November 2, 2010
3am Epiphany, Barefoot for Body Awareness!
After a brief 3am waking, Nyla needed an extra middle of the night snuggle, my mind immediately started racing into multitudes of thoughts that occupy my mind throughout non-sleeping hours (and are often translated into my dreams). I'm not exactly sure why I started to think about the importance of barefoot running, why shoes hinder a good wise run and how it's like swimming in a life jacket. False sense of security.
My thoughts were, running in traditional high tech, cushioned, stability, motion control etc etc shoes gives inhibits our natural tendency to become more body aware. Sadly, I think that our society has become so dependent on modern technologies that we lack the ability to build body awareness. We use Garmins and fancy watches to see what our pace is ( I challenge you to head out on a run, sans gear and pace yourself by how your body feels, by your breath and by your heart beating in your chest), GPS systems and online maps to map out exactly how far we are running and pillowy running shoes to "cushion the impact".
Is this really benefiting us, by not allowing us to learn more about how we're running in order to naturally cushion our own footfall with good running form? Lacing up a brand new pair of ultra cushioned stability shoes, will not help you learn how to run better no more so than putting a life jacket on to learn how to swim. Sure, it will keep you afloat and is an awesome safety device, I put my own kids in them, though it's much easier to learn to swim bare...without your life jacket. Likewise, learning to run without the shoes. Of course you're not going to jump right into the deep end of the pool and expect to crawl stroke your way beautifully to the opposite end of the pool. Of course you're not going to be able to take your traditional training shoes off for the first time and run a marathon.
It takes patience, a good bit of educating yourself, listening to and connecting with your body using feedback to better your run and your experience..did I mention patience. If you are not used to listening to your body and engaging in good "conversation-take and give" with your body, this may be frustrating and unmotivating. Be patient, it will come and the more you allow yourself to experience getting to know your body...the higher your body awareness IQ will become. Shoes are good, they're a means to providing protection on occasions when barefoot isn't most practical. Having learned and practiced the fundamentals of "barefoot running", at it's barest most pure form will become ingrained in your run and you'll then be able to put your shoes on when need be and still run wisely.