I’ve written before about my first tentative steps with barefoot running, although I’m only dabbling. Small moves, Mark. Small moves!! The experiences so far have been sensory revelations for my feet and my nervous system.
Some observations from the field (quite literally!):
Sole and soul seem to feel the awesome rhythm of movement anew.
Running shoeless on wet grass recalls times long ago when this was playfully but often furtively done!
Asphalt delivers a coarse and vigorous (but rarely painful) foot massage.
Snow running for about 15 minutes (we had a few laughably light flutters in Tokyo recently) has feet toasty and warm, or is that frostbite setting in?! Actually, I don’t think so, as the temperature remained above freezing and I was only out for a short time.
However, the most entrancing moments have been those gliding or micro-sliding over damp and compacted soil which is not yet muddy enough to have me slip, sliding away (thanks, Paul Simon!)
What my feet are signaling I cannot adequately do justice to with words - sensuous, tickling and titillating come to mind. And yet all symbols fall short at the nerve endings of narration, methinks!
A wry thought did cross my mind that this was the best free foot massage on offer in a country where people pay others to do what may very well be available naturally to the able-bodied.
Of course, running barefoot is not for everyone; nor should it be. But I do find it fascinating as a runner to explore strange new surfaces and seek out bold new stride patterns. Whoops, time to beam this post up to where it belongs.
I’d like to leave you with a 2 minutes video clip of Frenchman, Erwan Le Corre, barefoot running in what appear to be the hills of Corsica. It’s a remarkable clip, not least because of the cameraman’s ability to get some great movement shots.
Erwan’s approach to life is a very interesting one. He’s all about moving and living more naturally - visit his web site, movnat.com to learn more about why you may very well be another zoo human, and what to do about it. (Hint: learn to move.)
– Mark McClure
PS: Note that I’m not recommending in this post that YOU should try barefoot running. I’ve been running for 30+ years and walking barefoot around my apartment in Japan for the last 15, so it’s something I’m OK to try out. Your mileage may vary.