Go OutsideI'm Not Going Barefoot

I’m Not Going Barefoot

Look, it bothers me neither way if you run barefoot or not. I honestly could not possibly care less. If it works for you do not wish to run in ANY shoe ever again, it affects me in no way, shape or form. Actually, that is incorrect. If it gets you out running pain-free and allows you to enjoy the sport you no longer were able to enjoy because shoes appeared to be the bane of your existence, then it does affect me, because I am now happy you are out running again. But holy mackerel please do not try to convert me.

I have not spent a great deal of time scientifically researching the human body when it comes to how it works while in motion. I have friends in the medical field in every discipline (doctors, nurses, massage therapists etc) who know way more about the mechanics of running and how my muscles work than I could ever hope to. Yet even these friends, who are all very learned and make their living knowing about the human body, can disagree on seemingly the most simple of things.

I do know, very well, what works for me, or at least what has worked in the past and will hopefully work in the future. If whatever I am doing stops working, I will modify what I am doing in hopes of making it feel right again. But if what is working is indeed working, why would I wish to change it?

Often studies are shown to me by the barefoot running aficionados of how shoes have hindered runners and caused injuries. I have said I am extremely sorry for those runners and wish they could run pain-free. But they are not me. I have run 116 marathons, pushing myself in almost every single one of them and have averaged under 3:20 (including time-skewing upward marathons like Leadville and Pikes Peak). One hundred of those marathons have been in the past four years and most were done without a hint of injury. Furthermore, I have run all 16,064,976 feet of those marathons in running shoes. That doesn’t even count the training, half-marathons, 5Ks, and running to catch airplanes.

Chances are the next million or so feet will be traversed in running shoes as well. So while I appreciate how much running barefoot has done for you, please remember as the wonderful Dr. George Sheehan said: “We are all an experiment of one.” In other words, we have to find what works for us. No one can run the race for you and only your own legs will propel you forward.

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