I am one of those people who tend to walk around barefoot every chance I get. When I am at home I rarely wear shoes and my general choice of footwear tend to be flip flops or flat shoes. It is just my preference and to me it always feels more natural. When I exercise I tend to do activities that you can do barefoot. I usually chose to do exercise DVDs or swimming. For some reason I never really liked the feel of conventional trainers on my feet they always felt too heavy. This put me off sports like running although I do often go on long walks with the dog in all sorts of weather.
Sometime ago I was lucky enough to win some barefoot shoes from Merrell. The concept of barefoot running and barefoot shoes was a totally new one to me. I was aware that some athletes competed barefoot, the one I remember most was Zola Budd but was not at all sure about barefoot shoes. I read up a little bit about them and found out that there is research which seems to suggest that barefoot runners suffer less from sports injuries than non-barefoot runners. The reason for this seems to be the difference in the way you land on your foot when you are running. It seems that barefoot runners land on the mid-foot with the knee being flexed but in other shoes you land more on the heel. It was interesting reading.
I was more interested in trying out the barefoot shoes. The ones I received are called Barefoot Womans Pace Glove. They look very much like normal trainers from the top. The material is very flexible and they really do fit round your foot like a glove, which is great for me as I have wide feet and it can be an issue getting shoes to fit.
I was not daring enough to try running straight away. Although I am quite fit I have not done any running since I was at school which was quite a long time ago. I decided to start wearing these while walking the dog and see how I got on. I have to report these were the most comfortable trainers I have have worn. When wearing them you really do feel like you are barefoot, you can barely feel that they are there. The soles are strong enough to protect your feet from all sorts of surfaces as well, ideal for me as I walk on rough gravelled tracks.
After a few weeks I decided to be brave and try running. There is something about these shoes, they just cry out to be run in. I got up early, so no one could see me and went out with the dog.
There is something magical about being out running early in the morning as the day breaks. No one is about and the morning light is dim breaking gently onto the scene. The wildlife is just waking, the world is alive with birds singing. They all have different calls from strident cries, to joyful tweeting to melodic coos. Running along the side of the stream I often see rabbits in front of me, that soon disappear when they see the dog. Your breath sounds loud to your ears and there is a limit you need to pass but then you are running to your own pace, free and easy. It is really enjoyable.
I am not going to be breaking any records just yet, no four minute miles or marathons for me. I am just enjoying taking it one day at a time and going a little bit further everyday. Who knows one day I might run a marathon, but that is a long way in the future. I am really enjoying my barefoot running and am really glad I found out about it.
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