Barefoot and Happy

This morning’s run was an absolutely delightful 10K. I ran it at my target ultra pace, which is 7:00 mins/km.

If I could keep that up for the 50K distance of the Niagara 50K Ultra on June 19, it would mean finishing with a time of 5:50. I know full well that I won’t be able to sustain such a pace for all that time, but it suggests that I might, if all goes very well, be looking at a time between 6:15 and 6:30.

At 7:00 AM today, it was once again my kind of weather, 20C and humid. I ran barefoot and shirtless, enjoying the feeling of sun and air on my body, and the ground beneath my feet. It doesn’t get much better than that for a warm weather animal like me.

I’m making some good progress regarding my form. My goal, as always is to run in as relaxed a manner as possible. When I get that happening, everything else flows very nicely. As a bonus, when I’m really relaxed I seem not to have any issues with that sensitive spot on the ball of my right foot.

This morning, I deliberately ran very slowly. As well, I tried something Barefoot Ted McDonald mentioned in a recent blog post about running the Copenhagen Marathon barefoot this past Sunday – nose-breathing. Doing that makes me run slowly. So I did the whole 10K today doing only nose-breathing. It was a really big help, so I’m going to keep on running slowly and breathing only through my nose, and see what happens.

Speaking of running slowly, on this morning’s run, I came up with my strategy for the Niagara 50K!

It’s very simple and, if I do say so myself, quite brilliant. Since going quickly always gets me into trouble, I’m going to run the 50K slowly, lightly, and quietly… and I’m going to sneak up on the finish! I figure if it doesn’t see or hear me coming then it won’t get away from me, as it so often does.

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3 comments

  1. Alan:

    I absolutely love getting your blog posts in my Inbox on virtually a daily basis. You are a true inspiration to me.

    I have one comment and two questions, if you don’t mind.

    Comment: I will be 43 on June 14, and I have done nothing but nose breathing since I discovered it kept me from getting side aches when I was in my early twenties. Even when I’m sprinting all out, which I try to do for the last tenth mile or so any time I run, I breathe entirely through my nose.

    Question 1: I just purchased my first pair of VFF’s tonight. I am now the proud owner of a pair of VFF KSO Treks. My question for you is, how tight do you typically cinch them? My fear is if I cinch them too tight my circulation will be cut off, but if I don’t cinch them tight enough, they may slip around. Since you’ve run an entire marathon with a pair, I thought you’d be a good source of advice.

    Question 2: I’m also just beginning my own barefoot journey. I was a bit over enthusiastic my first run, which is typical for me with anything, and I ran a 5K on the streets in my neighborhood. It felt fantastic, but I paid the price with several blisters. I have since run a short two mile course in my neighborhood and it seemed that my feet had acclimated somewhat; they weren’t nearly as sore and I got no blisters. My question is, did you experience any sort of blisters or “conditioning” period that you had to go through? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    I’ll be keeping track of your progress and wish you the best of runs on June 19. It sounds like you really have the right attitude.

    Warm regards,

    Todd M Bowlsby

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Todd! And for the affirmation of nosebreathing…

      Answer #1: I tighten the straps on my KSOs until they’re snug, but not too tight. Just experiment, and you’ll find out what’s right.

      Answer #2: Yes, I got blisters when I started running bf last summer. I drained them, but still had to stop running for a while until they healed. Then I ran bf on the treadmill through the winter, and got back to the roads bf very gradually this spring and summer.

      1. Alan:

        Thanks for responding; I appreciate your advice.

        So in terms of Answer #2, it sounds as though you did need to “toughen” your feet somewhat. I’m finding the same experience you had, wherein I’m getting blisters and draining, letting my feet heal up and then running again.

        I recently ran 18.25 K in my VFFs and only got one blister on my left foot. I’m currently letting that heal up and then I intend to run a halfmarathon in my VFFs on June 12. I’m thinking of using your Super Glue suggestion for that race.

        Take care, my friend, and happy barefoot running!

        Todd

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