barefoot running & the Big Ten 5K

Before you even think it - I'm not planning to run the Big Ten 5K barefoot. But I am planning to run the Big Ten Hoops Day 5K. Should be fun. (Still gets to me to put running and fun anywhere in the vicinity of one another.) Plus the Big Ten is a very cool, big deal, good-for-the-city event in Indianapolis. Yep that's a sales pitch for you to do it with me. You can sign up here or on site the day of. So at 11 a.m. on March 14 if you're not at the starting point in front of Conseco Fieldhouse, just remember that I will be. (I can be guilt-tripped into running, anyone else?)

I've talked Brett into running the 5K with me too. (He can also be guilt-tripped into running.) I reminded him of his "Sure, I'll do that with you." this evening and he quickly agreed to go out for a run with me before dinner. It may have been nicer for me than him. You see he's 6'3" and I'm 5' - our strides are slightly, okay not-at-all the same. I fully expect him to take off ahead of me in the 5K, but that's okay. Selfishly, I know it will keep me going - to see how quickly behind him I can finish.

So anyhoo - that barefoot running comment was for a reason. I've been hearing more and more talk about the practice and this came across my Twitter feed today.

Long-awaited barefoot running study finds sneakers are harmful

A good friend of ours is a trainer and has talked to me about our human evolution from running barefoot to our modern practice of decked-out running shoes. (Mine with extra stability thank you very much, I run on the insides of my feet.) And yes, it is fairly modern. Seems that while the proper fitting and supporting shoes can help with some aches and pains and perhaps some injuries, wearing them changes our natural human stride of striking with the ball of the foot and we exert that impact instead on our heels. That in turn causes different pains and the potential for different injuries. For example I used to wear just any athletic shoe from a department/athletic shoe store. Honestly, I picked them based on the which colors I liked. I have a runner friend who did marathons when we were in college. I knew how much her running shoes cost and I didn't want anywhere near that. But when I would run (it was an infrequent at best habit) my legs and feet would hurt and wear out before my endurance did. Fast forward some years to me signing up for a half marathon when I'd never run a 5K and I decided I'd take any help I could get and was fit for my first pair of running shoes (at The Running Company). No picking colors here, it was "these are the shoes for your feet and your stride. And by the way you were wearing a full size too small." (Feet sweat and swell, they need extra room.) Voila! No more shin splints. And when I stop running it's because I'm spent, not because my shins are hurting.

However, since I've started running more, I have experienced a stress fracture that ended my mini training last year, and my knees have started to bother me. I'm not saying it's my shoes. I love my running shoes. And I think they've improved my running. It's probably because I, like most, strike with my heels first. I'm not quite ready to adopt this practice of barefoot running, especially not midway through training for the longest distance I've ever run, but I do find this interesting. Perhaps I'll give it a try sometime this summer. Or maybe when I run out of these shoes I'll invest in a pair of Newtons. I'm intrigued by them and plan to ask around. The price tag is pretty steep, but they do cost less than the co-pay was on my insurance claim for the doctor visit and x-rays when I fractured my foot last year. You know, for perspective.

60 minutes/6 miles on Saturday!

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