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Friday, September 25, 2009

On the rocks

Ken Bob recommends learning how to run barefoot on the rockiest, most uncomfortable terrain you can find. I'm finding there's more to that than just "if you can do it here, you can do it anywhere."

Normally, my approach to dealing with a gravel path is to try to run on it as if I'm running on pavement. This never works, and I always assumed it was because I wasn't relaxed, that I tensed up once the road got tough. That's probably part of it, but I think there's more.

I went for a 3miler with Iris this morning. In the middle of it were some of our local gravelly road goodness. I had to step extra light, because today it was like someone had scattered the rocks over the smooth ground. When it's all rock, it's not as bad because there's some give if you step on a rock that protrudes. When you step on a rock not supported by anything but the ground, the give has to come entirely from the runner.

Once past the gravel section of the route, I thought I'd try to run on the pavement as if I was running on the gravel (instead of the other way around, as mentioned before). I think I let my feet get too far in front of me, but there was ZERO noise coming from my foot contacting the ground. At one point I even tilted my ear to my feet, straining to hear a sound. Nothing. I felt like a wheel. I even sprinted a bit in this fashion - only at the peak of the acceleration did I hear the lightest sound of my feet tapping the ground.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the shoe companies do know what they're doing, and I just haven't been exposed to the evidence. But man, this is fun.

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