Barefoot/minimal footwear running is all the craze lately. Anyone who follows running trends knows that. Given all of the injuries I've had the past year, this is one bandwagon I don't mind jumping on. I need to do things differently. Hopefully incorporating some barefoot/minimal footwear running will help. I won't do every run this way, but plan to still do it pretty regularly.
There is a lot of evidence on the benefits of barefoot/minimal running. Google around and you'll see. I won't bother rehashing all of the reasons why, other than the bottomline principle is the foot and leg muscles evolved with being barefoot in mind, and going long distances on them to boot (pun not intended). We did not evolve to wear these cushy trainers that alter your gait so dramatically it's a wonder how we get around in them.
Anyway, that being said, I set out this morning to the grassy athletic fields at the local high school (different than the one I teach at) to get in a mile or two barefoot. The bottoms of my feet are already pretty well calloused, so I thought I would be fine. At least a mile, great. If I could get in two comfortably, super.
Long story short, I felt great, and ended up going 2.6 miles. I was tempted to go even further, but given this was also only my second post-injury run on top of trying a new style of running, I forced myself to cut it short.
It felt great. My gait was obviously very different. Naturally, I was landing on the forefoot, not the heel. My strides were shorter, but more efficient and the legs had a bit of a quicker turnover. Everything just felt smoother. I liked it.
A few hours after I posted about my run yesterday, I still did not feel the stress fracture, but I did notice my posterior tibial tendon was sore. It's been a few hours since the barefoot run, and I've noticed no aggravation. It even feels a little better. Could be coincidence or even psychosomatic, but I'll take it.
Ran 2.6 miles @ 9:14/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 148/161
Mid 60s, sunny.
Barefoot, shorts, short sleeved shirt.