The agony of da feet

One of the things I really liked about the class I took last night was that it was all barefoot.  Barefoot with lots of jumping. In other words, a great workout for your feet and ankles!

In my humble runner’s opinion, we really do neglect our feet when it comes to strength training.  In high school and college, we used to do barefoot strides on the grass after a workout – not to mention racing every week in minimalist flats.  Before that, I did years of ballet.  All of which were great for foot and ankle strength.  But in the years since, I’ve become a complacent gym rat and road runner, plodding along in my cushioned shoes and expecting my feet to keep up.

Well, if last night’s class is any indication, my feet have gone soft.  The feet equivalent of a flabby couch potato.  Because those suckers were a little sore this morning!  Nothing terrible, but I could tell I used muscles that I hadn’t used in a while.

Barefoot and minimalist-shoe running is getting a lot of buzz lately, thanks in part to Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run (which, incidentally, is a great read).  Obviously I’m not about to go trotting around NYC with naked soles (I can’t even imagine what kind of grit and grime they’d collect!) but I have to admit, I’m kind of curious about  Nike’s Free shoe:

Which, according to Nike, “strength-trains legs and feet by imitating barefoot movement, while still providing the cushioning, traction and underfoot protection runners need.”

Taking it one step further are Vibram Five Fingers:

They look bizarre.  And the name makes me think of a sex toy or something.  But maybe they’re on to something?

I’d love to try some minimalist footwear, but I can’t quite convince myself that it’s worth shelling out $80-90.

Have you tried either of these shoes – or any other “back to barefoot” running shoes?  What do you think?  Do you use them for all of your running, for racing, for specific types of workouts? I’m curious to hear some real runners’ experiences!

Today’s EAT: This will probably look familiar if you’ve been reading my blog for a while.  Whole wheat pasta + turkey sausage + onions and tomatoes.  And a salad:

I make a dinner like this once a week or so.  It’s easy, inexpensive, healthy and relatively tasty.  Especially with this turkey sausage that I get from a local farmer at the Union Square Greenmarket.

So much better than any grocery store sausage I’ve ever tried!  I love the Greenmarket.

Today’s DRINK:  Gasp – I didn’t feel like wine tonight!!  This is shocking, I know.

I also didn’t feel like just having water with dinner, so I cracked a can of fruity diet soda that I picked up at Trader Joe’s the other day.

Pomegranate flavor.  Tasty!  I admit that I bought these because I thought they’d be a good mixer for vodka, but they’re a good sip on their own, too. 🙂

Today’s RUN: 12 miles, two Central Park loops, 1:37.  I surprised myself a bit with my pace – usually my longer runs are around 8:30 pace, and this was close to 8:00 flat.  I wasn’t even trying to push the pace, it just sort of worked out that way – don’t you love it when that happens??

Aside from being a little stiff and sore when I started out, I felt fantastic through the whole run, until the last mile or so.  Thankfully, the last mile was downhill!

And now, sitting on the couch, I am stiff and sore again.  Yoga tomorrow morning is going to feel fantastic!

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3 responses to “The agony of da feet

  1. i have a friend who trained for the NYC marathon in Nike Frees. now, I get the whole less is more idea, but I suspect, for my stress-fracture-prone feet, that one can take this idea a bit too far. i would like to try the vibram thing, just ’cause they look pretty rad. wonder what kind of comments i’d get in central park? could be an interesting experiment!

    great eats and awwwesome pace for 12 miles. i’m doing a 12-miler tomorrow in CP – aiming for an 8 or 7:50 pace if i don’t drink one too many cocktails tonight. 🙂

  2. I have those Frees you posted, but I got them for lifting. For lifting, it has to do with ankle mobility. Many serious lifters also wear Chuck Taylors because of their lack of heel height. I have only run in them once, and I liked them. I see a lot of people at my gym with Vibram’s lately. The only thing I know about them is it takes quite a while to get your body used to running in them. I raced in super light track spikes in high school, too!

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