A Lesson In Barefoot Beach RunningSeptember 21, 2008
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When you are really excited to do some beach running during the weekend while visiting your friend’s beach house, only to realize that youre membered everything except for your running shoes, it sucks. Bad.
After getting mentally psyched up for a nice change of scenery, I finally decided to suck it up and realized that I probably didn’t need shoes anyway. Sand is nice and soft, right?
Early Saturday morning I walked down to the beach at low tide, stretched out a little and headed down across the shore. I quickly realized that running without shoes was completely different. If I slowed down too much and started striking with my heel first, my whole body rattled. With every stride it felt like a hammer being taken to my skull as the shock traveled all the way up my leg directly into my head.
Weird. I guess I was getting an impromptu lesson in fore-foot running.
Once I focused on running on the front of my feet and down closer to where the waves were crashing, I felt a lot better. Wet sand is a lot friendlier on the legs than the dried up stretch of sand higher up on the beach.
While it was only about 2 miles, it was probably my favorite run of the year so far. No heart rate monitor. No shoes. Blue skies. Cool breeze. Watching the surfers paddle out and ride back in on the surf. I even had that “chariots of fire song” going through my head as the waves came in and crashed around my feet. It was perfect.
My calves were definitely taking an extra beating from going shoeless and having to absorb all of the shock normally taken by my shoes (I wish I had my compression socks…). I decided to just stop at one lap down the beach (about 2 miles). The balls of my feet were even starting to feel pretty raw from the sand. It wasn’t until the walk back up to the house that I realized I was starting to get blisters all across my toes. Who gets blisters when they aren’t even wearing shoes? Seriously?
Once I got home, I popped ’em all and wrapped them up in athletic tape to hopefully dry them out.
The “taper” for my last sprint next weekend may be a little longer than I would have hoped unless these clear up quickly and I can get back on the road. Even knowing what I know now, I still would have ran on the beach on Saturday. The relaxation was well worth a few days of limping around. But now I’m back at my apartment and getting back for another work week of the daily grind. At least I’ve got a sprint on Sunday to keep me going through the week.