11 Secrets to Enjoyable Barefoot Running

  1. St. Christopher can Help you Train.

    A long necklace with an amulet or weight will help track your stride. If it smacks your nose or causes temporary blindness, your stride is off. The necklace should not bounce around.

  2. Reflective Street Paint is your Friend

    The Oregon roads are mean and rough; almost like taking belt sander to your feet. Luckily, even the cruelest roads have a secret soft spot: the painted line that marks bike paths. It’s an excellent surface to run on, smooth and best of all it’s white, which means it lets you see most debris and stays cool in the heat.

  3. Be a Boy-scout or Girl-scout Bring a First Aid Foot Care Kit for Longer Runs

    Always be Prepared. A good kit should include alcohol or first aid wipes to clean cuts and abrasions, tweezers to pick out glass, pebbles, or thorns, adhesive bandages to cover cuts, scrapes, and the freaky blood blisters that blossom on long runs, and a mobile phone.

  4. Run in the Middle of Low Traffic, Residential Roads (NOT in high traffic areas–duh) or on the Flat Sidewalk.

    The asphalt is smoother and there is less debris. The roads in Oregon are beveled convexly to prevent flooding. Not only are they magnets for sharp metal, glass, and bolts and nails, but they also alter your stride, causing excessive wear on the side of one foot.

  5. Run through Stiff Mud

    Dude, mud is freaking awesome to run through. I love it. Feels great between your toes, but you can also use mud to check your stride. Find some flat, stiff mud, the consistency of clay; it should be stiff enough to record your footprint. Run across a patch of mud. If you see a deep hole toward the front of the print, you’re putting way too much pressure on your toes. I bet your calves and Achilles ache hard. Don’t try to tip toe land. Just let your foot land naturally.

  6. Solve Math Problems or Mind Puzzles

    Some people over think their stride. They get all caught up in technique and form; instead of just running and trusting their body. A good way to “forget your stride” is attempt to solve math problems while you run. The cognitive load will let your body’s natural rhythms take over locomotion. And you get a good brain workout, which is important.

  7. Skip, Jump, and Dance

    Yes, people already think you’re crazy for running without shoes. Embracing the weirdness can prevent repetitive strain injuries, which over stress bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. A skip, jump, or pirouette will vary the movement and will make you laugh. Who cares what other people think? They’re not out running barefoot. Varying the terrain you run on can also help. Grass and trails offer a variety of surfaces.

  8. Run in Place or do Jumping Jacks Before Cold Runs

    There’s no doubt that running on icy roads will numb your feet. But if you warm up before you go out, they will stay warm all the way through. Personally, I don’t like to run when my feet go numb–something is wrong. On cold days, I run on the treadmill to get warmed up, then go outside for my run. Usually, my hands are colder than my feet when I do that. It’s not a good idea to run with numb feet, you can seriously injure yourself.

  9. Have a Come Back Ready

    Unfortunately, some people are close minded idiots. They will hurl all sorts of insults or questions at the lively barefoot runner. It’s a good idea to have a come back. I learned this when riding a unicycle, “Where’s the other wheel?” people would ask. I had two stock responses: the funny one and the get lost one. The funny one, “Never buy anything from HalfOff.com”; the get lost one, “Real Men/Women only need one wheel.” For barefoot running, I usually just say, “Shoes are over-rated” or “Shoes are for weak feet.” That usually shuts up the person. Or I just ignore them.

  10. Eat Chia Seed Gel before your Run

    Chia Seed Gel is super easy to make. Just add three parts water to one part Chia Seed. The gel has NO flavor. Really, it tastes just like water, but it’s packed full barefoot nutrients: EFAs, fiber, protein, and since it holds a lot of water, it keeps you hydrated. If you want something a little different, you can make Valen Longfeather’s Chiacolate pudding. Substitute Chocolate Soymilk for water. Now you have a tasty chocolate flavored health food that you can make in minutes.

  11. Smile

    Studies have shown that smiling lifts your mood, even when you’re a upset. There’s some sort of neural connection between smiling and happiness. I’m sure there’s an evolutionary explanation–something about bearing your teeth, adrenaline, and mating. But I’m not an evolutionary Biologist. I’m a wild barefoot runner. If I were and evolutionary biologist, I would specialize in crypto zoology. All of my scientist friends would laugh at me UNTIL they watched me running barefoot in a pack with a Bigfoot, a Chupacabra, and a reptilian humanoid, then they would be totally astonished and afraid of me. I would not strike them down or organize a cryptozoolical uprising. I would, however, make them take off their shoes and do science barefoot. They would give me a plaque and money. They would want to worship me, but I would not let them. I would tell them to smile more. They would say, “The scientific reason for smiling and happiness is…”

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