When we decided to run 500KM barefoot we thought we'd for sure chosen the hardest possible version of running this distance.
To our amazement ... the unexpected benefits of running barefoot quickly began to outweigh the blisters, freezing and later burns our foot were experiencing. Now YES, no callous is big enough to create immunity against the nasty sensation of getting a rock or thorn wedged into your foot. But the few sharp encounters have proven to be a worthy sacrifice for all the magic we've experienced since we first took our shoes off.
1. Elimination Of Pain
Prior to training for the 500KM Barefoot, Sav had been decommissioned from running due to extensive knee pain. After training at The Kelowna Bootcamp she worked up to running 10KM again, but felt a stinging sensation accompanying every step. Sav now runs 50-100KM weeks and hasn't once felt pain in her knees. Why? In an effort to protect your bare feet, you reduce the intensity of your landing which significantly reduces impact and therefore cradles the knees.
2. Crazy Calves + Better Stride
If you want a quick way to get crazy calves, throw away the heel support! If you happen to see Asha and Sav run - and most barefoot runners for that matter - you'll notice how rarely their heels actually touch the ground. While this stride might look and feel wonky at first, it's actually the most effective and natural way to move our bodies. As Asha says, "We were born to run, but not with shoes!"
Our bodies are a positive charge ... the earth is negative. When we barrier our bodies from connecting with the ground we eliminate the equalization of energy. Connection with the earth has a bounty of health benefits ranging from an increase in spiritual sensitivity, decrease in inflammation and anxiety and of course ... the satisfaction of playing in the dirt! If you're interested in learning more we found this article outlines some of the key benefits as well :)
4. Deepened Awareness
It's easy when we have cozy comfy shoes to a). not pay attention to our outside environment and b). not pay attention to our internal feelings. When you're cruising along barefoot, you notice every crack and crevice in the pavement, every pinecone and leaf on the trail. You especially notice the little voices in your head saying, "Ow!" or "Wow!"
Once you start exploring the world of barefoot running (or walking!) you'll discover there really is no end to the experiences and testimonials people have had and give. Part of the reason is because being barefoot brings us back to just being human, which highlights the huge diversity and vibrancy within each of us.
Want to give barefoot running a try but don't know where to start? Connect with the Discomforters, Sav + Asha for more information!