This morning marked the 4th day that I ran in my huaraches. In some ways I love it, in some ways I can’t decide how I feel about them. So many people have been asking about them, so here is a little report on the progress:Positives:
I put on the huaraches at the end of my run and have gradually been increasing the time I run in them. I’m up to about 15 minutes at this point. Even though it is the last leg of my run, after the sun and the heat have made me tired and I’ve run up and down a mountainous hill numerous times, I lace them up and once I get out on the road, it’s like I have a fresh wind of energy and I feel like I could just keep going.
My strike and stride definitely change when I put them on. Instead of hitting on my heel or mid-foot, I hit more on the front of my foot. My stride is much shorter because of this and my knees come up. I feel like I’m running on my tiptoes a little bit-a little unnatural, but the more do it the more normal it will become. Because of this, I am discovering new leg muscles. Literally-I can see muscles below my calves developing. After 4 days.
Running nearly barefoot sends your entire body into hyper awareness. Not only am I super conscious of what my feet are doing, but my core tightens up, my arms drop, and my knees pick up-I feel like I run lighter. I try to imagine I’m an Indian tracking a deer. I have to be really focused on how my body is moving because if I step wrong or don’t pay attention I’m likely to trip or jam my feet on a bunch of rocks.
The tiniest pebble can feel like a jagged boulder crashing into my foot if I step wrong. Where your feet land is easily taken for granted when you wear shoes because for the most part it doesn’t matter-the cushioning protects them and keeps you from even knowing they are there. When running nearly barefoot, it’s impossible to take for granted.
Even though I feel pretty decent in them now, I’m unsure of how a sustained run will work. My feet hurt a lot to be honest, but not as bad as they did on Monday. Hopefully my feet will adapt.
Going down hill or running in thick/high grass is a challenge. I have to take extra steps going down hill and I try to go pretty slow because I’m afraid of tripping or bending the shoes backwards. I strike more on my heel going down hill (really steep hills I’m on grass) because it’s what feels most natural.It’s hard, but ultimately a worthwhile challenge, I think. Just a couple months until Chile Pepper!