Well, I’m guessing that you may find my story of ‘stumbling’ rather unexpectedly into the barefoot way of life rather unique…
I have always been a runner for as long as I can remember. Growing up in the Scottish Borders, I have always ran and enjoyed getting from A to B running. I stumbled onto trail running as a matter of course but nothing major, I was just out to enjoy the sun, wind, rain, birds singing, sounds of the flowing burn, chasing rabbits, running back for DINNER! ;o) The list as a kid was endless…!
Running for many people, perhaps with that competitive edge, seems to be more about goals and precious times and achievements – nothing wrong with this but a significant amount of natural and dare I say it ‘spiritual’ enjoyment can be overlooked. I love to run and enjoy taking part in various races, including my new found love of ultra running. I do have a focus to cross the finish line and achieve a target time but the main enjoyment for me is ‘the journey’ I have taken, to get to that level or point within a race. Having focused my enjoyment on the environment around me, I have found that I can switch off and fall into a sense of meditation, where I’m relaxed, almost sitting back and enjoying the ride! Sounds crazy I know and I am way beyond being religious or spiritual but there is a connection I have found within my’self’ and I believe we all have it. I believe it’s within all of us to achieve these levels of enjoyment and fulfillment, through running, it’s just that we have forgotten!
How did I get into ‘Barefoot Running’? – Rather strangely, I was taking part in a charity event, dressed as a Superhero (Spider-Man), a costume that I use for various non profit appearances for charities such as Make a Wish Foundation and CHAS. The costume has aqua shoes stitched into it, and with my first attempt at running in it, I noticed that I was finding myself changing my form and moving from a heel strike to forefoot landing. I felt this was a more natural form of running as well as feeling more connected to the environment I was running in and through. The experience I felt here was like none I had ever had before, running felt light and free! At one of the check points, I mentioned to my wife how light and fast I felt and as daft as it sounds, I felt like a gazelle bouncing and leaping along, through the woodland! – this style has now landed me with the nickname of ‘Zebedee’ ;o)
Below are a couple of pics of me in ‘action…’
Having enjoyed a holiday in Aviemore, I came upon a guy in one of the outdoor stores and told him of my ‘Running Spidey Experience’. As chance would have it, he was a student studying ‘Podiatry’ and was in the middle of writing a thesis on barefoot running. Before long he had a skeletal foot out and was introducing me to the wonder and mechanics of the human foot as well as introducing me to what is now known as ‘The Barefoot Bible’ – Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. For more on this book, please check out the “ARTICLES – Books” section of this blog.
IT IS WELL WORTH A READ AND WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR THE BETTER. HONEST!!!! ;o)
If there’s anything that you’d like to add to this blog or ask about, please feel free to get in touch – we’re always learning and developing here!
Running should be natural and fun. Listen to your body. If it’s sore or tired, push a little then rest, then head on again. You will find in time that ‘persistence’ is key and your body will thank you for it! 🙂
Remember: Life ain’t no dress rehearsal – you’ve one shot, so make the most of it!