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And now for something completely different

I have been running regularly for about a year now, and I enjoy it. But running would cause various aches and pains, and the longest distance I have ever been able to run was 2.25 miles, after which I felt nauseous. I didn't help that I am iron-deficient so running more than a half-mile or a mile would have me gasping for breath because I couldn't get enough oxygen.

So I changed a couple of things.

Somewhere recently I had heard about barefoot running. I liked the idea, especially because I love the whole "back to nature" concept, and humans have run barefoot (or with foot coverings that were not much different from barefoot) for thousands of years. So I decided to give it a try in hopes it would correct my stride and alleviate some of the pain I was feeling. As it turns out, I love barefoot running! I can go further with less effort and no pain, and it has given me a new level of enjoyment without the negative effects I had been experiencing.

Running barefoot requires you use a different stride than the "heel-strike" stride people typically use when wearing running shoes. Instead, you land on the ball of your foot, almost flat-footed, and this results in less impact than a heel-strike stride. Yes, despite all that padding and engineering in a modern running shoe, running barefoot is less impactful than running with expensive shoes.

One thing that I believe has helped a lot is increasing the amount of iron supplements I am taking. I had been taking a pill a day, per the box directions, but didn't notice any difference in the way I was feeling, and my blood tests still showed me as borderline anemic. So after talking with a pharmacist I upped my dosage to three pills a day and wow! Suddenly I can run without gasping for breath! I used to hit my maximum heart rate of about 180 bpm after running just 0.25-0.5 miles, but now I can run two full miles and only be at about 155 bpm. It's amazing what the body can do when it has oxygen ;)



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 20th, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
This is stupendous! Congratulations on your healthy discoveries.

One question: where do you do this barefoot running? On the beach? On a track? I cannot imagine being barefoot on city streets ... but I really want to try this.
Nov. 21st, 2011 12:38 am (UTC)
Thanks! I run on a treadmill, so my feet are protected, so to speak. I couldn't imagine running on the streets around here, yikes. That being said, there are a whole class of running shoes (like the Vibram Five Fingers) to protect your feet without all that additional padding. Running on the beach would be a hard workout and I doubt I could run as far. But a track would probably be fine, so long as your feet were tough enough.

If you're interested, here are some links I learned a lot from:
Nov. 22nd, 2011 08:51 am (UTC)
if you wear those 'five fingers' shoes, please promise that you won't wear them in your daily life. whenever i see someone on the street in those, it always strikes me as a little creepy. it's like planet of the apes feet or something.
Nov. 22nd, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC)
I promise! I think they're weird-looking, too.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )