Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 9:04 pm Post subject: Barefoot Ted – Barefoot running
Ok I know this may not be the forum for this but this site is kinda like my home.
If you don’t know Barefoot Ted – he is absolutely incredible. Youtube him -He runs ultra marathons barefooted. When I met him at the ultra he was like some mythical being that had energy pouring out of his veins. I wanted to take a picture with him but I didn’t want to come off as a tourist. I’m an ex-runner that has MAD respect for anyone that runs. And for someone to do it barefooted well that’s simply incredible.
Heres the thing I’ve spent the last 4 days reading everything I can about barefoot running. And what I have found is nothing sort of amazing. Everyone that can barefoot run well just doesn’t do a little they do a lot. So why is this? Ted is obviously not crazy – so what then. It seems the body was made to “move” with no shoes and if you can tap into that in fact learning how to walk/run again evidently it has great rewards.
I am inspired and compelled to try to learn this. So I went ahead and studied every video I could find and tried it for myself today. This thread will be a log of my progress until the Ultra 4.
15 min – ˝ mile. With in minutes I got real in tune to the ground. By doing it barefooted you have no choice unless you like pain. Very interesting - I can’t believe I even got this far. And surprisingly with no pain. The first thing I noticed is that your no longer bouncing up and down it feels more like gliding forward. I will indeed continue…..My goal will be 5 miles pain free.
.75 mile After Skating 8 hours today I still managed it. Yet again pain free
2.10 Mile 50 min Pain free
2.30 Mile 50 min Pain free
2.50 Mile 40 min Pain free
Last edited by edp_swakakin on Wed May 28, 2008 9:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
This is great Eric! The 'pain free' thing is the focus, that's whats going to keep us in this game for decades to come! Cool to see your progress here. You're gonna have to try getting a short run in with Ted when you make it up here next time.
Some other thoughts on this... I know in the immediate future I won't be jumping into barefoot running, just because I've been pretty sporadic and not disciplined about running in general.
However, I do anticipate wearing a lot less on the feet this summer while skateboarding.
A couple days ago, for the first time in a long while, I skated half my commute barefoot, and it felt awesome. I was wearing some new shoes and they were just a little too tight. Going against my usual policy that shoes should fit perfectly right from the very first time, I was hoping these would "break in" after a little while. Well, after about 5 miles, they were still pinching my toes and not letting my feet breathe at all. So I tossed them in my backpack, and wore my socks for a couple miles, then finally tossed those in the backpack as well.
There's something very back to roots connecting directly with the board, through the trucks, down to the wheels, down to the asphalt. But you have to do a little tweaking if you're going all out...last time Derek and I did this at Greenlake, we pumped a few laps and my feet were shredded from the grip tape.
So I think finally, it's time to cut up that yoga mat to create some summer grip!!
I totally know what both you guys mean too. I used to make my short commutes to the store barefoot, and when I was in NZ got really fond of walking around barefoot. (It was easier to do on non freezing pavement, plus its very common over there) The only reason I never have done it a ton has always been my fear of having to foot break, or having to push too much. Walking the board barefoot too... you just feel it in a much better way.
I saw Ted wearing those shoes, do they give you more of that kind of feel? Did anyone happen to talk to him about them
Well, I am very glad that my little experiment in barefooting has inspired others to tap into their own genetic memory of being a barefooted being.
Luckily for me, barefooting has been a way of life from childhood forward growing up in Southern California.
In the early days of skateboarding, barefooting was the norm. Then came urethane and higher speeds. Started becoming necessary for something to protect the feet during high speed exits and foot braking.
Barefoot running is far more natural than most of us in this present American generation remember or know; however, it has been a major part of great runners' training for a long time. Definitely something to look into and practice, building up strength little by little.
I have been resistant to enter into any sports that require toys and gadgets. Barefoot running was the most enjoyable way that I could recreate and learn to run 100 miles.
However, LDP has caught my attention. The Subsonic Pulse 40 board that JP has loaned me is absolutely one of the most beautiful moving objects I have ever had the privilege to pump through space. Beautiful!!!
Sadly, crashing is not good for old timers like me. A spill on the Burke has had me dealing with hip muscle pain and an infected knee.
On the other hand, I can't stop riding that board!
The FiveFingers are an excellent board shoe, especially for LDP and situations where you don't need to foot brake all day. I have started adding non-slip patches to the bottom of my foot brake foot.
The feel is close to barefoot. You can FEEL the edge of the board. You can feel where you foot is on the board. I think that it will bring about a lot of board movement and footwork.
I have also been doing some barefoot riding. It gives you a pure feel and makes you become very much focused on what you are doing.
I must add to this thread. Hello! I'm logged into PavedWave with the name 'Barefootboarder'!!
I'm really interested in all you all have to say about barefooting... Ted you are clearly an inspiration!
I've always got a lot of pleasure from walking barefoot, especially on the coarse sand and rocks at the beach as I think the rough surface is SOOO lovely. The rougher the better! It's like auto-acupressure!
I started longboarding about a year ago and soon tried to ride barefoot and found that I LOVE it! Footbraking is ok if I do it gently.
I don't ride barefoot too often, but I'd love to get a pair of those Vibram Five Fingers. I wear Converse soft shoes which really let me feel what is going on with the board more than regular skate shoes which feel far too clumpy.
LDP is my favourite thing, I do either 5 or 10 miles every day, sometimes 15, and I am really proud to have my beautiful Roe Racing Mermaid now, all set up according to the PavedWave recommendations.
Thanks to you guys for all the guidance. LDP is truly a wonderful sensation, and with the right equipment it's an incredible feeling.
I really wouldn't have discovered the LDP potential without PavedWave, and I wouldn't feel so encouraged to continue and develop my barefooting without knowing of Ted. So thanks again.
PS the Mermaid is INCREDIBLE. Gareth was lovely to deal with, and very helpful, and the shipping to the UK wasn't too long to wait. Setting it up was very exciting. Riding it is a thrill everyday.
Keep up the good work you guys. Wouldn't be the same without you!
Jo, I am so stoked to see you're out and shredding up the trails on your Mermaid! Thanks for sharing the review and kind words about Gareth. Things have really improved in this past six months - the CNC has been speeding up things for his build process and communications have gotten much more fluid.
There's a ton to share in the barefooting as well. Just as Ted and I have been sharing back and forth, LDP for running and barefooting (I was never much for running in the past) I've been spending a solid portion of my last vacation and commutes in general, sans footwear! I think the biggest thing you get from all this is, as Ted says, foot strength. But also the extra sensory input you get from all the surfaces you walk and hike over. I'm diggin it. Still don't have the Vibrams, but have moved also to thin converse and vans, or just nekkid feet. So much more to say about what I've learned in the past few months but I gotta go hit some waves with my daughter today...
Appreciate the review on the board and sure hope to see some "action" shots or maybe even vids off the trails over there some time soon! cheers
He won 60 and 64 marathon Gold medals. Barefoot in 60 and with shoes in 64.
1960 Summer Olympics
Bikila was added to the Ethiopian Olympic team only at the last moment, as the plane to Rome was about to leave, as a replacement for Wami Biratu, who had broken his ankle in a soccer match. Major Onni Niskanen entered Bikila and Mamo Wolde in the marathon.
Adidas, the shoe sponsor at the 1960 Summer Olympics, had few shoes left when Bikila went to try out shoes and he ended up with a pair that didn’t fit comfortably, so he couldn't use them. A couple of hours before the race the decision was taken by Abebe to run barefoot, the way he'd trained for the race. Bikila was warned by Niskanen about his main rivals, one of whom was Rhadi Ben Abdesselam from Morocco, who was supposed to wear number 26. For unknown reasons, Rhadi did not acquire his black marathon bib before the race, and instead was wearing his regularly assigned track and field bib number 185.
The late afternoon race had its start point and finish at the Arch of Constantine, just outside the Colosseum. At the start of the race the Australian Ron Clarke made a comment to Bikila about running barefoot.
During the race Bikila passed numerous runners, looking for the runner with number 26. By about 20 km, Bikila and the runner with number 185 had created a gap from the rest of the pack. Bikila kept looking forward to find the runner with number 26, who unbeknownst to Bikila was running right beside him. They stayed together until the last 500 m, when Abebe sprinted to the finish line. Bikila won in a record time of 2:15:16.2, becoming the first African to win an Olympic gold medal. He finished 26 seconds ahead of Rhadi.
After the race, when Bikila was asked why he had run barefoot, he replied, “I wanted the world to know that my country, Ethiopia, has always won with determination and heroism."
Niskanen later speculated that if Rhadi hadn’t competed in the 10,000 m race several days before, the race might have been closer.
Although not fully barefoot, i noticed a real difference in my skating on my mermaid. The 1st time i went out for a 15 miler i was wearing knackered rowley ones, hole in my pushing foot.
second time i was wearing a nearly new set of tnt's i almost flung them into the sea after 10 miles.
you cant feel the board and it just feels 'not right'. I find that the toes hanging over the edge on the rear foot give the big pump a bit more feel. and the less sole the better.
i'd do five fingers all day long at dorney. My normal route needs you to push for a few miles just because of the shitty surface.
and eric! you never bloody stop. I've been running about 4 miles once a week at work with the kids and am kinda getting into it. The knees are suffering a wee bit!
I'm almost finished with the book "Born to Run" -- Sheldon let me borrow a version he picked up marked as an Uncorrected Proof, and I've spent the last week reading it while walking barefoot across town.
All I can think is if this book doesn't get you out on your feet, I'm not sure what else will. It's a truly inspiring read with a lot of funny moments along the way, in particular the descriptions of Ted Running has never been my passion but when I have run it's always been long and far, too far for someone who isn't carefully training themselves up to it, and that's probably part of why it had led me to think running in general leads to pain.
As a kid experiencing the general ennui of living in a redneck rural area where shooting traffic signs with a shotgun is considered an athletic event, I'd go run along the roads many miles at a time, but then pay for it the next day. In college I'd run from the UW to Greenlake and back, and be done with running a week later as a result. Over the last 10 years I've done similar, stupidly trying to "ease" myself into running by going a few miles at a time starting out -- and still, paying for it a day later.
Now, I'm finding it pretty liberating to just kick off the shoes and walk the paths and sidewalks barefoot. Running a little, walking a little. Such a simple pleasure and yet being tethered to social norms and habits, we don't think to do it. In Southern California, especially near the beaches people wouldn't even bat an eye, but here in the Pac NW the bare feet really stand out.
The real revelation in running barefoot is recognizing that you're automatically running smarter, not pounding your heels and relying on the foam of a shoe to absorb the shock. When I watched Leah run at Greenlake only a time or two, it looked like she was skipping, floating, flowing across the path. Tiny fast footsteps.
I ran for a couple miles this morning with my dog, both running and walking, and we kept up easily with some sweaty red-faced dude for about a half mile of it.
There's a lot of wisdom in simplicity, I found the same to be true with the skateboarding and the evolution of LDP setups many years back. Step away from the gimmicks, get back to the basics.
"Born to Run" is an awesome read. Very inspiring, highly recommended!
Ted McDonald leads a barefoot running clinic recently in Volunteer Park. "Indeed, I may look like a freak," McDonald says. But "I have smart people coming to me to teach them how to run barefoot."
I've scoured the internet from time to time and seen plenty of people deriding this stuff, they like to paint a portrait of anyone who decides to do anything slightly off the mainstream as a bit kooky. It's always easy to play the armchair internet quarterback and toe the mainstream line. I've fielded (but mainly just outright ignored) the same type of critique from skeptics when it comes to LDP since I started chatting about it online circa 2004.
The fact is this is something totally worth checking out -- not running full blast barefoot but working into using thinner and thinner soles over time, gradually exploring how your body responds to it and adjusting.
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