12 Weeks to Barefoot Running: Week 1: Growing New Skin

Guilford County Forest Preserve

Last week was my first attempt at incorporating barefoot running into my training. I’m using the 12-week plan that’s included in Michael Sandler’s book, Barefoot Running. Here is the plan and the 3 days I ran last week:

12 Weeks to Barefoot Running: Weeks 1-2: Growing New Skin
Pace: Easy Jogging
Distance:a few hundred yards to one mile
Objective: Stimulate feet to grow new skin

Day 1: 38 degrees outside, so barefoot running starts on the treadmill. 1/4 mile barefoot, felt good, strange to run on toes/forefoot, really felt it in the calves and lower legs. 3/4 mile sockless, felt okay. Started watching “American Dreamz,” funny movie.

Day 2: Indianapolis trip – did not sleep well, never do in hotels, but got up in time to fit in a run. First ½  mile barefoot, did not think about form, just ran, felt good. Ran at a fast pace(6:40 first mile!), didn’t know I had it in me. Stabbing pain in right heel when stretching over the last week or so, bummer. Doesn’t affect walking or running, yet.

LZ Peace Memorial

Day 3: Rockford trip – Gaigai’s soccer tournament, decided to make an overnight trip of it, stayed at the okay, but tired Residence Inn in Rockford. Two bedrooms suits our family well, but cold pool and general aged infrastructure made this a skip next time, probably. It isn’t easy to find hotels with adjoining rooms or 2 bedroom suites these days. Early morning run – 6/10 mile barefoot, then on bike path through forest preserve. Found reenactment area and historical village, then peace memorial, lots of things to see. Once again I didn’t focus on my form, just ran comfortably – once I my feet started feeling hot, I stopped to put on shocks and shoes.

Barefoot running has started out relatively promisingly, though from the onset, I don’t see myself giving up on shoes long-term, but it is the first week. A bigger difference I noticed was that pulling on socks after barefooting it is more uncomfortable than donning shoes. Barefoot running really allows for the feet to breathe, which even the best socks don’t.

12 thoughts on “12 Weeks to Barefoot Running: Week 1: Growing New Skin

  1. Are you doing all the barefoot runs on a treadmill or are you carrying your shoes and socks with outside for transition?

    Good for you for trying! I've been considering doing one run a week barefoot (after working up to it of course) but since we're way out in the country, I'd need to wear some minimalist shoes. Too much gravel and nonsense on the country roads.


  2. I'm starting each run barefoot, carrying my socks and shoes. The treadmill run was just that it was cold outside, though the book does say it's not a bad way to start.


  3. Very nice! I found that it didn't take long to enjoy BF and want to do more (too much!) of it. Walk around BF as much as possible too–it helps with the foot strength and nerve stimulation


  4. I spend as much time as possible sans shoes every day. I get some ribbing about it at work, but most people are used to it now, so it's not a big deal. Now that winter is over, I'm usually barefoot if I'm at home.


  5. Nice work on the BF running! I have heard that TM running is a good way to start with BF running. It would be hard for me to go completely barefoot because of all the crap in our roads. I mean, like bear poop and moose poop. I don't want that stuff squishing between my toes.


  6. 38 degrees?!? yowza. yeah it's uh 92 here. blech.

    i used to have awesomely tough skin – running around barefoot by the pool (hot concrete/bricks) all summer growing up. but apparently when you cut back on playing in the yard your feet get wimpier. need to toughen them up again.


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