After a few days off, I’m now on day six of my 30-day plan to transition to a barefoot style of running. I say “style” because I’m not sure if my final goal will be to run with or without shoes. Merrell, the shoe company who created the program I’m using, calls it “bareform” running. I like this phrase better, but as my spellcheck proves, it’s not quite a real word.
I realized today that what I’m really aiming for is not so much finding a new style of running, but rather a reset to the running style all humans are innately born with. Watch a barefoot child run and you’ll see correct running form right in front of you. Chest open, shoulders back, feet landing under their center of gravity on the mid- or forefoot (NOT the heel!) and plenty of laughter.
Today I did some stretching, some posture resets, some barefoot walking. My training program only called for walking today, but I couldn’t help breaking into a few 30-second runs.
One of the keys to running this way is light, quick steps at a high cadence, about 180 total steps per minute. Some training programs recommend using a metronome to keep your paces light and quick. It makes sense if you think about it. The less time you spend with your feet on the ground, the quicker and nimbler you’ll be. You’ve heard of baby steps. But as I ran around the red gummy track today, I envisioned quick rabbit steps instead. Light, light, light.
I’ve also started reading John Updike’s Rabbit tetralogy. I’ve always loved the look of Updike’s books, uniformly graphically designed to be canon-worthy. And the easy-reading Janson typeface most of his novels and short stories use is to me the only font that says “literature.”
I even drank some wheatgrass juice for the first time today. Not sure how running like a rabbit, reading about a Rabbit, and eating what a rabbit eats all ties together. But there it is.