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A Quick Trail Run


Earlier this week I had the rare opportunity to go for a trail run in the late afternoon (unusual schedule at work that day).  It’s been a long time since I’ve run on trails – probably not since January – so I was looking forward to the change of pace that comes with running on dirt.

Screen shot 2013-10-22 at 9.13.57 PM

Somewhere on the outer loop at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

Unfortunately, I had put on the wrong pair of socks before the run, and they kept sliding down my heel (I don’t have this problem with any of my road shoes, just my trail shoes).  Before I knew it, I was getting blisters on both of my feet where the top of my shoes were rubbing the back of my feet.  I started to walk, figuring I’d just call it a day and slowly make my way back to the car.  Walking, however, aggravated the blisters just as much as running.  So I did what any sane runner would do.  I took off my shoes and ran the last mile and half barefoot.

Barefoot on the trails.

Barefoot on the trails.  Despite how it may look in this photo, I am not running completely naked.  I did not take off all of my clothes, just my socks.

Not only am I not a barefoot runner, but I haven’t been running in my minimalist shoes for quite some time (and I’ve never used them on a trail).  Lucky for me this trail isn’t very rocky or technical, and my feet held up surprisingly well.  I wouldn’t call it euphoric, but it was definitely an interesting experience to truly be able to “feel” the ground beneath my feet.  It didn’t hurt as bad as I was expecting.  I probably ran about 3/4 mile on the trail and another 1/2 mile on the paved path to get back to the car.

I wasn’t quite prepared for all of the weird looks  I got once I hit the pavement, where there were lots of people out walking/running.  Guess they’ve never seen a guy cruising along at a 7:30/mile pace with shoes in his hand instead of on his feet.

Have you ever run barefoot?  Minimalist?



  1. Running Girl says:

    I’m glad you clarified that second picture. Adoption agencies tend to frown on prospective parents who run around naked in parks. 😉

  2. That is great. The same thing happens to my heels in my trail shoes if the socks don’t come up high enough. Unfortunately my trail was rocky when I found out, so I just got giant blisters.

  3. sushismith says:

    I guess you’ve read Born to Run then? (If not I highly recommend it, it’s the greatest book ever and extremely inspiring!) Also way to go, turning a not so good run into an AMAZING one is a great lesson for you to be able to pass on to your future kid!

    • Yup, I’ve read Born to Run. Went out and bought Vibram Five Fingers the next day (well, almost the next day). I don’t run in them very often at all anymore, mostly because they’re torn and tattered and I seem to come back bleeding every time I use them now, but I do credit them with helping me change the way I run and I now have substantially fewer running injuries.

  4. tlsylvan says:

    Love this! I run barefoot on pavement sometimes, but AL trails are way too rocky and technical for me to go barefoot and not break a bone…

  5. I’ve never run totally barefoot, but I trained for (and then ran) my last ultra marathon in minimalist shoes. I have to say that it’s not my favourite method! I’m back in shoes with some cushioning now, and it’s much more comfortable! Good on ya for giving it a go and not giving up, though!

  6. Ha- I love your thought process! I often have issues with blisters on my heels, and you’re right- walking hurts just as much.
    Perhaps next time I’ll take a page out of your book and go barefoot!
    By the way- impressive you could run that fast barefoot for the first time!

  7. runsaltrun says:

    The only time I’ve ever run barefoot outside is when I was running away from something. I am seriously impressed!

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