Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Don't give up!

I have talked to a lot of new people about barefoot/minimalist running lately. One of the first things that a lot of these people will tell me is,

"Yeah, I tried barefoot running once, it hurt so much I decided it wasn't for me" 


"Yeah, I got some minimalist shoes, but they really just made my knees and shins hurt more so I went back to my regular supported running shoes."

Now,what I probably hear most of all is, "I have no pain while running, so I have no desire at all to change things up."

 Now, my next favorite part of the conversation with those that say the last one that I shared here is,

"Yeah I really recommend this one doctor, he had my knee up and going in no-time, I was only out for a month when I got hurt"

I understand that running barefoot isn't for everyone. It is something that requires a lot of dedication. Your feet are inevitably going to be raw and hurt, it's all part of the game. Your calves are going to be sore in the beginning. You are going to have a hard time trying to increase your cadence and keeping your feet under your body. You will probably struggle with blisters on your toes, slivers, maybe even a piece of glass in your foot, but don't give up.

If you are looking to start, take it slow. If you think you might want to get a minimalist shoe to run in, learn how to run barefoot first. Like I said before, some people think it is the minimalist shoe that is causing them more pain. Remember, it's not the shoe, it's you. Learn how to run correctly first and you will no longer have pain, I promise.

I run in both minimalist shoes and barefoot. I personally prefer barefoot to minimalist because I feel that it is easier to keep good form and run lighter on my feet. With that being said, there are times when it is wet out, and everything it sticking to my feet, and there is gravel everywhere, that it is really nice to throw on my Huaraches and plow right through. But like I have said before, do what is best for you and don't give up!

Sunset picture I took a little while ago

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Austin's Blog

Hey, take a minute and check out my little brothers blog! He is starting his freshman year of high school this fall and decided he wanted to start a photography blog (inspired by all the many other blogs in the family). He is just starting out doing some photography, and takes many of the pictures just on his iPhone, but he has an awesome artistic eye, he's definitely got some potential! So check it out! Capturing Life

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wet feet and involuntary screams

This morning I went out for a nice little jog through the neighborhood. I left at about 6 o'clock and it was sunny, the birds were chirping and it really looked like it was going to be a nice day. After a couple miles, the clouds took over the sky and it started to get dark. Then it started to rain. Then it started to pour. Then it started to thunder a little bit in the distance. Then the lightning started striking closer and the thunder got louder. Then BOOM!!! The thunder struck super close to where I was. I jumped, covered my ears and screamed involuntarily. I honestly would have loved to be one of the people inside their house, eating their breakfast, watching the storm out the window and laughing my head off at the idiot who about pooped his pants from the lightning. I got home and was completely drenched, I guess there's nothing better than running barefoot in a thunderstorm...........

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I like the way they think...

Yesterday I got some samples from Vibram fivefingers that they sent me to demo for them. I tried the Bikila's this morning on my run, check back in a couple weeks or so after I get a feel for them to see my review. In the meantime, I really like this ad I saw that Vibram fivefingers tweeted today...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chia Seeds Review

It has been a few weeks now since I purchased some Chia Seeds. I wanted to give myself some time to test them out and see their effect on me before I gave my review.

I think that right from the very beginning, it was very obvious that they helped curb my hunger. Normally while I sit in my cubicle at work, I feel the constant need for nourishment. Luckily my dad works close-by and has an office full of snacks where I can go and eat to my hearts content, but this comes at a price, an ever-increasing weight. So I try and try to avoid that at all costs, but since I have started incorporating chia seeds in to my diet, there has been a noticeable change in my hunger levels. They have helped me to feel fuller longer, which in return has helped me to actually lose weight because I end up snacking less and chia seeds are packed with important nutrients and vitamins that aid in weight loss and a healthy balanced diet. 

Now, honestly I can't tell if it is just the placebo effect, or if it is real, but I have definitely felt more energized since I started eating them. I feel like I am more awake throughout the day and I am able to run further without fatigue. I really do agree that they help you stay hydrated and give you the fuel you need to keep going. 

One thing that I didn't anticipate, but is an interesting and fun "feature" of chia seeds, is how small they are, how easily they get stuck in your teeth and how they absorb so much liquid and turn in to a gel-like seed that make it even harder to get out of your teeth. Just expect to be picking seeds out of your teeth for a few minutes or so after you first eat them. 

One of my favorite things to do with them is put a tablespoon of seeds in my fruit smoothie in the morning or after a run, this way, you almost don't even notice that they are there. I tried the gel-drink that everyone talks about and thought it was disgusting. Trying to suck down a cup full of gel-like seeds is pretty revolting in my opinion. I have also made these awesome chia seed granola bars. Click the link to find the recipe, they were delicious. I did almonds instead of the nuts they said and I used craisins instead of raisins (that is just what I had at my house).

Amazon probably has the  best prices for Chia Seeds. Go buy some and try them out for yourself!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Beavers run barefoot too!

First of all, happy fathers day!

This was my first fathers day ever as a real dad. It was a blast! My wife made me an awesome dinner/gift/dessert, she's the best ever. After dinner, we went down to the river trail to take a walk together as a family. Naturally I took the opportunity to kick off the shoes and work out those feet. This time I brought my huarache sandals, they were awesome and super comfortable. I got them even better adjusted this time than before and they were really nice to walk in. I can see my feet changing slowly. While we were down there we ran into some beavers, check out some of the cool pictures we got below! The second picture has two beavers.

Friday, June 15, 2012

I like to be myself.

I live on top of a big hill, and consequently, whenever I leave my house to go running, it doesn't matter which way I go, there is always a big hill to climb back up to get back to my house. So this morning I was lazy and decided to take the car down to the trail at the bottom of the hills and run there. It was about 60 degrees and sunny as the sun rose and peeked through the trees. If any of you know Connecticut, you know there are a lot of trees. I did a short run today, only a couple of miles, because I wanted to get back and do some other exercising before I had to get in to work.

My feet are starting to adjust really well to running barefoot. I ran those two miles today and am not experiencing any type of rawness or soreness or blisters. They aren't tough and callused like many people would think would happen, instead they are becoming like a tough leather feel. It is really funny to watch people stop and stare at me as I run by them on the trail. They usually glance down at my feet and notice that there are no shoes there, followed by a puzzled look.

I like it, I like being different. I like not conforming to society or doing what others do, simply to "look good". I like to be myself. It is really interesting how often people will call you crazy for being yourself and choosing to act or react in certain ways. Barefoot running, like many other things in my life, is not what most people consider normal. As many of you know I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This choice of religion/way of life is something that has shaped me and helped me to try and emulate Christ in what I do every day (keyword: TRY). It is something that has allowed me the opportunity to stand out and to be myself and make decisions for myself that aren't necessarily in line with what all of my friends have chosen. That doesn't make me better than anyone else, nor does it make my friends bad for choosing what they chose, but it has made me happier with myself and happier with my own standing and relationship with God. Being different from others is not necessarily a bad thing. I like being different, I like to be myself.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Running barefoot and glass DON'T mix

Since the day I started running barefoot, everyone seems to enjoy telling me things like "You're going to cut your feet up!" or "I would never run barefoot because I care about my feet and don't want to get slivers." or "Just wait till you step on a piece of glass, I'll be there to laugh at you and tell you I told you so!!" WELLLL start laughing, because this morning I found a piece of glass lodged in my foot. Now, I have no idea when I stepped on it, but it wasn't today because I had to dig it out with a needle because my foot healed up over it, but I realized that it was there this morning. Anyway, for all of you that think I am crazy, here is a funny video (also really weird and robot-ish, you'll see what I mean) that will make you laugh.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Yesterday I went with my wife, daughter, mom and sister into a store called Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) to take a look at some minimalist shoes that I want to try out. I am running the Top of Utah Half Marathon in august and I don't think I will be quite ready to run it completely barefoot so I want to at least train partly in some shoes that will suit my new running style in case I am unable to do it completely barefoot. So anyway while we were there, my mom decides to ask the sales associate about my sisters shin splints and what the associate thought she might be able to do to avoid getting shin splints in the future (they don't like to listen to my advice, they think I am just a crazy barefoot runner following a crazy trend). So the lady working there says,

Well, I think one of the most important things is that you have a shoe with really good arch support. The less you support your arch, the more stress it is going to be putting on your shins. Also we have these awesome inserts that you can throw in your shoe to have even more support if the shoes aren't enough for you. 

Obviously at this point you know that I am DYING to call her out. Any barefoot runner or minimalist runner worth his toes knows that more arch support will NOT fix your shin splints. Its the way you run that will fix it, staying on top of your feet instead of extending them too far, or pushing yourself too far. It's NOT the need for a more supportive shoe! So she then tells us that she does not know as much as the other guy working there though so she calls him on the walkie-talkie and signals him over. Upon arriving, my mom asks him the same question. He says,

Well first off, you probably need to think about your stride, if you are overstepping and extending your leg too far, you can be putting a lot of strain on your shins  (FINALLY, someone who knows what he is far...). But I think that what you really need to be concerned about is that you buy a good shoe that fits all the contours of your foot and has a really good arch support.

Well so much for someone that I thought might know what he was talking about. Don't these guys know that there is no research that backs that up AT ALL? I guess not. Now this really wasn't that surprising, I didn't really expect for them to give me the answers that I know are correct, but it still pushed my buttons. So I try on a pair of minimalist shoes that I really like. The lady turns to me and says,

I have some minimalist shoes like those that I run in quite a bit, but I used them too much recently and my Plantar Fasciitis came back, so I had to switch back to a more cushioned shoe. So I mean, I would be pretty careful about those, they don't protect your foot like a good normal running shoe.

This was the point where I knew it was time to go home. Really? Your plantar fasciitis came back because of your minimalist shoes? Are you sure it isn't because you are slapping your heel in to the ground with your big fat "cushioned" running shoe? Silly EMS sales associates. I went home and bought the shoes I liked on Check back later to see which ones I got!

Running with an iPhone has its perks

One of the great things about modern technology is that it allows you to easily write down your thoughts so you don't forget them. This morning I was on a run down by the river in our little town when a lot of things were popping in to my head. I had my iPhone with me to take some pictures, so I used the voice recognition stuff to talk into notes and write down what I wanted to say so I wouldn't forget. Here are just a few things that were running through my head that I remember reading in various places/things I have learned through my own experience.

  1. "If it feels like work, you are working too hard," from the book Born to Run. Christopher McDougall talks about how running should not feel like work. If you are feeling exhausted and winded and can't breathe, you are probably running too fast and too hard for your body. Your body has a target heart rate range which you should try to achieve, if you stay within that range, you will burn the fat in your body instead of the sugars in your stomach, ultimately helping you run much further. Like is also says in Born to Run, you have enough fat stored in your body to run all the way to from New York to California if you wanted, you just have to train your body to rely on that fat instead of the gels and goo's and other gross things some people eat to try and stay energized. 
  2. "You don't stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running." This is also from Born to Run. I really love this quote. I see the results in my parents a lot, they are both avid runners and have been very slow to age. They both look and feel a lot younger than their true age because of the daily exercise that they do. There was a study done by scientists who tracked the averaging finishing time in marathons. They found if you start running at age 19, you get faster until you peak at 27 and then gradually get slower—but it takes decades for you to slow down until you're where you were when you were 19. You can be well in to your 60's before you are slower than you were as a 19 year old!
  3. I find that I have lots of energy after I run a long run when I am running with correct form. When you run with correct form, you are much more efficient. Your body works like it is supposed to, and gravity does the majority of the work. Try it! You will see what I mean.
  4. If it hurts, STOP. Your body is better than any doctor or book or video or website to tell you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. When you transition from running shod to barefoot, your body is a great indicator to say when you need to take it easy. Don't feel bad if you have to stop and adjust your form or rethink your stride, it is all part of the process. Don't worry about the time, you will probably be slower to start, but you'll pick up your speed again and you will definitely be packing on the miles once you get in to the swing of things and realize how amazing it is to run with bare feet.
  5. I have been taking tally lately as I see runners in the street and on the trails and so far from what I have gathered, 9 out of 10 runners that I have observed so far are heel-strikers. Keep those heels from slapping the ground! Shorten your stride and pick up your feet or you are going to get hurt (if you aren't hurting already).
Well there you have it. That is what I was thinking as I was running today. Here are some pictures of my run. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Art of Running Barefoot

Here are a couple videos that explain the art of barefoot running (disregard the Brooks shoes ad in the beginning of the third video, not that they aren't good shoes or anything, it just isn't the point I am trying to get across haha). These have some awesome pointers on barefoot running and how to run correctly and not get hurt! It is not as important to run with bare feet as it is to learn correct form. So even if you aren't ready to tear your shoes off and toss them in the trash, at least try and take some tips from these videos and stop yourself from running inefficiently. But remember, it is a lot easier to learn the form if you actually take your shoes off. It's hard to break a habit when you are still wearing the shoes that helped you create that habit.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fun Foot Facts!

Here are some interesting facts about feet I bet you didn't know!
  • Did you know that your feet account for almost 25% of the bones in your body? Each foot is an intricate structure containing 26 bones. Thirty-three joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and tendons hold the structure together and allow it to move in a variety of ways. This is significant because it really shows you how important the health and proper functioning of your foot is to the rest of your body. 
  • There are over 250,000 sweat glands in your foot. Are you sure you want to cover them up with shoes and socks? Imagine how good it would feel to have those feet free and uncovered while running!
  • The average foot should get about 2 sizes bigger when a person stands up. So if we are wearing shoes that restrict our feet from shifting and flexing, doesn't that seem a little wrong?

Blistering News!

So I learned something from the blisters on my toes. I was reading that if you develop blisters on the tops of your toes that it may be due to bad form. Obviously we all know my form is not great still, as I am still learning and barely starting out on this journey, but here is what I learned. If you have blisters on the tops of your toes, it is probably because you are pushing off of the ground while running. Ideally, you should be running and letting your feet lightly "kiss" the ground. Instead of pushing off and leaping for the next step, you should lift your feet after each step, and try not to bounce and hop as much, as this wastes a lot of energy. Toe landing will result in a lot of calf pain and toe blisters. So this is what I was doing wrong. I guess I was pushing off of the ground more than I should have been, I wasn't "lifting" feet and allowing them to smoothly glide across the ground. Look at this picture here that easily shows the good form we should be working towards.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why I Barefoot Run

A lot of people find my decision to run barefoot crazy. They always say, "But Tyson, won't that hurt?" "Aren't you scared you will step on things?" "What if your feet get blisters?" "Can't you get diseases from running barefoot?" "Why don't you just wear shoes? They are much more comfortable" "But now you are going to get injured so much easier!" And the list goes on and on. Well I started reading a book last night called The Barefoot Running Book  by Jason Robillard, it has some really good research that explain exactly why I have decided to run barefoot. I will share some of the main ideas in short bullet points below.

  • Why is it that since the great running boom of the seventies that there has been NO decrease in the amount of injuries in spite of yearly 'improvements' in running-shoe technology? (some authors say there has been an increase in injury)
  • The heel of a runner upon striking the ground generates a force that can equal 2.5 times body weight at the foot and as much as 7 times body weight at the hit. Repeat this 1000 times per mile and it's easy to appreciate the stress our bones are under if we continue to heel strike because of our thick-soled shoes.
  • The impact from running on your body as your foot hits the ground is actually (wait for it) HIGHER the softer your shoes get. If you are running with a shoe that has tons of cushion, you actually end up hitting the ground even harder and the impact is much more negative on your bones and muscles than if you are running barefoot. Think about it, you don't just carelessly run around when you are barefoot, you are careful about where you place your foot and how hard it hits the ground, so you actually end up being much lighter on your feet and reduce your risk of injury infinitely while running barefoot.

This is what I tell those that doubt me and think that I am crazy. There is so much research pointing to the benefits of running barefoot, but there is NO (yes none, nada, zilch) peer reviewed research that talks about the benefits of wearing running shoes and how it helps you over all. Why do you think almost every running shoe company in the world now is starting to design and sell minimalist shoes?

Now I know many of you may be thinking that you would like to start, but are not sure WHERE to start, or HOW to transition. Here are a couple things that you can do, starting today, to begin your very own transition to running barefoot:

  1. When you get home from work, take your shoes off! Walk around the house barefoot, do yard work barefoot, walk to the bus station to get the kids barefoot. Do as many activities as you can barefoot to start to condition your feet so they begin to work and build the muscles they have lost by being covered for all these years.
  2. Start walking short distances every day barefoot. Take a half-mile walk around the neighborhood, any little bit will help your feet to get used to the ground again, notice how good it feels. 
  3. Train yourself to land on the padded area on your foot instead of your heel, when you learn to do this, correct form will start to happen by itself. 
Note: Listen to your body. 
Your feet and legs will tell you 
when you are doing something
 right or wrong. They will tell you 
when you should slow down or 
when you are ready to add more
 distance and speed to your training.

Try those three things out this week! 
Check back again soon for more tips
on what you can do next, and please 
comment and let me know how it is 
going for you so far!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Huarache Sandals Review

Well now that I have had a few more days to try out the new Huarache Sandals I bought a little while ago, I am ready to give my true and honest review on them.

1. I love that they send you the sandals without the toe hole in it and nothing is laced so that you can customize the sandal to your foot.

2. They take some getting used to and adjusting. I have tied and untied and ran and tied and untied and ran to try and find the perfect fit for my foot and running style. Don't let your first run be your last in the sandals because they rub weird or aren't very comfortable, they will feel just right when you can find the correct way to tie them to your feet. I have my just right now so they don't even rub as I run.

3. They don't flop around like I thought might happen. I really like how they tie right to your feet. The way the rope pulls the shoe makes it fit right to the contours of your foot.

4. They are really nice for when you are running on rock/gravel/grimey side of the road sorts of places. What I have been doing is throwing them on when I hit a part of the trail that my feet are not quite ready for. I still enjoy running completely barefoot a lot more, but these add the perfect amount of protection when running barefoot makes no sense for my feet.

5. The sole is fairly thin (6mm, like it says) so dont expect it to stop large sharp rocks from jabbing your feet still.

6. They are probably one of the most inexpensive huarache sandals out there and I think you get a good bang for your buck.

So overall, I am really happy with my purchase. After my barefoot run today, I think I will be using these much more this week since my feet are preeeetty beat up haha. If you have any questions, comment and let me know! If you want to order some for yourself, follow This Link!!

Blistered feet

Well  this morning I thought that it would be a great idea to go out on a 4 mile run. I did 4 miles on saturday (even though I know I said I would take it easy after my last post...oops) and I felt great. I went with my wife, we had a great time, my feet were feeling awesome, no problems whatsoever. Today I got out there and started running, the ground was really wet, so everything was sticking to my feet which is always fun. It really was an awesome run, EXCEPT for the fact that half way through my run I really had to go to the bathroom and there was no where even remotely close to where I was that I could go, aaaaand the blisters I found on the bottom of my feet after I finished... I guess this is all just part of the fun of becoming a barefoot runner. I suppose I will be running in my huarache sandals this week a little more!
The blisters are on my first two toes and the side of my foot, not super easy to see.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Chia Seeds

Wanna learn about Chia Seeds? I have been eating a lot of these lately, Read This article from The Huffington Post to see what the hype is all about.

Raw feet and achin' calves!

Well, the title of this post says it all. My feet are raw, and my calves are achin haha.

So one of the biggest adjustments so far has been the way that a barefoot runner is supposed to run. Because your shoes allow you to land on your heel, most runners (including myself) do land on their heels. But if you take a minute to think about that, why would we want to land on the boniest part of our foot? Well, running barefoot changes your step about as quick as you start running. The first time you slap your heel on to the pavement is the last time it will happen. Naturally I have started running more on my forefoot. I land on the fat padded part of my foot and slowly roll back to my heel. It is a much lighter step than what I was doing before and it has truly helped my legs to not feel so fatigued after a run. That being said, it requires a lot more work from your calves, thus, my calves are on fire after the last few days haha. I don't mind though, like they say, "no pain, no gain".

Well last night I got home from work to find my awesome new Huarache Sandals from Invisible Shoe. I got the holes punched, the laces laced and I took them out for a test walk with my wife. Not only did I love the wonderful talk/walk with her and our beautiful baby girl, I immediately fell in love with the sandals. They are super comfortable, the rubber forms to the bottom of your foot, they are ultra light and ultra cool looking. We walked about two miles and I barely noticed they were there.

And now for my feet... So this morning, I went for a run and I decided to use the sandals again. I drove down to the river trail close to where I live and started off on the trails. My plan was to run about a mile and a half again. After about 3/4 of a mile, I decided to slip off the Huarache sandals and go completely barefoot again. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the sandals, I do love them.. buuut there is nothing quite like being completely barefoot. I ended up running about 3 1/4 miles... oops haha. It is needless to say that my feet are a little raw. The sides are tender, but surprisingly I don't have any blisters or anything, just soreness. So I will probably take the day off tomorrow to give my feet a little break and do something else for exercise instead.

Check out some of the awesome scenery from my run today.
Collinsville Axe Factory

Can you believe how pretty this is?! Sometimes I can't believe I live here.