Friday, October 5, 2012

Can I run barefoot in the winter?

Obviously a very hot question in the world of Barefoot Running right now is, "What am I going to do in the winter?"

Well, like I mentioned I was going to do earlier, I have done some research and come up with some conclusions as to what us crazy barefoot runners can do once the snow starts falling and the mercury in that old thermometer of yours drops down below freezing. Just like when you started to run barefoot, it was a slow and sometimes painful process, it will be the same while adjusting to the winter if you choose to be one of the "nuts" and run barefoot over the frozen ground. I live in Utah, so this is a genuine concern for me (unless this winter is as mild as it was last winter). I will convey what I have learned to you in continuation, but before I go on, I would like to take this moment to say that running barefoot in the winter is not for everyone and I urge you to use correct judgment in your decision and release myself from all liability should you choose to run barefoot when you shouldn't and end up getting hurt! (Phew, I am glad that is over with)

Your ability to run barefoot in the winter will depend on your body

I think one of the most important things will be listening to your body and making sure you stop when your body tells you to, but remain strong when you know you can keep going. This is not for everyone and you are not a wimp if you do decide to throw on a pair of FiveFingers for the winter, most people won't continue to run barefoot, but for us crazies that will, just be careful and listen to your body.

Start slow and allow your body to adapt

Don't wait until the dead of winter to start running on the cold pavement, start now before it gets too cold. The more time you will allow for your feet to get conditioned to the cold ground, the easier and less painful it will be, not to mention the risk of injury will reduce greatly. So don't wait for the first snowfall, start now while you still can.

Take into consideration your weather conditions before you make a decision

If it is -35 degrees out and school has been cancelled so the children don't get frostbite while waiting for the bus, don't be stupid and go barefoot running (don't go running at all for that matter, in my opinion). Obviously if there is a foot of snow out on the ground, it will make a lot more of a difference than if it is packed snow just touching the soles of your feet. Be careful and exercise correct judgement, listen to your body. Stay clear from puddles in the winter created by the salt mixture many people use to melt snow. The salt melts the snow, but leaves a puddle of water with a temperature below freezing (since the freezing point of salt water is significantly lower) which will obviously increase your risk of injury and frostbite. Not to mention that the salt on your feet will make them more susceptible to injury.

Most Importantly, don't give up

If you have been training barefoot, start early, listen to your body and all of it's warning signs and all is going well, stick with it and have fun. I believe that much of what we endure as barefoot runners is possible by having a good attitude and having fun. So get out there and start training! Please give any feedback if you have any more winter barefoot running secrets.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tyson
    You beat me to it. I am also thinking about winter coming up. All the roads round here are covered on Rock-salt for months. I reckon I will run in shoes to the trails and then head out on sort runs to start with. Just pointed people towards your post by listing it as a post of the week.