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Barefoot thinking

September 21, 2010

There is a lot of talk about barefoot running, where the purpose would be to get connected to Nature again. But you probably don’t want run barefoot in the forest, or even with five finger-shoes. It seems to be an all-asphalt phenomena, and what’s the “nature” in that? I have been running barefoot on the smooth rocks on the beautiful islands of the archipelago outside my hometown Göteborg, but I still prefer running shoes for that, cause I don’t like cutting my feet.

However I’m very fond of lightweight trail running shoes, like the Inov-8 212 x-tallon (230g). A lightweight shoe like this will help you “float”, reducing resistance. But my point is: that the most of the resistance is in your head – not your feet! Therefore I want to use the term “barefoot thinking”, or “barefoot attitude” – a consciousness without a lot of “cushioning” like thinking patterns, judgemental tendencies or any other desire than being. Running. In the Now. The thin sole of a racing flat or super lightweight trail shoe will protect against sharp egdes but not lobotomize your running sensation.

If you let your mind become light as a racing flat, making your presence stripped down to the essentials: the Now. Leave your mental luggage at home and run light. Your mental luggage is only real in your mind anyway, directing you to behave as you use to. But you don’t need that. You need an open mind, with space for new sensations, space for Now.

Don’t worry so much about the shoes! Actually, don’t worry! Flatten your forehead by letting go of any resistance. Any resistance what so ever. Just accept: what you see, what you feel, what you think. And let it pass. Let it drop! Just like the trees on your run. Like the pebbles under your feet. Like the air you just passed. Like the breaths you just breathed. Be the wind instead. Or just Be! Nothing else. And run, without aiming, without any “shoulds” or “musts”!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2010 12:05

    I really like your meditative approach to running. I will be resuming my runs this week and I am sure to try and let go of any resistance.
    I do have to say that there is just something totally special about running barefoot in the forest. I guess it is this feeling of being a kid again, free and unrestricted. Not even running in Five Fingers gives me that feeling.

    • fredrikolmqvist permalink*
      September 22, 2010 8:25

      Hi Ewa & thanks! Great to hear that you are on the run again:-) I understand the pros of barefoot running – I have done it in the past. But I run a lot “everywhere” which means that my feet are exposed to approx 80K gnarly ground every week. I need to the protection to be able to run all year round. However I will give barefoot running a shot again. Maybe in a warm place soon. Take care!

  2. September 21, 2010 13:12

    I love running barefoot on trails through the forest and I know people who do trail running in VFF. I’m still looking for a shoe that gives me some protection but isn’t a running buzzkill.

    • fredrikolmqvist permalink*
      September 22, 2010 8:18

      Hi Dan, of course I’m a fan of the exploration of new ways of running, however for my kind of “running everywhere” off trail, rocky trails, wet and muddy trails, climbing, bushwacking, jumping etc in the terrain I prefer lightweight trail shoes. It just opens up more possibilities… You should check out the New Balance 100 – for dry trails and Inov-8 212 X-tallon for wet trails and Icebug Celeritas or Spirit for slippery and icy trails (with spikes).

  3. jacob hastrup permalink
    November 6, 2010 15:49

    Hey Fred

    I really enjoy reading your blog – I love it !


    • fredrikolmqvist permalink*
      November 7, 2010 11:52

      Hey Jacob! & thanks! I’m really happy you enjoy it. Fred

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