My first experience with barefoot running was Sunday with a little barefoot group that Andrew told me about. We ran through the grass, on the sidewalk, asphalt, and on the track barefoot. I ran almost a mile and was impressed that it really didn't hurt until I got a big blood blister on the ball of my foot! That sounds bad, but it actually taught me a little bit about my running form and what I can do to make it better.
Last night we went to the Barefoot/Minimalist footwear/Pose clinic at REI. They didn't really advertise it as a Pose clinic, but I knew Coach Valerie Hunt would be there so I knew there would be at least some discussion of Pose technique. Josue Stephens began the clinic talking about barefoot running vs. running in minimalist shoes. His main message- Don't Do Too Much At First! You'll be using muscles in your feet you may have never used before so take it very slowly! He passed around some Vibram Five Finger shoes, some shoes that looked like water shoes from Target, and his authentic Tarahumara huarache sandals made by Barefoot Ted. He told us a little (not nearly as much as I would have loved to hear!) about racing the Copper Canyon 50 miler with the Tarahumara in 2008 and meeting and running with Barefoot Ted. He also suggested trying out different minimalist shoes and barefeet and going with what is comfortable for you.
Then Coach Val gave us a Pose lesson, mostly the stuff Coach Tracy has emphasized at Tri Zones running. Pulling with your hamstrings and falling (which is SO hard for me!). She also talked about how Pose running and minimalist footwear go hand in hand because minimalist footwear pretty much forces you to land fore to mid foot, but you still have to practice and get the technique right. Barefoot running won't magically make you run properly (Darn!). Then Dr. Mike Maggio showed up to continue the Pose discussion. Dr. Mike is super high energy, kind of funny, and crazy passionate about Pose running. He's been at the track during a few Tri Zones workouts and shown us some really hard Pose drills and helped Kendra and I one day too. Dr. Mike showed video of some people running with poor form and good form, very interesting! I've already talked Jeff into videoing me running so I can see what I'm doing wrong.
The clinic started a 2 hour discussion between Jeff and I about running form, running education, and footwear. Based on what I've learned, I will definitely be incorporating some barefoot drills for foot strength, working harder on proper Pose running, and probably working into some barefoot/minimalist running, but not until that big blood blister heals.