Today, during school, I decided that I kind of needed to go for a run. For various reasons, I hadn't run since last Friday until today... that's a whole flippin' week! So during my lifting/conditioning class, I just sort of slipped out and went onto the track. It's all good though, my teacher and I have a bit of an understanding - in general he'll just let me leave class and go run instead of lifting if I feel like it.
It was sunny outside, despite the fact that the temperature was lingering in the upper 30's. It was brisk but also very pretty and the sun gave me a [possibly false] sense of warmth and happiness. First I ran a couple laps on the track. Then I stopped, and thought for a second. I quickly proceeded to take off my shoes. I then ran about 5 laps on the inside of the track, on the astro-turf football field.
This was my first semi-legit experience running barefoot. Sure, I do barefoot strides during the Track season after particularly hairy speed workouts, but nothing serious. Not that the 1 mile or so that I ran barefoot today is serious per se either... but it was still probably the longest I've ever run barefoot. And let me just say - it felt great. The dew on the grass, glistening in the sunlight, felt absolutely wonderful on my feet. I also realized a few things about barefoot running...
Not only that, but running shoes have a tendency to have a lot of padding. Sure this lowers the amount of force being shot up through your leg, as the time that the force is applied is longer. But it doesn't change the total amount of energy that your legs absorb, it just seems to hurt less while running. Not only that, but the extra padding gives a false sense of comfy-ness, and runners will tend to foot-strike harder than they really should be. So actually more energy is being shot through your lower body, and into the wrong areas (because you're heel striking).
All this aside, I'm not going to start running totally barefoot - its just too inconvenient for me to do all the time. It's just an interesting concept to think about, and I certainly will do more of it on the turf when I get opportunities to do so.