Thursday, 10 May 2012


Now there's a big word.  Whenever you read about barefoot running, there's that word 'proprioception' like a beacon on the page.  Is it to add scientific value to the discussion?  Probably, but when I run outside without my shoes, I think of this word.

If you look it up in the dictionary, it means something like "the sense of how your own limbs are oriented in space" or "the body's ability to sense movement within joints and joint position".  I suppose it's about what your body feels like when you move it.

Advocates of barefoot running say that it's only when you have nothing on your feet that you can truly experience proprioception, and I'm sure I've read anecdotes that imply that it's addictive - once you've felt it properly, you feel that trainers 'muffle' all those sensations.

I think I'm starting to agree.  I'm no scientist and will not cite references for the above comments.  What I will say is that I've noticed that when I now run with trainers on, my feet seem to get hot, and I really notice the way that the soles of my feet slide up and down (only a tiny bit, but there none-the-less) inside my trainers.  My socks feel woolly when I wear them.  On my last two shod runs, I've actually taken off my trainers for the last 300 metres and run barefoot.  I've almost craved the sensation of the pavement on the soles of my feet.  And it feels nice - like having a foot scrub (not that I'd like a foot scrub really!).  Today, I was even able to feel the gaps in the block paving that makes up our road outside.

I'm still not fully body aware - I'm trying to relax and keep my cadence up.  The difference is in my feet at the moment - and I wonder if that will gradually extend up my body as I do more.

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