[Image credit: heyitsgarrett]
Now that warmer weather is rolling in, maybe you’re starting to feel like the time is right to give that first barefoot run a try. After all, what could be more appealing than seeing that green spread of grass in the park or that inviting paved trail?
Here are just a couple things to keep in mind while hoofing it unshod during the summer months:
Grassy Fields: That grassy patch may seem harmless, but remember no matter how cushy and springy that grass may look there can be a lot of things hiding in it to potentially damage bare feet. Make sure to scope out the area prior to going on that run.
Asphalt: The soles of our feet can adapt to hard man-made surfaces. Toughening of the soles will require more time and patience however. That said, asphalt is great unshod running surface, however asphalt can get very hot when it’s been baking in the sun. Look for shadier areas, like paved trails in your local park, until your feet begin to get used to the higher temperatures.
Sandy beach: The beach is a fantastic barefoot running spot. Make sure to find a flat and hard packed beach as running in soft sand will stretch your Achilles and cause real discomfort and possible injury. Remember: Hard and flat is best.
Running in the rain: While your bare feet will actually be grippier on wet surfaces than a normal shoe, there are a few things to keep in mind. Wet conditions can easily soften your soles, leading to more-than-normal wear and tear to your calluses. Wear minimal shoes in wet weather as your soles are probably not tough enough for all-weather running.
Aside from just being barefoot, don’t forget these 5 good tips of warm weather running:
1. Stay hydrated. It’s so easy in the summer months to lose track of how much you’re drinking.
2. Wear sunscreen. Don’t undo the health benefits of running by frying your face or feet.
3. Run early or late in the day, when it’s cooler. Hot surfaces can ruin a good experience quickly.
4. Wear light-colored clothing to maximize coolness.
5. Remember you need to acclimate - your body has to remember how to regulate itself to stay cool when hot season arrives.
So get out there and enjoy! What better way to connect with nature than through your soles?