I like to observe people. Behaviors fascinate me. Motives behind behaviors fascinate me even more. Since barefoot running started to explode way back in 2008, I’ve noticed one commonality… people are having FUN.
It doesn’t matter your age or ability level. When we take off our shoes and take those first few barefoot strides, something magical happens within our brain. The sensation of the ground immediately awakens a long-dormant child-like joy.
This simple joy has a very pleasant side-effect… it makes running fun. Really fun.
I see a lot of runners laboring through training runs and races. Shelly and I ran a 5k this weekend (full disclosure- I was wearing minimalist shoes due to low temperatures and a not-quite-healed blister from an overzealous run in NYC). Sidebar- we ran the 5k in costume… follow the link to her blog to check out the pictures. Most people had a look of absolute agony scribbled across their faces. It’s a look I find increasingly disturbing. These runners are not enjoying the act of running.
Our nation is facing an obesity crisis as we eat more and exercise less. Exercise has been relegated to an “I have to undo the damage I did by eating thirteen Taco Bell Chalupas” activity. Many people no longer exercise to experience the freedom of movement. Exercise becomes a means of blunting the self-loathing we experience from knowingly engaging in self-indulgent excessive gorging.
For the record, I’m not immune to this concept. I ate about 3,000 calories of candy this weekend, and felt the overwhelming desire to “run it off”.
I see barefoot running or even minimalist shoe running as a means of reversing this aversion to exercise. It eliminates many of the aches and pains typical of shod runners. It rekindles our inner sense of adventure. It reignites our passion to sense all that is around us.
Why is barefoot running becoming so popular? It makes running fun again.