Ooops, I stepped on a rock. Nope, that's a blister. - Part Two

Blog entry posted by Dr. Andrew Klein, Jul 14, 2011.

I felt pretty good through the weekend and took a day off while we visited my family in Iowa. We got back Sunday evening and I was itching to get a run in. I headed out at about 7:15, no shoes again this time, still wanting to work on technique and get that down. I slowed my pace but was careful to actually increase the cadence of my running. Basically that means you shorten your stride, and aim for about 180 steps per minute, well over the average of 140 most runners take. I tried to keep my pace slower though and concentrate on not pushing off. That blister on my left foot was still there and I didn't want to make it worse.

I finished a full mile loop back to our house with no increased pain in the blister, but on inspection I could see it was starting to look a little puffy again. Great. It was sore by the time I went to bed and was still bugging me the next morning. I let it calm down until today and went for another run tonight. The blister is still there obviously, so I've made the executive decision to wear my Merrell Trail Gloves until that problem is resolved a little further. Lifting my foot is still the hardest part of the barefoot gait for me to nail down. This video with Lee Saxby helped me quite a bit. Watch for the runner's increased cadence when they do a side by side shot of him running with shoes and without.

I had my dear wife video me running a little bit before I took off tonight which helped some too. I'll spare you from that little piece of entertainment, but it was nice to see what I was doing. Tonight's run was 1.4 miles and didn't increase any blister pain at all so I'll take that to mean my form is improving. We are going to try and video me running on the treadmill which should make it a little easier to see my gait pattern.

The foot lift is described differently by different people. Some say run like you are on hot coals, some say run like a ninja. Jason Robillard suggests that instead of trying to softly place your feet as you step, concentrate on the foot that is rising and the foot that is stepping will naturally land more softly. The important part is to keep your knees bent through the entire stride. At no point in the stride is the knee completely extended. With the higher cadence as well as keeping the knee bent I tended to envision that I was riding a bike as I was running.

(Get ready for the touchy-feely part of this story.)

Regardless of how long it takes, I'm sticking on this path. I am enjoying this new hobby and I don't see that ending any time soon. Not long ago I couldn't run for 4-5 minutes straight without nearly passing out. Tonight, I did my entire run without stopping, and I wasn't even tired when I got done. I could have done more, but in an effort to limit the Too Much Too Soon syndrome I stopped. People have different reasons for running and mine is this: I have a one year old boy, and another little boy due in December. I have a wife that for some reason enjoys my company. Every day I see people who are literally in a health crisis and they continue to make excuses about why they can't change. I'm not going to be that person, and it's my job to be an example.

(You can stop weeping with inspiration now, though it is appreciated.)

*originally posted at