Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Go Through or Around the Mud?

What prompted me to graduate from semi-barefoot running in KSOs to pure barefoot running? In a word "mud".

I went out for a trail run dodging the occasional mud spot when suddenly I realized "This is crazy. I'm running defensively and going around mud spots for what... to keep my shoes clean?"

In fact, it was the mud dodging maneuvers that were the most precarious and likely to cause injury, so the KSOs came off and I embraced the trails... mud and all.

Some thoughts on running on muddy trails:
  • Walk don't run. Walk through the heavy mud spots where it makes sense.
  • On downhill slopes, be prepared to slide 2-5 inches at any moment. I took a surfer stance on some slopes and just rolled with the slipping and sliding. Balance is critical.
  • Get dirty. Don't worry about getting ankle deep in mud. Go straight through the mud. It'll wash off.
  • Calculate wisely. If your foot is going to disappear into the mud and you're not sure what is below (glass, shrubs, rocks) then proceed carefully.
  • Distribute your weight over entire foot in rough spots. Anything but heel first is the norm on trails.
BTW- VFFs make good gloves for the hands on cold days. Keeping them in hand is a welcome fallback option in case the trails get too rough.

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