Without the bike commute, I’m back to barefoot running for exercise. I can now do a stretch of 2 miles on asphalt with no problems (other than sore calves). Why barefoot? Because it feels better, and it’s ultimately easier on the joints. The human biomechanical system does excellent work if you let it, and is easily capable of soft landings via shock-absorption in the knees, ankles, and musculature. In contrast, when one wears shoes, it’s too easy to slam the feet down and let the padding (attempt to) take care of impact management.
If you want to get started, go slowly. For a month I only walked, starting out with very short distances. I’m at the point now when I see a new texture of carpet, hardwood, or other floors, I’m tempted to kick my shoes off and sample.
Alas, I don’t think I’ll be ready for the Nike+ Human Race 10k coming up on August 31. (And I wonder how many runners in a shoe-company-sponosred race will be barefoot) :-) -m