Barefoot Chronicles

Photo Courtesy Muskegon Chronicle

The assorted adventures of shoeless ultramarathon runner Jason Robillard


About Jason

Barefoot FAQ

Beginning Barefoot Running 

Barefoot Research and Articles

Ultrarunning Links

Jason's Ultrarunning Advice

Barefoot Links

Jason's Workout

Gear Reviews

Other Links of Interest


NOTE: THIS SITE IS MOVING TO A NEW SERVER.  THE NEW ADDRESS IS BAREFOOTCHRONICLES.COM Google is discontinuing googlepages, and the new Google Sites is not especially user-friendly.  Please update your bookmarks.  Thank you!

Also, I now have a barefoot coaching site located at, and have written a barefoot running book that can be found here:

Sunday, July 19th

  •  I'm about 90% recovered, if it is possible to measure such recovery.  I am now able to run pain-free... it's a great feeling!  The running has been going well.  At the end of this week, I should amass around 45-50 miles.  I will be adding miles as the weeks wear on, ultimately peaking around 90 or so three weeks before the Hallucination 100 miler.  It looks like I will not be running the Marquette 50 miler.  The logistics of going to the race will make it an impossibility.  I would have liked to test out my gear, food, and hydration strategies in race conditions.  I will have to settle for a series of long runs on the local trails.
  • I am planning on running the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival 5k or 10k this weekend.  It will either be my first 5k in two years, or my first 10k ever.  As of right now, I am leaning towards the 10k.  Hopefully I will be able to run that distance at a fast pace with minimal blisters.  Based on the results of the Seaway Run a few weeks ago, I should be able to finish under 44 minutes without too much effort.  I am setting a goal time of 42 minutes.  I will have to run somewhat conservatively as I have another 19 miles scheduled later that day (long run).  We'll see how it goes.

Monday, July 6th, 2009

  •  Recovery from the vasectomy sucks.  I can't run yet... I can only walk for short distances before the "someone just kicked me in the junk" feeling gets too intense.  I'm hoping I will be back to running by Wednesday or Thursday.  At least this forced break provides some nice recovery time.  Starting next week, I will be ramping up the mileage to prep for the Marquette 50 miler (maybe) and the Hallucination 100 miler (definitely).
  • I made a pair of huararche sandals today.  After reading about the Tarahumara in "Born to Run", I decided to give it a try.  They are crafted from an old pair of aqua socks and some cheap leather lacing from a craft store.  They took about fiver minutes to make.  Here's a pic:

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

  • Yesterday marked the first long run of my training cycle- 21.2 miles.  I added three miles at the gym.  I would like to have added a few more miles, but the distance will suffice for now.
  • I just finished reading "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall.  Hands down, it is the best running book I have ever read.  McDougall tells a story of a race between a handful of elite ultrarunners and the Tarahamura Indinas of Copper Canyon, Mexico.  The author cleverly makes a case for several significant scientific theories related to running by weaving the data into the story.  He discusses the evolutionary theory of humans developing as a running species (the Running Man Theory), the dangers of modern running shoes, the importance of mental attitude, diet, etc.  I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANY RUNNER, especially those interested in barefoot running or ultramarathons.  Click on image in the right column to order from!
  • I think I will be migrating this site to my own server.  Google Pages, while simple and free, will be moving to Google Sites very soon.  I have toyed with the new format, and do not especially like it.  Moving to my own server will allow great design freedom.  There will be an address change as part of the migration process.  I will post the new info as soon as it becomes available.
  • I have added a "Donate" button to the site.  If you find my site useful and would like to donate to help keep it running, I would be very grateful!  Any amount would be tremendously helpful!

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

  •  The Seaway run went well!  I finished in about 1:07.  It wasn't a PR, but better than expected.  I think that bodes well for the training for the 50 miler in August and the 100 miler in September.  The Seaway is easily my favorite road race.  Great crowds, great volunteers, friendly competitors, impeccable organization; if anyone in in the Muskegon, MI area in late June, it is a great race to run!
  • Update: Chip time 1:06:42 (7:09 min/mile pace), 4th in age group, 43rd overall.  It isn't a PR, but better than I had hoped.  Now I can get serious about the ultra training!  Hello, hill repeats!

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

  • I am now tapering for the Seaway 15k on Saturday.  The inactivity, like always, sucks.  I did manage to upload a video of my running form to YouTube.  It can be seen here:


Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

  •  Running over the weekend went well.  I managed 24 miles over the course of two days.  I will go for my last long run tomorrow morning (probably 15 miles).  I will then rest Thursday and Friday for the Seaway run on Saturday.  I think I have done enough barefoot running to acclimate to the race pace of the Seaway.  The early forecast for race day: 81° with scattered thundershowers. 

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

  •  Training is going well thus far.  I have been able tolerate a ten mile run at ultra-distance pace (i.e.- slow) on asphalt without incident, along with several shorter trail runs.  Based on the progression of my workouts at the Grand Rapids YMCA, I may be able to run the Seaway 15k at a faster pace than planned.  I may take a trip to Muskegon to run the course to see what kind of pace I can maintain for the entire 15k.  I doubt I will be able to surpass last year's PR, but I will be VERY tempted to try!  
  • Also, I will begin my really long runs to prep for the 100 miler.  I will be trying a different strategy this year.  Instead of running a single long run every week or two, I will run as much as possible during a 24-36 hour period to mimic the strain of running while fatigued during different parts of the day.  Here's a sample that I hope to do starting tomorrow:
    • Thursday, 2am: run 10 miles
    • Thursday, 1pm: run 5 miles
    • Thursday, 8pm: run 10 miles
    • Friday, 2am: run 5 miles
Pace will be approximately 12 minute miles using a run/walk ratio of 10 min./2 min.  This strategy should allow me to acclimate to high mileage with less chance of injury, while also training for the psychological stressors of the 100.  I will start at a total of 30 miles for the four runs, and progress to around 70 miles as the race nears.

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

My ultimate goals will be to finish Marquette in under 10 hours, just finish Hallucination, and run GR in under 3:30.  I have my fingers crossed!

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

  •  I think I have made the decision to try another 100 miler this year, possibly as early as the end of September.  While the training cycle will be short, I think I can manage it based on the experiences I gained last year.  Also, the terrain should be more conducive to barefoot running, thus allowing me to avoid the Five Fingers.  At the very least, I will be doing at least one 50 miler. 

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

  •  Well, my training has taken a serious hit due to personal issues... I have been inactive for about three months.  I decided to jump back into training.  My plans for the year- run the Muskegon Chronicle Seaway Run 15k at the end of June, then train for the North Country Trail 50 miler in September.  I may toss in a few races here and there as training, but I will have to wait until 2010 to conquer a 100 miler.   On a positive note, I have been updating a few missed races on the Ultramarathon Store site!

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

  • Running life- As it turns out, dogs make pretty good running partners!  My dog (an 8 pound pomeranian) is a surprisingly good runner.  His need for exercise is a perfect excuse to get in some very early season training runs.  I have seven months until Burning River, I'll be more prepared this year!
  • Website- The Ultramarathon Store website is close to being complete.  As of today, I have close to 600 ultra events listed.  It was a huge undertaking, but an enjoyable process.  I am amazed about the number of ultras in North America alone!

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

  • My wife and I recently acquired a dog.  He may be just what I needed to keep running through the winter months!  The desire to tire him out via running trumps my seasonal winter hibernation/ laziness.  I still need to fit a long run in soon, but the shorter runs are helping maintain fitness. 
  • On the web development front, I redesigned the Ultra siteto make it a little more user friendly.  Also, I eliminated the "store" section, so the name really isn't a good fit anymore.  I also added A LOT of races to the calendar, and changed the race information to a wiki format.  Hopefully I'll find some other interested parties to add race information to the wiki site.

Monday, October 27th, 2008

  •  Running has taken a back seat to life for awhile.  I'm teaching a new class (Advanced Placement Psychology), and Shelly (my wife) is pregnant with our third child.  Between prepping for school and planning for another child, my life is pretty hectic right now.  This last weekend, I managed a 31-32 mile run with Jeremiah, a fellow ultrarunner that recently moved to the area.  I managed to finish the run, but was significantly slower than Jeremiah.  I was a bit surprised I was able to finish the run given I've only averaged 11 miles per week since Burning River in early August.  That run did inspire me to keep up on long runs, I want to enter next spring with a good distance base.
  • The site has also taken a back seat.  I am in the process of trying to learn more CSS coding to revamp the site.  Also, I may change the format.  I just don't have the time to constantly update EVERY race out there.  I may make the site a more collaborative project... more like a wiki.

Monday, Sept. 29th, 2088

  •  The new ultra site ( is still a work in progress, as I assumed it would take a long time to create.  Planning and preparing for school has greatly affected the time I have available to add new races to the calendar.  I have to assume the site won't be finished until perhaps next year.  
  • I have decided to skip the Grand Rapids marathon.  My original goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but that goal was not obtainable this season.  I did not have the time to train properly.  I have been running a fair amount, and I'm beginning to have a slight reoccurance of plantar fasciitis.  This is the first bout of PF I've had since beginning barefoot running.  I think the speed training I've done over the last month has caused the flair-up.  I'm tinkering with my training to allow more recovery time. 

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

  •  I haven't had much of an opportunity to post updates here, but this is a quick rundown of the happenings related to my running life:
    • The ultra website is coming along... thus far I have added about 40 or so races.
    • I am currently training for the Grand Rapids Marathon in October.  Lots of barefoot running on pavement... but my pace isn't where I would like it to be.  I should set a PR, but I doubt I will come close to my goal earlier this spring of qualifying for Boston. 
    • I'm 75% sure I will attempt Burning River again next year- I have to get this 100 mile monkey off my back!

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

  •  The new ultra site is up and looks fairly good.  It can be found at  Currently, it includes a listing of about 20 races, a section devoted to various training links, a section devoted to ultra links, and a forum.  At some point in the future, I will probably begin selling products through the "store" section.  Until that time, it will be funded through advertising on the site itself.  In the coming weeks, I will continue to add more ultras.  Check it out, if you have any input, drop me a line through the "contact us" links!
  • On the running front, I began serious training for the Grand Rapids Marathon at the end of October.  I need some sort of redemption after DNFing at the Burning River 100 about a month ago.  I should be able to set a PR (currently about 3:55).

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

  •  I am currently in the process if creating a different ultra website outside of Googlepages.  Google is changing over to Google Sites, and I'm not impressed with it thus far.  I'm looking for an option that will allow for greater customization.  I'll add the link as soon as it goes live.

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

  •  Ok, so the race report never quite materialized... I just wrote a brief review of what I did wrong for my first 100.  It is posted on here.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

  •  I'm currently working on a race report for the race.  It should be up by tomorrow!
  • Recovery is going very well, I was able to resume weight training two days ago.  I may try light running today at the gym.  By next week, I plan on resuming my new training plan to eliminate the deficiencies that led to the DNF.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

  •  Well, I DNF'ed in my first 100 miler attempt.  I missed the cutoff at the 64.7 mile mark.  It sucks.  I have a lot of work to do for my next 100 attempt.  More to come in the near future!

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

  •  Less than 48 hours until my first 100 miler!  I'm getting really nervous now!  I have 90% of my gear packed, I'm eating like a horse, and I can't think of anything else!  I am a bit worried, I seem to have developed what feels like a stress fracture in my left ankle area.  I seem to have hurt it playing with my kids.  What are the chances?  On a positive note, it doesn't hurt when I run or take short walking strides. 

Friday, July 25, 2008

  •  I'm now in the middle of tapering... damn this is torture!  I cannot wait to race (Burning River 100) just to get some running in!  Good news- my knee is doing extremely well, I should be 100% by race day!
  • I'm in the process of gathering my gear for the race.  I have A LOT of gear!  I don't think I could ever fly anywhere to run a 100, all this stuff wouldn't fit on the plane!  I'm assuming I'll be able to cull a lot of the gear for future 100's...

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

  •  I haven't had much to write lately.  I've been abstaining from running for awhile now to allow my knee to heal completely (see previous post).  I have been doing some crosstraining, but not a lot of leg-based exercises.  I'm still very worried about undertraining, but at least I should be healthy.  I have also been doing more heat acclimation training in anticipation of hot, humid weather.  The heat still saps my energy, but I'm slowly improving.
  • I'm buried in race prep for Burning River.  I have been preparing my drop bags, calculating likely splits, collecting food, tweaking equipment, etc.  The logistics of 100s certainly pales the prep needed for the short road races (wake up, get dressed, go run). 

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

  • Sunday morning's long run (5 hours, 45 minutes) was cut short due to reoccurring right knee pain from the Seaway run. I aggravated the injury a few days after the race doing front squats with a bit too much weight on injured knees. This has forced a tough decision- shut down running for the week to recover or work through the pain. The BR 100 is only four weeks away, this was to be a critical week to finish hard training. I decided to rest my legs at the risk of being slightly undertrained for the race. It does nothing for my mounting anxiety, but I think it will be better to ensure I'm healthy for the race.
  • Some details about the last long run... pace was 13:49/ mile. That equates to a 23:08 100.5 mile finish time. That pace was WAY too fast, I have to dial the running down a bit. I also tried an 11 minute run/ 4 minute walk ratio. It worked well, but I think the 10/5 will be more appropriate for the race. The five minute walk break is nice after four or five hours.
  • If everything goes according to plan, I will have two long runs left before shutting everything down to taper. Both will be on trails, one in the evening going into night. The other will start at night and continue into the morning. I'll be testing a few foods, my new Nathan Elite 2V Plus hydration pak, and a Petzl Tikka XP headlamp. I also have to devise a method to carry my Vibram KSO's with me. Based on race reports and forum comments, it appears as though the course will be more rough than I had anticipated. The sharp gravel will definitely necessitate the Vibrams.

Monday, June 30, 2008

  • I've been recovering from the Seaway run for two days now. I have some minor blistering on my soles, along with an oddly sore left knee. It's relatively minor stuff, but enough to remind me I'm not very good at holding a fast pace over a long distance on asphalt without shoes. Training for ultras while barefoot makes the shorter, faster races more difficult.
  • The race went well, I finished in 1:03.50, 6:52 pace (15k). It was good enough for 21st overall out of 279 runners, third in my age group (30-34). I was hoping for a sub 1 hour time, but finishing well within the top10% is ok. The overall times we slower than expected, the course was a bit windy.

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

  • Seaway Saturday is finally here! Once again, tapering sucks! Three days of inactivity is tough once you get into a routine. Luckily, I'll get some high intensity exercise today! I'm a bit nervous for the race today, I've set some pretty lofty goals. I have serious doubts if I can reach them...
  • I am a bit concerned about running this race barefoot. I know the pace I'll likely run is very tough on my feet from a friction standpoint. I will probably end up with a few blisters. No matter how much I practice form, I cannot eliminate friction when running faster than about 8 minute miles. The relatively short distance should help, though.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

  • I'm in the middle of tapering for the Seaway run 15k this Saturday. Man, tapering sucks! Not being able to run or exercise is difficult, especially when trying to limit calories to drop a few more pounds going into the BR100. Currently, I weigh around 182-183. By race day, I'd like to get down to about 175 or so (less weight = less to haul around the course).
  • I'm also beginning the process of acclimating to the heat. The race day temps may be in the 90's with high humidity (last year was rough, according to the race reports). The idea behind acclimation is pretty simple. It is possible to train your body to process more water over a given amount of time. The advantage- your sweat contains less salt. It allows you to drink and sweat more without as much hyponatremia danger.

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

  • Long run day, it was cut a bit short because my daughter was sick. Regardless, I still managed 21 miles in 4:39. I tried a 10 minute/5 minute run/ walk ratio. It worked well, but is a bit slow. On the next long run, I'll experiment with an 11/4 ratio.
  • So far, I'm not too sore from the run. I managed the entire 21 miles barefoot (on asphalt). My quads and knees were a bit sore from doing "Murph" yesterday (a crossfit workout- 1 mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, and another 1 mile run). While the crossfit workouts are tough and leave me in a perpetual state of soreness, they have paid tremendous dividends while running.
  • I registered for the Seaway 15k run in Muskegon on Saturday, I'm hoping to significantly improve my PR (currently around 1:14:00).
  • Note about the site- it has finally been added to the Google search index!

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

  • Full (or mostly full) recovery from Friday's long run took two days. By yesterday (Monday) I was able to resume normal activity without a noticeable decline in performance. Today's workouts were long and tough, but endurance is increasing. A big test will be the Muskegon Chronicle Seaway 15k run in 11 days.

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

  • I'm recovering from yesterday's long run (26.32 miles, five hours total). Psychologically, I like to get over the marathon distance for the long runs. The run went well, I discovered a few things:
    • I found a few new foods that I seem to tolerate after running longer distances- York Peppermint Patties and chocolate soy milk. Both will make their way into my drop bags for future races.
    • I'm pretty sore today, not tapering before this run seems to have affected me more than I had hoped.
    • The 12/3 run/walk ratio was a bit long for the pace I ran. I either have to run at a slower pace or try a more walk-heavy ratio (maybe 11/4 or 10/5, the 15 minute cycle works well for calculations).
    • I ran about 16 miles barefoot on asphalt. No blisters, but my feet definitely became more sensitive than I would have liked. I'll have to put in a few more barefoot miles on asphalt.
    • The Vibram KSO's performed perfectly, I ran approximately 10 miles with them.
  • Today will be a complete rest day. I will probably hold off on running tomorrow, too.

Friday, June 13th, 2008

  • This has been a grueling week of training.. lots of lifting and interval work. Today will be my first long run to assess where I am in training. I'm shooting for 25 miles. I will be testing a 12 min run/ 3 min. walk strategy. I plan on using this ratio for the first 5 hours of the 100 miler in August. During the heat of the day, I'll cut back to a 9/3 ratio. I will also be testing various foods today, including chocolate soy milk. It is calorie and carbohydrate-dense with protein and fat, too. How I feel after the run and tomorrow will be a good indicator of my overall preparedness for August.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

  • The plan for pre-100 miler training- four or five long runs (25 miles, 30 miles, 35 miles, 30 miles. 25 miles) in the weeks before the race. I'll also have a 15k in a few weeks, that should test the speed and strength training. Of course, there will be a liberal amount of weekly speed and strength training, along with some spin class cross-training at my gym. For some reason, I'm fairly confident that I will be ok in the race, even though my mileage is VERY light. I'm hoping to get the first long run (25 miles) in early this week. That will provide a good barometer for the rest of the training.
  • I've spent significant time reviewing advice regarding 100 milers. I think I'll have an adequate plan, I think I can anticipate most of the problems I should face. Unfortunately, the planning does little to relieve my anxiety for this race. :-)

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

  • This morning's workout was Hellish, but in a good way. See it here. My arms still feel like Jello...
  • I have my psychology site up (I teach high school psychology). It has the same look and feel as this site.GooglePages is a surprisingly useful tool.

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

  • The Vibram KSOs came yesterday night, they are awesome! I haven't had an opportunity to run in them yet, but this morning's workout was promising. They are a definite upgrade to the aqua socks/ beach shoes I've used in the past.
  • The crew for the BR 100 is coming together. Now I just have to work out the logistics (car rental, hotel, etc.). Oh yeah, and train...

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

  • I'm having pangs of doubt regarding the training for the 100 in August. After looking at my log, I realized I haven't put in a +20 mile week in three weeks, and my longest run was 6 miles. Yikes! If the Crossfit stuff works on this low of mileage, I will be truly impressed!
  • My Vibram KSOs should be here tomorrow! I've never been so excited to get shoes! Man, am I a dork!
  • CFE workout- 5k at 10k pace. Out of guilt, I ran it at a 5k pace and finished in 21:00:15. That's only 1:15 above my PR, I'm shocked I ran that fast in non-race conditions without a taper of any sort!

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

  • Today is a rest day, my quads need the break! It IS a Crossfit rest day, but not a CFE rest day. I may save that workout for tomorrow...
  • Now that I've officially registered for the BR 100, I have to get a crew together. Anyone out there want to volunteer? :-)

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

  • Many links were added to the links page. The site is coming along well!

Saturday May 31st, 2008

  • Todays workout was tough! The treadmill work from CFE killed me! Running a hair below 5k pace on a 12% grade... insanity! I threw in two sets of burpees (1 min set, 30 second set) after the CF and CFE workouts. That may have been a mistake, the quads are very jello-ish...
  • Well, I just sent out my registration and check for the Burning River 100 in Ohio June 2nd! I'm excited! And a bit scared... now I REALLY have motivation to train!

Friday May 30th, 2008

  • Rest day... I definitely needed this. The CF workouts kicked my butt this week! This morning, I ordered a pair of Vibram KSOs. I'll post a review after they arrive!
  • The site is coming along well. The review section should be up by next week, along with a guide on beginning barefoot running. More barefoot links should be up by next week, too!

Thursday May 29th, 2008

  • It has been a tough morning- got up at 3:30, drank a little coffee, ran the CFE workout... a 10k. I managed to run it in 47:22. It wasn't great, but not bad considering the last few days' workouts. I also did the Thursday morning workout with Pete. It was very tough, he introduced some new exercises. Most notable: Turkish getups, Russian Twists, and Alligator (or crocodile?) crawls. I'll definitely need a rest day tomorrow...

Wednesday May 28th, 2008

  • Day Two of the new site. I submitted it for indexing on Google, Yahoo, and DMOZ. Hopefully it will show up soon!
  • This is day three of following the crossfit workout. It is tougher than I expected, I have many VERY sore muscle groups. I misread the CFE running instructions, so I'll have to redo it after work today. I only did 1/3 of the workout, and it was tough!
  • Note- I was lazy and didn't redo the CFE workout. Damn.

Tuesday May 27, 2008

  • The barefoot running site has been created! The purpose of this site is to promote the barefoot running community. Feel free to give me any suggestions to improve/ add to the site! Widgets