Barefoot running has gotten rather popular in recent years. It’s popularity has brought on a great deal of debate and protest by the running community. Generally new ideas are not accepted by the general populous quickly, and to try to interject an idea into a well established community only generates animosity. That is basically where barefoot running is, a new idea stil in it’s infancfy and creating a lot PROBLEMS. BUT WHY…Do runners care what kind of shoes you are wearing? Generally not. So why care about YOUR bare feet? If you want to start barefoot running take a page out of Nike’s book and JUST DO IT. At least give it a try. You make like it, but if you are going to start barefoot running do it right.
The barefoot running debate…?
I do not quite understand why there is even a debate when it comes to barefoot running. Perhaps it has been created out of fear by big brand national shoe makers, or maybe some people just plain hate the idea. I do know this. I have been in a lot of different fitness circles over the years and running has definitely been one of them. When I have met up with runners in the past to do an early morning run I have never had someone say, “dude, why the hell are you wearing ______ shoes”. I know this has happened with the minimalist shoes I have chosen to wear recently. I know a lot of runners will give you a few reasons they chose not to run barefooted, and they may all be good ones. I am not saying one way is right and one way is wrong. I say drop the debate, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, and can’t we all just get along. Keep in mind this debate is not near as bad as it once was…
I want to try barefoot running
Awesome! You have decided to give it a try. At least now if you try it and hate it you will have a great explanation as to why. When I first started barefoot running I was at a large university with a pretty successful cross country team. Their coach, a forethinker, decided to give the entire team a pair of vibram five fingers to run in. The team strapped up and continued their normal running routine…a week later 75% of the team was complaining of pain and a majority of them actually had stress fractures.
Whats the point to that story? and Step 1, the 10% rule
You have to ease yourself into barefoot running. If you are doing 60 miles a week on pavement it would not be a good idea to go from a nice padded heel to an absolute minimalist shoe overnight. Go by the 10% rule. Take the amount of miles you run a week right now and do 10% of that for a month or two until you get more comfortable. Then up it to 20% and so on ans so forth until you have made the complete transition (if that is your goal). 10% rule means 10% if you run 1 mile a weeks, than I wouldn’t do more than 160 meters at a time. Maybe make it a sprint, but keep it at 10%.
I once worked as a physical fitness instructor at a university, and I would often wear my vibram five fingers to the classes. I realized over time I was starting to influence some of the guys and gals to purchase these shoes without saying anything about them at all. I thought it was pretty cool! Until I started to watch them real closely on some of our runs we would do. I realized that everyone who was running in their newly acquired vibram five fingers was still using the heel strike method while running!!!
Step 2, learn how barefoot running works
You cannot just run how you always have in your big comfy soft heel shoes. You have to actually practice a little bit to become good at it. You will have to start to strike the ground with the forefoot first instead of your heel. It feels a little goofy at first but it becomes natural as time goes on. I provided a great video that talks about this below.
If you want to be a barefoot runner go out and do it. If you hate barefoot running try it then hate it. Whatever the case may be. It is always good to try something new. Running for sport is till rather new in the grand scheme of things. So to think you have it figured out in either direction is pretty arrogant.
What do I run in??
Read my review Bikala LS Review: A CrossFit Perspective