I first heard about barefoot running a few years ago. Even though I’d cut back on running injuries – a LOT – by embracing the tenets of Chi Running (which I’m a bit fan of), I still had issues with tight achilles tendons. So, I decided to find out a little more. I started by reading Born To Run – a very readable book in which the author goes in search of a near-mythic tribe of Mexican Indians famed for their running ability. Just reading about it made me want to try it out.
So, I gave it a try (wearing minimal footwear – my neighborhood doesn’t lend itself to running without a little foot-protection). And liked it. I would have to agree with the general recommendations to start out small – do a 10 minute barefoot run before your normal run, and gradually work up to one or two barefoot runs per week. Which is not to say that I did it that way. I started off with 3km runs, and worked up from there, and completely abandoned running with shoes because ‘barefoot’ felt so good.
Unfortunately, the winters here are long, cold, and snowy/icy… Not conducive to outdoor running at all, really – certainly not conducive to barefoot running. So once the snow falls, I’m pretty much down to bike-commuting and indoor workouts. The first runs this year were a little, well, painful – my calf muscles reminded me of why, exactly, it’s suggested that you start out small. But by my third run, the pain had disappeared, and I could just enjoy the running.
If you’re interested in trying it out – and I DO recommend it! – there are a number of websites devoted to Barefoot Running:
Even if you’re not a runner at the moment, you may find that ‘barefoot’ running is a lot easier to get started with – and more enjoyable to continue. At least until the weather changes.
Have you tried barefoot running?
What minimal shoes have you used?
Are you interested in giving it a shot?