So maybe you're not sure about barefoot running or you believe it's a bunch of hippie granola hokum, maybe a Commie plot to misdirect the Youth of Today away from materialistic concerns. Whatever your skepticism, feel free to visit Barefoot Running is Bad, a website dedicated to saying, you guessed it, that barefoot running is bad. I was intrigued but then disappointed to find that the website is not based on educating people, but rather refuting the barefoot running establishment by basically saying "are not!" to barefoot running's "are too!" I am always happy to hear an opposing view, unless it opposes my own, but I wish the author had set out to illuminate more than simply object.
If after visiting, you're still thinking of giving it the old barefoot try...
According to Christopher McDougall (author of Born to Run), anyone can make the transition to barefoot running within three weeks. The underlying philosophy of the barefoot running movement, however, is that runners should listen to what their feet are telling them. For people who have grown up wearing shoes, the transition to barefoot running should be done slowly rather than suddenly.
In his book, Barefoot Running, Michael Sandler offers the following 10 tips for making the shod to barefoot transition:
- Go slow - consider starting with 100 yards and add to that gradually.
- Let your skin be your guide - feel the ground and learn to run lightly.
- Build foot strength - between runs, do foot-strengthening exercises.
- Focus on form - transitioning demands greater focus on what your body is doing.
- Leave the iPod and ego behind - pay attention and start slowly.
- Get balanced - work on balance and symmetrical strength.
- Get loose - stretch!
- Get aligned - misalignment creates overuse injuries.
- Go bare - find a variety of surfaces and out of shoes.
- Learn to rest - barefoot running does not eliminate the need for recovery.