Are you thinking about throwing away your shoes? Are you excited about the prospect of going back to your roots and feeling the earth beneath your feet? Many coaches and athletes claim barefoot running can improve your efficiency and prevent injury. BUT…only if you do it right! After consulting with sports chiropractor, Dr. Hal Rosenberg, we have some important tips for all you barefoot barbarians.
1. Shoes to no shoes: Avoid the wholesale switch!
If you have been running with shoes most your life and decide to toss out your shoes one day, chances are you are going to get hurt. According to Dr. Hal Rosenberg, the biggest issue with barefoot runners is their quick transition from shoes to no shoes. Ease into it instead. Start with some shorter runs and then add on the milage, and your feet will slowly adapt. Better yet, spend more time barefoot at home and in minimalist shoes while running errands. Your feet will slowly strengthen and thank you.
2. Read the signs!
Our cavemen ancestors probably didn’t run on hard concrete everyday. Neither did they spend their whole life in cushioned shoes, so listen to your body. Be thoughtful of where you run and how you’re running. If you wake up with sore feet, heel pain or a tight achilles, you’re probably moving too fast too quickly or pounding too much concrete. Slow down your transition and spend more time on soft surfaces like a grass field or a beach.
3. Sorry folks…running barefoot is not the magic pill.
“Two thirds of your body weight is two thirds off the ground,” says Dr. Rosenberg, “So you better learn how to stabilize it!” A change in shoes or to no shoes will not perfect your running form alone. Spend equal time developing your core, posture and cadence, and your transition to barefoot running will happen more naturally.
Ease into it! Read the signs! Think about your whole body! These three are keys to running barefoot and reaching your optimal running form.
This is the third installment in The Run Experience series. Look for more in the following weeks! And be sure to check out our friends at Competitor for more great running content!