04 August 2011

Going Barefoot Week

Part III:  Getting There

There are many, many resources on barefoot running, so I'll be brief in my explanation.  Basically, it's a style of running that lets your body do the work.  Your heels weren't meant to absorb shock; that job is for the balls of your feet.  Modern running shoes don't allow that to happen, so many runners end up with injuries as a result of poor form and weak foot muscles (from all the cushiony shock absorbers that have to be put into shoes to make your heel be able to absorb the shock, which it isn't supposed to do).

Barefoot runners don't concern themselves with over-pronation; in fact, that's kind of a natural thing your foot might do when you run, but that doesn't make it bad.  When I run barefoot, I naturally land on the outside of my foot, roll inside to the ball, and then spring off of my big toe.  To do this, my pelvis tilts forward, creating a perpetual motion that is nearly effortless.

At first, of course, all the muscles in my feet were like jelly from not being worked.  Once they got a chance to strengthen, my running took off, so to speak.  I am now up to 15 miles for my long runs, and it's really no big deal.

This change in my running habits has truly been life changing.  I am amazed at what my body is able to do, if only I stop trying to fix it with man-made solutions.


  1. Wow! It's great to hear people who make the change to barefoot gradually and have such success with it. Congratulations!

    Hopping over from Fitness Friday. Nice to meet you.

  2. Yes, I agree. I'll never go back to traditional methods. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I'm so intrigued by barefoot running... I've been having achilles issues for the first time in the 11 years I've been running and finally determined it's my current shoes. Do you wear minimalist shoes, or actually go barefoot? Any reading you would recommend?

  4. Hi, I run in Merrell Barefoot Pace Gloves and love love them. My husband runs in Five Fingers and sometimes runs without shoes, but I couldn't do the separate toe thing. Have you read Born to Run? Amazing adventure story...not so technical, but it is what started my switch to minimalist running. You run waaay faster than me, though, so I'm sure you have been running longer and know more than I do about the mechanics of running. I will say, though, that I always had knee pain from an old ski injury, same side hip pain from the same injury, and then developed plantar fasciatis in my foot. They all went away when I changed my shoes and switched my stride. You must change your stride, though, or you'll end up with the same problems as you already have. Also, when I was training for a marathon I partially tore my calf muscle and got a touch of ITBS, but I was 100% within 2 weeks, which by all accounts I've read is amazing. I have one more post in this series under the barefoot running tag on the right sidebar...I talk more about my shoes if you are interested.