Yes I am talking about barefoot running. I hear many say it’s not just about taking off your shoes, well it is! That’s what I did, in fact when I took my first barefoot run on Sept. 15th 2009 around the block, the following day I gathered up all my running shoes and donated them to Goodwill, I didn’t have Vibrams or any other minimal shoe for a backup. That might be extreme to some, but to me I thought this was a great idea, why the hell not! I ran around that block barefoot without reading a single thing on barefoot running, had no clue about the benefits of barefoot running, did no homework on the correct way to run barefoot, I just took off my shoes and just ran. People ask me how long did it take you to transition into barefoot, my answer is one day, when I ran around the block, it was that simple. Take shoes off, run barefoot, that is a transition. But the conditioning was a different story. I had extreme calf soreness, aches and pains, tendon issues, ankle tweaks here and there, but this was all part of the normal process. I mean it’s common sense really, you run in shoes for 18 years like I did then you go run bare what I was going to expect?!
I guess what I am getting at it, and noticing, is the new crop of barefoot runners that are now emerging seem to be really struggling with barefoot running, this is just my personal view from reading barefoot running forums. The number one road block is minimal footwear, this just confuses the transition to barefoot running. I have no problems with minimal running (I run in minimal footwear), but if your goal is to become a barefoot runner and become successful at it you can’t flip flop from minimal shoes to barefoot, it’s a band aid and a hinder in progressing. Down the road, once you feel comfortable running barefoot, then you can start wearing minimal footwear. The reason I got rid of all of my running shoes was so I had no other alternatives but to run bare. So if this meant I was sore the next day after my run, or if I had a blister(s), or if something just wasn’t feeling right, it would make me not resort to footwear, but instead force myself to rest for a day or so, think about what’s going on, and head back out again and work on some issues. This worked for me 100%
Another thing I find is that people get into a comfort zone and stay there way to long. I ran my first 5 mile barefoot run 3 weeks after I took my first barefoot run around the block. Around that time I joined my first barefoot running forum (Running World’s barefoot running forum), and had people tell me that is overboard, I am sure it was but at the time I didn’t know it, my calf’s were still hating me, but I didn’t injury myself and felt comfortable with running 5 miles barefoot at that point. I am not bragging about that, it’s just at that time I didn’t have someone telling me to take it slow, or reading someone’s personal rules about transition, or having a book telling me how to progress. My body, and more importantly my feet told me if I was going overboard, and they did! I have helped others out getting past their comfort zone via the internet and forums, by telling them I was running 5 miles barefoot in 3 weeks. After a few days I would see a response saying thank you for the extra push, I ran that extra mile, or I just ran 5 miles after being stuck on 2 miles for weeks, a month, or two months! Most of responses were I was just scarred of the unknown, would I get blisters? step on glass? how would my body respond?, etc. Every individual is different, you will never know what you can achieve until you try, and push yourself.
I love to see barefoot running gain popularity. But I wonder if there is too much information on barefoot running, and can it hinder performance and goals? Sometimes not knowing and finding things out for yourself can be a good thing.