It has been two months since I started learning to run barefoot. The purpose for learning to run barefoot is to avoid running injuries caused by landing on your heel each stride. Instead, barefoot running forces you into better running form by causing you to land on your forefoot and absorbing the landing impact with your foot and lower leg muscles.
Here is what I’ve learned about running barefoot so far.
- This type of running will avoid injuries because it eliminates the primary cause of running injuries; the heel-landing impact on each stride.
- Barefoot running is anti-intuitive to most people, yet once you do it you understand.
- Barefoot running uses lower-leg muscles, whereas heel-landing running uses upper-leg muscles. It took me almost a month to get my lower leg muscles (calves) in shape. It was like learning to run all over again.
- Many people run long distances in their bare feet, but I have trouble running more than a few miles in bare feet. I still don’t know if I can build endurance in my feet or if I simply need to put some shoes on.
- Even if I end up wearing shoes for most of my running miles, I will run a few miles barefoot each week in order to keep my running form good.
- I will NEVER go back to my old running form, shoes or not!
- EVERY runner should learn barefoot running form, even if they don’t run barefoot!
My longest barefoot distance on sand has been 4 miles, but my longest barefoot distance on pavement is only 2.5 miles. My right foot is bruised right now between the ball of my foot and the outer mid-sole. I think this was from landing and pushing off on the small stones on the beach in Antalya, but I’m not sure.
One thing IS sure; after running this way, I don’t feel sore the next day (except for the bottoms of my feet, of course). Usually it would take me two days to recover from a 5 mile (or longer) run before I would run again. I think I could run everyday using this form as long as my feet could take it.
Right now I’m running about half my miles in cheap water shoes. They protect my feet, but they don’t breath at all because they’re neoprene. It looks like if I want to run any longer distances I’ll need a breathable shoe. Racing flats are my next option to try.
I’ll keep you posted.