As the explosion of barefoot related media continues, interest seems to be at an all time high. Unfortunately many runners are taking the media attention and message regarding barefoot running as a statement that barefoot running will cure all that ails them.
This may just be wishful thinking on the runners' part, or perhaps it is a misstated theme from the media.
Either way, the message that should be going out is twofold:
- Barefoot running can serve as a wonderful tool for improving your stride, running posture, and foot strength.
- The more barefoot running changes about your running (e.g. you can no longer heel strike), the slower and more carefully you should ease into it.
The people who seem to adapt most intelligently to running barefoot are those who are coming back from an injury. These folks are preprogrammed, almost scared, at going overboard. They ease into their training (usually not mixing shoes and barefoot) and allow their body to slowly adapt.
This is the perfect recipe for transitioning to barefoot successfully: a total break from traditional running shoes, starting completely from square one and easing into the transition.
People recovering from injuries are typically hyper sensitive to how their body feels and is reacting to training. This is a terrific asset for ensuring the runner is not overworking their previously underdeveloped muscles.
So potential barefooter's out there, taking off your shoes may not resolve all that ails you, but if you're careful and ease into things, you will be rewarded!