If you are part of the cardio community then chances are that you have heard about barefoot running. The debate has been turned into a Running Shoes vs. no shoes competition but in reality, there is no right or wrong when it comes to running. The biomechanics of running are not simple nor are they the same for everyone. As a runner you should do what feels natural and safe for you. Every runner has their own technique and stride because of their individual built but if discover that you are repeatedly having problems then change is imminent. So, who should consider barefoot running?
Between 30 – 70% of runners report some suffering from repetitive stress injuries annually. For some cardio-lovers this pain is severe and chronic that they are forced to give up their passion for a period of time and even permanently. If you are one of those people then barefoot running is definitely something that you should try.
When you are considering the long run – both metaphorically and in actual distance – every runner can benefit from barefoot running or minimalist shoe running. This doesn’t mean that you have to throw your Running Trainers in the rubbish but leave them in the closet for periods of time. It’s important that you slowly introduce your body to barefoot running. After you’ve given your feet that initial introduction to running with nothing, or next to nothing on your feet, you can make barefoot running part of your regular running routine. For example, allow for 10-15 minutes of barefoot running on grass. This will strengthen your legs and feet and help prevent injuries from repetitive stress on ligaments, tendons and muscles that are not used when wearing modern trainers. Barefoot running also puts us more in-tune with our musculoskeletal system so that we focus more on our strides, technique, pronation, etc.
The most common mistake runners make with barefoot running is doing too much too soon. Regardless if you want to become a full-time barefoot runner because of chronic injuries or a part-time barefoot runner, it’s vital that you introduce barefoot running gradually. This is because we are use to wearing trainers, which do not put the same demand on our ligaments and muscles as barefoot running resulting in strain and tension.
As a society we love our Trainers because of comfort, style and practicality. The fact is, as a runner, you should have a variety of options available to you. All runners can benefit from introducing barefoot running into their technique, even if it’s just for a few minutes per week. This will reach those neglected muscles from when you were young and running around shoeless. If you aren’t up for completely running barefoot then Trail Running Shoes that offer flexibility and less-structure will reduce the risk of injury and give you more well-rounded training.