Barefoot Running Technique secrets revealed
Running, just like walking has been a way of life for as long as people have been around. The Advantages of Steel Bike Frames Innovations over millennia have enabled people to find ways to prevent feet from getting cut or injured. Running barefoot though, has been around much longer than running with shoes. The latter is a recent development given all the new materials that have been brought to market by footwear manufacturers.
When one thinks of runners, long distance runners from African countries like Kenya come to mind – they run barefoot and always place on top. Interest in barefoot running is rising and a number of interesting questions are being raised. Why? Companies are now offering minimalist shoes to mimic the motion.
The Harvard Study
Many people may not be aware that running shoes have been on the market only since the mid-1960s. Of late, runners have been questioning the effectiveness of using shoes. A study undertaken by Harvard University researchers looked at the way feet strike the earth and also whether it is better to go bare foot as compared to shoes.
Some of the conclusions drawn from the study were that those who ran bare foot suffered fewer injuries and were able to run faster. What the study showed was that runners were able to run safely and comfortably when they were barefoot when they landed on the balls of their feet or flat footed. Running shoes have cushioning at the heels and add extra weight which can cause runners to land on their heels more often than not. This could have cause stress and have an impact on the heel. If people landed mid foot on hard surfaces, they would be able to run better and have fewer injuries. Basically, it is essential to know what one’s running style is and how to change one’s gait before trying out barefoot running technique. It takes some work and with running shoes which mimic bare feet, this type of running is here to stay.
How to get started
Anyone can run barefoot at any time or even use minimalist running shoes to do so. The fact is that not everyone can do it successfully. It is absolutely important to be aware of foot related issues like plantar fasciitis, flat feet, hammertoes etc. – these conditions can preclude a person from taking up this style of running. Talk to an orthopedic surgeon or sports doctor before starting off.
The key to running barefoot is to transition gradually. Acclimatizing the feet is essential – stand on different types of surfaces like sand, gravel, grass and mud to make the soles of the feet tougher. Start by walking and then slowly running short distances.
Pay attention to your stride pattern and the mechanics of how the feet strike the ground. Work on landing midfoot instead of the heel. Keeping feet parallel to the ground and ensuring that the body is centered properly will help to build up foot, arch and other muscles. Run with short strides and be mindful of all the aches and pains in the initial days. Landing should feel natural, relaxed and gentle.
Start slowly and build up momentum and distance slowly. Transitioning gradually will make it easier to incorporate new methods – don’t go for too much too fast. Stick to the 10% rule – 10% per week with making changes and adding distance. Build up muscle strength and also endurance – you will find you can go longer distances in 6 months or so.
Podiatrists recommend making just one change a month so that the body gets used to isolating muscle groups and also helping the body cope with changes. Adding distance, speed workouts or even hills can be done gradually for maximum effectiveness. As always, talk to your doctor before making drastic changes to your exercise routine. Stretch before and after so that you can focus on your calves and arches. Listen to the body when it sends signals and quit if there is any discomfort or serious pain.
You should never start barefoot running with long distances, your feet need to have have a great preparation for that.
Here is a barefoot running champion 14 year old Sayali Mhaishune, daughter of poor cobbler Mangesh Dadar.