Barefoot running or minimalist running is not something new. It’s new for us in this modern age, after we stepped into our amazing modern world. However, we must understand that we have inherited a stone age body, and have placed it in a modern environment (Daniel Lieberman – The Story Of The Human Body). Thus, many of the aches, pains and some of the diseases we suffer from today come from this discrepancy between what our body needs and what our brain gives it.
When I transitioned to barefoot running or minimalist running (this means running in minimalist shoes, for those who are not familiar with the term), I was coached by Obstacle Course Race Coach Michael Cohen. And how lucky I felt and feel learning such skills from a coach like him.
Throughout coaching and then my own exploration of bare foot running I reached the following conclusions about what a runner needs to safely transition to bare foot of minimalist running:
1. Running technique
You might be an amazing running, a very experienced one, but going from normal running shoes to barefoot or minimalist running is a great leap. It’s a great leap for your body from a mechanical point.
When wearing shoes some muscles grow weaker, as they are not challenged. For example with bare foot running the foot muscles, knee muscles, calves, core, glutes (buttocks) are some of the muscles which are more challenged when running barefoot or with minimalist shoes.
Thus, you must ensure you practice correct running technique, go slow and have patience.
I wrote articles on running technique leave a comment below and I will send it to you.
No matter how much you wish to hurry the process, your muscles, tendons, ligaments and skeletal system will gradually adapt to support each other, as each develops.
Force your body at the wrong time and you risk long term injuries.
Even if you are a marathon runner you must start with 5-10 min slow running barefoot or in minimalist shoes, and build from there.
Yes, I do believe that if you want to achieve something at a good level coaching is necessary? Why? How can you see the frame if you are in the frame?
You can’t, there has to be someone outside to see your technique and correct you. To make you aware of what’s happening. What might seem correct to you might be incorrect.
In conclusion here are a few points to remember when transitioning to barefoot or minimalist running:
- Start slow: wear the shoes in the house, then walking outdoors, then running 5 min, 10 and so on
- Build gradually
- Understand the basics of running technique such as malingered body and short strides (there are more elements)
- Transitioning can take anywhere from 3-6 months to 12 months, depending on how your body adapts and responds to training
- Get a coach, to ensure you are doing it right from the beginning; correct movements that are already ingrained in you will be much more difficult