I’ve been running barefoot three times a week for six months with no relapse of the knee or heel pain I used to suffer from when I ran in shoes. I have stubbornly refused to spend any money for minimal footwear (largely because I’m a cheap bastard), but I really don’t feel like I need to. I’ve run all of my barefoot miles on a decomposed granite path and have not had a single injury of any kind, not even a scratch. Danny Dreyer’s book ChiRunning helped correct some form issues. Some things I’ve figured out:
1. Running barefoot gives you instant feedback, but bad form from a lifetime wearing shoes can still pose a problem. I don’t think that feedback would have been as effective had I worn minimal shoes.
2. The guy who runs the anti-barefoot running website that’s the first hit in Google when you search “barefoot running” is a podiatrist who sells . . . shoes.
3. You have to transition slowly. I’ve used the following schedule running three days a week and lifting weights and using my bike for errands on the other days. I think this schedule could be stretched out even further.
Week 1-2: (run 1 minute walk 2 minutes) x 4
Week 3-4: (run 2 minutes walk 2 minutes) x 3
Week 5-6: (run 2 minutes walk 1 minute) x 4
Week 7-8: (run 3 minutes walk 1 minute) x 4
Week 9-10: (run 4 minutes walk 2 minutes) x 4
Week 11-12: (run 4 minutes walk 1 minute) x 6
Week 13-14: (run 5 minutes walk 1 minute) x 6
Week 15 run 1 mile
. . . etc., adding 10% more distance per week until the goal of 5k three times a week is reached.
4. Running barefoot gives a you a direct contact with Mother Earth (and Mother Concrete) and that’s kinda cool.
Barefoot running is one of those “ah-ha” ideas. It makes you wonder what other sacred cows can be taken “barefoot.” How about that expensive college education, for instance?
See our earlier post on barefoot running, “No Shoes, No problem.”