How to Run Barefoot
If you???re interested in trying out barefoot (or nearly barefoot) running, keep in mind that it will take your body some time to get used to it. Here are some tips from the experts to get you started.
- Start slow, with quarter-mile runs at most, and build up very gradually.
- Listen to your feet. Don???t try to run with the same gait you use in shoes ??? shorten your steps and land on the forward part of your foot.
- Keep your head up and your body vertical. Your feet should be hitting the ground almost directly underneath you, not in front of you.
- Ankle and calf strength is key to avoiding injury, so consider Ferber???s four-week barefoot strengthening program before you start (.doc).
- Keep barefoot running to no more than 10 percent of your weekly regimen, especially at first.
- If you???re running completely barefoot, run on a mix of soft and hard surfaces to give your feet time to toughen up.
Finally, don???t try this if you suffer from diabetes or another condition that would affect your ability to feel and respond to sensations from your feet.
???Like any part of your body, you have to build up very, very slowly,??? says Lieberman. ???If you really pay attention to your body and build up slowly, you???ll be fine.???
For more advice and information, check out Barefoot Ken Bob and Barefoot Ted???s websites, as well as the barefoot running forum on the Runner???s World community site.