What is it?
Also known as natural or minimalism running, barefoot running simply refers to run without shoes. Sometimes running in shoes with thin soles is also considered running barefoot as well. According to runners who run barefoot, or the so called minimalists, running without shoes corrects the form of a runner and also fosters good forefoot strike. This usually results in reduced running injuries as compared to those running with heal strikes. However, there are other benefits of barefoot running that you should also know about including:
To avoid hurting your knees
If you are an accomplished runner, then you might have heard it too often that running is not good for your joints. Well, the truth of the matter is that this is quite true and running in shoes that are in poor form can seriously inhibit your good, natural treatment. Running barefoot is thus believed to be a good way of avoiding hurting your knees, your ankles, your hips and even your back. So, if you are looking for ways to quit hurting your joints, barefoot running is something that you should really consider.
Stop wasting energy
A heel striker runs by over-striding and then landing with the foot in front of him or her. With every stride, you take when your shoes are on; you end up wasting a lot of valuable energy which you can use towards furthering your miles. Barefoot running can thus help a lot in reducing the amount of energy you use while running as you run with light feet and you can even go very far while still maintaining a relatively high speed.
To avoid nagging foot issues
Ill-fitting and constrictive footwear brings about some nagging foot issues, ranging from plantar fasciitis and bunions to over pronation and calluses, among many others. The good news is that barefoot running can significantly help in avoiding such issues and ensure that your feet are at their best at all times. In fact, you might even be thrilled to know that running barefoot can significantly help in providing you with relief for such foot issues.
To learn good running form
Improper running form has been a cause of so many problems of many athletes and this can even ruin your running career. Unfortunately, not so many runners even realize the importance of having a good form every time they are out there on the track. Cushioned sneakers only fool people into thinking that they don’t really need to learn. Barefoot running provides the body with an incredible opportunity of correcting itself within less time. With some practice and careful mileage, you will be able to have a good mid-strike form with very minimal injury risks, if any.
Get out of the rut
Some runners are stuck in a continuous pattern of getting injuries while running, while some just feel sick and tired of having to go through the same monotonous two mile run. However, barefoot running can contribute greatly in helping you liven up your workout and ensure that your running is not boring in any way. Some runners even say that they feel more connected with the ground while running barefoot. When running without shoes, you feel what is happening under foot and this strengthens your perception and tunes your body into the run.
Useful barefoot running tips
If you are participating in a race, you have a higher chance of winning if you run without shoes. According to studies done, having less weight on contributes greatly in enhancing your running efficiency and this reduces your time. In addition to this, research done shows that barefoot running also tends to force the foot to have a different impact with the ground. When running with a pair of running shoes, the runner typically strikes the ground first with their heel. Running barefoot changes the gait of the forefoot strike.
Starting to run barefoot can be quite challenging at first, especially if you are used to running shoes. However, you need to start strengthening your feet slowly to prepare it for transition to running barefoot. To do this, try practicing some weight-bearing strength sporting exercises on barefoot. Also, work towards strengthening your core and the lower body by using the elliptical or walking with a good minimalist shoe. Barefoot running teaches your body natural running motion and helps it to adopt slowly and with time. Practicing flexibility and patience is also very important as the foot needs some time to adjust to the new running environment.