Barefoot Running…tread carefully

The Barefoot running debate…or non-debate.

Have a look at a video on Barefoot running then continue reading…

 

Like most trends the arguments can get a little emotional on either side of the fence so let’s talk about what is important to you. Most Podiatrists have no issue with running barefoot as long as you are fully informed and not swayed by poor science. The addition of a barefoot drill in any athletes program is most likely beneficial. The boffins get their nose out of joint when pseudo science is used to support some claims for apparent financial gains.

I don’t really care about the Boffins do you?

Let’s just say you want to do some barefoot running for the fun of it but you are now a little concerned because of all the talk of injuries associated with barefoot running.

Here is what you need to know…

 

  • Yes running clinics around the world are reporting an increase in running injuries due to barefoot running. Click here for more
  • Can you safely try a barefoot running program…yes you can.
  • Use a bit of common sense and follow these 7 helpful hints.
  1. Start slow…all new activities should begin with a reduced load, remember you’re testing the waters.

  2. Don’t try barefoot running when you are already fatigued. You want good form. Run with your natural stride don’t try something new out of a book.

  3. Choose familiar safe terrain to experiment…maybe a local park that you may walk first to warm up, checking for dangers.

  4. If you have any health issues like Diabetes this is not for you.

  5. Running through the pain is no fun …so listen to your body.

  6. If in doubt you may wish to have a chat to your Podiatrist to set you on the right track.

  7. You may wish to try a supplementary training program with some of the minimalist shoes that are on the market rather than go the whole barefoot experience first up.

 

Barefoot running shouldn’t be about you following the herd and spending time on crutches with a stress fracture or worse.

Have fun…it’s meant to be good for you.

Click Here for an appointment with your Podiatrist

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2 Comments

  1. James Yamakawa

    on 16th Feb, 12 01:02pm

    About 2 years ago I started training for a half-marathon (without much experience running before then). So I suppose I came from the perspective of a complete newbie. After I had registered for the race, I picked up a copy of Christopher McDougall’s book “Born to Run”, which most certainly had an effect on how I went about my training. I did go out and plop some money down for a pair of Vibram 5-fingers. When it got really cold, I ran in a pair of aqua-socks (5-10 bucks in season).

    I guess I never experienced the pain/injury issues people have mentioned running with normal running shoes, and I did take it slowly the first couple months of training. (spent a lot of time just walking in minimal footwear just to get my feet a little tougher.) Now, this is obviously anecdotal, but the worst pains I had running this way initially were just using different muscles I hadn’t been used to using, also my toes (oh man, my toes hurt) Long story short, come race time, everything was fairly copacetic. I ditched the five-fingers after the race (mostly they were too tight, I found out), and now run and train in Converse All-Stars, which though they have a sole on the bottom, are fairly flexible and thin compared to others, so i feel I have a happy medium between minimal footwear and some measure of protection on my feet.

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    • admin

      on 17th Feb, 12 03:02am

      James glad you have good experiences with minimalist running…you went about it the right way and listened to your body. Sadly many are attacking this with near religious fervour and proclaiming this as the only way.
      As for shoe selection I am always telling my patients to pick the right tool for the job…work out what you want the shoe to do and then make the choice with a bit of trial and see in the shop. I’ll have to do an article on shoe selection…but the most important consideration is does it ‘feel’ good on your feet, not does the salesman say it ‘looks’ good.
      If you have a chance try the New Balance minimus range and let me know what you think.

      Colin

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