Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why barefoot?


I've been answering a lot of emails about our upcoming barefoot seminars that we are putting on with Rebound Physical Therapy. I thought I would write a quick post as to why I think these clinics can be beneficial and who can get something out of them.
As I have posted before, I was drawn to minimal shoes for two reasons and none of them had anything to do with wanting to be a barefoot runner. First and foremost, I have a funky feet for shoes. I have "B" width feet (standard women's width) and I am bow legged. Therefore, not many standard men's shoes fit me. Therefore, I started getting drawn to racing flats as they were the only shoes seemed to really "hug" my foot and give me a technical fit. It felt so good to not be slopping around in my shoes that I could forgo the cushioning that I was used to.
Secondly, later, I became drawn towards more racing flats/minimal shoes as I began to become a faster runner. I wanted something lighter that I felt would be better in my 50-100 mile trail races. However, along the way, I noticed something. I wasn't getting injured as much anymore. I also noticed that I liked the way my feet and legs felt when running in a minimal shoe. I could flex my foot more when running uphill and I felt a much more natural movement when running downhill. No longer was I feeling the abrupt and distinct transition of heel to forefoot. Instead, I was striking mid-foot and feeling more agile and nimble and much less "slappy".
So, where the hell am I going with this? Somewhere along the way, I think we have forgotten that running IS a skill. What minimal/barefoot running can teach is a more efficient and effective way to run. When wearing a minimal shoe or running barefoot, the body will be less inclined slam down the heel because, well, it will hurt.
Try this test. Take off your shoes and run outside your house for 30 seconds. Are you slamming your heel down? No. Most likely you are striking on your forefoot or midfoot. This is a more efficient way of running.
So, in our classes, we will use barefoot running as a tool to allow you to feel what correct running form is. This is not to imply that it will take away any current injuries that you have but I do believe that it will help you to have better running form which will put you on the path to become a better runner.
So, don't be intimidated or worried about the class. It is for both the novice and advanced runner.
We'll use the first night to talk about barefoot technique and some pitfalls to be aware of. We'll give you a DVD of you running in minimal footwear or barefoot that should help you be able to see your progression as you let barefoot running become part of your routine.
On the second evening, we'll head over to Sawyer Park to practice technique. It should be a blast. I'm excited about putting it on and hope you'll be able to join us. More information on the program is here.
To reserve your spot, email: rod@fleetfeetbend.com

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