Last year my brother Andreas introduced me to barefoot running. The concept of barefoot running could either mean actually running barefoot without shoes, or running with minimalistic/barefoot shoes. I had no idea this was a “big thing” (mainly overseas), however running without shoes was something I had done before. I used to train Tae Kwon Do in Australia (many years ago) and we often went outside for the warm up sessions, running barefoot on all kinds of surfaces. I was training barefoot for years, mainly inside on an old wooden floor. Last year I started training barefoot again, dancing. I really enjoy being barefoot, and I love being able to train without shoes!
My brother just finished a bachelor degree in “public health”, and his thesis was about barefoot running: “What are the effects of barefoot running vs. running with running shoes?” Part of his research was to start running barefoot. He now owns several pairs of barefoot running “shoes” (Vibram Fivefingers), and never use regular running shoes any more. He also convinced his former boss at the sport shop he was working at to start selling Vibram Fivefingers… ;-)
About 3 years ago I got more into running. I bought new Nike+ shoes and used my iPod Nano to track my runs. The ability to track my runs became a huge motivation, and since then I’ve been running regulary (well, not ALL the time hehe). In July (2012) i decided to try barefoot running and I bougth my very first pair of minimalistic running shoes: Vibram Fivefingers Bikila. Ohh, and they’ve got toes, soo funny! (Shouldn’t it be “fivetoes” instead hehe).
So I put my feet in the fivetoes, I mean fivefingers, and I could barely feel them!
A bit challenging to get the smallest toes in place, but other than that it was easy peasy.
Early next morning me and my brother went out for a run. My first “fivefingers” steps:
Beautiful morning sunshine!
I even took them off the last kilometer..
…just to feel the difference.
We did a 4km run, including some walking, stops to take shoes (Fivefingers!) off, and photography… ;)
OMG, the next day my LEGS (calfs) were sooo sore!!!
Advice for beginners: Do not go for long runs the first time barefoot running! Well, 4km is not that long, but when learning a new technique IT IS. Start with 1 or 2 km and do lots of stretching after, then wait a few days (or a week) and run a bit longer (and so on…). That’s my experience (and advice). However, we are all different! :-)
One last thing. The running technique. It’s very different from running with “regular” running shoes where most people land on the heel. In barefoot running it’s important to land on the toe ball! (VERY easily explained, ask someone more experienced for more info). I managed the technique quite well (I think), but my body still needs time to adjust and it might take some time… Unfortunately I have membranous bone inflammation in both legs so I’m having a break from running (3 weeks now…Not sure when I can run again without pain..), which is something I was struggling with BEFORE I started barefoot running. I believe I was starting out “too hard” and after 5-6 running sessions the injury was back :-(
Ok… HAPPY THOUGHTS! I’ll find a way to recover – soon I’ll be back out running barefoot!
Luckily I can do other activities without feeling the pain, like dancing :-)
Soo, what’s your impression of barefoot running? Have you tried it / would you like to try it?
I’m excited to “learn more”. Thanks bro!
(If you read Norwegian you can read Andreas’ Bachelor thesis or blog about barefoot running)