Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This idiot is reading The Complete Idiot's Guide to Barefoot Running

Tonight I FINALLY had the opportunity to start reading The Complete Idiot's Guide to Barefoot Running by Dr. Craig Richards and Thomas Hollowell. 

I am a minimalist runner who would like to go learn how to become a barefoot runner safely. I tried transitioning to barefoot running last fall but got sidetracked with an injury. I haven't been able to find an expert/coach in Northeast Ohio to help me with this so I have been reading every book and everything online I can find.

I was super intrigued when I found out that there was a Complete Idiots Guide for this! I have read other Complete Idiot's Guides and found them very helpful.

I was able to read the first chapter tonight. I learned a few things that I didn't know previously about barefoot running:

1.) Anyone that hasn't completed a barefoot running program is called a tenderfoot. "Tenderfoot in the barefoot running world is someone who is still getting use to running without shoes. Both amateur and professional runners are tenderfoots when they first start using barefoot techniques. Some barefoot runners believe that one remains a tenderfoot until the joy of running barefoot has been passed to another."

2.) There is actually a best time to start barefoot running. Richards and Hollowell recommend transitioning to barefoot running either before or after the running season. Here is why, "Barefoot running requires repetition and a keen awareness to reroute the hard-wired methods you (and your brain have developed. Not worrying about maintaining high mileage, hard training or racing means less pressure for you to push yourself too far (or fast) too soon. Dedicated athletes can keep in shape by practicing another athletic pastime such as swimming or biking." 

This is one thing I screwed up on when I attempted transitioning to barefoot running initially. I think I needed to transition before fall (when the weather changed) instead of late fall. I had no idea how to run barefoot in cold weather.

3.) There are emotional benefits to running barefoot. "Reflecting back on childhood moments of being barefoot in the grass or on the beach, or at the park brings back nostalgia which plenty of people can relate. The emotional satisfaction that occurs when you feel the sand between your toes or grass underfoot is undeniable."

4.) There are mental benefits. According to Richards and Hollowell Michael Warburton explains in an article that appeared in Sportscience, "[sic] when shoes are taken out of the picture, proprioception (or one's own perception) is maximized. This enables the runner to more readily control balance coordination and overall mindfulness of the matter the terrain."

5.) There are a number of physical benefits to barefoot running
  • It makes your lower legs, feet and arches stronger. 
  • It helps promote a more natural stride
  • It helps athletes run more efficiently and with less injuries
For me the physical benefits include no more knee and back pain when running. PRICELESS!
    6.) Switching to barefoot running isn't going to happen overnight. You have to be patient, persistent and have pride in what you are doing.

    7.) Yes you are going to step on/in things you don't normally do (ex. glass, thorns, rocks, sticks). The more you run barefoot the more you will be aware of your surroundings and adapt.

    8.) Most barefoot injuries are from basically trying to do too much too soon. So you have to pace yourself.

    Stay tuned for more as this idiot learns how to run barefoot :).

    Want to learn more about barefoot running? Check out The Complete Idiot's Guide to Barefoot Running. Hey we could do a Diaper Derby Mama Book Club! AND Check out the following AWESOME blogs that are barefoot runners:
    Barefoot Angie Bee-http://www.barefootangiebee.com/

    Why I Run-http://jenintraining.blogspot.com/

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