Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Barefoot running: it takes a thief

When learning to run barefoot, it helps to have a teacher. And sometimes it takes a thief.

I'm not talking about felonious acts here; think closer to home. Think about sneaking into the kitchen to steal a cookie after whoever the powers that be say "no more cookies".

You're able to open and close the cookie jar silently. But you also need to make sure your steps are not heard.

So of course, you go without shoes. But think also about the way you step:

  1.  In order to step lightly, you use your whole foot.
  2. You plant your foot carefully, first the ball of your foot and then your heel follows; it reaches the floor ever so slightly.
  3. By the time your heel touches down, the muscles in your leg and ankle have absorbed all the impact of the landing, so there is no pounding and no noise.
  4. You also make sure you take shorter steps, is it lessens your chance of losing balance or taking an awkward step that will pound the floor and reveal your illicit acquisition of that cookie that you legitimately needed.


Who said nothing could be gained by swiping those cookies? You've just learned a basic, important technique in barefoot running, and how to make your feet smart like you. Sometimes, it takes a thief to teach us how to do something the right way.

I must give credit to my own running coach, Michael Sandler, for the original idea. While I learned to steal cookies all by myself, Michael taught me, and many other who have attended his lectures and clinics, how to make into such a noble pursuit.

Thanks, coach!

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