Saturday, April 6, 2013

Barefoot Running: Start easy...on a hard surface

Ready to run barefoot? Almost? Maybe? Does it still seem weird or scary? No worries. The best advice is to start easy. Go maybe 100 yards at the end of a regular run in shoes.

Shoes make great hand weights, and also make good arch supports for after a barefoot run. I'll  have much more to come on that in future posts.

Running barefoot means more than conditioning the skin of your feet. Lots of muscles in the ankle region get lazy from wearing shoes, and building them up needs to be done gradually or else you'll have miserable fatigue that will sideline you. I know this from experience since I didn't have a coach in the first year. I was fortunate to meet perhaps the best coach in the business, Michael Sandler, who laughed as he nodded to acknowledge my mistakes that he understood how NOT to make having been a coach for decades.

I now coach others, since I've made the mistakes and got good training since then.

SO here's some advice from coach to coach to the new barefoot runner: start easy, but also on a hard surface.

The grass is a great place to warm up to the new movements. Total freedom of movement for the foot is a brand new concept to many runners.

My new students will spend maybe 20-30 minutes on the grass, and then we go right to the pavement.

It does NOT hurt, and here's why, your feet are free to move. And so are your legs. The range of motion increases, and with proper landing technique, your muscles from the properly bent legs and feet absorb the shock of landing INSTEAD of your joints and bones.

A 100-yard, gentle run can be done by most anyone who does at least some running of any kind on a regular basis,. I'll have more information from my Guru Michael's book; Barefoot Running (published by Random House), very soon.

In the mean time, if you'd like a copy of the book, you can buy it on Amazon or at your local book store. It's the easiest how-to book I've ever read, and it's actually fun to read.

You can learn more about Michael and about the book at

Don't like to run? The walk! and walk barefoot!  Michael and his wife, Jessica Lee-Sandler, just released a new book called Barefoot Walking, also for sale on Amazon and at your local bookstore.

Many blessings to everyone on this fine Saturday!

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