Running barefoot for coach Jeff is all about 1 thing…being injury-free! This applies no matter what the season. Those living in true winter conditions (temps below 0C, snow, ice, slush, cold trails, asphalt, concrete, rock salt, gravel) know how tough it is to run period – let alone barefoot!
Here’s my list of key preparatory techniques for barefoot (and I mean TOTALLY barefoot!) running in winter conditions:
* 3 to 6 months of ‘fair weather’ barefoot running on all types of terrain over gradually increasing distances as the soles of your feet toughen
* extensively practice ‘cupping’ the feet as you hit stones, pebbles, gravel – anything that could potentially puncture or cut your feet. This will condition you to ‘scoot’ along rough surfaces without excessive pain
* get in at least 4 runs per week as the fall turns into winter & temperatures start to dip. You want to condition the feet to circulate blood more efficiently than normal, thus keeping them from freezing
* carry your Vibram FiveFingers or similar minimalist shoes as a precaution. Normally, you will NEVER put them on
* run your 1st 1 or 2 kilometres in some type of footwear & then shift to barefoot. This will make the transition to cold, winter surfaces much easier
* mentally fight through the thought “this is CRAZY. I could DIE out here” and think WARM. You’ll be surprised at how warm your feet become as you run further. They actually stay warmer than if you were in ‘coffins’ (shoes)
Why Bother?? Well, again, it all comes down to running injury-free. I for one have not found a better way than barefoot to do so – and that’s more than reason enough for me!
Here’s to more of you joining the coach running barefoot in the ‘trenches’ of the Canadian winter!!