The #Coach Breaks Down The #Benefits of #Barefoot #Running:

Having run barefoot every summer from the time I could walk till age 14 and then going back to it at the ripe old age of 50, I KNOW 1st hand its numerous benefits. Switching out of the coffins (running shoes) was not a difficult decision. After many years of running injuries that were totally avoidable (as I have now discovered), it was a no-brainer to go barefoot. If I wanted to continue running, it was imperative to:

  • assess HOW I was running
  • activate my sensory feedback loop within the body

Only by doing so could I run safely and efficiently with next-to-no risk of avoidable running injuries. I thus began by:

  1. discarding any and all coffins that I had been running in for years
  2. doing a series of running-specific drills barefoot on different surfaces (grass, dirt, smooth gravel, asphalt, concrete)
  3. learning how to brace my WHOLE body against the downward pull of gravity (landing light and quiet with no skeletal stress)
  4. doing short (2 to 3 kilometres) runs with a fast foot turnover cadence and a quiet, stable upper body
  5. stopping whenever I felt my self hitting the ground too hard or flat and making too much impact noise. I then refocused on bracing my whole core to get tight and compact, thus enabling me to continue running light and forward

As to the benefits to me of running fully barefoot on a daily basis over at least 70 kilometres per week, they are numerous. To list a few:

  • no more avoidable running-related injuries (the most important benefit)
  • no post-run or race muscle soreness or fatigue – no matter what the terrain, distance or pace (initially, I did not believe this was possible BUT I do now!)
  • improved blood flow from the feet and lower legs, thus allowing me to flush out exercise-induced toxins quickly and efficiently (I know this is happening due to the fact that I never cramp nor seize up)
  • better posterior muscle chain activation (especially by running backwards on a weekly basis) which in turn leads to correct posture, better balance and almost 100% body symmetry
  • faster race times even as I approach the middle of my 7th decade. I simply move more efficiently with less resistance and contact time over longer distances. In other words, I run away from other runners without appreciably increasing my effort

I keep trying to find reasons NOT to run barefoot if only to ‘fit in’ with the majority of the ‘civilized’ world who think I’m certifiably crazy. Then, I wake up and realize for all of the reasons listed above (and a good number more) that the majority of the planet PREFER to walk and run barefoot. They would have it no other way! Thus, I continue to avoid any type of coffin!

Take a few moments after reading this, get barefoot and do some light running on the spot, hopping forward and backward, bracing your core and trying to run forward and backward without making a sound and squat, fall forward and catch yourself with short, quick mid-foot strikes. Then, tell me you prefer running in coffins!

coach Jeff

 

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