So happy to have Amanda from Miss Zippy over on the blog today. She’s a mom, writer and RRCA certified running coach. She’s definitely a pretty amazing woman and I aspire to run (and tri) like she does. I love her blog and she always shares great tidbits and tips. Plus, she and I share a great appreciation for Ryan Lochte.
I’m so excited to have a chance to post here on Christine’s blog—she covers such fun, diverse topics. I thought I might add a bit to that diversity with a post on barefoot running, taking a look at some of the common misconceptions about it.
A little background, first. I’m Amanda from the MissZippy1 blog. I’ve been running for about 15 years and in that time, have come full circle, from traditional, built-up motion control shoes all the way to minimalist shoes and yes, even some bare foot running.
I made the switch about a year and a half ago after constant injuries had me sidelined. Like many people, I read Born to Run and was intrigued by the idea of “less is more,” but didn’t know how to start. And like many people, I did injure myself by doing “too much too soon” with bare foot running. But once I got my act together and approached it properly—read, patiently—I haven’t looked back. My body has never been more ache or pain free.
So how much of my running miles do I do in bare feet each week? Not many, admittedly. The majority of my miles are spent in a very minimal shoe (one with zero heel-to-toe drop). However, I do start a couple of runs each week in my bare feet because I believe it is the best form teacher and it helps keep my form in line.
Many people think running in your bare feet is insane and not made for modern streets. Believe me, I used to be in that camp, too. But now I know better and I’m thankful I have it in my tool kit.
That said, I get a lot of questions about bare foot running and I’ve put together a list of the most common myths surrounding it. See if this doesn’t change your viewpoint on it a bit, too:
Myth—The grass is the best place to run barefoot.
Truth—Not really. For one, you can’t see what you might be stepping on. For the other, the goal to bare foot running is to land softly. Grass is too soft a surface to give your feet the right feedback for this.
Myth—You’re going to step on glass, a nail, a hypodermic needle!
Truth—You become quite good at scanning the ground for any potential hazards. To this day, I have yet to hurt my feet by stepping on something sharp or harmful.
Myth—You need to build up callouses to run comfortably bare foot.
Truth—It’s more about building up the muscles in your feet than the soles. And surprisingly, your feet become quite soft from bare foot running.
Myth—You’ll have perpetually dirty feet.
Truth—I’ve found it’s really no big deal to get my feet clean after bare foot runs. Really, it doesn’t take much more than the normal shower/scrubbing to get them clean.
The biggest danger to bare foot running, I think, is doing too much, too soon. It’s really fun to run unshod and it’s quite easy to get carried away when you begin. My advice—take it much slower than you would ever think you need and you’ll be just fine. I encourage you to give it a go sometime!
Thanks Amanda for shedding some light on bare foot running. I must admit, I’ve been intrigued by bare foot running, especially having suffered various injuries from running.
Do you abide by the “less is more” idea with running shoes?? What other myths have you heard about bare foot running?
*** P.S. Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a pair of Mizuno running shoes! Giveaway is open until midnight EST Friday, August 24th. ***