People often ask “If running barefoot is all about changing the way we run, why can’t I just change the way I run, but still wear footwear?”
And that’s a very good question…
Why can’t you change the way you run while wearing footwear?
Technically the answer is “You can change the way you run while wearing shoes.”
So, “Why haven’t you changed the way you run while wearing footwear?”
And that’s because there isn’t any immediate incentive to change the way you’re running. More importantly, how would you know when you’re changing in the direction that is safer, or when you’re changing in a direction that is less safe? You won’t, not unless you pay some coach for their opinion (and it will only be their opinion). Essentially, while wearing shoes it’s difficult to know when you should be changing the way you are running, or when you’ve made the appropriate changes.
It’s much like throwing darts. How do you know when you need to change the way you’re throwing them? Because they’re missing the target. But suppose you’re throwing darts while blindfolded, now how do you know when you need to correct your aim? You don’t, unless someone else tells you when you’re getting close or not close.
And that’s how many people learn to run with “Barefoot technique” while wearing shoes – they have a coach, or a friend watch them and let them know what and when they need to change their running technique. OF course most coaches simply tell you to, “run harder”, or “run faster”, or “run further”, or “run more often” without much knowledge or concern about “HOW to run”.
You can hire a coach who, hopefully, understands what “good” running technique is.Even then, it is unlikely that the coach will understand the intricacies, the fine differences between his/her body and your individual body, and how it is working from year to year, day to day, over various terrains, step by step.
Feedback (coaching) from our bare soles is immediate and emphatic. You will know, if you begin on challenging terrain, right NOW if you should be changing the way you are running to reduce stress on the soles of your feet. Your feet can teach you, and they will, over time, help you fine tune your running technique, and adjust it as our bodies change, get injured, heal, from year to year, day to day, over various terrains, step by step.
Running barefoot is free, and your bare soles are with you every time you run, whenever your body changes (or doesn’t feel the same as yesterday), over ever-changing terrain, with each and every step you run barefoot letting you know in no uncertain terms (especially if you begin on challenging terrain) when you should change the way you are running, and more importantly, they will let you know when those changes are for better (more comfortable), or for worse (more painful).
The nerves in your soles don’t have any preconceived notions about WHAT good running technique is. They simply tell you when it hurts, that we are putting excess strain on our soles. If we make adjustments in our technique that makes our soles more comfortable, then we will have reduced the stresses and strains passing through the soles of our feet. Considering that all the stress, which we put on our bodies while running, passes directly through our soles, this is valuable information, not only for our feet, but for our entire body!
Posted in: Technique