Following on from my post about whether Peter should start with shoes and then transition to barefoot, or start barefoot from the go, I stumbled upon an article - The Barefoot Route - about running barefoot in which the following useful bit of advice is given on starting out...
According to exercise physiologist and Olympic marathoner Pete Pfitzinger, the key to starting out is to go slowly. He advises walking barefoot for a few weeks to toughen up the skin on the bottom of the foot as well as the muscles in the ankles and feet. Once you are ready to run, start with a mere five minutes, increasing slowly and running barefoot every couple of days. From there, build to up to 20 minutes over a month. After a few weeks of this, the feet and ankles will be stronger, thus reducing the risk of injury. Possible places to train include sandy beaches and golf courses.
The barefoot running technique has been described as falling forward. It has also been described as gently kissing the ground with the balls of your feet. If you need one more concept to meditate on while running barefoot, imagine that a log is lying across the path in front of you; you don’t want to kick the front of the log with your toes. You want to step over the log with each step, keeping your knee bent and placing the ball of your foot immediately behind the log as your chest moves over the top of it.
The article is a good read and provides some useful information and answers some questions people have about the thought of running barefoot My favourite question answered is...
“What do you use for arch support?” some might ask. “My arch,” is probably usually the first answer that pops out of the mouth of die-hard barefooters.
Damn right. That's what it's there for 😀 . Time for another barefoot run for me.
Oh, and if you think you get strange looks running with Vibrams, you should see the looks you get when running completely kaalvoet.