When you’re used to hanging out with barefoot runners or, at least, with people who’ve read Born To Run, you forget how “normal people” think.
One of the questions I’m most asked by non-barefoot people is: “Can you really run in those?”
What amazes me about this question is not how people have forgotten that, for tens of thousands of years, this is exactly what humans wore to run. What amazes me is that I’m usually asked this question by someone who has been watching me run in my Invisible Shoes.
Well, don’t just take my word for it, though.
Check out this great race report by Alan Thwaits and see that, yes, you can run in these
Posted by Barefoot Running | Posted on 10-12-2010
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I’m often asked to make a video showing correct barefoot running form.
To say that I’m reluctant to do so is an understatement. And I want to take a moment to say why I’d LOVE to point you (and everyone) to a video that shows “correct” form, I can’t… and don’t really want to.
- There are MANY types of “good form.” How you use your feet and legs depends on the terrain, your speed, the condition of your feet, the strength of your calves, your body type, and many other factors.
If you listen to different barefoot running teachers, you may notice some of them contradict each other when it comes to “good form.” It’s not that one is right and the other is wrong, it’s that there’s not ONE WAY for everyone. So, I couldn’t point to one video, I’d have to point to a dozen.
- The most important skill in barefoot/minimalist running is learning to listen to your body (sensations) and to learn to make adjustments based on what you’re hearing.
If someone learned “the way” to run (or even a few ways), and the terrain changed in a way that made that particular style inappropriate, and they kept trying to do “the way,” they’d be trying to fit a round peg into a square hole (or a straight foot into a shoe with a curved last, if you will).
Think about this simple idea: The way you run going uphill, downhill, on a flat, or on a trail will not be the same. Ditto for running at 10 minute/mile pace vs. sprinting.
Your body and your sensations are the best teacher once you know the absolute basics (think about lift your foot off the ground, try to be light and quiet, aim for landing on your mid- or forefoot, etc.)
- It is a VERY rare human being who can watch a video, and then accurately imitate what they see. It is, on the other hand, common for people to THINK they’re imitating it and be off base.
Hell, when I’m working with my sprinting coach, he’ll show me a simple drill and I’ll be doing it right next to him and I won’t be able to replicate what he’s doing… and he’s giving me moment-to-moment feedback… and I’m a former All-American gymnast thanks to my ability to pick up movement patterns.
Remember that one of the other great things about running barefoot, or in barefoot running shoes like huaraches, is re-igniting that childlike sense of curiosity, play, experimenting, and exploring.
Don’t miss out on that opportunity by looking to imitate “the way.”