All About Bare Foot Running and Minimalist Shoes
I cannot forget the site of my mom sitting in front of TV guzzling mugs of coffee drooling over Milind Soman, talking about his barefoot running in the marathon and minimalist shoes. And I was like ‘uff! How can mom be so crazy about old uncle ji… :P’ but then a look at Milind’s muscled calves and I got the answer for her craziness. LOL
Well take a look…. He is actually…. Hmmm!! well something 😉 Mommyyy 🙂
What is Bare Foot Running?
Barefoot running, also known as minimalism or natural running, is simply running without shoes or running in thin-soled shoes. Running barefoot is considered to be the natural way of running and some cultures like Tarahumara in Mexico still foster this idea. Barefoot running remains a controversial topic and many argue it might not be suitable for all runners. Minimalist runners, or runners who run in minimal shoes or barefoot, argue barefoot running can correct a runner’s form. It has the potential to foster a forefoot strike, which can result in fewer running injuries like IT Band Syndrome, Runner’s Knee, Shin splints than those who run with a heel-strike.
History of minimalist running
It was in 1960 Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila, the greatest Olympic marathoner of all time, won the first of his consecutive gold medals without shoes and made a world record and later joined in the mission by runners like Zola Budd. But it wasn’t until 2009 that barefoot running became a hot topic.
Why run barefoot?
Studies have proven that less weight on your feet will improve your running efficiency and decrease your time. Research has also shown that barefoot running forces the foot to impact the ground differently. Running shoes typically make runners strike the ground with their heel first, whereas barefoot running changes the gait to a forefoot strike. It strengthens muscles of foot arch and feels great.
How to Start Running Barefoot
The more minimal a shoe the more your foot, ankle and lower leg have to work to maintain and support the body in motion which means the foot, ankle and calves have to be stronger.
Some ways to begin strengthening to transition to barefoot running are:
Strengthen the lower body and core
Practice weight-bearing strength exercises barefoot
Begin to incorporate short intervals (seconds to minutes) of barefoot walking around the house while continuing to use minimal shoes walking or on the elliptical.
Practice patience and flexibility.
Minimalist Running Shoes
Following the boom of barefoot runners, running shoe companies came up with the Five Fingers shoe, also known as minimal shoes. Minimal running shoes are an alternative for runners who want to try barefoot running but also want to protect their feet from dirt, water, rocks and other roads hazards. The barely-there nature of the shoes put little between you and the ground, imitating barefoot running so you don’t have to put your vulnerable soles at risk. Here again Milind wearing those minimalist shoes.
Precautions of Barefoot Running
Land gently on your forefoot and gradually let the heel come down.
Don’t overdo it or over stride.
Build up slowly and be patient.
Stop and let your body heal if you experience pain.
Stretch your calves and hamstrings carefully and regularly.
Listen to your feet. Stop if your arches are hurting, if the top of your foot is hurting, or if anything else hurts.
To end I would like to quote my mom’s favourite 😛 ‘THE MILIND SOMAN’ who points out that once you take off your shoes, you can feel the difference instantly, but it took him two years to fully understand the difference between running barefoot and with shoes Quote: “Shoes make you weak. You run on a heel, so your weight is in front. It’s a completely wrong stance. The stresses in your body when you wear shoes are all unnatural.”
Will you feel comfortable with Bare Foot Running and Minimalist Shoes?
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