Barefoot Running – Mens Journal

So I had an epiphany this morning, or so I thought.. turns out not so much.

This morning I read an article in the most recent issue of Men’s Journal about whether or not it was really better to run barefoot.  I have yet to master running in shoes, so this is way out of my league, but something in the article did catch my attention.  They described how the stride technique is much different for barefoot running versus with shoes.  You don’t land on your heels, but rather the balls of your feet, you take shorter strides and it’s a lot less impact.  Seeing as how I have almost no cartilage left in my left knee, lower impact is a good thing.

So I got to thinking at work today, maybe I’m running wrong and that’s why I’m having such a problem.  The author of the article recommended that stride technique even with shoes.  So I decided when I got home I would try it.  So I did a quick lap around the neighborhood (0.58 miles in 8 minutes) and tried it out.  My first jog lasted a little over two minutes before I got tired and stopped to walk, and then on my second jog I switched back and forth kicking out my heel or landing on the front, and on the front I could tell it was lower impact from the lack of a jolt to my lower back, but besides that it wasn’t a huge difference.

I’m not sure what I was expecting especially as a novice runner, but I think I sweet talked myself at work and had it in my head that it would be so much easier and less painful and I wouldn’t get tired and I’d be jogging like 10 minutes without stopping. Well, obviously that didn’t happen.  I was so convinced I was doing something wrong and that changing something up would suddenly lift the veil and be like “Oh so THAT’S what I was SUPPOSED to be doing…. ”  Now I’m just confused.

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2 Comments

  1. There are these shoes called Vibram Five Fingers (http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/)
    -they’re basically thin shoes with toes in them. I got a pair because I love being barefoot all the time and these shoes give you that feel because they’re light and you can really feel what you’re walking on when you wear them.

    I didn’t know about the whole barefoot running thing when I got them–I’ve only found out about that in the last few weeks. I got the Sprint version, which are made for running, so it worked out to give them a try!

    When you wear these shoes to run in, you HAVE to land lightly on the balls of your feet because it’s uncomfortable to come gallumphing down on your heels. I ran about a mile in them last week and I noticed a big difference from running in athletic shoes in that my calves were really sore when I finished running. I enjoyed it, but I had to stop sooner than I normally would have because my calves just said NO MORE!

    So I guess with barefoot running, you end up working a different set of muscles (or maybe more muscles?) than running in regular shoes. If your goal is going longer right away, I don’t know if this technique will be of use–it certainly wasn’t for me. It seems it would be possible to go longer over time–like I said, I suspect it uses a different group of muscles…

    • Yeah, it’s not really going barefoot that I was interested in, but more the different technique, but it didnt really make a difference. Like I said, I kinda talked myself into it being a magic pill and it wasn’t. I’ve made a lot of progress but I’m still at 290 pounds. That’s a lot of ME to move around, maybe I’m just not ready for full on running quite yet, but I’m still working on it. The article mentioned the Vibrams, and I’ve seen them other places. I think they are weird, but I guess if you’re gonna run barefoot anyway and just would like a little bit of protection from the elements you wouldn’t think they were weird.


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  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.