There is much debate in the running community about barefoot running these days . The author of Born to Run, Chris McDougall, a book largely responsible for the increased interest in barefoot running, was in London this week and gave a talk hosted by Terra Plana. It was interesting to learn that he does not do all his running barefoot but only when the terrain allows. He accepts that it is important to learn how to run and that it is not just a question of getting rid of your running shoes and running as if nothing had changed.
He and I are in agreement on that score. However, he does not favour ‘transitioning’ and feels that the runner should go ‘cold turkey’. This is where he and I disagree. Although I am a Vibram Five Fingers wearer these days and I do some running in them, most of the time I wear a running shoe that has a little more protection in them. Four years ago when I decided to focus on running technique, I took some ChiRunning lessons. At that time, no-one could have persuaded me to start running barefoot or even in minimal shoes, given the particular injuries I had. Many people feel this way. If you have been running for a long time, I believe it is better to start working on your running form in the shoes you are in and gradually reduce the amount of support and cushioning. If you have just taken up running, then choosing a minimal running shoe is a great start. In both cases, you can mix it up with a little barefoot running and still get the benefits of enhanced proprioception while allowing your body time to adapt.
Posted in Technique