Written by Barefoot Dawsy
The hardest part about learning to run barefoot is the actual learning to run barefoot part. It’s not as easy as just taking off your shoes! Without carefully easing into your feet, there’s a very real risk of injury that can put back not only your barefoot running, but also shod running as well.
The reason for this is that your feet have become accustomed to being supported on all sides by soft, cushy shoes. Even if you’ve never run before, chances are you’ve worn a pair of shoes nearly every day of your life since you could walk. All this mollycoddling has taken its toll and your feet are going to need some serious rehab before they’re ready to take to the streets.
Over the next 6 weeks, I’m going to walk you through the steps required to strengthen the muscles in your feet and get your soles used to touching actual ground. You can follow along with the program from week to week, but don’t worry if you are unable to complete each stage in seven days. Each of us are different, and even if it takes a year to transition comfortably, then that’s fine…better to take too long than to risk an injury do to transitioning. I can’t promise that there will be no discomfort involved or that you’re not going to want to just start running, but I can promise that if you follow this plan you’ll stand a much better a chance of safely adapting to barefoot running than you probably would without it.
The key to this program is following it as closely as possible and not rushing through it, even if you think you can do more than is prescribed. I can pretty much guarantee that once you have your shoes off you’ll want to hit the road and start running, especially if you are already used to running in shoes. But hold back, follow the program and take it slow. There is nothing more disheartening than doing too much too soon and finding yourself sitting on the couch for 3 weeks waiting for an injury to heal.
For the next six weeks, there will be a weekly training article that will talk a bit about barefoot running and suggest some exercises to ease you into it. At the end of each week’s training plan, you’ll find a scorecard. It will contain a couple of questions that will determine if you’re ready to continue to the next stage. Only once your scorecard is successfully completed should you continue onto the next stage.
If your scorecard tells you that you are not ready to progress to the next stage, simply repeat the previous week’s exercises until you can pass and continue on. Remember that there are no points for getting to the end the quickest. This process will teach you to listen to your body and not over-extend yourself early on. Once you make it to the end of the program, you should have the skills and awareness to continue your training in a safe and comfortable way.
With all that said, let’s move on to week 1’s session: Baring Your Soles