Written By Barefoot Dawsy
If I had a nickel for every article I’ve seen or every quote I’ve heard that talks about how running is “all about conquering pain”, I’d be able to buy a pair of minimal shoes in Australia.
Running should be a pleasant and fun experience. Sure, there will be times when you want to push through fatigue or need to walk off a stitch, but on the whole, you shouldn’t be hurting when you run.
I think that this perception of overcoming pain contributes greatly to the incredibly high injury rates we see among runners (30-80% depending on who you ask). Rather than stepping back and asking themselves why they hurt, in many cases runners will try to push through it, often with disastrous effects.
This marginalising of your body’s response to injury is present across the board, and can even be found in some barefoot running circles (albeit on a much smaller scale).
The fact is that pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. More often than not, if you listen to what your body is trying to tell you, you can correct the problem before it gets any worse, and it will stop being a problem for you going forward.
As with everything, there are edge-cases, such as Olympic performances, where overdoing it may get you that little bit closer to the podium. Sure, this will work, but it will ultimately catch up to the runner, and may even end in an unecessarily early retirement due to injury.
Barefoot running is all about getting in touch with your body and learning what it tries to teach you. We all have inside us the tools and instincts required to be phenomenal runners. All we need to do is pay attention!