Barefoot running is great fun, but starting is not so easy. Here are a few tips that I wish I got when I started:
- Start with short runs! Don’t run for more than 5-10 minutes for the first few times, and don’t run much longer too quickly. Your calfes will thank you!
- You don’t have to run barefoot all the time to enjoy the benefits!
- Transitioning from a full-on technical running shoe to barefoot is not a good idea! Better buy running shoes with a lower drop, 6mm or 4mm, than after a while 0mm. Merrell and Inov8 have some great transition shoes!
- Don’t overdo the forefoot running! Many barefoot beginners -including myself- make the mistake of running on the forefoot too much. Your forefoot touches the ground first but your heel still touches the ground. Don’t try to absorb all the weight with your calf muscles, that’s impossible!
- Shorten your stride! Try to take 180 steps per minute. Music with 180 bpm can help you get the rhytm, if that doesn’t work, many sportswatches have a cadence-function!
- Buy some casual barefoot shoes! Try to be barefoot at least 80% of the time, your feet will thank you.
After a while, your calfes will get acustomed to barefoot running and you will be able to run longer distances and get used to running with a higher cadence! Barefoot running is much more fun, especially trail running, where feeling the ground gives you much more control, and you can focus on nature because it’s nearly impossible to sprain your ankle when you are that close to the ground!
If you want learn more about barefoot running, there’s tons of videos on youtube and vivobarefoot has a great educational website (http://www.vivobarefoot.com/us/learn).