I’m sure you were able to read my article about Huaraches and many have raised their eyebrows about them. In fact, it’s one of the most read article to date! Raised eyebrows mean heightened curiosity about minimalist running. 🙂 On a personal level, it left me curious about the benefits of running barefoot and how it will affect/effect a flat-footed runner like me.
I was invited to attend The First Annual Run Barefoot 2010 yesterday, November 30, 2010 at R.O.X. BHS. The speakers were authors of Running Barefoot, Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee. The two are real advocates of barefoot running and they even gave their lectures while barefooted.
There were 3 parts of the discussion (that’s according to my understanding of the session): First, why barefoot running and how they started or was introduced to barefoot running. Second, drills, exercises, and tips to efficiently run barefoot. Third, recovery.
So why barefoot?
As a kid, we learned to walk and run barefooted but as we grow old, we started using shoes and since then the biomechanics of our foot that is equipped to run barefoot has changed. Normally, we strike with the ball of our foot but running in padded shoes alter this natural mechanism and that’s when we shifted to being heel strikers. Heel strikes, as we know, can cause stress injuries such as knee pain/chondromalacia patella.
Here are some benefits of running barefoot:
- Strengthens the muscles of your feet
- Realigns posture
- Develop a more natural gait
- Runners will learn to land on the forefoot
- Improve balance and proprioception
How will it benefit a flat footed runner like me?
Well they shared some exercises/drill to help improve the arch of the foot.
- Claw walk. Do small steps and imagine your toes are claws everytime your toes touches the ground
- Run with small strides and strike on your forefoot. This will strengthen the arch plus simulates forefoot running
- Grab a golf ball using your toes.
Eventually your soles will strengthen and improve the arch of the foot. They also suggest using flats as high-heeled running shoes displaces your center of gravity thus compromising running efficiency.
After the talk, they had us remove our shoes (and socks) and lead us outside of R.O.X. to simulate barefoot running and claw walking. We did a couple of yards there.
At the end of the session we were given treats from Chewy Junior:
Some more pictures:
Thanks Sir Jinoe for the invite.