Barefoot does not mean Barefoot Running!
July 19 run at the Day Breaker Half Marathon was tough. The weather sucked everybody’s energy.Extremely high humidity levels with near zero wind made breathing labored for all and even the best of “Play Dry/Stay Dry” fabrics were put to shame. While catching my breath at the finish line I got asked by a few why I was not running barefoot since Barefoot Science is what I have been teaching across the country.Well, the biggest learning of this science is that a) It does NOT necessarily mean running barefoot and b) It is valid for practically ALL activities without doing them barefoot all the time.
It is about understanding the need for strengthening the intrinsic fabric of the foot as a load bearing structure. You load it simply by the act of standing too! Its about appreciating how your feet impact your balance, stability and define movement efficiency, how they determine your propensity for injury,(for young and old alike) and how you can use barefoot programming to activate and reap benefits of a stronger, faster nervous, muscular and skeletal system.This advantage can easily be transferred to the shod (with shoes) environment.
Demands of certain sports require that they be played in shoes.This does not mean that these athletes cannot and should not avail the benefits of barefoot training. As a warm-up, as an active routine or used in the rehab setting, barefoot training can be structured to meet the demands of the client, athlete or patient. It can play a valuable role in addressing the needs of ageing. As people age they lose nerve sensitivity and the response time between external nervous stimuli and motor response becomes delayed. This impacts neuro-judgement (if I may call it that), often resulting in fatal falls. Many chronic aches, injuries and postural and movement based issues (from bottom to top) can be aided by incorporating barefoot training in rehab protocols.
If your goal is to run barefoot, as with every other sport, build up to it gradually and intelligently.
But you don’t have to be running barefoot to be barefoot strong.