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Friday, January 28, 2011

Excerpt from my email to someone trying barefoot running for the first time

Be prepared to be quite uncomfortable as first. This is new, this is something that your feet aren’t used to. Remember how slow you were at first when you started running? Go slower.

Definitely run on a smooth hard surface like asphalt to begin with.

You are NOT reaching ahead of yourself with your feet. Your mid foot touches down  then the rest of the foot, including the heel. If you don’t let your heel touch down, your calves will be in agony. They are going to be sore anyway.

A couple drills. Run on the spot, then run backwards for a few strides. This will engrain the proper feeling in your feet as to how the landing is supposed to feel.

Bend your knees and relax. Relax... Relax.

Literally only run  200 yards. Maybe.

Never on grass. Ever. Bad things hide in the grass.

Love it! You are going to love it.

Give it a week or two at these short distances, then put your shoes back on and run the rest of the distance you have planned.

Best of luck! If people look at you crazy, just make eye contact and say hi... That usually startles them because they are looking at your feet.

You can do it!



Added: Lift your foot at the end of the stride, don’t push off. let the natural spring in your foot do some of the work, don’t overstride…


  1. Excellent! That's pretty much what I tell people. I amazed at those who don't run barefoot always tell people run on the grass never on the sidewalk.. I'm constantly correcting them. :)

  2. I love that you break it down for us beginners. I need it that anyway. What helped me so far is when you said bend at the knee's. I could really tell the diffence in my calf muscle compared to when I was running with my legs straigter. Thanks for all the advice.

  3. Q: How do you run barefoot?

    A: Carefully!

    Preach on, barefoot preacher man.

  4. Oh how I wish I'd read all the instructions before setting out. You're right - bad things DO hide in the grass. For anyone reading ... The backyard can be a minefield when you own dogs and chickens.

  5. I agree with you. It's not comfortable at first as we're used to running with shoes on. After reading Born to Run, I was inspired to start running with just my own bare feet. It took me two months to get used to barefoot running and it's really great. By the way, study shows that barefoot running shoes can also mimic barefoot running. Protection and health benefits are just amazing. Check it out here.