Barefoot Running: Another Successful Run

I ran 2.25 miles today on the beach, barefoot. It felt so much better than my old way of running that I ran right past my stairs exit without realizing it and had to backtrack! I’ve read more of the Barefoot Running Step By Step book and now I know that the knees need to be bent bent bent. To get the idea across, the author compares himself to a crouching, running Groucho Marx. So I had a three part mantra as I jogged: head and back up straight, hips swaying, knees bending. And just like that, running has become easier.

The trickiest part is keeping an uplifted head/straight back so that my head was on top of my body while simultaneously concentrating on keeping my knees bent and springy. It feels a little like the two work against each other. But I’m guessing that it’s just a new technique for me and I need to practice.

And who doesn’t like proof that something’s working? My proof was in my footprints on the packed sand near the water’s edge: they showed that I was running with my feet less everted (turned out). As long as I kept my head vertically aligned with my body, my feet pointed forward much better. Amazing. This is what I was trying to do with Egoscue therapy but was not able to keep up the 30 minute daily exercise program. (I do however highly recommend Egoscue to treat musculoskeletal pain and strengthen specific muscles to bring the body into proper alignment – see egoscue.com). With my head on top of my body, running is definitely easier.

Barefoot Ken Bob writes that learning the correct way to run barefoot takes time. And that you will feel muscles you’ve not felt before. This is what I’m feeling right now, in my calves, balls of feet, and muscles right above the back of the knees. If I’m doing it right, gradually these stiff areas will feel less stiff.

More to come…

3 Responses to Barefoot Running: Another Successful Run

  1. Joe says:

    I am a new runner. I’ve never run in a race, or run a continuous mile even. However, when I wanted to start running, I learned about barefoot running. I researched it some more and discovered it was really the route I wanted to take. I was disappointed though, that there were no books on HOW to actually learn (or maybe there are, and I just didn’t find them).

  2. Amanda says:

    I’ve never run a race either. But maybe one day…I am very glad I found the Barefoot Running Step By Step book so that I could learn the correct form before embarking as a barefoot runner. I’m up to 20 minutes, barefoot on the road. Without stopping! And it feels great.

    Let us know how you do…

  3. Please forgive me for discovering your blog entry so late, but I wanted to say that experimentally-minded athletic walkers are also very interested in this kind of “Groucho-running” technique. In this experimental kind of walking, the only rule is always to have at least one foot on the ground, so that the leading foot makes contact before the rear foot leaves the ground. The fascinating thing is that many ultramarathon runners may actually be within this definition of walking during much of their long races, although it’s not necessarily their intention to maintain what we call “continuous contact” with the ground. They may simply have learned through experience that it’s a very low impact and sustainable technique to help them go the whole distance (often 50 miles or more). While the Groucho kind of technique is walking from a classical view — always at least one foot in contact with the ground — it’s very real running from a biomechanical view, since there’s a “bouncing” form of propulsion, just as in ordinary running which has an aerial or “float” phase where both feet are off the ground. So this is the kind of thing that can bring together runners and adventurous walkers. I’d love to learn more about your technique.

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