When Petra Steffens (@Petrateksttaal) recently asked me to help her out on an article about barefoot and natural (barefoot style, but with minimalist shoes) running I didn’t doubt for a minute. Ofcourse I want to share my experience! Hence this blog. One of Petra’s questions sticked with me; “How do you start barefoot or natural running?”
A little googling gives you an enormous number of search results. A lot of these results are about technique. When spoken about steps, it’s about the literal steps. And when tips are given, most of them are about a series of techniques to apply.
I rarely come across the tips I gave Petra. According to me there are three steps you should take before starting barefoot or natural running seriously. These steps are:
Barefoot or natural running is not something you do overnight. It’s not running on a new pair of shoes or with a new app on your smartphone. No, it’s a drastic change, it takes time, patience, persistence and discipline. So, before you start; know what you’re going to do and why. Start reading about the subject. There’s plenty online. Got time for a book? Try ‘Born to run’ by Christopher McDougall. Watch videos on YouTube, e.g. the Dan Lieberman videos. Look for expert blogs, search for them on Twitter, follow Barefoot Ted (@BarefootTed) for instance. Learn from their experiences and ask them questions.
2. Experience! Clinic or training
Still interested? Your probably even more curious then before and dying to experience natural running or even barefoot running now. Want to try? Then look for a clinic nearby. If you happen to live in The Netherlands like me, Ruth Langemeijer (@Feetback020) can help you out. Or look for a track club with barefoot / natural running trainers. Here you can give it a go in a responsible way, under professional supervision. Most likely they have got a pair of minimalist shoes you can try on if you do not want to go barefoot right away.
3. Go / no go
You’re now at the point where you can make a well-considered decision. A go or no go on barefoot or natural running. If you choose ‘go’, then get a pair of minimalist shoes and start off with a schedule which gives your feet time to get used to their freedom. They will hurt but it will pass. Just as long you remember to listen to your body and act responsible! Personally I experience that running barefoot give my feet the feedback I can improve my technique with. Helps when you’re running on minimalist shoes again as well. Furthermore I’ll advice to run under supervision of a barefoot / natural running trainer. You’ll be surprised about how much he or she can teach you every week!
My running buddy Cees, with who I started barefoot / natural running, reviewed this blogpost. Thanks Cees!
Do you consider to go out running barefoot or natural? Take it seriously and you will have so much fun, experience the benefits and satisfaction. Please let me know!