Are you just starting minimalist running, thinking about starting, or just trying to increase your mileage? We thought we would share the information that we’ve learned over the past 5 years transitioning to running/walking barefoot and in minimalist footwear .
Ease into it
Gradually transition into your new minimalist footwear. Almost all serious injuries caused to barefoot style runners comes in the initial transition stages. Even though your feet and body feel amazing and think “Hey – I could go another 5 miles” – do not listen to yourself. Your body has become accustomed to running and walking in supportive shoes for most of your life and will need to be slowly ease into the transition to minimalist footwear.
Too much too soon (TMTS) can cause foot stress fractures which can easily take months to heal. Our best advice is to slowly and consistently increase your mileage. If you begin to feel any pain in the top of your feet – take a running hiatus until it recovers completely.
Running with the correct barefoot style running form matters. There is, however, no one right way to run. We like to analyze videos of runners who’ve never worn shoes and try to imitate their grace. Here are a few quick points we try to work on while running. To improve your running form try the 100 up exercise before and after each run. The exercise breaks down your running motion to reinforce good technique. If nothing else it serves as a great pre-run warm-up.
Don’t strike the ground with your heel first. You’ll find that you naturally want to strike the ground with your forefoot or mid foot. There’s no exact recommended spot (forefoot or midfoot) – just do what you find natural.
After barefoot running for a couple years, I now strike the ground more on my mid-foot area as that feels more natural for me. Experiment to find what kind of foot strike is most comfortable and natural for your body.
Short, Quick Stride
Get rid of the long stride you may be accustomed to. The shorter your stride the less stress you put on your body when your feet meet the ground. If you start to feel aches or dull pains on a run try to noticeably shorten your stride – it may help reduce impact.
Good Upright Posture
Keep good upright posture while running. Posture will help keep your running form in tact when you start to get lazy after some mileage.