In short, if you are not accustomed to barefoot running then your foot will get injured and you will not be able to go to work the next day. So, make sure you know what you are doing.
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When to Run Barefoot?
Barefoot running is encouraged by many trainers because it helps you improve your fitness and increases the pressure on your foot’s muscles. This makes them strong and powerful.
Start Running Barefoot Gradually
To practice barefoot running, you should be properly trained for it so that your feet don’t get injured.
The best way to do this is when you walk barefoot everyday. While there aren’t any tracks available for barefoot running, but you can start by walking barefoot on the treadmill.
Here is how your progression should be every day for the first few weeks
Barefoot Walking On Treadmill (Progression)
– Barefoot walk for 5 minutes (day 1)
– Barefoot walk for 10 minutes (day 2 – 5)
– Barefoot walk for 15 minutes (day 5-10)
– Barefoot running for 5 minutes (10-15) + barefoot walk for 5 minutes
So on and so forth.
You can change your routine depending on your level and the type of treadmill you have. If it is an automatic treadmill machine, perhaps you will need to spend more minutes running as you won’t be pushing the belt through your feet.
Experts In Favor of Barefoot Running
Christopher Pauls and Len Kravitz, researchers at the University of New Mexico, recommend starting by doing other activities barefoot, such as walking around the house, gardening or walking in a grassy park.
They say that this will help you adjust to long periods of barefoot walking. By starting running for short periods at a reduced intensity, you get accustomed to strikes and may be pain on the feet. Eventually, you will adjust your stride to a midfoot strike, no longer focusing so much force on the heel. (Source: Livestrong)
Experts Against Barefoot Running
However, at the same time, you will find many health experts who are seriously against barefoot running. They say that the treadmill machines are unclean and pose great risk to user’s health. Michael Warburton, a physical therapist and marathon runner, says that the environment poses a host of hazards to unprotected treading. You will need a clean and well-maintained treadmill if you want to tread barefoot. Moreover, he advises that the users should at least check the equipment before treading otherwise they can get blisters on their feet.
Advantages of Barefoot Running On Treadmill
– Helps you get accustomed to hard floor. Many sprinters use hard floor practice as a way to train faster.
– Experts have cited in International Journal of Sports Medicine that barefoot running requires less oxygen consumption than covered-foot running
– It also helps you bear pain and makes leg muscles strong
– Atheletes around the world use barefoot running as a way to reduce ankle sprains and chronic leg injuries.
– Barefoot running also allows you to adjust your stride to a midfoot strike, no longer focusing so much force on the heel.
Treadmills to Buy for Barefoot Running
Treadmills are a perfect way to train for barefoot running. They have soft belts and no hard objects. This makes the running experience fun and lasting. You will get different conditions on real ground because dust, splinters, and even sharp objects are usually available.
– Always consider a soft belt-style treadmill to make yourself comfortable while running at a greater intensity.
– Make sure that the treadmill has a comfortable mat texture so that it reduces friction between the feet and the belt’s mat
– Treadmills should produce less heat during the run. If it produces more heat, user’s will not be able to run on the belt
– Also make sure that the treadmill is equipped with a deck suspension system. Otherwise, the user will not be able to keep their balance.
Considerations for Barefoot Running
– You won’t be allowed to run barefoot if you are in a gym. Gym instructors don’t want to be held responsible for any injury due to treadmill equipment.
– If you are running barefoot in public places, make sure they are absolutely clean. Otherwise, don’t even try running barefoot as it can cause a lot of damage.
– Another way to run barefoot is by wearing rubber socks with grips. There are shoes available with minimal rubber that keep your feet protected while allowing you to feel the ground during the barefoot stride.