Barefoot-Running Pitfalls Can Be Avoided

One writer suggests not trying to run too far when first experimenting with barefoot running. Photo: Lakeridge Patch

One newly minted minimalist shares his thoughts on the subject.

Lakeridge-Occoquan Patch writer Mike Conway was recently inspired by Christopher McDougall’s bestseller, “Born to Run,” and decided to give barefoot running a go. Before doing so, he tried to contact legendary shoeless runner, Barefoot Ted.

“He very politely expressed his regrets that he had no desire to speak with me,” Conway wrote.

His first experience sans shoes was on his usual 4.5-mile route.

“I felt great while being careful to run on the balls of my feet so there would be less impact on my knees and more fatigue in my calves,” Conway noted. “The change in my running style activated muscles not typically engaged.  I felt inspired and invigorated by the change, but ended up tearing my feet to absolute ribbons.”

Afterwards, Conway consulted Rodney Wells, who leads a group called Barefoot Runners of Northern Virginia and DC. Wells suggests that runners apply the principles of gradualism when trying to go barefoot. Conway shouldn’t have run nearly five miles for the first time barefoot; rather, he should have taken off his shoes for a minute or two at the end of his run.

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