Hey, it’s time for an actual barefoot running related post. Here are four of the most common mistakes barefoot runners make and how to avoid them.
- Too much too soon (TMTS–one of the many annoying and lame acronyms barefoot runners use. Another one is TOFP-top of foot pain.)
The thrill of running with naked feet can be packed with deadly dangers. The sudden rush of new and exciting sensations seduces the barefoot neophyte into immediate long distance runs and into using words with dorky diction such as “neophyte”. Unfortunately, chronic shoe wearing enfeebles the mighty Achilles tendon. Arch support and heel raising make the Achilles tendon frail and stunt full extension. A wimpy Achilles will cry out when forced to handle the manly tasks of barefoot running. As a result, it can become agitated easily. Take it easy on the Achilles. It will smite the sissiness of shoes, but it will need some time to recover from a lifetime of being spoiled by shoes.
Running without shoes also swings all of the muscles of the lower leg into action, especially the calf.
For these and other reasons, one should be rather conservative when learning to run barefoot.
- Too much tension and stiffness
Barefoot running form demands a relaxed and fluid body. The stride for barefoot running is much different from the typical heel strike of the shod runner. The feet land beneath the hips, forming a straight line from head to toe–barefoot running does NOT involve heel striking, the legs do NOT dramatically extend in front of the body. Don’t heel strike in barefeet!
- Too much pushing off with the ball of the foot and toes
You want to lift your feet, not push off on your toes. If you develop the hideous ugly blood blister on the balls of your feet, toward your toes, you are most likely pushing off and thereby placing way too much pressure on your calves and Achilles. When I started running barefoot I had terrible blisters because I had bad form. Since I changed my form, I have yet to get a blister! Here are some excellent videos of the proper barefoot stride.
- Too much pain, not enough discomfort
Separating pain from discomfort can be tricky. To improve performance discomfort is required. That’s just the way the body works, you have to push it past the comfort zone to achieve results–as Jillian Michaels says, “to change your body you gotta put stress on it.. when you put stress on the body, your body’s gonna adapt.” But you have to know when to stop, that is, you must push yourself just beyond your limits to improve, but not too far because pushing too far could mean crippling injury. A dash of discomfort is fine, but PAIN is an alarm signal for injury. Basically, soreness is OK to run through, but SHARP SHOOTING PAINS are NOT.
- Benefits to the Body from Barefoot Running (jillwillrun.com)
- A Simple Way To Ease Sore Calves And Achilles’ Pain (beginningbarefoot.com)