I’m having the hardest time choosing the perfect ‘soundtrack song’ for this post. Do I go with Alicia Keys or Glen Hansard? Or maybe Shakira would be more appropriate, since the key to this falling sensation when running barefoot starts in the hips.
Confused? Let’s start again. All musical references aside, let’s try children’s movies, shall we? If flying is just falling with style, then barefoot running is less pounding the pavement and more flying. (Bonus points if you know which movie that’s from!)
This week’s barefoot running tip is to let your feet land under your body while you lean ever so slightly forward from your hips until you feel a falling sensation that propels you forward.
Don’t waste energy ‘pushing off’ or even ‘toeing off’ as you run. That’s a great way to get blisters faster, but I doubt that’s your goal. If you want to avoid blisters and conserve energy, let your forward momentum come from the weight of your body ‘falling’ forward.
Other barefoot and minimalist running techniques like the Pose Method and Chi Running are great (and all very beneficial) but this is one key point where those methods differ from Ken Bob’s technique (if you’re just joining us and you don’t know who Ken Bob is, check out his book Barefoot Running Step by Step. I follow his method of barefoot running.) Pose & Chi Running teach a full body lean, but if you remember from week 1, it’s important to keep your head and torso upright to maximize air flow and keep proper posture.
Notice how my feet land underneath my body instead of striding out in front. (Also notice that I’m sans my FiveFingers. I have to say, going completely barefoot is amazing! I know I said before that I wanted to ease into pure barefooting, but I realize now that was the wrong move. Learn to run barefoot first to perfect your form, then move to minimalist running shoes if you want.)
Try this drill: Stand in place with your knees bent. Start to lean forward very slowly until you feel yourself falling. Take a couple steps, then reverse your direction by leaning backwards. Repeat this 4 or 5 times. That’s the sensation you should shoot for when running barefoot.
Don’t forget to RELAX as you run. Shoulders, calves, ankles, hips.
Any questions, concerns, or success stories from new barefoot runners? How is your technique coming?