Running Barefoot…Should You Try it?

Hot weather is finally upon us! The question is…have you ever thought about ditching your shoes along with your parka?

Last weekend, we packed up our new Delica and headed to Port Renfrew to soak up some rays. The weather was perfect, so naturally I had to get a workout in. What better time to exercise while enjoying a view of our pristine coastline?

Here’s the difference between my other workouts: I did my workouts on the beach, in the sand, and barefoot. Man, did I feel it the next day. Here’s a few pointers on why I did and if losing your kicks is right for you…

  • If you wear shoes, you tend to strike the ground with your heels first. Running in that pattern can lead to potential injuries such as stress fractures or achilles tendinitis…or my personal favourite – shin splints.
  • However, if you’re running barefoot, your natural stride leads you to land on the balls of your feet first. This way of running has much less impact.
  • Think of it this way: Being barefoot is obviously what is natural to us. Wearing running shoes will make your feet do something they’re not designed to do…which means they don’t have to work as hard. If they’re not working as hard, they get weak.
  • If you’re free of the constriction of shoes, your body listens to what you need. This means a shorter stride, automatic hip/ankle/knee flexion, and a softer landing.

Beware: Your calves will be angry at you the next day! Again, they’re not used to working that hard, so take it easy when you’re starting out. Start with a 5-6 minute walk followed by a 1 minute jog.

**If you have existing foot or ankle problems (or any history of lower body injury), please consult your doctor before trying a barefoot run!**

Once you’re accustomed to barefoot running, try this sand circuit on your next beach excursion. Your body will thank (read: hate) you!

  • 10 Burpees
  • 20 Shoulder Taps
  • 10 Decline Pushups (Feet on driftwood)
  • 10 Squat Jumps
  • 20 Crunches
  • Shuttle Sprint 30-40 feet to a marker (Driftwood? Sippy cup of wine?)
  • Recovery jog back

Repeat 3-4 times

  • Jog the length of the beach 2-3 times, depending on the stretch

Don’t forget to stretch at the end of your workout!

 

chika
My view during my barefoot circuit…and my workout partner standing watch!
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