As the creator of The willPower Method®, I’ve been training people to “trust their feet” since 2000. Until now, most of the work I’ve done, however, has been in the safe confines of 4 studio walls (usually beautiful ones, that also offer a clean floor). Now that I’ve partnered with Vibram Fivefingers® I take my barefoot study everywhere!
When I was sponsored with Nike for my work in the barefoot arena, it was when the Nike Free shoe was first launched. I ran the Nike Women’s marathon and a bunch of 1/2 events in the Frees, and people thought I was nuts. Fast forward 5 years, and now I’ll be running the Nike 1/2 – in Vibram FiveFingers®.
Wearing FiveFingers® is essentially barefoot – except the feet are not really naked. They have a great layer of rubber wrapping them up for protection. The foot will move as if it were bare: articulating properly, and dissipating ground reaction forces as it should. Vibram recommends that your first run should be with naked feet, so that your body reacts as it should – with a bit of trepidation – rather than a full-blown pounding run, which is what typically leads to running injuries.
You should try it – just take your shoes off and run down your sidewalk – head out for about 3 minutes, and then return. Does this sound crazy? It’s not. Once you strengthen your feet and learn proper technique, you’ll be a runner before you know it! You’ve just got to believe that you can. If you’ve always wanted to be “that person who runs” then you should become that person. It’s going to take some self-disciple to get started – and a lot of self-control to progress slowly. Can you do it? Challenge yourself, and be a winner.
Simple tips to get you started.
Land without a sound. If you run with completely naked feet on concrete, you’ll understand. You *need* to stay light on your feet. This means: engage your core, and pay attention. Have respect for your skeleton as it hits the pavement.
Land on your forefoot or midfoot (the ball of the foot or middle of the foot). You will need to determine the foot strike that’s best for you. Yes, your heel will touch down for a microsecond, but you should *never* land on your heel first.
Posture is important! Stand up tall, keeping your shoulders over your hips, and your hips over your ankles. Take quick, small steps. If you are just learning, your focus should be on barely clearing the ground, and landing without a sound.
A high cadence is highly recommended. Really high. 180 steps per minute. One great tool for helping you keep your cadence is a metronome – you can download one of many free apps to your smartphone, and run with it.
The BEST tip I can give you? Progress slowly. (Please?) It feels great – easy, natural, effortless. So – let’s just remember – not too much too soon, ok? You wouldn’t want to get injured and be out of commission. Your first few barefoot runs should be a max of 10 minutes. Yes – really. Even if you’ve been running for years, chances are you’ll need to start all over again. It’s going to feel like a new skill as far as your feet are concerned.
Is this all you need to know? Of course not… but it’s a start.
A virtual coach!
Are you still a little nervous? If you can’t attend one of my workshops, the next best thing would be letting me coach you as you run… Vibram FiveFingers has developed “virtual coach” track of music that you can download for FREE to your smartphone. The music will pace you. I will coach you. All you have to do is run. Let’s go!