Is barefoot runing really that difficult or do we make it seem harder than it really is?
Recently, I asked over a thousand barefoot runners what they thought were the barriers to barefoot running. What things prevent people from actually taking off their shoes and giving it a go?
We sometimes make barefoot running seem more difficult than it really is.
Why do we do that?
If barefoot running is such a pure and simple thing, why do we talk about and intellectualise it so much?
We certainly don’t do it on purpose and maybe if we can understand a few of our reasons then we can remove some of the mystique and help new runners find their way.
We talk about all sorts of stuff, often in great detail.
I have been asked more than once why barefoot runners talk so much about shoes. My theory is that it is because barefoot is so simple. If we didn’t talk about shoes then we wouldn’t have anything else to talk about.
You also need to remember that as an online community, we are spread all over the globe and we come together for the camaraderie. When we do that online, we chat because there isn’t much else to do. Pretty soon we start getting into the minutia of the subject and it can all end up feeling more complicated than it really is.
Many of us have been searching for a solution to our injury problems and experience a kind of awakening when we discover barefooting. We just have to share. That was certainly the case with me and it can lead to an unintended evangelical tone to some discussions that can seem a little daunting or overbearing to the beginner.
We discuss barefoot running thoroughly because many of us are questioned about our barefootedness repeatedly. We find ourselves defending our position and want to have well formed arguments ready in case of derrogatory or disparaging comments. We don’t want to do something just because it may be the latest fad. We want to make sure that what we do is backed up and has some substance.
We feel the need to reduce risk. In today’s society, we have a tendency to believe that we should reduce all risk and educate ourselves thoroughly before embarking on something new. Forums and discussion groups spring up and we talk about every single aspect of a pursuit in great detail. I am sure that is not restricted to barefoot running.
Forums are great places to make our learning curve less steep but can leave our heads spinning with contadictory advice. We don’t know who to believe and so end up reading more and more. We get what is known as ‘analysis paralysis’. We can’t begin until we have read just one more article.
And unfortunately, there is a feeling that some runners can come across as a bit grandiose about barefoot running. I have read discussions were some barefooters have been disparaging and elitest with anyone who disagrees with their point of view.
No specific group own barefoot running. It is for everyone but I know that when I first started reading some forum discussions, I came away with a feeling that it was for other people and not me. That was simply not the case.
Barefoot running is an inherently simple pursuit. You take off your shoes and run. We can treat it a simply as that and learn the detail as we go or we can study to the nth degree before we begin.
My advice is to learn as much about barefooting as you feel you need to. Don’t be put off by some of the detailed discussions out there. They are perfectly valid but you don’t need to know everything in order to begin.
Download the Barefoot Beginner Guide and start today.
Think about it, but don’t over think it. You will learn more in 40 seconds of actual running than in a year of reading about someone else doing it. It really can be as simple as that.
Come and join in the chat in our Barefoot Beginner facebook group. We are a warm and friendly bunch, you will be made very welcome.
We run, we chat and we smile.