So…what do you do when you hear about other people being successful barefooting but can’t see how it could be possible for you?
You want to give it a go (You are reading these words after all) but the whole thing just feels impossible.
Well, the first thing to realise is that you are not alone. I speak to people who feel like that all the time. Some have never really done any running and some have a lifetime of running behind them.
My dad is one of them. He is now over 70 and has been a runner all his life. He looks at my barefoot exploits and shakes his head. He is determined that he couldn’t do it. For him,he says, it is impossible.
He has no real injury worries and runs with beautiful form and so he has no motivation for even trying it out. He will continue to believe that he can’t possibly do it even though I know full well he could if he needed to.
I think that is the point.
Many of us come to a point where we can no longer continue doing the same thing we have been doing for years.
It isn’t working for us anymore.
For me, I feel like running in conventional running shoes is impossible rather than barefoot running. I think that my point of view is more reasonable. I was designed to run barefoot rather than in built up shoes. But…..My dad will never accept it.
Unless…something or other means that he needs to.
There is a reason that you are reading this. You can see that there are plenty of runners successfully adding barefoot running to their lives. However, you may also have heard tales of barefooters breaking down injured and are convinced that you would be just the same.
It happens but…..It doesn’t have to be like that.
It is perfectly possible to find a simple and safe way to make barefoot running a reality for you.
Here are few things to consider:
- Why are you reading this? What is your story so far? Is running the way you do working well and allowing you to run safely and relatively free of injury?
- If the answer to the last question is Yes….. you are fine and running really well…… then good luck to you. You are one of those rare souls who is just like my dad. If not then consider why you are continuing to do the same thing but expecting a different outcome. I have heard that described as the definition of madness. It may be time to look for a new approach. Barefooting might just work.
- What is the specific thing or things about barefoot running that you think is impossible? Tough question. It can be hard to single out a particular reason especially for an activity that feels so alien to you. Have a look at our list of 33 barriers to barefoot running. Do any resonate with you? Sometimes it is good just to acknowledge those worries and say them out loud.
- Read a few success stories. You could start by having a look at our Real Barefooters page and joining our facebook group.
- If you have still think it is impossible, post your thoughts in our group. We have a family friendly community and there will be people who thought exactly the same and overcame it.
- Find a safe way of beginning that starts where you are at. Downloading the Barefoot Beginner guide (In the sidebar to the right) is a good place to start. It will guide you through your first steps at your pace.
- Let us know how you go on. My first barefoot run was 40 seconds. Think about that. I didn’t begin by taking off my shoes and running a half marathon. I managed 40 seconds on a smooth road before I had to slip on my shoes and walk home.
- Finally, remember that barefoot running is not superhuman, it is very, very human. If you are human (make up your own jokes) then running is the thing you were designed for and we don’t arrive in the world with Nikes attached to our feet. We arrive barefoot. As I heard Matt Wallden (Primal Lifestyle) once say. He comes from a long line of barefooters. He was born barefoot and so was his mother before him. You are just the same. Why on earth do you think that you are not?
Still thinking that it impossible for you? A few more things to consider:
So…If we know that going barefoot is as human and natural as breathing, why have some people got to the point where they just think it is impossible for them?
We live in a modern world, where we have lost touch with the fact that we are animals just as much as all the other species that inhabit the earth. In the hurly burly of everyday life, it is easy to forget that we too were made to survive on this earth we inhabit.
Shoes can be used very well to protect our feet so we assume that they are a universally good invention.
This is not the case.
They can protect our feet but also be the cause of so many problems. We can learn a lot here from the treatment for horses. If a horse is lame, one of the first things to do is remove its shoes. Shoes are often the cause of the problem.
We became adapted and our feet are one of the most amazing structures in the animal kingdom. They are part of a system that allowed us to move around quickly with minimum body contact with the floor.
It must stand to reason that the part that is designed to touch the floor is superbly adapted to provide feedback to our brains that allow us to move around quickly and safely.
But….only if we let them actually touch the floor. T
The foot is designed to work in a complex way. It needs to be able to splay when it touches the floor, the toes need to spread. We need those nerve endings to feel the ground beneath them.
At school, we learn about our ears being responsible for our balance and of course they play an important part.
But..they are not the only part.
The soles of our feet also play a vital role. The way the foot moves fires muscles in our legs and lower back at just the right time. Those who say they can’t barefoot because of a muscle problem or back problem are exactly the people who should give it a go.
It is a belief thing.
Sometimes we just can’t see ourselves doing something because it seems so far from our normal experience.
So…..challenge your assumptions and make sure that what you think is the case is actually true
Choose one barrier at a time, overcome it and get out there. It might just be the best thing you ever do.
I asked the Barefoot Beginner community what they would say if they had a minute with someone who said, ‘Barefoot Running is for other people. It is impossible for me.’
We had lots of responses and the final word goes to Nichola
I’m so lucky. I’ve gone barefoot most of my life and I’m almost 60 now. I only wear shoes to work or when going out and even then I’ll often slip them off. My early school photos show many of the class in bare feet.Now I wouldn’t class myself as a barefoot runner because I definitely don’t run as much as I should. My feet are bare more often than not. I don’t have leathery soles or cracked heals.What I’m saying is Take your shoes off wherever possible. Get used to being barefoot more than shod and then it won’t seem so unnatural when you go out to run barefoot.
It really is possible if you take it one step at a time.