“We are challenged by fear!” The words of Chris Bull who is training to take his tightrope walking skills to this year’s Glastonbury Festival. Chris wears VIVOBAREFOOT shoes and in the video Chris talks about the VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi: “It’s basically a flat sole that feels like you’re walking barefoot”
The first thing to notice is the thin sole. Immediately, you feel close to the ground. The barefoot feeling can never be fully replicated in a shoe but if you need protection from the weather or the terrain, this is the alternative. The removable insole also allows you to choose just how barefoot you want it to feel.
The 4mm sole achieves a nice balance of allowing you to feel the ground whilst at the same time protecting you from stones and thorns with its puncture resistant sole. The lack of heel to toe height difference will take some getting used to for those unaccustomed to it and some runners may feel like they are slapping the ground as they run. However, with a sensible ‘breaking in’ [learn more about transitiong properly to barefoot] period the muscles of the feet and lower leg will relax and adapt to the new sensations allowing the foot to land in a more relaxed fashion. This is when you can begin to enjoy the feeling of running closer to how nature intended and start to use your VIVOBAREFOOT shoes as a training shoe.
I hope the title caught your attention. Fact is I had the most amazing experience learning proper barefoot running technique from the coaching team of VIVOBAREFOOT. I literally felt liberated and born again, no exaggeration.
Of course, it’s not as simple as just taking your shoes off and running. Luckily I had the priviledge of learning from the students of Lee Saxby, the authority on barefoot running. A lot has been made of this book called Born to Run, Chris McDougall. The book that allegedly sparked a revolution. Well, Lee Saxby was McDougall’s coach. Also present (as a learner) was a London Marathon expert and advisor to over 50 charities on long distance running, Greame Hilditch. His book on running marathons has even helped BBC presenter Sophie Raworth to complete her marathon, a year after collapsing in one. It was thus an honour to be in such esteemed company, training in a centre just down the road from me at Premier Global, North London.
A friend introduced me to barefoot Parkour a few years ago. It’s quite difficult. In high-impact discipline practised on concrete, railings and walls, taking off your shoes seems like the last thing you’d want to do. The question of what was better for Parkour – thin, light martial arts shoes or heavily padded running shoes – was still very much open back then. But the benefits were clear immediately.
The first post in our series of blogs about running marathons and preparing for a lifetime of sustainable and enjoyable long distance running.
There will probably come a time, if it hasn’t happened already, when you will consider running a marathon. If you’ve made it this far to the VIVOBAREFOOT blog then you’ve probably considered doing it in barefoot shoes.
Before you start your training and even before you sign up to a 26.2 mile race there’s probably several questions you’ll have before you believe you can actually run the distance and run it in barefoot shoes.
For a healthy life regular physical activity is a more powerful remedy than any drug you can take for modern day epidemics.
Find out more … download the eBook – Proprioception: Making Sense of Barefoot Running available for free from the VIVOBAREFOOT Training Clinic.
What to do next? Transition to natural movement:
- Live barefoot, first. And be barefoot as much as possible (80% of the time is about right!). If that’s an issue our casual range of shoes might help.
- Learn to walk again, heel, ball, toe…engage the great toe and use the muscles, tendons, nerves and bones that haven’t been used correctly for 5, 10…50 years.
- Gain your strength slowly, perfect the motorskill milestones. Little and often, perfect the walking, squatting, jumping.
- Now try running a little.
- Get the ultimate feedback and film your self running.
- Get a second opinion from someone that knows what they are looking for.
- Build up slowly, very slowy, little and often.