Transition to barefoot…physical, mental and social.
March 08, 2013 by Jamie Page
This is a reaction to the recent findings of the Brigham Young University study regarding the importance of transitioning properly.
The word transition is now a commonplace term with runners, especially for athletes who have chosen to ditch the cushioned running shoes. The most likely journey is from jogger to unskilled runner to finally reaching the skilled runner.
But what does transition actually mean? In the context of running it is, as the dictionary definition highlights, the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. With barefoot running there is definitely a physical change but there are also inescapable mental and social transitions as well.
We want change now
There is a physical and mental change that happens almost instantly and naturally. Almost instantaneously the body informs the brain through the information it has received from the proprioceptive, vestibular and visual systems and in turn the brain instructs the body to react accordingly.
You change the way you run as it's just too uncomfortable to heel strike barefoot. We see it daily in the Training Clinic. We ask people to run in their 'normal ' running shoes. Then with no coaching or advice we get them to run barefoot. The difference is remarkable but the transition is far from complete.
Yes we can, together
The next state of change is typically one of a social nature and is often ineluctable. The reason: the heightened sense you receive from the ground as a result of taking your shoes off and your increased connectedness with the earth is quite difficult to keep to yourself. It's therefore very normal to tell people about it, share your experiences and link up with likeminded individuals and groups.
We experience this on a daily basis via our social networks and the number of connected communities continue to increase globally thanks to infrastructure of the internet.
Don't stop there, start here
Once the eureka moment has been realised it might feel like you are a skilful, natural runner. In some cases this could be true but in reality this is just the start of the transition. For many reasons, but most likely a lifetime of (and most crucially in childhood) wearing inappropriate footwear, the modern human has both software (mental) and hardware (physical) issues.
Therefore taking off your shoes and running your normal distance barefoot is likely to cause problems. It's pretty obvious! At this point it becomes very obvious the significance of good running technique and the importance of transitioning slowly, carefully and properly.
The good news is the body has all the technology you need so the challenge is to find the correct pathway to realise this potential – we can shoe you how…
But what is the proper transition
Author: Jamie Page
- 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.