Barefoot Diaries: Learning to run again
The first blog in a four part series. Dan from Run With Stockholm tells us about his experiences as he transitions into barefoot running, from a lifetime of running in 'normal' shoes.
I took my running shoes with me on a recent holiday to Slovenia, with the aim to fit in some running in between relaxing and enjoying time in the sun by the lakes and in the mountains. Packed with me were a pair of road training shoes and my Vivobarefoot Primus Trail SGs. My intent is to start transitioning into more barefoot running, after a great first experience at the off trail race in Trillevallen (near Åre in the Swedish mountains).
“There is something really special about the feel of your foot and the connection it feels to the ground.”
Going to Slovenia, I was also looking forward to finding some more off-trail mountain running, the type I do not get in Stockholm. My first two runs in Slovenia were around Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, two beautiful lakes in the north-west corner of Slovenia. They are picturesque in the summer, and the perfect place for people who love being in nature with a mix of lakes, rivers and mountains to choose from.
My next two runs (6 km and 8 km) were trail and off-trail, so I wore my barefoot shoes. There is something really special about the feel of your foot and the connection it feels to the ground in this minimal shoe. I noticed this from the first time I wore them. For me it is the most noticeable difference between traditional shoes and barefoot shoes like the Primus Trail SGs. Because I have worn shoes with thick soles for so long, I had become used to this disconnect between the feet and the terrain you are stepping on. Now I was feeling the ground, whether that be dirt, grass or stones.
In barefoot shoes, I became more aware of where I was stepping, how I was stepping, and my stride length. There is no doubt that having greater feel for the ground in the soles of the feet was the cause of this. The feedback you get from a stride with more of a heel strike is immediate, and this can only be a good thing for improving my running technique to more forefoot landing.
“In barefoot shoes, I became more aware of where I was stepping, how I was stepping, and my stride length.”
At the same time, as I started to run barefoot in Slovenia I felt a little nervous, and this is because I have heard of problems during transition like plantar (the tissue at the bottom of the foot) fasciitis or Achilles issues. For some people, issues can occur when the muscles that support the foot are too weak, which is a concern for me given I have always run in shoes. But I did not have any soreness after my barefoot runs in Slovenia, or any pain in the Achilles, so was very happy.
Overall I feel like the first barefoot transition runs in Slovenia were a great success, and I will continue to incorporate barefoot running sessions into my routine in Stockholm, where I am currently training for the Lidingöloppet.
Hear more from Dan on runwithstockholm.com
Dan was off-road testing the Primus Trail SG. It's on it's way to VIVOBAREFOOT will be available soon for pre-order.
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