Barefoot running is an endeavor that needs effort. We cannot just take up minimalist running right away after years of wearing well-cushioned traditional shoes. For my part, I had been so used to wearing bulky-heeled footwear that running barefooted would simply feel as if I am running naked! People like me should learn how to build up my running stamina barefoot style before embarking on running barefoot to prepare my body for the rigors of the endeavor.
Due to years of wearing cramped shoes that boxed in my toes and compressed my bones, my bones got deform in the process making them weak and prone to injuries. Such well-padded footwear has trained my feet to be overly dependent on the cushions, which actually hampers the natural state of things. Our feet are actually designed to stand on its own, without the benefits of any footwear. We had been born into this world fully equipped to survive without further need to enhance anything, and that includes our very own feet. It has been designed to withstand supporting our bodies in walking and running barefoot.
Of course, we do have to consider the outside factors such as the terrain and the weather, which can affect that capacity to survive on its own. However, generally speaking, our bodies have been genetically designed to function at its maximum capacity without further assistance from other factors. This capacity has been proven by our forefathers who have run the face of this Earth barefooted for thousands of years. If not for anything else, running barefoot seems to have given them stronger leg muscles and feet.
The challenge of running barefoot
We can probably stand without any fuss running barefoot under a controlled environment such as inside our own yard, in a gym or controlled running field. However, when we talk about trail running or running barefoot in long distance through uncontrolled terrain, that could be quite risky, that is altogether another story. Only a few, those who have the stamina to run barefoot through these unfamiliar thus dangerous terrain, would dare to take up the challenge of running barefoot. For us who had trod on grounds with much protection from padded shoes would not be able to withstand such rigors which may only be taken up by a select few. From reading various resources, I have learned that the risk of barefoot running is greater for neophytes or for those who have not the stamina for such rigorous undertaking. Although the endeavor would be difficult, it would not be impossible to hurdle, given the courage and determination. First however, I need to learn how to build up my running stamina barefoot style.
Why build up running stamina first before undertaking minimalist running?
If you are someone who likes to make shortcuts, well this is one of those undertaking that you should never take shortcuts of. Doing so will not only be dangerous but might maim you for life, if you are not careful. Why build up our stamina to run barefoot? First of all, when we take up barefoot running, we shed the traditional shoes which are well-cushioned and which we believe protects our feet from the shock every time our sole strikes the ground. Running barefoot leaves our feet to the mercy of the direct impact with the ground with only a thin sole in between to help absorb the impact. In minimalist running, the shock absorbing now rests on our very own feet and if it has not gain enough sturdiness throughout the years of wearing padded shoes, then you will probably suffer with the transition. That is why, it has always been recommended to make a slow but sure transition to minimalist running. The goal of this is to allow our feet to build up the strength needed to withstand the rigors of barefoot running.
Learning how to build up my running stamina barefoot style would be a slow and meticulous process that is much I know. I have read somewhere that for the likes of me, I could start by walking barefoot in my own yard, feeling the grassy or the sandy feel of the ground beneath me. Perhaps, I could do this from 3 to 5 minutes a day, until I have developed enough strength in the soles of my feet to withstand walking on rougher and harder grounds. I would be the lone judge of this since I alone know what my body is telling me as I try to develop my stamina for this kind of concept. I would have to do this until such time I am able to withstand running on hard ground for some minutes without wincing. It is to be expected that I would get blisters and scratches the first few weeks of that transitioning. However, I also know that with time, my feet will be able to grow stronger, skin of my soles thicker and muscles sturdier as time goes by. As I apply the lessons learn in how to build up my running stamina barefoot, I would probably be able to transition to barefoot running in no time, without much hassle.
How to build up the barefoot running stamina?
The only way I can learn how to build up my running stamina barefoot style is through application and practice. This means, if I want to strengthen my feet to enable it to endure the rigors of barefoot running, I must start adhering to the concept of minimalism. This adherence should not only be limited to every rigorous activities I engage in but should also extend to the other areas of my life as well, such as going to work and attending other routine activities. If I want to build up my stamina, I need to do several things for my feet and for myself.
- Engage in regular physical and mental exercise that will help you energize your life. Exercising the mind also help you set up goals, achieve them and analyzing your accomplishments in order to do better the next time. You should set up a regular training plan, which are achievable, to which you will adhere.
- Strengthen my feet by walking barefoot around the house then extending to the yard, nearby parks, beaches and familiar grounds. This undertaking does not only help us build our strength but also enhance the efficiency of our other organs in the body such as the lungs and heart, which ultimately will redound to our overall health benefit.
- Aspire to do better each time but do not overdo it. Listen to what your body tells you. If your muscles are screaming with pain and fatigue then you must have probably overdone it. Never disregard what your body tells you. However, if the walking or the workout is becoming easier for you, push more past your limits up to the extent that you can endure. This is an exigent factor to developing your stamina.
- Engage in other forms of exercise or workout that you enjoy such as biking, swimming or playing active sports. Although this might have no bearing to learning how to build up my running stamina barefoot, it will help build up my overall strength.
- When you are all ready for barefoot running, your body will be able to tell you that. Learning how to build up my running stamina barefoot style will help you determine if you are now ready or not yet.
Photo by: NexusJay