Some Thoughts on Barefoot Running

Ben Pullham shares about running barefoot.


Barefoot running has been getting really popular over the past few years - largely as a result of the book Born to Run - and it’s been interesting to see how it has progressed.

Many runners have cast aside their traditional trainers in favour of minimal shoes like Vibram 5 fingers or have gone “all in” and given up shoes all together in the hope of a better running experience and I imagine, lower injuries.

While the theory of barefoot running is sound, the way runners are choosing to practice it is a little bit dramatic in my opinion. The body doesn’t respond well to drastic changes and anything you want to try with training, nutrition or equipment should be introduced gradually.

Rather than going from a structured, padded shoe into a pair of minimal footwear (or none at all), I would encourage a more conservative approach to barefoot running.

When I was racing professionally, my coach would have me jog to the track or a park, remove my shoes and run for 10mins on the grass to improve the strength the muscles, tendons and ligaments in my feet. After my 10mins, the shoes would go back on and I would complete the rest of my session or jog home.

This simple approach is all that is needed to gain the benefits of barefoot running but comes with significantly less risk.

Ben Pulham is the founder of Coached, a heart rate training programme that helps you optimise, track and enjoy your training. A former elite triathlete who has represented New Zealand at Triathlon World Championships, World Cups and in the Olympic Trials, Ben is a sought after endurance coach who has worked with thousands of athletes and many global brands including Under Armour, Nike, P&G, Apple, Standard Chartered, Facebook, Cisco and BMW.



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