Having no athletic background, it’s difficult to find my running groove. Most times, when I run, I don’t raise my knees high enough, my pace is too slow, and my shoulders are too stiff. To be honest, I don’t even know what I’m doing is right or wrong. And the more, I tried to adjust my running form to what I thought it’s supposed to be, the more uncomfortable and awkward it felt.
Everything changed when I tried barefoot (bf) running for the first time. To cut a long story short, I find running shoeless more liberating and more natural, and less awkward. I no longer over-analyse my runs, and instead, I just let my feet do the talking nowadays. This more relaxed approach has helped me improve my running time over 10 KM. I still have a long way to go before I can be classified as a bf runner. Meantime, I will continue to run barefoot because it just feels like the right thing to do.
So, how exactly did my running form & time improved without shoes? My guess would be for the following 7 reasons:-
- I am more alert and focused during the whole race because I have to concentrate fully on the road ahead and avoid stepping on any sharp objects or my next step could be my last one.
- My running form has improved in the sense that I am more likely to strike with my mid-to-fore foot. In contrast, to when I am running with shoes, the thicker heel padding would strike the ground first.
- I exercise more foot muscles including the calves and the Achilles’ heel as there is no artificial support, padding or protection that shoes would otherwise give,
- I am less likely to develop blisters because the feet are well ventilated and there is no friction when there is no shoe lining to rub against the foot.
- Going uphill feels easier & faster without shoes.
- Having greater feel of the road, means I can adjust my body weight and running speed easier and faster, especially when going downhill.
- I feel more motivated to run barefoot faster and smarter as I know I will be inspiring runners wearing shoes as they would be thinking, “if he can do it without shoes, then I got to do better with shoes”.
My longest distance barefoot so far is 12km, and my ultimate goal is to run a full marathon barefoot. Before that, I got to train hard with other more experienced bf runners, and compete in more runs bf.
If you are interested to track my progress go to my FB page here.