Running Barefoot

It seems every few years a new fitness craze takes the country by storm. (Remember Tae-Bo?)  This time around, it’s barefoot running.

Christopher McDougall is the author of “Born to Run” and in it, he argues humans are meant to run sans shoes.  (really!)ph8qg3no(2)

He points to the earliest humans (Nike didn’t exist in the time of the cavemen, afterall) and the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico’s Copper Canyons as proof.  In the case of the Tarahumara, tribe members run hundreds of miles over rocky terrain outfitted only with flimsy sandals made of thin strips of rubber.

McDougall even takes it one step further and says sneakers are to blame for the injuries that plague modern runners.  He says the shoes’ cushioning lead to overtraining and overstriding.  Basically, if you run barefoot, you’re going to be lighter on your feet and won’t push yourself as hard if it starts to get painful.  (A valid point, I think.)

But foot doctors aren’t as convinced and a quick Google News search reveals the podiatric community seems to be split on the issue.

I have to say, the idea intrigues me and McDougall’s evolutionary argument makes sense, but I don’t think I’ll be kicking off the sneaks anytime soon.  We are talking about the streets and sidewalks of New York City, afterall.

If you’re braver than me, here’s some basic advice:

Start out slowly.  Like any new exercise, you want to gradually build up the amount of time you spend doing it.

And please, if you have pre-exisiting foot problems, ask your podiatrist first!


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2 Responses to “Running Barefoot”

  1. Fari Says:

    Eww….barefoot + NYC just don’t mix in my brain. BUT it does make sense though.

  2. The Joy of Running « Buff Broad Says:

    […] ago, I wrote about a book called “Born to Run” and its emphasis on running barefoot.  That post was based on several reviews and interviews I read, but since reading the book myself I’ve […]

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