Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bare-Foot Running for Fun

Bare-Foot Running for Fun

By: Julia Sisler

Rating: ***

Bare-foot running is something that many of us experience as a child and almost all of us love the freedom of just running and lollygagging without any shoes.  Well recently, bare-foot running has become surprisingly popular among adults as well...

Julia Sisler talks about a load of new things she found out from interviewing a few people about bare-foot running in this article, and demonstrates the many different ups and downs depending on the person.  Rod Begg, a member of the Barefoot Runners Society online forums loves doing this sort of thing.  For him it all started a while back when he wanted to give it a shot and was of course very nervous and was constantly searching the ground for any small rocks or other rubble that might cause harm to him.  But after he finished his run, he realized he didn’t encounter the slightest bit of pain throughout, so he carried on with the activity.  Begg is now capable of running a full half-marathon without any shoes on, and says that it really all comes from the technique.  While bare-foot running, one mustn’t run as they would in normal running shoes because landing on your heels can cause serious damage without the absorption of the shoes.  He learnt that you must learn to land on the balls of your feet while running like this and at first it is extremely hard to get used to, but once you get it, it feels even more natural than running on your heels.  That’s because humankind was originally developed this way and Begg provides a few examples to that, such as if you see a child running in bare-feet you will notice that they are instinctively running on the balls of their feet, or if you go to somewhere more poverty-struck, you will witness the same thing as people run around to get water and other things.  Another helpful tip is that you must ease your way into running long distances bare-foot, if you just go straight to running a marathon then you will cause yourself some serious damage.  Dr. Barbara Rodwin at the Back to Health Wellness Centre here in Ottawa says that she seriously hopes that barefoot-running will be a quick passing trend, since it really does cause a lot of damage to the human body.  She especially advises that if you’re someone who has arthritis or large bunions then you really shouldn’t be out doing something like this...  She’s had many patients who have come in and have many problems that root down to the bare-foot running.  Begg says that he understands the risks but thinks they’re worth it for him since he thinks “It brings the playfulness back to exercise.”

I found this article to be extremely knowledgeable for me since I’m extremely fond of running bare-foot.  Alongside this I looked up videos of how to properly run bare-foot and since I never really stopped running bare-foot myself, I naturally already run properly on the balls of my feet.  Yet since I enjoy doing this so much, it was good to hear about many of the consequences that running around like this might bring and the harm that I might go through.  I don’t think this knowledge is going to be enough to stop me from running bare-foot since, just as Begg, I really do enjoy it but it is going to make me be a bit more cautious and aware of my surroundings for sure.  After all, I don’t want to be permanently damaged just because I was doing something stupid.

Sisler, Julia. “ Bare-Foot Running for Fun” Ottawa Outdoors: Your Outdoor Adventure and Travel Guide. Ottawa, Ontario. Dave Brown. Fall 2011. (pg, 7). Print.

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