If you have found this post in the chances are you have already started your homework into running barefoot style or changing to a neutral or forefoot running style. The reason I started looking into barefoot running was the reason that most of us do, and that's injury prevention. Historically I have tried running. I've tried training for the London marathon. I've tried running 10k. The result was always the same. Bad knees, tight ITB bands. In the end I just gave up. That was until I read about barefoot running.
My session with Vivo Barefoot was a half day running on the treadmill being filmed in bare feet. We were explained the benefits, all the standard information that you probably have already read about. e.g. more natural, we are designed to run like that, cushioned trainers are the evil devil when it comes to running, your body is designed to run and we are actually quite good at it (chasing down deer and other mammals). Basically until the invention of cushioned shoes we all used to be amazing runners and then ‘jogging’ was invented. Also the inventions of modern footwear stops our feet growing correctly and resembling a sort of hand / foot hybrid like they should do. I am not saying all that is true and many people think the opposite but I found it pretty convincing.
So it is the fault of my trainers that has stopped me being able to run a marathon and also prevented me being a professional athlete. There was me thinking it was my lack of fitness and general lack of training. At least I can blame it on the evil corporations and cheap shoes my parents forced me into.
At the time everything makes sense. And it still seems to make sense. While we were at Vivo headquarters we stood on a device that measured our feet and areas of impact and force .. No we are not flat footed. In their eyes it is all about adjusting your training to become the next Mo Farah. Training in their eyes includes squats, skipping and of course running. So after my training I'm thinking that’s it. Sign up to a marathon. Get out there and run. I'm good to go.
So I went out and bought myself some Vivo shoes shoes. The professional version (apparently). With a cadence meter plugged into in my shoes I knew I was running at the recommended 180 steps per minute. It was great. Running injury free, 2 km no problems, 3 km no problems…. Arrr, Calf muscles. Switching to a forefoot will load your calf muscles like never before. And they will burn. Don’t run too far in the direction away from home, because you may just find yourself limping back. Very slowly.
Like anything, you want to build up slowly. I did build up my training and I got faster and a much stronger runner. But it was time to welcome a new running injury, shin splints. You can read more about that on this blog post.
So after building up working through the issues has been changed in worth it? Completely.I run with no music, with a decent cadence and listen to my feet hitting the floor. Trying to make the steps as silent as possible. Maybe I need a bell when approaching pedestrians from behind. But remember, changing running style will not happen overnight. This is a long, slow process.