Barefoot running exercises

Barefoot running continues to be a headliner in the running world. This week’s blog will provide some suggestions on exercises to perform to transition to barefoot running. In order to transition to barefoot running it is crucial to take time working on foot musculature strengthening as well as increasing the durability of the connective tissue of the foot to reduce the possibility of injury. Barefoot running form varies considerably from shod running. The primary differences include: forefoot initial strike versus rear or midfoot; shortened step length; and higher step frequency. Transition to prolonged barefoot running should take about 8-12 weeks with the ability to run one mile around the 6 week point.

•  Barefoot walking working up to 30 minutes
o  Indoors
o Outdoors
 Grass
 Asphalt
• Running form drills
o Forefoot to mid foot striking
o Increasing step frequency- 5-10% faster
o Decreasing step length
• Balance drills – up to 30 seconds each
o Single leg balance
o Single leg balance on foam, pillow, sand, etc
• Intrinsic foot muscle strengthening
o Sitting or standing – attempt to draw the ball of your foot inward toward the arch

Adapted from: Rothschild C. “Running Barefoot or in Minimalist Shoes: Evidence or Conjecture?” Strength and Conditioning Journal; Vol 24:3.