1. The foot
Your foot is a mechanical masterpiece and has evolved to be a complex three-dimensional elastic, sensory lever system to transfer vibration up through the body to allow it to move freely.
Our subconscious movements are controlled by our proprioceptive system, which is our body’s sense of its own position, balance and movement in space. This system uses stretch and pressure receptors situated in our muscles, joints and skin to inform our brain how we are interacting with the environment around us. The foot has a large pool of receptors, more than any other limb. It allows our body to sense its position and orientation. The keener that sense (feedback), the better the movement and balance.
3. Running Barefoot
At our practice, we use barefoot training as a re-setting tool. It allows us to utilise maximum sensory feedback to reconnect the physical being to the correct function. Barefoot running is the quickest way to reconnect the body to its true centre of balance. This transforms performance on and off the field.
The foot needs protection yet the thicker the protection, the less feedback you will get. Science now suggests anything over 4mm can diminish the sensory feedback and so affects the skill of movement.
Once we have ‘reset’ your body, we advise shoes that allow an unrestricted yet protected experience. Feet were not designed like the paws of dogs or hoofs of horses and therefore we have always protected them throughout our conscious evolution. This will give you peace of mind and better performance.
The trick is to allow your foot the optimum feedback for any given terrain.
6. The change
Changing from heel striking to a fore foot strike happens in under three minutes on hard terrain. The harder the surface, the quicker the change. However, muscles that have not been used before with this new style, will have to go through an adaption phase. We recommend a slow build up to mileage starting only with technique running drills and lots of walking around barefoot or in minimalistic shoes. This said, running is not just about the foot. The rest of the body must also adapt and change.
Learn more at the Barefoot Performance Academy’s Running Technique Workshops and how this change in style can transform your running. We promise it will be an exciting journey. For some, it will be life changing.