The following are the principles that guide my philosophy regarding barefoot running. These principles have been developed over time based on my personal experiences, studying the available research, observing other runners, and discussing barefoot running with peers.
Principle One- There is no single right answer. Barefoot running is inherently a very individualistic activity. Each of us will develop our own style and form. There is no single “correct” way to run barefoot. My job as a teacher of barefoot running is to help you find your own style.
Principle Two- You must experiment and learn from your successes and failures. George Sheehan famously said, “Each of us is an experiment of one-observer and subject-making choices, living with them, recording the effects.” In order to master the art of running barefoot, you must be willing to try new things. You must be able to adopt the successes and discard the failures.
Principle Three- Your body is your best teacher. When following principle two, your best feedback will be your own body. Your brain has the amazing ability to receive feedback from your body, interpret that information, and adjust accordingly. Our own thought process often creates a roadblock for this process. We must learn to trust our own body.
Principle Four- Patience is mandatory. Learning to run barefoot takes time. Allowing your body to adapt to this new running style takes time. All too often we want to rush the process. This results in injury. We must be willing to start from nothing and rebuild ourselves.
Principle Five- Relaxation is the secret to great form. Barefoot running requires relaxation of the skeletal muscles. Running free and easy is the secret to running injury-free.
Principle Six- You must enjoy the process. Learning to run barefoot should be a process, not a destination. If you take the time to enjoy each stage of your development as a barefoot runner, you will be successful. This is a fun activity! Watch little children run around barefoot. Embrace that joy! Smile and savor the process!