Thanks to Ken Schafer for this great guest-post! If any of my readers have any interest in learning about the POSE technique, Ken is the man to contact!
I’ve been involved in learning and teaching Pose Running Technique since November of 2008. For me, learning to improve my technique was difficult, to put it mildly. I had been running since 1975, and it took me more than a year of concentrated effort to restructure my stride. In fact, it was the most frustrating experiences of my running career, and there were many moments when I came close to throwing in towel. Fortunately, I stuck with it, and one of the unintended benefits of learning Pose Running Technique was that it seemingly made transitioning to barefoot running very easy.
I didn’t start barefoot running until I felt my running technique was sound by the fairly exacting standards of Pose. Because of this, when I started experimenting with barefoot running everything just seemed to fall into place very naturally. That’s not to say I didn’t have some problems, but for the most part, learning to run barefoot was just a matter of allowing my feet time to adapt to rough surfaces.
My first barefoot runs were on smooth hard surfaces like concrete sidewalks and asphalt roads, and these presented no challenge for me. I already knew how to land softly by letting my body do what it was designed to do. As long as I maintained good Pose form, I never felt the need for shoes simply because the surface was hard. However, what I did find challenging were rough surfaces.
Naturally to meet this challenge, I located two places to train with very rough surfaces. One was a rubber coated asphalt track, and the other was circular gravel path. At first, I would jog and walk on them intermittently, depending on how the soles of my feet felt. Within a very short period of time, I was able to jog on them continuously. Very shortly after that, I was sprinting barefoot on these surfaces without difficulty. As long as I paid attention to my feet, I was fine. The few times I ignored what my feet were telling me, I paid for it with blisters.
Because I focused on learning good technique prior starting barefoot running, I didn’t have to go through both the process of relearning how to run, and the process of adaptation at the same time. In my judgment, this seems to have made the transition much less problematic. However, a natural question might be whether or not barefoot running helped me to further improve my running technique? To be honest, I think that it probably did, but only a little. Like many people, when I start to tire, my technique will sometimes degrade. I believe that barefoot running made me more aware of this tendency. When running barefoot on rough surfaces, I couldn’t let up on my technique for a moment, and because of this, I learned to be more vigilant about monitoring my running form.
I still have a lot more to learn about barefoot running, and I certainly intend to continue experimenting with it for the foreseeable future. If you are interested in reading about my thoughts and experiences, please visit Your Pose Running Coach’s Blog. Here is a link directly to my posts on barefoot running http://www.posecoachblog.com/Barefoot Running.