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Barefoot Running: When It's Not a Good Idea

Aug 8, 2014

As the name suggests, barefoot running is a type of running style that is done without the addition of any kind of foot gear. While barefoot running is becoming more and more common, it is important to understand that there are specific times that you should avoid this kind of exercise:

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If You are New to Running

One of the most important times that it is not okay to go barefoot running is if you are new to running. Running is a sport that requires a good technique in order to prevent pain and possible injury. Therefore, it is important to master the basics of running with shoes on before attempting it barefoot. Once you feel comfortable running a relatively long period of time while wearing shoes, gradually start incorporating barefoot running. Add only a 10% increase in the amount of time spent barefoot each week in order to prevent any possible injuries associated with the activity.

If You Have an Injury

Another time that it is not okay to go barefoot running is if you have been diagnosed with a foot, ankle, knee, or hip injury. Barefoot running during these periods of time may exacerbate the problem, resulting in a longer healing period. Be sure to use extreme caution when it comes to injuries and barefoot running. For example, even a cut or scrape on your foot is enough to encourage you to avoid barefoot running until the injury has healed. Running barefoot with one of these injuries could result in serious infection.

If You Are in a New Location

Next, if you are in a new location, avoid participating in barefoot running. This is due to a number of reasons. First, barefoot running is done best in an area where you are aware of the environment that you are running in, and are familiar with rocky, sandy, and even dirty areas. If you are in a new place, you will not be aware of what kind of material you are running on, and can not only do serious damage to your feet, but could also cause injuries in other parts of your body. If you insist on participating in barefoot running while in a new location, at least try to scope out your running loop before actually going running. This will help you to determine which areas are smooth, and which have high amounts of stones, rocks, and glass, which should be avoided whenever possible.

If You Are Running in a Group

Finally, if you are running in a group, it is best to avoid barefoot running. As most skilled barefoot runners are aware, occasionally you will need to stop and remove bits or dirt and debris from your feet. Forcing your running mates to stop simply because you need to is a major no-no when it comes to running in a group.

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