The NY Times has a piece addressing the dubious claim that barefoot running will cure you of your running injuries (here).
For one thing, I don’t know anyone who has made that claim. I have seen people say that in order to continue their running career, they had to switch gears, and barefoot running provided that change for them. It was true for me.
For another, who among us thinks that all barefoot running entails is either a fancy-schmancy pair of low-profile shoes or heading out the door barefoot? Yeah, it has nothing to do with form, right?
It has EVERYTHING to do with form. And you have to build that up slowly. P…a…i…n…f…u…l…l…y slowly. I was “lucky” to be coming off a knee injury (yes, caused by old school running) so that I could start slow and unambitious.
I haven’t seen a single resource out there suggest that people shouldn’t study good form and start out easy. Do yourself a favor and do your research before starting. I read Jason Robillard’s The Barefoot Running Book, and I can personally recommend it as a great, practical beginner’s guide.
And of course we’re still subject to injuries, but I’m guessing they’ll be different types in different places:
Earlier research has shown that high-frequency forces tend to move up the body through a person’s bones. Lower-frequency forces typically move through muscles and soft tissue. So shifting to a forefoot running style, as people do when running barefoot, may lessen your risk for a stress fracture, and up your chances of developing a muscle strain or tendinitis.
So, folks, all the old rules apply. Take care of yourself out there. But don’t let the naysayers scare you if it feels right.