As a follow up to my previous post on sand training, I thought that I would address a question that I was asked about running in the sand. The question was about running barefoot in the sand and impact forces. Here was my reply:
“It can actually be a great opportunity to run barefoot. Running without shoes tends to make people land on the balls of their feet more. This further decreases the impact forces. It also helps to work the muscles of the foot better and strengthen them. The only warning is to ease into barefoot running gradually.”
There has been a lot of interest in barefoot running recently. I’ve seen several articles in magazines and on websites recently so I guess it is a new “fad”. As Vern Gambetta wrote in his blog recently, it’s not a new concept. It’s been around for a long time. The main thing to realize is that there is benefit to running barefoot (or in socks or something less than a “normal” shoe). To work this into a program before, I’ve had athletes do their warmup in socks to get the benefits. This gives them a chance to ease into it so that we could incorporate more of it during other training sessions. Anytime that I have athletes in the sand I try to have them do it barefoot. I figure that they’e going to get sand in their shoes anyway so what not get even more out of the session.
In a nutshell, whether it’s in the sand or elsewhere make sure that you plan some barefoot time into your program too.