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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Importance of Patience when Learning to Run Barefoot

The following is an excerpt from my book "The Barefoot Running Book: A Practical Guide to the Art and Science of Barefoot and Minimalist Shoe Running."  The book should be available by March 1st.

Throughout the process of learning to run barefoot or in minimalist shoes, it is important to be patient.  Your feet have likely spent many, many years encased in heavy, sweaty foot coffins (a term Barefoot Ted coined).  Those shoes have weakened the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and plantar skin of your feet and adjoining anatomy.  This book addresses the need for patience by slowly increasing your barefoot experiences.   In the beginning, you may be tempted to run further than you should.  In the barefoot running world, we refer to this as “too much too soon” (TMTS).  You will also reach various “break-though” points where everything seems to come together.   Your form will finally click.  Everything will feel great.  You will be tempted to try out your newly-perfected form.  It will once again be important to exercise caution.  Do not increase your mileage more than 10-15% per week or pace by more than 15 seconds per mile per week.  If you exercise adequate caution, your transition to barefoot running should be smooth and injury-free!


  1. That's perhaps the single most important thing about the transition. Almost everyone I talk to or read about makes the same mistake, including me. (yes, I talk to myself too)

    But gotta say, those "epiphany moments", when I finally "got it" were VERY exhilarating and patience was not an easy thing. But when I went too far, and had to take 3 weeks off to let my calf heal I learned to temper my enthusiasm.

    Looking forward to the book!!

  2. Yup, I've been down that road, too. I wonder why this is so hard for people. It seems like people want to go from point A to point F, without bothering with points B, C, D, and E. The cool thing is that the journey is worth it.

    And ironically, the more patient you are, the faster you will ultimately progress.

  3. I'm looking forward to checking it out...a guide is just what I need!