Ask Brad: Barefoot Running

Hi Brad,
First off I have to say thank you for writing Run Faster, I just got through it and its helped me realize some things I’ve been doing wrong, and helped me to hold back when I’m pushing too hard (which happens a lot).

My question for you pertains to barefoot running.  What do you think about it?
Do you side with the articles that have shown it to reduce injury rate?
And do you think there could ever be another elite distance runner who runs barefoot?

I’m very curious because I’ve never heard it discussed among the elite runners / coaches, and I’d love to hear your insight!

Thank you again!

Good question.  I do believe in doing some barefoot running.  Not 100% but as a supplement.  I do think you can strengthen your feet and develop better coordination by using the Nike free or running on grass, barefoot. Like most things you need to find out by trial and error. There is no one solution for all athletes. I trained an athlete a few years ago that had many injury problems , saw every great Dr. and still could not stay healthy.  He read an article on minimalism and started running in one of the lightest flats made.  Essentially turning to barefoot running, he was able to raise his training to 120 miles a week and avoid injury. Just like training you need to look at the science of why things work then apply this to your own workouts, routines, and regimens.

(And do you think there could ever be another elite distance runner who runs barefoot?)

I know there have been in the past, but with allure of shoe contracts and big money, it’s become more unlikely.

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