Barefoot Running | Modern Mummy

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Barefoot Running

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I used to run. 

Yes you heard that correctly. I. Used. To. Go. Running. Proper running, in proper sports gear, covering long distances in reasonable times. I ran a huge number of 10ks, a fair few 10-milers and even took part in the Great North and South Runs for three years running.

That was pre-children of course. When I actually had time to myself. Going for a run was my favourite way to de-stress after a hard day at the office and, if I could drag my sorry arse off the sofa, a sure fire way to get rid of a hangover.

As a mum of two I don't get much time to myself. Mostly I don't mind, I love my two little monkeys to pieces. But I'm sure all you parents out there will agree that sometimes a little bit of me time wouldn't go amiss.

Which was why, a couple of months ago, I decided I would try running again. In fact I was DESPERATE to go running again. All of a sudden I just needed to do it.

All psyched up and ready to go, my Twitter friend Laurie (check out her brilliant blog here, it's one of my faves) inspired me to try something a little bit different.

Barefoot running.

Not quite what you're thinking, but pretty close.

Do you remember how running was always part of the games we played as children? It was fun! Running barefoot on the beach, around the house, in the garden. It was effortless, and being out of breath was something to laugh and smile about. You didn't need trainers or running shoes.

I wanted to feel like that again. I wanted to run and get fit and think and listen to music louder than I should on my iPod. And I wanted to enjoy myself.

So on Laurie's recommendation I got myself some of these bad boys. Vibram Fivefingers. Strange looking running 'shoes' that look, and feel, like gloves for your feet. Which is exactly what they are, I guess.

The science behind them is that they enable you to move in a more natural way, whilst simulating foot and leg muscles and improving posture. I'm still reading up about them but that's the long and short of it.

They're a bit difficult to get on at first but once you've got over that it genuinely does feel as if you're barefoot. The upper parts are a bit like a sock, they stretch over your feet and are held in place with a velcro strap - and then there is still a sole which offers you protection and grip.

I've had my Vibrams for a month and am already head over heels in love with them. I find running in them so easy, and I definitely didn't feel as if I needed to time adapt to a new way of running like lots of users said I might. (It had been almost four years since I'd last run though, which may have made the transition easier).

It has been freezing outside and most (sensible) people have swapped pounding the streets in their running shoes for staying indoors in their slippers. But not me! I keep finding myself desperate to get out there. 

I think a key factor is that this time I really am running for fun. No set distance to cover, no personal bests to try and beat. I'm just getting myself out there and going for it. No stop watches, not training for an upcoming event. And the feeling of freedom my Vibrams give me just adds to the enjoyment. It's still early days but I think I'm a convert. I'll keep you posted on how I'm getting on.


I would like to thank the lovely people at for sending me my Vibrams - they really have changed my life! You can view their entire collection of running shoes here.

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