While it’s important to foster your running techniques and relish your newfound barefoot running, making sure you do these things safely should be the biggest priority. Take the transition slow and listen to your body. Don’t push yourself if you’re feeling any adverse effects.
Prepare for Sore Calves (But Keep Going)
One of the initial hurdles you’ll have to overcome is sore calves.
Experienced runners will more than likely notice a soreness in their legs and calves after the first time they run a couple of miles – even with proper barefoot running technique.
Don’t be discouraged by this. Whether you wait a few days to try barefoot running again, or simply go for a run in your regular shoes, you should not wait too long before you try it again though.
Step Up Your Cadence
One of the most important ways to improve your running is to focus on your running cadence. The number of steps per minute (SPM) you take will affect not just how fast you run but how efficient and safe those strides are, too.
With barefoot running, quicker, shorter strides will help you reduce the impact on your lower legs.
Longer strides are more challenging when you’re barefoot, so it’s best to stick to a higher cadence by keeping those strides shorter.
Stay on Pace
Another challenge you may face is knowing how to pace yourself as you grow accustomed to your new barefoot running technique.
While you may be tempted to run the pace you normally would with shoes, you will need to slow down for barefoot running.
Since barefoot running is not meant to drastically enhance your aerobic fitness, strictly relying on your running times as a marker for success isn’t a good idea.
Your goal is to become more efficient, stronger, and less susceptible to injury, so don’t overthink pace. Do what feels comfortable. Don’t hold yourself to the same times you run when wearing shoes.