Barefoot running will be rejected, because the general population is not patient enough to gradually introduce it correctly. Some idiot will take off his sneakers, run 5 minutes down Mass Ave and come home and bleed to death. Once Channel 7 gets a hold of this story, barefoot running will be banned from the public and we will be back to where we started.LOL! As a Massachusetts native, the allusions to Mass. Ave and Channel 7 really hit home!
Now, don’t get me wrong: I’ve got no beef with barefoot running, and I have much respect for the hearty souls with hardy soles who are giving it a try. Indeed, I suspect there’s a lot of truth to its proponents’ central claim: that heelstrike is harmful. And if, over time, barefoot running proves to serve average runners well, I can see myself (eventually) jumping onto the barefoot bandwagon.
That said, I’ve been around long enough to realize that practices often become The Hot New Thing regardless of their actual efficacy. People embrace concepts just because they are new, and not necessarily because they are good.
How many health, food, and diet fads have we seen come and go, only to fall well short of the initial hype? In religion, too, we see this all the time: Some new denomination, liturgical innovation, or moral teaching becomes All The Rage, only to eventually burn out because novelty is by its very nature ephemeral.
There’s a human tendency, especially pronounced in our must-have-it-now culture, to leap before looking. I fear we’re seeing this tendency at work with the barefoot craze: Everyone is doing it because, well, everyone is doing it.
But there’s something to be said for letting an idea withstand even a small test of time before embracing it wholeheartedly. So on the question of barefoot-running, I remain, for now anyway, agnostic — lest I become the idiot who bleeds to death after running down Mass. Ave!