Jason Robillard was kind enough to send me a copy of his new book, The Barefoot Running Book, which is intended for new barefoot or minimalist shoe runner’s to help them find the proper form and learn how to run without getting injured.
Jason splits the book into 4 main sections for the different levels of experience you will find yourself as you become a barefoot runner.
First is the Pre-Barefoot Running section, where you will learn how to build up some strength in your foot in legs, get used to sensory overload from nerves that have potentially been ignored for a significant portion of your life, and to help improve your foot-eye coordination.
The next section is about Starting to Run Barefoot, which gives tips on how to actually start running, the types of terrain you may encounter and which ones you should start out by running on, and the basics of barefoot running form.
The third section covers Intermediate Barefoot Running and focuses on how to add hills and new types of terrain to your running, how you can start speeding up and running further, and the common injuries that barefoot runners experience.
The last section is on Advanced Topics such as racing, trail running, and extreme weather.
Jason also discusses handling hecklers and the 4 types of people that you will encounter and interact with as a barefoot runner, ranging from the non-runner and inquisitive running peers to hostile runners that think barefoot runners are an affront to nature.
What I Like About the Book
The book is very short at 61 pages and can be read in a single sitting or two. For the most part, Jason stays right to the point and offers his experience and advice in an easily digested format. He labels all of the different theories, activities, and hazards that you should be aware of which makes it quick and easy to find information later that you want to refer back to.
I think that Jason’s exercises for the beginner barefoot runner are a good way to introduce yourself safely to running without getting hurt. His 6 guiding principles to barefoot running are reflected throughout the book, which are:
- There is no 1 right answer
- You need to experiment to see what works for you
- Your body is the best teacher
- Patience is required
- Running relaxed is key
- You should be having fun and enjoying yourself
As somebody that has used barefoot running as part of his training since the early 90s, I especially like his last point.
Running barefoot is just a lot of fun, so make sure that you don’t let running become a chore.
What I Didn’t Like About the Book
There are only two things that I didn’t really care for in this book.
First, Jason is definitely zealous about barefoot running and is eager to share his positive experiences and expertise with others. For the most part, he does this well, and his advice on how to deal with people that heckle you (shared both from himself and from others in the barefoot running community) is certainly useful and worth a chuckle or two.
In a few places throughout the book it definitely seems more like a crusade, though. I don’t mind sharing the benefits of barefoot running with others, but I don’t feel the need to convert anybody to it that has no need nor interest.
Second, Jason is a pretty funny guy and I’ve enjoyed his humor in some of the videos that I’ve seen him post. Unfortunately, I don’t think that the humor translates into print quite as well.
Rather than laughing at some of the jokes and self-deprecating humor, I found myself rolling my eyes instead which distracted me from reading more than anything else.
Where To Find More Information
The Barefoot Running Book is available for purchase at Amazon as either a print publication or as a Kindle e-book.
You can find more information about Jason at his website, The Barefoot Running University, where he offers workshops, articles, and links to barefoot and ultramarathon resources around the web.
I will also be giving a copy of the book away next week.
Just click here and leave a comment to enter the contest.