The Wind Beneath My Toes

MALIBU—So you have registered to participate in the inaugural Malibu International Marathon or Half Marathon on Sunday, November 15.  You have done the majority of your training and are now doing the final preparation for the big day!

You have all of your equipment that you need dialed in – right down to the shoes.

Now you are hearing and reading all about the “new craze” of running and walking without shoes!  With all of the books, documentaries and articles distributed recently on the subject, running and walking sans footwear certainly seems to be gaining quite a following.  Is this yet another decision you have to make at this late date – to be shod or unshod?  I’m SO confused!!

The media, authors and even doctors are now coming out more in support of not wearing shoes.  It is now not just an activity of the few to abandon the pricey skids in favor of a more “natural” way to run.  Indeed, the human body was designed to run WITHOUT shoes and all of the associated trials and tribulations of finding the proper make and model.  More and more athletes are coming to that realization – or at the least are intrigued by the possibilities.

As a nod to the growing unshod movement, several companies now offer “transition shoes” to help those who want to share in the benefits that come from exercising without shoes.  With proper technique and training, those unshod advantages include:  improved form, proper muscle strengthening, and reduced risk of injury.  Some athletes even find that nagging problems of the past are minimized or eliminated when they incorporate barefoot walking and running as part of their training regimes.

There are many local sources from which to garner information on how to properly walk and run unshod.  One of the more popular sites is or, of course, just ask the barefooted participants around you what is their deal.  They will be happy to help you understand what it is all about!

As far as the Malibu International Marathon and Half Marathon are concerned, “The routes are quite Barefoot Friendly,” states event Course Director Todd Byers.  And he should know – Byers has completed more than 250 marathons including 77 of them barefooted.

No matter what your choice, have a great time participating in the Malibu International events on the 15.  With or without shoes!!

Tip of the week:  As nearly all trainers and coaches will tell you, participate in an event in the manner to which you have become accustomed during your training.  However, have an open mind to different ideas along the way which may help you to perform even better in the future.  So, if you do not already do so, wait until AFTER the Malibu International events to lose the shoes!!

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