Will the Runningnuns Ever Run Barefoot?

The short answer is, I don’t know yet.  Sister Maximilian brought up the topic about a year ago.  At the time I had never heard of barefoot running and thought she was joking.  Never wanting to miss an opportunity, I teased her about the running barefoot idea before I returned to Southern California to continue my studies.  
Now Sister Maximilian can tell me, “I told you so.”  I have come across many good articles about running barefoot and now I know the idea is worth further investigation.  What intrigues me is the fact that apparently the human foot was made for running long before all kinds of cushioned running shoes were invented.  If I understand the theory correctly, running shoes with a heel cushion actually cause the foot to strike heel first, and that can cause injuries.  Left to itself, the front of the foot hits the ground first and absorbs the shock of the foot strike.  I have only just begun to learn about this but plan to research more.  One blog post that particularly intrigued me was by Peter Larson when he took videos of a runner on a treadmill with different shoes & barefoot.  It was very interesting: check it out here.
So, back to the original question:  will the sisters ever run barefoot?  We will continue to do the research.  If we are on a beach, you might just catch us running barefoot.  If we adopt the practice at other times, however, you will probably see us in minimalist shoes or Vibram Five Fingers.  One thing I have heard is that the transition is hard for experienced runners:  they need to break into barefoot mode slowly, because all kinds of different muscles are used.  This is where I might just have an edge.  Since I am not able to run yet and will have to start from scratch when I do begin running, I might just be able to escape the re-training woes.  Who knows?  I will probably never beat Sister Maximilian in a race, but I might just be able to beat her to barefoot.
Sister Mary Agnes

About Sister Mary Agnes

Sister Mary Agnes is the Event Coordinator of the Labor Day race, which has garnered national attention and has been featured in Runnerโ€™s World magazine and the CBS Early Show as well as many other publications.
This entry was posted in barefoot running, running, Vibram Five Fingers. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Will the Runningnuns Ever Run Barefoot?

  1. Sister Mary Agnes says:

    Dear Margaret, that's a great point about running around barefoot as kids. My mom told me the same thing!

  2. Sister Mary Agnes says:

    Dear Moore on Running,

    Thanks for the kind words. I love your blog too! It's great to hear stories of parents encouraging their kids to run. Having seen the benefits first hand at St. Charles, I like to know it is happening in families as well.

  3. Sister Mary Agnes says:

    Dear Tuck, thanks for bringing up the kids. The sisters of course are always fighting with the kids to keep their shoes on in the summer so they don't get hurt. This gives us something to think about. Great link.

  4. Margaret says:

    As children (long ago that is) we would 'run around' all summer long barefoot and loved it.

    At 55 yr now, I think it better left to ye young un's to run barefoot. ๐Ÿ™‚

    A cautionary note, cuts from bits of glass or nails were not uncommon and helping carry a sibling home for treatment was part of the fun, I think… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The vibram five fingers could be a good way to go.

  5. Moore On Running says:

    I love your blog. Thanks for the reference to the story about my adventure with my son! I am still contemplating running barefoot too ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Tuck says:

    If you think kids like running, give them a chance to run barefoot, then you'll see some smiles!

    Here's a heartening account of a barefoot running training session. The kids didn't need any instruction…

    http://groups.google.com/group/huaraches/msg/20b2005a765d37e1

    @Marta Mary: I was raised in shoes, and am converting fine. It just takes a little patience.

  7. Sister Mary Agnes says:

    Dear Barefoot Hiker, I loved your comment about the Franciscans, and thanks for the great article!

  8. Sister Mary Agnes says:

    Dear Marta Mary, thanks for the tip! If we ever go this route we will take it slowly. One good thing: many of the sisters wear Birkenstocks, which help keep the feet in good shape.

  9. Barefoot Hiker says:

    I hope the Running Nuns get a chance to run barefoot – St. Francis wouldn't have hesitated — I'm old enough to remember when the Franciscans were discalced ๐Ÿ˜‰

    But as the old saying goes, you have to learn how to walk before you can run. This article on barefoot hiking may be a step (pun intended) in the right direction.

    Click here for article.

  10. marta mary says:

    If you're foot is "raised" running barefoot, you'll be fine. It's harder too "convert" back to, if your foot has been malformed by years of shoes.

    I run better barefoot.
    And if you have a lot of money:
    http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/

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