Healthy Living on August 3, 2011 by

Running Free (Giveaway)

Let me start this post off with a confession: I am not a runner. I exercise, but I don’t run. The only running I do is after our pup to keep this or that from becoming his next victim.

Jessica Lee, Julie Gilliam (Bob's Red Mill) and Michael Sandler pose with their lovely dog Sawa, the ultimate barefoot runner.

Two weeks ago we got a phone call from Michael Sandler, author of Running Barefoot. He was in town and wanted to come meet us. My coworker, Julie, was beyond excited to meet Michael and his running/writing/life partner Jessica so we set up a  tour and meeting with them. I was a little nervous to meet someone who has built their life around running in a way that throws conventional running on its head.

You see, Michael and Jessica run barefoot. Everywhere. In all seasons. According to them, barefoot running is a more natural way to run. When you wear running shoes, your stride lands you on your heel first. Barefoot, you land on your toes first, which allows for natural shock absorption as the rest of your foot hits the ground. Landing heel first passes the shock up through the body and is part of what leads to bad knees and hips. Being the novice runner that I am, I had all sorts of questions. Jessica told me the key is starting slow. Your feet will be more sensitive at first and your legs will tire more easily. Like any new sport, take baby steps and before you know it, you’ll be up and running.

Michael and Jessica have a wonderful life philosophy, “Feel the Earth beneath your feet and run free.” We talked about food and nutrition- Michael is gluten free, mostly raw and vegan. He fuels himself on gluten free oats, flax, chia, hemp and nutritional yeast, plus lots of other things to keep his diet varied. The two spend most of their time on the road, with stops at their Boulder home occasionally to refuel and recharge. We met them at the end of a long summer about to start a full month off. Both were excited to go home and recharge for the publication of their next book and get ready for some marathons this fall. I can only imagine running a marathon barefoot!

We left this meeting feeling excited to try our feet at barefoot running and we want to share our excitement with you. Michael and Jessica gave us signed copies of Barefoot Running to share with you. I have 12 copies (they were so generous) to share with you.

This book is simply amazing. It gives step-by-step training advice, tips and tricks, guidance on nutrition and is, essentially, a how-to for barefoot running. I love the title of Part One, “Why on Earth Would You Want to Run Barefoot?” Isn’t that what we all wonder when hearing about running barefoot. Good information coupled with good methodology make for an inspirational read. Now, I know this book is not for everyone. Not everyone is a runner, nor is every runner ready to rethink how they run.

If you are ready to rethink how you run or take up running for the first time, like me, this book will inspire you to try a new way of logging miles. One that will undoubtedly help you stay fit physically and spiritually.

How to Win:

I’m giving you a couple of ways to win this time.

Mandatory Entry: Simply leave us a comment here and tell us what intrigues you about running barefoot.

For a bonus entry, visit RunBare’s facebook page and “like” it ( THEN, come back here and tell us that you did it.

That’s it, you can get two entries. I’ll pick 12 winners from all who comment by 11:59 on 08/14/11.



Heidi Howard says:

I’m not a runner either, but picked up a pair of “finger” shoes a couple months ago & have walked/& or jogged at least 2 miles everyday since! I love the concept & would love to read the book & explore the notion of truly going bare!

Heidi Howard says:

I “like” RunBare!

Clare M says:

The potential for improving form and posture — reducing strain on one’s feet and shifting the balance from the heel to toe.

K R says:

stronger feet and, hopefully, healthier toes!

K R says:

i “Like”-d RunBare on FB…

Shawna says:

I started running over the winter as an off season exercise from biking. I felt like my feet were bricks by the sound they made hitting the pavement. I couldn’t really figure out what the right way was to land on my foot. Then I started researching barefoot running and then purchased Vibram five finger shoes and slowly started running/walking in them. Shortly after the first time out in them it felt like my body automatically new exactly how to land on my foot without all that noise and not on my heel. It was great! My stride shortened, my speed increased, everything felt great. I enjoy running now and it doesn’t hurt.

Shawna says:

I liked Runbare on Facebook!

Wendy says:

I love being barefoot — my feet don’t know what socks are over the summer. Would love to hear what these people have to say about barefoot running.

Wendy says:

Have also “liked” RunBare on Facebook.

Tom says:

I started to become a runner by reading ChiRunning. Running barefoot seems to be the next step to help improve body awareness.

Tom says:

Hi, I just jumped over to the RunBare facebook page and “liked” it.

John Raedeke says:

I am just getting an itch to run again and a friend showed me a book ‘Born to Run’ Now I am looking at becoming more connected to our earth and the “grounding effect” of running and walking barefoot. This would make a great compliment to that one. Thanks for posting this information to everyone.

Eileen says:

I liked Runbare facebook page.
Also, running barefoot has intrigued me starting this past year. I was in search of exercised and to find out of it was possible to reverse a fallen arch (caused from muscle wasting from past ankle surgery)… in searching for exercised I started learning about why we have such foot problems (including my husband) and how those who didn’t grow up wearing shoes are more likely not to have fallen arches. Well I still have a fallen arch but it is strengthening with amazing barefoot exercises, no more pain at least! I have also read that there is something about even walking barefeet that can reduce inflammation, walking on sand on the beach was the best for my arch pain!

Jennifer J says:

I had only briefly heard about barefoot running. I didn’t know there was a book out… and such a big following! For the overall health benefits, I am looking to find my niche in the running scene. I have read a few other books in an attempt to find what works for me, so I’m definitely interested in learning more about running barefoot!

Jennifer J says:

Just “liked” the RunBare facebook page!

veronica says:

“liked” the fb page. I’m not yet a “runner” but have been thiinking about it. But I have a question: does using those 5 fingers count as barefoot? I’ve heard conflicting things, someone told me youre not meant to run in the vibram 5 fingers cuz it could cause a broken bone and another person said opposite, and that it’s the same as running barefoot…which is correct? Is it a good idea to start with something like 5 fingers if Im worried about stepping on glass or rocks? thanks for the help:)

Dawn says:

I started running a year ago and can’t find any running shoes I like. Barefoot running must be the answer for me!

Dawn says:

I liked RunBare facebook page.

Kristina says:

I would love to learn more about running barefoot. I suffered a stress fracture while in only my third week of training (after completing a great 1/2 marathon a few weeks prior). Why the stress fracture when all was well just a couple weeks prior?? Shoes? Surface? A combination of the two?? I still have some pain in my foot and I really don’t want to go back to doing the same thing in the same soft feeling shoes if that is only going to set me up for another injury.

Kim B says:

I love the idea of running barefoot but wonder when it stops hurting? I guess I have sensitive feet!

Kim B says:

I liked Runbare on FB.

I haven’t ran barefoot before, but I wonder if it would help with any of my past (let’s hope it stays that way) running injuries= runner’s knee, plantar faciitis and shin splints.

Patrick says:

I am responding you your give away on barefoot Running as my Son-in-law is an extreme runner. He has competed in 3 50 miles run this year and won 2 of them. He is now deployed to Iraq ( captain in US Air Force) we trust he will be back in December for Christmas. He run in Iraq daily and some week 100 miles are complete even in the high temperatures there. I would love him to have a copy of Michael Sanders book. Hid blog is which he updates weekly.
Thank you and Cheers!

Beth K says:

Have run a few 5ks and am in the middle of the Couch to 5k program. I know I don’t to the mid-foot strike but have heard of barefoot running. Have Vibram FF’s KSO and Sprints though have not run in. Will be interested in reading Barefoot running!

Tara says:

I ran for the first time barefoot on my vacation last month, down the beach of Coast Rica in the pouring rain. It was the best feeling EVER! I would love to try it again in other terrain, which is why this book looks like a great fit for me!

Tara says:

I “like” RunBare on Facebook!

Jason says:

I am transitioning into barefoot running. Right now long dog walks/jogs with my five fingers on from vibram. What I truly love about it is the freedom. Feeling like a kid again, I will veer off the trail for some bushescking, or jog on the river banks with the dog. Totally free and invigorating way to run.

Also, all my old running aches in my knees are gone.

Cindy N says:

I have been a runner (off and on) since 2005. What intrigues me about barefoot running is quite simply the lack of support from a “traditional” running shoe. When i started running I was basically told that I needed orthotics. Long story short I believed that I needed tons of support in my footwear until this summer when i was introduced to the Merrell barefoot trail runnig shoe. I haven’t used it for running per se but have been using it for my dog walking and for playing with my toddler at our local playgrounds. I love these shoes and although they are still shoes I feel more connected to the “path” that I take. I’ve been leary to try barefoot running mostly bc I’m uneducated. I’d love to try it but properly. I have tons of questions but most pressing is how does one run barefoot in the snow? Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!

heather says:

Two days ago I bought a pair of Vibram fivefingers to satisfy my wild curiosity. I’ve been doing two 30 minute walks per day with my dog, and I’m already feeling the difference. Since I’m such a newbie, I’d love to read the book and gain more knowledge from others who have been there.

jenni says:

I’ve always been a barefoot girl, never did care for shoes! It just seems natural. People all over the world live shoe-free, and seem to have fewer back & health problems.

Jim says:

A couple of years ago I had some lower back problems that I thought were caused by doing deadlifts and squats. However, when I removed my tennis shoes with their one inch rubber bottom and started training barefoot, I felt much better and could lift more weight. Running barefoot makes total sense to me as well.

Cindy says:

I run, but I am very intrigued about barefoot running. Maybe my feet would feel better if I tried running that way.

Cindy says:

I have “liked” RunBare on Facebook!

allie says:

Can’t want to read.the book

ikkinlala says:

I’m not a runner, but I’ve been a barefoot walker and hiker for years because I have trouble finding shoes that fit properly. I’d love to learn to run barefoot without hurting my feet.

Tom K says:

I started barefoot running this spring and love it. I’m a bit slower in the 5K, but my knees and ankles feel a lot better.

Alisha says:

I almost bought a pair of the Vibrams once, but the salesman talked me out of it because I didn’t have time to “work up” to running long distances with them. I would love to use those shoes or even run barefoot.

Alisha says:

I also “liked” the FB page!

Christy says:

I’m interested in a more injury free natural way of running

Christy says:

I like runbare on fb

Linzy says:

I have always been attracted to less shoe, as opposed to more, and have experimented with several brands- the latest being Nike Free. I also love barefoot running- but I’ve only thought to do it at the beach. I’m really interested in learning more about this approach.

Linzy says:

I liked RunBare!

Teresa Asbury says:

So, I went to the FB page and like AND I am posting a comment. I NEED the book because I’m intrigued but not convinced. Someone convince me that running barefoot is a good idea! If someone can do that then I will do it; until then these tootsies will remain safe and snug in my Pegasus.

Heather Cornbleth says:

I’m intrigued by running barefoot because of the freedom it seems to have!

Heather Cornbleth says:

I liked on facebook!

Thanks for the contest!

Thomas Hayes says:

The thing that intrigues me about barefoot running is that the practical science behind it is so solid. Once you realize that heel-striking is um…bad, and that the only alternative to heel-striking is a forefoot landing, a landing that is best done without shoes, its a no-brainer. But that’s the first part of the epiphany. The second part comes in when you experience barefoot running for yourself after feeding off other people’s accounts for so long. Just yesterday on my barefoot walk, I was thinking about how advanced and hightech our feet are. They give instant and 100% accurate feedback, or data, just like a fancy computer. The exact texture, angle, and even temperature of the ground is given to me instantly every second. With shoes on, this important information is muffled and skewed . In my opinion, even the most built-up traditional running shoe pales in comparison to our bare feet, which are way ahead in terms of sophistication.

I am so interested in trying barefoot running! I have heard so many good things about it, and I am curious to see if it would make my feet stronger and help my tendency to overpronate. Thanks for hosting this giveaway! 🙂

I’m now a Facebook fan of RunBare! 🙂

Jessica G. says:

I am transitioning to minimalist/barefoot running. This boook would greatly enhance my knowledge and research ability. Natural running seems to be there the best way to go and as a fairly renewed runner, I think it best to retrain myself at the earliest stages before I form too many bad habits.

Jessica G. says:

I “like” runbare on FB. Checked out their photos too while I was there.

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