Friday, July 10, 2009

Running Barefoot

One of the reasons for not updating my blog as often as I used to, is I have had a dramatic lifestyle change – particularly over the past 3 to 4 months. A major change… I am now a runner.

I am reading Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. This book is a fun, easy, reality shattering read. I won’t go into a summary here – check it out on Amazon.

A major reality shattering concept he discusses at length in the book is the idea of running barefoot. That we, society, have been conditioned by corporate entities that we NEED to wear thick soled shoes with pronation support, arch support, etc etc etc in order to protect our feet from anything we try and do throughout the day. When in actuality, runners that go barefoot or wear shoes such as the Vibram Five Fingers have less injury, run faster, feel better, have better arch support and stronger feet.

The research I’ve done on barefoot running online, and viewing a video of a woman running barefoot in slow motion and running with running shoes on in slow motion – I can SEE the difference in body mechanics and foot strike. It’s really quite amazing to me. Barefoot running makes sense, intellectually at least (and I’m speaking as a licensed massage therapist).To see the video:

I have yet to try it though. This has been my obsession over the past two days. Research. Research. More Research.

I must admit, I am VERY nervous about hitting my road barefoot for my run tomorrow. What about glass? What about the *stuff* that could injure my feet? I really want a pair of the Vibram Five Fingers, BUT I have webbed toes. These shoes don’t work for webbed toes. That is a MAJOR bummer. There are other companies out there making shoes with no support, that are basically for barefoot running – but give the foot protection from road debris. However, no one sells them locally, and I really want to try them on first!

(Who would have ever thought I would be researching specific running foot protection that will allow the sensation of being barefoot, which would in turn change my body mechanics & foot strike while running…. Ok, not me!)

I think the most compelling argument I’ve heard so far is that when you put a cast on your leg, your leg with atrophy by 50% in a 6 week time period.

So why are we putting our feet in shoes which immobilize our feet and the natural flexion & extension feet were designed for?

Also, the graphic below I scraped from Barefoot Runner:

Time will tell when I find shoes that’ll work for me. Time will tell how my body responds to this new way of running.

If you are as fascinated as I am, some resources to do your own research:

Barefoot Runner

Barefoot Ted

Running Barefoot

Peace & Blessings!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Running barefoot on roads isn't as bad as you'd think it would be. I live in arizona, you'd think id step on all sorts of cactus and things, but i don't. Also you should order some feelmax Niesas, they are 1-2 mm (depending on whether or not you keep insole) puncture resistant (Kevlar impregnated) "modern moccasins" as some have called them. They don't have toe slots so you're good there, but i recommend learning to run completely barefoot first, then switching to minimal footwear.