Saturday, April 9, 2011

Barefoot Running?

Conventional wisdom (whatever that is) used to tell us that you needed to bundle your tootsies up in special running shoes, especially if you wanted to run long distances.

I used to run marathons and back then I would bundle up my feet into cushioned running shoes. At that time I was what is known as a "supinator" which means that I tended to put more weight on the outside of my shoes rather than pronating or rolling inward as is more common.

I never thought about making an effort to change the way I walked. Quite honestly, I didn't think it was possible. So I wore cushioned running shoes in order to protect my feet and joints.

Fast forward and I am now no longer a supinator. I was able to rebalance my feet through a combination of regular massage and postural restructuring and you can too. (Watch for a future blog post describing a simple exercise that will help you do this.) But allow me to yank myself back onto the subject at hand.

There is a fairly new running trend called Barefoot running. I first became aware of it when I learned about Vibram Five Finger shoes. It was the middle of the winter though so I didn't end up buying a pair.

Then I found out about running sandals. Based on huaraches, they're much more affordable but I couldn't imagine running in them. Well imagine my surprise today when I got a link in an email to a forum post from someone who ran 68 miles in a pair! That picture is actually the feet of Jason Robillard - the runner - after he finished the 68 mile run. Of note is the absence of blood from blisters! Jason is obviously an accomplished barefoot runner and he's written a book. The cool thing is that you can download and read 56 pages of his book for free. Simply click on the words "book for free and then click on the word "HERE" on the webpage that will open and a PDF file will download.

Should you want the entire book it's available at as a download for $2.99. I have a feeling I'll be buying it. I don't have a kindle but I downloaded the PC version.

I'm considering giving this minimalistic approach to running a try. My running style is already consistant with safe barefoot running. I am a mid to forefoot striker, I run with very upright posture and with short, light strides.

You'll notice I used the word "considering." I'll let you know how it goes if I decide to actually go through with it. Before that happens I have to wait for a little warmer weather and for my favorite trail to dry out.

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary. - Cecil Beaton


Ottavina said...

I am also a supinator and I know how I got there (walking weirdly when my feet, particularly my right foot would fall a little out of joint), so I look forward to your post on rebalancing. Yay!

Lannette said...

I was hoping to get this up today but something came up so I might not get to it. Soon though, I hope.

Dayna Talbot said...

Thanks for checking out my blog! I wish i could run again! Feeling great after my are great! Thanks

Lannette said...

I'm glad that you feel well after your massage. It's always so nice to work with you Dayna.

There's nothing wrong with walking if running doesn't work for you. I took a great brisk walk in the sunshine this morning.