My cousin who has completed some pretty amazing distance runs, and even some triatholons recently sent me a cool link to a YouTube video of Christopher McDougall
talking about being born to run. In the video, he talks about a remarkable tribe of indians in northern Mexico called the Tarahumara. This was the first time I had heard about these people and their amazing running abilities. I quickly checked out some related videos, and was mesmerized by their story. I struggle to stay on the treadmill for a whopping 2 miles, yet these people, whose entire culture revolves around running, routinely log 500 miles in a week! A 50+ mile run per a day is not uncommon. I checked my running log for last month... I logged a measly 14 miles for the entire month. Click Here for more... http://toppdog89.com/blog/?p=100
Has anyone else experimented w/ barefoot running, or have any knowlege on these incredible people? I'm fascinated!
Change Your Perspective, Change Your World
No offense, but this is kind of old news. And there has been quite a bit of discussion on barefoot running here. Maybe do a search on "barefoot" to see some of the threads.
Yep, old news.
But if you are fascinated, I suggest picking up Chris McDougall's book "Born to Run." It's a good, inspiring read.
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09/11/2010- Race for the Cure 5K (Cleveland) 28:50
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10/23/2010- Army Ten Miler (DC) 1:42:12
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04/23/2011- Cleveland 10 Miler 1:34
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08/06/2011- Gazebo Gallop 5k 26:20 PR!!
08/14/2011- Run Jane Run 10K 57:40 PR!!
08/20/2011- OROC 5K 26:15 PR!!
Be careful with barefoot running. The views on barefoot, or minimalist (minimalist being shod with a very minimal shoe, like the Vibram Five Fingers) come in two camps. The first is gung-ho, full speed ahead, "This is the greatest thing since orange Gatorade" philosophy. This camp believes that everyone should be running barefoot. Many times, these people come to barefoot running because of an injury that barefoot running has cured. I'm going to put in my two cents here. Barefoot running did not cure them. The good FORM that barefoot runing brings cured them.
The second group that you see on the BF running issue are those who are less enthusiastic. They will say that while BF running has its advantages, it also has its dangers in relation to stress fractures and other injuries. They would say that it might be good to be used as a TOOL, but should not be used on an every day basis.
You will have to do your own research and decide where you land. I subscribe to the theory that if you have good FORM, you will be able to avoid many injuries.
Also, take what Mr. Mcdougal says with a grain of salt. Remember...he is trying to sell books.
Running the straight and narrow,
"Run because you love it. If you don't, learn to love it. Running will bring things into your life that you could never imagine." - Scott Jurek, Star of "Born To Run"
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thedevotedrunner makes some very good points. Some runners are converts to barefoot, some use it as a tool, and some can't see the point. I do some barefoot running, but for me it is a tool, just like speedwork and long runs. I think you can learn many things about running form barefoot, but it's not a cure-all, and it's not instantaneous, and it has to be approached gradually.
Christopher McDougall did precious little barefoot running in his book. Ditto for the Tarahumara, who mostly run in sandals. I would have to say the book is more about minimalist running than barefoot. McDougall got his good form and relief from injuries the honest way - by working long and hard with several coaches - and he talks about it in one chapter of his book.
Yes good form makes sense. I can see how barefoot running could also cause some injury. I'm not about to start running down the street barefoot, but I have been intrigued enough to try to alter my form so that I'm landing more flat if not right on the balls of my feet, instead of on the heels. I have to really think about it, and find myself going back to my usual form when I stop consciencly trying to land flat. It's too soon for me to tell if it's making a difference as I haven't run enough like this yet, but last fall when I was going a bit faster, and putting in a few more miles per week, I did start to notice some discomfort in my right hip. A nice reminder that I'm now 40, but still I thought I had quite a few more years before I had hip pain!
Overall I hope to gain the nice smooth gait that I saw in the videos of the Tarahumara. They certainly looked like they could run forever. I'm hoping to get to the point that by the time I hit my 1/2 mile mark I don't look like someone that's just finished their entire run! More efficiency I guess is what I'm after.
Thanks for the input, I look forward to seeing more opinions.
Change Your Perspective, Change Your World
I fall into the barefoot running used as a tool camp. If you're trying to improve your form then give it a try. Just don't go very far, at first. Also, your typical thick-heeled trainers will make it hard to maintain good form. You'll constantly fight your shoes. I'd recommend something fairly light without alot of heel-to-toe drop. Once I tried running barefoot for a very short distance then running in my Nike frees, a mid/fore foot strike felt much more natural. Until then, it just never felt "right".
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