Friday, November 19, 2010

The Barefoot "Revolution"

There's a lot of buzz going around this new/"old" method of training - Barefoot Running.

(as with all things in life) Some love it. Some hate it.

As with me, I welcome all forms of training, because there will be "some" type of benefit to it.

IF you ask a person their "opinion" on the matter, it will most always be a biased answer
(1) they dont do it themselves.

ex. If you ask a barefoot runner what their opinion is, they're of course going to say, "its the ONLY way to run"
If you ask a person with Motion Control shoes, what their opinion is, they're going to say "No you need support" If one has not tried the other, then you can't get an honest answer.

So its really up to You to evaluate your own body and what You Ultimately "Want" to get out of it.

What is your goal -
Is your goal to run faster?
To strengthen your feet?
To reduce injury?
Run 20 miles?
Just to try it?
And do you think that this 1 new method will be the cure all? (answer - Most likely No) it Can be an addition to your training, but the only answer, there is never just 1 answer to Anything in life.

For me, I've started out running a pretty heavy Heel Striker, causing pains to my knees and feet. I slowly worked on my stride to a midfoot/heel striker, which I've been comfortable with up to date.

But for the past few months, I've wanted to step it up. I wanted to be a Fore-foot striker.

This is where barefoot running comes into play.
Since without shoes, if you run barefoot, you'll Quickly realized that it HURTS if you run on your heel, so after a few steps, you'll adjust to a midfoot strike, where it will hurt less.
But with a midfoot strike, your feet slap around and isn't as effective, where a forefoot strike is the most economical.

Transitioning to a forefoot strike hasn't been a smooth or fast transition. I've rolled my ankle a few times, my Plantar fasciitis in my left foot is Very unhappy, and my calves are very sore.
But its working, I used to run about 10% fore foot, now I can go about 70-80% fore foot running. And it feels really great. I feel faster and lighter with more energy.

I never went fully barefoot, (only on the treadmill) I'm too afraid of germs on the ground to subject my feet to that, but I do use minimalist shoes. For me, my leg muscles are working and getting stronger, and my body is adjusting to the new form just as it were being barefoot. And my goal was to be a forefoot striker. I feel its really important to work your way DOWN to barefoot, and not just go from shoe to barefoot the next day, else you'll be in some pain or worse injury. To me, minimalist shoes are fine, and its not going to Destroy my running.

So in "my" opinion evaluate what you Want and See if this new training technique can help you get there.

If you're 110% fine with how you run and how much you run then I say, don't do it. Why fix it if its not broken.

IF you are not a forefoot striker, going to all barefoot is a very LONG process and you are subject to injury because your body isn't used to the sudden change.
So if you want to do it, do it right, and stick with it!

Else its fine to be happy with your shoes.

The main goal is to Run, however you do it, doesn't really matter.

There are increasing amount of research and articles regarding barefoot running.
Here are a few that I feel are the most unbiased and honest.

Runner's World Article - Is less more?

Coach Brett - - The Science Behind Barefoot Running. Is it the right thing for you?

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