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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

CAVEMAN VS. PODIATRIST @ Born to Run site

Good short video about the barefoot running debate:

http://www.chrismcdougall.com/blog/2012/07/caveman-vs-podiatrist/

Thursday, July 26, 2012

NATURAL REVERSION

I saw a guy running at lunch today.  Big guy.  In the Clydesdale category in any organized race, for sure.  He was wearing big, thick heeled "running shoes".  He ran up to a stoplight, serious heel-striking, sort of clomping along.  The light was red, so he had to wait, and began running in place.  He instantly went up on his forefoot/toes and ran in place really lightly for a moment, while waiting for the green light.  When the light turned, he took off, and resumed his heel-slap-clomp gait until he was out of sight.

     I was amazed at the unthinking transition.  When running in place, YOU CAN'T heel strike!  Just the mechanics make you go up onto your forefoot.  It is/was so natural.  The problem came when forward motion was in the mix.  Those old "history-teacher-filling-in- as-a-high-school-track-coach" inspired habits came right back.  Leg shoved out in front, knee locked up, heel pounded down, roll onto the toes, pushed off.

     I'll bet that guy has some physical issues brewing if he does much running at all. 
The point to be taken from all of this is: YOU HAVE NATURAL RUNNING ALREADY BUILT IN, PROGRAMMED INTO YOUR BODY/BRAIN.  You just need to tap into it!
Two Toms Sportshield 1.5 oz. Roll-On Anti Friction Skin Guard

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

AN AHA!! MOMENT

Now first of all, this isn't for everyone.  If you're a competitive runner, or a fast runner, or worried about your split times, this won't mean much to you.  I went for my usual morning run, only about 3 miles today.  As you may know from reading prior posts, I run exclusively in Invisible Shoe (Xero Shoes) huaraches, (6mm Contacts).  I decided, kind of on a whim, to try to run a lot more slowly than normal.  I practise "100 up"  (see prior posts re Christopher MacDougall's video).  Running slowly, you can practice the form, keeping a good mid-foot strike, cocking back the elbow.   

     I don't think I've ever TRULY ENJOYED a run more in my life!  There was one goal.  Finish the run maintaining good form.  I forgot about times, speed, everything else.  My two big German Shepherds trotted ahead, now and then patiently stopping to wait for their slowpoke running partner to catch up.  I had so much fun with this, that I may never watch split times again.  I'm at a stage in life (just turned 60!) where I'm reassessing what is important in such endeavors.  If I run the next 5k in 21 minutes (pr) or in 35 minutes, there will be no difference in result.  I still get the T-shirt, I won't be first, and I won't likely be last.  I look forward to my next run now with greater anticipation than at any time in the past.  Sometimes, frankly, it could get to be a chore.  Not now.  Can't wait.  This slow run, strangely enough, really re-ignited my desire to run. 

     I recently heard about a study in Japan about the health benefits of slow running.  I'll look into that more, but for now, I'm just out there enjoying the run!  Hope someone gains something from this.  I know I did.

Monday, July 16, 2012

PREDATORS......AGAIN

      So which one will get picked off, the baby  rhino with it's mother next to it with a bad attitude, or the young zebra wandering alone, separated from the herd?  Stupid question, right?  In the past few days, across the country, there have been children missing, their bikes found on the trail, two adult women missing, a 6 year old girl missing from her bed, with tragic results.    Were all or some of these preventable?  I don't know.  Maybe, maybe not.  I do know that the predators that stalk among us look for opportunities and weaknesses in their prey.  They are preying on segments of society.  Make no mistake about it.  Predators understand one thing..............consequences.

      The lioness on the hunt won't tackle a full grown elephant because she knows the outcome.  The predators in our society are only different in one respect.  They are so twisted that they prey upon their own species.  They do look for weakness, though.  Children aren't attacked in plain view of other people.  These creeps hide, manipulate, sneak, and take any advantage.  If we are vigilant, though, we can AT LEAST make their work much harder.  Harden your target.  Make that extra round checking all the windows and doors before you go to bed.  Don't go out alone on desolate trails to run or bike.  These guys, (and they are guys) will be there.  Chelsea King was attacked on such a trail while on a run in San Diego County.  He was there.......waiting.

      We talk of all sorts of primitive, primal, basic things here.  Nothing is more basic than your survival.  Treat this world like the jungle that it is.

Friday, July 6, 2012

MINIMALIST/BAREFOOT RUNNING IS HARD WORK!

I've been running exclusively wearing minimalist shoes for a couple of years now.  Doing so, I find myself a lot more in tune with what my feet, legs, whole body are experiencing during a run.  I prefer minimalist to barefoot, just because I prefer to experience the sensations without ALL of the pain involved.  I've been going barefoot whenever possible since I was a kid (that's a long time ago), so my feet are plenty tough.  I really like being on a run in my Invisible Shoe huaraches and stepping hard on a sharp piece of gravel.  That's right.  I like that.  First, it is a great reminder to lighten up on your foot strike.  Second, I feel it, then go happily on my way thinking, "Boy, that WOULD HAVE hurt!"  I run in the 6mm Contact I/Ss.  For me, they give plenty of ground feel, while providing an extra modicum of protection.  Your feet aren't restricted in any way, just given enough of a layer to avoid injuries.     

     When running in such footwear, however, your feet are WORKING!  When you lace up a pair of "traditional" running shoes, you are encasing your foot in rubber, synthetic, etc.  When so encased, it doesn't have to move much, just flex enough to bend when you strike on your heel and move foreword to push off with your toes.  The foot doesn't really seem to do any actual work, rather it just catches the impact of the heel strike.  Strap on a pair of huaraches, such as those by InvisibleShoe.com, and your feet are going to do a lot of the work, and provide the "spring" to minimize impact as you mid or forefoot strike and proceed to the next step.  The fact that the foot is doing a lot of the work, seems to be the reason many people come up with injuries when transitioning to barefoot or minimalist running.  The needed strengthening takes time.  The muscles, bones, tendons, etc. that make up that wondrous appendage need time to gradually adapt to the new demands.  Go too far, too fast, and you'll have stress fractures, tendinitis, severe muscle pain, etc.   Work into it ---S---L---O---W--L--Y---.  After a few months, it really does become a lot more fun than running in shoes.  It's the natural way to run.

      I watch my 7 year old tearing through the yard, not thinking about "running", just running.  Shoes or no, he's on a mid-foot strike, naturally,  and without training.  That's the way our feet/legs were made, that's the correct way to run, (in my opinion, of course!)

Monday, July 2, 2012

IMPACT-SHOES OR NO SHOES

I've been running exclusively in minimalist shoes (Invisibleshoe.com's 6mm Contacts) for a substantial amount of time now.  Yesterday, I was wearing some "running shoes" after coming back from playing tennis with the kids, and just wanted to try an experiment.  I ran in "shoes!"  What I found was this.  Whether you run in traditional running shoes, barefoot, or minimalist, your foot strike is critical.  Even with the big padded heel under you, when you heel strike, there is much more jarring and impact than when you use a forefoot or mid-foot strike.  It was really noticeable as I went back and forth from heel to mid-foot.  The jarring from the heel strike was readily apparent. I'm no expert.  These are my observations, and are, of course, anecdotal.  The difference was unmistakable, though.  I am more convinced than ever that running with a mid-foot strike is just better for you.  The jarring to your internal organs when using the heel strike has to take its toll eventually.  

     You will find, of course, that if you move into barefooting or minimalist shoes, you need to transition gradually to avoid injury.  Starting to move off of your heels is a good beginning.  It will begin to condition your calves for the change over.  Even wearing "running shoes", you will notice a big difference in the reduction of impact when you start to run the way nature intended you to run!

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