Sunday, 31 October 2010

Michelles first cross-trail competion

Hi everybody, Michelle here: So I bit the bullet today, yessiree, I did. Me and my big mouth led me to eating mud, sticks and all sorts of debris. I mean let's face it... 8 weeks of training is cutting it quite short. Although, not all to short for a 5k trim competition in our backyard and so I thought I'd give it a try.

We have been training religiously over the past 2 months. Getting up at the crack of dawn, pitch black and cold with a miner's lamp on our skulls, doing it flintstone-style, 4 times a week. You can imagine that with each week that passes by, our confidence in our barefoot-style running grows and the distances become longer. Referring to Chris McDougall's book, Born to run, it's only a matter of time, before you pick up speed. 

I had battled with my footwear up until now. My first pair being the Vibram 5 fingers caused a major discomfort in my left foot because the distance of the shoe between my ankle and the inner part of my 4th and 5th toes was like a millimeter too short. I switched over to another style, the Terra Nova's and have done most of my training wearing this pair. Here and there I took out the 5 fingers and reajusted laces, cut into the space between the fifth and eventually the fourth toes. This did it and I am now able to run without any pinching, sharp pain or discomfort in my left foot.
Now since the Barefoot-style has yet to take off in the dutch market, my friend Paul and I decided to run the course in our Vibram's. (We had no doubt brought along our fan-club, namely Esther and Ans for support and pic's). Of course we were the only one's trampling about in the mud with these freaky shoes on. I use this word, because of the collective skewered faces we were greeted with when other runner's noticed our footwear. I love this part! Those faces, you know which one's... Those where your just walking by (before the race), and a couple walk by, taking a non-interested look, return back to the direction they're walking and then... the pause (where you can just see the cogs working... "Did I see that right?" Followed by an involuntary flick of the neck back to look again... yes... Yes... those are odd looking shoes, followed by, a glance at your face... where they must be wondering... what does this person look like, who wears these kind of err, uugh, shoes ? Hihi. 

Anyway, back to the race. I was quite relaxed until the start, as the gunshot startled me!



 Three... two... one... PANG! ...and we're off!

It was at this moment where I must have woken up, because all of a sudden, there I was, in the middle of a race, amongst runners of all sorts, and I'm thinking... what on earth am I doing here? I tried rubbing my eye's to wake up and took another look... no, this is real. I tried clicking my ankles together like Dorothy in the wizard of Oz, but I wasn't sure if my Vibram's had the special power her little red shoe's had to get me the hell out of here. It's official, I am in the middle of a race. I took one look at my Garmin, and noticed that my heartrate was spiking at 177bpm... and we haven't been running for longer than 5 minutes! I had no other option, but to surrender and let myself go with the flow.


There's Michelle after a very fast first round. Looking good!

Although I am smiling in the photo above, I'm thinking... that I shouldn't have had that bowl of muesli that I did this morning, followed by coffee just before the race. Attention, attention! To all of you aspiring first time race-runners, never, and I mean, NEVER, run with a full stomach and be sure to leave the coffee until after the race!  I have never felt so ill my entire life as I had this very moment. I'm praying to a higher-power to please help me, as we have 1 lap down and 3 more to go.

 Paul on the other hand, a seasoned marathon runner, is having the time of his life! See pic below.

And there's Paul... picking his nose. To easy for you Paul?

Feeling the way I did, I managed to complete 5.66km in 35.53 minutes and had recorded my best time until now for this distance. I would have loved to have done the 7.77km but that's for next time.


Michelle is finishing and... still smiling. (MK, Smiling because it's finally over!!!)

 Here we are after the race having a giggle and coming back to our senses. You can see the look in my face here explains everything... Hmmmz, I sure learnt a thing or two today!  


Cooling down...

The next few pic's are the 'after-shots' of Paul's Vibrams. You can see that it had been raining until just before the race! Ghehehe, nice and muddy!
 
The all too muddy VFF's

Esther has just whispered in my ear that she will be joining in the next race. Another trail and bush course 30 km's from here. We will be braving a 10km race together (The Beekse Bosloop / Run for Fun, to our dutch readers, who would love to join), in our Vibram's and wearing a big smile. 

It goes without saying that we'll keep you abrieved!

Tjuus,
Michelle

Monday, 25 October 2010

Living healthy and try to be more structured


Wintertime is coming in Holland and that means its getting f***ing cold and wet. We prefer to go running in the morning and that means getting up at about six and start running half an hour later. We run for an hour, take a shower and get ready for work. I try to hit the sack at 10 in the evening because I really need my 8 hours of sleep. When not... I am as grumpy as hell! So I am really trying to get this structured and because I am an evening person this is not that easy. 


 


Michelle and I are also focusing on our nutrition. Paul and Ans from Anyones Running introduced us to the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet is a way of eating in the modern age that best mimics diets of our hunter-gatherer ancestors - combinations of lean meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. By eating the foods that we are genetically adapted to eat, followers of the Paleo Diet are naturally lean, have acne-free skin, improved athletic performance, and are experiencing relief from numerous metabolic-related and autoimmune diseases. Well... that sounds nice!

So last week we bought ourselves a juicer and we make our fresh fruit and vegetable juices every day. This way we get everything we need as in vitamines, minerals and fibres. And it tasts good too! In the morning we make our smoothie with yoghurt, muesli and lots of fruit and in the afternoon we make a great vegetable shake. In the evening we eat vegetables, nuts, herbs and whatever we feel like and what's good for us. And guess what? We have more energy and feel a lot better these days. 

-Esther- 

Coming soon, some nice juicer recipes to get you energized! 


Friday, 15 October 2010

My birthday gift! A Garmin 405 !WOW!



In 2 weeks its my birthday. And Michelle and my parents have bought me such a nice gift; the Garmin 405. Training will now be even more fun!

Check out this watch because its so cool!

The Garmin 405 - Long runs, tempo runs, speed drills. You expect a lot from your body…and from your training gear. Meet Forerunner 405. This GPS-enabled sport watch tracks your training, then wirelessly sends your data to your computer. The ultimate in training technology, its sleek design features a touch bezel that lets you quickly scroll and select features on the run.

Watch Results

Loaded with serious training features, Forerunner 405 continuously monitors your time, distance, pace, calories and heart rate (when paired with heart rate monitor). Each run is stored in memory so you can review and analyze the data to see how you've improved. You even can download recorded courses to compete against previous workouts or race a Virtual Partner®. Customize Forerunner’s data screens for instant feedback while you train.

Use with Ease

Sport watch and personal trainer, Forerunner 405 gives you the best of both worlds in a sleek, stylish package. This high performance watch is easy to use and comfortable to wear when not training. Simply tap the touch bezel to change screens without fumbling for a button. Forerunner 405 comes in 2 colors — black or green — to fit your style.

Run, Sync, Store and Share

Once you’ve logged the miles, innovative ANT+™ wireless technology automatically transfers data to your computer when the Forerunner is in range. No cables, no hookups. The data’s just there, ready for you to analyze, categorize and share through our online community,
Garmin Connect™ or our optional Garmin Training Center® software. You can wirelessly send workouts from your computer to Forerunner, too.

Share Wirelessly

With Forerunner 405 you can share your locations, advanced workouts and courses wirelessly with other Forerunner 405 users. Now you can send your favorite workout to your buddy to try, or compete against a friend's recorded course. Sharing data is easy. Just select “transfer” to send your information to nearby units.

Track Heart Rate

Forerunner 405 is available with or without a heart rate monitor (see the versions tab) to help you make the most out of your training. Versions with a digital heart rate monitor continuously track heart beats per minute. Train in a certain heart rate zone to improve your fitness level or compare your pace and heart rate to past performance on the same run.

Cross-Train

Take your training inside with the versatile Forerunner 405. Pair it with an optional foot pod to track your speed, distance and running cadence indoors when a GPS signal is unavailable. This new design clips onto your laces for easy removal and automatically turns on when you start moving. You also can add a speed/cadence bike sensor to track the speed and distance of your cycling workouts.

Lock Onto Satellite Signals

Forerunner 405 sports a unique design that gives the GPS antenna a better view of the sky, so it can get a stronger signal during your run. And its high-sensitivity GPS receiver provides improved tracking under trees and near tall buildings.


Can't wait till its the 27th!
Happy Happy Birthday to me!!!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Szjoefff...

Michelle writes: 
Well hello world! As you may have noticed by the intro, my brain is totally saturated with endorphines. We have just returned from an awesome 6k run and although only 6 weeks into our training, I am amazed with the results. Esther and I couldn't be more different. We may have both started running around the same time, but how we experience it is so different. So different it's uncanny, but you know what, we both share the same passion and fun that we gain out of it. Where I'm more focused on the statistics of a session (speed vs bpm heartrate, elevation, etc), Esther on the other hand grades each session by how comfortable she experienced the run. I must admit and let you all know that I am an individual who finds a challenge in anything. With each challenge, a thrill factor. And if that isn't present, I get bored and hook off. So, in other words, I can be my own best friend or my worst enemy. That being said, the longevity of any sports activity I undertake is directly related to the thrill factor that I get (or don't) out of it.  Perhaps some of you can identify with this? 

But having embarked on this newfound adventure, that being running in a different-style to what I have been used to, I find myself growing. Not so much in my performance but rather to the enjoyment of it all. I must admit, I have never truly enjoyed anything sports-related (except for winning) as much as I have now... Running in the same way Esther runs... that without a statistical goal, but for the pleasure of it all!


So this brings me to the inevitable question: "What makes it all worthwhile ?" What is it that truly makes a good sportsman or woman ?  Is it the ACHIEVEMENT or is it the ENJOYMENT. I am slowly becoming to believe that the motivation of achievement (as I have known it to be) is short-lived and risky and that enjoyment on the other hand is the underlying fundamental factor for success, whether you win or not and that you inevitably will achieve if you just enjoy. 

Now with this insight I'm really looking forward to my next scheduled run which is Saturday, an 8K run. This time without a heart-monitor or sportswatch. 


Signed,
Michelle

Barefoot-style running Clinic


For our Dutch readers:


(klik voor een vergroting)

Anyones Running organiseert in samenwerking met Frunning een
Barefoot style running clinic 
Waar? in het Tilburgse wandelbos
Wanneer? op Zondag 7 november
 Hoe laat? Aanvang 9.30 tot 12.00 uur

 
Benieuwd?
Stuur dan een email naar
Je ontvangt dan een inschrijfformulier retour


Anyones Running, Anyone Can!

 

Is less more?

Is Less More?

From the November 2010 issue of Runner's World;

Fueled by the barefoot-running craze and the success of the FiveFingers, a new crop of "minimalist" shoes has emerged, heating up the debate over what we should wear on our feet—and what the running shoe of the future will look like. 
By Bob Parks, Image by Dan Winters 

 
Call them what you like, toe shoes, foot gloves, gorilla feet. Call them strange-looking, weird, ugly if you're so inclined. Just understand that the funky, almost barefoot look of the FiveFingers hides from no one. The ultralight, increasingly chic shoe has made appearances this year at the Emmy Awards, on talk shows, and on the feet of everyone from Matthew McConaughey to former NFL star Eddie George. Whether actor Channing Tatum is rocking them on the streets of New York City or Google founder Sergey Brin is chatting up investors in them at corporate press conferences, the FiveFingers announce "I'm a free thinker" (though fashionista haters have charged that on ordinary mortals they cry out: "I'm going home alone tonight!"). The shoes, from Italian shoe company Vibram, sell for between $75 and $125—$35 for a knockoff version at a street vendor's booth.

In addition to their nonconformist currency in popular culture, the FiveFingers—which weigh all of 5.7 ounces and have a minuscule heel height of 7.2 millimeters—present a health and exercise message as well, as we've seen with a recent barefoot tutorial from Dr. Mehmet Oz. "The shoes were designed to not give too much cushioning," the ubiquitous doctor explained on his TV show, "but they allow you to run off the arches of your feet so you bounce." And Time, which named the FiveFingers one of the best inventions of 2007 (when hikers and boaters first latched on to them), points out that the shoes give you "the barefoot experience without putting your tender soles at risk."

For runners, though, the popularity of the FiveFingers has only intensified an ongoing conversation that kicked off in the spring of 2009 with the publication of Born to Run. The book, a New York Times best seller, reports on the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico who reportedly suffer fewer running injuries than North Americans do, even though many members frequently race ultralong distances in thin rubber sandals. Born to Run also presents reasons why barefoot advocates, such as author Christopher McDougall, believe that the best way to learn good running form is completely unshod, letting your feet and legs feel the subtle changes in impact so you can adjust your body to lessen that impact. Heavily cushioned treads, many of which dominate today's running-shoe market, don't allow for such an experience, the barefooters contend. "Sure," McDougall, himself an ultramarathoner, says, "I'll throw on a minimal shoe, but when I want to get back on track with my form, I have to be barefoot."

Buoyed by ideas presented in the book, the ranks of barefooters have grown, with a new organization, the Barefoot Runners Society, adding 700 members nationally in its first few months. But even the Barefooters point out that there are times when the foot needs some minimal protection from the elements. FiveFingers offer runners a way to guard their soles from sharp pebbles or ice chunks while allowing the foot to move almost as if it had no shoe on at all. And they're proving to be more than a protective trainer. In May, a 31-year-old California runner, Patrick Sweeney, won the Palos Verdes Marathon in a time of 2:37:14—with FiveFingers on his feet.

They're also proving to be more than a fad. Just ask Nike, New Balance, Saucony, and the other big boys of the multibilliondollar running-shoe business who have glimpsed the future of running shoes and are racing—get this—backward to catch up.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Cross fit

Some friends of ours told us about this new fitness hype in America. CrossFit is a strength and conditioning brand. CrossFit combines weightlifting, sprinting, and gymnastics.[1] CrossFit says that proficiency is required in each of ten fitness domains: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy. It defines fitness as increased work capacity across all these domains and says its program achieves this by provoking neurologic and hormonal adaptations across all metabolic pathways.

I think this could be a nice variaton on our running schedule. Check out this video;




The basics are okay but I would rather do it like this and create my own program;




Maybe we should change our sundaymorning run to a cross work out in the forest? Lifting tree stumps and pulling yourself up in trees, jumping fences and balancing on tree stumps. That would be really cool!

-Esther-

Try out


Yesterday I had my first run in 4 days. I wanted to give it a try and also find out what the problem could be. So I went for a nice and quit run, focusing on my landing and the movement of my hurt foot. The pain I had in that foot didn't seem to get worse when I was running. I was able to make a very smooth landing with my feet and didn't put any pressure my foot. I felt relaxed and really enjoyed the run. Maybe that 4 days rest also had something to do with it? So I think the problem was that I might have stepped on a root or misstepped after the jump over the fence and that has caused a small bruise.

Normally we run 4 days a week, every other day. We'd rather run every day but we do need some rest because we don't want to get injured. Yesterday I found out that a good rest every now and then gives your body a lot of energy. I wasn't able to run for four days so that gave my body some time to recover. And on my yesterdays run that felt so nice! 

So my foot is feeling almost fine. Tomorow we're going for another run, hoping that it wil be as smooth as yesterday ;-) Just gonna listen to my body and focus on a good posture and landing. And most important... enjoy!

Thanks Paul, Steven and Robyn for your advice!

-Esther-

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Fluid in my feet


I haven't been running for the last 3 days. That's because my right foot feels a little bruised. Yesterday I had it massaged and there seems to be some fluid in my midfoot. That means I have to give it some time to rest. So this morning I took my hybride bike to go for a 1 hour ride. Have to keep in shape while not running. Hope it will recover soon because I love the running every morning!

If anyone has or had a similar injury please let me know. Sharing your experiences means learning from eachother. Any advice be more then welcome!

-Esther-



My dear friend Paul ( from Anyonesrunning) gave me some good advice;

"Hi Essie ,

we hebben eerst gelopen en in de zon gezeten ( vit. D)lees ik dat goed
vanmorgen?... fuck! Essie heeft een dikke voet. can't say i didn't warn you
, heel spijtig maar ja " welcome to the club  dit overkomt iedere loper wel
eens , toch iets gedaan waar je nog niet klaar voor bent .
Het is maar een theorie die ik tijdens mijn duurloop vanmorgen had  sorry
but"  your problem whas on my mind". Wat kan ze fout hebben gedaan!! zou het
de sprong over het balkje afgelopen dinsdag"na de training zijn geweest?  je
belast de voet dan met wel 6 a 7 maal je lichaamsgewicht. , op het moment
tijdens de training misschien maar met 2 a 3 maal je lichaamsgewicht , zo'n
sprong of landing kan net de druppel zijn
Vertel mij jouw voorkeursvoet bij de landing na een grote sprong en ik denk
dat dat jouw pijnlijke voet met vocht is ."


Paul


And also Steven Sashen from 'Invisble Shoe' gave me some tips. Thanks Steven for your advice!


"Hi Esther,

Since I'm not a doctor and can't actually see your foot, it's hard for me to say. But, based on my experience, let me point out a few things that may help:

1) Since it's a problem with ONE foot and not both, whatever happened in not simply a problem running, or running in huaraches. Assuming you didn't accidentally step on something, or unknowingly pull/tear/break something (I know of people who've broken a bone in their foot and not known it at the time), then having the problem on one foot and not both suggests that you're doing something different with your feet/legs.

I know that may sound stupid, but you'd be surprised how often someone will say, "I'm running barefoot and my right foot gets blisters and my left foot doesn't... so clearly barefoot running is bad for me!" And I have to point out: "Just learn what your LEFT foot is doing right and do the same thing with your right foot."

2) It's surprisingly common for people to do something different with one foot/leg than the other and not know it. I ran with 12 people today and 4 of them would overstride with one foot/leg and not the other!

3) I have an article about how barefoot running isn't just about running barefoot (or in huaraches). That once we take off our shoes, we have to really pay attention to our sensations because that's how we learn -- if it hurts, we have to do something different to find what doesn't hurt.

Most people, when learning to run barefoot or in huaraches do too much before they try correcting their form. Or they start out with good form and then continue past the point where they've gotten tired and their form has suffered.

4) Almost every injury I've ever seen from barefoot/huarache running is pointing to a form problem (unless, of course, it's something acute, like taking one step too hard, or landing on a rock, or something like that).

5) I got a big blister after my 2nd barefoot run (a 5k run... even though I'd never run more than 2k before). Trying to run before the blister had heeled, and trying to do so in a way that didn't hurt, led me to find a new stride pattern that not only didn't hurt, but was faster and lighter than before.

I'm not saying "go out and run while you're still injured" as much as "when you do go out to run, see if you can bring your attention to that part of your foot and see if you notice anything different about it, or just see if you can find a way to make it easier.

6) Many barefoot runners are surprisingly hard on their feet. You can sometimes hear them landing. Sometimes they even heel-strike, like they were in shoes. One cue is to imagine you're trying to sneak up on a deer when you run. This will help you see the difference  between having very "soft knees" (really, soft ankles, knees, hips) and whatever else you were doing before.

7) I can't remember what your history with barefooting is: whether you've been running barefoot a lot, or in VFFs a lot, or if you're new to either. Suffice it to say, that can make a difference. One woman on the run today said she couldn't run barefoot, but she could run in her VFFs... that's because her form was wrong -- she was overstriding like crazy! -- and rather than correct it by changing her form, she covered it up with the padding  that VFFs provide (which is actually quite a bit of padding compared to barefoot or huaraches).

Again, this would all be INFINITELY easier to do if I could see you run rather than just based on the small amount of information you gave me in an email.

I hope this was in some way useful.

If not, let me know and I'll try again."



Steven Sashen

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Sore feet

This morning we went for a 6km run. We ended up running 7km because I took a new route and that appeared to be a little bit longer. We are running barefoot (on VVF) now for 5 weeks and for the first time my feet are starting to feel a bit sore on the midfoot, at the place where I land. No real pain  but more like a little bit bruised. So I'm gonna keep an eye on that because I don't want to get an injury. For saturday we planned a 8km run so for today and tomorow I'll better take it easy ;-)

-Esther-

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Principles of Barefoot running

"The Principles of Barefoot running“ from "The Barefoot Running Book” by Jason Robillard

Principle One- There is no single right answer. Barefoot running is inherently a very individualistic activity. Each of us will develop our own style and form. There is no single “correct” way to run barefoot. Our job as a teachers of barefoot running is to help you find your own style.

Principle Two- You must experiment and learn from your successes and failures. George Sheehan famously said, “Each of us is an experiment of one-observer and subject-making choices, living with them, recording the effects.” In order to master the art of running barefoot, you must be willing to try new things. You must be able to adopt the successes and discard the failures.

Principle Three- Your body is your best teacher. When following principle two, your best feedback will be your own body. Your brain has the amazing ability to receive feedback from your body, interpret that information, and adjust accordingly. Our own thought process often creates a roadblock for this process. We must learn to trust our own body.

Principle Four- Patience is mandatory. Learning to run barefoot takes time. Allowing your body to adapt to this new running style takes time. All too often we want to rush the process. This results in injury. We must be willing to start from nothing and rebuild ourselves.

Principle Five- Relaxation is the secret to great form. Barefoot running requires relaxation of the skeletal muscles. Running free and easy is the secret to running injury-free.

Principle Six- You must enjoy the process. Learning to run barefoot should be a process, not a destination. If you take the time to enjoy each stage of your development as a barefoot runner, you will be successful. This is a fun activity! Watch little children run around barefoot. Embrace that joy! Smile and savor the process!


I say Halleluja!

Wanna give it a try?


Barefoot whenever you can...

Here are 5 tips to get you ‘barefooting’ safely in no-time:

1) Go barefoot whenever you can. At home, in the garden, in the office (if you can), playing with the kids, taking the pooch for his daily walk. The more your feet rediscover what they’re capable of, the better your feet will feet and so will your soul. Take a look at our minimal shoes reviews to find a pair best suited for your lifestyle.

2) Stop and think. Even I catch myself about to put on my flip-flops (I live in Florida) before heading out the door with our lab. Stop and think, “do I really need those stinkin’ shoes to go?”. Sure, certain social or public situations require them, as do certain environmental conditions. Just take 5 seconds and consider if you can manage without shoes, if you can, go for it!

3) Start slow, but start. If you’re a runner you have a great opportunity to run lighter, faster, injury-free and even discover a new running outlook. But don’t ditch those sneaks and go unshod without a plan. Well, you can but your calves will hurt, the feet will tingle, and you may be sore in where you’ve never been sore before. When running in shoes (Barefoot 101) the muscles in your feet have been asleep for a very long time. Be patient as they strengthen over time. For the average runner that means 5-10mins of barefoot running on pavement per run for the first little while.

4) Let go of the stigma. Isn’t it ironic how ‘going barefoot’ has negative social stereotypes; while gymnasts, dancers, martial artists and other pro’s depend on their naked feet. Why the taboo of being naked from the ankle down? So the next time you feel uncertain of going barefoot, just remember that you’re doing the right thing for your body. And if someone asks, just say your feet need a workout.

5) Listen to your feet. No different than those aches your body may feel after a killer gym session, long training run, hardcore trail ride, or showing off your skills on the ski hill. As you introduce barefoot running or walking into your training, you’ll notice that shorter than usual runs will cause muscle and arch tenderness. Don’t plan on that Sunday morning 15 miler training dash for at least 3-4 weeks. Don’t force it. You’re awakening, straining and training muscles that have been asleep for a long time. At the same time, those ‘comfy’ shoes have thinned your soles and strengthening of them will take time, again, patience.

Source: www.barefootrunner.com - Thanks David! You've been very inspiring! 

Why run or walk barefoot?


1. Strengthen the muscles in your feet
2. Be injury free thanks to proper foot and body mechanics
3. Increased sensory perception (and running pleasure)
4. Run easier and faster and be injury-free for life

 


Check it out…
Look at the illustration below. When a runner strikes the ground wearing running shoes, the positive heel (all that foam/air/gel cushioning) causes him/her to heel strike, then ‘roll’ and push off. This is NOT how our body is designed to run. Look at the runner on the right. When you’re barefoot (or nearly barefoot) you will land gently and feel the ground below your feet. This is very important to be a healthy and injury-free runner. Now you try! Run 20 yards in your runners, then do the same barefoot. Have someone watch you just in case you fall over from glee!

Running in shoes vs Barefoot

Image: Terra Plana

A few FAQ’s
Q: What’s wrong with running shoes?
A: A lot. Running shoes “shield” your feet and body from the natural cushioning it’s designed for, actually causing more impact to your body, not less. Nearly all traditional running shoes have a thick midsole at the heel which causes heel strike, another major injury cause. [Read more here...]

Q: So… what are you saying?
A: Toss your shoes away and run barefoot! But wait, there’s more! There are things to consider first, that’s where this site comes in. Read on…

Q: I heard about barefoot running, doesn’t it hurt?
A: If you jump right into it, then in short, yes. You’ll use muscles you’ve never used before. As you transition to barefoot running, you should start slowly. Ease into your mileage and listen to you feet. Most runner’s require 3-4 weeks before achieving ~80% of their regular mileage sans shoes.

Q: OK, I’m onboard with this barefoot running, but can’t always run sans shoe, then what?
A: As many other runners, I had the same problem. There are many environmental and sometimes social reasons for wearing “running shoes”. For this and other reasons there ‘alternatives’ are slowly becoming available. My Skora project is progressing to launch late 2010. Meanwhile, take a look at our minimal shoe reviews.

A few medical quotes
 “Running related Chronic injuries to bone and connective tissue in the legs are rare in developing countries, where most people are habitually barefooted.”
Michael Warbutton - Gateway Physiotherapist Australia. 2001

"Barefoot training helps correct form and reduces foot, shin and muscle injuries.”
Dr. William A. Rossi, D.P.M. 1999.

“Where barefoot and shod populations exist, as in Haiti, injury rates of the lower extremity are substantially higher in the shoe wearing population.”
Robins SE and Hanna AM - Running related injury

“…natural gait is impossible for the shoe-wearing foot …and it is equally impossible for any orthotic to achieve “correct” foot and body balance …no matter how correct and precise the biomechanical design.”
Dr. William A. Rossi, D.P.M. “Why Shoes Make ‘Normal’ Gait Impossible.” Podiatry Management

37 Things to Say When Spotted Barefoot




You’re barefoot!
1) You’re not!
2) You’re observant!
3) You’re right!
4) Thanks for the tip.
5) No shit, Sherlock.

Why aren’t you wearing shoes?
6) Don’t like ‘em.
7) They make my feet sweat/stink.
8) My feet like the fresh air.
9) My feet were hot.
10) One less thing to do in the morning.
11) Why aren’t you wearing gloves [hat]?
12) To annoy people like you.
13) Why do you care?
14) I’m allergic to them.
15) I’m not wearing a tie either.
16) I’m off-duty.
17) I’m opposed to wasting petrochemicals/leather.
18) I’m performing a scientific foot-toughening experiment.
19) If I don’t keep in contact with the ground, I build up a static charge.
20) My feet were jealous of my hands.
21) I’ll give you three-thousand guesses.
22) They are a conspiracy by multi-national plastic and leather merchants.
23) I knew I had forgotten something!

Why are you barefoot?
24) I like the way it feels.
25) It’s much more comfortable.
26) I think it looks cool.
27) I want to toughen my feet.
28) It’s good for my feet.
29) Because feet are beautiful.
30) It gives me this wonderful feeling of freedom.
31) I want keep in touch with the earth.
32) Because I’m not wearing shoes [duh!].
33) Try and work it out.
34) Because I m not concerned with your contempt.
35) Dunno.
36) Because you don’t pay my salary.
37) I’m in a time-warp from the ’60s.

Why Aren’t You Running Barefoot?

The following article is written by Owen Marcus of www.runningflow.com


Are you running barefoot? Why not? Animals do it. In this video from his Google appearance, Barefoot Ted McDonald outlines how he discovered running barefoot. Like any geek who majored in Rhetoric, he did all the research before even trying it. He wanted to learn all he could before he did something as crazy as take off his shoes to run outside. But the more he read, the more he was inspired to just do it.
His presentation is an excellent introduction to barefoot running. Like many of the barefoot runners, he talks about landing on the forefoot, but that’s only part of the story. The real story is that you are leaning forward from the ankle, stretching your calves, and your stride is behind you and not in front of you. How the foot lands is secondary; it shouldn’t be the focus if you want the best results. Your foot lands correctly when you are leaning forward, which you do naturally when barefoot. You can’t lean back, or stand straight, and run barefoot. Your heels will slam into the ground so hard, it’ll make your head pound in about three or four strides.
I agree fully with his comment that being present and mindful when you run is the key to running your best and to fully enjoying running. Proprioception is a forgotten sense. We have learned to shut down our internal awareness from the thousands of points of awareness within our body. Not only does this lack of awareness make you more vulnerable to injuries, it also takes the innate fun out of running.
“Good running is not about how well you can endure pain. It is about how long you can remain relaxed.”
Ted speaks about how “the better the footwear” the worse it is for you. From his own experience and from researchers, he exclaims that shoes don’t make a runner better–and they may even make you worse, and they can produce injuries.
“I am not a dogmatic barefoot runner…. I want it to be in the pallet of choices…. We have a generation to whom something is broken [the foot].”
Ted mentions how the podiatrist approach is to immobilize the foot when there is a problem.  Hold it steady, don’t let it move… and it’s supposed to magically heal? How’s that work?
Ted explains how a flat-footed person running barefoot will develop an arch. I have seen it with clients who learn the natural walk (or the natural running from). The foot and lower leg relax, stretch and strengthen from being used how they are meant to be used.
Barefoot running, when done correctly, is running naturally, running in the flow.
Ted also mentions a desire to compete in our local Coeur d’Alene Ironman. We will see.

Into the flow


Today we ran 7km. Yiehaaaa! I am so proud of myself! And of Michelle ofcourse because she ran with me while challenging and motivating me. Running together with someone works very motivating for me. Michelles pace is a little bit faster then mine so every now and then she turns around to come back and 'pick me up'  haha! She is so sweet... And today I even jumped over a wooden fence! Normally a crawled over it but not today. I felt like a young deer ;-) My legs are getting stronger and my energylevel goes up. Good feelings all over!


The Esche Stroom, a little river close to our home

The scenery route for today went through the Sparrenbos (which is a beautiful old pine forest) and along the beautiful Esche Stroom (a little river close to our home). I am able to enjoy the surroundings more and more while running. It is starting to become a natural movement, I am relaxed and I have a composed breathing. I can just run with a big smile on my face!
We passed some other runners this week which where running on 'normal' running shoes and practice the heelstrike. And they just don't look as relaxed as we do. They are fighting the earth and its gravity. They are pushing their feet into the ground and pulling themselves forward sweating and all. I am wondering.... do they really enjoy the running? You can hear them coming by their heavy breathing and the stamping of their feet. We just 'float' over the earth smiling and enjoying our run so much. I am so happy we are running barefoot style! It is so much fun and it makes running so much more natural. Can't wait for the summer to come because we wanna run really barefoot a lot more.

-Esther-