Well, sort of. As the chart shows, that 25 miles is spread over 4 runs and 8 days (11th-18th). And the barefoot isn’t totally bare – it’s in a pare of Vibram Five-Finger minimalist running shoes, along with specially made toe-socks.
Just how these strange little shoes work is one of those mysteries that only the so-called ‘scientists’ will ever explain. They’ll give you ‘evidence’ and ‘studies’ and all of that – which you’re welcome to look up and report back to me.
Here’s my explanation, followed by an informative video.
These tiny shoes force you to run correctly. The correct way to run is with a light fore-foot strike with the heel barely touching. When we’re walking, the heel-strike is fine, but when we’re running, the best thing to do is lean forward, allowing gravity to pull us and then just using our feet/legs to keep us upright. It’s often described as ‘controled falling’, and usually kids and Kenyan runners are shown in pictures doing just this, while overweight urban white guys are shown trying to run in an awkward, elephant-like vertical posture.
Thick, cushiony running shoes just mask bad running posture. By striking on the heel with a running stride, you send a shockwave up, through your ankle, to your knee, hips, and back. The cushion in the shoe softens this, which is good, but it doesn’t eliminate it, which is bad.
If you run correctly, you use the muscles in your foot (on the top) to transfer the strike to muscles in your calf. People who just start out ‘barefoot’ running often hurt themselves because these muscles are so weak that they can’t handle correct running. You really have to ease yourself into it. These are muscles that you rarely use at all, thanks to modern shoes, and never in this intense manner – except perhaps when you were a kid and ran around barefoot.
So my thought is that these shoes just facilitate old people -like me – running properly for the first time in years. Read Born to Run. And as promised, here’s a video to explain all this:
And the WHY?
Currently in support of Buddhist Global Relief, an amazing organization serving the world in ways that are needed most. Here’s my fundraising page: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/justinwhitaker/2012bristolhalf
Please consider joining these generous folks and chipping in. With just 2 weeks to go, every bit will help imensely and you will get a personal ‘thank you’ from me; along with the warm feeling of knowing you’ve contributed to helping people around the world through one of the best Buddhist non-profits out there.
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