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Autumn/ Winter 2013 Issue 10 FREE


How to contact us Barefoot Running Magazine TRC Publishing Limited 21 Lyric Mews, Silverdale, London SE26 4TD United Kingdom ISSN 2050-9022 email: website: tel: Overseas:

info@bfrm.co.uk www.bfrm.co.uk +44 (0) 845 226 7301 +44 (0) 208 659 0269

Cover picture: Homage to Jesse Owens by Eileen San Felipe www.eileensanfelipe.blogspot.co.uk Insert picture: Women's Elite start at the 117th Boston Marathon (2013)

Find us at: www.facebook.com/BarefootRunningMagazine

www.trcpublishinguk.co.uk/bfrm

@BareFootRunMag

The health and fitness information presented in this magazine is intended as an educational resource and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Consult your doctor before attempting any of the exercises in this magazine or any other exercise programme, particularly if you are pregnant, elderly or have chronic or recurring medical conditions. Do not attempt any of the exercises while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Discontinue any exercise that causes you pain or discomfort and consult a medical expert. Neither the author of the information nor the producer nor the distributors make any warranty of any kind in regard to the content of the information presented in this magazine.


Welcome to the Autumn/Winter issue of Barefoot Running Magazine. We hope you’re all enjoying good health and looking forward to a fun 2014.

A note from the editor...

There appears to be an unintentional theme to this issue of Barefoot Running Magazine: discrimination. Our “In focus” article takes a look into the life of the amazing Jesse Owens, detailing his athletic successes as well as the prejudices he faced due to the colour of his skin. Meanwhile, inside his lab, David takes a look at sexism in sport. Unfortunately, it is still quite prevalent but women are slowly being allowed to show what they’re made of – and are showing a few men up in the process! Our main feature is an account of the popular Running Show, held again at Sandown Park in Surrey, UK. We encourage you all to attend this annual event if you can - it’s informative and fun and a great chance to sample different clothing, footwear and food whilst picking up some very useful tips from running experts. As most of you now know, this magazine isn’t just about running. We recently had the great opportunity to meet Terry Laughlin - founder of Total Immersion Swimming - when he kindly allowed us to sit in on a coaching workshop here in London. If you’re looking for a smoother, more efficient way to swim, take a look at our “Conversation with” Terry and his article, “How to improve your swimming stroke”. David and I have already made great gains in our own swimming practice just by following some of his basic rules. Other features include the eagerly anticipated part two of John Woodward’s Alexander Technique article and a piece from Permaculturist and barefoot runner, Aranya Gardens, giving us definite food for thought! Gareth “Gadget” Underhill helps us understand the intricacies of heart rate monitors whilst our test team give us their conclusions on a number of different fitness products. We welcome mountain runner and coach, Charlie Sproson, to the team too! Our Roving Reporter, Chris Fielding, has just about recovered from his introduction to parkour and gives us a wonderful account of his and his son’s experience at Evolve in Manchester.

Aranya Gardens Avid barefoot runner & Permaculturist www.aranyagardens.co.uk

Alene Nitzky Keen ultrarunner and blogger

Ultrarunner Alene Nitzky is this issue’s book reviewer and she provides us with a wonderful insight into “The Summit Seeker” – a powerful book by Vanessa Runs whose honesty and humility many of you are no doubt familiar with. All the usual news, events, letters, etc. make up the rest of this biggest ever issue! Thank you to all who have contributed – we couldn’t do it without you!

www.alenegonebad.blogspot.com

John Woodward Alexander Technique Teacher and Natural Running coach www.naturalrunning.co.uk

Terry Laughlin

Run Strong, Run Free!

Swimming coach and founder of Total Immersion Swimming

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www.totalimmersion.net


Ian Hicks

Co-founder of Barefoot Running UK, movement therapist, Pilates instructor, running coach & author anna.toombs@bfrm.co.uk @ToombsAnna

Barefoot running enthusiast ian.hicks@bfrm.co.uk

David Robinson

Gareth “The Gadget” Underhill

Co-founder of Barefoot Running UK, movement therapist, sports performance specialist & author david.robinson@bfrm.co.uk @barefootdrrob

Personal trainer, sports scientist (Biomechanist/Physiologist) gareth.underhill@bfrm.co.uk www.outfitgroup.co.uk

Leigh Rogers

Jonathan Mackintosh

Holistic sports nutritionist, health & wellness coach leigh.rogers@bfrm.co.uk www.meorganic.co.uk

Keen ultrarunner & blogger jonathan.mackintosh@bfrm.co.uk www.pixelscotland.com

Steven Sashen

Chris Fielding

Creator of the Xero Shoe & sprinter steven.sashen@bfrm.co.uk www.xeroshoes.com

Blogging enthusiast & barefoot runner. Founder of Barefoot Beginner chris.fielding@bfrm.co.uk www.barefootbeginner.com

Dr Steve ‘Sock Doc’ Gangemi

Charlie Sproson

Chiropractic physician & MovNat coach steve.gangemi@bfrm.co.uk www.sock-doc.com

Mountain runner, running coach & Montane sponsored athlete. Charlie.sproson@bfrm.co.uk www.mountainrun.co.uk

Tracy Davenport

Ricardo ‘The Dashing’ D’Ash

Minimalist footwear retailer, avid barefoot runner & blogger tracy.davenport@bfrm.co.uk www.barefootbritain.co.uk

Avid barefoot runner & co-founder of the Maidstone Barefoot Dashers Ricardo.d’ash@bfrm.co.uk

Gareth Underhill

Gareth ‘Gadget’ Underhill

Personal trainer, sports scientist (Biomechanist/Physiologist) gareth.underhill@bfrm.co.uk www.outfitgroup.co.uk I

Personal trainer, sports scientist (Biomechanist/Physiologist) gareth.underhill@bfrm.co.uk www.outfitgroup.co.uk through, but manage the

Meet the team

Anna Toombs

am a mountain runner through and odd road and lowland area when needs be. Living in the English Lake District gives me an excellent trainingChris and testing Chris Fielding Fieldingground to put myself and new products on the market really through my/their Blogging enthusiast & barefootpaces. runner. Blogging enthusiast & barefoot runner. Founder of Barefoot Beginner chris.fielding@bfrm.co.uk www.barefootbeginner.com

Ian Hicks Barefoot running enthusiast ian.hicks@bfrm.co.uk

Founder of Barefoot Beginner chris.fielding@bfrm.co.uk problems I had with my back www.barefootbeginner.com

I got into Natural Running through after running more than 15 to 20 miles over varied terrain. I read books, watched what I could on You Tube, had some Pose Ian Hicks Coaching and used trial and error to try to rectify my problems. It wasn't until I attended a VivoBarefoot Running course with Lee Barefoot running enthusiast ian.hicks@bfrm.co.uk Saxby that I really understood the correct form I was looking for to minimize injury and pain during my running.

Since then I have started teaching Natural Running skills, alongside Jonathan Mackintosh Mountain Running Navigation, Mountain Ricardo D’Ash Skills ‘The and Dashing’ plan mountain running events, plus I also run an outdoor clothing and equipment Keen ultrarunner & blogger Avid barefoot runner & co-founder retail online store, specializing in lightweight, for theBarefoot last 15 Dashers years. jonathan.mackintosh@bfrm.co.uk of the Maidstone www.pixelscotland.com This gives me the perfect opportunity Ricardod’ash@bfrm.co.uk to test the newest and most exciting products available in the outdoor trade, in the perfect testing ground: the Lake District. I am also a Montane sponsored athlete. Picture courtesy of Montane

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www.mountainrun.co.uk

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Main feature The Running Show 2013

In focus

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The Truly Legendary Jesse Owens

David’s laboratory

24

Is it time for an equal playing field?

Book review

40

The Summit Seeker by Vanessa Runs (reviewed by Alene Nitzky)

Injury corner

48

Calf Flexibility Sans Stretching: No More Calf Wall Stretches

Technical tip

52

Prepare to run! by Anna Toombs

Nutritional nugget

56

The importance of soil life in the nutritional value of food

A conversation with...

62

Founder of Total Immersion Swimming, Terry Laughlin

The Green Room

72

Barefoot Running and the Alexander Technique – Part Two

Try this at home

84

How to make positive adjustments

Picture from the past

88

Roger Bannister

How to:

90

Improve your swimming stroke

Write back at you

94

Feedback on feedback! By the Barefoot Running Magazine team

Club directory

152

Find a club near you

Web directory

154

For products and services

International News National news On track On track International news Page 6

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Outside the lab

38

Other peoples’ labs

Questions & answers

44

Your questions answered

Season in pictures

46

What you have been up to

Caught in the web

59

Internet snippets

Events

60

Stuff that’s going on

Assorted goodies

80

Products worth a look

What’s on The Season pictures 2014 events andin race calendar

98 4

The Asics Uksem debate

Clubhouse Barefoot Running calendar UK

106 8

The latest from Barefoot etc. Events and workshops Running UK

It’s your letters

110

Your stories and thoughts

The society pages

112

What’s happening within the Barefoot Runners Society

Product reviews and results

120

Next Issue

153

What’s coming Autumn 2013

Anna’s pause for thought

22

Tips and general musings

Chris Fielding

68

Roving Barefoot Reporter

Sashen speaks

76

The Sensori Venture is Born

Gareth “Gadget” Underhill Heart Rate Monitoring

Backchat

116 156

David Robinson’s latest

The Dashing Ricardo Flipped out over flip-flops

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Main feature The Running Show 2013

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few weekend’s ago, we headed to Sandown Park once again to attend the annual Running Show, organized by TCR Shows. We featured last year’s event in the magazine and thought we’d report back again on this year’s gathering of running enthusiasts, presenters and running paraphernalia.

Tracy was having a conversation with Aranya Gardens, another barefoot living/running enthusiast (and writer for the mag!) who we’d been in contact with via social media but never met – it was nice to finally chat to him in person!

We were also excited to teach a workshop on both days as well as present two seminars on barefoot running. This year we chose not to have a stand and were looking forward to being able to roam around and chat to people.

The venue was the same as last year, but there was a huge 50% increase in exhibitors, from race organizers to shoe retailers to physios. There was a full programme of seminars and workshops as well as a “Write this run” conference happening in the building next door.

The “Barefoot Brigade” was out in force too! As soon as we arrived, we bumped into Emma Spencer-Goodier (www.yogawithemma.co.uk) carrying a banner at least twice the size of her small frame, as she headed off to teach her first “Yoga for Runners” workshop of the day. We then spotted minimalist shoe runner Gray Caws (www.n8pt.com) who had a stand to promote ChiRunning and had a chat with him before making our way down to Tracy’s stand (www.barefootbritain.co.uk) where she had her signature ‘English Country Garden’ set up along with an array of Luna Sandals, Xero Shoes and Sockwa.

David Townsend organizes the whole event, with the help of his colleagues, Sarah and Claire. They understand the running world well; they know that many of their punters will be after the latest gadgets, whether it’s new shoe technology or the next generation of GPS watches. However, they also are well aware that barefoot/minimalist running is very much a part of the sport (or even a sport in its own right) and the mechanics and mental benefits are something they are keen to acknowledge. A running event should offer something to every kind of runner and nobody went away disappointed.

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Before we knew it, it was time for David and me to teach our first workshop. If you know us – particularly David! – you’ll understand how difficult it was for us to stick to a one hour session! There are so many things to cover in relation to barefoot running and we had to think about which aspects we wanted to talk about, both for our workshop and the seminar. So, a couple of weeks before the show, we had a long chat about the kinds of things that were cropping up regularly during client sessions and in forum discussions. One major skill that people often need to improve is their ability to use their natural spring. If a runner is used to their shoes helping them gain a sense of spring in their running, they can tend to land quite heavily and painfully when they try and run barefoot. This lack of spring is often coupled with a restriction in ankle and foot mobility, so these are the two areas we tackled in our workshop. We taught the participants a series of mobility and reactive drills inside, as well as getting them outside to try some barefoot running on the cold concrete! Most of them were minimalist shoe runners but they all commented that they felt they were

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landing more lightly on their feet. Our first seminar came shortly after our workshop. We spoke about transitioning to barefoot running and the differing opinions on the subject. Some people would argue there is no such thing: how can you transition to barefoot running? You just take your shoes off and start again from scratch! We know of plenty of people though who have chosen to take off their shoes at the end of a run for five minutes at first and then gradually increase the time that they’re barefoot. Others have decided just to make the switch from conventional trainers to a more minimalist option and if they’ve done it with patience and thought, they’ve had no problems. Ideally, going barefoot and starting again is the best bet but it’s really more a case of deciding on what your end goal is and how it all fits into your life. There is a definite need to be flexible and what works for one person will not necessarily be successful for another. We also talked about injury. Last year we discussed common injuries related particularly to barefoot

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running, as well as the role that barefoot running can play in injury reduction. This year, we talked about the irony surrounding seasoned barefoot runners; perhaps they begin their journey in search of a more efficient, comfortable running style to eliminate injury but once they’ve established that, they start

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to search out challenges and want to tackle more severe terrain and weathers – both of which carry the risk of injury! However, we were quick to point out that although we get the odd bruise or cut, on the whole the risks are pretty low. Meeting the elements head on – snow and driving winds for example

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– can be very exhilarating and when you’re barefoot it adds to the sensation. This is what barefoot runners seek out: sensation. This is certainly the case with the evolution of barefoot running in Britain, where the terrain and weather can be pretty unforgiving! Lastly, we discussed cadence. We see so many clients who have become obsessed with the number “180”. It really is only a guide – if you’re running on a straight, even road your cadence will very likely differ to the one you adopt when you’re running off road in thick mud. Adaptation and flexibility are really key here as well as practice. The more you practise, the more you learn. Once our seminar was over, we were free to wander about and chat. We talked to Tom of Aspire PR who asked us to “sell barefoot running” to him. The next day, we saw him in the 10km race wearing chunky trainers so he’s not yet a convert! David Townsend had kindly organized a mini “after-party” on the Saturday night so we headed to a bar around the corner for some well-earned beers. The barefoot runners seemed to congregate together although a podiatrist who’d been selling orthotics at the show joined us because he said it, “looks like you’re having more fun over here”! Running, yoga and other types of exercise were the main topics of conversation – people from all running backgrounds happily discussing their passion. Sunday at the show was busier. Each year, a 5km and 10km race are held on the Sunday morning and they are both popular, attracting some serious runners. Afterwards, the racers wander in to see what gadgets they can find or, as was the case with one unhappy runner, come in looking for the answer to niggling injuries. Again, we spent the day rushing about and chatting to people, including one man whose injury issues had a great deal to do with the fact that he was required to wear a suit and ‘proper’ shoes for work when he was most comfortable in minimal shoes or being completely barefoot. It does seem that injury is still the main reason why people investigate barefoot running. Following closely behind that though is also the desire for something simple in a world that

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is complicated. A primal need to get in touch with the earth underneath our feet when most of the time we’re stuck inside attached to computers with shoes on our feet. Most people at the show were not barefoot runners. Many weren’t interested in it and plenty hadn’t even heard about it. This doesn’t mean they weren’t enjoying their running. Running is personal. People have their own reasons for starting a running practice and continuing with it as a fundamental part of their life. This is why the Running Show is so much fun and such a buzz. Running is represented from many different perspectives and without prejudice. If you get the chance, come along next year – it’s well worth it! Report by Anna Toombs

Running fact 10.

Did you know

During the Great Wall Marathon, China, participants have to climb 5,164 steps

Running fact 11. Joan Benoit Samuelson won the first woman’s elite Olympic marathon at the 1984 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles, with a time of 2:24:52

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Barefoot Running Magazine August 2011 Volume 1 Issue 2 Page 13

Autumn 2013

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In Focus

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Editor’s note: This article contains certain words that might make some readers uncomfortable. The words are direct quotes from the period of time in question and are reflective of the unfortunate prejudices highlighted in this article.

first heard about Jesse Owens during a GCSE history class. We were studying Hitler and the small part that Jesse Owens played in Hitler’s life helps to form a picture of the dictator and his influence on German people at the time. I remember learning how Jesse Owens, a black American athlete, had dominated at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, upsetting Hitler considerably as his ideals of a superior, Aryan state dissipated before his eyes. Born James Cleveland Owens (he became known as Jesse when a teacher at elementary school heard him pronounce his initials, “J.C.”) in Alabama on September 12th, 1913, Jesse Owens was one of ten children and the son of a sharecropper. As a youngster, he was always racing his friends and in high school, his talent was spotted by his gym teacher, Charles Riley. Riley took Owens under his wing, inviting him round on Sunday afternoons, teaching him correct manners at the dinner table as well as talking to him about running. He told Owens that, when racing, “Never look to left of right – horses don’t!” Owens began to develop a name for himself as he excelled in the 100m, 200m and long jump, or “broad jump” as it was known then. There were a number of colleges who wanted to sign Owens up and he chose Ohio State University. In sport, Owens was equal to his fellow athletes. Colour was not an issue on the field. However Owens, because he was black, was not allowed to live

on campus and when he travelled with his team to various athletics meets, he often wasn’t served in restaurants because of the colour of his skin. Rather than become bitter about this, Owens dealt with it in a calm manner, rising above the prejudice. He would just say of those who took issue with his colour, “It’s their problem, not mine”, without any hint of anger. Footage of Owens addressing journalists and the public shows a well-mannered, good natured, intelligent man, focused on competing and representing his country. Undoubtedly, the coaching he received greatly contributed to his achievements. His college coach,

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Larry Schneider, used some innovative techniques, including getting his students to train to music to develop their rhythm. However, Owens had a natural talent. His trim, yet muscular build was perfect for sprinting and he moved with a natural grace whilst generating immense power and speed. His ability to jump, both horizontally and vertically, was uncanny and that in-built spring was what helped him rise to the top of his game. In 1935, Owens attended the ‘Big 10 Championships’. The night before he was due to compete, he fell down some stairs and hurt his back. Against the advice of his peers, Owens chose to compete anyway, despite the

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Nazi regime and although the US government were still keen to attend and not compromise any existing ties to the German government, a growing number of American protesters were against America’s participation in the Games. Owens had his own doubts too, but was given a stern talking to by his coach who reminded him what a great opportunity this would be. After a visit to Germany by Avery Brundage, the president of the AOC (American Olympic Committee), it was declared that Germany was fit to host the Games and the decision was made that the US team would take part. On July 18th, 1936, the US team travelled over to Germany by boat. There was much camaraderie on board as the sportsmen and women socialized together, transcending any issues of colour or class. For this has always been the case in sport: it disregards superficialities and brings people together from all walks of life. Jesse Owens was to take part in the 100m, 200m and the broad jump. His rival, Eulace Peacock, was unfortunately injured so couldn’t participate and a man named Ralph Metcalfe took his place.

significant pain he was in. In fact, not only did he take part, but he set three new world records in the 220 yard sprint, 220 yard hurdles and the broad jump. He also equalled the 100 yard sprint record! To highlight the significance of Owens’ achievement, only two men at the London 2012 Games jumped further than his ‘Big 10’ jump of 26 feet, 8 inches! After this success, Owens was almost guaranteed a place at the 1936 Games. These were ultimately held in Berlin although apparently, Adolf Hitler’s original opinion of the Olympics was that it was a, “Jewish n***er fest”. His advisor, Joseph Goebbels, convinced him that it was a chance to showcase his “master race”. Hitler warmed to this idea and he began to demand that the German Youth must be, “slim and lean”, forcing them to train in a

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relentless, disciplined manner. Meanwhile, Owens was losing his focus somewhat. He was enjoying the fame and notoriety as he travelled around to various competitions. As his form began to suffer, a new rival arrived on the scene – Eulace Peacock. He began to beat Owens and after a number of wins, became the new favourite for a place in the American Olympic Team. Owen re-focused. He returned home for a time, marrying his girlfriend Ruth, who was already mother to the first of their three daughters. He began a strict training regime and soon returned to form. In the lead up to the Olympic Games, there was some doubt as to whether or not the USA would take part. There was growing concern about the

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The Berlin Olympic Games opened on 1st August 1936, signalled by a flock of 25,000 pigeons being released into the sky. Things hadn’t quite been thought through in enough detail because as the gun salute occurred, it frightened all those flying pigeons, causing the raining down of much pigeon poop onto the spectators! It was still an impressive spectacle though, with the Olympic torch carried into the stadium for the first time ever (this tradition was started by the Germans). Owens was due to compete on day two in the 100m. He set himself up at the start (without blocks – in those days they used to dig little holes with a trowel to get their feet secure to push off) and once the race began, he pulled away easily from his fellow runners to win the race in an admirable time of 10.3 seconds, equalling the world record. He was interviewed after his win and very graciously said: “I’m very glad to have won the 100 metres in the Olympic Games here in Berlin. It’s a very beautiful place and a very beautiful city. The competition was grand and we’re very glad to come out on top. Thank you very

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kindly.” It was tradition for the leader of the host country to shake the winner’s hand but Hitler, as we all learn in our history lessons, refused. “Do you really think I’d be willing to be photographed shaking hands with a Negro?” he said. Owens’ next event was the broad jump. He almost didn’t make it through the first round but before his last attempt, his main rival, German Lutz Long, gave him some advice about his take off and this resulted in a jump that took him successfully through to the next round. After that, the two rivals battled – Owens with his unique style of landing and then doing a little jump forward onto his hands rather than falling backwards as is more common for jumpers. Owens eventually won the event, setting a new world record and the two rivals, Owens and Lutz, after the awards ceremony, walked arm in arm around the stadium (no doubt at the disgust of Hitler). Owens also won the 200m, setting another new world record! He had definitely proved his astonishing talent. However, the end of the Games was tinged with some sadness as two of the original US relay team were told that they weren’t allowed to run and Owens and Metcalfe took their places. They won the race, but it transpired that the two who were due to run, Marty Glickman and Sam Stoler, were replaced under the orders of Hitler, because they were Jewish. This was upsetting for the whole team, particularly the two men who had trained long and hard to represent their country and were denied the opportunity at the last moment. Still, Jesse Owens felt triumphant and whilst he’d been competing successfully, stories of offers from promoters in the States seemed to suggest that he would be worth a lot of money on his return. At the close of the Games, Avery Bundage was keen for team to tour to make some money and they visited various places, staying in very basic accommodation and getting little food or sleep. Owens was tired and missed his wife and made the decision to leave the tour in London and travel back to the States. This did not please Bundage and he warned Owens not to leave. Usually an amicable, compliant man, Owens chose to go against Bundages’ wishes and headed home. Soon after his return, Owens discovered that Bundage hadn’t been misleading

him when he made his threat. Owens had been stripped of his Amateur Athletics standing and was suspended from competition. Another kick in the teeth was his reception in America. For a few moments only, he was viewed as a hero, enjoying some brief notoriety and waving to fans from a car as he was driven through the streets. The truth soon established itself however: there were no lucrative contracts for him – none of the promotional offers that he had been promised whilst he was in Germany ever materialized. In fact, on his first night back in America he was denied several hotel rooms due to the colour of his skin until eventually one hotel allowed him to stay as long as he used the service entrance. Owens had a family to support. He had a variety of jobs, including owning a dry cleaners. At a very low

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point, Owens agreed to race horses, drawing in the crowds and earning a bit of money from that. It must have been quite humiliating for him but his daughter, Beverley Owens Prather, said this: “A lot of people said he wasn’t dignifying himself. But when you have a family to feed and you have no job then you do what you have to do to feed your family as long as it’s honest”. This was the position of the man who had proudly won four gold medals for his country. How was he repaid? Shockingly, he was eventually sued by the government for bad taxes and he declared bankruptcy. In the mid 1950s, things finally took a turn for the better. In the midst of the Cold War, Jesse Owens was approached to become a Good Will Ambassador for the United States, given the task of endorsing and promoting his country. He agreed,

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stating in an interview, “We feel we have the best way of life in the world today”. Owens then began to once again become a familiar, much admired presence in the media. He was seen in various television adverts for Embassy tobacco products and American Express card. He made other television appearances and received several awards, including the Medal of Freedom, presented by President Gerald Ford and the Living Legend Award, presented by President Jimmy Carter. In those latter years, his dedication to his country and his amazing talent

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were properly recognized. However, deep, deep down in his soul the knowledge and memories of how he was treated by his beloved country remained.

America being treated shabbily”.

A fellow athlete from the 1936 Games, Louis Zamperini, in a very poignant interview said this: “I was on a national television show with him [Owens] and he didn’t look too good. When I got back to California I said Jesse didn’t look too good, I don’t think he’s gonna live long. He died within the year and he was fairly young. But I think his heart was broken – after winning all those gold medals he expected the nation to love him and here’s the greatest athlete in

Gladly, the legendary Owens lives on through the continued recognition of what he achieved both personally and for equality inside and outside the sporting arena. In 1980, his three daughters Gloria, Marlene and Beverley established the Jesse Owens Foundation, with the aim of promoting development of youth to their fullest potential. The foundation created the “Ruth and Jesse Owens Scholarship Program” at Ohio State University to provide services to graduating high

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Jesse Owens’ life was cut short by cancer in 1980 when he was aged just 66.

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school seniors to help them realize their potential. This help is available for kids regardless of gender, age, colour or race. Fellow American athletes paid tribute to Jesse Owens in the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, all wearing his initials “J.O.” above their hearts on their kit. This year, in September, the would-be one hundredth birthday of Jesse Owens was recognized with several acknowledgements in the press on his birthday. The American nation is keen to keep his memory alive.

Sources

We hope the memory of Jesse Owens lives on, both to inspire athletes and remind the world of how things were, how they have improved and how we should continue to strive towards unity. Owens should also be remembered for the magnificent man that he was, for his dedication, talent, good humour and allegiance to a country that, despite some mistakes, ultimately embraced him as one of their greats.

PBS “Jesse Owens” www.jesse-owens.org www.jesseowensmemorialpark.com www.chicagotribune.com www.biography.com www.wikipedia.org

If you were to travel to Alabama, you could take the opportunity to visit the Jesse Owens Memorial Park. This was set up by James and Nancy Pinion, with the blessing of Owens’ wife, Ruth. The purpose of the park is twofold: firstly, to honour Jesse Owens and secondly, to “mirror his dedication to America’s youth by investing in the community”. Prior to the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, the Olympic torch was carried into the park by none other than Owens’ grandson Stuart Owens Rankin. There is also a museum in the park with all manner of memorabilia relating to Jesse Owens and the world of athletics during his lifetime.

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“I always loved running...it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.� Jesse Owens

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hen I look back on the summer of 2013, I will remember it fondly as the time that I took on a yoga challenge. I wrote briefly about this in the last issue. The challenge was a yoga programme, called “Ultimate Yogi”, devised and taught by renowned teacher, Travis Eliot, lasting 108 days. 108 days of yoga, no rest days. On top of that, there was a simple nutritional plan to follow and a meditation session scheduled every day. I also decided to write a blog for my journey (which turned out to be the toughest part of the commitment!) in the hope that it would inform and inspire would-be yogis who are considering taking the plunge. When my DVDs arrived, I joined the facebook group full of other yoga practitioners at various stages of the programme. On the whole, I don’t spend much time chatting on facebook but I found this particular group to be supportive and inspirational. Some of them

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were writing their own, very honest blogs which were useful as well as very amusing to read. When I was younger, in my early twenties perhaps, my impression of yoga was that the people who practised it were long-haired hippy types who only ate lentils and carried with them a faint whiff of patchouli oil mixed with sweat. I’m not entirely sure where this image came from but I suspect the media and general stereo-typing had something to do with it. As I became more immersed in the fitness world, I met many yoga teachers and practitioners who were the complete opposite – all wearing the latest exercise gear and looking super fit, well turned out and obviously using yoga (successfully) to stay in great physical shape. I was still blatantly missing the whole point of yoga, but I’ll come back to that. Anyway, in my world that consisted of hard cardio workouts I decided I’d try a bit of yoga to see if I could improve my flexibility. I got hold of

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a couple of videos (yes, it was a long time ago) and tested them out. I remember that one of them just took me through some traditional yoga sequences at speed and left me feeling like I may have pulled or torn something. Another was set in sand dunes and practised at a slower pace, but still challenging. I enjoyed it – I mean, I did it more than once so I must have done to a certain extent – but the inner cardio fiend in me was always trying to take over and the ‘mindfulness’ was a mystery. I didn’t shun it – I just didn’t understand it. And the videos didn’t really teach me. So then there was more time spent in the world of fitness, networking and doing courses. I became a Pilates teacher, which at the time suited my body better. All the yoga I had done was very static (sometimes in a cold room, so it just hurt), whereas Pilates seemed a more fluid practice. My interest in yoga was sparked again when I began barefoot running. I’d been continuing to

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practise it from DVDs and learning a little more about it. My own training was also morphing into something much more mindful and holistic (without losing any of the intensity) so I began to feel more open to it. Barefoot running can do that to you! So, I would practise yoga on my ‘lower intensity’ days. Trouble was, the yoga I was doing is known as ‘Vinyasa flow yoga’ or ‘power yoga’ so it was, in fact, pretty high intensity. I reached a point around March/ April of this year where I was pretty exhausted and feeling in the need of…something. One of the facebook members very wisely wrote: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. This is so true. As it turns out, many of the other group members were at a place in their life where they felt overwhelmed – stressed out at work or over-training in their workouts and injured as a result. I’d fairly recently purchased a Travis Eliot DVD with four, half hour yoga workouts on it and liked his teaching style. I looked online to find out more about him and that’s how I came across this 108 day programme.

I found lots of amazing reviews about it – everyone seemed to have had a positive experience. I decided I would give it a go. I won’t go into all the details of the programme (if you’re interested, you can read my day by day account through my blog) but there are a few things I’d like to share. First of all, I now have a clearer understanding of what yoga is about. The goal of yoga is definitely not any of these:

     

to push through pain to become really bendy to ‘tone’ your body to only eat pulses to cease caring about your appearance and hygiene to become overly obsessed with your appearance and hygiene

Up until now, I’d been missing the real essence of yoga. I’m not saying that I fully understand the whole philosophy now – that will take a lifetime (and beyond). It teaches you to be ‘in the moment’. Those who worry tend to hold onto the past or panic about the future. Focusing on the ‘now’ is the best way to stay centred. ‘Letting go’ is also something that’s repeatedly encouraged in yoga; letting go of physical tension, but also letting go of other things – negative thoughts, possessions that serve no purpose, letting go of overwhelming concerns about what other people think of you. Letting go of pointless obsessions: “I must have that new pair of shoes“ or “that latest iphone” – why? I came to think of my mat as my safe place. It sounds a little ‘out there’ but whatever life was throwing at me – good or bad – my session on the mat each day was a time for me to take myself away from that. Travis points out that this may seem selfish, but ultimately, if you set aside time for yourself each day, you’ll have more to give the rest of the time. I also know that most of us runners are driven by goals and can tend to view each run as a success or failure. Barefoot running can help change this attitude but yoga can really bring it home. It’s a continuous process of discovery and improvement and you can’t succeed or fail at something that is ongoing. Wow – that mindset certainly

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takes the pressure off. I’m not saying that yoga is anything magic. I’m not entirely sure that everyone would benefit, or at least have their life enhanced by it. I know athletes who are driven and train consistently and relentlessly with not a stretch or chillout session in sight and this has turned out to be the best road for them. The point is to find what combination gives you a balance. For me, the programme wasn’t all plain sailing. In the last phase, some days required me to do an hour’s power yoga, a separate 20 minute core class and 30 minutes of meditation! I’m not saying that’s impossible but it did test my timemanagement skills. I have to admit, I wasn’t fully committed to the food programme (by any stretch of the imagination – my beer buddy will vouch for that) and although I began to get the hang of meditation, my longest session was 16 minutes. I didn’t succumb to feelings of pressure though and I think that was one of the fundamental messages of the programme. Most of us live pretty stressful lives so what’s the point of adding more? Since finishing the programme, I’ve continued my yoga on a daily basis. Not because I have to but because I want to. Running still has the edge for me in terms of pure enjoyment but the yoga has enhanced it. From a purely physical point of view, if I had followed the food programme (no sugar, no alcohol, no stimulants, no fried food, no white flour) I would be in tip top shape. To look at, anyway. I do think the body needs a certain amount of stress to keep it resilient and I believe in testing it sometimes to keep it strong. The odd beer and portion of chips is a good thing! I did wonder if I’d lose strength or fitness, but my breath is more controlled when I run or swim and I have improved overall strength, despite not doing any other resistance training beyond the first couple of weeks of the programme. I think my conclusion is to remain open. Don’t become regimented in your training plan. Don’t think the same combinations will always work – be prepared to make changes and try something new. Definitely try yoga, I’m sure you won’t regret it!

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David’s laboratory Is it time for an equal playing field?

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n the world of sport the term ‘separate but equal’ is banded around frequently. Well, in terms of size, strength and speed women just can't compete on an equal playing field with their male counterparts. Right!? The presumption until recently was that a number of ‘natural’ differences between the sexes meant that woman were just not capable of competing against men. We have been conditioned to believe that men are larger, quicker and stronger than women. The physical differences, we've been told, are so great that the sexes need their own teams and often, their own rules. Rugby, football, wrestling, boxing and motorsport are too rough for females and even in non-contact sports like golf, running, swimming and tennis (to name a few), our conventional wisdom seems to be, “whatever a woman can do, a man can do better”. But is it time that we rewrote the manual? An Indiana University study looked at performance differences between male and female athletes in childhood by analyzing data provided by USA Swimming that consisted of the best 50 yard freestyle performances for all USA Swimming-registered male and female swimmers of ages 6 to 19, who competed from 2005 to 2010 (comprising of 1.9 million swims). Researchers chose to analyze the children's performance in the 50 yard freestyle, due to the fact that their performances were less influenced by training and more likely to be influenced by muscle function.[1] The study found no difference in swim performance in children younger than 8 and little difference in 11 and 12 year olds. However, the effects of puberty began showing in the older swimmers, as the boys began experiencing accelerated growth in height, weight and strength typical of age 13 and older. Joel Stager, professor in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Indiana University Bloomington, said, “I’m not suggesting that boys and girls should compete against each other, but my findings indicate they could. It's the whole perception that girls can't compete fairly with boys," he said. "Well, at

certain ages, they can." Carol Christensen, an associate dean and exercise physiologist at San Jose State, noted in Women in Sports: Issues and Controversies, that “starting at puberty, relatively high levels of oestrogen in women are responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics such as deposition of fat in the breasts, buttocks, hips and thighs. High levels of testosterone make possible the development of greater muscle mass in men.” It is this greater muscle mass that most researchers agree gives men a distinct advantage in many sports. On average, women are about 66% as strong as men according to Christensen, with the greatest disparity being in upper- body strength (56%).[2] It is this belief that leads some researches to rule out men and women competing in contact sports like rugby/American football, boxing, mixed martial arts and wrestling in head-to-head competition, due to the inherent physiological differences between the sexes.

School sophomore, Nikki Darrow, for example. Darrow, a freestyle wrestler from Lanesborough, Massachusetts, USA, at just 15, received many emails from boys asking the same question: How much do you weigh? Or, more accurately, how much will you be weighing in at the coming wrestling season? Why? Because she has countless trophies and medals as a member of the otherwise all-male high school wrestling team, including three invitational wrestling tournament championships wins. In the 2003 Mount Greylock Invitational Championship it was documented that Darrow pinned her male opponent in a highly impressive 51 seconds. No wonder the boys wanted to have a heads-up before Darrow entered the 110 pound weight class!

However, anecdotal evidence seems to be breaking the mould!

When interviewed however, Darrow suggested that such respect has not been universal. “There have been some people who didn't take me seriously," says Darrow. She has faced teasing as well as male opponents who refused to compete against her. One boy even quit the sport after a match. “I pinned him in 15 seconds," Darrow recalls.[2]

Take Mount Greylock Regional High

“Girls should be able to do whatever

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they want to do," states Darrow, who also happens to hold her high school's record for the most chin-ups - male or female! But it seems not enough because, whilst Darrow is dedicated (lifting weights daily, participating in cross-country runs in the autumn, training several times a week at the TNT Wrestling Centre an hour from her home), she has been plagued by the perception that wrestling is only for boys. The notion that girls can wrestle – or, more than that, wrestle successfully - against boys, seems too much to bear for some, to such an extent that a state representative in Minnesota filed a bill to ban mixedsex school wrestling. Fortunately, the bill died, but not before it ignited a debate over long-held beliefs about femininity, masculinity and the differences between them.[3] Increasingly, however, female athletes – from the likes of Darrow to professionals such as golfers Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie (who at the age of 13 and 6 feet tall could drive – and often outdrive - from the men's tees) - are challenging stereotypes of female physical inferiority. And yes, while golf is more skill than strength, there are women showing their ability in that respect too. An example is Emily Watts, a 35 year old mother of two American open water swimmer, who in 2002, won the 28.5 mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim

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in 7 hours 46 minutes. Her opponents included two men’s relay teams and she commented that, “people were surprised I won!” She also recalled, "One gentleman came up and was bowing to me. A woman came up with her daughter and said, ‘look at that! A woman won!’ I don't think it shocked me. I do consider myself as equal. Even in practice, even in other races, if I am swimming next to men, I am just another competitor."[4]

Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) decided that running alongside these men makes women “artificially faster”.[5] However, this retroactive ruling struck a nerve and led to a chorus of protests forcing the IAAF to reverse their decision. "We realize that these performances were excellent performances," stated Helmut Digel, a council member of IAAF, when explaining why the IAAF backed down.[6]

Yet another example of female athleticism is Pam Reed from Arizona USA who, at the age of 42, became the overall winner in the 135-mile 2002 Badwater Ultramarathon that begins in California's Death Valley and ends at the highest peak in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney, beating the second place finisher by almost five hours.

However, it wasn’t an entire reversal of their decision. Their conclusive ruling actually means that women who run in marathons that feature a mixed group of pacers – as in many of the world majors (including The London Marathon, Berlin and Chicago) - won't register times that qualify as the women's world record. The new rule also means that no woman can ever set another world record unless she's being paced by other women.[7] As a result, Radcliffe's old record was only referred to as "world best" up until recently when the decision was made to allow it as an official record.

And of course, let’s not forget that for many years, women were assumed to be physically incapable of breaking a 2:20 marathon time, but the record was shattered three times in 18 months and again in April 2003 when British marathoner Paula Radcliffe broke her own record, finishing in 2:15:25, only 9 minutes 47 seconds off the men's record and within seconds of the men's 1960 world record. But in January 2004 the record was removed from the annals of marathon world records. Why? Because the London Marathon allowed women to run alongside male pacemakers and officials from the International

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This doesn’t seem entirely fair, considering that whilst men have shaved three minutes off record marathon times in the past 35 years, women have improved by 31 minutes. Not bad considering the scientific community up to the late 1960’s considered marathons too dangerous due to uterus dislodgment! However, this was by no means the

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first time a sporting commission removed a female title. In 1938, German foil fencer Helene Mayer beat the men's USA champion, but her title was taken away and a ban was instituted on intersex competitions. Why? Because Mayer had won in an unfair fight, according to the USA fencing commission, because men can't go “all out” when playing against women.[8] The USA fencing commission is only one of many to take this stance. In 1976, American Margaret Thompson Murdock competed at the Montreal Olympics in the small-bore rifle against teammate Lanny Bassham. It went down to the wire, requiring the judges to examine the targets more closely. Bassham was awarded the gold, but Thompson's performance was great enough to put pressure on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), primarily from Eastern European teams, to segregate the sport.[9]

publicly busted in1996 when German marathon runner Uta Pippig won the 100th Boston Marathon, crossing the finish line with menstrual blood running down her leg in a time of 2:27:12). Weakness became a status symbol, as affluent women sought to distinguish themselves from the poor whose lives of cooking, cleaning, tending land and child care were physically demanding. Such physical work or sport was not ladylike. These worries about females overexerting themselves led to the USA Lawn Tennis Association in 1902 restricting women’s matches to three sets instead of five, which is still the norm today.[2] This banning continued throughout the sporting world, including distance running after the 1928 Olympics, when unfortunately several women collapsed during the 800m – more

‘evidence’ that women need ‘protection’. Some distance restriction continued up until the marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, where Joan Benoit Samuelson took gold in 2:24:52. The answer, it seems, may be more to do with our societal belief that women are the weaker sex and need to be looked after - and any situation that can lead to the destruction of this notion, e.g. an international male athlete being beaten fair a square by a ‘little lady’, is beyond acceptable for some. We don’t have to look far to see that our society is constructed into the masculine and the feminine. Masculinity is defined as, “qualities traditionally associated with men”, including traits such as virility, vigour, manliness, strength, ruggedness, toughness and robustness.[13] On the

So, is the male/female divide a fact of life or is it merely the result of a sexist, conditioned world? To answer this question we have to go back in human history to some of the sources of female perceived ‘inferiorities’ - particularly when it comes to women’s reproductive organs. In the seventeenth century physicians viewed menstrual discharge as a “leak” within the uterus, making it the weakest part of the female body as it, “failed to hold its contents”.[10] Dutch physician and anatomist, Dr. Regnier de Graaf (30th July 164117th August 1673), actually compared blood leaving the uterus to wine seeping out of a defective barrel! [11] And this ‘weakness’ in the womb seems, to some extent, to have formulated social standards and rules - that women need ‘protection’ both on and off the field, with girls being banned from higher education out of fear that intellectual work would draw too much blood to the female brain, leaving the uterus barren. An 1879 medical text informed adolescent girls to, "spend the year before and two years after puberty at rest" and, "endure menstrual periods in the recumbent position." [12] (This stance continued well into the 1970s, as girls were excused from physical education classes when menstruating – thankfully a myth of incapacitation

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‘masculine traits’ such as too much body hair, looking too muscular or an unusually deep voice. The committee does not specify what testosterone level will disqualify an athlete, in part because individuals’ measures can fluctuate. Arne Ljungqvist, the chairman of the IOC’s medical commission, told the New York Times, “We’ll leave those decisions with the experts.”[16] But there seems to be a flaw in their policy. There is insufficient evidence to set a benchmark for normal testosterone levels in elite female athletes, let alone persuasive research showing that testosterone levels are a good predictor of athletic performance.[17]

other hand, femininity is defined as a set of attributes, behaviours and roles generally associated with girls and women, also called womanliness or womanhood, with traits such as gentleness, empathy and sensitivity.[13] Definitely not things which are associated with sport or even the boardroom! And maybe it’s this socially construed notion of how a woman should look and act that has for generations held woman back from achieving their full potential in the sporting world. Take the weak and slightly pathetic heroine in any 1950’s Hollywood movie that needs protection from the rugged hero as an example of the way women are still often portrayed in today’s society. This portrayal and series of expectations bleeds over into sport. Consider that when women applied to The International Olympic Committee (IOC) back in the 1960s to compete in the Olympics, they were made to “parade” naked in front of a panel of judges who determined whether or not they appeared female enough to compete - a debasing exercise that their male counterparts did not have to endure.[14]

And today it still continues... New testing policies, adopted by the IAAF and the IOC since 2012, call for the use of testosterone level measurements to decide whether an athlete is “feminine enough” to compete as a woman.[15]

While high testosterone levels in women are often associated with athletic prowess in medical literature, indicating that women who make it to an elite level are more likely than others to have this hormone imbalance in the first place, it cannot be deemed as a game changer. In fact, the IOC only submits women to this degrading process who do not seem to fit with the societal ideal of femininity. Once again, their male counterparts who excel in sports such as ice skating and synchronized swimming will not be forced to undergo tests to determine their masculinity.

The IAAF and IOC policies state that female athletes with unusually high testosterone levels, a condition known as hyperandrogenism, may not be eligible to compete as females unless they “undergo medical intervention” to lower their levels and all female athletes with a condition leading to hyperandrogenism must report this knowledge to their dedicated sporting authorities.[15]

Katrina Karkazis, PhD, a medical anthropologist and senior research scholar at Stanford’s Centre for Biomedical Ethics said, “What makes sex testing so complicated is that there is no one marker in the body we can use to say, ‘This is a man,’ or, ‘This is a woman.’” She continued with, “These new policies try to get around that complexity by singling out testosterone levels as the most important aspect of athletic advantage. But what causes athletic advantage is equally complex and cannot be reduced to testosterone levels.”[18]

This policy includes a clause that any suspicions or complaint about a specific female athlete (something as simple as an athlete looking “too masculine”) can result in initiating a confidential evaluation including a possible combination of examinations: a clinical exam, testing urine and blood for hormone levels and/or a full exam that includes genetic testing, imaging and psychological testing all based on arbitrary concerns about

This policy leads to a select number of female athletes being discriminated against that don’t meet traditional notions of femininity, whilst, as Karkazis, PhD and her colleagues say, “distorting the scientific evidence on the relationship between testosterone, sex and athletic performance.” Karkazis, PhD is not the only one with concerns. Rebecca Jordan-Young, associate professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at

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Barnard College and Columbia University said, “Individuals have dramatically different responses to the same amounts of testosterone and it is just one element in a complex neuroendrocrine feedback system.”[18] In fact, some researchers contend that, even if high testosterone levels were found to be a marker of improved athletic ability, it is not reason enough to bar women with naturally occurring high levels of the hormone from competing, a point I whole-heartedly agree with.[19] After all, if we bar women for the advantage of having too much of this naturally occurring hormone, then maybe we should consider all biological variations as an ‘unnatural advantage’. Several runners and cyclists have rare mitochondrial variations that give them extraordinary aerobic capacity, while 7 ft 5“ basketball player, Russian born Pavel Podkolzin and 6 ft 4” Brazilian mixed martial artist António Carlos Silva, have acromegaly, an uncommon condition in which too much growth hormone is produced resulting in symptoms including enlarged hands and feet.[20] The new polices for testosterone testing arose from the controversy surrounding Caster Semenya, South African runner, who won a gold medal in the women's 800 meters at the 2009 World Championships.

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The controversy centred round complaints from other competitors that she was “too masculine”. Italian Elisa Cusma Piccione , who placed sixth in the race, said at the time, “These kinds of people should not run with us...for me, she is not a woman. She is a man”.[21]

“These kinds

of people should not run with us... For me, she is not a woman. She is a man”. Elisa Cusma (Italian middle distance runner)

This media exposure forced Semenya to undergo tests that turned a private question of her personal identity into a humiliating and very distressful public spectacle. The IAAF ultimately ruled that Semenya is eligible to compete as a woman, but the experience led the organization to issue new rules when the sex of an athlete is in question. The IOC then adopted these rules, with some variation, in time for the London Games 2012, allowing Semenya to enter, where she took silver - just missing out to Russian world champion

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Mariya Savinova. The American Journal of Bioethics warned in a published paper that such policies, “would not only be unfair, but also could lead to female athletes being coerced into unnecessary and potentially harmful medical treatment in order to continue competing”.[18] This is certainly a concern, considering the story in September 2009 reported by the Associated Press stating that Semenya was on suicide watch. According to the report, “officials were saying that psychologists were caring [for] the 18-year-old round-theclock after it was claimed tests had proved she was a hermaphrodite.”[22] These ideas about gender characteristics are little more than cultural inventions, mainly defined by European and American cultures, where femininity is deemed important. Take the popular insult that someone, “throws like a girl”. We assume boys are genetically programmed to be better over-arm throwers than girls, yet a study that analyzed the results of children of both sexes, from different age groups (7-8 years, 9-10 years and 11-12 years) throwing with their non-dominant arms, revealed that age differences but not gender differences, were relevant in the force of the throws.[23] The researchers surmised that boys

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appear better, “natural” throwers due to cultural upbringing (playing ball with their fathers) rather than any evidence of a throwing gene on the Y chromosome. Sports commentators too can often be found focusing on the feminine qualities of female athletes, especially when female athletes portray masculine qualities like that of Semenya, as well as their appearance and attractiveness, instead of just focusing solely on their skill or athletic ability. Some of you will remember the media sensation over footballer Brandi Chastain who removed her jersey after winning the 1999 World Cup, revealing an unrevealing sports bra. While her team’s victory did not generate much media attention, her “strip teasing” antics caused a media frenzy, including repeated comments by a KABC commentator about this so-called “Striptease”. Sadly, these kinds of comments remove the focus from a great athletic success.[24] More recently, there was controversy over Sky sports host commentator Richard Keys’ and pundit Andy Gray’s disparaging remarks about female linesman Ms Sian Massey (when they thought their microphones were off) both deciding that “women don't know the offside rule ".[25] Sky Sports

stated that the ‘off-air’ remarks were, "not acceptable" and the Football Association statement said it had made, "real strides in encouraging both male and female match officials

to enter the game at every level and will continue to offer every encouragement to all officials within the football family to progress to the highest levels possible". They continued with, "We are proud to have some of the world's best match officials, both male and female. Overall the number of female referees in England (Levels 1-8) stands at 853 and climbing and all of our female match officials act as fantastic ambassadors for the game.”[26] But my favourite was only recently aired, concerning the Red Bull women’s cliff divers on Sky channel “Dave”. It was the first ever women's event to be held in the World Series, from a height of 20m, rather than the 27m from which the experienced men jump. The male television commentator suggested that, in fact, the female divers were unable to perform off the 27m platform due to them not being, “physically capable” of withstanding the forces of impact that their male counterparts contend with, due to their female frames. Yet, when co-presenter Bonita Norris (who in 2010 became the youngest British woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest at the age of 22, until 2012 when it was broken by Leanna

(Source: Getty Images)

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Shuttleworth, aged 19) interviewed 39 year old American diver Ginger Huber about the necessity to perform off a lower board, Huber replied, “It’s not that we [female divers] are unable to jump from that height – woman have done it in the past! It’s more that we [the Red Bull competitors] have never really had the opportunity to. After all, there are not too many training facilities for us.” A sentiment aired by former Red Bull Cliff Diving Champion Joey Zuber.[27] In short, the language used by sports commentators, along with media and social perceptions, contributes to this marginalization and lack of belief in female athletes, relegating them to the position of ‘other’. Ask yourself why the men’s finals are always placed on the last day of all tennis Grand Slams or that the final Olympic event is the men’s 100m? In fact, the women’s finals of both of these examples are not even on the same day as the men’s, instead being demoted to the day before! Do we, as Morgan, Shanahan, & Signorielli suggest, attach more importance to male athletes? “The more prominence an athlete or sporting event receives from

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heavy television exposure, the more an audience views it as being important.” And if younger generations consider female athletes to be second class, will it inspire them to compete?[28] A prime example of this ‘second class’ in action took place in 2003 when in May of that year Annika Sorenstam became the first woman in 58 years to compete in a Professional Golfer’s Association event. Fellow Fijian golfer Vijay Singh asserted that, “she had no business there”.[29] And unfortunately, he wasn't alone. Many radio callers and online chatters trashed Sorenstam for daring to compete, leading to even Sorenstam herself, who didn't make the cut but played respectably, to take an apologetic stance, saying she would, "go back to my [Ladies Professional Golfers Association] tour, where I belong", implying she was inferior, despite outplaying some top male golfers under public and fellow scrutiny.[3]

Conclusion Will male and female athletes ever compete against one another? It is a more complex question than one would first think. It requires a

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complete shift in social, political and economic power, as well as a more liberal attitude towards the genders, considering that an individual’s gender might more accurately be considered on a sliding scale rather than just being either male or female. At the heart of the matter is the presumption that there are vast "natural" differences between males and females. Males, we're conditioned to believe, are bigger, faster and stronger than females and their physical differences, we've been told, are so great that they need their own teams and rules. However, the notion that male athletes are always superior is constantly being tested. Gail Devers finished one heat of the indoor 60m hurdle event in 7.74 seconds at the 2003 USA Track and Field Championships, setting a new American record, while during the men's initial heats, only 3 out of 23 ran times that were faster. In 2002, British free diver Tanya Streeter descended 525ft into the water while holding her breath, breaking all the existing men's and women's depth records. This record still stands today.

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Female athletes are constantly breaking records and assumptions, whether it’s marathon runner Paula Radcliffe or 5ft, 45kg American climber, Carolynn Marie "Lynn" Hill, who was the first human to free climb the treacherous "Nose" of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California, using finger strength only to scale its face, with ropes only for safety. When interviewed, Emily Watts saw herself as "just another competitor," while Nikki Darrow didn’t entertain any thoughts as to what a woman shouldn’t do, but rather what a talented athlete could. After all, if we truly believe that sports should be segregated due to dominant physical differences then as a society we would have to consider race as well. White athletes dominate swimming based disciplines, including Triathlon, while running based disciplines tend to be dominated by black athletes; fortunately this type of segregation would be deemed unacceptable! Lynda Ransdell, associate professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, USA, stated, “Is gender segregation the right way to go here? In the process, women are closing the gender gap.[3] If you consider both sexes athletic performance as bellshaped curves, one beside the other, along the same axis, you would see

that as women have gained access to better facilities and better training, the bell curves have moved closer together." She continued with, “The ironclad belief that men are better athletes now looks suspect. More than sex, raw athletic skill matters more!” If we care to look at some of the female athletic performances over the years, then we must ponder the question: How much better can and will females athletes get, considering their late emergence into the majority of sports? Growing participation has led to more positive opportunities and with scholarships, expert coaches, training and mentoring, female athletic performance has improved. But more should and must be done, starting with more exposure of women’s disciplines in the media to equal that of their male counterparts, removing the ‘superior’ elements of men’s sport. After all, how can female runners using male pace makers be deemed ‘unnatural’ – isn’t all pace making, by definition, unnatural? Renowned women's sports doctor and co author of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide, Carol L. Otis, summarized my point perfectly by writing, “Conditioning and access to training and facilities, many argue, is key to improving female performance. But for years, men have been the

paradigm into which women were forced to fit. From the design of athletic shoes to medical matters, women have been treated as small men.”[30] But while some expects are starting to address these problems, the majority of our society applies continuous pressure on women to conform to its image of femininity. It’s not good enough that a woman can achieve greatness in their chosen sport; they have to also fit our society’s criteria and verify their womanhood. And this pursuit of femininity by the younger female population is driving many away from the sporting field completely. It seems to be acceptable to be a footballer’s WAG, a trophy wife, but not an actual footballer! But when you consider that the average wage for a female England footballer in this entire year was reported to be an embarrassing £18,000,[31] while the men’s team individually earned over £9,000 per game, why would they?[32] With many commentators, pundits and media outlets downplaying the image of an independent, confident and athletic woman, preferring to market the sexual side of women’s sports, are we, as a society, creating more pressures? Comments such as the one made by BBC Radio’s John Inverdale: “Do you think [Marion] Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little, ‘you’re never going to be a looker. You’ll never be a [Maria] Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight,’” are certainly not helpful.[33] Edward Martin Kian, of Florida State University, calls this type of behaviour “masculine hegemony”, which is, “The general acceptance of masculinity as the primary characteristic of our society that places women in positions below men”. He believes, “it is still obviously evident in today’s sports world. Sports continue to reinforce this dominance and many of the perceptions of women in sports culture.”[34] Things are changing slowly but having researched this topic, much more needs to be done to allow women to compete in a fair environment.

Overleaf:

Just a sample of the women who have broken the mould

Barefoot Running Magazine Photo courtesy of Toby Melville/Reuters

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Ana Carrasco Gabarrón, Motobike Racing Ana Carrasco (born 10th March 1997 in Murcia, Spain) is the first female motorcycle racer to score points in the Moto3™ class when, at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix, she took 15th place in a dramatic fight to the finish line, collecting the final point and beating Francesco Bagnaia by just over one tenth of a second. She is also the first female rider to score points in any class since 2001. She went on to improve on that result with 8th place at the Valencia GP. Carrasco began riding motorcycles at age three and made her first career move in 2001 in mini-motorbikes and later competed in 70, 80 and 125 CC where she also made history by becoming the first woman to score points in that category. All this, plus her entry into Moto3™ in 2013 happened before she reached 16 years of age!

Babe Zaharias, Golf Mildred Ella Didrikson "Babe" Zaharias (born 26th June 1911) in Texas) claimed to have acquired the nickname "Babe" (after Babe Ruth) upon hitting 5 home runs in a childhood baseball game but, in reality, her Norwegian mother had called her "Bebe" from the time she was a toddler. Her sports achievements began playing basketball for an amateur "industrial team", The Golden Cyclones, governed by the Amateur Athletic Union, leading the team to an AAU Basketball Championship in 1931. She first received attention as a track and field athlete in the 1932 AAU Championships where she competed in 8 out of 10 events, winning five outright and tying for first in a sixth, setting four world records in the javelin, 80m hurdles, high jump and baseball throw in a single afternoon. Her performances were so amazing her ‘team’ won the championship, despite her being the only member! By 1935 she had taken up golf and in 1938 she competed in the Los Angeles Open, a men's PGA tournament, a feat no other woman had ever tried. Unfortunately she missed the cut, but did meet her husband-to-be, teammate George Zaharias. She continued on to win the 1946 U.S. Women's Amateur, the 1947 British Ladies Amateur and three Women's Western Opens, winning 17 straight women's amateur victories. In 1947 Didrikson turned professional and dominated the Women's PGA. In January 1945, Didrikson played in three PGA tournaments and whilst she missed out on the three-day cut, she did make history by being the first woman in history to make the cut in a regular PGA Tour event. She continued her qualifying streak at the Phoenix Open, where she finished 33rd and at the Tucson Open, finishing tied in 42nd place. In 1948, while attempting to be the first woman to qualify for the U.S. Open, her application was rejected by the USGA who stated that the event was intended to be open to men only. By 1950, she had won every golf title available, totalling 82.

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Seana Hogan, Ultra Cycling Seana Hogan is a legend in the sport of Ultra Cycling. In 1991 a friend, training for RAAM, invited her to ride the 300 mile option of the LA Wheelman's Grand Tour while he rode the 400. After her 300 miles she reportedly said, "I do not want to sit in the van for 6 hours, I will ride too." She finished the 400 mile option in less than 24 hours. That same year she decided to race in the RAAM Open West. However, during training in late July she had a serious accident, breaking a clavicle, eight ribs, and fracturing her pelvis. This didn’t stop her as she went on to win the women's division and 6th place overall in the October event. The following year she returned and achieved her first outright win. In 1994 Hogan set her first American transcontinental record, then in 1995 was overall winner at the Furnace Creek 508 and a year later set the overall ultra cycling record time for the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco in an incredible 19h 11m - a time no one (man or woman) has ever beaten. 20 years on Hogan is still showing her dominance. In 2012 she broke the overall women's 24-hour outdoor track record. She successfully beat all women to win the Furnace Creek 508, established a new women's course record at the HooDoo 500 and 50+ Race Across the West, as well as winning the 24-Hour Time Trial World Championship and the NorCal RAAM Challenge. She is set to compete in the RAAM 2014, where she hopes to set the women's 50+ transcontinental record.

Anna Rose "Rosie" Napravnik , Jockey In 2011, New Jersey (USA) born, 23 year old jockey, Rosie Napravnik, became just the sixth woman in history to compete in the Kentucky Derby. None of the first five female competitors finished better than 11th place. Aboard “Pants On Fire”, Napravnik didn't win, but she did make history as the first female jockey to ever crack the top 10 by finishing in 9th place. In that same year she competed in the Kentucky Oaks where is she claimed second place. Her career has since gone from strength to strength. She became the first female jockey to win the 2012 Kentucky Oaks on her return aboard “Believe You Can” and only the second woman to win a Breeder's Cup race by winning the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile on” Shanghai Bobby”. Her Belmont Stakes ride was not as successful in that year, only finishing 5th aboard “Five Sixteen” and she continued with a 5th place at Belmont, riding “Mylute”. This year Napravnik rode the filly “Unlimited Budget” to a 6th place finish in the 2013 Belmont and rode “Mylute” in the Preakness Stakes for the first time, finishing third. In doing so, she was only the third woman to ever ride in the Preakness and had the highest-placed finish for any woman jockey in that race. Adding the Preakness to her 2011 Kentucky Derby and 2012 Belmont races, she is now the first woman ever to have ridden in all three US Triple Crown races.

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Dame Ellen MacArthur, Sailing British sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur first came to prominence in this male-dominated sport around 2001 when she took 2nd place in the Vendée Globe Solo round-the-world Yacht Race, earning her an MBE for services to sport. In 2003 she captained a crewed round-the-world record attempt in the yacht Kingfisher 2, but unfortunately they were halted with a broken mast in the Southern Ocean. This didn’t stop her. On 28th November 2004, she began her attempt to break the solo non-stop round-the-world record, during which time she set records for the fastest solo voyage to the equator, past the Cape of Good Hope, past Cape Horn and back to the equator again. She crossed the finishing line on the 7th February 2005, beating the previous record set by Frenchman Francis Joyon, by 32h 35m 49s (covering 27,354 nautical miles in 1718h 18m 33s). Joyon later reclaimed the record in 2008. MacArthur has been appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in recognition of her achievement, making her the youngest female recipient of the honour in modern history.

Katie Hnida, American Football NCAA Kicker American footballer Katharine Anne "Katie" Hnida (born 17 th May 1981 in Colorado) became the first woman to score in college football's highest division, the NCAA Division I-A. She accomplished this as placekicker for the University of New Mexico Lobos on 30th August 2003 by kicking two extra points. Hnida’s career started after Rick Neuheisel, University of Colorado football team coach, invited her to join as a walk-on placekicker due to her success in high school. When Neuheisel left in 1998 his replacement, Gary Barnett, kept the offer open but Hnida didn’t see any playing time. Eventually, Hnida transferred to New Mexico as a walk-on placekicker where she played in the 2002 Las Vegas Bowl against UCLA. Controversy surrounded Hnida when, in 2004, she told Sports Illustrated that she had been sexually abused by some of her Colorado teammates. Later that same week, her former coach, Barnett, stated, "We have not done anything wrong, there isn't a shred of evidence to this date to back up any allegations that have been made, and there won't be." He went on to say, "It was obvious Katie was not very good. She was awful. You know what guys do? They respect your ability. You can be 90 years old, but if you can go out and play, they'll respect you. Katie was not only a girl, she was terrible. OK? There's no other way to say it. She couldn't kick the ball through the uprights." These comments, along with other actions, saw Barnett suspended. In 2010, Hnida became the kicker for the Fort Wayne FireHawks in the Continental Indoor Football League, becoming the league's first female player and only the second female professional football player in history. Hnida played in the first three games of the team's season but was released later that year after developing a blood clot in her kicking leg. She continues to play semi-pro football, kicking for the Colorado Cobras in the Colorado Football Conference and the KC Mustangs in the Interstate Football League.

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Fabiola Da Silva, Inline Vert skater Nicknamed Fabby, Brazilian professional inline Vert skater (Vert competitions are held on a Vert ramp which allows the competitors to fly into the air and land back on the ramp) Fabiola da Silva (born June 18th, 1979 in São Paulo) competes on the LG Action Sports World Tour and has received over fifty medals in the LG Action Sports World Tour events. These include seven X Games gold medals and one silver, making her the most decorated female athlete in X Games history (in seven years she has only lost one X Games event, finishing second in 1999). Her dominance against other women was so great that she forced the hand of the Aggressive Skaters Association in respect of limited gender integration and in 2000, the sport's officials created "Fabiola Rule", which allowed women to compete in the formerly all-male Vert competition. Since then, she has been placed several times in the top ten in events where she competed against men and in 2005 became the first woman ever to land the double back flip on a Vert ramp. She continues to pursue a world championship.

References 1.

Stager J et al. IU Bloomington Newsroom. Indiana University. Who says girls can't compete athletically with boys? 1st June 2012. 2. Christensen CL. Women's physiology and exercise: Influences and effects. In Cohen GL. (Ed), Women in sport: Issues and controversies (2nd Edition). Oxon Hill, MD: AAHPERD Publications. 2001. 3. Pappano L. Gender Games: Women athletes are challenging stereotypes by competing against men -and winning. So are males and females really so different? Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. 28th September 2003 4. Pollak L. Cold Water: 'You do swallow a lot of water in the Hudson, but it just doesn't bother me.' The Baltimore Sun. 8th June 2003 5. Gambaccini P. Negating existing records punishes heroic women. ESPN W Today. ESPN W Article 7009299. 23rd September 2011 6. Paula Radcliffe keeps her marathon world record in IAAF about-turn. The Guardian, Associated Press. 10th November 2011 7. Gingerich Mackenzie N. Pacing Paradox: A new rule on pacing in women's marathons and its meaning for all runners. 16th December 2011 8. Overman SJ & Boyer Sagert K. Icons of Women's Sport, Volume 1: From Tomboys to Title IX and Beyond. ISBN 978-0-313-38548-3. 2012 9. Yost M. Taking Aim at an Old Debate: Can Female Athletes Compete Against Men? In Shooting, Yes-But Not in the Olympics. The Wall Street Journal. 23rd February 2012 10. McDonagh E & Pappano L. Playing With the Boys: Why Separate is Not Equal in Sports. Oxford University Press inc. ISBN; 978-0-19-538677-6. 2008. 11. Vertinsky PA. The Eternally Wounded Woman: Women, Doctors, and Exercise in the Late Nineteenth Century. Illini Books Ed. Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-25206372-4. 1989.

12. Emmett TA. The Principles and Practices of Gynecology; p21. Philadelphia 1879 13. Collins English Dictionary. 11th Ed. 6th Oct 2011. 14. Jefferson Lenskyj H. Gender Politics and the Olympic Industry. Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 978-1-137-29114-1. 2013 15. Baker KJM. Here’s Why Olympic Sex Verification is a Bad Idea. Jezebel. http://jezebel.com/5919250/heres-whyolympic-sex-verification-is-a-bad-idea. 18th June 2012. 16. Macur J. Sex Verification policy ic critized as a failure. The New York Times. www.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/sports/ olympics/critics-say-olympic-sex-verification-policy-is-afailure.html. 25th June 2012 17. White T. Proposed testosterone testing of select female Olympic athletes challenged by Stanford bioethicist and colleagues. Stanford Scholl of Medicine. http:// med.stanford.edu/ism/2012/june/ olympics.html#sthash.y27Mo1Fg.dpuf 13th June 2012 18. Karkazis K. Jordan-Young R. Davis G & Camporesi S. Out of Bounds? A Critique of the New Policies on Hyperandrogenism in EliteFemale Athletes. The American Journal of Bioethics, 12(7): 3–16, Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLCISSN: 1526-5161 print / 1536-0075 onlineDOI: 10.1080/15265161.2012.680533. 2012 19. Kennedy R. Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding the Complete A-Z Book on Muscle Building. ISBN: 978-1-55210-130-8. 21st Century Ed. 2008. 20. Stedmans Medical Dictionary. 27th Ed; 2000 21. McCredie J. Making Girls and Boys: Inside the Science of Sex. Newsouth Publishing . ISBN: 978-174223-100-6. 2011 22. Smith, A. D. Fears for Caster Semenya over trauma of test results. The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/ sport/2009/sep/13/caster-emenya-gender-testresults. 12th September 2009 23. Raudsepp L. & Paasuke M. Gender Differences in Fundamental Movement Patterns, Motor Performances, and Strength Measurements of Prepubertal Children Pediatric. Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.Exercise Science, 1995, 7, 294-304;1995 24. Hammond C. From Sports Bras to Ponytails: Media Sexualizes Female Athletes in Post-Title IX Era. 5th April 2007

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25. Sky Sports presenters score an own goal as microphone picks up sexist diatribe against female linesman - and Apprentice star Karren Brady. Daily Mail. www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1349729/Sky-Sportspresenters-sexist-diatribe-female-linesman-Apprenticestar-Karren-Brady.html#ixzz2mnaN0x2e. 23rd January 2011 26. Dovaston I. Sky Sports Presenter in Sexism Row Says Sorry. Sky Sports News. http://news.sky.com/story/831908/skysports-presenter-in-sexism-row-says-sorry. 25th January 2011 27. Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2013. Malcesine Italy, Aired DAVE Channel, 14th July 2013 28. Morgan M., Shanahan J., & Signorielli N. Growing Up with Television: Cultivation Processes. Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research (Third., pp. 34-45). New York: Routledge. Nisbet M. 2008. 29. H Golf today. Vijay Singh speaks out against Sorenstam. http://www.golftoday.co.uk/news/yeartodate/news03/ singh1.html 30. Otis C & Goldingay R. The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide. Human Kinetics Publishers. ISBN 978-0736001212. 1st June 2000. 31. Football Association's £18,000-A-Year England Women's Contract 'Embarrassing'. Huffington Post. www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/09/footballassociations-180_n_2439598.html. 9th January 2013 32. Millar A. Hodgson's men to get £100k each for Euro 2012 triumph... but charities will also benefit. Daily Mail. www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/euro2012/article-2153865/ Euro-2012-England-set-100k-bonus.html#ixzz2mkjXY4QZ. 2nd June 2012. 33. O'Carroll L. John Inverdale's Marion Bartoli comments 'wrong', says BBC news chief: James Harding responds after presenter's claim that player 'was never going to be a looker' results in almost 700 complaints. The Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/jul/09/johninverdale-marion-bartoli-bbc. 9th July 2013 34. Kian ETM. Will a New Medium for Sports News Offer Less Trivialization of Female Athletes? Examining Descriptors and Traditional Stereotypes in Internet Articles on the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournaments. 2007

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Outside the lab uisa Giles, exercise physiology researcher at the University of British Columbia and avid cyclist, decided to investigate the benefits and hazards of cycling in polluted air after developing some tightness and wheezing in her chest. There is obviously no doubt that cycling in cleaner air is better; polluted air can cause inflammation in the lungs and oxidative damage that spreads to the rest of the body. The results of her study showed that the heart rates of those exposed to pre-exercise pollution were 6 or 7 beats higher than those not exposed, suggesting that the body does suffer after effects after ingesting fumes and has to work harder for a period afterwards. Giles also noted that a previous study carried out on mice suggested that the body can adapt to pollution if exposed over a period of time. Her findings also interestingly indicated that harder exercise proved more beneficial than moderate exercise in adverse air conditions, with lower intensity exercisers using more energy than their higher intensity counterparts when exposed to fumes. The conclusion: cycle in clean air where possible but if you get caught in a polluted zone, pedal harder!

esearchers have found that measuring the levels of a particular gene in the DNA in blood of skin cancer sufferers could help doctors find out how advanced their cancer is and whether it has spread. Identifying the gene, known as TFP12, can lead to faster diagnosis and treatment; treatment introduced during the earlier stages of the disease has proved to be more effective, so this latest discovery is extremely beneficial. As well as providing doctors and sufferers with more information, this discovery may also lead to new treatments. Page 38

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study conducted by Victoria Leavitt, PhD and James Sumowski, PhD has shown that aerobic exercise helps to increase hippocampal volume in MS sufferers and therefore improve their memory. Memory impairment affects about 50 percent of those with MS and is one of the many debilitating symptoms of the disease. In this particular research study, two participants took part in an exercise regime: one carried out 30 minutes of stationary biking, 3 times a week for 3 months, whilst the other performed low level stretching exercises. The aerobic exercise resulted in a 16.5 percent increase in hippocampal volume and a 53.7 percent increase in memory function. The ‘non-aerobic’ stretching produced non-significant gains. In the absence of effective pharmacological treatments for memory impairment in MS, this study warrants further study on a wider scale because aerobic exercise is low cost and has overall health benefits as well as those specific to memory.

research project, conducted by US and German researchers, has suggested that women who exercise during pregnancy will produce offspring with a better cardio-respiratory system in later adult life. The study was carried out on pregnant pigs, which were put through 20-45 minutes of moderate, treadmill exercise five days a week (the current recommended US guidelines for pregnancy), with a control group doing no exercise. Their offspring were measured much later on in their adult life and showed significant alteration and improvement in the vascular smooth lining of their arteries. Previous research has only investigated the short term impact of exercising mothers on their children and this is the first study to look at how a mother’s exercise regime can promote the health of her children well into their adult years. On the whole, the NHS neither promotes nor advises against exercise in expectant mothers, but hopefully continued studies such as this one will begin to encourage more mothers-to-be to remain active during pregnancy.

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Book review The Summit Seeker by Vanessa Runs (reviewed by Alene Nitzky)

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recently had the opportunity to review a book on ultrarunning. I'm not really sure what prompted the author to contact me and ask me to review it, but I'm glad she did. I wrote a shorter version of this post as a book review for my running column in our local paper, it will be published on December 8th. I wanted to say more and the newspaper column only allows so many words. I also wanted to expand a little more on the places where her book took me, personally. So this version is a book review with my own personal commentary inserted here and there, on what it meant to me, and the memories her book brought back to me. Because it touched me a lot more than most books on running ever do. There has been a mini-proliferation of books about ultramarathons and ultra athletes in recent years, mostly written by or about the fastest and most recognized names in the sport. The Summit Seeker is different. Written by Vanessa, a young woman new to the sport, she describes a life experience that differs from many ultrarunners, who are often from middle-class backgrounds, have mainstream jobs and careers, generous disposable income, and fairly conventional lifestyles. In running as well as other sports, much attention is paid to the statistics: the fastest and most competitive. Unless a person is a high-achieving athlete by these standards, it is rare to hear the human story of what drives them to become an ultrarunner. Those stories need to be told. I think that people are afraid of telling their own stories. They are afraid to share their fears, mistakes, and rough spots. People want so badly to conform and fit in, because they see the pain inflicted upon those who don’t. Then there are the ones who are always seeking, looking for what’s out there, to go beyond the fences and limits that don’t really exist. When they express themselves fearlessly, they can pay a price in going against the grain, but the beauty of a diamond in the rough is worth the price. Vanessa tells her story of growing up with El Salvadorean immigrant

parents, who crossed two borders with her to land in Toronto, where Vanessa grew up under conditions of economic and emotional poverty. After losing her mother at age nine and growing up with a father who imposed his strict religious standards and expectations on her, she became a caretaker for her siblings, and had very little given to her in nurturance and support. Her inner strength drove her to pursue means of escape whenever possible, her restlessness tempered by self-reliance. She made mistakes along the way, but gained wisdom and perspective in her physical transience, resulting in maturity that often comes later in life. Her desire to run took her to the streets and cold lakeshores of Toronto until she ran a marathon and decided to break free. She left for San Diego, discovering a new social world among ultrarunners on the trails. She eventually met her partner,

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Shacky, with whom she still lives in an RV along with their dog and cat. They travel the country and run as many trails as they can find. Along the way, Vanessa finds herself comfortable and at peace. Ultrarunning is a sport that demands confidence, self-reliance and outrunning fear. While none of us are ever completely in control of our lives, Vanessa is in control of who she is. She experiences the anxiety of being new in the sport and exploring new distances, but enters them fearlessly, because she knows who she is. Grounded despite her nomadicism, she is determined to live life simply, being true to herself, and enjoy it without guilt, qualities that are rare. Vanessa has the refreshing voice of a young woman expressing herself in a way that’s self-assured. She embraces the uncertainties of life and plows ahead anyway, she’s a great example to so many people who get sidetracked along the way by unimportant things: appearance, weight, competition, and what other

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people think. Women often have a different experience when running ultras than men do. Despite so many changes in our cultural attitudes toward women, some things are still unchanged. Women are held to certain standards and expectations, which varies with many factors. Women are still told what they should and shouldn't do, or can and can't do. To resist means you have to exercise your strength and independence, which does not always gain approval. I love that Vanessa explores places without fear. I did that from childhood and I can completely relate to going out in places where people would be freaked out by a woman being out there alone. I trust my sixth sense, too, and I don't let other people's fears hold me back. As a kid I loved exploring the woods in Pennsylvania, and later, the desert and forests in Arizona, whenever I had the opportunity to go off by myself, or with other people who shared an appreciation of the outdoors. Even

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when I'd go backpacking with other people, once we got to our destination, I'd always go off exploring on my own.

running outdoors, alone, hearing the wind, seeing the landscape, and taking it all in, unadulterated by others' voices and perspectives.

When I started running ultras in my 20s, about the same age as Vanessa was, there were very few women running ultras. It was just something they didn’t do, didn't even think of, had never heard of, and/or didn’t have time for, with families, jobs, expectations.

Reading Vanessa's book, there were several times I found myself so emotionally moved by her words that I found myself crying, at the cruelty of her childhood: the dog that despite her best efforts as a child, got neglected, losing her mom at a young age, how her dad treated her, the hypocrisy of religion that she discovers, her intense restlessness and desire to escape.

If I wanted running partners, I had to run with the guys, or I ran alone. Usually I ran alone, and all these years later, I still do. I've been lucky over the years to make some great friends through ultrarunning - in the many hours of covering trails and roads you learn so much about each other. It's a chance to spend time with a person, shared effort, shared company, shared scenery, and shared pain, experiences we rarely share with other people all at once, in any place in our lives. But I equally, if not more, love the solitude of

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My own similar, parallel experiences growing up, I believe, also led me to my own restlessness and desire to escape, and eventually, pushing my own physical limits, living in the back of my truck with my dog in the woods, my independence and the things I did that were far from the norm for women. Vanessa describes life in her RV, and I remember the times of resisting the mainstream lifestyle, in my 20s moving

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The Summit Seeker By Vanessa Runs Paperback: £8.24 $11.69 Language English Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 2013 ) Paperback: 186 pages ISBN-10: 1482502933 ISBN-13: 978-1482502930

to Crested Butte and waiting tables, running and mountain biking, living on as little as possible, trying to avoid ‘getting a life’. But when I finally caved and ‘got a life’, I tried three different times to fit into the ‘life’ and each time I ended up depressed, miserable, and frustrated. There is more to life than conforming. Growing up gifted with many talents it’s hard to find your place in the world. And if you are outspoken, people take it personally and they don’t take criticism well. I'm happy for Vanessa and the life she lives and speaks of, and what she has to say. I hope she lives it as long as she wants to, and keeps saying it. As I read her book, I remembered some things lost in my memory, that I hadn't thought of in years, and my favourite experiences: an enchanted solo run for hours through a blizzard to the base of Paradise Divide in Crested Butte, the magical night sky in the Lean Horse 100, the stars reflecting along with bioluminescence in the water in the Sea of Cortez on a kayaking trip years ago. And the unmatched wonder of the Death Valley landscape.

The book is a glimpse inside her mind, a beautifully written personal tribute to ultrarunning and all that it means to her. It’s a gift to the sport, contributing her perspective and voice in a time where the voices of everyone but the fastest get lost. It’s written through her uncluttered view of life, from a person who has managed to keep the crazy world from obstructing her vision or blocking her path. The Summit Seeker will inspire anyone, regardless of running experience. Vanessa prompts us to listen to the instincts of the human animals that we are. Like running barefoot on a trail, it restores our contact with the earth so we can remember what is most important, not necessarily the comforts, but the things that truly enrich our lives.

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Alene has been running since 1984 and began running ultramarathons in 1991. Since then she has completed numerous U.S. ultras with multiple wins, has finished the Badwater ultramarathon twice including a 270 mile road Badwater double in July of 2011. She finds adventure in all of her daily runs on the roads and trails of Fort Collins, Colorado, where she lives with her husband and their two dogs. She is a member of the Pearl Izumi Colorado grassroots regional running team. Alene is a writer, blogger, and pastel artist. Writing on topics of running, health care, and nurse advocacy, her work has appeared in print and online in Runner’s World, Kevin MD, Oncology Nursing Society Connect, Fixing Your Feet Blog, Ultrarunning Magazine, and The Coloradoan. She writes her own blog, Journey to Badwater, http://alenegonebad.blogspot.com Running through the desert and mountain landscapes of the south western U.S. gives her inspiration for her artwork and writing. An oncology registered nurse and health coach, she founded Sunspirit Wellness Services, LLC, where she works with people who have been through cancer treatment to restore their overall health and well-being. She can be contacted at sherunnoft@gmail.com

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Questions & answers 123456789987653212

If you’re not near London, I can probably put you in touch with an instructor in your area. There are also several books that you might find useful – ours is called ‘Run Strong • Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running’. You can get a copy here: www.trcpublishinguk.com

Send your running questions to Anna & David and they will endeavour to answer them for you: letters@bfrm.co.uk I haven't run for a very long time, but a colleague who is a barefoot runner tells me that everyone is designed to run. He is quite confident that I could learn to run barefoot, so I think I'll give it a go, but need to find out more first and get fitter. I take it that there isn't an age limit? (Gail, via email)

Hi Gail No age limit at all! The only rule is that you need to be patient and progress slowly. It’s also worth getting some tuition from a professional to help you get started. If you’re based in/ near London, David and I teach individual sessions and have a workshop coming up in 2014 (it doesn’t matter how fit you are or how much running you’ve done).

You don’t need to be fit to start. You can get fit whilst doing it. Start with walking barefoot first to strengthen your feet and when you’re ready to run, just try a few minutes on a hard, smooth surface first. The golden rules are keeping you cadence (strides per minute) quite high, making sure you don’t overstride and, most importantly, staying relaxed! All the best with it and hope you find lots of helpful tips in the magazine. All the best Anna

Hi I've been running barefoot now for 4months (I say barefoot - I actually run in Vibram Fivefingers because off the of road running I do). I have slowly built up to doing 6 miles now mainly on trails and so far my knee injuries that I used to suffer no longer bother me. But recently I seem to be suffering from pain in my arch of my foot and along the edge. Any suggestions on stretching to help this? Or any other advice welcome, thank you (Joe, Surrey)

Hi Joe Thanks for your email and glad to hear you’ve been building up slowly. In terms of your symptoms, rolling a golf ball underneath the sole of your foot and using a foam roller or rolling pin on your calves will be helpful. You could also just massage your feet with your hands. There are plenty of useful clips on youtube if you just search ‘foot rollering with golf ball’ and ‘calf rollering with foam roller/ rolling pin’. However, it’s worth noting that there’s an underlying cause for the pain. Something that’s happening mechanically is making your plantar fascia (the tissue running along the sole of your foot) overwork. You mention you feel pain in the arch and along the edge – does that mean the inner edge of your foot? This is quite a common problem, particularly if you’re doing a lot of off road running. The uneven ground challenges your stabilizing muscles more and if they’re weak, other muscles will work harder to compensate and become fatigued. You need to make sure you have adequate mobility and stability in your feet and ankles, as well as further up your body. It’s difficult to give you very specific exercises without seeing you, but general mobility and balance exercises should help. Vibram FiveFingers, as you say, are not the same as bare feet. They will still interfere with your natural movement, so it’s worth trying to do some running or exercises/drills completely

Plantar fasciitis Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.

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Mid-foot

Fore-foot

Foot strike patterns barefoot. If you can find a movement coach to prescribe you some exercises to practise once they’ve assessed your movement, that would be your best bet.

Of course, it may just be general fatigue, so you could also try taking a few days off running and just making sure your diet and lifestyle are as healthy as possible (adequate sleep, adequate hydration, limited processed foods, limited sugar intake, limited stimulants, limited stress!). Hope this helps!

Hi Folks , I am interested in the barefoot magazine but would like to read it in pdf format so I can keep a copy. Can you help? Cheers (Mark) Hi Mark You can download the magazine from ISSUU as a pdf at the moment - it's just a bit convoluted! You need to 'create an account' in issuu (www.issuu.com) first, which is free of charge. Once you've done that, search 'Barefoot Running Magazine' which will bring up all the issues that we've uploaded so far. Click on the issue you'd like to download

Hope all that makes sense!

very useful and you don't necessarily need lots of sessions - one or two should suffice. Good luck!

Hello I thought I was supposed to run on the balls of my feet but I see that you’re running almost flat footed? Is that how I should try and land?

Let me know how you get on. (Greg, Canberra) Hello, When I run at some point either one or both knees on the outside hurt like hell. I think it is the lateral collateral ligament. I have done the stretches my orthopaedist recommends but it doesn't help. Anyone have this issue and what have you done to alleviate it? It really affected my 5k race last Sunday. It happens about 1.5 -2 miles into my runs. Is it my running style? It pains enough I have to stop and walk. (Gwyneth, via facebook) Difficult to say without seeing you run, but it's probably something mechanical. I would think you'd need specific exercises other than or as well as stretches, but certainly think about shortening your stride and increasing your cadence (not your overall speed) and think of leading with your knee rather than your foot. It's worth seeing someone who can assess what's going on - hone your technique first before you think about speed! Some professional input would be

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Most barefoot runners don’t land on the balls of their feet. They tend to land on the middle, springy part of their foot and the toes and heels come down almost immediately afterwards. David is more of a rearfoot striker, so he lands towards the back of his foot, slightly on the outside. We try to encourage our clients to focus less on their feet. There is an obsession about foot strike when really the important things are happening above the foot! The main thing to be concerned with is that the rest of your body is moving well and in terms of feet, it’s usually the case for most people that they need to strengthen and mobilize the feet and ankles. Allow your foot to land beneath your centre of gravity and it will land naturally – the position varying slightly from person to person. Also, think about lifting your feet off the ground rather than focusing on the landing; this will lead to a lighter stride.

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Questions & answers

Our book offers a series of drills and exercises to help improve your running, as well as explaining anatomy and running technique.

and it will open up. You then need to make it full screen, using the square-like icon at the bottom right. This will bring up a bar along the top of the magazine, which includes a slider to make the magazine bigger/smaller. There's a 'send' button on that bar (square with an arrow in it) and if you click on that, several options will appear, including the option to download as a pdf.

The latest National news

Rear-foot


Season in pictures A showcase of what you have been up to for the past 3 months

Alan Thwaits crossing the finishing line at the Milton Half Marathon, Milton, Ontario, Canada

Tracy Longacre demonstrating beautiful running form

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First UK Trail Ball event, England Vs France. France won!

Patrick Sweeney executes his friend somewhere in Mexico. And we thought he was a nice guy!

Ricardo D’Ash and Ian Hicks doing their version of the Run Strong , Run Free book cover!

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Injury Corner Calf Flexibility Sans Stretching: No More Calf Wall Stretches by the Sock Doc

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common warm-up or cool-down ritual, particularly in the running community, is the straight-leg calf stretch. Of the many ways you can warm-up your calves, runners tend to like to push against a wall or other vertical object to get a good stretch and give them a feeling of security, as false as it may be. After all, most runners have tight calves, and most think it’s completely normal and comes with the total package of being a runner. Some feel the need to stretch in order to temporarily “loosen” the calves and be able to run while many more mistakenly think that the more they stretch the calves the less their chance of injury. Yet, stretching the calves in such a static “hold and stretch” manner is not associated with any reduction in injury and definitely not any faster healing time of injured tissue. Calf wall stretches, however, are a great isometric upper body exercise if you’re training to push something or someone over.

Stretch More, Stabilize Less Stretch and hold all you want but as a runner you’ll not effectively lengthen the muscles and improve stability at the same time to the point

where you become a better athlete. Actually, the more you choose to stretch the calves while leaning against the wall the weaker these tendons and muscles will become resulting in increased injury rates.

“Actually, the more you choose to stretch the calves while leaning against the wall the weaker these tendons and muscles will become resulting in increased injury rates” Some runners are even taught to perform this and many other silly stretches after they run to “retain the flexibility” which they hopefully gained during the run. Are you kidding me? So if you hold a stretch for 8-20+ seconds then all of a sudden your body magically locks in the

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increased flexibility you got from your run. This is assuming you’re running efficiently in the first place, (probably not if you feel the need to stretch), and are actually creating some increased and healthy flexibility. It’s also assuming that you ran in the Land of Magic where postexercise stretching for some short predetermined time now all of a sudden prolongs gains just by adding this little extra gimmick.

Functional Movement Movement should be functional which means not only should it be in-line with the type of activity you’re trying to perform but it should also benefit your activity/lifestyle in a positive way. Your body is never in such an elongated position as the straight-leg wall stretch position while running. Your foot is never flat on the ground with your leg back in an almost completely extended position. What are you trying to develop – a longer stride where you’re pushing off at the point where your glutes (the power muscles of running) are no longer engaged and you’re relying on your Achilles tendon for power? It’s a very compromised position and if you’re really feeling

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a “good stretch” while doing this movement then you’ve got issues that need to be addressed.

More is Not Always Better Longer, in regards to muscles, is not necessarily better unless the muscle has shortened due to some muscular imbalances; and stretching will never correct muscular imbalances anyway. Simply stretching a muscle and holding it to try to make it longer and “looser” simply decreases stability while compromising function. When you lack stability you’ll increase your chances of injury and decrease performance. Flexibility is a reflection of health and fitness and is also accomplished in part by performing activities that develop normal range of motion relative to the level at which you currently function. In other words, stretching to the point of a traditional “deep stretch” beyond your means is a bad idea. Let me explain more. Flexibility can be increased in a healthy manner if you develop it within the confines of your current fitness. So if

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you’re unable to touch your toes yet you force yourself to do it, (or have someone push your back down or legs up to accomplish the task), then you’re going beyond your current functional ability. Nothing good can come from doing this type of stretch; it’s too much for your body. (Yeah there are exceptions for other athletes but we’re not talking about those specifics sports here). The same thing goes for if you feel the need to stretch your calves in such a straight-leg wall stretch manner. If you feel like getting your leg out to a certain length and pushing your foot down is going to improve anything, you’re mistaken. You should be able to perform such a “stretch”, or movement, as I’ll call it now, without it being too difficult if your calves are naturally flexible. Simply put – if you feel the need to do the wall stretch and you get a good stretch then I say that’s a great indicator NOT to do the stretch because you’re only going to cause problems by doing it. If you don’t feel the need to do the movement then why do it because you’re already beyond such a

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ridiculous drill anyway.

Eccentric Heel Drops? Let’s Make It Better If you want to naturally elongate your calves and create strength and stability at the same time some recommend eccentric heel drops. Though these are definitely better than the wall stretch as now you’re elongating in a (hopefully) controlled manner under an eccentric (lengthening) load, I feel there are better methods. Plus, if you’re dropping your heel off a step and holding the calf stretch at the bottom then you’re right back to the disadvantages of stretching as you’re simply trying to make something longer that either does not need or want - to be lengthened.

Create Flexibility, Stability, and Strength in Your Calves Simply wearing a shoe with less heel height will start to “stretch” your calves and Achilles tendon and

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naturally elongate this area. This is why if you transition too quickly to a lower drop shoe or barefoot walking/ running then you’ll often have sore calves the next day. Even worse, if you progress faster than what you’re capable of you’ll actually injure yourself in this transition period. Check out “Lose Your Shoes” on my website for more on this. Many people are doing wall stretches to try to lengthen the calves yet they cannot even walk barefoot or in a zero-drop type shoe without issues. If your body can’t handle this normal (or what should be normal) stress to the calf under load then why do you want to put it in a compromised position by doing a wall stretch? This is like trying to run before you can crawl. Pushing on a wall in traditional shoes with heels is just plain silly; you’ve shortened your calf while you’re trying to lengthen it. Once you can handle some barefoot and zero-drop shoes, the next step to help with foot and lower leg mobility and stability is to work on your deep squat. I won’t get too much into that here as you can watch the video (via the link on my website). Full body squats are a great functional exercise to help you move better overall, especially if you’re a runner. Another great way to develop strength, stability, and flexibility in

your calves is to run backwards. Again, this eccentric loading training is like a weighted stretch but of course your heel can never go past the plane of the ball of your foot. But by landing on your toes and lowering your heel down in a controlled fashion, yes, you’re getting a good “stretch” without the many disadvantages of stretching. Do a few sets of these for 50-75’ and see how your calves feel the next day. Finally, and this is the most advanced though it may look simple – walk on a 2X4 board as I show in my YouTube video: Calf Flexibility Sans Stretching: Don't Stretch Your Calves. This will further improve your strength, stability and flexibility in your calves. Add in a deep squat on the board too – it’s much harder than if you were on the ground.

Otherwise known as the ‘Sock Doc’ because he advocates being barefoot whenever possible and socks as the next best thing, Steve Gangemi is a highly experienced physician and coach. He is a chiropractic physician and has training in functional neurology, biochemistry, acupressure meridian therapies, applied kinesiology and dietary and lifestyle modification methods. Steve is also a certified MovNat coach. His approach with his clients is holistic, addressing the whole body when looking at movement function, as well as taking into account lifestyle and nutritional habits. Steve practises what he preaches which is evident in his admirable athletic achievements, including 20 Ironman competitions and numerous triathlons. Steve runs a busy clinic in the US as well as generously offering many fantastic articles and insights through his website. www.sock-doc.com

Can you do all these drills? If you can, then there’s no reason to ever push on a wall to do a calf stretch because your body is so far advanced you would achieve absolutely nothing beneficial from such as stretch. Now of course, if you’re bored and don’t want to chit-chat before a race yet want to blend in, then find a tree, stick your back leg out really far, and lean.

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Technical tip Prepare to run! by Anna Toombs

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Source: Photodune.net


his is a topic that crops up frequently in all different types of sports and exercise. The most popular questions are: How should I warm up? And: Is it actually necessary for me to warm up? Runners notoriously skimp on their warming up procedure. In our two workshops at the Running Show recently, all our participants looked sheepishly at the floor when we asked them about whether they warm up before a run – “starting slowly” was about the extent of their preparation. “Preparation” is really the key word here. The ultimate goal of a warm up is to prepare your body for what lies ahead. So, beginning a run at a slower pace than your usual speed might, in certain cases, be sufficient. However, you also need to think about your starting point. If you’ve been active throughout your day, perhaps doing some housework or gardening, your body will be in a completely different mode than if you’ve just climbed out of bed at 6am, or just travelled home in your car after a long day at work sitting still in front of a computer. So, perhaps the first thing that you need to consider when you’re prepping for your run is how you are currently feeling. If you feel sluggish and tight, you may need to spend a bit longer on your warming up process. The next pertinent question is, “What should my warm up consist

of?” Well, let’s look at the act of running. It is a whole body movement that will certainly raise your heart rate, it involves Plyometric (jumping) action and well as stability. It can be quite repetitive although, for a barefoot runner particularly, there are often lateral and twisting movements. It also involves your mind and your breath. Most warm up components in any exercise session involve a general loosening of the body, or a mobilization of all the joints. When you move a joint, synovial fluid is released into the joint for lubrication which is essential for comfortable, healthy movement. It makes sense then to loosen your body and this can be done in a variety of ways. You can do it systematically, beginning with moving your feet and toes, then rotating your ankles, bending and straightening knees, etc. and making your way up your body, moving each joint as you go. This ensures that you’ll mobilize every joint. The movements that you choose can vary too. Calf raises up and down will help to loosen your ankles and feet but so will ankle rotations and toe scrunches. In an aerobics class, the mobilization is done in a rhythmical way to music, much like a dance. If you enjoy a good dance, putting on your favourite lively tune and jigging about will help to loosen everything too! It’s a good idea to experiment and see what seems to

translate the best into your own, personal running practice. Knowing your body is key; you need to be aware of parts of your body that generally need more prepping for a run than others. Furthermore, if you’re planning a barefoot run but have spent your day in your ‘work’ shoes, your feet will undoubtedly take some waking up! We’ve given a series of examples of mobilization exercises in our book - Run Strong • Run free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running. We also mentioned earlier that running is a plyometric activity. It’s therefore a good idea to include some plyometric work in your warm up. This doesn’t mean executing very challenging leaps and bounds, which is often what people imagine when they think of plyometrics. Small jumps, taking in different planes of motion, are very good preparatory movements for a run. You can start with very simple bounces that hardly take you off the floor and then build to more substantial jumps when your body feels ready for it. We always find that doing a few of these Plyometric drills before a run helps to tap into that ‘springy-ness’ that’s needed for efficient, comfortable running. Preparing your heart is part of your warm up too. Most of you will have experienced at some point in your life a time when you were sitting still doing something and then had to suddenly sprint, such as when your realize you’re late and need to catch

Photo: Simon Richardson www.simonrichardson.org Dancer/model: Myriam Gadri

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comfortable pace and try to breathe through your nose – that way, you won’t start off too fast. Of course, in an ideal (or more natural!) world, we wouldn’t need to warm up. We also probably wouldn’t be going out for many isolated runs, but rather be running and walking all day as part of daily activities. Unfortunately, the majority of people lead a less active life and their runs do become a separate entity which then does require some specific warming up procedures. Lastly, a little earlier on, we mentioned mind and breath. It’s important to be in the right place mentally at the start of a run. It’s extremely useful to take a few moments at the beginning of your session to focus your mind and take some deep breaths. Remember that your lungs and rib cage will be working quite hard during your run, so use your breath to loosen that area, just taking time to fully inhale and exhale for a few minutes. You can even do this as you walk a few paces before breaking into your running stride.

a train. It’s not a nice feeling to have your heart go from 60 or 70 beats per minute to 150 in the space of about half a minute! It’s also not very healthy as it will stress your body and release a rush of adrenaline.

So, build your movements gradually so that you feel a gradual raise in your heart rate. Once you’ve done your mobility exercises and a few drills, your heart rate will be above resting rate so just start your run at a

Take the time to understand what your body needs in terms of a warm up and pay attention to what kinds of preparation lead you towards your best runs. Enjoy!

Running fact 12.

Did you know

The Tailteann Games, an Irish sporting festival honouring the presumed goddess from Irish mythology, Tailtiu, which dates back to 1829 BCE, is considered to be one of the earliest records of competitive running

Running fact 13. According to a study presented in 2010, running a marathon can result in decreased function of more than half the segments in the heart’s main pumping chamber; fortunately other parts of the heart take over. Full recovery is reached within three months or less. The fitter the runner, the lesser the effect

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A comprehensive guide into the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of barefoot running. The book explains the theory behind running barefoot as well as providing practical advice, drills and exercises to help readers improve their running technique. Although the emphasis is on barefoot running, this book is useful for any level of runner, whether barefoot or not.

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Available direct from www.trcpublishinguk.com


Nutritional nugget The importance of soil life in the nutritional value of food by Aranya Gardens

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or those of us who have given any significant attention to what we eat, the basic nutrition available in different foods has probably become quite familiar. However, not every carrot or steak we might buy will be as nutritious as we’ve been led to believe they should, indeed these days probably not many at all. Industrial agriculture, with its high fuel and chemical inputs, may have delivered us larger quantities of food, but this has come at a price unnoticed by many of us - its quality. Consider any plant or tree that you might buy at your local garden centre, is it really likely to grow to be the size that it states on the label? Of course not, that figure is perhaps an average, maybe a maximum size that you might expect to see when they are grown under ideal circumstances. The same applies to the nutritional information we read about different foods, especially mineral content. So how can we ensure that the food we eat has the nutrition that our bodies need? Well, first we need to learn a little about how plants obtain these nutrients and why the manner in which most of our food is grown works against this process. Firstly, food grown in our own garden is likely to be of a very different quality from much of what we might buy, especially from supermarkets that purchase only from industrial scale producers. To understand why, we need to study what goes on unseen beneath our feet in the soil. While we may all be familiar with the common earthworm, there’s a whole lot more going on down there than most of us realize - a vast food web similar to the one we see above ground, only everything is of course a lot smaller. Despite this, in the process of going about their (often short) lives, these creatures cultivate the soil and provide the perfect conditions that plants and trees need to grow. So what could go wrong? How about practices that kill that vital soil life? You might ask why on earth we would choose to do anything so stupid and the answer is that it wasn’t so much a choice as a tragic side effect. In the period after the Second World War, when food was scarce, the government encouraged farmers

Picture courtesy of Plant Success

to grow as much food as quickly as possible. We’d invented tractors and chemical fertilisers and had plenty of cheap oil, so industrialisation became possible for the first time. Whereas farmers had previously employed rotations, growing grass and clover leys to rebuild soil carbon and nitrogen naturally in between growing arable crops, now they had soluble nitrogen in chemical form. That meant they could grow an arable crop every year, significantly increasing their outputs. The extra cheap food was a great blessing for our ancestors, but the hidden costs were yet to be noticed. The problem with using chemicallyproduced nitrogen fertilisers is that they gradually salt the soil, killing all the life within. At that point we become completely dependent upon those chemicals to grow anything (a great thing for the agrochemical industry), but that’s not the only problem. Chemical nitrates and phosphates, being water-soluble, easily leach away (wash down through the soil), meaning small but regular applications should be practised. Most farmers however can’t be bothered with this and simply apply larger amounts less often. These nitrates washed into watercourses after rain cause eutrophication, killing fish and other freshwater life as a result. This has become a serious problem, with 51 per cent of English rivers having high concentrations of phosphate and 32 per cent nitrate (in 2008). Another serious issue is the effect of ploughing on soil life. Turning the

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soil completely disrupts soil networks, killing much of that life and releasing a significant contribution of carbon (greenhouse gases) in the process. Most significantly the fungal networks in the soil are destroyed. Now on the whole we’ve been made to fear fungus as something that rots and ruins things, but there are different kinds of fungi and they’re all really important. Leaving aside for a moment the decomposing fungi (without which we’d be buried in undecomposed dead trees), there are another kind of fungi that live in a beneficial relationship with living plants. In the same way that we might classify human feeding behaviours into ‘vegetarian’, ‘omnivore’, etc., fungi also feed in different ways, especially when it comes to obtaining those all-important sugars that they can’t make for themselves. Saprophytic fungi break down longchain hydrocarbons like lignin in wood to get sugars, whereas mycorrhizal (literally fungus-root) fungi form a mutualistic relationship with the roots of most plant species. They receive sugars from the plant in exchange for specific nutrients that the plants cannot obtain directly, including converting many inorganic soil minerals into a form that can be taken up by their roots. Now this is the important bit – without the presence of these fungi there is no pathway for these inorganic minerals to get from the soil into plants. They may be present in the soil, but the plants cannot reach them directly. That means the application of more chemically produced fertilisers to try and make up for this. Again, great for the agrochemical companies, but

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not so great for the soil or the quality of the food on our plates. So what can we do? Well, we can obtain these vital nutrients in their natural form by eating foods from untilled soils, which at first glance appears to be just what the Paleo diet prescribes. However, the key thing to look out for with Paleo is that, unlike the wild animals our ancestors hunted, much of the meat we find in shops is from animals that have been raised in sheds and fed on grain from those depleted arable fields. So you’ll want to know that at the very least the meat you’re eating was grass-fed (and if it doesn’t say so it almost certainly wasn’t). And that still doesn’t mean that the animal was especially healthy or didn’t receive regular growth hormones or antibiotics. Dairy, while not considered a Paleo food, needs the same consideration. Fish should be wild caught, not farmed in cages. Fruits and nuts are, on the whole, from trees and shrubs in perennial systems. Many commercially grown vegetables and seeds (e.g. sunflower, pumpkin etc.) are likely to have been grown in over-tilled soils. Perennial vegetables and (especially) wild foods are likely to be among the most nutritious foods you can eat, but first make sure you know what you’re foraging! Not all annual crops are going to be lacking minerals if they are grown with the soil in mind though. This rarely occurs on a commercial scale, but can be done easily in our gardens or allotments. In addition, by growing our own food we reconnect exercise with the obtaining of food, something we only lost when we industrialised agriculture. Obesity is only possible when you don’t have to work for your food anymore. Growing our own food ticks so many

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boxes. By definition, it’s always going to be fresh, local and in season. We learn a lot about plants and their cycles, the garden and soil food webs and also the seasons of different foods. We can connect into local garden and allotment networks, save and share seeds, and make new friends in the process. We also get a sense of security from knowing that we can feed ourselves, unlike most people these days who are still effectively living as children, unable to do what all other animals are taught by their parents as soon as possible.

can see what is present, but also how integrated they are.

‘Organic’ methods are often better for soil life, but can still involve considerable tillage which isn’t. In contrast, permaculture offers us a nature-inspired approach to living that includes growing nutritious food in healthy soils. On the whole, this means encouraging smaller-scale production methods, but even on a large scale there are much better ways of farming that are modelled on natural systems. Holistic Management mimics the natural movement of herbivores around the landscape when predators are present. Farmer and prolific author Joel Salatin is perhaps the best known pioneer currently using such methods.

Maybe one day all food shops will be required to also display next to each food a ‘chroma’ of the soil it was grown in. Now that would start a revolution!

One simple method that shows us the difference between healthy and damaged soils is chromatography. This technique reveals key differences between healthy soils and those that have been destroyed by industrial farming. Put simply, a soil sample is taken, dissolved and then wicked up onto a circular filter paper. As the solution travels out across the paper it slows down, first dropping the heaviest materials (different minerals) and carrying furthest the lightest (organic matter, etc.). By separating the constituents of soil in this way we

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The centre sample is taken from a garden and the left one from waste ground across the road. They look similar, but in the garden sample the mineral and organic matter zones are more integrated, showing that the soil life has chelated the minerals, making them available to plants. By contrast the sample on the right is from a Spanish industrialised farm, the kind of soil that most supermarket food is grown in. Which do you think produces the most nutritious food?

Recommended reading: Teaming with Microbes; a gardener’s guide to the soil food web – Lowenfels & Lewis Teaming with Nutrients; the organic gardener’s guide to optimising plant nutrition – Lowenfels The Permaculture Garden – Graham Bell

Websites: Regenerative Agriculture UK: www.regenag.co.uk Designed Visions Permaculture: www.designedvisions.com Aranya Gardens: www.aranyagardens.co.uk As well as being a barefoot runner, Aranya also writes about and teaches permaculture which he feels offers us many solutions for an abundant and sustainable future…

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Caught in the web www.caughtintheweb.com/autumn/winter2013/09/page51

This is Bulls@#t

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Stuff that’s going on

Events

ormerly the Vitality Show, Be:Fit London is a large, 3 day event from 28th – 30th March 2014 at Old Billingsgate in London. The goal of the event is to empower women to make the right fitness and nutrition choices, recognizing that women are all unique and one size does not fit all! There will be a huge variety of fitness-related stands at the show as well as seminars and workshops with the opportunity to speak with many experts in the industry. Tickets are priced at £18 when purchased in advance and this year you can also opt for a VIP ticket which includes: a 30 minute massage, glass of champagne, luxury goody bag, access to the VIP lounge and VIP cloakroom facilities. For more info and to book tickets, visit: www.befitlondon.com

his year, the event will be held at Wisconsin State Fair Park Products Pavilion on 1st and 2nd of February. There is a vast array of exhibitors with a strong triathlon presence. Seminars this year and going to be more in depth and each one will last 90 minutes, led by experts in their fields. A great learning opportunity. There are also various activities available – bring your bike and running kit! There’s also a great obstacle course for kids. Tickets are free if you purchase anything from the list of sports/fitness stores on the website. For more info, visit: www.multisportexpo.com

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Stuff that’s going on

his event takes place from 7th – 9th March 2014 at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre in Melbourne, Australia. This will be its 4th year running and looks to be huge, judging by last year’s event when a whopping 24,000 people attended over the 3 days. There will be exhibitors from all areas of the fitness industry, competitions and sporting superstars turning up to join in the fun. On the Friday night, “Rebellion Muay Thai” will present the FitX Eliminator, pitting 8 of the best Thai boxers from Australia, Thailand, New Zealand and Ireland against each other. The winner takes home an impressive $10,000! For more info and tickets, visit: www.fitx.com

Events

his US event is organized by the Sports & Fitness Industry Assocation (SFIA) and this year takes place on Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th March at Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. The purpose of the event is to bring together leaders from the sports and fitness industry to lobby congress to pass key legislation which will help to tackle the problem of obesity in the Unites States – the message is: “Get America Moving”. Each year, numerous celebrity athletes attend to show their support as well as representatives from large companies such as Nike and Reebok and reps from the food and beverage industry. For more information and bookings, visit: www.sfia.org

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A conversation with‌ Founder of Total Immersion Swimming, Terry Laughlin

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n a bright and breezy Friday afternoon a few weeks ago, David and I headed to Windsor to meet Terry Laughlin, founder and head coach of Total Immersion (TI) swimming. Terry had kindly invited us to sit in on a workshop he was teaching to some of his UK coaches. They had been in the pool during the morning session and were sat around a table discussing optimum stroke rates and stroke lengths when we arrived. The theory session lasted another 45 minutes or so, some of which was quite complicated – there is a great deal of structure and scientific theory behind the technique. The last part of the theory section was very interesting to us as we watched footage of all the coaches swimming. They all looked incredible – smooth and effortless, which is what TI swimming is all about. Similar to how we work with our clients, we watched the footage and were able to identify subtle movements or shapes to the swimmers’ bodies that were helping or hindering their flow through the water. Terry and his coaches discussed each piece of footage, looking for balance and streamlining as a base and pointing out the positives, before looking a bit more closely to see if they could highlight any areas that could be improved – or, as Terry likes to say,

find their “Kaizen moment”. In the pool a little later on, Terry had his coaches following a series of drills before asking them to work specifically on their stroke rate and length using a metronome to vary their stroke rate whilst maintaining stoke length. All their results were tabulated by one of Terry’s assistants and there was a lot of discussion at the end as they broke their findings down. Terry has a very natural way of teaching. He instinctively knows what his students need and he later told us that he’s always had that gift. As his students went through their drills, he explained to us what they were doing, seemingly not watching the swimmers but then still managing to notice parts of their technique that were worthy of praise or needed a little more work. Terry has been a swimming coach for over forty years, working with some of the highest level swimmers, including Olympians. One would assume that Terry himself would have a very successful background in competing and indeed he has – but he didn’t start out that way! “I was the only one cut from my eight grade swimming team”, he tells us as we sit down in a quiet room, post workshop when the coaches

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had gone home for a well-earned rest. Being cut from the team didn’t bother him – he was on lots of teams, enjoying the sense of belonging and camaraderie rather than the activities themselves. He certainly wasn’t surprised at being cut from the team, given his self-confessed swimming style of, “Head out of the water, flailing about”. Something made him persevere with swimming, however, and he got onto the swim team in high school by which time he’d learnt to, “Put my head under and breathe better”. He didn’t progress a great deal in this team – after all, the swim coaches were a history teacher and biology teacher who just asked their pupils to swim up and down. Terry was always the slowest. The first sign of change for Terry was when a ‘proper’ swim coach visited the school and taught one of the sessions. He had them swimming in circles, asking them to complete 800 metres, which was 20 laps. Terry realized that over this distance, whilst not the fastest swimmer, he was also not the slowest. This set his brain in motion and he began to develop a, “rage to master”. “Is there a code you can crack?” He wondered and went to the library

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in search of swimming books – something he’d never thought of doing for any other sport. He found what he was looking for: A book called Competitive Swimming and Diving by David Armbruster, published in 1948. At the time, students could only keep a book for two weeks, so Terry spent the entire year returning the book and signing it out again. He was consumed by, “...a curiosity that had never been there for any sport”. Around this same time, although Terry claims he was still swimming slowly, he swam in the novice championship league and won his first medal. At college, Terry made much more progress. There was a dedicated swim coach there who had the team working very hard. They were taught nothing about technique though – all the training was based around racing. In his junior year, just before Christmas, Terry hit his peak. Then, in the new year, he was a bit ill and his performance suffered a little. He decided he had to work harder to improve. For the first time in a long while he wasn’t getting any better. So he worked harder still. “The slower I got, the harder I worked” he explains, which is so true of many runners that we work with as well. It’s a common, natural belief that if you’re not succeeding, you should just work harder. Sometimes, though, this is not the answer. By the end of his senior year, Terry

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was relieved to finish the season and quit his swimming regime. He was despondent. However, he didn’t give up completely and that summer attended a training camp taught by the same coach who had visited his high school. And this is where Terry’s teaching career really began. The swim coach, an all-American distance swimmer who’d studied anatomy and physiology, took Terry to one side and asked him, “Have you ever considered coaching?” Terry, knowing very little about human anatomy and physiology (his college major was Political Science) was slightly taken aback. This guy, this great swimmer, was asking him if he’d like to coach a team he could no longer work with – the US Merchant Marine Academy - due to study commitments. “He saw something in me...” Terry says and shortly afterwards, Terry became the team’s coach. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end (excuse the pun). Not only was Terry coaching swimmers older than he was, but swimmers who were better than him. However, this calling, this natural affinity for teaching and understanding swimming meant that Terry wasn’t daunted by his new position. “You know, I walked on deck and it was the strangest thing, but despite the fact that I wasn’t prepared in the way you think you should be, I felt no

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intimidation. I felt I could look at the pool and just have the confidence to figure it out”. As well as his confidence, Terry had the two team captains on his side. Even though they had beaten him in previous competitions and were quicker than him, they backed him up. They told the other team members, “Look. He’s our coach and we’re going to listen to him”. This support meant a great deal to Terry. “I still feel a lot of emotion and gratitude towards them for that.” In Terry’s first coaching session, he made an immediate discovery about his swimmers and began straight away to take a different approach to other coaches. He asked the team to swim one lap of 800 yards, freestyle. He noticed that all the swimmers were asymmetrical – swimmers back then didn’t tend to do alternate side breathing. So, in his next session, Terry asked his swimmers to breathe on the ‘wrong’ side. They grumbled a bit but all of a sudden, they were all swimming symmetrically and Terry knew instinctively that this was better. “It gave me the confidence to trust my gut”. Terry also learned about psychology. His team of swimmers consisted of the dedicated individuals who wanted to swim but there were also the slower ones who attended the sessions because it meant that they could get out of doing other, less appealing duties. He saw that the

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faster, dedicated swimmers had a more ‘choppy’ style, whereas the slower swimmers looked more fluid as they moved through the water. Terry played around with the drills and movements he gave his swimmers, allowing them some control over their own training, which resulted in them all improving their speed using a more fluid, efficient technique. He proved that his methods worked when the team went to a swim meet they attended each year. All of them won their freestyle events and the relay event right at the end was an emotional highlight; the previous year’s record was 3m 23s. Terry’s team won the race in an incredible 3m 16s! Terry ponders a moment on this success. As mentioned, he seems to have a natural affinity – a gift – for teaching swimming but he also believes that his lack of knowledge and practice at teaching was a bonus. Usually, coaches go through a series of channels to progress their career, such as a qualification in anatomy and physiology and assistant coaching experience. Terry had none of this which perhaps gave him the freedom to experiment and trust his instincts rather than following a regimented path. David wonders if Terry had a ‘Eureka’ moment - a specific point where everything came together and TI swimming was born? “Yes”, he answers. “I remember the exact moment”. Terry had taken some time out from coaching to do some freelance writing and some other projects to generate income. “I was at the top of my game but had no money in my bank account and three daughters to put through college!” “I realized I missed coaching”, he explains. “I didn’t miss parents but I missed coaching!” He had an idea to create a swim camp for adults and in 1989 held the first one. It was highly enjoyable and successful. Initially, most of the attendees were master swimmers, just looking for some fine tuning to up their game a little. Then, during the early ‘90’s, he started seeing more and more triathletes and all of a sudden, the drills he’d always taught weren’t working anymore.

These guys were generally cyclists or runners who’d made the progression to triathlon without really knowing how to swim. Terry saw how imbalanced they were too: “They were all sinking and choking!” This is when Terry changed his tactics and took a different perspective. These people needed more basic stuff – they needed to become balanced before they could contemplate speed and racing. He developed floating drills and balance/extension work and from there, began to see results. And the experienced swimmers were benefiting too. This is when it became clear to Terry that there was something fundamentally important about starting with balance and streamlining as a basis for all swimmers. From this point onwards, Terry’s methods became more and more popular. He wrote his first book for those who weren’t able to attend a workshop and it quickly began to outsell other swimming books. David and I often notice a fairly instant change in runners when they come to us for a coaching session. Just changing a few technical aspects and asking the runner to shift their focus can have a significant effect. Terry sees the same in his swimmers. He recalls a workshop he taught in Atlanta back in 1997. There were around 27 swimmers, all quite amateur and struggling with their technique. By the end of the workshop, “They all looked like

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swimmers! And it had happened overnight!” Fast forward to the present and there are now around 400 TI coaches around the world. Terry is very keen to maintain teaching quality and his coaches must undertake substantial preparations just to get onto one of his courses. As we saw in our session with his coaches, they are also required to attend sessions with Terry to progress their own coaching skills and they do this with genuine commitment and discipline. We ask Terry about his thoughts on how running compares to swimming. He points out that running can be seen as a natural human activity. People run naturally and are able to do it, sometimes despite poor technique. For this reason, it may be difficult for a runner to break their bad habits. This is not the case with swimming – many of his clients have been doing it all wrong from the beginning and just feel awkward and frustrated in the pool, getting nowhere. He usually finds that clients feel so much better after around 10-15 minutes when they’re just taught how to do the very basics in the correct manner. The little stutters come later when the method becomes more intricate, although Terry is a firm believer that the brain learns quickly. We tell Terry that some people come to us thinking that running barefoot is going to be some magical cure for their running misery. Terry has those clients occasionally too, who want a “Flu shot” as he puts it. On the whole though, they’ll feel enough

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of a difference in the first session to want to persevere. Likewise with barefoot running, there are those who don’t believe in Terry’s method, saying things like, “Oh, you’re the guy who teaches pretty but slow”. Hardly the case when you watch some of Terry’s students and know that he has trained numerous Olympic level swimmers. Much of our conversation revolved around teaching adults, but what about teaching Total Immersion swimming to kids?

from the official TI website. So, what are Terry’s plans for the future? At the moment he’s training up some “successors” so that he can begin to focus elsewhere. His goal is to, “Change the way the world teaches and practises swimming.” With that in mind, there is a website in development called “Swim Academy” which will have a variety of resources available, such as pdfs, streaming videos, lectures and webinars. Swimmers will be able to create their own course to focus on their own particular needs.

“Yes, we teach kids. We have an endless pool in the basement and we introduce play when we work with children. The girls want mermaids and the boys want superheroes!” Importantly, the children want to return because they enjoy the sessions, rather than being forced by their parents to attend.

Something that many people don’t know is that TI swimming teaches all four strokes, not just freestyle. Freestyle is most popular because it’s the chosen stroke of triathletes but breastroke comes a very close second. It really is a technique that is accessible to all.

If you get the chance to work with Terry, you must do it because you won’t be disappointed. If you can’t and are unable to work with any of his amazing coaches, you can still learn TI swimming through a variety of books and DVDs which are available

Terry’s other goal is to address the worldwide problem of drowning. “It’s very simple to teach – it’s just a case of balancing.” He has already started working with a foundation in New York, close to where he lives with his wife and three daughters, all

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of whom teach TI swimming. David asks Terry if there are certain cultural attitudes towards swimming; David’s family are from Jamaica but none of them who still live there can swim, even though they are surrounded by water. Terry agrees, “There are certain minority groups who are reluctant and perhaps have bad associations with swimming”. “Hey, I tell you what! If I could only get Oprah in the water that would change a whole lot of things!” Visit Terry’s website for more information: www.total immersion.net


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mob: 07508 118072

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hen Anna asked me to visit Evolve Manchester and have a go at parkour and freerunning, I was really excited. I thought I was going to learn how to jump, climb and do a few tricks but it was so much more than that. I met great people and ended up asking myself some deep questions about how I choose to bring up my children. Evolve are bucking the trend and doing a fine job. Parkour is more than a pastime, it is way of life. We are not only born to run, we are born to play. In today’s risk-averse society, there is a problem. We tell children how to keep safe but don’t often give them the chance to learn it for themselves. Isn’t that what human play is all about? As children, we learn the skills that will keep us alive as adults. Nowadays, many children just don’t have the chance to play in the way we did. Most of us ran, climbed, jumped, had adventures

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and lived to tell the tale. Crucially, we did it out of sight of adult eyes. We learned our own limits and did not rely on an adult to tell us when something was dangerous. The question is how to teach kids to assess risk in a society that increasingly wraps young people in cotton wool. The parallels with barefoot running are clear. We are forgetting how we evolved. We are not only born to run, we are born to play and many children just don’t get that type of learning experience any more. I have been working with kids in and around inner-city areas for the last 20 years. Many schools are now putting an element of risk back into children’s play in an effort to allow children to judge for themselves how to keep safe. We know that we will not always be there to put out a hand or shout a warning. We get a few bangs and bruises but they serve children well

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as they learn to manage themselves in their environment. Nowhere have I seen that calculated level of risk put back in better than at Evolve in Manchester. Sitting in a unit on a dark and wet industrial estate, Evolve is like no gym that I have ever been to before. As I approached the front door, I could hear loud rock music coming from within. It was the sort of music that usually accompanies snowboarding video games. Evolve is one of a new breed of gym that is starting to appear. They are the antithesis of the large chain gyms that litter every town. You won’t find any static bikes or running machines here. They feel like they are outside the system, run by young people for the benefit of young people. It feels inner-city and I mean that in a good way. A place full of energy

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and life. Inner cities do some things better than anywhere else and I think that this is one. You get a sense of freedom and philosophy. You get people being generous with their time and helping others along. Evolve feels like a community project. It has a heartbeat and a soul. Evolve offered me and my son a two week pass to come and go as often as we would like. They were keen that we could feel what Evolve was all about and what they have to offer. The freerunning area was set out like a street with benches, scaffolding and the addition of some mats and a few vaulting horses. As newbies, we were asked to spend some time with instructor Igor (from Krakow). Igor gave us a quick safety talk which was no nonsense and was heavy on the fact that you can really hurt yourself if you do anything silly. He encouraged us to keep safe, find our limits and offered to push us a little if he thought we could handle it. For Igor, the definitions of freerunning and parkour were important. Parkour evolved out of military obstacle course training and is all about getting from one point to another in a smooth and efficient way. It is all about speed, efficiency, rhythm and grace. Over the years, some parkour exponents started to add tricks and flips. It is when you combine parkour with tricks that you get freerunning.

I have watched a lot of videos over the years and although I admire the tricks and flips, it is the graceful, efficient parkour that appeals to me. The runners are like stones skimming across water maintaining their momentum. It is beautiful to watch. First job was a balance called ‘baby freeze’. It is a balance on 2 hands where you crouch and rock your weight forward until your feet leave the floor. This goes into a headstand and then back to the balance. Technique, Igor explained, is everything. He proved an excellent teacher and before long he had us doing handstands, rolls and vaults. It is over 30 years since I have vaulted and although the brain was willing, the body had forgotten what it is like to take charge of the limbs whilst in the air. I was flapping all over the place. It began to come back slowly and when he eventually called time, I was managing OK. The first session had flown by. The start of the second session was fascinating. During the warm up, I could see that there were one or two new kids who were more than a little bit cocky. They were fooling around on the apparatus and generally showing off to each other. It was easy to spot the falls before they came and sure enough they did. The instructors had an eye on them but let them experiment and learn by trial and error. I enjoyed watching the change in them during just one session. They went from cocky and

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overbearing to respectful of the staff, the equipment and the other members of the group. They saw more experienced freerunners using their technique to do things that were amazing. It knocked the corners off them. The instructors had clearly seen it all before. We warmed up and I managed to do a baby-freeze into a headstand and back. It felt like a real achievement. Then a circuit which included rolls, springboard, vaults, jumping, dropping, balancing and swinging. We had 30 minutes of free play or at least that is what it felt like. When you watch the best nursery schools, for a large part of the day the children just appear to be playing. They make excellent progress because of the skill of the staff. They know how to provide equipment, play alongside, know when to intervene and when to coach. It felt like the same thing. I was learning at my own level with an instructor offering a word of guidance once in a while and then letting me go again. I was determined to land a front somersault on two feet. I must have tried 20 times and at one point or other, each instructor had a quiet word to offer a bit of advice. Then they let me go. I watched one adult freerunners spend a large part of the session trying to jump from a box to land with 2 feet on a scaffold bar without toppling off. Time and time again he tried with the occasional word from

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a coach. After about 20 minutes, he landed it and got a spontaneous round of applause. One lad stopped me 3 times to say, “It’s amazing here”. I recognised the look on his face. He just couldn’t believe that he was being allowed to do this stuff. I was watching my son. He was nervous at first and had suffered a fall or two. He was hurt but kept clambering back up to try again. We were both dripping with sweat and tiring. He jumped for a bar and slipped and I jumped from a high box, overbalanced and hit my elbow on the concrete floor. We were both learning from experience and both nursing bruises. I stood back and watched for a while and it was like a wildlife documentary about humans at play. Every member of the group was running, jumping or swinging and had a light in their eyes. If the whole purpose of play is to learn about the world and experiment then this was play at its purest. Kids and adults were engaged in deep learning and were being gently guided by expert eyes. Evolve is not sanitised however. This is not a Wacky Warehouse for grownups. There is danger here and the learning is deeper for it. The world out there is not sanitised either and when the demon of peer pressure

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comes around, knowing your limits could be a life saver. So...am I worried that I have exposed my 10 year old son to a potentially dangerous pastime? I think that is a fair question. The honest answer is a little. He is precious to me and I know that if I let him experiment then he is going to get hurt at some point. The balance is tricky. My job is to help him prepare for later life when I won’t be there to look after him all the time. He needs to learn how to assess risk for himself and learn how to make good decisions and keep himself safe. He needs to learn how to handle peer pressure and know when to walk away. Learning how to do that regularly can only be a good thing. Evolve have created a gym and workout space with a philosophy. Their aim is to help their clients learn about themselves and take those lessons into their wider lives. It is about personal development and is a job worth doing. It is not only about learning your limits but it is also about learning to stretch yourself and build confidence. With dedication and patience you can do things that look impossible.

room at the end of the second session I felt like an old man and said so. A chap sitting opposite grinned and said, “Yeah, but an old man who does mean somersaults.” I would have puffed my chest out and strode out of the door with my head held high if I had not been hobbling so much. It was a good hobble though and my son and I are looking forward to next time. We were definitely born to play. Thanks to Dan, Igor and Matt for being generous with their time. If there is one thing I can recognise, it is good teaching when I see it. They were excellent. For more information check out their website at: www.evolvemanchester.com.

As I sat exhausted in the changing

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The Green Room Barefoot Running and the Alexander Technique – Part Two: Neuro-muscular Re-patterning or Mindful Action

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he story so far… In the August Edition of Barefooot Running Magazine, John Woodward contributed a well-received article about the use of the Alexander Technique on the Natural Running Courses. John emphasized the order or priority in the necessary neuromuscular re-patterning that needs to happen if you want to run barefoot and free – injury free that is. Says John… In my last article I suggested three key aspects of running naturally: 1. 2.

3.

You have to be more aware, attentive - i.e. mindful You need to develop an intelligence and skill in learning how to use the Body Sense efficiently Success requires changing ingrained habits.

Proprioceptive Prowess Establishing the right priority involves attending first to the neuro-side of things in any attempt at neuromuscular re-patterning. This must draw in the all-important Body Sense. This is how to get smart before you get strong. There is a distinct skill-base in developing the use of this sense. The sense has another older name: the proprioceptive sense. This name derives from its key importance in the sense of ownership (‘propriety’) of one’s own body. This helps to bring out the fact that this important sense underpins the sense of one’s ‘Self’. You do have to change the way you use yourself when you run barefoot.

Two springboards into the same pond: There are two springboards from which to dive into the same pool. Emphasizing the neuro- in ‘neuromuscular re-patterning’ is a more science-based way into the pool and it draws upon powerful insights from the growing field of neuro-plasticity. The other springboard into the pool is a more ancient psycho-spiritual one: it concerns the mindfulness or self-observation that underpins selfwork and self-knowledge. It becomes a matter of individual preference

whichever springboard you prefer. Either way, you swim in the same Quantum Soup! If you’ve dived in off the science springboard the work will engage with neuro-science’s newly named ‘intero-ceptive sense (aka the “Body Sense”!). If you’ve leapt in off the mindful springboard you will engage the Body Sense as the core of all self-knowledge. In this article I want to take you deeply into the labyrinth of neuro-muscular re-patterning, or mindful action. I am going to take you through a practical Natural Running procedure, one that involves a highly detailed and site-specific foot function. As this engenders a whole-foot action, this is then woven into a holistic head-to-toe integrity to form part of re-learning and re-patterning of a natural stride sequence.

Disabling the Foot Knuckle An alien intelligence examining us from outer space might be forgiven for thinking that the modern shoe (that is until the recent minimalist shoe revolution!) is a device designed to systematically disable and deactivate the Meta-tarso-phalangeal joint (MPJ for short) in the foot. I refer to this key joint as the “Foot Knuckle” joint to draw attention to the similarity of this joint with the knuckle joint in your hand. It is, however, not at all as obvious as the knuckle joint in your hand but in terms of a natural running action, it is far more important. Degrading and disabling this joint causes two massive obstacles to

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efficient natural running: 1.

2.

If this joint can’t work properly the foot must leave the floor prematurely when we walk or run. We will see why shortly. It often creates a dystonia. Effectively what this means it that your Cortex or ‘Thinking Cap’ has no working map of the territory of this joint.

A certain key action of the toes could be pointed out to you and demonstrated. You will tell your toes and forefoot to do this action and they won’t have a clue how to deliver it. The mind has no map. There is a neurological dystonia. The field of neuro-science is a-buzz recently with neuro-plasticity, which trumpets the brain’s infinite capacity to remodel itself in relation to its world. So no worries if there is no map, we can successfully set about creating one. Whether you call it neuromuscular re-patterning or creative mindful action is no matter – a map can be successfully created. Achieving this quickly and efficiently is a 25 year long mission of the natural running work.

Rehabilitating the foot knuckle (the MPJ) When the foot knuckle is made to stand out in your foot it has the appearance of a string of pearls and in many ways it turns out to be a buried treasure. The shoe is the treasure casket, the sock the shroud over the treasure. The first step is to take the foot from its shoe, open the

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casket and remove the shroud. Even then, bringing it to the light of day is not that easy. Take the index finger of one hand and place it under your knuckle joint in your other hand. Tell your fingers first to bend while keeping the finger straight. Note that it is obvious how this works the finger from the knuckle joint and makes it protrude more. Next, with the other finger in the same spot, curl your fingers in from the finger-tips. A different group of muscles are engaged here and this action does not work this joint. Your brain has a map for the difference between these two actions in your hand; your foot, however - which has the same basic anatomy - does not. Remember that there are two elements here, the neuro and the muscular. The neuro element involves creating that all-important map. When we get to the muscular aspect it will take us into a complex of issues involving: adhesions, stiffness, the lack of strength of certain muscles and tendons (atrophy) and some precise motor control issues that we will consider shortly.

The Gold Standard of a Natural Stride However, first it will be helpful if we

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briefly consider the ideal natural stride to get some sense of just how vital and important the foot knuckle is to a natural stride action. The first part of this stride carries the weight forward onto the advancing leg. A lot of emphasis in the natural running work is placed on achieving a neutral walking or running stance. This is the starting point of the stride sequence. The feet are a hip’s width apart (about 5-6”) with one foot placed about a foot’s length ahead of the other. As the weight transfer completes its part of the cycle in easing you forward it is followed by a head-to-toe opening release in which the rear leg releases right through to the toes. When this action is complete the heel - and in fact most of the foot - has been raised from the floor simply by opening up this cascade of releases to the force of gravity. Note this does not defeat gravity, it uses gravity - no direct upward lifting energy has been employed. Following the course of this preparatory action as it progresses through the hips, we may note that it achieves the following impressive list of functions:

 It allows the hip joint to freely 

swivel It allows the knee to freely swing to catch up with the advancing

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knee

 It articulates the hinge of the ankle joint freely

 It engages the toes so that the forefoot becomes like a broad and spread rocker. There is something very important to appreciate about this phase of the stride action: it prepares and positions the foot so that the arc of movement that has been initiated as the heel raises from the floor is then picked up by a chain of muscle action which continues so that the heel is lifted toward the rump in a smooth arcing action. The vital point is this: IF THE ACTION CANNOT FREELY COMPLETE ITSELF THEN OTHER MUSCLE GROUPS HAVE TO COMPENSATE AND THE FOOT CERTAINLY LEAVES THE FLOOR BUT IT DOES SO PREMATURELY. We are not going into the next phase of the stride sequence, i.e. the change of support phase here, but we may note that, while there are an infinite number of ways to get the foot off the floor in order to walk/run there is only one that does this with maximum efficiency and ease and it requires this key joint to lead the way for the action to complete its natural function. Experiment with this action yourself. Let your foot roll up as you ease back and forth in a step forward position. Now imagine your foot is strapped to

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Fast tracking the Foot knuckle back to its full role in the Natural Stride

a stiff plank. You will note that not only does this disable the action of this joint but it severely restricts everything else upward through the kinetic chain: the ankle, the knee, the hip. It doesn’t stop here either: the whole upper body is compromised as the Body Sense eventually finds a way around this restriction: YOU WILL LEARN TO LIFT YOUR FOOT UP FROM THE FLOOR BUT AS THIS ADAPTATION CONSOLIDATES INTO A HABIT YOUR GAIT IS A HEAVILY COMPENSATED ONE. You will learn to walk “normally” but in a way characteristic of a shod gait, in which:

 THE FEET LEAVE THE FLOOR PREMATURELY

 THE LEG LANDS STRAIGHT AT THE KNEE

 THE HEEL IS PLACED DOWN FIRST AS THE CUSHIONED HEEL STRIKES THE FLOOR. It is easy to make a mistake and fixate here on the leg straightening and heel striking action, which erroneously demonizes the heel strike. This just masks the core issue, which is the limited and partial way the foot works. It has become degenerated, very vulnerable and it needs the protection and support of the shoe. The fundamental concern is not which part of the foot lands first but how it lands and whether the whole foot is engaged and responsive. In making some kind of accurate assessment of the degree to which key foot functions have been downgraded or deactivated, we need to continually refer back to the Gold Standard of a Natural Stride; one that has not had to heavily compensate for the restrictions of a modern shoe. As this baseline ‘Gold Standard’ reveals itself then we may develop some real sense of direction. As we set out, we will need some key waymarkers en route in order to transition to full foot function swiftly and safely.

On the Natural Running course this MPJ or Foot Knuckle is blitzed and bombarded from every sense modality to fast track this forgotten and neglected joint back to full functionality. You listen to it (as it creates a silent footfall), you put a golf ball under the ball of the foot to get each individual ‘pearl’ to stand out on the ‘necklace’. You learn to encourage it through its full range of rotational and fore and aft ranges of motion. There is a lost and forgotten natural movement flow line that has become radically disconnected here. The disconnection is crucial because it forces compensations to happen at the key connection of foot to the ground. I reckon this is how it all comes about: at some point in learning to walk this natural movement flow sends a message to lift or extend the toes. When the message comes back to the brain that this cannot happen because there is a restriction, the Body Sense then adapts to the situation by moving the action one step up the kinetic chain and then the whole foot is lifted instead of just the toes. This is why the shod gait and heel striking go hand in hand. The anatomical arrangements around this Foot Knuckle joint are simply and aptly named. There are the short extensors that lift the toes and the long-extensors which lift the whole foot. The independence of action between these two functions is lost in a kind of swamp. Fast track procedures are used to find a way out of the swamp. As this detailed work gets underway, the effect of this is continually fed back though the prism of the Natural Stride. As this lost natural movement is reclaimed the freedom and ease this brings about from head to toes always astonishes people. There seems to be a natural expression of joy and liberation. When the proprioceptive sense is eased away from the job of having to make complex compensations, it can return to its original job of finding freedom through the lines of least effort and least resistance. It is like the ancient Chinese Tao-Te Ching that was originally known as the Water-course Way. The most efficient form of energy behaves like water, flowing along the lines of least effort.

Barefoot Running Magazine

John Woodward is a long established Alexander Technique Teacher and coach of Natural Running. He runs a full time teaching centre in Bashful Alley Lancaster and runs courses from his purpose built centre: La’ ‘l Barn, overlooking the Duddon Estuary in the Lake District. John trained initially in research psychology and went on to research into human movement at Nottingham University. For a period, John played and taught classical guitar before training as an Alexander Technique teacher in the early 1980s. Since the first Natural Running course in the late 1980s, John has been refining and developing the work of applying the principles of the Alexander Technique to running form. John has walked and run barefoot for well over 30 years and lists among his barefoot feats:

 A barefoot walk around the Lake District

 A 60 mile run from Ulverston to Whitehaven barefoot in one day

 A barefoot ascent of Scafell (an

ultimate barefoot challenge if ever there was one!)  Ulverston to Lancaster barefoot  80 miles barefoot in one day (on my 65th birthday) You can find out more here: www.naturalrunning.co.uk, including dates for upcoming courses. John is completing his book: “Crossing The Line” and is about to release a DVD entitled: “The Natural Running Foot Competence Program”.

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love these Xero Shoes‌but there's no way I can sell them." This verdict came from the buyer for a major outdoor products company at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in the Summer of 2012. "Why not?" I asked, hoping he would change his mind, place a big order, and contribute to my premature retirement. "This do-it-yourself thing is too complicated," he said. "But you just made your own sandals in five minutes," I countered. "Yeah, but my customers won't," he declared. I understood his point. Even though we'd sold over 47,000 pairs of our DIY huarache sandal kits, I knew that the idea of what I call "developing the super power of knowing how to make your own shoes" is daunting to

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most people.

‘problems.’

For both business reasons and because we want to give more people the natural movement experience, I took this buyer's dismissal to heart, and decided I had to find a solution. I had to find a way to make huarache-style sandals more accessible to more people.

Now, luckily, the next week, two dogs met each other while they were out for a walk. I know that sounds like a totally different story than "How did you make a new sandal," but it's not. What makes this canine connection interesting is the two men on the ends of the leashes. One was a friend of mine, Gary, the other was a man named Dennis Driscoll.

But, it's not easy to improve on elegance. And the huarache-style sandal is elegant. If you look across cultures and throughout history, you see that same, simple, clean pattern: a semi-flexible sole, lace coming up between the toes, looping through the sole near the ankles, wrapping around the heel to securely hold the sole to your foot, all tied together with a simple knot. Beautiful. The real challenge we faced is: How to keep the elegance and benefits of huaraches, and eliminate the

Autumn/Winter 2013

Dennis, it turns out, is the co-founder of Avia Athletic Footwear and was the lead designer for a number of companies, including Doc Marten, Converse, Wilson and, most recently, Crocs. Dennis has over thirty five years of footwear design experience. Gary, good friend that he is, and no idiot, grabbed Dennis' phone number and passed it along to me. Dennis and I had lunch a bit later and at the end of our two hour chat about the state of footwear, he said,

Barefoot Running Magazine


"I think what you're doing is one of the only interesting things going on. I'd like to work for you." I'm not sure if I let him finish the thought before I said, "Welcome aboard!" Lena and I feel freakishly fortunate. This isn't the first time someone of Dennis's calibre helped us grow our business -- our original FeelTrueÂŽ outsoles were co-developed by the former lead designers from Nike and Reebok, who joined our company after a similar meeting (though no dogs were involved in that one). So, Dennis and I sat down and looked at the improvements we wanted to make: Ready-to-wear Easier to adjust lacing No knots to tie Eliminate lace abrasion (FWIW, if you run in sandals with good form you get almost no lace wear) More comfortable "thong"

give, namely, simple adjustability, especially for people who have a hard time telling left from right, let alone mastering a double half-hitch? I spent a ton of time working this problem. Granted, much of that time was in my hot tub, but a good amount was also hours that kept me from sleeping. After months of dead ends, one morning it hit me out of nowhere. I realized that if, instead of trying to wrap a single lace around the foot and ankle and secure it with a knot above the foot, I use two laces and already have that top-of-foot knot in place, all I need is a way to hold these two laces in place behind your heel! Bingo. Knot problem solved. Lacing problem solved. And heel securing problem created! In fact, not only did I need a way to secure the laces near the heel, but I needed to clean up all the loose ends of the laces. And there were now four instead of one.

To make a ready-to-wear product, we had two obstacles. The shape of the soles and the placement of the toe and ankle holes. We know it's not possible to make a product that fits everyone, but we wanted something that would work for as many as possible.

Happily, this didn't take as long to figure out because I had brainstorm number two right away. I used to be a competitive jump roper (or rope jumper, if you prefer),and I had an adjustable rope with a plastic clip that did the exact thing I wanted. It was just bigger.

The good news is that, thanks to our custom-made Xero Shoes, where people send in tracings of their feet for us to professionally make their sandals, we had over four thousand tracings on file. That's a LOT of feet in a LOT of sizes and shapes.

So we made a smaller version of this same clip and were ready to go! Or so I thought‌

While I was working on the lacing/ tensioning/clip system, Dennis was busy with three other brilliant elements to the new product. First, he added a silicone heel tube to protect the Achilles and make the laces more comfortable. Then he created an ultra-flexible toe post. The toe post would be recessed under the foot, so there's no longer any knot between your toes. Combine that with lifting the ankle holes up a few millimetres and now the lace never touches the ground, so it won't wear out. Next he added the heel cup to the back of the shoe. The heel cup serves a few purposes. First, it helps keep your heel from sliding off the side of the sandal. If you look at people walking around in sandals (something I do non-stop now that I'm in the business), you'll see many people falling off one side or the other. This doesn't happen as much with a huarache, given the lacing system, but it's still an issue for some. Second, the heel cup helps keep stuff from getting under your foot. Not entirely, of course, because nothing can make an open shoe act like a closed one. But it helps. And, third, the heel cup looks really cool! Silly as that may sound, it's important as we move into retail. We've got to catch people's eye when they're in the stores. And we want people to notice our shoes when they're out in the world.

Dennis analyzed those and found the tweaks to our current design and the location of the lacing points that we'd use in our new product. Interestingly, where we position our toe hole is not where you find it on most sandals. Lacing was another tough one to solve, and it was a combination of two brainstorms and a massive error that led to the solution. Let's start with the obvious: Lacing a huarache sandal uses a couple of simple knots. And it's hard to improve on a knot. So, how do you get the benefits that a knot gives - easy security while adding what a knot doesn't

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Dennis also researched the big question: What's the best sole thickness? Die-hard barefooters want the closest thing to no-thing that they can get, which is why we sold more of our 4mm Connect kits for years. But as more and more non-barefoot-aware customers discovered our products, the 6mm Contact kit caught up. We decided on a middle-ish ground -- a 5.5 mm sole that is flexible enough to give good ground feel, but with enough thickness to alleviate the anxiety of those who aren't quite ready to feel like they're wearing nothing. And it's the same weight as our 6mm Contact sandals. So, we're just about ready to pull the trigger and order over 10,000 pairs of our new product, which by now we've called the Sensori Venture. The only thing we need to confirm is the lace tensioner/lace end piece that we designed. The mail arrives, we pull out the pieces, we put them on some sample shoes‌and they don't work. At all. Not only do they not function properly, but they look horrible, and feel even worse on your foot! There was a giant, hard plastic thing digging into each side of your heel. Honestly, I was beside myself. We had to start manufacturing within days, and we didn't have the most important piece of the puzzle in place. I had no idea what to do. In a fit of frustration, I probably yelled (actually, I'm sure I can take "probably" out of that sentence), "Get me that box of lacing parts we have!" I grabbed a few components - ideas I had tossed out long ago - and threw them onto our sample shoes‌ convinced that this stupid solution would be the end of the road and that we could throw months of work in the trash.

a way that kept all the plastic from touching your foot. Really comfortable. I love it when accidents solve problems you didn't even know you had! From there, we were on fire. We made samples, got them onto people's feet, and waited breathlessly for the feedback. It was better than we expected, which made it a bit less anxiety-producing to spend more money on our initial product order than we made in our first two years in business. Then we went to Outdoor Retailer again, a year later, with the Sensori Venture, and got the exact response we hoped for from retailers. "Now, THIS, I can sell! I love it." We're still finalizing orders, but expect to see Xero Shoes in big name stores this Spring! Let me tell you, this "making stuff" business is not easy. Everything was more expensive and took longer than we planned. We didn't expect to be releasing a new sandal at the end of October. But even with all the obstacles, we couldn't be happier. We sold almost three thousand pairs of Sensori Ventures in the first week and we're already getting amazing feedback from exactly the people we wanted to help. People who always wanted a close-to-barefoot feel, but couldn't wrap their brain around doing it themselves. And, more importantly, we're getting a whole new wave of emails from people who are amazed to discover the enjoyable, pain-free experience that natural movement can give. Oh, and Dennis and I haven't stopped. In fact, getting Sensori Venture out the door has just accelerated the plans for even more Original Barefootware.

They worked perfectly. Not only did they function, but they had a few added, surprising bonuses.

Feel The World!

For one, they looked slick and mildly technical, which gives a great counterpoint to the hyper-simple look of a huarache. And the shape of the tensioner bent the laces in

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Barefoot Running Magazine

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Assorted goodies Products worth a look

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1.

Baby Jogger Summit X3 2014. One of the biggest names in the UK pushchair world is ‘Baby Jogger’. Great for runners who want to take baby out on a run, with the ability to set it up for the individual parent, ample storage space and remote action swivel lock for the front wheel. A new version of the ‘Summit X3’ is due out in 2014 and is now available for pre-order. Estimated retail price of £330.00p Visit: www.babyjogger.co.uk

2.

Instabeat. Goggles with a difference! This new gadget is the first to allow you to easily monitor your heart rate as you swim. It also provides additional info, such as calories burned and breathing rate. A great tool for serious swimmers, it is now available for pre-order. Retailing at $149.00 Visit: www.instabeat.me

3.

Vibram Bikila EVO. Vibram FiveFingers are re-vamping their original Bikila model. The new model – Bikila Evo - has a thicker sole, designed to allow people just starting out with minimalist shoes some slight cushioning although, as per most minimal shoes, it is zero drop. Visit: www.vibramfivefingers.com

4.

Women's Infiniti Anorak. Looks can be deceiving! This lightweight jacket will keep you cosy as you tackle the most severe weather out on your Winter runs. It is breathable with a decent amount of stretch but is windproof and waterproof. Choose from subtle black or bright pink! R.R.P. £80.00p. Visit: www.brooksrunning.com

5.

AfterShokz Sportz 2 Headphones. These innovative new headphones use bone conduction technology so that sound is transmitted through the listener’s cheekbones to their inner ear, bypassing the eardrum for a safer, more comfortable listening experience. There will be a review and the chance to win a pair in our next issue – first impressions from our tester are extremely positive! R.R.P. £59.99p. For more info, visit: www.aftershokz.co.uk

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The latest national news

study has shown that middle aged British men are more likely to be overweight than their female counterparts. Of the individuals measured (men and women born during one week in 1970), two thirds of the men were overweight; half of the women were also overweight. Dr Alice Sullivan, of the Institute of Education at the University of London, suggests that men are less bothered by their expanding waistlines as it is more socially acceptable for men to be overweight than women.

National news

This latest research causes more concern regarding an already prevalent issue in the UK. Overweight individuals are not only more prone to cardiac problems but another study earlier this year indicated that they are also more at risk of mental disorders.

ritain is one of the “rich” countries putting a drain on the resources of professional health workers in poorer countries, according to Health Poverty Action (HPA). About a third of doctors registered with the General Medical Council here in the UK were trained overseas and the charity HPA has called for urgent action. Britain is an attractive option for health professionals seeking work from overseas due to the high demand and higher levels of pay, leaving countries like Africa with a significant deficit. Conversely, reportedly the UK could claim back £500 million per year from the countries from whose citizens migrate to the UK and abuse the NHS.

The College of Emergency Medicine has called for more access to A&E alternatives (GP surgeries, NHS walk-in clinics) to take the pressure off A&E facilities

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Debenhams has become the first retailer to introduce plus size mannequins into their stores to be more representative of the ‘average’ size woman

Barefoot Running Magazine


The under 35’s are particularly affected and are tending towards bulk products, such as pasta and noodles, that are relatively cheaper. According to a recent survey by the Department of Health, 37 per cent of people have said that their diet has suffered as a result of the credit crisis.

ather than shun the recent antics of Miley Cyrus, a London gym has taken the idea of ‘twerking’ and built a new fitness class around the concept! The 45 minute “Twerk it out” class has become the most popular session on the timetable at Gym Box in Holburn, with around 20 participants wiggling their bottoms in each class. A journalist reported that, although she felt a little silly at times, she definitely had a good workout with plenty of squats and lunges to work the legs and full body movements to raise the pulse. If it gets people moving and enjoying exercise – why not?!

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National news

There has been a subsequent call for government ministers to raise the public’s awareness of the importance of having at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, as well as educating people as to what exactly constitutes one portion, as many people are unsure.

The latest national news

lmost one in five adults in the UK are eating less fruit and vegetables due to the increasing cost of produce.


Try this at home How to make positive adjustments

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n the past, we’ve tended to provide you with different exercise tips in this section, often relating to running or some particular movement system. When clients come to us, they frequently have niggling pains or injuries and are looking for specific aspects of their running form that might be the culprit. It is very tempting to blame running form and, more often than not, a person’s style of running can indeed be tweaked to allow them a freer, more effortless rhythm to their running. However, we always encourage clients to look at the bigger picture too. The most obvious thought process when you run a lot and you’re injured is, “I run and it hurts, therefore there must be something wrong with my running style. If I can fix that, the pain will go away”. However, running (unless you’re an elite athlete) only makes up a very small percentage of your day. Perhaps there is something else you are doing - or more likely several other things you are doing - that are contributing to faulty movement patterns which become enhanced as you challenge your body during a run.

(appropriate chair for you, desk the right height, etc.). Have you considered a standing desk? If not, ask your employee about this option or, if you work for yourself, treat yourself to one!

 Do you make an effort to move around on a regular basis? Set a timer to remind you or stick a post-it note on your computer screen to get you out of your seat every hour at least. If this is not feasible, think about doing exercises at your desk. Neck rotations, shoulder rolls, spine rotations, side bends, etc. Plus, take a couple of minutes each

hour just to sit back and focus on taking some deep breaths in and out – this is relaxing, will encourage movement in your spine and rib cage and will help you re-focus. Be inventive – several of my clients do exercises in the cubicle when they go to the toilet!

 If possible, get outside during your working day. Even if it’s just a walk to the shop to buy your lunch. There is currently a lot of media discussion regarding Vitamin D deficiency in a high percentage of the population. Rather than taking a synthetic supplement to combat this, get outside to

At work A large number of you will spend the majority of your working day at a desk in front of a computer. Sitting down for long periods is well understood to be extremely detrimental to overall posture and movement and, combined with the stress of deadlines and/or dealing with challenging customers, can cause all sorts of issues, from misalignment of the pelvis to tension in the shoulders and neck. Ask yourself: How long do I spend at my desk without getting up and moving? Some people make a conscious effort to get up and loosen off every hour, but many of you will be familiar with the situation where time is of the essence and there is no chance of interrupting your focus to go and mobilize your joints. Often though, it’s not really a case of there not being any time, but rather that you become so engrossed in your work that you forget to move. Fundamentally though, we are creatures of movement; we need to move to be able to function. So, think of the following:

 Is your work station set up correctly? Barefoot Running Magazine

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a regular basis

 Another point about sleep: If you’re uncomfortable in bed, is it because you haven’t turned your mattress in a while? Or have you had the same mattress for too long? Mattresses should be turned regularly so that you don’t create an uncomfortable ‘dint’. If there are other reasons why you’re struggling to sleep, such as a snoring partner, you may still want to address the issue, albeit in a diplomatic and gentle manner!

Nutrition Nutrition, as we all know, plays a fundamental role in health. There’s no escaping it; you really are what you eat. To get the most enjoyment from your running, your body needs to be functioning as efficiently as possible. Most of you know the general rules: limit processed foods, foods containing unnatural fats, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Keep well-hydrated and try to obtain your foods from the most natural sources possible.

receive a natural dose

 Learn to organize your day so that you don’t become overwhelmed and end up staying late without really achieving anything. A good book to help you do this is: Do It Tomorrow by Mark Forster Of course, plenty of jobs don’t involve sitting at a desk. However, they may well still involve repetitive movements or movements that stress the body (such as labourers, nurses, etc.). In these cases, it is essential to learn how to manage your movements effectively, ensuring you have adequate help when required (such as nurses needing to turn a heavy patient over in bed) and attending relevant courses that teach you appropriate job-related skills. Be vigilant about sticking to the number of recommended hours for such jobs – your body needs time to rest if your job is an active one.

At home  As mentioned already, if you spend time at home on your computer, make sure your set up is comfortable and again,

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consider a standing desk

 Have a look at your daily routine. How long do you spend watching television each day? Do you always sit in the same place on the sofa, in the same position? If you enjoy television, still consider moving around regularly and try sitting on the floor too

 If you work from home, this point doesn’t apply to you, but if your workplace is somewhere else then try and allow home to be home. So many of us don’t switch off when we leave the office and bring the stress, paperwork and agro into our homes. Again, try to organize your day better so that when you leave your place of work, it’s finished with until the following day. More on this point in a moment

 Sleep: Are you getting enough? Is it good quality sleep? This really is essential – if you have to take a pill or drink alcohol to get to sleep, address this issue. Get to the bottom of why it’s difficult for you to drop off. Artificially induced sleep isn’t healthy, especially on

Autumn/Winter 2013

Moderation is the key. Your body can handle a certain amount of stress in the form of ‘bad’ food products – it probably thrives on the odd challenge. On the whole though, try and maintain a balance. Take a look in your cupboards and fridge: What’s in there? Be honest – could your diet use some improvement? Food diaries aren’t just for those who wish to lose weight – try writing down what you eat and drink for a week and have a look at overall intake and patterns, looking for areas that could be improved upon. Most of our clients are already aware of these areas – facing up to them and changing the bad habits is the hard part!

Clutter “A cluttered space equals a cluttered mind” is the ancient Chinese saying which will resonate with many of you. How good does it feel to have a decent clear-out? If you take on the task to rid yourself of clothes you don’t need, for example, and systematically work your way through your wardrobe and drawers, you will find that it has the effect of clearing your mind. You feel a sense of accomplishment and sense of lightness.

Barefoot Running Magazine


Individuals heading along a path to heightened spirituality will often include a ‘de-clutter’ session, or sessions, to help them achieve better clarity and feel more centred. In this material world, it’s easy to become obsessed with possessions but ultimately, this clogs up the mind and spirit. Earlier I mentioned organizing your day so that your home can actually be your home, rather than an extension of your office. If you learn to de-clutter your life on a regular basis, aiming for simplicity in all areas, you’ll find it much easier to function efficiently. This allows more time for play – and for running! This article is really just to remind you that little changes made together can make a big difference. Take a holistic approach to your life and look at yourself from an outside perspective every so often to see if there are any changes you need to make for optimum health and well-being.

B

Running and Biomechanics Specialists Workshops and individual tuition to help improve running performance and reduce injury. Visit the website or contact us for more details. www.barefootrunninguk.com info@barefootrunninguk.com 0845 226 7302 aa rfrfe tooR tRt utuRRnn uunn nniin n nn g M a aaaa a ggzg zaa zn eeeWA uutu te m 2 0rn12222 00/0 11113333 PPPP aa aagg gg eeee82 79 P a g e 8 7 A u t u m n 2 0 1 3 BBaaBBrrB eea o e roefo foo fto o R u nnnnig ig in M gM ga MM gg iia n zize ienn in SiAn A u m tuturm u m m enn 371 731 August 2011 Volume 1 Issue 2 Page 87


Picture from the past

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Exercise and Movement Therapy is about re-educating your body to move as it was designed to move. It’s about releasing your body from restrictions that result from past injuries, emotional issues, tension and stress. Imagine how a dancer moves; with elegance, grace and control. Using physical exercises, visualization and breathing techniques, Exercise and Movement Therapy teaches you to move naturally, with more agility, balance and coordination. We use variations of this technique with all of our clients – everyone benefits, whether they are sports people, people in pain or those who just generally would like to feel better. Rather than traditional “gym” training where movements are very one dimensional, we teach you more natural, spiralling movements, often put together into sequences to encourage whole body, multi-directional movement patterns, similar to how you move through your daily life.

Website: www.trbalance.com

tel: 0845 226 7303

Barefoot Running Magazine

email: info@trbalance.com

Winter 2012/13

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How to

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t’s a rare runner today who has not embraced low-impact crosstraining - or been thinking about doing a triathlon. Swimming is a popular choice for the first, and an absolute requirement for the second. But, unless you did a fair bit of swimming in your youth, that first lap can be quite discouraging. Finding it a struggle to swim as little as 25 metres leaves many doubting whether they could ever swim far enough to maintain fitness or view a 1.5k open water swim as an almost impossible dream. Don’t lose hope: If you run even as little as a mile, you have the aerobic fitness to swim 400 metres continuously - the swim distance in many sprint triathlons. What you lack isn’t fitness, but efficiency. While evidence suggests that we’ve been left almost ideally suited by evolution to running long distances, the opposite is true of swimming.

‘Energy-Wasting Machines’ In 2005, engineers from DARPA (research arm of the U.S. Defense Dept.) compared dolphins and human swimmers while designing a swim foil for the Navy Seals. They found that while dolphins convert 80 percent of energy into forward motion, their human subjects (neither trained swimmers nor novices) converted only 3 percent. In other words, as swimmers, we’re energy-wasting machines! Which means the following: While running more miles almost always

leads to running better, swimming more miles almost never does. The most likely effect is simply to make your ‘struggling skills’ more permanent!

We respond to the sinking sensation with churning survival strokes. These exhaust us quickly and make the long, smooth strokes optimal for longer distances impossible.

We don’t need to get fitter to swim that first mile. We need to learn to swim a single lap effortlessly, then build on that - one relaxed and graceful lap at a time.

The human body - being heavier than water - is supposed to sink. We reach true equilibrium with 95 percent of our body mass below the surface. So we achieve balance by cooperating with (instead of fighting) gravity.

Terrestrial vs. Aquatic Technique We swim so wastefully because swimming is an aquatic skill, while humans are terrestrial mammals and swim as such - four limbs churning to avoid sinking and head high to avoid choking. Fish and aquatic mammals show us a better way. Over the past 25 years, Total Immersion (TI) has transformed 500,000 former strugglers into skilled and satisfied swimmers by teaching what we call Aquatic Technique. TI technique is based on a series of skills taught in a particular order to all students and in all strokes - from Balance and Stability, to Streamline, then to Propulsion skills as the final step. Here’s a brief summary of what each will do for your swimming.

The Right Skills in the Right Order Skill#1 Balance and Stability: Take control of your body (and mind) Fear of sinking is one of our two most significant challenges to swimming well. (Fear of choking is the other.)

Barefoot Running Magazine

Experiencing the effortless support of balance brings a sense of physical comfort, control over your body, and mental calm. All are essential to learning every skill that follows. For this reason - and because balance skills are simplest to learn and dramatically reduce energy waste - new swimmers should always focus on balance first.

Skill #2 Streamline: Take the path of least resistance When you consider that water is 880 times denser than air, you wonder why triathletes obsess about reducing drag on a bicycle while stirring up a perfect storm of it in the pool. There are two forms of drag (actually three, but one - friction drag - can’t be affected by technique changes) and thus two ways to streamline. In Passive Streamline, you strive to reshape your ‘vessel’ (as TI’ers sometimes refer to a swimmer’s body) to be long, sleek, and tapered at the leading edge. Think of bullet trains

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1.

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)

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and barracuda. You need to form a shape like that each time you reach full extension in your stroke. This reduces Form Drag. In Active Streamline, you strive to eliminate wavemaking, bubbles, splash, and noise while stroking. All of these are evidence of your energy being diverted into moving the water around. This reduces Wave Drag. Doing both as you stroke is far more critical to your success than pushing water back.

Skill#3: Propulsion: Work with the water, not against it You’ll propel with maximum effectiveness if you: 1. Swim with your body - not your arms and legs. Rely more on body rotation and core power than exertions of your arm and leg muscles. 2. Align yourself with natural forces produced by the interaction of your body mass with gravity and buoyancy - as much as possible while minimizing reliance on muscular forces you generate. 3. With your armstrokes, focus on moving your body forward - not moving the water back. As you begin a personal improvement project focused on swimming longer

distances with ease and enjoyment, keep in mind that Balance and Stability are non-negotiable pre-requisites to being able to learn both Streamline and Propulsion skills of aquatic technique.

Swimming Mastery Starts Here Since balance is the foundation, here’s a practice designed to teach its most critical element. 1. Hang Your Head Completely release the weight of your head while swimming. It should literally feel as if it’s hanging between your shoulders as you swim. One simple way to practice is with short (5-6m) reps of a drill we call Superman Glide. Push off the wall or bottom and glide with arms extended on shoulderwidth ‘tracks.’ Hands should be completely relaxed - fingers loosely separated and dangling. Do 4 to 8 such reps, then do several reps as follows: Glide as described for a couple of seconds, then begin stroking easily. Swim only 4 to 5 strokes. Compare the weightless sensation of your head while gliding with how it feels as you stroke. Keep repeats short until gliding and stroking feel the same. Then build - a few strokes at a time - toward swimming 25 meters.

Barefoot Running Magazine

2. Float Your Arms Forward In Superman Glide, shift focus to awareness of your arms’ position in glide. Proceeding as above, swim short reps (4-5 stokes) feeling your arms float forward feeling weightless, unhurried and fully extending your bodyline on each stroke. (Swim tall.) Build incrementally toward 25m repeats as above. 3. Calm Your Legs In distance swimming, Job One for your legs is to draft behind your upper torso. In Superman Glide, focus on a feeling of long, streamlined legs. (No kicking as you glide; simply let your legs sink as you lose momentum, then stand to push off again.) After 4 to 8 reps with this focus, add a few easy strokes on which you allow your legs to just follow your body, rather than churning. Besides skills and ease, your first TI practices should instill an inclination to mindful swimming. I’ve suggested a clear, concrete focus for each component of balance. Use these repeats to hone quality of focus just as much as quality of movement. From now on, every stroke you take should have a clear purpose and calm focus. Happy laps!

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Write back at you Feedback on feedback! By the Barefoot Running Magazine team

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nbelievably, this is our tenth issue of Barefoot Running Magazine. With this in mind, we thought we should write something for this ‘Write back at you’ section in response to the thoughts and comments we’ve received over the last three years and how they’ve helped to mould and shape the magazine and our own barefoot running practice. Barefoot running, in our minds, is an all inclusive activity, rather than an exclusive one. Yes, literally, it means running without shoes but the more we interact with other like-minded individuals, the less the running matters and the more it becomes about qualities such as acceptance (of yourself and others), mutual support, trying new things, meeting the challenge of the elements head on and above all, having fun.

be barefoot. In a world where many countries are suffering with an obesity epidemic, it really is important not to discourage exercise. This is one of the reasons we choose to dedicate such a high percentage of content rather than allocate most of the pages to product advertisements. Perhaps each issue contains too much information – this is one of the things we may address as we strive to continue to develop the magazine! Our writers come from a variety of different backgrounds but all are on the same page when it comes to improving the health of the world. Some – if not all – our writers have

something to gain in terms of publicity but they are genuinely keen to offer their help. Hundreds of hours are put into each issue with no financial input and we are hugely grateful to those who contribute, whether it’s through a written article, a letter, a photo or even just some positive words of gratitude – we really appreciate these, all of which make the hard work worth it. Please continue to let us know what you think. Your thoughts are crucial for us to continue to produce a magazine that people want to read. With well over 100,000 readers worldwide, we know that we cannot please everyone but if we can satisfy the majority, we’ll be happy.

There are some barefoot runners/livers who wish to dissociate themselves from “the shoe people”. Some of those people email us, asking why we call ourselves “Barefoot Running Magazine” when we include articles and information regarding shoes. There are also those whose aim it is to produce “barefoot only” races, ensuring that only those without shoes may enter. We’ve really answered the question already. For us – and indeed for many – barefoot running isn’t about the shoes/no shoes debate. Physically, it has morphed into something that addresses the mechanics of running – those running with less cushioning and no raised heel tend to run (after some practice) more efficiently and more lightly than those in heavier, structured shoes. The closer to bare feet you get, the better your form. From a mindful perspective, barefoot running takes on the more spiritual and therapeutic connotations outlined above – connecting with the earth can be very healing on an emotional level. Our aim with the magazine (which began as a ten page newsletter!) is to offer something fitness or health related for everyone. Yes, the focus is on running and we include many references to barefoot running, but we wanted to reach a wider audience. The goal is to encourage runners to also think about cross training and nutrition (for example) but also for non-runners to realize that running can be accessible to them; it isn’t just for people who are already fit and you don’t have to

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of emails asking us if we know of barefoot runners in a particular area and we always direct them to the facebook group where they’re bound to find someone. With this in mind, as the group continues to grow and other groups keep sprouting up across the UK, we’ve decided to sponsor a ‘Club Directory’ within Barefoot Running Magazine. This

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

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What’s On

Wednesday 1st

Hardmoors 30

Whitby, UK

www.hardmoors110.org.uk

Wednesday 1st

Brooks New Year's Day 10k

London, UK

www.serpentine.org.uk

Saturday 4th

Salem Lakeshore Frosty Fifty

North Carolina, U.S.A

www.twincitytc.org

Saturday 4th

Brooks HellRunner: Hell down South

Longmoor, Hampshire, UK

www.hellrunner.co.uk

Sunday 5th

BFR UK Group Run

Richmond Park, London, UK

See page 108 for more information

Saturday 11th

Country to Capital 45

Wendover, UK

www.gobeyondultra.co.uk

Saturday 11th

Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge

Epcot®, Walt Disney World®

www.rundisney.com

Saturday 11th

Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Run

California, U.S.A

www.avalon50.com

Saturday 11th

BUPA Great Winter Run

Edinburgh, UK

www.greatrun.org

Sunday 12th

Thanet Mountain Bike Duathlon

Birchington, UK

www.thanetroadrunners.org.uk

Saturday 18-19th HURT 100 Mile Endurance Run

Hawaii, U.S.A

www.hurt100trailrace.com

Sunday 19th

Inskip Derby Arms Half Marathon

Preston, UK

www.northernrunningguide.com

Sunday 26th

Gran Canaria Marathon

Gran Canaria, Spain

www.grancanariamaraton.com

Saturday 1st

Run Eton

Windsor, United Kingdom

www.votwo.co.uk

Saturday 1st

Death Valley Marathon

California, USA

www.envirosports.com

Sunday 2nd

BFR UK Group Run

Clapham Common, UK

See page 108 for more information

Friday 14th

The Ice Ultra

Lapland, Arctic, Sweden

www.beyondtheultimate.co.uk

Saturday 15th

Hog Wild Mud Run

Tampa, Florida. USA

www.hogwildmudrun.com

Saturday 15-16th Clonakilty Back 2 Back Marathon

West County Cork, Ireland

www.clonakiltyback2backmarathons.com

Sunday 16th

Brighton Half Marathon

Brighton, East Sussex

www.brightonhalfmarathon.com

Sunday 16th

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nice du Carnaval

Nice, France

www.runrocknroll.competitor.com

Sunday 16th

Barcelona Half Marathon

Barcelona, Spain

www.barcelona.de

Sunday 23rd

I Survived The Mayhem

Warwickshire, UK

www.pandemoniumrace.co.uk

Sunday 23rd

Land Rover Malta Marathon & ½

Mdina, Malta

www.maltamarathon.com

Sunday 23rd

Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo, Japan

www.tokyo42195.org

Friday 24th

PEAK Snowshoe 100 Mile Race

Vermont, New England, USA

www.peakraces.peak.com

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Barefoot Running Magazine


Saturday 1st

Run Eton

Windsor, United Kingdom

www.votwo.co.uk

Saturday 1st

The Green Man Ultra

Bristol, United Kingdom

www.ultrarunningltd.co.uk

Saturday 1st

Trail de Vulcain - 72 km

Volvic, France

www.trail-de-vulcain.fr

Sunday 2nd

BFR UK Group Run

Maidstone, Kent, UK

See page 108 for more information

Saturday 8th

Run Strong • Run Free workshop

Bacon’s College, London

See page 108 for more information

Sunday 9th

Asics LA Marathon

Los Angeles, USA

www.lamarathon.com

Friday 14th

Sharm El Sheikh Half Marathon

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

www.egyptianmarathon.net

Saturday 15th

Te Houtaewa Challenge 60 km

Far North, New Zealand

www.newzealand-marathon.co.nz

Saturday 15th

Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington DC Marathon

Washington DC, USA

www.runrocknroll.competitor.com

Sunday 16th

Barcelona Marathon

Barcelona, Spain

www.barcelona.de

Saturday 22-23rd

The New Forest Running Festival

Linwood, United Kingdom

www.nakedstrength.co.uk

Sunday 23rd

Maratona della città di Roma

Rome, Italy

www.maratonadiroma.it

Saturday 29th

Ueckermünder Haffmarathon

Ueckermünde, Germany

www.haffmarathon.de

Friday 4-15th

Marathon des Sables

Sahara Desert, Morocco

www.marathondessables.co.uk

Saturday 5th

Run Eton

Windsor, United Kingdom

www.votwo.co.uk

Sunday 6th

BFR UK Group Run

City of London, UK

See page 108 for more information

Sunday 6th

SPAR Great Ireland Run

Dublin, Ireland

www.greatrun.org

Sunday 6th

Brighton Marathon

Brighton, East Sussex, UK

www.brightonmarathon.co.uk

Sunday 6th

Marathon de Paris

Paris, France

www.parismarathon.com

Sunday 13th

Virgin London Marathon

London, United Kingdom

www.virginlondonmarathon.com

Sunday 13th

Hapalua Hawaii's Half Marathon

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

www.thehapalua.com

Monday 21st

Boston Marathon

Boston, Massachusetts

www.baa.org

Monday 21-23rd

Jurassic Coast Challenge

Cornwall, United Kingdom

www.votwo.co.uk

Friday 25th

Annapurna Mandala Trail

Annapurna, Nepal

www.leschevaliersduvent.fr

Saturday 26th

Lost Worlds 50/100K

Tuscany Crossing, Italy

www.lostworldsracing.com

Sunday 27th

Great Manchester Marathon

Manchester, UK

www.greatermanchestermarathon.com

Saturday 3rd

Lost Worlds 50/100K

Causeway Crossing, UK

www.lostworldsracing.com

Saturday 3rd

Malvern Hills 83 Mile Ultra

Holt Heath, UK

www.ultrarunningltd.co.uk

Sunday 4th

International Barefoot Running Day

Brighton, Location TBC

See page 108 for more information

Sunday 4th

Genève Half Marathon for Unicef

Geneva, Switzerland

www.genevemarathon.org

Monday 5th

Belfast City Marathon

Belfast, UK

www.belfastcitymarathon.com

Saturday 17th

Born to Run 50K Trail Run

California, USA

www.marathons.ahotu.com

Saturday 17th

Great Wall Marathon

Jixian Village, China

www.great-wall-marathon.com

Sunday 18th

BUPA Great Manchester Run

Manchester City Centre, UK

www.greatrun.org

Sunday 18th

Copenhagen Marathon

Copenhagen, Denmark

www.sparta.dk

Saturday 24th

The Jungle Marathon

Manu National Park, Peru

www.beyondtheultimate.co.uk

Saturday 24-25th

London 2 Brighton Challenge

Richmond Upon Thames, UK

www.london2brightonchallenge.com

Sunday 25th

Edinburgh Marathon

Edinburgh, UK

www.edinburgh-marathon.com

Monday 26th

London 10,000

London, UK

www.ndcschallenges.org.uk

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Sunday 1st

BFR UK Group Run

Cambridge, King’s Parade

See page 108 for more information

Sunday 1st

Gobi March

Gobi Desert, China

www.4deserts.com

Monday 2nd

Ram Run Wild Run – Midlands

Kenilworth, UK

www.muddyrace.co.uk

Saturday 7th

Spitsbergen Marathon

Longyearbyen, Norway

www.svalbard.net

Saturday 7th

Aspen Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Cusco, Peru

www.andesadventures.com

Sunday 8th

I Survived The Mayhem

Bath, UK

www.pandemoniumrace.co.uk

Sunday 8th

Jättelångt

Grisslehamn, Sweden

www.jattelangt.se

Saturday 14th

Prueba de Gran Fondo por

montaña Ondategi, Spain

www.hiruhaundiak.com

Tuesday 17-24th

Festival of Running

St Helena Island

www.sthelenatourism.com

Thursday 19-29th

Kilimanjaro Trek: Rongai Route

Tanzania, Africa

www.scope.org.uk

Saturday 21st

Picnic Marathon

Box Hill, Mickleham, UK

www.trionium.com

Sunday 22nd

Rock ‘n’ Roll Edinburgh ½ Marathon

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

www.runrocknroll.competitor.com

Monday 23rd

Back 2 the Trenches

Redhill, Surrey, UK

www.muddyrace.co.uk

Sunday 5th

BFR UK Group Run

Richmond Park, London, UK

See page 108 for more information

Monday 7-11th

Northwest Passage Marathon & Ultra

Nunavut, Canada

www.arcticwatch.ca

Saturday 12th

Saffron Trail Ultra

Southend, Essex, UK

www.challenge-running.co.uk

Saturday 12th

The Great Bull Run

Chicago, USA

www.thegreatbullrun.com

Sunday 13th

The Wales Marathon

Tenby, Wales, UK

www.thewalesmarathon.com

Sunday 13th

The British 10K London Run

London, UK

www.thebritish10klondon.co.uk

Sunday 20th

Badwater 135

Death Valley, Ca, USA

www.badwater.com

Sunday 20th

Jane Tomlinson's Leeds 10k

Leeds, UK

www.macmillan.org.uk

Wednesday 23rd

XX Commonwealth Games

Glasgow, UK

www.glasgow2014.com

Thursday 24th

London to Paris Cycle Challenge

Bexley, UK

www.mariecurie.org.uk

Friday 25th

Tilenus Xtreme Ultra Trail

Castrocontrigo, Spain

www.marathons.ahotu.com

Saturday 26-27th

La 6000D

Savoie, France

www.la6000d.com

Saturday 2nd

Round the Rock Ultra

Island of Jersey, UK

www.roundtherock.co.uk

Saturday 2 - 3rd

Tough Mudder (Yorkshire)

Skipton, Yorkshire, UK

www.toughmudder.co.uk

Sunday 3rd

BFR UK Group Run

Brighton, Surrey, UK

See page 108 for more information

Tuesday 12-17th

Transrockies Run

Buena Vista, Colorado

www.transrockies-run.com

Thursday 14-16th

Swiss Irontrail

Graubünden, Switzerland

www.irontrail.ch

Saturday 16th

Leadville Trail 100 Run

Colorado, USA

www.leadvilleraceseries.com

Sunday 17th

I Survived The Mayhem

Warwickshire, UK

www.pandemoniumrace.co.uk

Saturday 23rd

Reykjavik Marathon

Reykjavik, Iceland

www.marathon.is

Saturday 23-24th

Isle of Wight Challenge

West Cowes, Isle of Wight

www.isleofwightchallenge.com

Saturday 30-31st

Chiltern Way Ultra 200k / 100k

Hemel Hempsted, UK

www.challenge-running.co.uk

Sunday 31st

Racing The Planet

Iceland, TBC

www.4deserts.com

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Autumn/Winter 2013

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Saturday 6th

O2 Prague Grand Prix

Old Town Square, Prague

www.praguemarathon.com

Sunday 7th

BFR UK Group Run

City of London, UK

See page 108 for more information

Sunday 7th

BUPA Great North Run

Gateshead, Newcastle

www.greatrun.org

Sunday 7th

KamiKaze. The Banzai Challenge

Mapperton, Dorset

www.votwo.co.uk

Saturday 13-14th Thames Path Challenge (100k)

Putney Bridge, London

www.thamespathchallenge.com

Saturday 13-14th Tough Mudder (North West)

Cheshire, UK

www.toughmudder.co.uk

Sunday 14th

London Duathlon Richmond Park,

London, UK

www.londonduathlon.com

Sunday 14th

Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference

Edinburgh, UK

TheScottishBarefootRun

Saturday 27th

Run Strong • Run Free workshop

Bath, Location TBC

See page 108 for more information

Sunday 28th

Rock ‘n’ Roll de Montréal Marathon

Montreal, Canada

www.ca.competitor.com/montreal

Sunday 28th

Baxters Loch Ness Marathon

Loch Ness, Scotland

www.lochnessmarathon.com

Sunday 28th

BUPA Great Yorkshire Run

Sheffield City Centre

www.greatrun.org

Sunday 28th

BMW Berlin Marathon

Berlin, Germany

www.bmw-berlin-marathon.com

Thursday 2-11th

UVU Jungle Marathon

Para, Brazil

www.junglemarathon.com

Saturday 4-5th

Tough Mudder (Dublin)

Kildare, Ireland

www.toughmudder.co.uk

Sunday 5th

BFR UK Group Run

Richmond Park, London, UK

See page 108 for more information

Sunday 5th

MBNA Chester Marathon

City of Chester

www.chestermarathon.co.uk

Sunday 5th

Royal Parks Half Marathon

Hyde Park, London

www.royalparkshalf.com

Sunday 5th

Atacama Crossing

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

www.4deserts.com

Saturday 11th

Reebok Spartan Beast

Pippingford, East Sussex

www.spartanrace.com

Saturday 25-26th Tough Mudder (London South)

Winchester, Hampshire, UK

www.toughmudder.co.uk

Sunday 26th

Steeplechase

Norfolk, UK

www.muckyraces.co.uk

Sunday 26th

BUPA Great South Run

Southsea, Portsmouth, UK

www.greatrun.org

Monday 27th

Dublin Marathon

Dublin, Ireland

www.dublinmarathon.ie

TBC

Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run

Glasgow, Lanarkshire

www.runglasgow.org

Saturday 1-2nd

Winter Wolf

Leicestershire, UK

www.thewolfrun.com

Sunday 2nd

Chocoholic Frolic - Fall

Saint Paul, MN USA

www.finalstretch.com

Sunday 2nd

ING New York Marathon

New York, USA

www.ingnycmarathon.org

Saturday 8th

Manaslu Mountain Trail Race

Kathmandu, Nepal

www.manaslutrailrace.org

Sunday 17-24th

Antarctic Ice Marathon

Ellsworth Mountains

www.icemarathon.com

Sunday 23rd

Conwy Half Marathon

Conwy Quayside, Wales

www.runwales.com

Sunday 23rd

Cyprus Aphrodite Half Marathon

Paphos, Cyprus

www.sporteventscyprus.com

Sunday 23rd

Great Ethiopian Run

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

www.greatrun.org

Sunday 30th

Grim Challenge (2 Day)

Aldershot, Hampshire

www.grimchallenge.co.uk

TBC

24 Ore Del Sol

Palermo, Sicily

www.asdmol.it

TBC

The Running Show

Sandown Park, Esther, UK

www.tcrshows.com

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Autumn/Winter 2013

Page 101


News from the sporting arena

his year’s Wimbledon winner, Andy Murray, has won the 2013 Sports Personality of the Year Award (SPOTY). As usual, there were some incredible athletes on the nominee list, including the amazing runner and Olympic gold medallist, Mo Farah, top class 400m runner Christine Ohuruogu and paralympian wheelchair sprinter Hannah Cockroft. Murray wasn’t able to accept his award in person as he is currently in Miami, slowly returning to tennis practice after back surgery in September.

On track

Despite some people questioning the ‘personality’ element of the award, Murray has a huge following and has a true passion and commitment for his sport. The overseas award went to Formula 1 4th time champion, Sebastien Vettel, who said that the award was, “very special” and was overwhelmed by the fantastic year that he’s had. Well done to both! Clockwise from top left: Sailor Ben Ainslie, England batsman Ian Bell, wheelchair sprinter Hannah Cockroft, Middle distance runner Mo Farah, cyclist Chris Froome, golfer Justin Rose, 400m sprinter Christine Ohuruogu , tennis player Andy Murray, jockey AP McCoy and rugby union player Leigh Halfpenny.

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Barefoot Running Magazine


News from the sporting arena

unday November 3rd saw the 43rd New York City marathon taking place, after its cancellation last year due to “Superstorm Sandy”. At the beginning of the event, with well over 50,000 lining up at the start, race director Mary Wittenburg paid tribute to those who had lost their lives or been affected by “Sandy”, as well as the events earlier on in the year at the Boston marathon.

On track

The race field was the usual mix of recreational and elite athletes. The women’s race was won by Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) with her much-debated unique running style, in a very respectable time of 2:25:07. Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) ran well to defend his title, winning the men’s race in 2:08:24. The men’s wheelchair race went down to the wire, with Marcel Hug (Switzerland) pipping his rival to the post with less than a second’s advantage. Women’s wheelchair race winner was the unstoppable Tatyana McFadden (USA) who had already won the Boston, Chicago and London marathons earlier this year. There was no doubt that runners and spectators alike were glad to welcome back this very friendly and popular race.

Olympic Gold medallist, Michael Johnson, has spoken out regarding drugs in athletics, saying it’s unrealistic to expect the sport to ever be drug-free

Barefoot Running Magazine

Spanish racing driver, Maria de Villota, has sadly died due to injuries sustained in an accident last year. Our sympathies go out to her friends and family

Autumn/Winter 2013

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The health risks associated with these artificial fats have been known for some time but although consumption has reduced, it remains a problem. A regulator has suggested that the ban could reduce the number of deaths in the US by 7,000 per year and the number of heart attacks by 20,000. Trans fats are created when Hydrogen is added to vegetable oil, making it solid. They are used to enhance the taste of certain foods as well as prolong the shelf life. They are typically found in processed foods, frozen pizzas, microwave popcorn, cakes, pies, etc. A 60 day plan has begun with the aim of gradually phasing out the use of these harmful fats; they are already banned in New York City and several other US states.

International news

The latest international news

he US government is making moves to ban the use of trans fats in food.

ollowing the publicity surrounding the attempts by New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, to put taxes on ‘unhealthy food’, Mexico City is now proposing a 5 % tax increase on sugary, fatty foods and soft drinks. Obesity is an increasing problem in Mexico, with 70% of adults and one third of children either overweight or obese. However, there are many who do not believe that introducing “sin taxes” is the answer and that it’s wrong for politicians to govern what people should and should not eat. Interestingly, it has been suggested that the taxes might kill two birds with one stone; it can be seen as tackling obesity but may also allow lighter taxes on Pemex, the country’s national oil company, which will lead the way towards increasing the revenue from the oil industry that provides more than a third of Mexico’s public treasury.

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Autumn/Winter 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine


The silicone gel that was used in the implants that reached 65 different countries was sub-standard, resulting in many women suffering ruptures and potential health implications. Mas has been sentenced to four years in prison and given a 75,000 Euro (£63,000) fine. He admitted guilt but is appealing the decision. The women who have been affected do not think that four years and a fine are ample punishment. Although there have been no long term risks discovered due to the silicone leaking into the body from faulty implants, it is still very much a concern and Mas faces separate charges of manslaughter.

International news

enry Lowe, a Jamaican researcher who specializes in studying medicinal uses for plants, has created a new company to develop more medicinal products using the marijuana plant. He has named the company “Medicanja” and has the backing of several Jamaican politicians, including the Health Minister, Fenton Ferguson. The new company will not violate any national laws. Jamaican citizens have been using marijuana for medicinal and spiritual purposes for years and it already forms the basis for certain medicines, including “Canasol” which is used to help relieve pressure in the eyes of glaucoma sufferers. There are frequent calls for the drug to be decriminalized but whilst many politicians would back this action, other people in positions of prominence (such as some church leaders and lawmakers) believe that the negative effects of the plant outweigh any benefits.

Dementia is being described as “a global disaster waiting to happen” with an expected worldwide increase in sufferers from today’s million to135 million by 2050

Barefoot Running Magazine

The latest international news

ne of the biggest trials in French history took place recently. Under scrutiny was Frenchman Jean-Claude Mas, accused of fraud in relation to the substantial number of faulty breast implants that his company has distributed.

The oldest woman to run the New York City marathon this year, 86 year old Joy Johnson, passed away the following day but her family are pleased she left the world doing something she loved

Autumn/Winter 2013

Page 105


Barefoot Running UK The latest from Barefoot Running UK

avid and I have been involved in a new dance-based project, created by dancer, lecturer, choreographer and founder of Scope Dance Theatre, Nefeli Tsiouti. After several meetings and brainstorming sessions, the first “Prevention for Injuries” workshop took place in October, specifically geared towards street dancers. The vision for the project is to encourage dancers to prevent injuries by learning more about their bodies and how to safeguard against typical injuries that can occur through break dancing. The project is set to receive funding from various organizations so that dancers can make use of the resources for free. David and I thoroughly enjoy working with dancers – they work incredibly hard and are vigilant with their movement/rehab programmes. We are proud to be part of such a project which also gives us more insight into human movement as we continue to develop our own system geared towards enhancing performance and reducing injury.

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Autumn/Winter 2013

Nefeli Tsiouti

Barefoot Running Magazine


few weeks ago we were contacted by BBC Radio, asking if we’d like to take part in a radio programme for a regular BBC Radio series called “The Why Factor”. The series explores why humans do the things they do and the production team were working on a particular programme which explores the reasons why human beings run. The researchers had been contacting lots of different runners and even been all the way to Kenya to look at how running features in their everyday lives. The team wanted some views on running from some pure barefoot runners, so we went along to meet them, along with Tracy Davenport of Barefoot Britain. As is usually the case with any media work, the presenter and producer were stretched for time so after meeting at Great Portland Street Underground Station, we rushed over to Regent’s Park to get started. It was a beautiful, sunny day with a definite chill in the air but the boss, who had an injury that was keeping him from running, was happy to

Barefoot Running Magazine

take his shoes off and give barefoot running a try. We only had a few minutes with him but were able to identify some issues that might be contributing to the problem and he was surprised at how comfortable his feet felt in direct contact with the cold – and slightly rough! – concrete. He rushed off, just as Tracy called to say she’d arrived and she met us with the producer and presenter to run through some facts and feelings about barefoot running and minimalist footwear. Both the producer and presenter took their shoes off; the presenter was a keen walker but not a runner and his feet weren’t happy for very long in the cold! We discussed barefoot running and running in general, covering subjects such as economic reasons for doing it as well as the more mindful, spiritual benefits. We’re not entirely sure if the presenter was convinced but we did our best and look forward to hearing the final cut, which will air on the BBC World Service on 3rd January (www.bbc.co.uk).

Autumn/Winter 2013

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January 2014

June 2014

Sunday 5th

Sunday 1st

BFR UK Group Run

BFR UK Group Run

11.00 am West London - Richmond Park Priory Lane Entrance Car Park

11.00 am Cambridge - King’s Parade

February 2014

July 2014

Sunday 2nd

Sunday 5th

BFR UK Group Run

BFR UK Group Run

11.00 am Clapham Common , London The Bandstand

11.00 am West London - Richmond Park Priory Lane Entrance Car Park

March 2014 Sunday 2nd

August2014 Sunday 3rd

BFR UK Group Run

BFR UK Group Run

11.00 am Maidstone - Mote Park

11.00 am Brighton, Surrey - East Pier

September 2014 Saturday 8th

Sunday 7th BFR UK Group Run

Run Strong•Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running. A running workshop based on our book with the same title

11.00 am Figure 8 London Run - Tate Modern

Saturday 27th

Bacon’s College - London

Run Strong•Run Free:

April 2014 BFR UK Group Run

An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running.

Sunday 6th A running workshop based on our book with the same title

11.00 am Figure 8 London Run - Tate Modern

BFR UK Group Run Time TBC Brighton - IBRD

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Sunday 5th

11.00 am West London - Richmond Park Priory Lane Entrance Car Park

Autumn/Winter 2013

Any footwear is fine! Please email us prior to a run if you’re planning to attend. info@barefootrunninguk.com

Workshop bookings All the workshops are available for booking online so please visit the website. If you’d like to attend a workshop but can’t make any of the dates, please email us as we’ll be adding more dates and venues according to demand.

Bespoke talks and workshops If you would like to organize your own talk/workshop for your running club, please call or email us to set something up.

UK tel: 0845 226 7302 barefootrunninguk.com Overseas tel:

+44 (0) 208 659 0269

email: website:

October 2014

Sunday 4th BFR UK Group Run

Most club runs are between 5 and 8 miles, around 9 minute per mile pace.

info@barefootrunninguk.com

Bath - Location

May 2014

Group Run

www.barefootrunninguk.com youtube: youtube.com/bfruk facebook: barefootrunninguk/facebook

Barefoot Running Magazine


,

Yelling Performance is a sports coaching consultancy established by Olympian and Commonwealth Games medallist, Liz Yelling and husband Martin Yelling. We offer a range of coaching and consultancy services to individuals, groups, organisations, events, corporate and charities.        

Bespoke personal coaching Corporate team coaching Charity team coaching Writing, presenting and media School 'be inspired' visits After dinner speaking Club coaching workshops Running and triathlon training days for individuals and groups Get in touch and see how we can help you

"Liz Yelling single-handedly took me from being a naive novice jogger to being a confident and capable runner with her patience, understanding, expertise and generally down to earth and practical coaching. To run my first marathon in around eight months with a time of 4.10 is testament to Liz's ability to find the running skills and capabilities in anyone, whatever their level or natural talent. I have since gone on to begin my English Athletics Coaching qualifications and inspire and motivate others to achieve their best through running. Thank you Liz for changing my world!"

info@yellingperformance.com w ww. ye l li ngpe rf orm a nc e. c om Page 114

A u t u m n 2 0 1 3 BBaarreeffoooott RRuunnnniinngg M Maaggaazziinnee A u t u m n 2 0 1 3

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The latest international news

It’s your letters

i Anna,

Just a quick note to say it was a pleasure to meet you and David yesterday at the Running Show in Sandown Park. No doubt you would have connected with a lot of people and I do not expect you to remember me but we had that long chat in the afternoon we must have talked about everything, starting and finishing on the barefoot running topic and in between: children, school, emotional wellbeing, movement etc… Anyway, I just want to say I really enjoyed our conversation and meeting up with like-minded / like-hearted people is always a wonderful experience!

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The lifestyle you, David and Tracy share is something I have been thinking about for a while and wondering if anyone was really experiencing it, so thank you for answering my question!! Today at the BMF running club I was thinking about the transition. It is going to take me a bit of time to get my head ready for it and then the nerve endings on the soles of my feet…but as long as the head is on board I am sure the rest will follow. I even went through my shoes (especially the warm winter ones and boots) wondering what it would be like to live without wearing them!!!

in Winter in the UK could be ok. The concerns about socks, warm shoes, thick insulating soles and pain is just a belief, so here I am on a path to open another part of my brain which was locked tightly! I will be in touch I am sure and will brave Clapham Common barefoot with you guys sometime in the near future.

Amazing all those pre-conceived ideas and beliefs. It is my job to uncover them with the people I work with but it had never occurred to me that walking/ running barefoot on the road

Autumn/Winter 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Mathilde (London)


Just been reading your Barefoot Running Magazine. It’s a great read but my favourite article is the one on balancing exercises and core stability [Issue 9 Summer 2013]. It just about summarizes things very nicely!

I am not niggle free but I am way better than I was and I have a much better feel of what is causing the niggles, i.e. what I am doing with my posture. Having said that, I often think it is best not to focus on what one is doing wrong, but on doing things right… works for me! Oh yes, I am not barefoot, just minimalist. My current favourites are Luna Venados… do I have more money than sense?! Hope all is well with both of you. All the best Anne (Liverpool)

I disagree that it is easier to modify Pilates for beginners - I teach people of all ages, including people who consider themselves hopeless cases (i.e. they feel very stiff, are older/have mobility issues, have injuries....etc.,). Yoga is for everyone and a good teacher can make it accessible to everyone. Meditation is a great thing but you do not have to do it as part of yoga. For some people the act of yoga is their meditation. Whilst I meditate every day, I do not expect nor demand that my students do so! Because there are so many myths surrounding yoga, I felt that I needed to speak up on these issues. Kind regards, Claire (via email)

I was reading Barefoot Running (Summer Issue 2013) this morning and was very disappointed to read some of your descriptions of yoga.

As a Pilates teacher, I know that the original method has already been greatly modified to increase its suitability for all levels, so in a way it has a ‘head start’. I agree that a good teacher of any discipline can (and should) be able to offer something to everyone. My main aim was to encourage people to try both Pilates and yoga and I don’t think, having asked a few of our readers, that any were put off yoga by what I had written. In fact, in our next issue, there will be an article about a yoga challenge I did over the summer which I found hugely beneficial, both mentally and physically. The article includes some of those myths/sterotypes that perhaps you find frustrating and hopefully dispels them, along with encouraging people to try yoga. We always welcome feedback so thank you again for your email - I hope that you were able to find something in the magazine that you did enjoy! All the best Anna

Hi Claire Hi Anna,

I don’t think I said that you “have to be vegetarian or vegan” – only that many yoga practitioners choose that path. Regarding meditation, as you say, it can come in many forms. I know plenty of people (including myself!) who find running a meditative process. I do think that meditation in some form or other is a fundamental aspect of yoga but does not need to be something rigid and can be approached in a personal way.

Thank you for your comments and my apologies for not to getting back to you sooner. I think you are referring to the “Q & A” section in the mag. I was asked

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It’s your letters

Things going great with me. I had another Vivobarefoot lesson with James Anelay of Bornbarefoot. He has just finished his training. That, along with the nuggets of information from your book about running posture, have got me going. Also…I finally worked out how to work my TVA [ Transversus abdominis]! After 5 years of Pilates! Yay! I constantly refer to your book and keep going back to the exercises you showed me. I am still weaker on the right side but getting better and I now have a much better idea of how to do them with good posture and that helps a lot!

Pranayama (breathwork) in yoga is not just concerned with the abdomen. When you practice Pranayama it helps you to become more aware of where the breath can move within the body; it opens the whole of the body, especially the muscles associated with breathing; it deepens the breath and facilitates better breathing dynamics; these are just some of the things that it does! Abdominal breathing is a deeply relaxing type of Pranayama, whereas Ujjayi Breathing uses the full capacity of the torso and its associated bones and muscles.

about the differences between Pilates and yoga by a client of mine who wanted just a summarized, general response which is what I gave in the magazine. There is probably scope for a whole magazine dedicated to a discussion about the similarities and differences between the two disciplines but as space was limited, my aim was to offer what I feel are the most pertinent aspects of both.

The latest international news

Hi

Some people who practice yoga are vegetarians or vegans - their reasons for choosing to forgo certain types of food are often very diverse. But many people, including myself, are Omnitarians, who simply practice mindful eating. The whole 'you have to be vegetarian/vegan to do yoga’ is a misnomer and it discourages people from starting a yoga practice.


The society pages What’s happening within the Barefoot Runners Society

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topic that always crops up on barefoot running forums at this time of year is: What to wear when the weather gets too cold for barefooting. There is usually much discussion about people’s preferred footwear, but for some runners the conversation takes a different turn. Instead of advice about different shoes, there is a growing group of barefoot runners who chat about how to deal with the conditions whilst continuing to run without shoes. This same group also have a little competition going – with a continuing safety theme and much helpful advice, they also track their running mileage and weather conditions to compete for the coldest, longest barefoot run! The challenge has been growing in popularity since it was first created in 2010 and last year saw forty-six BRS members from eight different countries taking part.

the “Barefoot Winter Challenge”:

Here’s what founder, Rod Begg, had to say about barefoot running in colder weather and the details of

The Challenge started in 2010. The same year I started barefoot running. I live in Ottawa, Canada (one of the

coldest capital cities in the world). I started barefoot in June of that year and had progressed well up to October - then it snowed. I sat at my computer reading posts from runners on Barefoot Runners Society. “Florida - I did 10k today” or “California - I ran five miles today”. I was thinking how do I keep my feet conditioned so that I’m ready to go in Spring. Oh and Spring was five months away. A very common thread on BRS was asking “What do you wear for winter running?” I came across Rick Roeber’s winter running blog (barefootrunner.org/winter/winter.htm), in which he talked about some of his own experiences and lessons learned. I thought, what should I wear on my feet? Why not just go barefoot? I posted a Crazy Canuck Challenge which morphed into the Barefoot Winter Challenge. The Challenge has pretty simple rules. Your run must be barefoot and below 5°C (41°F). Participants can include wind chill factor. A run must be a minimum of ½ km (0.3 miles). Runs are then broken down into 5° temperature ranges. I created a Google spreadsheet for participants to track their runs. (www.docs.google.com/spreadsheet /ccc?key=0Atdzmo_MEqTKdHlWb3 Vza0FORWJOYURvRGR0UWc1SFE &usp=sharing#gid=58). We have runners from North America and Europe. Strangely, we never had someone from England (kittyK was a transplanted English runner extraordinaire – but we adopted her as Canadian). We track total distance, number of runs, and coldest run. This introduces the element of competition.

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Our current record holders are Rick Whitelaw with 565 km (351 miles) and Bob Nicol at -33°C (-27°F). We post questions, advice, and photos. We rib each other and encourage new participants. The greatest concern is safety. Be selective of the days/conditions you choose to run. Acclimate slowly, and treat running barefoot in winter like a new sport. The ideal condition is a sunny day with dry asphalt roads. The running surface temperature can be 5-10°C warmer than the air temperature. Be aware that water is a better conductor than air. Your feet will cool down quicker in wet conditions. The true enemy is not the cold but rather the salt used to de-ice roadways. Not only is salt the new gravel, but salt is a meat tenderizer and as such burns skin. I run in a gravel bucket, to maintain conditioning, when the weather is not suitable.

Barefoot running is about the journey and not the finish line. Run bare and feel the different textures snow can offer. The biggest difference I have experienced is that in summer people stop and chat with me asking questions, in the winter they don’t even make eye contact for fear that I’ve escaped from some institution. Barefoot YOW Rod Begg – Ottawa Canada

http://thebarefootrunners.org/threads/winter -barefoot-running-challenge-by-barefootingbob-with-credits-to-smelph-running-barefootand.5649/#post-56193 http://thebarefootrunners.org/threads/howwas-your-barefoot-running-thiswinter.6445/#post-62979 http://thebarefootrunners.org/threads/brs2012-2013-winter-challenge.13729/#post126469

The true intent of the Challenge is to encourage people to extend their barefoot running experience. By venturing out in snow or freezing conditions, they will discover how amazing the human body is. For myself, I find that my feet begin to sweat after 3km. I can run 18km at 10°C. If my feet are not warming up, it is then time to put on backup footwear (preferably something you can quickly slip on). As Barefooting Bob says “Numb feet are dumb feet”.

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Run Barefoot Girl is a podcast celebrating women who run barefoot - and encouraging more women to join the fun. This podcast is certainly for men as much as it is for women!

www.runbarefootgirl.com Barefoot Running Magazine

Autumn/Winter 2013

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ots of people turn to heart rate monitoring for a variety of reasons, but many don’t make the most of their new training aid, whether they are beginner or advanced. There are a huge variety of Heart Rate Monitors (HRM’s) out there and having a clear idea of how you want to use it will help you in making the best purchase. You can get entry level watches at around the £40 mark, right up to the all singing, all dancing models for multi sports with HRM and GPS function at £400 and above. If you are not fussed about the watch, you can get a strap on its own to communicate with CV machines in the gym or with your smartphone via various apps. So why do people buy these things? Some do it to feel safe (checking that they don’t stray too high), some do it to track exercise and calories for weight loss purposes, and then

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some do it for fine tuning performance training. First things first. If you are dipping your toe into the water and you’re not sure whether you will be bothered with monitoring in the long term, take the common sense approach and go cheap. This used to mean you’d be saddled with a cheap, plasticy watch and an uncomfortable chest strap, but suffer no more! The lower end products are now pretty style savvy, and all but the most basic have more comfortable fabric straps with a clip on transmitter. If you are the proud owner of a smartphone, then you can just purchase a Bluetooth HRM strap to send the data to an app on your phone and this really is the best option for almost all smartphone users, unless you’re at a competitive level. The way the data is presented

Autumn/Winter 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine


in apps on your phone is light years ahead of any of the watches at any price bracket. Couple that with the fact that you can use your phone’s GPS and you are saving yourself a small fortune compared to the integrated HRM & GPS watches on the market. The caveat with competitive athletes is purely with regards to weight and bulk, rather than function or data quality. As a sport scientist I have been brought up on Polar products. For HRM’s they were seen as the gold standard and market leader and, as such, it’s these products I have most experience of and these that I have chosen to stock in my store. Nowadays there are several good quality players in the market, and brand loyalty plays a major part in people’s buying choice. People sit in camps much like Canon and Nikon users in photography, or iPhone and Android users in mobiles.

Got An HRM, Now What To Do With It? So, presuming you have set your new gadget up correctly, you are now ready to collect your heart rate (HR) data (maybe/hopefully speed and distance data too). You’ve seen what your heart does during a run, what do you do now? What do those numbers mean? One of the questions I’m most often asked if I’ve monitored a client’s HR is: “What should it be?”, so that’s where we’ll start. Presuming you’re a healthy individual, fit or otherwise, then there is no “should be”. It will be of no surprise to you that when you are more active your HR goes up and when you’re not, it comes back down again. But by how much, from what starting point, and to what maximum is hugely variable from person to person. This is dependent in part to genetics, in part to fitness, and in part to your ability in the activity you’re doing. Therefore in order to usefully use your HR data to help refine your training and move you closer to your goal, you need to be more clever and precise with how you use it. Many people will have heard that your maximum heart rate (HR max) is 220 minus your age, and that there are fat burning and cardio zones. Unfortunately it’s emblazoned on

every bit of cardio kit in every gym! However the truth is that it’s not even close to being helpful. For a start, your maximum heart rate could vary wildly from the 220 minus age estimate and it’s of very little relevance to your training anyway. Knowing what heart rate you can sustain and what heart rate leads you to having to stop with fatigue is where heart rate training becomes useful. The technical term for the line you cross from sustainable to unsustainable exercise is “lactate threshold” (LT). It is more commonly known in performance training circles than general fitness/weight loss ones, but it is equally relevant to both. This threshold is totally dependent on your level of conditioning. By example, chronically sedentary people can have an LT of below 50% of their HR max, whilst elite triathletes are known to have pushed it as high as 98% of HR max. Now that you come to realize how much LT varies, it’s worth noting that this is what determines the “fat burning” and “cardio” zones you see talked about. Those that are predefined on gym equipment are taken from averages, and are not much use to you. If you use those predefined levels on machines or in watches you are wasting your money, as you could more accurately gauge your training by feel alone. It’s beyond the scope of this column to go into too much, but overleaf there are two take home points I would like to make, that you can implement into your training immediately. I also hope it will spur you on to find out more and become more successful with your HR based training. So, stay safe, work hard, but work efficiently. Don’t waste energy on unproductive exercise. That’s what heart rate monitoring is all about.

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1. Identifying your LT in a given activity is the number one most useful thing you can do with an HRM.  

It allows you to create precise interval training set ups, which is the most efficient way to improve fitness/heighten LT It allows you to confidently gauge how hard you can work aerobically without fatigue cutting short your work out

2. There is no fat burning zone!    

It’s often been said that if you work aerobically you are fat burning and that to go too high you burn sugars In the short term this is true, but every workout has a recovery period and that recovery is an aerobic/fat burning process Therefore the most important element of a workout for weight loss is overall intensity/calorie consumption Furthermore, a more intense workout has a more positive effect on raising your resting metabolism, leading to more energy burned at rest

For almost everyone, especially smartphone users:

For those wanting the basics, with a watch, but with a comfortable strap:

Polar H7 Strap - £64.50 RRP

Polar F4 - £74.50 RRP

For triathletes: Polar RCX5 Multi - £359.50 RRP or RC3 GPS - £249.50 RRP

 Heart rate training by Roy Benson and Declan Connolly

 The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel

 Lore of Running by Timothy Noakes

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Individuals or team relay

100k Ultra 50k Ultra Barefoot Running Magazine

Autumn 2013

Limited spaces at World Heritage sites

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Product Review Testers

121

Minimal review

122

Luna Venado Sandal

Minimal review

126

The North Face Isotherm 1/2 Zip Shirt

Out-of-the-box review

128

Xero Sensori Venture

Out-of-the-box review

132

Sockwa G3

Minimal review

136

Ultimate Direction Jurek Endure

Long-term review

140

Product review index

PaleoBarefoots速 Pronativ

Product of the Year 2013

143

The Nominees

Minimal review results

150

We are an independent magazine and unaffiliated with any particular brand or product. This means that our reviews are honest and unbiased, written by enthusiasts for enthusiasts!

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Name: Ian Hicks Preferred footwear: Barefoot Preferred terrain: Trail Tester initials: IH

Appalling. Not worth unpacking. The box is probably of more use. Very poor. Under performs in every area. Significantly flawed.

Off the pace. Below average in nearly every area. Acceptable. Average in most areas but has its disappointments. Good. Above average in some areas but very average in others. Very Good. Recommended in all areas. Excellent. Highly recommended in all areas. Fantastic. Almost flawless. A must have.

Preferred footwear: Barefoot Preferred terrain: Multi-terrain Tester initials: TMD

Name: Jonathan Mackintosh

Product review testers

Poor. Under performs in nearly all areas. Not recommended.

Name: Tracy Davenport

Preferred footwear: Minimal Preferred terrain: Trail Tester initials: JM

Name: Charlie Sproson Preferred footwear: Minimal Preferred terrain: Multi-terrain Tester initials: CS

Name: Preferred footwear: Preferred terrain: Tester initials:

Name: Preferred footwear: Tester initials:

Barefoot Running Magazine

Autumn/Winter 2013

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h nbbkjbb

Preferred terrain:


Luna Venado Sandal

Minimal review WEIGHT (UK11)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

110.56g / 3.9 oz

7 mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

Vibram Neoprene

N/A

N/A

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

3½ - 13 (inc ½)

35½ - 47½

4 - 13

6 - 15

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Luna Venado Sandal

he Luna Venado (Deer in Spanish) is what Luna dub as their street sandal. After running barefoot and in minimal footwear for a while and then taking a VivoBarefoot Coaching course, I figure the Luna Venado was the sandal I was looking for, for perfect proprioception and feedback from the ground to my feet.

I have run on trails, paths, grass, mountains (valleys and ridges), both steep and flat. A mixture of rock types, one a round of Swirral Edge, Helvellyn and then Striding Edge and even taken in the odd road which is not usual for me and have run around150 miles in them, plus walked for 3 months as general wear.

Styling The Luna Venado is styled as minimally as possible - there really isn't anything to them. They consist

Fit The fit is very easy. There are no uppers, so the only obvious thing to look out for is the sole being long enough. A common problem for most people is to buy shoes and sandals too small, especially for running in. Make sure that your biggest toe (this can be your big toe, or the second for some people), is not hanging over the end of the sandal when your foot is under pressure on the toe/split strap which holds the sandal on. The advice is to have at least 1cm more sole than your longest toe, when the foot is forced forewords in the sandal.

Build quailty The build quality of the Luna Venados is great. I have been running in mine all summer from the start of June and they have survived well. I have also walked in them for a further 3 months prior to that. The outsole has barely worn and the straps are still in perfect nick. There is only a slight issue with the stretch heel panel on the strap. Over time, this has stretched more than I want it to, but Luna have addressed this issue and updated the strap to have no stretch at the back on models like the Ozo which Luna feel are

Barefoot Running Magazine

more applicable to off-road running. The toe strap is possibly the weakest point on a sandal and after me really using these on rock paths and steep terrain - meaning lots of strain for the toe strap - they are still not really showing signs of wear. Just the little disc on the right shoe under the sole is needing a bit of glue to make sure it doesn't suffer too much wear.

Performance The performance is great. The first thing you notice is your foot is free. For me, this is a complete performance boost as the feeling is literally amazing. The grip on hard dry surfaces is fantastic, the Vibram rubber really does its job and the dexterity you acquire due to the 5mm sole is unreal. They really feel like you are running barefoot - albeit with less proprioception - but still more than enough to make you achieve your best form possible. I have tested these on trails, limestone scars, mountain paths and flatter terrain. I found the lack of tread a problem on some surfaces, although this is dealt with by other more suitable models for off-road running. If you get the sandal wet with muddy water (very common on the fells of the Lake District) then your heel is all over the place and the foot is certainly not secure apart from on even surfaces. Once clean water washes the muck out, the MGT (Monkey Grip Technology) on the sole upper comes into play and

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Minimal review

The Luna Sandal concept works well for warm to hot dry weather, especially with the Venado, as there is no tread to the outsole, requiring hard dry ground for good grip. Ideally they are perfect for tarmac and park paths, where the terrain is forgiving in the sense of a constant surface which is not too rough. I live in the Lake District and the mountains are my preferred terrain, so I was looking forward to trying out a completely minimal piece of footwear over very varied terrain. We have had a great summer for it, which has helped immensely.

of a flat soled 5mm footbed, connected to webbing uppers and on the model I have, there is a stretch back on the heel strap, allowing some movement. I will talk about this in the performance.


Luna Venado Sandal

Encourages good form Easy fit Simple styling

Quite pricey Not suitable for trails Straps are a weak point

Styling grips like a… well, monkey I guess! Luna have addressed the grip issue with an accessory strap you can purchase and retro fit to yours if needs be. I also found the stretch bit at the back of the heel strap allowed more movement than I wanted, but you can tighten it enough to give a secure fit.

Minimal review

Barefoot simulation The stimulation achieved by having a 5mm sole is fantastic - you really can feel everything. I hadn't worn the Venado's running for the last few weeks, after autumn rains have set in, but heading out last night for a quick blast I thought I would wear them on a bridal way trail (a big wide open track) for the purpose of having their performance etc., fresh in my mind for this review. The stimulation was vast to start with and because my feet and body were not accustomed to it, I found myself running heavy. I was also keeping pace with my friend who was running in some More Mile Fell Shoes, so he had plenty of cushioning, meaning he could run fast without pain. I hit a couple of rocks in the wrong place and wham, my middle 2 met-heads were in pain. This adjusted my running style over the next couple of miles until I worked out I needed to relax my whole body more. This allowed my feet to literally absorb the ground under them, and over the final bit of track and descent we were moving at a 6 minute mile pace over hardcore track.

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Today my feet are tender, but not wrecked. To be expected over the terrain and lack of wear recently.

Price The price for me is the glitch. Luna Sandals are expensive, whether you buy in the UK or US. At £64 in the UK from www.minimalistrunner.co.uk, they are not cheap…. BUT… Luna Sandals are handmade in the States at Capitol Hill in Seattle, Washington - not in the Far East where much of today’s footwear, clothing and equipment is made. This of course adds to the cost and it is a good way forward. The fact I have had more than 3 months running, plus 3 months intensive use on top of that means one of two things: either I am very light on my feet, or Ted's sandals are well built and last well. I would say it’s a mixture of the two. The price could be less, but I feel happy with the wear and tear so far. They still have another 3 months minimum left in them. That’s nine months for £64, so now they don't sound so expensive after all!

Overall rating Luna Sandals make you check your form and they really help me to remember how to run, after wearing less minimal footwear. After speaking with Joe Warne at the Scottish Barefoot Running Conference last month, I really

Autumn/Winter 2013

Fit Build quality Performance Barefoot simulation Price Overall rating understood why running barefoot or with as minimal footwear as possible is really important for your form, foot strength and general training. I would advocate to all, if you can't run barefoot or are not willing to go that far for whatever reason, then get yourself a pair of Luna Venado's for general wear or running, as this will constantly remind your feet and body how to run light and this, for me, is the key to skilled barefoot running. The less weight applied through the running cycle and the less contact time with the ground means less impact all round for your body and isn't this what we are all trying to attain? Luna Sandals encourage you to improve your form and run as nature intended you to.

Barefoot Running Magazine


Luna Vernado Sandal

Minimal review

Barefoot Running Magazine

Autumn 2013

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The North Face Isotherm 1/2 Zip Shirt

he North Face Isotherm ½ Zip Shirt arrived with me just in time for the drop in temperatures that heralded the end of a brilliant summer and, since that point, it has been in constant rotation, having been worn not just for running but for anything and everything from hiking and biking to general everyday use. The Isotherm, billed as "an innovative hybrid trail running top designed for protection and warmth," is available in both men’s and women’s styles and is definitely worth a look if you are considering what to wear to see you through the Autumn and Winter months. When it comes to the worst of the Autumn/Winter weather, most notably the snow and rain, the Isotherm will be paired up with a breathable waterproof layer to add that additional element of protection. At the time of writing I haven’t yet had the opportunity to test the Isotherm in extreme cold but, from the forecast, it would appear that I will not have to wait too long to be able to do this!

Styling

Minimal review

The Isotherm ½ Zip Shirt comes in Nautical Blue/Estate Blue or TNF Black/Asphalt Grey colour combinations.

Fit The Isotherm offers a really comfortable fit, neither overly large nor overly tight. My standard XL size provided the perfect fit and it was as comfortable sitting at a desk as it was out on the trail. The only potential issue would be with regard to the sleeves which, with their built in mitt protection, are slightly longer than standard sleeves. However, the mitt element can easily be folded up into the sleeve.

Build quality As you would expect from The North Face, the quality of the garment is excellent, well constructed with neatly stitched seams and good attention to detail. Despite repeated washes over the short time that I have had the Isotherm, it shows no sign of degradation at all. The Isotherm uses proprietary fabrics developed by North Face, including FlashDry™, which incorporates microporous particles to improve moisture management and temperature regulation during outdoor activity. FlashDry™, used across a wide number of products in The North Face range, accelerates the removal of moisture from the skin, enabling the user to stay drier and more comfortable for longer. FlashDry™ is permanently embedded in the yarn and won’t

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The North Face Isotherm 1/2 Zip Shirt

Styling Fit Build quality Performance Price Overall rating wash out.

those days when the winter sun heats you up.

Performance The Isotherm ½ Zip is part of The North Face’s Flight Series running collection, athlete tested and competition proven, and, as such, you have high expectations for the garment.

There’s a useful zipped chest pocket that’s perfect for holding a key or a lightweight MP3 player. 360 degree reflectivity is provided as a result of reflective logos and use of reflective trims, with the traditional The North Face logo on the front, and a Flight Series logo on the rear of the garment.

The built in sleeve mitts can be folded up inside the sleeve or simply rolled up around the wrists when not in use. However, chances are you are going to want to make use of the hand protection afforded by these, especially in the chillier temperatures. They are no substitute for gloves in really cold temperatures but are certainly useful on those days when gloves would be overkill and result in overly hot hands.

I was initially quite surprised at the combination of materials on the Isotherm. The shiny core seemed at odds with the wool blend sleeves and FlashDry™ panelling. However, having tested the Isotherm in a variety of scenarios, I can see how well the separate elements work to provide the perfect conditions for running.

The double zip used in the ½ zip neck is one area where the attention to detail is evident. I actually overlooked this feature at first, not appreciating just how useful the double zip could be. It facilitates optimum control over ventilation, enabling full coverage when zipped up, ample ventilation when zipped down, or a combination approach if the bottom zip is used.

RRP £85.00

Zipping up from the bottom permits easy ventilation of the chest area without the need to leave the neck flapping around, a useful feature for

Price

Overall rating The Isotherm ½ Zip Shirt certainly ticks all the boxes if you are looking for a top that offers breathability, wind resistance, temperature regulation and comfort. It’s the quality product that you would expect to come from The North Face and the combination of a wind resistant core and FlashDry™ panelling results in a garment that doesn’t leave you chilling in your

Barefoot Running Magazine

own sweat. The double zip and built in mitts are useful additions to the garment, adding to the overall functionality. Definitely a garment worthy of consideration if you are looking for something to see you through the colder months.

Specifications Features Two-way zip Reflectivity at zip Shaped hem Thumbholes Secure chest pocket Reflective logo Fabric body: 200 g/m2 56% merino wool, 37% polyolefin, 7% polyester knit panel: 76 g/m2 100% polyester woven

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The Isotherm consists of a wind resistant core which blocks the wind and helps to retain heat, with a wool blend on the sleeves and FlashDry™ paneling for ventilation on the sides of the garment, down the back, and under the arms.

The neck of the garment has a cover to prevent the zip from rubbing against your skin.


Xero Sensori Venture

Out-of-the-box review

WEIGHT (UK9)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

5.5 mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

FeelTrue rubber

N/A

N/A

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

4 - 13

37 - 48

5 - 14

6 - 11

153g / 5.4OZ

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Xero Sensori Venture

he Sensori Venture is the latest sandal from Xero Shoes. It is an out-of-the-box ready to wear huarache. It is essentially a 5.5mm contact model with several new features. They include a rubber anchor for the toe mounting strap, which is also counter sunk so it sits flush with the underside of the sole. The new lacing system is fully adjustable via two ladder clasps, one on each side of the heel. These clasps lock the straps in place for a secure fit. There is also a heel cup which is intended to secure the heel in place.

Styling It’s a good looking sandal, with a design that is far more main-stream. The heel cup looks good and there is now a choice of four colours – royal blue, lime green, charcoal and pink, which is a nice addition! For me, it now looks less like a running sandal and more like a casual summer sandal.

Fit

Barefoot simulation A 5.5mm sole is not going to get a good score here. Having a 5.5mm rubber sole between my 200,000 nerve endings and the ground certainly was noticeable over my short test run, with very little feedback coming back from my soles. This may improve when I take them out on a harsh trail run.

My first thoughts are mixed. Style and fit are good. With a new lacing system which is replacing a lacing method that is 1000’s of years old, it remains to be seen if this is progress or just re-inventing the wheel. My first run on tarmac was a little disappointing. Having said this, until I go trail running I must not be too judgemental about them.

Tested by IH

Price

Build quality The first thing I found myself doing when I got them out of the box was pulling at the straps and toe post. These have to be the weak points where, if something is going to break, it will be here. After much pulling they passed my first test with flying colours! The material used for the sole is very strong, so I’m sure the straps should stay secure for a long time.

The price is excellent for the huarache market. At £30, this is half the price of some comparable sandals available out there. Coupled with good build quality, you are getting good value for money. The company also throw in a 5000 mile warranty!

Performance On my first 3 mile run with them on tarmac, I found the slapping noise as they landed very annoying.

Styling Fit Build quality Performance Barefoot simulation Price Overall rating

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Out-of-the-box review

They come ready to wear. So, gone are the days I would sit down to lace my huaraches, getting the fit right before a run (which actually, for me, is part of the fun of owning a pair!). I was able to put them on straight from the box and found the fit okay. I only needed to do minor adjustments to the lacing after a short run to get a good fit. It is possible to trim the sole with a sharp pair of scissors; this will give a closer fit around the foot if needed.

Overall rating

This run was done before any adjustments had been made. Adjustments to the ladder clasps and further runs will see if this problem persists.


    

Parts & servicing Race preparation Modifications Custom builds Expert advice

82High High Street, Street, London, SE20 7HB 82 London, SE20 7HB

www.se20cycles.com www.se20cycles.com

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Sockwa G3

Out-of-the-box review

WEIGHT (UK8)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

1.2 mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

Thermoplastic polyurethane

Fully Synthetic

N/A

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

4 - 13½

37 - 49

5 - 13

6 - 12

76g / 25/8 Oz

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Sockwa G3

he G3 is the wider fit variant in the Sockwa range. It has been designed for minimal/barefoot runners who prefer to have ample room for the toes and forefoot to spread on landing. It is a simple and light-weight shoe more akin to an ankle sock.

Styling It was not love at first sight. They have a European look to me (not a bad thing) but I was surprised to find they were designed in California. They have a simple look to them, much like an ankle sock. They come in a range of colours: red, black, olive, yellow or brown. I choose olive, just my own personal preference.

Fit The fit is better than I had expected. I asked for the G3 which is a wider fitting model, which I need for my toes and forefoot to be comfortable and able to move as they intended. I sent them my exact foot length and was sent the largest size they do, which is a good fit for me.

Build quality

Performance My initial findings over a short run were good. They suited my feet and running style better than I had expected. They are light and comfortable. My main criticism is that my feet over-heated with only 4 miles completed. This was with an outside temperature of only 2C. This will not be a go-to shoe in the summer but perhaps as the weather gets colder the extra warmth will be welcome.

Barefoot simulation It has a 1.2mm sole with a slight tread and also has a zero drop.

With my first run I found barefoot simulation okay but as I prefer bare feet, anything on my soles will cloud my judgement. Having said this, it does have a very thin sole which does provide some feedback.

Price

concern is my feet became over-heated in them and that they will not breathe well. Tested by IH

Styling

They are priced at £41.99 which seems a little steep to me. The Zemgear, a comparable model, is sold at around £30 so I’ll be interested to find out if there’s a reason (such as durability or company structure, for example) for the higher price.

Fit Build quality

Overall rating

Performance

I have mixed feeling about the Sockwas G3. They are very flexible and, with a thin sole, have the makings of a good minimal shoe. The fit is good with ample room for my toes to move. I question the build quality; with seams roughly finished off, this is poor for a £40 shoe. I will be interested to see how durable they are. My main

Barefoot simulation

Barefoot Running Magazine

Price Overall rating

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Out-of-the-box review

As soon as I had opened the parcel I subjected them to a thorough examination. I turned them inside out and found that the seams were not finished well and had been trimmed roughly. The inside edges had areas where the material had been cut to a point. I will be interested to see if these rub and cause blisters over time.


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Sockwa G3

Out-of-the-box review

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Ultimate Direction Jurek Endure

Fit The Jurek Endure is so light and free of movement that it’s possible to forget that you are wearing it. Most waist packs that I have tried in the past have suffered from bounce and/or movement of some form, more often than not leading to chaffing. This is not the case with the Endure. The first time I used the Endure, I adjusted the belt strapping to provide a comfortable but secure fit and I have not had to touch it since. This is largely due to the elasticated holder that serves a dual purpose. It secures any excess strapping, stopping it from flapping about. Further, it ensures that the desired strap positioning is retained. I’ve had packs in the past that have required constant adjustment and it ranks as one of my pet hates, especially when said adjustment has to be done mid race. As such, I think that this is a particularly neat feature.

Minimal review

Another plus point is the left hand side fastening, which ensures that there is no direct pressure on the stomach area, something that helps to avoid digestion issues when running.

Build quality

aist packs are excellent for holding keys, gels and fluids that would otherwise be cumbersome to carry. The latest offering from Ultimate Direction, the Jurek Endure Hydration Belt, is an excellent minimalist waist pack with space for the bare essentials. Anyone at all familiar with the ultramarathon scene should be able to immediately identify the man behind the belt, ultrarunning legend Scott Jurek, and it would appear that Jurek’s vast experience has been well tapped to create a quality product where the attention

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to detail is second to none.

Styling The Jurek Endure hydration belt is available in black or citron. While I actually do like the citron/lime green colour, the pairing of this with aqua blue just doesn’t work for me as far as colour combinations go and, as such, I opted for the far more sedate grey and black offering. I can see, however, that the brighter option is not without merit as it would likely benefit the wearer in terms of increased visibility.

Autumn/Winter 2013

The Jurek Endure is constructed from strong, lightweight, highly breathable Hex Mesh. The mesh does not absorb moisture and, at the end of one particularly sweaty run, I was surprised at just how sweat free the pack was, unlike the soaking wet t-shirt and shorts that I was wearing at the time. The pack also makes use of Silnylon, silicone impregnated for ultra lightweight and durable ‘waterproofness’, and Velvetex, super comfortable and soft edge binding.

Performance Typically, waist packs come with a single 5-600ml bottle or two 5-600ml bottles. The Jurek Endure comes with two 10oz/295ml bottles. The reduced bottle size obviously impacts on the volume of fluid that can be carried, thereby impacting on the distances that the pack can be used for. However, the use of 2 smaller bottles spreads the weight evenly, adding to the stability of

Barefoot Running Magazine


functionality. Further, given that the weather in the UK often necessitates the use of waterproofs, your race number will remain visible. While you might resort to a waterproof jacket on your upper body, covering any number attached to a t-shirt, rarely do you see runners use waterproof trousers.

I’ve already mentioned that the belt strapping provides a perfect fit, secured by the elasticated holder. There’s also one further useful addition, two moveable race clips that permit the attachment of a race number to the belt. If, like me, you hate sticking pins in t-shirts, you will no doubt appreciate this

There's a stretch mesh pocket on the rear - located between the two bottles - that is fastened with a small Velcro strip. As with the bottles, an elastic cord can be used to help secure any items placed in here. There's not a huge amount of space in the pocket but you can, for example, squeeze in a buff

Barefoot Running Magazine

Safety reflectors positioned on the rear of the waist pack serve to increase your visibility to traffic.

Price £34.98

Overall rating The Jurek Endure from Ultimate Direction is my new go-to waist pack for short to medium distance runs and supported long runs where there is no compulsory kit requirement. It’s the perfect pack for those who like to travel light and its limited capacity ensures that you are never going to over pack for your run. Granted there are a couple of minor adjustments that I would like to see to make the Jurek Endure truly perfect. However, it does come close to perfection, especially with regard to the lack of bounce and the fastening mechanism that ensures it stays exactly in place.

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The bottle holders on the Jurek Endure are stiffened at the front, which helps when it comes to retrieving and re-holstering the bottles on the move. An elastic cord helps to ensure that the bottles remain in place. This is fairly easily removed and re-applied as and when required and there is a small plastic clip to assist with this. I did find that the plastic clip isn't always all that easy to grab and, ideally, I would have preferred a larger, cloth based method of pulling the elastic back. This aside, the fastening mechanism works well and I always found the bottles to be secure.

There is a large, moveable side pocket on the right hand side of the Jurek Endure. This well sized pocket is perfect for carrying gels or energy bars and can be worn on the left side if preferred. It's also a good fit for an iPhone 5 but, with the addition of a headphone connection, can be fractionally on the tight side, especially if you are prone to taking your phone in and out for the purposes of taking photographs and/or answering texts and phone calls. If I have one criticism of the pocket, it is that the zip placement, on the top of the pocket, occasionally results in the pocket moving rather than the zip opening, necessitating a two handed approach to retrieve the contents of the pocket.

and a pair of thin gloves at a push. Alternatively, it will hold a few gels and/or energy bars. It's also possible to secure items on top of the pocket, such as a lightweight jacket, using the elastic cord. I am always concerned that anything positioned here disappears without my noticing and, as such, I always try to somehow clip the item onto the pack.

Ultimate Direction Jurek Endure

the pack. Further, the 2 bottle approach opens up fluid options. Typically, I have opted for one bottle for plain water, with the other carrying some form of juice or water with a High 5 tablet added. In terms of volume, I have found the two 295ml bottles to be sufficient for short to medium distances, even on hotter days. However, fluid requirements vary from person to person.


Ultimate Direction Jurek Endure

Minimal review

Tested By: JJM

Specifications “Ounce per ounce, the Jurek Endure belt does more than any other waist pack. Scott wanted twin bottles because they balance the load, and you can use one for water and the other for your sports drink mix. One can quickly stash a windshell, gloves, and even a hat into the stretch mesh pocket and innovative bungee system, and the movable front pocket allows you to whip out a bar gel without breaking stride. Hydration products should be at your finger tips when you need them but they should just provide you with the bare essentials and the Jurek Collection from Ultimate Direction really does that.” Scott Jurek

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Fluid capacity: Comes with 2 * 10 oz. Bottles Weight: 163g / 6 oz (8.5 oz with bottles)

Styling Fit

Pocket Size: 16.5 x 7.6 cm / 6.5 x 3” Pouch Size: 10.2 x 10.2 cm / 4 x 4” Bottle holsters are stiffened with lightweight foam for quick access Front pocket is sweat resistant and moveable, with foam backing 3/4” waist webbing with stretch panel Movable Race Bib clips Adjustable buckle fits: 26-44” / 66 – 112 cm

Autumn/Winter 2013

Build quality Performance Price Overall rating

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PaleoBarefoots® Pronativ

Long-term review

Build quality Durability Awesome barefoot feel Grip in muddy conditions

Price ’ve been extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to test these. If this had not happened I would have been one of the many who keep looking at the Paleo website and thinking “should I, shouldn’t I”? The price is a big hurdle when it comes to the Paleos - “I can’t justify paying £150 for a pair of shoes”. I would fall into this category. This is a real shame because having spent many running miles wearing these, I have found the quality and durability to be well worth the money, particularly when taking into account these will outlast any minimal shoe by a very long time indeed. Should these be classed as shoes? They are hardly a shoe! They need a category of their own.

are very well constructed and have been well thought out. Until you actually take a close look at them, it is very hard to see and feel the quality.

Build quality

Maintenance

I find it very hard to find anything wrong with the build quality. They

These are as easy to maintain as my running shorts and t-shirts are.

Functionality They do exactly what they say on the tin – (literally, as they are supplied in a tin)! As long as they are kept in the environment they are designed for – natural terrain, no man made surfaces - they work extremely well.

Durability Again I can find no faults here. I take them over some very challenging terrain and after a quick cycle in the washing machine they come up like new!

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Only good for natural terrain

After every run I just put them into the washing machine with my running gear and let the machine do all the hard work. They come out shiny and new. That’s it for maintenance!

Performance Wet and muddy conditions are what these really excel at. I now seek out these conditions for the sheer enjoyment that the Paleos bring me.

Overall rating Over time I have come to take these for granted. If I know I’m not running on tarmac I automatically pick them up to take on a run. My only real criticism about them is the fit around the toes. They can feel loose under the toes but

Barefoot Running Magazine


PaleoBarefoots® Pronativ

Build quality Functionality Durability Maintenance Performance Overall rating

restrictive on top of the toes. This is obviously down to the nature of the material used – stainless steel mesh. But it does show how flexible they are! Once running, this issue soon disappears and you barely notice you are wearing them, apart from the confidence it gives

you to go over more challenging terrain - which you may otherwise avoid. Now we are moving into winter they are like having winter tyres for your feet – great! Tested by IH

Long-term review

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Winter 2012/13

Barefoot Running Magazine Barefoot Running Magazine

Spring 2013

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INOV8 Bare - X™ 200 Reason:

Nominees: Best Closed Road

They have scored very well in our reviews, being lightweight, flexible and good quality. The styling is good - they suit those who still want a ‘trainer look’ and can easily be worn as a casual shoe without getting any strange looks! Their simplicity makes them an attractive option for a wide range of users.

Sockwa G3 Reason: They have taken the barefoot running world by storm - everybody loves them! They slip on easily, are thin-soled and flexible and come in a variety of sizes and colours, including a wider fit option.

Vibram Fivefinger Komodo Sport Reason: This shoe is often the ‘go to’ shoe for predominantly barefoot runners when they feel the need for some extra protection without compromising movement. They look pretty stylish too!

Merrell Vapor Glove Reason: Merrell always produce a stylish shoe and offer a wide variety of colours. This is a good ‘entry level’ shoe for those desiring a more minimalist feel without losing protection. It doesn’t scare ‘Newbies’ away because it maintains a trainer look and feel.

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Luna Venado Reason: Popular from the outset because they are associated with the loveable Barefoot Ted. They provide a simple, easy way to get in and out of a sandal, are relatively thin-soled whilst maintaining durability and provide moderate protection from the ground.

Reason: The latest Xero Shoe design is for those who just want to put their shoes on and go! Well built and stylish, they are the result of months of work by the Xero team and will no doubt prove very popular.

4mm Xero Shoe Reason: Take everything away from a shoe that you don’t need and you’re left with this. It’s the most simple offering on the market with a price to match. It won’t appeal to everyone but is often the preferred choice of pure barefoot runners when they require just a bit of extra protection.

UnShoes Mokova Reason: A lesser known brand but holds its own against some of the more popular names. A simple sandal with several adjustments for a comfortable fit.

Barefoot Running Magazine

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Nominees: Best Open Road

Xero Sensori Venture


Vibram Fivefinger Spyridon Reason:

Nominees: Best Closed Trail

One of the many offerings from Vibram FiveFingers, this is reminiscent of the good old KSO. It is thin-soled, lightweight but the sole is well-designed to provide excellent traction on trails. As usual, you can either go for a sedate black/grey colour or something more wacky to really catch the eye!

Sockwa G3 Reason: They have taken the barefoot running world by storm - everybody loves them! They slip on easily, are thin-soled and flexible and come in a variety of sizes and colours, including a wider fit option.

VivoBarefoot Breatho Trail Reason: As usual, this shoe sports the trademark wide toe box of Vivobarefoot shoes, something that barefoot runners in particular desire. It has substantial grip on the sole for hard core trails but remains very light and flexible.

Vibram Fivefinger EL-X Reason: This Vibram Shoe is built to be simple. Just slip it on and off you go! A good introduction to this kind of shoe, with a very slim sole for a close to barefoot feel.

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Xero Sensori Venture Reason: The latest Xero Shoe design is for those who just want to put their shoes on and go! Well built and stylish, they are the result of months of work by the Xero team and will no doubt prove very popular.

Reason: As Luna themselves state, the Luna Mono is their, “Do everything, go everywhere” sandal. It has a thicker sole which provides protection and traction on the toughest trails. Durable and well-built, a popular sandal for those who like to take the road less travelled!

UnShoes Pah Tempe Reason: This huarache differs from others due to the absence of a toe post which will appeal to those who dislike anything between their toes. It is geared more towards off-road running where hills and lateral movement are required. Still very minimal – slim-soled and light.

4mm Xero Shoe Reason: Take everything away from a shoe that you don’t need and you’re left with this. It’s the most simple offering on the market with a price to match. It won’t appeal to everyone but is often the preferred choice of pure barefoot runners when they require just a bit of extra protection.

Barefoot Running Magazine

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Road Trail Best Open Nominees: : Best Open

Luna Mono


GoSt PaleoBarefoots® Ultra Reason: Who on earth would have thought a chain mail shoe would work? But it does! Unbelievably light, it protects the wearer from rough and muddy terrain whilst allowing breathability and a true barefoot feel. Road model is currently in the pipeline!

Nominees: Best Innovative

Swiss Barefoot Protection Sock Reason: Not the most stylish of footwear, but certainly allows for maximum barefoot feel with just the right amount of protection. Carry them with you without any problems and notice the lack of sound as you land - just as though you’re barefoot! Snug and warm too!

FreeHeel RunningPad Reason: This is true minimalism! These aren’t seen so much on the barefoot/minimalist forums but certainly offer just enough protection where it’s needed. As barefoot/minimalist running continues to gain popularity, these may well receive more interest.

IGUANEYE Reason: This really is a very minimal shoe. Based on what the Amazon Indians used to do – soak their feet in rubber to provide a ‘second skin’ for protection – it offers just enough protection coupled with a modern look. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

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Jawbone Reason: This is such a neat little bracelet that has many functions, all designed to help you get to know yourself better. You can track your activity and sleep patterns, the unit linking up seamlessly with other apps such as Runkeeper. You can manually set alarms to stop you becoming inactive as well as to wake you up at the appropriate time in your sleep cycle. Plus, it looks good!

Reason: This is a great tool for monitoring your health and fitness as well as meeting like-minded people online to discuss exercise tips and enjoy some friendly rivalry. It is for any kind of exercise (not just running!) and it’s easy to use. A good motivator!

AfterShokz Reason: This is a great product if you enjoy listening to music whilst you run. The technology allows sound to be conducted through you cheekbone, bypassing the eardrum for safer listening. Whilst wearing them, you can also still hear the sounds of nature and those all-important footfalls!

SoloWheel Reason: This could be the vehicle of the future! Running on battery power, the solo wheel is fairly small and light and as you ride it, you can improve your balance and proprioceptive skills. Barefoot Ted is a huge fan already!

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Nominees: Gadget of the Year

dailymile social training app


Out-of-the-box Trail test results

Minimal review results Out-of-the-box trail test results

GO ST Barefoot PaleoBarefootsÂŽ

IH

(08/2013)

Human Foot My Foot

DRR

INOV8 Bare X 200™

DRR

(01/2013)

Kigo

Minimal review results

Drive

DRR

(06/2012)

Luna Venado

CS

(12/2013)

Vapor Glove

Ozark Sandals Merrell Trail Glove

(06/2011)

Vapor Glove

(08/2013)

DRR JM

Mizuno EVO Cursoris

(04/2013)

EVO Levitas

(04/2013)

JM JM

New Balance

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Minimal review results Out-of-the-box trail test results

Nike

Ozark Sandals Tri Black

ALT

(11/2012)

Saucony

Sockwa G3

IH

(12/2013)

Protection Sock (05/2013)

ALT

Vibram FiveFingers Classic Sprint

(01/2012)

KSO

(02/2010)

DRR DRR

VivoBarefoot

(05/2013)

Xero Shoe

4mm Xero Shoe

(12/2011)

6mm Xero Shoe

(12/2011)

Sensori Venture

(12/2013)

ALT DRR IH

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Minimal review results

Swiss Barefoot Company. The


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Asia

www.barefootnyc.com

www.facebook.com/BangkokBarefootRun

www.facebook.com/pages/Barefoot-Running-Group-of-Grand-Rapids

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info@yellingperformance.com www.yellingperformance.com

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was a fanatical Star Wars fan as child and in all honesty, I still am to a degree. The opening credits to the first movie, A New Hope, still brings back the excitement I felt the first time I saw it back in 1977. And like many others I totally bought into the movie’s franchise and became obsessed with collecting its merchandise - and there was a lot of merchandise! You could buy everything from a Star Wars plastic lunchbox to an R2D2 droid aquarium and like every impressionable boy of the ‘70’s, I was taken in completely hence my goal of owning every Star Wars 3 ¾ inch action figure possible. My entire week back then was spent obsessing about getting my next figure. There were lists of those I had, wanted and could swap with my friends, with whom I would often meet up on the neighbourhood corner to play “Empire Wars”. I would do anything to make money for those figures, from

washing cars to helping my mother who, at that time, was a seamstress and would give me a small fee for making up the labels for her to sew into the clothing. Then on Saturday morning, after watching Banana Splits and Wacky Races on television, I would accompany my parents into Peckham to help do the weekly shop. Many people disliked Peckham, but I saw it as a Mecca. A Mecca to Star Wars, for in the main high street was Kiddie City, a toy shop that had two aisles dedicated to the Star Wars franchise. I would often stand in the middle of all the merchandise and be overwhelmed by its awesomeness. It was on one of my weekly pilgrimages that I came across a new playset, representing the destruction of the planet Alderaan. In my seven year old brain it was Princess Leia’s home and I had to have it! However, it meant saving for over a month,

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into the science of movement is that for the average runner the micro theories only distract and confuse the issue, causing them, in many cases, to get obsessed with one or two particular details. Take the 180 strides per minute cadence as an example. I have come across many a runner with what can only be termed as an “unnatural cadence rate”, due to their fixation on hitting exactly 180 regardless of their own physical makeup or route considerations, such as the terrain etc. To aid them in their goal they’re accompanied by their trusty metronome on every run, believing that the key to perfect running technique will be achieved, yet they have no awareness of their very easily corrected mistakes that don’t really carry any scientific evidence - the “no brainers”, such as keeping relaxed and breathing with control.

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sidelining my action figures and having to do more chores, but it was worth it – it was special; there was even a shop label saying it was in limited supply! So over the next few weeks I worked hard to save up the necessary money, forgoing any more spending until I finally had enough. The morning dragged by but eventually I found myself standing in the wonder aisle. I felt so happy walking to the till with my very own planet in a sealed box – life was good! Life stayed good all the way home as I sat unbelted in the back of the car with shopping bags all round my feet while my older brother teased me by calling me “matchie” (as he said I looked like a Swan Vesta match due to my large Afro and skinny body). But I didn’t care. I just clung onto my Kiddie City bag, waiting until I could let my planet free in my bedroom. Once home I ran to my room and opened the box. To my dismay, my world was destroyed instantly, just like Princess Leia’s planet. There was no amazing planet inside, only a box of faux red and grey rocks. What a disappointment! My own 7 year old world fell apart on the spot! The strap-line for the Alderaan event in the movie was, “It was as if a million voices cried out…”. Yeah right, in disgust! I felt so betrayed, but it was my first encounter (of many!) of marketing and its negative effects. My mother just smiled and said, “We live and learn!”

To be honest with you though, I haven’t learnt over the years and have still succumbed to marketing trickery on numerous occasions. I still got caught up in the whole running/ training shoe mania, the pursuit of owning the latest and shiniest mobile device or newest version of motor car, to mention just a few!

“The strap-line for the Alderaan event in the movie was, “It was as if a million voices cried out…”. Yeah right, in disgust! I felt so betrayed ” And this brings me to my current position, where I have become disillusioned with most of what is known as “the modern way of living”. Some may say it’s a midlife crisis symptom, where many of us stop and evaluate our lives, but for me it seems much deeper. In all the years of chasing this particular dragon’s tail it hasn’t truly brought me any happiness, only a continuous wanting and sense of un-fulfilment perpetuated by constant marketing slogans like “It could be you” or “Don’t get left behind”. But not having the latest

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tablet or the latest operating system, or not owning a mobile phone that can play Angry Birds or scrabble with friends, is not going to be the death of me – worrying about keeping up with the latest tack though probably will! So I have come to a conclusion. I’m not playing anymore! I refuse to bow down at the altar of marketing in the temple of brands anymore. Too many times have I opened the shiny box to find inside the same old s**t. So my first step is this: a marketing detox, which will be achieved by getting rid of 25% of my personal belongings in the coming year. I will do this for two reasons: 1. To lose this ridiculous compulsion for the latest sparkly piece of gadgetry and 2. To prove to myself that I didn’t need all that junk in the first place. Will it change me? Make me a happier person? Or, will I just be more annoyed if, after all this, I realize that all this junk is what life’s about? After all, a diamond is just a rock and if I had a box of those I wouldn’t be too upset. May the force be with me and you too! Oh, and does anyone want a box of faux rocks?

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Barefoot Running Magazine

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Barefoot Running Magazine - Issue 10 (Autumn/Winter 2013)