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Summer 2014 Issue 12 ÂŁ2.99 / $4.99 Free


Insert picture: “Running Water� by Paul Stowe. www.paul-shanghai.deviantart.com Cover photo: Todd Crandell - Racing for Recovery - Kona Ironman 2012


Welcome to the Summer issue of Barefoot Running Magazine! Despite our efforts to slim the magazine down, this one is our biggest yet but worth it with plenty of info, features, training tips and product reviews to keep you busy.

A note from the editor...

Inside certain issues, we seem to inadvertently have established a theme. Reviewing our content now, I realize there’s a bit of a theme with this one too: The power of the human spirit. Our “Conversation with…” features Todd Crandell, an amazing “Addict to Ironman”. He openly discusses the trauma he has been through, having lost his mother through suicide and subsequently becoming addicted to alcohol and cocaine. He explains how he turned his life around and how he now helps other people, through counselling and “Racing for Recovery”, to heal themselves. In my “Pause for thought” I consider the vulnerability that goes hand in hand with any kind of internet exposure and the resulting test of self-esteem, whilst David suggests why barefoot running is not just putting one foot in front of the other, but a form of self-expression in his “Back chat”. We honour the 60th anniversary of the marvellous Roger Bannister, who was the first man to break the 4 minute mile back in 1954 and you may have to re-think what you consider to be ‘hard core’ when you read our friend Darren’s gruelling race report detailing his 250km jungle adventure! We sent our wonderful “Roving reporter”, Chris Fielding, on a mission to find out more about the human spirit through laughter therapy. He reveals the unexpected communicative aspect of laughter within a group and the feel good factor and warmth that comes from connecting with other human beings. Our nutrition advice comes from two sources this issue: Sarah Ballantyne, aka “The Paleo Mom” and Claire Goodall of everydayroots.com. Sarah explains why breakfast can be take-it-or-leave it for some but essential for others and Claire talks us through the advantages of homemade, natural electrolyte energy drinks. David’s lab also has a nutritional slant as he investigates the numerous benefits of drinking tea. Chi Running expert and personal trainer, Gray Caws, offers some valuable insights on training the ‘core’, incorporating a mindful approach that enhances the physical. Finally, the barefoot running/minimalist shoe debate continues as we offer our views on the Vibram lawsuit and Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee explain why barefoot running, contrary to certain media suggestions, is far from being a thing of the past! All this, plus the usual product reviews from our fabulous test team – thank you!

Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. Doctor and award-winning author / blogger http://www.ThePaleoMom.com

Darren Clawson Adventure runner and fundraiser www.facebook.com/endurancelimits

And thank you to all our contributors – we couldn’t do this without you. Michael Sandler & Jessica Lee

Run Strong, Run Free!

Authors, presenters and barefoot runners

editor 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.

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http://www.runbare.com

Claire Goodall Blogger and healthy lifestyle enthusiast http://www.everydayroots.com


Anna Toombs Editor

David Robinson Creative director

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

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

Ian Hicks Head reviewer

Tracy Davenport Columnist

Barefoot running enthusiast & founder of The Wiltshire Barefoot Runners

Minimalist footwear retailer, avid barefoot runner & blogger

ian.hicks@bfrm.co.uk

tracy.davenport@bfrm.co.uk @BarefootBritian

Gareth ‘The Gadget’ Underhill Columnist

Jonathan Mackintosh Reviewer

Personal trainer, sports scientist and sports retailer

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

gareth.underhill@bfrm.co.uk @garethunderhill

Steven Sashen Columnist

Dr Steve ‘Sock Doc’ Gangemi Columnist Chiropractic physician & MovNat coach

Meet the team

Creator of the Xero Shoe & sprinter

steve.gangemi@bfrm.co.uk @TheSockDoc

steven.sashen@bfrm.co.uk @sashen

Steve Richards Reviewer

Chris Fielding Reporter

Avid barefoot runner & member of the Wiltshire Barefoot Runners

Blogging enthusiast, barefoot runner & founder of Barefoot Beginner

steve.richards@bfrm.co.uk

chris.fielding@bfrm.co.uk @bfbeginner

Ricardo ‘The Dashing’ D’Ash Columnist

Gray Caws Columnist

Avid barefoot runner & co-founder of the Maidstone Barefoot Dashers

ChiRunning coach and personal trainer

Ricardod’ash@bfrm.co.uk

Barefoot Running Magazine TRC Publishing UK Limited 21 Lyric Mews, Silverdale London SE26 4TD United Kingdom

http://www.n8pt.com info@n8pt.com

Don’t forget that you can read back issues of Barefoot Running Magazine at www.issuu.com. Just type “Barefoot Running Magazine” into the search bar and click on the issue that you wish to read.

General enquiries info@bfrm.co.uk E-mail firstname.lastname@bfrm.co.uk Website www.bfrm.co.uk Overseas +44 (0) 208 659 0269 Tests 0845 226 7302 Subscription E-mail subscribe@bfrm.co.uk Advertising 0845 226 7302 Advertising E-mail advertising@bfrm.co.uk facebook.com/BarefootRunningMagazine @BareFootRunMag

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Main feature Vibram’s $3.75 million settlement

In focus

8 12

Sir Roger Bannister and his indomitable spirit by Anna Toombs

David’s laboratory

20

Better for a brew? - Tea’s effect on sports performance

Book review

28

Born to walk by James Earls reviewed by Anna Toombs

Injury corner

38

No need for knee pain – running, cycling, or anytime by the Sock Doc

Technical tip

42

Re-evaluating your barefoot running by Anna Toombs

Nutritional nugget

48

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? by Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D.

A conversation with...

60

Racing for Recovery founder and Ironman Todd Crandell

The Green Room

68

Nothing tougher… by Darren Clawson

Try this at home

76

Core work for runners by Gray Caws

Picture from the past

83

French long distance runner Alain Mimoun

How to:

88

Make homemade electrolyte energy drinks by Claire Goodall

Write back at you

96

Despite the Wall Street Journal Barefoot running isn’t dead, nor coming to the end of the road by Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee

Outside the lab

26

On track

104

International news

106

Product news

154

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Questions & answers

32

Your questions answered

Competition

37

Win a custom made pair of Tarahumara Chabochi huaraches

Season in pictures

46

What you have been up to

Caught in the web

53

Internet snippets

Events

54

Stuff that’s going on

Assorted goodies

74

Products worth a look

Competition result

94

Spring issue winner

What’s on

100

2014/5 events and race calendar

It’s your letters

108

Your stories and thoughts

Product reviews

110

Club pages & directory

155

Web directory

169

For products and services

Anna’s pause for thought

18

Tips and general musings

Chris Fielding

34

Roving Barefoot Reporter

Tracy Davenport

56

High society

The Sock Doc

84

Healthy people equals barefoot people

Sashen speaks

136

Do not “transition slowly” to barefoot running

Backchat David Robinson’s latest

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Main feature Products of the year awards 2013

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espite the continuing increase in interest in barefoot running, footwear is seemingly more popular than ever. In the wake of the release of Chris McDougall’s Born to Run in 2009, we saw the introduction of a ‘minimalist’ shoe range from the majority of existing trainer companies, as well as an explosion of brand new manufacturers offering their take on ‘barefoot-style’ shoes. This, of course, is just one little pocket of available foot coverings. Along with thinner, ‘zero drop’ shoes that promise improved biomechanics and reduced injury for runners, there have also been a number of shoes that claim the ability to tone you up merely by having them on your feet. However, for many runners, changing their footwear hasn’t given them the magical answer to their running woes that they were hoping for and, likewise, those with more flesh than they’d like on their buttocks have been similarly disappointed: despite buying a pair of shoes, they haven’t lost a millimetre. So, surely the way forward is to look elsewhere to find answers? Maybe my running technique needs addressing? Maybe I need to re-think my diet and exercise regime? But it’s decidedly easier to blame the shoes. Some people have gone as far as to sue shoe companies for selling them a false hope, so to speak. For example, in 2011 Reebok settled a lawsuit costing the company $25 million for claims that their shoes could help the wearer ‘tone up’. In 2012, Skechers settled for a whopping $40 million – plus extra legal costs – for claims that their line of Shape-Up shoes could, “lead to increased leg muscle activation, increased calorie burn, improved posture and reduced back pain”. This kind of advertising is obviously what entices customers – great results without doing any work! In a world where appearance seems to be increasingly important, but one where food is available in copious amounts 24/7, these shoes were the perfect answer! Plus, the celebrities that were used in the marketing campaign represented a lifestyle that many individuals would love to adopt. Sadly, whilst a particular style of shoe may indeed cause you to

work harder when you move (and both Reebok and Skechers denied accusations of false advertising, settling only to avoid even higher legal costs), they won’t transform you into a Hollywood stunner or a sports superstar. The powers of marketing are extremely strong though and play on people’s desires and weaknesses; shoes are really only the tip of the iceberg when you consider the marketing campaigns of mascaras, moisturizers, antiperspirants…etc. Everybody needs to feel a bit better about themselves sometimes and advertisers know this very well and use it to their advantage. After all, it’s their job. A 2012 case against Vibram (settled earlier this year) regarding their fivefinger shoes has a different slant. Yes, they were accused of making false claims regarding their shoes,

but the people they were targeting weren’t looking for a product to make them look better or take shortcuts. These customers were trying to find ways of running more frequently, further and faster whilst reducing their risk of injury. And the idea behind the fivefinger shoes was far more believable than other advertising campaigns because the arguments were, in part, based on evolutionary evidence and nature rather than laboratory studies. The fivefinger shoes, praised highly in Born to Run, were professed by Vibram to do the following:

 

Strengthen muscles in the feet

Stimulate neural function important to balance and agility

Improve range of motion in the ankles, feet and toes

Eliminate heel lift to align the spine and improve posture

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still, most don’t blame the shoes. Rather, they know that they had a technical problem and/or had warning signals that they ignored. The general consensus also seems to be that one size doesn’t fit all. “An experiment of one” is a phrase that is frequently touted; the majority of runners understand that they will adapt to barefoot or minimalist running in their own, unique way and therefore should not rely on any strict guidelines or pay too much attention to what they read on the internet. Yes, some advice is helpful but this must be combined with an awareness of the feedback that you are receiving from your own body.

Allow the foot and body to move naturally

However, a woman by the name of Valerie Bezdek bought a pair of Vibram fivefingers and after some amount of wear (not specified) she became disappointed with them, having not experienced the results that the Vibram website had promised her. She sought legal representation and the legal team subsequently accused Vibram of making “deceptive and misleading statements about the benefits of barefoot running”. Vibram have now agreed a settlement figure and have set aside $3.75 million to compensate any customers who feel entitled to a refund (although it is estimated that individuals will receive between $20 and $50 rather than the full price they paid for the shoes and a quarter of this fund actually goes to the lawyers). At no point have Vibram admitted any wrongdoing; they made the decision to settle to avoid further legal costs. According to legal documents:

always ends up leading to footwear! This is perhaps because there is no product to sell for barefoot running – and who are you going to sue if your feet are dysfunctional? God? Mother Nature? So there’s no real money to be made out of barefoot running itself which is why it tends to get lost somewhat. For the most part, those involved in the barefoot running world, whether they are recreational runners or sports performance specialists and coaches, have taken it all in their stride, so to speak. There doesn’t appear, on any blogs or forums, to be anyone saying that it was about time that Vibram were sued and that they can’t wait to get their money back. There are certainly a large number of people who have experienced injuries - in particular metatarsal stress fractures - through running in Vibram fivefingers but

“Vibram expressly denied and continues to deny any wrongdoing alleged in the Actions and neither admits nor concedes actual or potential fault, wrongdoing or liability”. Of course, the lawsuit and settlement made international news and sparked another wave of discussion regarding the pros and cons of barefoot running. The interesting point is that the essence of the concept has largely been lost; running with nothing on your feet is different from running with something on your feet. It is quite a simple distinction but the discussion

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Going back to the case itself, many people have pointed out numerous other dubious advertising campaigns, such as shampoo or bubble bath. If you buy a shampoo having been promised a head full of thick, shiny hair by a good looking celebrity, but are ultimately left with the same dull, stringy mess, is that grounds for suing? Probably not. Ross Tucker (www.sportsscientists.com) makes the point that maybe Vibram come under fire because their claims are “borderline medical/clinical”. This is quite relevant – stringy hair might force you to wear a hat but is unlikely to affect you mechanically and only your pride will be hurt. However, if we’re being strict about medical messages, Dr Nick Campitelli also has a valid argument: “Look at how many individuals


bought shoes because they had a gel pad or air in the sole…And, if this gel is so crucial, then consider this: They sell you a shoe with gel in the heel for “x” amount of dollars and if you spend a few extra dollars you get gel in the forefoot too. Are they not liable then for injuries to those who could not afford a shoe with gel in both the forefoot and the heel?” (www.drnicksrunningblog.com) It’s also worth noting that the plaintiffs in the Vibram case suggested that the fivefinger shoes were designed “…to capitalize on this fitness craze”, however, they were first introduced in 2005 as a water sports shoe prior to the barefoot running ‘boom’. That’s not to say they haven’t used it to their advantage, but show me a company that wouldn’t make the most of this opportunity. The answer in all this appears to come down to the awareness of the consumer. Yes, Vibram made certain claims for which they were subsequently sued, but they also offer advice on their website and advocate caution and slow progress when first buying their product. There’s a significant level of awareness required on the part of the manufacturer/marketing team too though – wording is everything and clever advertising will make for good sales without compromising morality or opening the door to potential suers. It’s a tricky balance. As Jim Hixson from the Motion Center (quoted on www.naturalrunningcenter.com) concludes:

we are now born to sue”.

Sources

NB: A website has been set up specifically to deal with the details: www.fivefingerssettlement.com

www.bbc.co.uk www.sportsscientists.com www.naturalrunningcenter.com www.drnicksrunningblog.com www.xeroshoes.com

“While we were born to run, it’s also becoming increasingly evident that

Running fact 18.

Running fact 19. The garden snail is considered the slowest land animal with a speed of only 0.03 miles per hour.

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Did you know

Athletes dressed in red are more likely to win racing events than athletes wearing any other colour.


In focus Sir Roger Bannister and his indomitable spirit by Anna Toombs

“Doctors and scientists said that breaking the four-minute mile was impossible, that one would die in the attempt. Thus, when I got up from the track after collapsing at the finish line, I figured I was dead.� Roger Bannister

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he world of athletics has recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of a landmark record established by a well-known and much admired middle distance runner. On 6th May 1954, Englishman Roger Bannister became the first person to complete a mile in under four minutes, creating a moment in history that will be remembered for a long time to come. Sir Roger Bannister, born in Harrow on March 23rd, 1929, was inspired to run by miler Sydney Wooderson, who made a comeback after eight years out of running to set a British record in 4.04.2. Bannister came to running relatively late, when he began studying medicine at Oxford, aged 17. He had never run in spikes before and only ran two or three times a week, but despite his lack of experience and training, he soon demonstrated a natural affinity for running when, at the age of 18, he ran a mile in an impressive 4.24.6. He continued to train, steadily improving his race times, winning a couple of mile races in 1949 in 4.11.

In 1950, after a number of mediocre race results, he took part in the European Championships, competing in the 800m. After coming third at this important event, he made the decision to step up his training, knowing he could perform better. This decision paid off when he ran at White City in the AAA Championships, winning the mile race in front of a huge crowd of 47,000 people in a time of 4.07.8. In 1952, Roger Bannister represented Britain in the 1500m (0.932m) at the Olympics in Helsinki. It was only during the lead up to the race that it was announced there would be semi finals for the event. This put some doubt in Bannister’s mind – his training wasn’t necessarily comprehensive enough to deal with multiple races before the actual final. He found that his legs were tired in the semis and he only finished fifth, although this still bought him a ticket into the final. The race was epic, with the first eight runners unbelievably beating the current Olympic record. Bannister finished 4th, with a new British record

of 3.46. Despite the new record, this performance was not what he had hoped for and he spent the next couple of months considering giving up running. Instead though, he decided to set himself the goal of running a sub four minute mile. In May of 1953, he ran a time of 4.03.6, making him realize that this goal was achievable. He ran quicker again the next month, in a time of 4.02 although this time wasn’t allowed to stand as it was considered to be gained under “artificial conditions” due to two pace makers stepping in later in the race to help the pace. Meanwhile, as Bannister pressed on towards his goal, another runner, Australian John Landy, was also making attempts at a sub four minute mile. He had run several mile races in around 4.02 but the sub four continued to elude him. It would be sometime later that the two sub four chasers would meet and race for the first time, but first Bannister had a record to break!

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On the day of the race in question, the weather was windy and wet and Bannister had reservations about his record attempt. His coach, Franz Stampfl, however, believed whole heartedly that this was the perfect opportunity; he felt that Bannister had a 3.56 or 3.57 in him, so the weather would only lose him a couple of seconds, still making the sub four achievable. Bannister remembers Stampfl’s words, “I think you could do a 3.56 and if you had this potential chance and you didn’t take it you’d never forgive yourself, maybe for the rest of your life”. “And this thought stuck in my mind”, says Bannister (from an interview in The Telegraph Online). At the start line, the wind seemed to drop and Bannister was ready. A false start angered him momentarily, but they got away on the second gun. He and his pacers - future Common wealth Games Gold Medallist, Chris Chataway and future Olympic Gold Medallist, Chris Brasher - had a plan which they followed to the letter in front of 3,000 spectators at Iffley Road track in Oxford. Bannister felt pretty good until the last moments of the race, when, “I felt the tape was receding over the last few yards. I knew I could not run any faster and I gave it everything…The successful runner is one who can take more out of himself than he has”.

Bannister, too, subsequently beat his own record when he finally got to race against Landy at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, in what became known as, “The Miracle Mile”. Bannister abandoned his own race strategy when it became clear that he would need to change his tactics to beat Landy, who was in the lead for much of the race. Bannister was able to overtake him on the last bend, winning the event in 3.58.8. After winning the 1500m that same year at the European Championships, Bannister retired to focus on his medical career. There have since been quite a few runners who have conquered the mile in under four minutes, with the current record held by Moroccan, Hicham El Guerrouj at 3.43 (this has stood for 15 years). There could potentially be more successes (Bannister still believes that it might be achievable in 3.30) but the mile is no longer a recognized distance in mainstream athletics – the 1,500m has taken its place. Roger Bannister was awarded a Knighthood in 1975 and was the first Chairman of the Sports Council (now Sport England), encouraging government funding to improve

sports centres. The great athlete has recently revealed that he is suffering with Parkinson’s. At 85, with his knowledge of neurology, he views it with the calm acceptance of someone merely understanding that nature must take its cause – although, given his lifelong work exploring these kinds of illnesses, he does view it as a little ironic! His mind is as sharp as ever but his legs that served him so well are now not so strong and he moves about using a wheelchair. His thoughts and experiences are detailed in his highly recommended autobiography, “Twin Tracks”. Roger Bannister will remain one of the greatest names in athletic history and will be the inspiration for numerous runners for many years to come.

Sources www.telegraph.co.uk www.wikipedia.org www.britishathletics.org www.bbc.co.uk www.radiotimes.com www.laphamsquarterly.org www.lyonspress.com Lore of Running, by Tim Noakes

This attitude is what some believe made Bannister sit head and shoulders above the rest. Much of his research work was centred around looking at the specifics of performance and he was a great believer in strength of mind. Perhaps he never fulfilled his true running potential, although it is widely known that he rates his achievements in neuroscience more highly than this running; his work was the priority. He notoriously put relatively little time into training. “Whenever I saw Roger he gave the impression that he did very little training, if any. He said he did none at all in the vacations”, said his pacer, Chris Chataway. On that record breaking day though, Bannister had done enough and ran the mile in 3.59.4. Funnily enough, this inspired his rival, John Landy, to keep trying and he ran the mile quicker, just 46 days later, in 3.57.9 in Finland.

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“We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves. The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, 'You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.' The human spirit is indomitable.� Roger Bannister Barefoot Running Magazine

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esterday, I got my quarterly hair cut. My hairdresser (who I’ve known for years – she was a ‘guinea pig’ for one of my Pilates courses) and I talked about her business, my business, barefoot running and cats. It was nice to catch up.

Many women (and possibly men) will be reading this with some empathy. I know plenty of people who’ve been in this situation; each hairdresser never does things quite right – or, makes a great job during one visit, then mucks it up the next. Does the perfect one exist to make each of us look perfect?

As hairdressers do, when I sat down in the chair she pursed her lips slightly. “Just a trim?” She asked as she picked her way through my lacklustre hair and examined the split ends. “We might need to take a bit more off than usual”. “I haven’t been since January”, I said, guiltily. “Take off what you need to make it look half decent”. Now, this isn’t the attitude I’ve always had about what my hair looks like. In fact, I had a spate of trying out dozens of different hairdressers in my search to find one who made me look fabulous. I had visions of tumbling out of bed with the perfect cut – no need for styling. Just wash and go, hair shiny and bouncing atop my head.

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This leads on to what I have been pondering recently. Why do we care so much about the way we look? And how much does this anxiety have to do with how other people perceive us? Should we be caring to such an extent about what other people think? More than that, are we striving for a perfect version of ourselves which doesn’t actually exist? I guess my perspective is slightly different to that of someone who doesn’t involve themselves with the internet. Meaning, a person who just goes about their daily life, interacting with work colleagues and family might survive relatively unscathed. At the other end of the spectrum,

Barefoot Running Magazine

the famous actors or television personalities receive a daily onslaught of comments, some of which are friendly and complimentary but many others that are the reverse. David [Robinson] and I produce this magazine every three months (give or take) and by its very nature, the online activity is necessary. This opens us up to being on the receiving end of numerous comments. Some people love the magazine – great – and some people hate it – fine! However, to read a stream of negative comments after producing something that has taken a great deal of hard work is quite a shock, particularly if you’re not used to it. And most people aren’t, because you rarely get that level of abuse in the real world. Yes, we all enjoy a good b**ch every now and again about people or situations that have annoyed us but most wouldn’t dream of truly upsetting someone purposefully, especially not to their face. This is the nature of social media though and it ain’t going to change.


So, what’s the answer? Should we all stop caring what other people think about us? Grow a thicker skin? Certainly, there’s an element of this for those who’ve ventured into barefoot running (quite literally thicker skin, albeit purely on the soles of the feet). It goes against the social norms, therefore it is seen as weird and if you’re going to pursue it, you need to acquire the ability to feel confident and self-assured in what you’re doing. Some people have this trait already – they enjoy being a bit ‘different’ – but for others, it can be a real battle, particularly as barefoot running is something that people tend to try out on their own, without the safety of a group. There are numerous stories of barefoot runners who’ve come out of their shell and become more self-assured through their barefoot running practice. However, having discussed the subject with a client of mine, we both came to the conclusion that you can’t just ‘decide’ not to care what people think. It’s not human nature to do that, particularly if you’re someone who takes criticism to heart and feels it on a very personal level. In fact, as the theory goes, when we are born, we have a core, or ‘id’ that is our true self. But the person that we become is a mish-mash of events, experiences, interactions and relationships in which we find ourselves during our life-long journey. These are the things that shape who we are today. Not necessarily who we are in the next ten years – each day brings us something new that will contribute in some way to our sense of self. What does this have to do with haircuts? Well, it feels nice to have a haircut! People comment, “Ooh, that looks nice”, which instantly improves your self-confidence. A plus score for your positive sense of self. Conversely, if you neglect yourself, you will undoubtedly find that others see that inclination in you and think less of you because you don’t think much of yourself. It comes down to choices. I could choose to look uber-glamorous every day, with full makeup, expertly styled hair and the latest fashionable clothes. Equally, I could not bother and turn up to client’s houses looking like death

warmed up. Except I know that they wouldn’t be clients for long. My appearance indicates my level of self-respect, so if I am demonstrating a distinct lack, how will I be a positive, motivating force for my clients? Looking after yourself is essential and that is why – again – it all comes down to balance. Do what makes you feel good and it’ll make others around you feel good too. Typically, looking well and leading a healthy lifestyle go hand in hand, so perhaps the focus should be on eating well and exercising and the good looks are a welcome bonus! As regards dealing with social media, my client and I talked about this at length. One key point that she made was that in the past – in the ‘pre-internet’ days - there was more of a frame of reference when somebody made a comment about you. It was generally someone you knew and you could make an informed decision about how much importance you might attach to that comment. Nowadays, the majority of comments are faceless anonymous. This gives rise, in some cases, to a ‘mob mentality’ where a slight fashion faux pas that your mate might have quietly advised you about in a corner becomes a full-on barrage from a bunch of people you’ve never even met. However, like I said, it’s unlikely to change. And it also shouldn’t necessarily be seen as something negative – the world moves on and

the way we interact with each other is affected by it. It’s certainly no good to ignore all comments if you produce a product or use your personality and status to promote what you are doing (TV appearances, films, whatever). Furthermore, it’s not beneficial to declare that everything that is being said is rubbish. A good trick is learning how to sift out the useful feedback and recognizing how it can help you. Understand when someone is genuinely offering something of relevance rather than just jumping on the bandwagon. Something else to develop in a world with less privacy and more vulnerability is a stronger sense of who you are. I saw a well-known British TV presenter, Richard Madeley, hosting a talk show recently. He’s been in the business for thirty of forty years and had his share of criticism. He said that if you’re in an industry where you are likely to appear in the media regularly, it is essential that you learn not to take comments too seriously or you just won’t survive. What struck me more, though, was that he does come across as being comfortable in his own skin. He will openly admit that he’s not perfect but watching him host a programme about current affairs, it was clear that he had a sound set of morals, a real sense of empathy with others and a strong sense of loyalty to his family. The more you can feel secure in your own beliefs and strive towards being the best (not perfect) version of yourself, the stronger your armour against online attacks. On a final note, barefoot running can be an integral part of this. It has been for me. In the early days, I would sometimes question if I was doing the right thing, but with every moment of doubt, I looked at the simple and the obvious and kept moving forwards, knowing it felt right for me. Nobody can berate you for how you choose to run and whatever path in life feels the most ‘true’ to you should be the one that you follow. As long as you’re not intentionally hurting somebody else, just enjoy the ride!

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David’s laboratory Better for a brew? - Tea’s effect on sports performance

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s is the case for many British people, tea is a staple part of my diet. We here in “Blighty” are the third largest tea consumer in the world, consuming 4.281 lbs per capita per year.[1] Personally, I think I consume that amount per month! With this statistic in mind, I decided to find out what research has to say about the consumption of tea and its effect on athletic performance. So, pop the kettle on and let’s have a look! There are many versions of tea on the market, from herbal fruit teas to the more commonly consumed green and black/red varieties. However, for this article I will be focusing particularly on green tea, the world’s most widely consumed beverage after water and includes my favourite tea of all, Nihoncha, or Japanese tea. Due to its widespread consumption, it is the most researched of the tea family for its health-giving properties, but what can it do for the athletic community? The origins of green tea can be traced back over 4,000 years in China to 2737 BC during the reign of Emperor Shennong[2] and even then there was a speculation as to its health benefits in all of South East Asia, including today’s Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam.[3] Most teas (excluding fruit and Rooibos teas) are made from the leaves of the “Camellia Sinensis” plant and it is the addition of the fermentation process that defines the colour of the tea. Unlike black (and on occasion, red) tea, which undergoes a full post-harvest fermentation stage before being dried and steamed, leading it to increase greatly in oxidation and therefore producing a subsequent reduction in the final concentration of some the key health-giving compounds, green tea is not fermented, but instead is dried and steamed at the fresh stage. Forgoing the fermentation process has been proven to deactivate an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase thought to commence oxidation and therefore protect key components associated with health and athletic performance.[4] One of these key components, in significantly higher levels, is catechins. Catechins are powerful, naturally occurring antioxidants of the

flavenoids variety found throughout the plant kingdom, of which four are present in high concentrations[5]:

   

Epigallocatechin-3-3-gallate (EGCG) approx 59% Epigallocatechin (EGC) approx 19% Epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG) approx 13% Epicatechin (EC) approx 6.4%

Although there are other components within green tea that are believed to be beneficial for human health, it is understood that the key components responsible, in the main, are these catechins - especially epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and that their exact ratios will depend on the way the tea is processed.[6] As I stated before, green tea has been considered to be a medicine and a healthful beverage in China for over four millennia, often being recommended for a multitude of ailments from headaches, aches and pains, and depression to detoxification and longevity, while promoting digestion, controlling bleeding and helping heal wounds. It also helps to regulate body temperature and blood sugar levels.[3]

tea and the reduction of coronary atherosclerosis amongst the male participants (but not the females). There was also the suggestion that the amount was significant; 2-3 cups per day and more than 4 cups per day proved to have a more positive and protective effect compared to 1 cup per day.[9] Green tea does not only aid cardiovascular health. More recent studies have indicated that its catechin content, along with caffeine (found in the majority of teas), may also help with fat loss in obese individuals. A number of studies found that the combination of catechins and caffeine produces a “thermogenic effect” (also known as diet-induced thermogenesis or postprandial thermogenesis, a reference to the increase in metabolic rate or the rate at which your body burns calories after ingestion of food), increasing the rate of fat oxidation[10] - and it is this rate of fat oxidation and the effects on bodyweight that could be the key to an increase in athletic performance.

One area of research is the role green tea catechins have in aiding the reduction of damage to cells in the body at the molecular level, an unavoidable event that occurs as a consequence of aerobic metabolism. Studies have shown that 1 to 6 cups of green tea per day can increase the antioxidant capacity of the bloodstream and therefore reduce the damage to cell lipids and even DNA![7] The anecdotal health claims from China over the millennia have been backed up with scientific research. For example, a Chinese study focusing on the consumption of moderately strengthened green tea, in amounts of 120ml per day or more for a period of one year, found that there was a significant reduction in the risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure), along with an enhancement of cardiovascular health of all the participants.[8] A study in Japan featuring 512 coronary patients (302 men and 210 women), aged 30 or over, found an association between green

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However, before you head out to buy a cup of green tea from the nearest Caffe Nero, be aware that data regarding green tea’s effect on an individual’s athletic performance is mixed, mainly due to the fact that the catechin content in green tea can vary dramatically according to where the tea plant is grown, how the raw tea is processed and even how the beverage is made. Some studies have shown that the type of green tea being used (e.g. instant, blended, decaffeinated), the brand, the amount used per serving, the brewing time and even the water temperature significantly affect the catechin content[11], making it very difficult to compare like for like in a controlled scientific study. Therefore, scientists have begun to study the effects of green tea catechins by using standardized

extracts of green tea, commonly known as green tea extracts or ‘GTEs’. These GTEs are formulated to contain a standard amount of the most biologically active and abundant of the green tea catechins – epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG. When these standardized GTE compounds are used in studies, the conclusions are both interesting and promising. A 2005 study carried out by Japanese scientists involving fifty weight and age -matched mice looked at the effect on metabolism and exercise performance during treadmill running.[11] The mice were divided into 5 groups of 10, each performing treadmill running for a specific duration of time. Each group was given one of the following treatment protocols:

    

Group one had a low-fat diet and not exercised (LF); Group two had a high-fat diet and not exercised (HF); Group three had a high-fat diet supplemented with GTE and not exercised (GTE-HF); Group four had a high-fat diet and exercised regularly (EX-HF); Group five had a high-fat diet supplemented with GTE and exercised regularly (GTEEX-HF).

The conclusion reached was that regular exercise alone produced a 24% reduction in weight gain induced by the high-fat diet/no exercise (HF).

Yet, the use of GTE alone (GTE-HF) reduced the weight gain by 47% and a combination of GTE and exercise (GTEEX-HF) resulted in an 89% weight reduction. Furthermore, it was found that the mice that exercised with GTE supplementation burned more of their bodily fat during their treadmill running than their counterparts running without GTE. The same research group went on to study the effects of GTE on swimming endurance, as well as effects on metabolism – again, using mice. They discovered that the mice supplemented with GTE had improved swimming times to exhaustion by 8-24% compared to the GTE non-supplemented control group. It’s worth noting that the dose was significant – the higher the GTE intake, the longer the mice were able to swim. Additionally, it was concluded that the GTE supplemented mice also produced a greater percentage of their energy from fat and had a lower level of lactate in their blood post-exercise. Interestingly, it was also shown through GTE studies on mice that, if GTE is consumed over a prolonged period of time, endurance performance decline normally associated with the aging process was reduced, and muscle cell genes involved in fat burning became more active during exercise, resulting in a performance boost. Okay, so mice are one thing, but what does the research on humans prove? Again the results are quite promising. United Kingdom Researchers at the

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University of Birmingham looked into the effects of GTE supplementation (366mgs of EGCG per day) on 12 healthy men performing 30 minutes of cycling at 60% of their maximal oxygen consumption or VO2max.[13] The results were convincing; those taking the GTE supplementation increased their fat consumption rates by an average of 17% compared to the inert placebo control group. The interesting thing about the University of Birmingham study was that the contribution of fat oxidation in regard to the total energy expenditure after GTE consumption was higher by some significant amount, indicating that additional fat oxidation brought on by supplementation was aiding in fuelling the prescribed activity. How does this relate to athletes? Well, if the athlete is able to derive more of their energy from fat deposits during endurance events, there will be fewer demands on glycogen stores (muscle carbohydrate) and therefore could improve endurance possibilities. Unfortunately, not all research has produced such positive results. A Swiss study in 2010 found that endurance cyclists, based on thirty minute trials, taking GTE for three weeks, did not gain any boost in performance.[14] So, while some research has found an inverse relationship between regular green tea consumption and body fat percentage in subjects that maintained the drinking habit for over a decade[15], many believe that these types of epidemiological studies on nutrition are difficult to quantify as the cause and effect may be due to multiple variables, such as exercise history, lifestyle and additional nutritional habits. Changing tack, let’s look at another component of green tea: caffeine. Tea typically contains no more than 60 milligrams of caffeine per 8 ounces. Green tea contains 24 to 40 milligrams, while black tea contains 14 to 61 milligrams, according to the Mayo Clinic. Interestingly, coffee contains as much as 150 milligrams per cup! It has been known for some time that caffeine has an effect on performance. Up until 2004 it was a banned substance according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), but has since been removed from the list of prohibited substances, with the WADA now believing that performance-enhancing doses of caffeine are practically

indistinguishable from everyday use.[16]

beverage alternatives and even though the catechin levels may not be constant, their effects, regardless of consistency, must be worth considering, be they to aid in performance, weight loss or just general health.

Caffeine has many effects, both mental and physical. Firstly, caffeine is believed to be able to metabolize fat in a similar way to tea catechins, while delaying the depletion of glycogen. In fact, studies have shown that during 15 minutes of activity there is a reduction in the loss of glycogen by up to fifty percent.[17] A 1979 study by Ivey et al. had 9 trained athletes completing a 2 hour cycle endurance test while consuming 250mg of caffeine one hour before the test and a subsequent 250mg dose divided into 15 minute intervals. It was found that the athletes were able to increase their output throughout the test, producing, on average, a 7% increase in total athletic output.[18]

Okay, that’s me done – time for another cuppa!

References 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Caffeine can also affect mental focus. Researcher Gene Spiller has performed many studies to prove that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. It is believed that, by inhibiting substances used to stop neural firing, caffeine can increase reaction speeds and awareness.[19]

7. 8.

9.

Rice University, whilst not condoning the use of caffeine by athletes, reported that athletes who wish to increase their endurance with the aid of caffeine should drink their tea/coffee or take their caffeine supplements 3 to 4 hours before they compete and to gain maximum benefits, they should abstain from drinking caffeinated drinks 3 to 4 days prior to competition to reduce tolerances.[20] It should be noted that too much caffeine can lead to caffeine dependency, and drastically reducing daily intake may create withdrawal symptoms that may impair athletic performance.

11.

12.

13.

14.

In conclusion

15.

There seems to be some gravitas to the use of tea as a performance enhancer. However, the quality and quantity are essential, so hoping to get high yielding benefits from normal - and to some degree unregulated - products found in your local supermarket may be something of a waste of time. With that said, tea - especially the green variations - is without doubt better option than many other

10.

16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

a

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Ferdman R A. Where the world’s biggest tea drinkers are. http://qz.com/168690/where-the-worlds-biggest -tea-drinkers-are; 20th January 2014 Dattner C, Boussabba S (2003), Emmanuelle J ed. The Book of Green Tea, Universe Books, ISBN 978-0-7893-0853-5; 24th March 2013 The History of Tea — Tea Bags and Makers, Inventors.about.com; 9th April 2012 Graham H N. Green tea composition, consumption, and polyphenol chemistry; Prev Med. 1992 May; 21(3):334-50. McKay D L, Blumberg J B. The role of tea in human health: an update; J Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Feb;21(1):1-13. Naglea D G, Ferreiraa D, Zhoua Y. Epigallocatechin-3gallate (EGCG): Chemical and biomedical perspectives; DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2006.06.020 Higdon J V, Frei B. Tea catechins and polyphenols: health effects, metabolism, and antioxidant functions; Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2003;43(1):89-143. Yang Y C, Lu F H, Wu J S, Wu C H, Chang C J. The protective effect of habitual tea consumption on hypertension; Arch Intern Med. 2004 Jul 26;164 (14):1534-40. Sasazuki S, Kodama H, Yoshimasu K, Liu Y, Washio M, Tanaka K, Tokunaga S, Kono S, Arai H, Doi Y, Kawano T, Nakagaki O, Takada K, Koyanagi S, Hiyamuta K, Nii T, Shirai K, Ideishi M, Arakawa K, Mohri M, Takeshita A. Relation between green tea consumption and the severity of coronary atherosclerosis among Japanese men and women; Ann Epidemiol. 2000 Aug; 10(6): 401-8. Dulloo A G, Duret C, Rohrer D, Girardier L, Mensi N, Fathi M, Chantre P, Vandermander J. Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans; Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Dec; 70 (6):1040-5. Henning S M, Fajardo-Lira C, Lee H W, Youssefian A A, Go V L W. Go & Heber D. Catechin Content of 18 Teas and a Green Tea Extract Supplement Correlates With the Antioxidant Capacity. Nutrition and Cancer, Volume 45, Issue 2; 2003 Takatoshi Murase , Satoshi Haramizu , Akira Shimotoyodome , Ichiro Tokimitsu , Tadashi Hase. Green tea extract improves running endurance in mice by stimulating lipid utilization during exercise, American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiolog; Published 1 June 2006 Vol. 290no. R1550-R1556DOI: 10.1152/ ajpregu.00752.2005 Venables MC, Hulston CJ, Cox HR, Jeukendrup A. Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar; 87(3):778-84. Eichenberger P, Mettler S, Arnold M, Colombani PC. No effects of three-week consumption of a green tea extract on time trial performance in endurancetrained men; Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2010 Jan;80(1): 54-64. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000006. Wu C H, Lu F H, Chang C S, Chang T C, Wang R H, Chang C J. Relationship among habitual tea consumption, percent body fat, and body fat distribution; Obes Res. 2003 Sep;11(9):1088-95. Society for Experimental Biology. Olympic gold? A new effect of caffeine boosts performance; 30th June 2010 Hartley J. Caffeine and Sports Performance. http:// www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/ health_psychology/caffeine_sports.htm Ivy J L, Costill D L, Fink W J, Lower R W. Influence of caffeine and carbohydrate feedings on endurance performance; Med Sci Sports. 1979 Spring; 11(1):6-11. Spiller G A. Caffeine. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 233-250; 1998 Irwin C, Desbrow B, Ellis A, O'Keeffe B, Grant G, Leveritt M. Caffeine withdrawal and high-intensity endurance cycling performance; J Sports Sci. 2011 Mar; 29(5):509-15. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2010.541480.

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Spring 2014

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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

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email: info@trbalance.com

Winter 2012/13

Page 69


Outside the lab

he Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry have called for a review of the Research and Development of antibiotics. There has recently been growing concern, worldwide, surrounding the overuse of antibiotics and subsequent new strains of bacteria emerging that are resistant to standard drugs. The UK government has set aside around £4 million for a research unit specifically geared towards investigating antimicrobial resistance and are encouraging more investment from the public and private sectors. Other governments are taking action too, for example a facility in Philadelphia has put together a research team to focus purely on working towards discovering new antibiotics. It is believed to be a potential world health crisis that requires some serious attention.

new eye test could be the latest breakthrough in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. A study has demonstrated that a scan of the lens and retina can accurately identify healthy individuals and those who are likely to be suffering early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. The scans look for beta-amyloid, the protein that builds up in clumps in the brains of sufferers. Researchers suggest that the scans could be carried out as part of regular eye examinations to identify the disease in its very early stages, as well as being used for continued monitoring of patients’ responses to therapy. It is good news for both the prevention and treatment of the disease.

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Barefoot Running Magazine


ew research has been released to suggest that reducing alcohol consumption, even for only light to moderate drinkers, can improve cardiovascular health. Contrary to previous research that showed detrimental effects only for those who drank heavily, but beneficial effects for light to moderate drinkers, this new study indicated that those participants who drank less over time (even when previous amounts were considered light or moderate) had a lower risk of coronary heart disease, lower blood pressure and lower body mass index. The study was funded by the British Heart Foundation and the Medical Research Council, with a collaboration of 155 investigators worldwide.

t has long been believed – and even proven through research – that plants respond to sound and touch. Many people talk to their plants, convinced that the plant can hear and understand them, much like a pet. Recently, two scientists, Heidi Appel and Rex Cocroft, have conducted studies investigating the reaction of plants to vibrations from predatory insects chewing on them. The two researchers replicated these vibrations in the lab using a reflected laser beam and results showed that the plants subjected to the vibrations produced more mustard oil as a defensive mechanism than those not receiving the vibration. The findings are potentially useful in agriculture, but quite upsetting for those who already had the notion that plants are aware of being eaten!

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Summer 2014

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Book review BORN TO WALK: Myofascial Efficiency and the Body in Movement (reviewed by Anna Toombs)

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have had the pleasure of attending one of James Earls’ workshops in the past and enjoyed his teaching manner, which includes an ability to explain quite complex ideas without losing anyone’s interest or understanding, delivered along with a wonderful Northern Irish sense of humour. His book, Born to Walk, manages to capture that same, almost light-hearted manner, lifting the work which, due to its complexity and detail, could potentially become quite heavy-going.

reader deeper into the ‘nitty gritty’ of mechanics, such as joint motion and tensegrity (the way our bodies maintain their shape through a combination of tension and compression), as well as providing a slightly more involved introduction to myfascia and the anatomy trains theory. Chapter Two continues to focus on mechanics (in much more detail than the basic ‘flexion’, ‘extension’, etc.) before the subsequent chapters layer on top of the fundamentals as Earls explains each of the anatomy trains and how they function during walking.

First of all, this is not a “fitness book” by any stretch of the imagination and shouldn’t be viewed as such. Second of all, the reader must have quite a good level of anatomical understanding as well as a familiarity with Thomas Myers’ “Anatomy Trains” (around which the book is based). Otherwise, they will get very lost! The book begins by encouraging the reader to think about the structure of the human body and its interaction with the environment. There are outside forces at work (such as gravity) and the body is not just a mechanical stack of building blocks but a three dimensional living thing – or, as Earls suggests, a four dimensional structure (the sagittal, frontal and transverse planes, plus time as the fourth dimension). Earls also explains a little about evolution and how the pelvis in particular has adapted for our bipedal gait. One of the reasons I mentioned that this is not a fitness book is that often, books relating to fitness in any way will talk about weight loss and muscle gain. Earls, however, is looking at the human body from an evolutionary point of view and explains something about which some people probably aren’t aware: Human beings are ‘designed’ to conserve energy – to be as energy efficient as possible. As runners we understand this to a certain extent, but the fundamental theory behind anatomy trains is that human movement occurs from elastic recoil rather than muscle contraction and therefore conserves energy. Earls explains the different muscular make up and pelvic anatomy that allows us humans to rely on this design and benefit from it. Once the introduction is complete, Chapter One continues to take the

Although the book is about walking and only touches briefly on running, I couldn’t help but read it from a running coach’s point of view and found it very useful in that respect. Earls discusses the “catapult effect” when talking about walking (which translates into the motion of running) and even if you aren’t familiar with anatomy trains, you can understand the basics and realize how things can go wrong if there are limits or some kind of dysfunction in any of the myofascial lines. Imagine a homemade catapult, one that you might have built as a kid using an elastic band and ‘Y’ shaped stick. The elastic potential of the elastic band was critical to the effectiveness of firing your missile. The very thick elastic bands didn’t stretch well and subsequently it wasn’t possible to achieve a good firing range; conversely, if an elastic band was too stretchy – or overstretched – it also had limited capacity for launching that balled up piece of paper across the room at your mate’s head. It’s a bit of an oversimplification but it helps you to visualize how crucial it is for the myofascia to have optimum potential for elasticity. As Earls writes: “In the absence of elastic energy,

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the muscles will have to work and thereby potentially become overused”. How often do we see overuse in runners? All the time! To make this even clearer, think of your movement during walking. As the right leg comes back, the left leg goes forward. Simply speaking, the front of the pelvis is on a stretch on the right side, gathering potential energy to then recoil forwards, whilst the back of the pelvis on the left side is also on a stretch, ready to recoil backwards. In fact, this stretch goes through what the anatomy trains theory terms the “Superficial Front Line” (SFL) and “Superficial Back Line” (SBL). These lines run right from the bottom to the top of the body, one on each side of the body. This side to side gathering and releasing of energy allows the body to move forward efficiently – if the system is functioning correctly. When you look at runners, quite often they will seem to be moving with a limp. You may have even felt it in your own walking or running – a tightness or restriction, often felt at the pelvis on one side, which makes your stride uneven. This will cause your body to compensate through other lines and certain areas will begin to overwork which is not only inefficient but will potentially result in pain and/or injury. Earls gives an example of how the repercussions of alterations in the myofascia can lead to problems: “An anterior head position and/or limited extension in the thoracic spine should also be addressed to reduce strain in the deep hip flexors. If the SFL cannot fully and properly engage, hip flexion may be initiated from the DFL (Deep Front Line) instead, leading to overuse”. Speaking of the Deep Front Line, this is the considered in Anatomy Trains to be the “core” (which, as Earls points out, is, “an overused and under-defined term”) as it meanders through the body at the deepest level. I like the way that Earls doesn’t always refer to the physical – his approach is that the mental and physical are very much linked: “…imagine your movement if you were to walk with a sense of depression or sadness. That internal

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deflation would rob something from the spring in your step”. This ties in well with the movement theories of Eric Franklin, who teaches visualization and mental exercises to help improve posture and movement. Earls also recognizes that dysfunction in the DFL may have its roots in an internal health problem or even an emotional issue. Dysfunction in the DFL can spread out into the other, more superficial lines and in the original Anatomy Trains book, I recall Thomas Myers explaining that if there is any kind of movement restriction in the body, the DFL is usually involved. The message here for keen walkers and runners, therapists and coaches, is not to immediately assume that a restriction is completely physical; always look at the whole picture. Other useful titbits include the observation that one of the goals during walking is to keep the head as level and still as possible. Earls explains the mechanisms involved in reducing the rotational movement happening at the pelvis so that it doesn’t disrupt the head position. Again, you may have noticed in your own running, or in others, that sometimes the head moves too much or, if it doesn’t, that the shoulders and neck are stiff. Is this due to some dysfunction lower in the spine and pelvis? Freedom in the spine and pelvis are key elements for efficient walking and running. Earls explains how dysfunction in the lateral lines (running down the sides of the body), perhaps through tightness in the lateral abdominals or quadratus lumborum muscles, can affect the ability of the body to differentiate between the pelvis and rib cage, leading to upper body sway side to side. One more little nugget that I found particularly interesting was Earls’ reminder to remember that all movement occurs in three planes and therefore to not be narrow-minded in any analysis. When explaining the Spiral Line (which crosses the body), he notes, when discussing over pronation and lack of control at the knee joint: “A weak gluteus maximus is often blamed, but this is not necessarily the case. We regularly load muscles in two planes and then have to control the movement in a third; if insufficient loading occurs in one of the other

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planes, we lose the advantage for decelerating the third. Therefore, when looking at a possibly weak gluteus maximus, we need to check if the hip is adducting enough (to stretch it frontally) and flexing enough (to stretch it sagittally) so that it needs less contraction to control the transverse lengthening”. I must admit, I had to read few sentences a number of times to allow things to be clear in my mind, but the layout of the book was certainly very helpful. I personally don’t like the way a lot of books have several columns of text on each page as I find it quite daunting, but Earls’ book is laid out in a very spacious manner, with only a few paragraphs on each page. Also, although I tend to prefer reading an explanation and then visualizing it, those of you who prefer the help of a diagram will not be disappointed; there are numerous pictures and diagrams to help explain the text. A word of caution: a couple of the diagrams were misleading, for example one was referred to in the text via the use of colours, but there were no corresponding colours on the diagram. Another had the labelling slightly out of sync. This is obviously an editing issue rather than anything to do with content per se. I read an unfavourable review of the book recently, none of which resonated with me, but one thing that the author did point out was Earl’s usage of the word “may”, as in, “this may mean”, or, “this may happen”. The reviewer concluded that Earls wasn’t convinced of his theory. I would take the opposite view; Earls clearly knows his stuff but isn’t arrogant enough to suggest that he ‘knows it all’. This, to me, is a sign of a good therapist: someone who has a wealth of knowledge and experience yet is open to new ideas and continually learning from his peers as well as his patients. Ultimately, this book, sprinkled with lovely quotes about walking, such as, “If you seek creative ideas go walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk,” (Raymond I. Myers), made me want to go for a walk! Earl’s fascination with and marvel at the miracle of the human body is evident throughout the book and readers should truly feel blessed after reading it. As he points out: “One of the most obvious ways we try to rise above nature is through


adornment, and when not passing our time inventing new methods of maiming and killing each other, humanity has often diverted its attention to novel ways of mutilating the body we inherited.” Earls goes on to briefly mention footwear, expanding on the point above and advocating ‘less is more’ with a familiar diagram of a woman wearing high heels and how they considerably alter posture. He suggests light, flexible shoes with a wide toe box – a protective covering for the foot without compromising mechanics. In conclusion, I found this book a very interesting and enjoyable read. It is based on a theory that makes a lot of sense from a movement perspective and I would recommend it to any practitioner involved in body work or movement. I also encourage any walkers or runners to investigate the anatomy trains theory if they haven’t already come across it as it offers a sound theory of how the human body is put together and provides a pathway to improved – and therefore more enjoyable! – movement.

Born to Walk: Myofascial Efficiency and the Body in Movement by James Earls Paperback: £17.25 Paperback: 216 pages Language: English Publisher: Lotus Publishing (30 April 2014) ISBN-10: 1583947698 ISBN-13: 978-1583947692

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After ankle ligament replacement surgery at the beginning of January (long story involving very stupid shoes) I'm hoping that next Tuesday my surgeon may give me the OK to try running again. I've not done any running at all since last June (broke my leg in July) but I've been doing a lot of walking in my VFFs which has, both my surgeon and physio agree, been fantastically good rehab. So...if I'm allowed to start running again - what would my tactics be? (Tessa, via facebook) Hi Tessa - sounds like you've really been through it! I wouldn't want to suggest anything too specific without seeing you but your journey back into running will need to involve stability/mobility work and very light plyometric work when the time is right. I would advise seeing someone for a programme geared towards

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getting you back to running and with whom you can have regular contact. A structure is definitely important but you need the tools to know how to modify the structure of your exercise according to how your body is adapting.

half marathon (19/10/14) and the Great South Run (26/10/14). I have run 10 miles the weekend before last, 13.3 miles last weekend and aiming to run 13 miles this weekend. Look forward to hearing from you both Kind regards

Perhaps the physio can give you a few more exercises to be getting on with? The number one rule must be patience but I expect you've already learnt that since your surgery! Having as little on your feet as possible will be good too. Hope you get the go ahead to begin your journey back to running - good luck!

Hi, I have heard that soaking your feet in surgical spirit will toughen them up and avoid blisters! Please can you tell me if this will work as I am training for the Peterborough half marathon (12/10/14), Amsterdam

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Barefoot Blonde (via email)

Hi Barefoot Blonde To be honest, surgical spirit isn’t one that we’ve heard about! As you are probably aware, your feet gradually toughen up with barefoot running anyway. Blisters will form if there is an issue with your technique and/or you increase speed or mileage too quickly. It sounds as though your training is going pretty well if you’re already


up to half marathon distance and your races aren’t until October. I would suggest keeping going as you are and rely on your body to keep adapting and growing stronger. Good luck with your runs in October - always listen to your body and don’t push it if you feel something isn’t right! All the best Anna & David

And another from Barefoot Blonde… Hi Anna and David Just another question regarding running pose, for example I read that some well known barefoot runners have different ways of running barefooted - stand tall and lean from the ankles, letting gravity pull you forward (Dr. Mark Cucuzzella) and then there is stand tall but pull the hips forward (Ken Bob Saxton, Lee Saxby/ Christopher McDougall). I have tried both variations, which one would you recommend as one over the other! I have done two weekends of running (10 miles and 13.3 miles), resting during the week no running, the amazing situation is that my feet and legs recover after two days, which I am putting down to Cherry Active juice and chia seeds. Do you Anna and Dave have the same recovery time? Look forward to hearing from you soon.

history, etc. but also due to outside factors such as weather and terrain. The rule is really to make sure that your underlying movement is sound, so that there are no restrictions, and then really just experiment and see what feels right for you. Personally, I find that I can find quite a consistent rhythm on roads but, off road, the terrain varies so much that it is actually detrimental to try and maintain a particular form and I find it best to relax and let my body adapt naturally. Regarding recovery, again it varies person to person but the best recovery comes when the body is under the least amount of stress, so good diet, sleep, happy work and family environment are all conducive to swifter recovery. Of course, the harder the workout, the more recovery is needed and along the same vein, if you do consecutive days of exercise at quite a high intensity, it’ll eventually take its toll. Varying intensity of workouts is key. I’ve heard good things about Cherry Active juice and Chia seeds but generally a diet of lots of veg (raw for me, steamed for David) and not too many processed foods works for us. Not that we don’t indulge sometimes! I don’t know how I’d be doing just one long run per week – I would simply miss running too much! All the best and continue to have fun with your running – that’s what it’s all about! Anna & David

Kind regards Alec (Barefoot Blonde via email).

Hi Barefoot Blonde It can be very useful indeed to read accounts of what other barefoot runners have experienced and there is some great reading material out there. However, I would also remind you that running form is quite a personal thing. There are some basic mechanics that apply to all, but there are numerous variations on the details and this is due to aspects personal to the runner, such as genetics, injury history, exercise

Send your running questions to Anna & David and they will endeavour to answer them for you: questions@bfrm.co.uk

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uman laughter is an ancient phenomenon but what is laughter and why do we do it? For this mission I was sent to find out why we are born to laugh. Many years ago, I saw a feature on breakfast television. A group of people were lying in a circle, their heads together and their eyes closed. It looked like a regular meditation class apart from one thing. They were laughing uncontrollably. It seemed contagious and slowly as the laughter died down, someone would giggle and the whole group would go into fits again. I put it on my list of things to try but I had never done anything about it so I was delighted when Anna contacted me to investigate further for my next roving reporter mission.

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That is how I found myself in the home of laughter specialist, Robin Graham. Robin is a director of Feelgood Communities and I joined him one Friday evening for a session at the end of the Laughter Network 10th Anniversary Conference. The conference had run for 6 days and Robin had collected together a number of eminent speakers including neuroscience professor Sophie Scott and medical doctor Madan Kataria. Madan is the creator of laughter yoga and has worked in well over 70 countries inspiring laughter leaders. I was taking part in the final session which was a simultaneous laughter session linking with other groups across the Greater Manchester area. I am drawn to laughter. It feels primeval and rooted deep within

Barefoot Running Magazine

us as human beings. But what is its purpose? Why do we feel so good when we laugh? Human beings don’t laugh by accident. It is evolutionary. We are designed to do it and our bodies give us all manner of incentives for laughing. Why do our bodies do that? How is laughter linked to our development as a species and, importantly, how can we harness its usefulness in modern times? Over the course of about 3 hours, I found that Robin was very skilled at helping people find the laughter within them. I also discovered quickly that laughter is a serious business. It is not all linked to humour and only a small proportion of human laughter is in response to something funny. The more you become aware, the more you see that when humans


interact, laughter is almost ever present. We use it in greetings, to overcome awkwardness and as punctuation in our conversations. In short, laughter is a form of communication. We laugh when alone but not as often as in company and more often when a proxy person such as a TV set or radio is with us. As a species, we have been laughing for over 2 million years, well before the development of speech. It is controlled by a primitive part of the brain in the same way that our reptilian response to danger allows us to react at lightning speed. If it was a competition, laughter would win over speech every time. Most of us have been in a situation where we have needed to speak but laughter grips us and we cannot get the words out. If laughter is communication then what is it trying to say? There are a number of theories but one common theme seems to be that laughter is a sign to the group that danger has passed. Imagine us hunting out on the plains and suddenly danger comes our way. Our bodies react in an amazing way to help us cope with that. The danger then passes and laughter is our natural way of showing that. You can easily move that forward in time to a fun fair or horror movie. Look at the faces of the groups leaving the ride or theatre. Integrated with the sense of relief will be group laughter.

It also tallies with Robin’s theory that laughter is a release mechanism. When we experience great stress in one form or another, laughter is our evolutionary way of bringing the body and mind back to the centre again quickly. It does that by making physical changes. Laughter dilates blood vessels, releases endorphins and brings our levels of the stress hormone cortisol down. We are runners, we can relate to that. It sounds very familiar. I often say that running keeps me level. It may well be true that laughing regularly can do exactly the same thing. Sitting in a small circle of laughter leaders in an outside space near Robin’s home, we began the session. I had no idea how Robin was going to make us laugh and that made me worried. What do you do in such a situation? Do you laugh to be polite or sit in stony faced silence? I was feeling the pressure but need not have worried. Robin proved to be very skilled at allowing us to find the laughter within us. He started off by showing us how to laugh. We used our mouths and eyes and made laughing noises. Robin has a gleam of fun in his eyes that is hard to ignore. He takes his job very seriously but laughter is only a heartbeat away. We played a few games to get us going. It included a complicated game that involved

passing an object around the group. He purposely didn’t explain the rules and everyone was so confused and making mistakes that we all burst out laughing. Confusion in a group brings out the laughs. Sneaky! We held in depth conversations on very serious subjects but were only allowed to speak in gibberish. The laughs just come out, it is very difficult to stop them. We played a game where we had to pick up a stuffed frog. If we were heavy handed, it would leap up and start to dance. Even though we knew what was coming, the laughs came in the same way as they did when playing Buckaroo as a child. Before long, we were laughing freely and the mood was changing. The laughter was bringing us together in a shared experience. I was beginning to feel like I was one of the group and that I belonged. Robin moved us on to some of the therapeutic uses of laughter. Laughter is associated with every human emotion other than grief. Robin related a story about his life and the smile came out when he reached a part that clearly caused him sadness. Laughter coaches utilize that signal of emotion. We talked to each other about something that was causing us concern. As we listened, we waited for the laughter to show itself. When it did, we directed the conversation down that path until

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we got to the nub of the issue. In modern life, some people can find themselves alone for much longer periods of time than our ancestors ever did. Social interaction and laughter may not be there for them and they can end up dwelling on an unhappy and stressful situation for many days. Robin encouraged us to develop our own laughter mantra and repeat it over and over. If we find ourselves feeling down, he described how repeating this mantra over and over can lead to similar effects to laughter and cause physical changes in our bodies that lift us out of a slump. Having not known what to expect, I was enjoying watching Robin work with the group. His mood was that of fun and playfulness throughout. On a couple of occasions, however, he did become serious. That was when he thought claims were being made that could not be backed up by evidence. He had just returned from conducting a laughter session at the Welsh Assembly. This is his work and he is serious about the benefits of laughter and the session was all the better for that. I mentioned the breakfast television feature that I had seen many years before. One of the laughter leaders in the group had seen the same feature and that was how we all found ourselves lying on our backs with our heads together in Robin’s living room for a session of laughter meditation. Robin asked us to close our eyes and make the physical exhalations that

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we would if we were laughing. We were not to force laughter but to keep the exhalations consistent. It is like a steam engine. The exhalations are like stoking a boiler and to build up a head of steam, you need to put in some effort.

and binds us together. It was time for me to go but the honest truth was that I did not want to leave. I felt a bond with these people that I did not want to break. Three hours previously, I had not met any of them but now they felt like friends.

Whilst we did that, Robin took us through a guided meditation. It was calm, peaceful and pretty standard at first. Then he added the odd twist which set a couple of people off laughing. I could hear it catching fire as the laughter spread from person to person but nothing with me. I was smiling and enjoying myself but definitely not laughing.

Human beings are social animals and are meant to spend time together in groups. Before language existed, we were living together and forming strong bonds through our shared human laughter. In modern life, we live under immense pressure and sometimes shut ourselves away in a manner that is alien to our species.

I kept the exhalations going and then suddenly I coughed and was away. I was laughing uncontrollably. I couldn’t help myself and laughter took over my body. It lasted a little while and then went away. I lay with a big smile on my face and then something else happened and I was away and laughing uncontrollably again. Robin then brought us to the end of the meditation. It took a while because as soon as we all stopped laughing, one person would snigger or grunt and that would set everyone off again. That was when the magic really happened for me. I sat up and looked around. I had had a pleasant evening but what was the point. Had I benefitted and had I learnt anything useful? What I learnt was that laughter is like social glue. It unites us as a species

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Robin reminds us that laughter is not just a pleasant add on to life but a central part of our existence. Like running, it keeps us level and centred and without it, we can end up heading down darkened paths. Social interaction seems to be the key. Seek it out. Make it part of your day. Get together in a group and the laughter will come. If you would like to know more about laughter and the work that Robin and his colleagues do then check out the Laughter Network at www.laughternetwork.co.uk. It will be worth your while. We are not only born to run, we are definitely born to laugh.


The Tarahumara, or Raramuri, are Mexican Copper Canyon Indians who have preserved their culture and way of life, one aspect of which is their passion for running. These Tarahumara started to compete and win many of the toughest U.S. ultramarathons in the early 1990’s, surprising the running world, mainly due to the fact that they elected to wear handmade sandals and cotton trousers. Following their amazing success, many European and American brands developed and launched Tarahumara inspired running sandals. However, none of them had been made by artisans and Tarahumara runners - until now!

How to enter

The famous Tarahumara runners are from which remote region? A. Yellowstone National Park B. Brighton and Hove C. The Copper Canyons

Competition closes midnight 15th October 2014. Entrants are open to all, aged 18 or over, except employees of TRC Publishing UK Limited and their families, its developers and anyone connected with the competitions. No purchase is necessary. Email entries: Send your answer to: competitions@barefootrunningmagazine.com. Postal Entries: These should be sent to Barefoot Running Magazine, 21 Lyric Mews, Silverdale, London, SE26 4TD, please remember to state the issue number for which you are providing the entry. For more information on the terms and conditions, please visit our website at: www.barefootrunningmagazine.com

See adjacent text for entry details.

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Injury Corner No need for knee pain – running, cycling, or anytime by the Sock Doc

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nee pain is a common complaint for many runners, cyclists, and triathletes leading them to succumb to pain medication, anti-inflammatories, knee braces and other contraptions just so they can continue pushing through the miles. From elite athletes to fitness walkers, an individual may be told they have bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis, chondromalacia patellae, iliotibial band frictional syndrome, a meniscus problem or some other ailment as their diagnosis gives a name to the problem but does absolutely nothing to treat the condition or tell them how it even occurred in the first place. The balance of the muscles surrounding the entire knee joint is essential for the knee to function normally, as well as to provide maximum power and strength. Starting in the front of the leg, the quadriceps make up the majority of the musculature as well as the patella tendon. Often athletes are told they have tendonitis if there is pain below the kneecap or bursitis if there is pain above the kneecap. The integrity of the quadriceps and their balance with the hamstrings and gluteus maximus muscles is of utmost importance. With respect to gait, fatigued (“weak”) quads will cause an athlete to run with an exaggerated kick back with each push-off. Another symptom of fatigued quads is a feeling of weak knees or thigh muscles when climbing stairs, or being unable to stay in a squatted/kneeling position for a while without pain and/or discomfort in the thigh or knee itself. Often this is because the quads are working too hard because the powerful gluteus maximus muscles are not functioning correctly, perhaps from injury, overtraining, or some disturbance in the gait.

the back of the knee, it’s known as a Baker’s Cyst. Bursitis must be treated differently than tendonitis, though often a person is given a pain drug and/or anti-inflammatory drug for any problem, hoping for the best. To heal the bursa, one needs optimal calcium metabolism; this is the key point for bursitis. This does not just mean that calcium needs to be available in the body, but the proper balance of fats is also needed to drive the calcium into the soft tissue to heal the bursa. It is the fatty acid balance that most people don’t have in their favour. Optimum fatty acid balance means two basic things – no harmful fats and plenty of the healthy ones. Harmful fats are the partially hydrogenated fats, commonly referred to as “trans” fats as well as excess vegetable oils. Trans fats are listed as margarine, shortening, and as partially hydrogenated corn, vegetable, soy, cottonseed or some other oil on a package. These fats cause a lot of inflammation and block essential enzyme reactions from occurring while also preventing the good, anti-inflammatory fats from doing their jobs. Even eating them a little bit is a problem because the half-life is a whopping 51 days. That means after 102 days there is still 25% of the stuff causing problems and over a year before some people can metabolize all of it entirely. This pretty much ends the debate whether to eat margarine or butter. Those still

eating margarine because they were told it is better for cholesterol and body weight can see why it’s beneficial to change to butter and get the laboratory-made trans fat out of the diet 100%. Healthy fats are the essential omega -3 and omega-6 fats. Most people are deficient in the omega-3s because they are primarily from fish and flax seeds, and to some extent walnuts – foods often not consumed in high amounts. Most eat too many omega-6s fats found in processed, packaged, and fast food. Healthy omega-6 fats are plentiful in most vegetables, nuts and seeds, and legumes but the ones found in soy, corn, safflower, and peanut oils can quickly inflame the body, especially when consumed with too many carbohydrates. So a good amount of both omega-3, (perhaps supplementing with flax or fish oil), and omega-6 fats from raw nuts, seeds and vegetables, and a diet absent of trans fats will allow the body to fight inflammation and recover faster, as well as lower cholesterol and heart disease risk. And, for the purpose of this topic, it will allow calcium to be pushed into the tissues to heal inflamed bursa. As a side note, two other symptoms of inadequate calcium metabolism

Deep inside the very lower front part of the thigh muscles, just on top of the femur (thigh bone) lies a very small, but sometimes very troublesome muscle called the articularis genu. It is many times overlooked in knee problems, especially those chronic in nature, and can be a major culprit with what may appear to be bursitislike problems. Deep trigger-point work on this muscle can sometimes be of great benefit, allowing the muscle to heal. But sometimes that fluid-filled sac between the tendon and the bone can be inflamed, which is called bursitis. If it’s on

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due to poor fatty acid metabolism are calf cramps, especially ones at night that resemble “Charley horses”, and cold sores/fever blisters, including herpes simplex infections. (Yes, these are viral infections, but their eruption is often provoked by a calcium problem.) Also, although olive oil is a great fat to eat and should be included in every diet, it is not considered an essential fat because it is an omega-9.

muscles come together to make up a significant amount of support for the inside of knee. When these muscles are not working as well as they should, they leave the medial meniscus open for problems due to the improper biomechanics of the joint. The imbalance of these muscles, and often pain and/or weakness around the inside of the knee is usually associated with adrenal gland problems. An athlete will often have this discomfort along with other adrenal gland related symptoms – dizzy when standing up, a craving for salt and/or sugar, irritability and blood sugar handling problems, and perhaps a history of shin splints or plantar fasciitis. Sleep problems as I discuss here, and poor performance while training and racing are signs that the adrenals are taxed too. Evaluation of overall stress – training, diet, and lifestyle is of utmost importance.

“And let’s not forget how important footwear is and the mechanics of the feet when dealing with knee pain too…” Tendonitis of the knee is perhaps the most common diagnosis given to many runners when there is pain around the knee that isn’t in the meniscus or the actual muscles. One such tendon pain is along the iliotibial band, or ITB, and a major complaint that forces many runners to stop their activity all together, sometimes for many months. The pain, known as ITB Frictional Syndrome, (ITBS), is a stabbing pain over the outside of the knee, and sometimes on the outside of the mid-thigh region. Athletes are told to ice it and take some anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs). However, this rarely helps with healing as many know after the fact if they’ve dealt with this miserable injury. The use of these NSAID drugs causes a major amount of sulfur depletion in the body, and this is the same stuff needed to repair the cartilage (such as knee cartilage!) and detoxify hormones in the liver. Instead of using NSAIDs, this problem can usually be treated quickly and without the use of medication by evaluating the balance of the muscles contributing to the pain as well as addressing fatty acid imbalances. Pain on the inside of the knee is just as common, especially at the area called the pes anserinus which is just to the inside of the lower part of the knee. This is where three

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The muscles of the back of the knee cannot be forgotten as they often are. The hamstrings as well as the calf muscles are two of the major players here – with such a great distance that these muscles span on the back of the leg, they are very important not only for the knee, but the foot and low back as well. These muscles functioning abnormally will cause the athlete to have a foot problem, or a knee problem, or a lower back or hip problem, or maybe one after the other – or simultaneously. These also tend to occur from taxed adrenal glands due to too many life stresses at once, or excess anaerobic activity, or a poor diet. And let’s not forget how important footwear is and the mechanics of the feet when dealing with knee pain too… Proper pronation of the foot, a major source of shock absorption, and the muscles of the foot are extremely important for the health of the knee. If the foot is not functioning optimally then the knee takes a lot more stress than it is able to handle leading to various aches and pains as described above. A strong foot is necessary for a strong knee, and that means considering minimalist-type footwear and staying barefoot as much as possible so the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the feet become strong and supportive to provide proper proprioception, balance , and power, not just to the knee, but the entire body.

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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


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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Winter 2012/13

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Available direct from www.trcpublishinguk.com


Technical tip Re-evaluating your barefoot running by Anna Toombs

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any readers of the magazine are runners who have heard about barefoot running and are interested in learning more. Others have just started and are in those initial, “Wow, this feels good but it hurts too!” stages. Some of you, like David [Robinson] and me, have been running barefoot for several years. We have found that our perspectives and goals have changed since we first began and recognizing this – thinking it through – allows us to keep making the most of our barefoot running experiences. Here are some ideas to ponder on or to use more actively if you feel that your barefoot running needs a fresh approach.

1) Running form Form, or technique, is a huge topic in relation to running. Even more so since barefoot running (or minimalist running) has become more mainstream. When people first start barefoot running, the tendency is often to scour the internet for tips on how to do it, which can result in running too high up on your toes, running too rigidly or even shuffling along as though you’ve had an accident in your pants! Don’t get too bogged down with running with such an exact technique. Everyone is different and what works for one may not necessarily work for another. As Daniel Lieberman has pointed out in the past, running is a natural movement that we shouldn’t have to think about and in an ideal (or natural!) world, this is true. However, most people will have altered mechanics which need addressing separately – your mind might know what it wants your body to do but physical restrictions will not allow it. So, ask a professional to look at your specific movement, learn some exercises to help improve your overall mechanics and then when you’re out running, just try to relax a bit more.

2) Barefoot walking When we wrote our book about barefoot running, Professor Daniel Howell kindly wrote the foreword for us, advocating the benefits of walking barefoot. Do not underestimate these benefits! Walking barefoot will allow you to strengthen

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your feet and thicken the soles but with less overall demand on your body. Don’t always assume that you need to be running and chasing PBs, particularly if your body doesn’t feel as though it’s responding well to running.

lead to trying to place your feet in a certain position as well as causing a halting style of gait. As you practise more, however, you’ll begin to learn to think – or feel – your body as an integrated whole.

3) Being a fanatic! When we first began barefoot running, we were so excited about it that we probably bored a lot of people to tears, touting the benefits and encouraging everyone to try it. We have found (as have many of our peers) that the initial passion, though it remains, becomes a more deep-rooted appreciation that is something personal and quite profound. It is nice to be part of a group of like-minded runners and meeting up is fun, but at the same time we view it as an experience unique to each person, understanding that there can be as many ‘downs’ as ‘ups’ and allowing the journey to be more than just about “running without shoes to prevent injury”. Keep an open mind too about other runner’s preferences. Choosing the path of running barefoot shouldn’t mean that you become separated from anyone who runs in shoes. Embrace each other’s differences and enjoy the community aspect and support that running can bring.

4) Forget your feet! When you first start barefoot running, you will focus a lot on your feet – mainly because they hurt! This can

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If your feet don’t seem to be getting any less sore, this can often be a sign of something technique-related. Try to feel what’s happening above your feet, allowing your body to relax, with freedom in your hips and shoulders. Don’t be afraid of the ground! The ground is your friend – use it to gather that all-important GRF (Ground Reaction Force).

5) Don’t let barefoot running be another thing at which you either succeed or fail So much of running can be about trying to beat times or distance. Those who seem to be the most successful with barefoot running are the ones who are able to find a balance between competitiveness and patience. Many runners who come to us for technical help have already been running barefoot or in minimal shoes for some time but are struggling with new niggles and injuries. A part of their problem is that they are trying to be good at barefoot running NOW. In other words, they’re putting a time limit on the point where they feel they can call themselves a barefoot runner. Take the timing out of the equation and your barefoot running journey will immediately begin to run much smoother!

Barefoot Running Magazine

6) Don’t be afraid of adaptation If you’ve given yourself the challenge of running barefoot, wearing shoes can feel like you’re cheating. Also, if you’ve established a certain running speed, running slower than that can feel as though you’re somehow going backwards. However, if you’ve made the switch to running barefoot, this doesn’t mean that your journey won’t take you back to shoes when it’s necessary. If the temperatures are extreme (hot or cold), shoes might be a good idea. You may also need to slow down if the terrain is rough or slippery. Don’t chide yourself for making necessary modifications to your pure and constant barefoot running. Learn to go with the flow and be adaptive – one of the most amazing things about human beings is their capacity for adaptation.

7) Don’t blame the shoes! Keep getting injured? Don’t blame the shoes! Disregarding impact or acute injuries, most – if not all – overuse injuries that we come across are influenced by mentality. The barefoot running world is rife with stories of injured runners transitioning to a minimalist shoe and getting a stress fracture or other “shoe-related” problem. It’s difficult to ascertain the level of injury in people who purely run barefoot, starting from scratch and building up according to what their feet will allow. Certainly, wearing

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shoes can mask feedback which means you may well run further than is desirable for your body, but are the shoes to blame? It is your choice to wear the shoes, often admitting that you’re using them specifically for going further or faster than you can without them. The reason that barefoot running has been linked to less injury is that, if you are barefoot, you can only run as far or as fast as your body is capable. Learning to tap into what your body is telling you is the magical key, the fact that you’re barefoot facilitates this. A favourite quote from renowned yoga teacher, Travis Eliot, is this: “The foundation for any healthy relationship requires two things: one is communication, the other is listening. Your body is certainly communicating with you, but are you listening?…Are you listening?”

8) Challenge → saviour → challenge When you first begin barefoot running, it’s a real challenge. It requires a loss of speed and mileage and often some real adjustments in running technique. Not to mention tender feet! However, once you’ve taken some time to adjust, barefoot running can feel like a saviour – it liberates you from the stress of beating times and mileage, it helps you to enjoy your running, you feel the therapeutic

benefits of the earth beneath you as your running becomes more effortless. But wait! For many, it doesn’t end there! There are quite a few, more experienced barefoot runners who are now seeking out new challenges – more extreme temperatures and terrain, enjoying battling the elements. Barefoot running has become a challenge again but in a different, almost more primal way. You’re not against your watch; you’re embracing nature and strengthening your innermost being.

9) One size fits all – NOT! This has been touched on in some of the points above. However, it

can’t be stressed enough: your barefoot running journey is yours and yours alone. You can seek guidance from books, the internet, friends, etc. but just because someone you know happily ran their first 10k barefoot after only a month, doesn’t mean that you should strive for this too. Take some time out to think about what you want to gain from running barefoot, listen to your body, seek some personal coaching if you feel that you need some outside assistance and enjoy the progress that you are making; don’t feel substandard compared to your peers.

10) It’s not just about the running! Whilst many people start barefoot running with the aim of reducing injuries and improving form, for most, it becomes much more. David and I have been immersed in the barefoot running world for five or so years and have changed our diets and our outlook on life, as well as meeting some wonderful people who have become good friends. Barefoot running helps you re-assess what you’re doing, become less stressed, less materialistic and more empathetic towards others. For us and many of our barefoot running peers, barefoot running literally helps keep your feet on the ground, remembering not to take life too seriously. Running is at the heart of this but if you let it, it will improve your overall quality of life through the people you meet and through making positive lifestyle modifications. Run Strong, Run Free!

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

Lynne Allbutt on her incredible 51-mile run, barefoot, across Wales

Denis Ballant running his first trail event, barefoot, at the Trail des Bosses, 25k, in Belgium

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Andrzej Pilski runs in the Jantarowy Przełaj. Photo courtesy of Annie Andrearczyk

Photo bomb! Laine Shepherd and Tracy Davenport having fun during the Bluebell 10 miler

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Nutritional nugget Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? by Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. (The Paleo Mom)

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he paleo community is accustomed to pushing back against dietary recommendations from the USDA and medical establishment. We like to argue that whole grains and legumes are universally detrimental to human health, that the high omega-6 fatty acid content of modern vegetable oils and grain-fed meat is responsible for the rise in cardiovascular disease seen in the last three decades, and that eating refined sugars causes decreased insulin and leptin sensitivity and is responsible for the current diabetes epidemic. These arguments are all extremely well backed-up with solid science, which is one of the reasons why the paleo diet is so successful. The paleo diet is the first diet to be based on comprehensive, current, high-quality scientific evidence of the effect of specific foods on our overall health (and structured with an ancestral health perspective). And while aspects of this diet will almost certainly change as more research is performed, the foundation is rock solid. When it comes to whether or not breakfast is important, the paleo community is firmly divided. Many supporters of intermittent fasting prefer to skip breakfast at least a couple of times per week (Chris Kresser has stated that he skips breakfast 2-3 times per week), while other paleo gurus almost never eat breakfast at all (Mark Sisson has stated that he almost never eats breakfast, Mat Lalonde doesn’t eat until lunch and sometimes only eats one meal per day). The rationale

behind skipping breakfast comes from two places: listening to our bodies and not eating until we’re hungry and the benefits of intermittent fasting. Many in the paleo community will tell you that breakfast is “just another meal” and there is nothing special about it. Many will tell you that if you aren’t hungry in the morning, you shouldn’t eat. I believe this to be true for people who are already extremely healthy, but if you have a history of metabolic derangement (i.e., if you were ever very overweight) or a history of adrenal fatigue, then skipping breakfast might not be such a good idea. Cortisol management is a key goal of a paleolithic lifestyle and is essential for regulating inflammation, boosting the immune system, and regulating energy and mood. Cortisol is an essential hormone, involved not only in the body’s normal stress response, but also in regulating blood sugar and circadian rhythms. Cortisol is naturally at its highest in the morning. If you are getting adequate sleep and managing your stress, your cortisol level gradually decreases throughout the day and the first three quarters of your night’s sleep. There are two ways your cortisol can be disregulated. The first is chronically elevated cortisol, where your cortisol still decreases throughout the day but remains higher than normal at all times. The second is where your cortisol starts off low in the morning and increases through the day, which is the source of that

second wind in the evening for many who are chronically sleep-deprived (this is called the “tired and wired” pattern). If you have a history of adrenal fatigue, inadequate sleep or poor sleep quality, metabolic syndrome or obesity, or poor stress management, then you may not have normal cortisol levels (you might have chronically elevated cortisol or tired and wired cortisol expression). And even if you have made progress toward addressing these issues, your cortisol management may be tenuous. This is what happened to me. The issue with skipping breakfast is that your body increases cortisol in order to stimulate glycolysis or gluconeogenesis to raise your blood sugar so that your body has energy for whatever you are doing. If you have a morning coffee, your cortisol will increase even more. In a very healthy individual with perfectly normal cortisol levels and wellregulated expression of hunger hormones, good insulin-sensitivity and good leptin-sensitivity, this rise is temporary and the body adapts beautifully. But if you don’t have normal cortisol levels or optimal insulin sensitivity or optimal leptin sensitivity or well-regulated ghrelin, this rise in cortisol in the morning can lead to increased cortisol throughout the day or abnormal swings in cortisol levels. Importantly, there is evidence that women are more susceptible to an exaggerated cortisol response to fasting. Women, therefore, are less likely to see a benefit to routinely

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skipping breakfast. When I started skipping breakfast on a regular basis, I noticed that my weight started creeping up and that my sleep quality deteriorated, classic signs of high cortisol (of course it took me two months to figure this out!). When I started eating breakfast again, I found that my hunger was less throughout the day, I lost the weight that I had gained quite quickly, and I started sleeping much better. If your goal is weight loss, then skipping breakfast routinely is probably not the best choice (it’s probably fine and maybe even beneficial if you are already quite lean and very healthy).

In fact, eating breakfast every day is one of the three habits known to correlate very strongly with not only weight loss success but also in maintaining that weight loss once your goal weight is reached. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t experiment with intermittent fasting. And it doesn’t mean that skipping breakfast on a regular basis won’t work well for you in the future. Just be mindful of how it’s affecting you so that you can gauge whether or not breakfast really is the most important meal of the day for you.

Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. (a.k.a. The Paleo Mom) is the blogger behind the award-winning www.ThePaleoMom.com, co-host of the syndicated top-rated The Paleo View Podcast, and author of critically-acclaimed The Paleo Approach and the upcoming The Paleo Approach Cookbook. Sarah earned her doctorate degree in medical biophysics at the age of 26. She spent the next four years doing research on innate immunity and inflammation before becoming a stay-at-home mom. After her second daughter was born, she began to experiment with the Paleo lifestyle. It had an amazing effect on her health, including contributing to her 120-pound weight loss! Over time, she healed herself of a long laundry list of physical complaints including: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, acid reflux, migraines, anxiety, asthma, allergies, psoriasis and an autoimmune skin condition called lichen planus. Sarah successfully transitioned her originally sceptical husband and two spirited young daughters to a paleo diet and lifestyle. Her passion for providing straightforward explanations of the science behind the paleo diet and its modifications, plus her love of food and cooking and her dedication to her family, form the foundations of her blog, her podcast and her books. You can also find Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Caught in the web www.caughtintheweb.com/summer2014/issue12/page53

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Stuff that’s going on

he second Baltic Barefoot Ultramarathon is taking place this year on Saturday 30th August. Organized by the Latvian Barefoot Running Society, there are three different distance options – 11km, 32km and 53km. The course is barefoot friendly, along sand beaches with no pebbles or other obstacles. There is a video of last year’s race available on the website along with further race info. “After the race it will be possible to rest at campfires on the beach, because this will be the ‘Night of Ancient Lights’, when everyone is welcomed to make a fire at sunrise at the coast of the Baltic Sea to symbolize the care about the Baltic Sea and at the same time saying goodbye to the summer.” To find out more, visit: www.bbultramarathon.com

Events

his event draws much interest each year, with last year’s participant count reaching 6,000! This year, it’s taking place on Sunday 5th October, with options for Supersprint, Sprint and Olympic distances. You can also enter teams. Several hundred places have already been sold, so if you like the sound of being a part of this race in the vibrant city of Barcelona, check out the website for further information, including room deals at the official Barcelona Princess Hotel, training plans and even training music available for download. All details (available in different languages) can be found here: www.garminbarcelonatriathlon.com 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.

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Stuff that’s going on

mpower Fitness have a series of weekend events happening at various locations around the USA. These fun, exciting exercise extravaganzas are geared towards fitness trainers and fitness enthusiasts looking to take part in various different classes as well as gain further certifications and continuing education points. Sessions will be led by some of the top names in the fitness industry, such as Keli Roberts and Rob Glick. There is the opportunity to become qualified in teaching classes such as Schwin, Tabata Boot Camp and Insanity.

The dates and venues are as follows: Minneapolis, MN, September 12th – 14th Denver, Co, September 26th – 28th Reston, VA, October 17th – 19th Atlanta, GA, November 14th – 16th Phoenix, AZ, December 5th – 7th For more information, visit: www.empowerfitnessevents.com

Events isit the beautiful Lake District in the UK and take part in a popular triathlon event, organized by the Tri Lakeland Triathlon Club and Trihard Events. The event includes the standard 1500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run. Both the cycle and run are described as “undulating” and the swim takes place in Bassenthwaite lake. As part of environmental awareness, to tackle the spread of water borne, non-native species, competitors are expected to arrive with a clean, dry wetsuit and goggles and to wash them before leaving. The race is at 1pm on Saturday which makes planning and travel more easy, with access to accommodation and camping so you can make a weekend of it! For more information, visit: www.trihard.co.uk/Lakeland/Lakelandhome.htm

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o marathon or not to marathon…? Right now, today it is the day after Easter. As I sit writing this piece it is exactly 15 days since I ran the Brighton Marathon. I am, as far as I have been able to find out, the first woman in the UK to run a full marathon 100% barefoot. Something I am incredibly proud to say I've done.

months ago - hell, even six weeks ago - if I'd ever do a marathon, the answer would have been no. Why? Well, you don't need to have actually run a marathon to know how much of a challenge one is. The time away from my family, the early Sunday mornings and the sheer amount of fitness training needed – it is a massive commitment and not to be taken lightly, especially if your goal is to achieve a certain time.

However, if you had asked me six

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Running a marathon was always one of those things on my 'Bucket List'. I always knew it was something I wanted to achieve but never really had a tangible sense of when I would, if ever, be able to. The list of things stopping me from doing it was quite long and punctuated with thoughts like, “I might be one of those people who has an undiagnosed condition…I'll be the


next news headline”. Perhaps I'm being silly, but since becoming a mother my sense of mortality is always ever present. Thoughts like this don't help in making the huge decision as to whether to do it or not. And just as a foot note, I plan (and strongly urge anyone else planning on a marathon) to go pay a visit to the GP, have a full M.O.T. and push to be seen by a specialist if I have any specific concerns. The added peace of mind will be worth it. So, I bet you are wondering what brought about my sudden change of mind? Some of you will know that I've enjoyed a challenge lately and it all started when I did the Brighton Half Marathon a few months back. At that point it was on my “I will do it when I'm 40 next year list”…sort of… ish.... (I was still chickening out in my head over it). But I thought if I can do a half this year then the full next year…surely that is achievable. I'd have a whole year to prepare myself and train for it. So, I thought, if I just bite the bullet and sign up for 2015 – I'll have to do it! Let's just say it got me thinking about it. A lot. After the half it would often come up in conversation with one of my running partners Carol, who, like me, has two small kids. In fact, we met at a play group I used to put on for local parents and toddlers, but it wasn't till later that we bumped into each other again and discovered our mutual passion for running. We kept talking about it but kept coming round to the same conclusions that it was simply too much of a time commitment with kids this young. Then in the weeks leading up to the Marathon, our friend Rebecca was offered a last minute charity place. She had also never run a marathon before but she is a good runner, young, no kids and very fit and it made absolute sense for her to take it. A few weeks later, only three weeks before the Marathon, places were coming up through the running clubs and on forums, mostly due to injuries and people having to drop out. In a moment of madness, not only did I accept a place for myself but also one for my friend Carol too! Now, I'm really not suggesting that this was a clever thing to do and I would certainly never say that it was a good idea to anyone else. But,

because I knew we were both fit, I knew we would make it round even if we had to walk portions of it. And after all, if we didn't feel we were up to it, we simply didn't have to go along on the day. In those three weeks Carol and I did a couple of 18 and 20 mile runs pretty comfortably so it was nice to know that the full 26.2 was achievable. The other nice thing about it was that we didn't really have any anxiety about it – it wasn't hanging over our heads because we simply didn't have the time to get worked up about it. We were going to go along on the day, we were going to go (very) slowly and we were going to stick together – no matter what. No pressure. And that is exactly what we did. We crossed the finish line together in 5 hours and 3 minutes, both emotional and on the brink of tears along with a lovely lady called Carla Ballentine, with whom we ended up running most of the race. It turns out she is one of the pacers for the running club I joined called, “The Run Squad.” I guess some things are just meant to be! As a barefoot runner there were a

few things that I learned that day which I would like to pass on to others who want to try doing a barefoot marathon for themselves. The first is that it was wet out, drizzly and cool – perfect conditions for running in, unless you are barefoot. All the waiting around in the pens at the start line meant the skin on my feet was wet and the longer my feet stayed wet, the softer they became. This, in a nutshell, meant that the skin on the soles of my feet began to wear off at a rate of knots. By mile six I could already sense I needed to be very careful. By mile nine it was drying off a bit and we took a pit stop; I was shocked and concerned by the amount of wear and tear already. In all honesty, at this point I wasn't sure that I would finish. However, the roads started drying up and so did my feet, making a huge difference to how they felt. I also maintained my concentration on good form and lifted knees. I CAN NOT STRESS TO YOU ENOUGH THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD FORM when doing something like this. If you’re not spot on, you are going to

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encounter issues. Another thing that I learned - and I have often heard this said before – is that if you can't run the distance barefoot, then you shouldn't run the distance in shoes. My feet acted like the perfect barometer throughout all of those miles. They prevented me from doing too much and I dare say that I may have had bigger problems had I tried to go faster. I think this could be one of the things that shod runners encounter in an event like this. They can't feel their feet, so their feet can't tell their bodies and brains if they are doing too much or doing something wrong. I found this particularly to be a real epiphany - yet another example of the way in which our feet only allow us to do what we are capable of doing. After the race yes, I was tired, but within a couple hours I was completely fine - no sore muscles and even my feet were ok (a great tip is to put them on ice blocks from the freezer wrapped in a tea towel for 20 minutes. I found it really soothing!). Admittedly, there was that horrible three mile section towards the end of the race on Hove Promenade. Not only was it rough but also nobbly which I felt bruised my feet. By the time I reached this point I knew there was no way I could run it – so we walked a lot of it which was fine. I wasn't out to break any speed records and it was what was right for me and once back on the road again I was able to continue running the last 1.5 miles to the finish line.

1. Get your full M.O.T. down at the GP for piece of mind. 2. Find a Marathon which allows you plenty of time to train for it. This will really depend on your base level of fitness and if you have ever done events before. Be realistic. Give yourself a minimum of six months to prepare your body and mind. Home town is always a great option for friends and family to come and support you at different points along the way. Also, you don't have far to travel home afterwards which is a big bonus. 3. Practise your good form. Find a specialist workshop with experienced professionals like the Barefoot Running UK one if you’re having difficulty. It will be a worthwhile investment - not just for your marathon, but for life. 4. Know this: There is no shame in walking or dropping out if you don't feel right. Most people who do a marathon walk at some point. There is no sense in pushing it to breaking point. 5. …And remember you are doing it (hopefully!) for fun. Don't forget

Being barefoot also generated tonnes of attention, not only from other runners but also from the incredibly supportive crowd which made it super fun! I loved that, it really kept me going and kept it enjoyable. Am I glad I did it? Hell yes! I loved it - I mean I really did enjoy it. But for the next one (yes, the next one – I’ve already signed up for Bournemouth Marathon on October 5th) I want to do it differently. I want to actually train for it. That's not to say I want to run faster or get a PB, I just want to be fitter for it to see what difference it makes. So for all of you out there thinking, yes, I'd love to do a marathon but I'm just not sure, here is a short checklist:

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this; it's an important one. So many people in the Brighton event seemed to have lost sight of why they were doing it and it came across almost as though it was a joyless chore. The training will be hard work, but don't let your running become this. You run because you love to run and it makes you feel amazing – don’t lose this fundamental passion. Today it is June 4th and before sending this article in I wanted to share some further observations I have made since writing this. I noticed after the marathon that, for a few days or so, I would wake with achy ankles - not for long, but there was some stiffness. This persisted for about a month and was a sign to me that I had pushed it just a little too hard. There were also a couple of other little things with my overall health which indicated that the marathon had taken more of a toll on me than I had thought. I have also seen that many of the other runners who finished the marathon without any issues at the time have since become injured. My personal take on this is that it does take an awful lot out of you and does put a lot of strain on your body which perhaps you may not realize, so a good period of rest post-race is well worth thinking about.


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A conversation with‌ Racing for Recovery founder and Ironman Todd Crandell

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his is great you guys!!!” Yells our blond, tanned, fit and healthy Skype friend, his enthusiasm barrelling towards us through the computer screen as we begin our session. “So what d’ya wanna talk about?” Todd Crandell is a man who has been at the very edge; suspended between life and death, or more aptly, between being alive and not being alive. This is how he describes it: his life as a drug addict. When he was three years old, Todd’s mother, an addict herself, committed suicide. This left him in turmoil, feeling angry, sad and with low self-esteem. He somehow felt that he was to blame and hated himself for it. He first searched for solace in sport as a hockey player but, around the age of 13, he discovered cocaine and that was when his life became a series of drug-induced black outs interspersed with lucid moments full of self-loathing. “I wanted to mess myself up because I didn’t like who I was”, he tells us. To look at and listen to Todd now, it

is a difficult scenario to imagine. The Todd of today is an endurance athlete who looks a hell of a lot younger than his 47 years. He has the energy of a youngster too and can’t sit still as he ‘carries’ us from room to room in his house, chatting and laughing with a warmth and humility that would rub off on even the coldest, most distant human being.

“I wanted to mess myself up because I didn’t like who I was” Todd believes that people are genetically predisposed to addiction. He was one of the luckier ones who also seems to have been born with a remarkable physical resilience that allowed him to survive his substance abuse and turn his life around. He is now a counsellor, helping clients through their journey to recovery as well as holding support groups and

talks throughout Ohio, where he lives . Todd does this under the banner of Racing for Recovery, a non-profit organization geared towards providing addicts with a positive focus – namely a healthy, balanced lifestyle – and encouraging them to exercise. For this is how Todd managed to come back from his road to destruction. He tells us, “I went back to what I knew which was exercise. I wasn’t a runner – in fact, I hated running! My step mum had run triathlons and marathons and I always admired it”. Todd is controversially not entirely convinced by the typical “12 step” method for addicts. He understands that everybody’s journey and experience is different, so a one-size -fits-all approach isn’t necessarily going to work. “It’s like, if you don’t do these 12 things we’ve done, you’re not gonna make it. And that’s just not true… And what do you do when those 12 steps are over? If I break my arm, I don’t wanna sit there with a cast on for the rest of my life and talk about how I broke my arm!...Let’s heal this

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guys affectionately call a flat?” This sparks a discussion about the quirks of English versus American-English; Todd is tickled that pants are called trousers here in England and underwear has several names, including smalls and trollies. “So what are knickers then?” We explain – and also explain why it’s important to refer to a storage pack around your waist as a “bum bag” rather than “fanny pack” when you’re in the UK! “I’m gonna start using some of these with my friends – they’re gonna freak out!” One of the refreshing things about Todd, along with his light-hearted sense of humour, is that he doesn’t play the victim. He tells it like it is - with no sympathy, but also no lingering hatred towards his former self. “This isn’t a disease to me. There is no disease here. I made a choice”. There was a significant event in his life, yes, but there was also something inbuilt in his personality. He tells us that the majority of addicts have experienced an emotional hurt, such as some kind of abuse, parental divorce or death of a loved one. These people are saying, “I don’t know how to deal with those things so I’m looking for something to fill a giant hole in my soul with”. But he usually sees a certain personality type too – some people are just naturally addictive types and this becomes more apparent when they are trying to deal with something that challenges them emotionally. thing so I can go climb a tree again!” He is quick to explain that he is not bashing the 12 step program. In fact, he began his own journey to recovery through AA. However, he is adamant that there is not just one way to heal – the path is different for everyone (which is the subject of one of his books: There’s more than one way to get to Cleveland). Another aspect of his own brand of therapy which he’s keen to point out is that he doesn’t ask people at meetings to identify themselves as, “Hi, I’m Steve and I’m an alcoholic”. “The stigma of addiction is brutal”, he explains and he does not want to reinforce that label, or, “negative

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connotation”. For example, Todd used to use drugs but this doesn’t define him.

“This isn’t a disease to me. There is no disease here. I made a choice”. “I’m a father, I’m a counsellor, I’m a runner, I’m a husband…” Here he breaks off abruptly and asks, “What you’re in now, is that what you

Barefoot Running Magazine

Much of our discussion addresses the stigma surrounding drug usage and people’s perceptions and judgements. For example, there are a number of sports people who have taken drugs to improve their performance and probably justify it as being a part of their training programme. Indeed, in his early days of using, Todd wouldn’t touch cigarettes or pot. “I considered myself an athlete who was snorting cocaine!” The rich, famous celebrities who buy their cocaine in some high end club aren’t seen in the same light as a homeless person who gets their stash on a street corner. This is nothing new – it is human nature


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to judge. Todd tells us about sitting on the street without his top on - tattoos on display - and the subsequent disapproval with which he is met. The irony is that when Todd was that addict on the street, he didn’t have the tattoos! They came after he’d changed his lifestyle.

“….I want to get my life back together”.

As a counsellor – and having been in the situation in which his clients find themselves – Todd isn’t judgemental.

“That was the second time I’ve had the pleasure of doing that race. And that’s where it really started for me watching all that on television, you know, with a plate of cocaine in front of me and going, ‘I wanna do that!’”

“In most cases, addiction is not what people think”, he explains. His goal with clients is to help them find something positive to focus on. He wants people to feel happy not using drugs – not feeling like they’re missing out. “That just sucks!” He says. The focus is key; addicts contemplating a life without drugs will often feel, “If I let go of this, what am I gonna do?”

“I thought about suicide every day but the reality of it was that I didn’t really want to die, I just didn’t know how to live”.

One significant moment came whilst he was watching the Hawaii ironman on television – the front cover of this magazine shows Todd near the finish line of the 2012 race.

An addict has to want to change and it’s Todd’s job to guide each client to reach that point. He calls it, “planting seeds”. He helps them figure out why they are using drugs – or openly feel able to finally discuss it – and then sets about finding a positive way forward with that key aspect: focus. Todd talks openly and honestly to a lot of kids in schools about his life as an addict. David asks him if he would have chosen a different path had someone like him spoken to him about drugs when he was younger. “No! If I had spoken to me back in the day, I would’ve been, like, p***

off!” Todd then reflects a little and continues, “I would’ve been intrigued by the athleticism stuff but the ‘oh, you can like yourself and be all you can be…’ – no, because I didn’t find the value of myself.” “I want to reach the kid that doesn’t like himself. The kids that are already doing the right stuff, it’s a kind of reinforcement for them that they’re doing the right thing. It’s that kid that’s like me – I want him to know I was like that”. There were plenty of people who tried to get through to Todd when he was that young boy in trouble. His friends tried in vain to help him but eventually walked away, no longer able to stand by and witness his self destruction. On Todd’s website, there is an ESPN piece about him, featuring his old hockey coach, Jim Cooper. In the footage, it seems that he, too, gave up on Todd, but Todd tells us, “Ah, but you don’t see what happened behind the scenes”. The story unfolds that Cooper had lost his own father at around the same age as Todd, unbeknownst to him at the time. Todd tells us, “He was trying for years to try and turn me around”. When Todd finally did this, Cooper said, “The

Again, Todd understands this because he has been there. He openly and matter-of-factly relates a story to us about how he was once sat with a gun in his mouth, both crying and laughing at the same time. His friend has since told him this; he has no recollection of it. The friend took the gun away from him, but Todd probably doesn’t know one way or the other if he would have pulled the trigger. “I thought about suicide every day but the reality of it was that I didn’t really want to die, I just didn’t know how to live”. He was in this situation a long time too. For about six years, he was just taking drugs without any thought of stopping until they killed him. Then for another six or seven years, he was in a position where he was still using but realizing, “…This isn’t working for me – I don’t like the consequences of using drugs”, and eventually deciding,

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world needs to hear your story” and he paid $10,000 for a writer to tell it. “There’s nothing but love behind that guy”, says Todd. So, what spurs Todd to keep entering Ironman competitions and stay away from drugs? How does the high of exercise compare to the high you get from cocaine? “It’s pure joy. The high you get from drugs in an illusion – it’s not real because it goes away and you’ve got nothing left but garbage. When you get it from running, yes it may go away, but you have that memory of ‘God man, that was incredible!’” He relates a story of when he was on a training run near his old school (from which he was expelled) and a car full of people drove past shouting, “Come on Todd, keep it up, keep going!” One of them had their hand out of the window and high-fived Todd as they went by. This moment is one that has stuck in Todd’s mind.

An obvious question arises as we learn more about Todd and what he is doing to help people: Why isn’t Racing for Recovery everywhere?!

“That was the second time I’ve had the pleasure of doing that race. And that’s where it really started for me - watching all that on television, you know, with a plate of cocaine in front of me and going, ‘I wanna do that!’”

“I felt euphoric…like I was floating”. Todd has these mini highs on a daily basis now, getting pleasure from helping people, being with his family and just living life. He always strives to get this message across to his clients. He tells them, “Dude, the high you get out of that crack pipe is nothing compared to what you can get from sobriety and running”.

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“When I set it up”, he explains, “I thought we could just duplicate it. It hasn’t worked out that way – maybe because people want me specifically to hold the meetings, or maybe it’s a money issue…I’m good at many things, but I guess this business piece I’m not very good at!” There’s no doubt that Todd is the

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centre – the heart – of Racing for Recovery. But it’s such a shame to see such a successful program only being available in one US state when it could potentially help thousands of people worldwide. Here in the UK, the most common answer to heroin addiction, for example, is to wean users off one drug and get them addicted to another (Methadone) – a classic case of treating the symptoms and not the cause. The answer is out there, though, and with Todd’s enthusiasm and passion, pretty much anything is possible! All the while we’re speaking to Todd, members of his family are busy with their lives in the background, all within earshot of our conversation. Todd is very open with his wife and four kids – they know his story inside out. And with all his humour, Todd never misses the opportunity to let his kids know the serious side of addiction. We ask him, “If you could give one piece of advice to your children, what would it be?” He says simply, “Like yourself”. If you want to learn more about Todd or to get in touch, please visit his website: www.racingforrecovery.org He would be more than happy to hear from you!


Come and join us for a run around the great City of London, taking in some of the many historic sights including: HMS Belfast, Millennium Bridge,The Tower of London, Pudding Lane,The Monument and St Paul’s Cathedral. The majority of the route is barefoot friendly on smooth concrete, with a few challenging sections on the cobbled streets and some occasional, rougher surfaces. Drop us an email with any questions and to let us know you’re coming. The run will start and finish at the Tate Modern with optional coffee and chat afterwards! Contact: london10@bfrm.co.uk or visit: www.facebook.com/events/ Date: 14th September 2014 Time: 11am Location: The Tate Modern, London Footwear: All welcome! Entry: Free Page 67

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The Green Room Nothing tougher... by Darren Clawson

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y friend Arron Worbey and I race only the most dangerous and difficult ultra marathon and adventure races around the world to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). We do so following the sudden life limiting illness that beset my 2 year old son Hadley in 2008. We set up Endurance Limits Adventure Racing Team purely for this purpose, naming it after the term the staff at GOSH used to explain why it was unlikely he would survive. “He’s having hundreds of seizures a day Mr Clawson; put simply, he’s reached his endurance limits” I was told. Six years later, due to the excellence of the Medical staff at GOSH and his sheer will to survive, he is still with us. So when I saw that Beyond the Ultimate Race Series organize a Jungle Ultra-marathon in Peru with the strap line “Nothing Tougher”, it caught my attention. That is a hell of a claim bearing in mind the catalogue of multiday ultras available around the world, not least because its most direct competitor is the Jungle Marathon in Brazil, during which I have seen grown men cry and SAS soldiers medically evacuated.

There was only one way to find out if the race warranted the claim, and with WGSN and 4C secured as sponsors and fundraising partners we landed in Cuzco, Peru, on 13th May ready to race. How hard could it be, right? Well, we immediately found out that the air is a little thin at 12500 ft. Two flights of stairs defeated me the day we arrived. Not the most auspicious start. Three days acclimatization and the odd training run around the historic Inca city with its vibrant and colourful streets helped but 230km in 5 days seemed ambitious at best unless things continued to improve quickly. We met the competitors, crew and medical team at the Ruinas Hotel at the agreed time and date and set out before first light in a small convoy of vans for the seven hour drive to base camp in Manu National Park. The drive itself was everything you would expect on the eastern slopes of the Andes mountain range, characterized by broken roads, landslides,1000ft drops and a distinct lack of safety barriers. Thankfully we arrived safely in the cloud forest itself to pre-assembled tents in which we were to prepare before the race and safety briefings, as well as receiving our duel GPS locators and emergency beacons. Just the mention of this was

like a slap in the face. Emergency locator beacon? I could hear that strap line bouncing around inside my head as I weaved and wheezed my way back to my tent for the mandatory equipment check. A quick 5k up the mountain road settled the nerves and we finished repacking our race bags. I had whittled mine down to a respectable 11kg of food, water (2.5ltr minimum requirement), clothes, medical kit, hammock and sleeping bag. The gun went off at 9.30 the next morning and Stage 1, known as “Cloud 9”, got underway. A simple 38km of mainly down hill jungle and mountain trails with sheer drops that test even the most iron clad nerves. A slip here led to me hanging perilously over a 250ft drop by the roots of a tree with my friends only able to watch from the ledge behind. After I had scrambled back onto the trail I ran the next 5k’s on legs shaking from the sudden surge of fear and adrenalin. This and the sudden 100% humidity the canopy provides as you enter the jungle left me wondering if I had the nerve or the fitness for this race even before the first stage was over! Day two brought a 34 km stage

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known as “Amazonia”. The cool mountain air was now a thing of the past and the temperature climbed quickly to 35 degrees. The trail became a mud-fest with the uphill sectors tough and the down hills often impossible to negotiate on one’s feet. A two hour cloud burst left me cooler but sodden and spotting the famous Bushmaster snake on this stage did nothing to calm my nerves. However, I was too heavily invested already to bottle out now, although competitors were beginning to fall away with injury and exhaustion. Stage 3, called “Logging”, is 30km of mud and hills. After starting on a zip wire over a river, you enter the famous mud that can be knee deep or more. Your pace falls to a crawl regardless of who you are and it’s hard to stand at times let alone run. On one occasion I had my shoe literally sucked from my foot by the mud. It reminded me of the adverts I’d seen for the popular Tough Mudder runs, but I suddenly realized I was in a scrap for survival here, not a friendly 20k with my buddies for an orange headband. I arrived at camp so

exhausted that I was unable to tie my hammock up. I had the strength, but dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance were clouding my thinking and a simple knot was beyond me. Another competitor did the honours and I slipped into sleep, unaware that failing to resist this was about to cost me dear. Another runner (Matt Knight) was already under medical observation and on a drip following his collapse. This, despite being a seasoned ultra runner and veteran of the Marathon De Sables! What was that strap line again?! Stage 4 – “The Lull”. Forget everything you think you know about mud, hills, rivers and pain and don’t be fooled by the relatively short 36k. I’d rather run 100k of reasonable trail than do this again. By the time I had covered 11km, heat stroke had set in to compliment the dehydration and electrolyte imbalance . That toxic combination caused the Jungle to start to swim and move around as I struggled for focus; my head was going and I knew it. The question was whether I could make it the 9km to the next checkpoint. Now, ordinarily that could be done in under 40 minutes but this was, after all, “The Lull”. That 9km took me

nearly three and a quarter hours and in truth I have little recollection of it. Without the constant guidance of my friend and fellow competitor, Darren Baker, I know I would not have made it at all. I collapsed at the checkpoint and woke an hour later to be told the only way out was to complete the stage. Rest, hydration and electrolytes followed before I stood back up and fought on through the perilous jungle trails, this time with a medic and minder accompanying me for my own safety. I reached a zip wire that takes you across the gorge to the finish line but collapsed again on the other side. This time I came round with a drip in my arm and a team of medics discussing my future. I convinced them to let me stagger the 500m to the finish and came in dead last to a standing ovation from the whole camp. That’s the thing about ultra runners: They understand that it’s often the last guy over the line that worked the hardest and they respect nothing more than sheer determination and a stubborn refusal to quit even when you appear beaten. I was observed overnight and I informed the race

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director, Wes, that if I could stand in the morning I would race. “It’s the finish or the floor for me, I’m not quitting now”, I told him. He laughed and said, “You’ve already been on the floor mate!”. Having a Cannula removed from your arm whilst stood on the start line of a 92km stage is a somewhat daunting and surreal experience. I was already running on pride so this was going to need to be an epic effort - or a devastating DNF awaited me. Arron had already fallen and sprained his ankle on stage 4 and was unable to go on. Tumbling 50ft down a slope and into the path of a resting Jaguar sounds like the territory of fiction novels but you have to accept that this is the Amazon Jungle and trips and falls rarely introduce you to anything friendly. Thankfully, the ankle injury was the extent of the fall out, but nonetheless, it was heartbreaking for him to have to stop. All this left me stood on the start line alongside Baker, considering the dangers of attempting the final day, but my mind was made up. I would run and it would be nothing but the finish line. No matter what. My most vivid memory before that final stage started is of another competitor approaching me and saying, “You were unconscious 12

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hours ago and yet you’re standing here ready to run 92ks? You’re f***ing nuts mate – fair play”. I immediately had a terrible feeling he might be right. The next 13 hours were filled with hills, mud, falls, snakes and rivers. In one section we struggled up the middle of a river bed (the water in which varied between ankle and waist deep) against the flow of the water for a complete 11km without a break. Tempers were lost, tears were shed and I could feel what little strength I had remaining ebbing away. My running mate, Darren Baker, swore that there was going to be a strongly worded email sent after this, which is the equivalent of DEFCON 5 for a man of his legendary patience and manners! I had settled on simply punching Wes (the race director and course planner) - if I could muster the energy. My thoughts turned suddenly to my 3 year old son. I had to show him that if you have enough heart, life can’t break you. This was rapidly becoming about sending a message to him now, as well as honouring my other son. We ran ourselves into oblivion in the heat and hills until eventually we turned the last corner in the darkness and entered the town of Pillcopata. I plodded over the line with my arms arranged in a T to indicate that this was for my son, Theo. I had tears in my eyes. A cacophony of applause

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and screams of delight engulfed us as the medics, crew and runners that had nursed me to the line greeted us with joy and relief. This was as much a victory for them as it was for me. Wes appeared from the melee and promptly received a hug, not the punch I had threatened - and I got a much deserved chair and a bottle of beer. I looked up to see Darren Baker receiving treatment from the medics. He would be ok but the effort required for that double marathon had taken its toll. Elated, I shed a few more tears and mumbled to the camera that this was a lesson for my son to never give up. “There are no easy roads to a place worth going”, fell from my lips. I have never spoken truer words, because though my journey had been crippling, I had reached my goal. Beyond the Ultimate 230km Jungle Ultra. Nothing Tougher? I certainly hope there isn’t! You can show your support for us for free by ‘liking’ our face book page at: www.facebook.com/endurancelimits Or donate via our just giving page: www.justgiving.com/endurancelimits. Believe me when I tell you we’ve earned it!


Assorted goodies Products worth a look

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1. Aftershokz Bluez These are the latest from Aftershokz – sleek, elegant, stable headphones that use the latest technology to transmit sound via bone conduction, rather than using the eardrums. This latest design offers Bluetooth capabilities, transmitting to both ears for stereophonic sound rather than the conventional one ear only design. Retailing at £83.29. For more details visit www.aftershokz.co.uk 2. Hiplok POP Cable bicycle lock This funky bike lock, available in several different colours, is worn around your waist as you ride and easily unclipped to lock up your bike once you reach your destination. It is 10mm plastic coated steel cable, weighing 400g, with a 1.3m locking circumference. Available in waist sizes 24” – 42”, it is priced at £19.99. Visit: www.hiplok.com 3. Withings Pulse This neat little gadget which aims to help improve your activity level and overall health can be worn as a wristband or clipped to your clothing. It monitors your activity and sleep levels and links to various apps to encourage healthier nutrition. If you’re competitive, you can also link to other users and battle to be the healthiest! Retails at €119.95. Find out more here: www.withings.com 4. Barebottom Shoes These are the shoes that are not shoes! They are decorative coverings for your feet that allow natural movement whilst removing the self-consciousness sometimes associated with going completely bare. They come in several different colours and in either neoprene or suede. Priced at $55 CAD. For more information, visit: www.suekenney.ca 5. Polar V800 This high tech watch is, “For professional and devoted athletes who want to reach peak performance”. In other words, it is for serious exercisers with specific goals in mind. It can measure every training session, supports multisport training with transition times and can keep track of your heart rate even under water (waterproof to 100m). The price is 449.90 Euros. For more information, visit: www.polar.com

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Try this at home Core work for runners by Gray Caws

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t the end of June I had the privilege of working with Danny Dreyer, the founder of Chi Running. He was over from the US presenting four one-day workshops in London and Amsterdam. My time spent with him really helped focus my approach to training and teaching. A quote from Danny that really resonated with me was, “The physical is just the beginning”, so in writing this piece I’m not only going to list my “favourite core exercises for runners”, but also try and introduce a more mindful approach to exercise and training. In order to strengthen the core we firstly need to establish what and where it is and, indeed, establish how much strengthening is needed. I really like these two dictionary definitions:

 

the central, innermost, or most essential part of anything the part of something that is central to its existence or character

I highlight these definitions to emphasize the fact that the core can also be seen as a mindful concept as well as a physical area of our body. Let’s first look at the physical. Chop off your arms and legs what you have left is the core.

We can break it down further into three parts: The deep muscle layer: The deepest muscles of the spine that sense its position and are responsible for controlling movement within the joints. Middle muscle layer: Muscles that stabilize the spine and form a working foundation for optimal movement of the arms and legs. Outer muscle layer: A layer that forms muscle slings that integrate the arms and legs. These three muscle layers must be balanced and work together to allow for correct postural alignment and fluid movement. A great, mindful visualization for these muscle layers that Chi Running takes from T’ai Chi is that of ‘needle in cotton’. The ‘needle’ is a strong but flexible axis that runs from the crown of the head through the trunk (deep and middle muscle units). The cotton is the arms and legs that move freely about this rotational axis (controlled by the outer muscle unit). This visualization allows for the body to be subtly balanced with just the right amount of core engagement to allow for relaxation where muscles don’t need to be over tense or over

used. For example, you are less likely to injure yourself below the knee if you are confident that you can relax your lower legs and release the ankle because you have stability from the inner and middle core muscles - ‘the needle’. Another mindful focal point is the dantien, located just below the naval and in towards the spine. In Chi Running, Qigong and T’ai Chi, this area is seen as the essence of spirit and the energy centre from where all movement is initiated. You’ll often hear singers, actors and dancers proclaim that they work from their “centre”. These visualizations help in engaging and strengthening the physical core. Try for yourself on your next run. Use the needle to keep the spine and neck long, the cotton to allow arms, legs and hips to stay released and relaxed, and the dantien to keep the upper and lower body connected and to lead you forward. You should notice a lighter foot landing and feel strong and ‘grounded'. If you’re tiring or struggling during a run, notice how you collapse down onto the legs – this is more than likely due to a lack of integrity in the deep and middle muscle layer (needle). As runners, it is essential we create this stable foundation on which to

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build our movement to reduce the risk of injury and be as efficient as possible, but you don’t need to overdo it – ‘strengthening the core’ with 500 abdominal crunches a day and nothing else will lead to muscular imbalances. A tight, tense core, particularly the outer muscle layer, will create restriction in your movement. Work diligently with these visualizations and the following exercises to build endurance of the core muscles in order to maintain optimal dynamic posture. For example, if the spine is not stabilized the head and pelvis are easily misaligned. Since the human head weighs on average between 4.5 and 5 kg, running with your head out of alignment is not only going to waste energy but will also become a real pain in the neck! Let’s have a look at some great exercises to target the inner and middle muscle unit to build the foundations. Once you’ve created stability, you can then progress towards more movement and power but I cannot stress too much that you MUST have a base from which to build. As with all exercise, please check with your GP first. The plank shown below is an isometric exercise so please be aware if you have raised blood pressure.

The wall posture stance This is a great exercise to start focusing on the deep and middle muscles of the core. Stand with your back against a vertical wall, touching lightly with the back of the pelvis and shoulder blades. Keep the knees soft and visualize being pulled upwards from the crown of the head and lengthen your spine and neck up the wall. Be sure not to force anything. Get the feeling of lengthening upwards and trying to lift the torso off the legs. Keep the head poised on top of the spine, creating a space between ears and shoulders but make sure there’s no tension or stiffness in the neck. Spend time with your eyes closed, maintaining the natural curve at the base of the spine whilst opening up the back of the rib cage with breath, lengthening up the wall and releasing any tension you may be feeling in the lower back. Visualize lengthening the spine and neck up the wall whilst letting the

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pelvis ‘hang’ from the spine. Now, whilst keeping the spine and pelvis in this position, externally rotate your shoulder so that your thumbs are facing forward and slowly raise your arms by flexing your shoulders. At some point you should feel a light engagement in the lower abdominals in order to keep the pelvis and spine stable. When adding the arm flexion to the static posture you are activating the outer layer and highlighting any upper-body tightness or restrictions.

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One-legged balance wall posture Start in the wall posture position then shift your body weight through the right leg whilst maintaining stability at the pelvis and spine and with absolute minimal lateral (sidewards) movement. ‘Release’ the left hip, knee and front of ankle keeping the torso ‘high’ rather than collapsing down onto the leg (feel the difference with the lower abdominals engaged and visualizing lengthening up the wall as opposed to feeling heavy and dropping onto the leg).


The plank The plank will set you up to be able to do other core exercises in the most efficient and effective way. You can develop the wall posture exercise into an incline plank by increasing the angle of lean. Find a secure table top and lean into this. Follow the principles you’ve used by aligning up the wall and you’ll hold the correct posture. You should feel greater engagement of the abdominals. Then go from an incline to a standard plank. Align your posture horizontally with feet hip width apart, resting on the balls of the feet with arms about shoulder width apart and wrists directly under the shoulders. The plank encourages three-dimensional activation and not only strengthens the deep core, but also the shoulders and hips. You can improve balance by adding movement. There are several variations you can try but ensure you maintain correct form – reset against the wall if you need reminding. Planks can be performed two to three times a week, combining them with exercises that work other areas of the core.

plank targets the obliques and helps stabilize the spine from side to side. Lie down on your side, leaning on one hand or elbow, your chest facing out. Align your elbow with your shoulder, keeping your hips in line with your head and feet. Raise your hips and the top arm straight up. Hold the position for up to 30 seconds, then lower the hips down and repeat on the opposite side.

Plank adaptations To add some movement to the plank try: Jacks: Start in the standard plank

position then jump your legs out and in laterally.

Mountain climbers: Start in standard plank position then flex your right knee, bringing it up in the direction of your right hand. Return it to the original position and do the previous step with your left leg. Repeat, mimicking the actions of a mountain climber (hence the name) only you’re horizontal rather than vertical. Start with slow, controlled movements keeping the spine long, engage lower abdominals to keep the pelvis stable. Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Side plank The standard plank targets the connection between the lower back and the abdominals, whilst the side

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The bridge The bridge is another great exercise to help improve core and spinal stabilization. Lay on your back with your hands by your sides, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Make sure that your feet, knees and hips are aligned. Engage your lower abdominals and glutes. Raise your hips up to create a straight line from your knees to shoulders, keeping spine and pelvis stable. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds or do slow reps. When you’ve mastered the bridge you can progress onto the one-legged bridge. Now you’ve built your stable foundation you can add such exercises as press ups, superman and Russian twists, progressing on to kettlebell training. I find kettlebells (when done with good technique) are perfect for functional core development and add real power to your running. In Amsterdam with Danny I saw one of the best examples of ‘core strength’ with what seems like a very simple exercise – the task was to walk across sand. The runner I had been working with was a professional speed skater. The video analysis of his running form showed him pushing and pulling with his legs, landing heavily on his heels with tight lower back. He was, however, very mindful of his movement and a few key drills and visualizations soon had him switch his focus to core stabilization, with movement from the dantien. He first walked then ran across the sand leaving beautifully light, evenly balanced footprints. This wasn’t just an example of well-coordinated core muscles but of the mind being

focused; the person being ‘centred’. Remember it’s all about balance – you need to be aware of any muscular imbalances you may have and how to correct these. Make sure you’re not over-strengthening, tensing up or becoming hyper flexible.

Listen to and understand your body. Take a more mindful approach to movement and keep your exercise program fresh, interesting and purposeful. Enjoy the challenge!

Running fact 20.

Did you know

Finnish long-distance runner Juho Pietari "Hannes" Kolehmainen was the first athlete to be nicknamed “Flying Finn”.

Running fact 21. Frequent running can boost the immune system, decrease stress, lower anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure, increase metabolism and increase blood flow to the brain.

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www.n8pt.com gray@n8pt.com


BBaarreeffoooott RRuunnnniinngg M Maaggaazziinnee SSuum mm meerr 22001144 PPaaggee 8822


Picture from the past

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umans should be able to function barefoot from birth until death, (barring some birth defect, infection, or trauma of course), though sadly many people are unable to run, walk, or even stand for even a few minutes barefoot without discomfort, pain, or general uneasiness. Many people have essentially lost their ability to support themselves without support, (shoes or shoes with orthotics), either because of poor biomechanics or an underlying health problem. I’d like to think at least walking barefoot is possible for everyone but realize this unfortunately is not always the case and is even more of an unrealistic expectation for those wishing to run barefoot. Sure there are obvious health problems such as people who are diabetic with neuropathy who may need something under their feet, but many other people with various health conditions cannot shed their footwear because they need the support of their shoes or else their feet will ache, hurt, or even become injured.

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Is barefoot for everyone?

other body aches, pains, and ailments.

I don’t think there is a debate on how we were meant to run, or even walk for that matter, but immediately switching back to barefoot the way our ancestors were living millions of years ago is often not a wise idea. Humans are not meant to overstride and land on their heels when running which today’s typical shoe promotes. Even while walking, typical footwear will elicit more of a heel strike, extended stride, and an unnatural and inefficient push-off with the foot. A minimalist or barefoot walker will land softly with a shorter stride and efficiently roll off the foot.

Health is not merely the absence of some pathological disease. Many people think they are healthy but often they are not as healthy as they could be. Do you sleep well throughout the night without awakening and then wake up feeling refreshed without aches and pains? If not, I’d define that as poor health. Do you take any medication – whether it’s an anti-inflammatory, hormone replacement, a drug to wake up, to go to sleep, or to have sex? Taking any medication is a sign of some health problem, (though they are sometimes necessary). Do you lack physical and/or mental energy during the day? How about your digestion? Are you one of the many women (and sometimes guys) like those I see in my office who think it’s normal to have a bowel movement just a couple of times a week? That’s definitely not healthy. Do you need to wear an orthotic in order to walk without pain or need some form of traditional footwear

Modern life has also changed how we move and of course, live our daily lives. In addition to the harmful influence of modern walking and running shoes, common daily stresses such as long work hours, family demands, and poor food choices have created unhealthy changes in most human feet which further contribute to gait disturbances and

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with support and “cushion” so you can walk, stand, or even exercise? If you do you’re definitely not healthy from my perspective. A healthy person may not wish to go barefoot, but they should be able to. Sure, if they’ve been wearing traditional shoes for some time they will need to transition into barefoot, but a healthy person can achieve this (and should, to further improve their health). An unhealthy person may be able to achieve the same feat, but it will be much more difficult for them and for many, impossible. One has to work their way towards health and to barefoot; they are both processes. For many, neither may be easy. Health and barefoot complement each other; it is much harder for an unhealthy person to be barefoot for a prolonged period of time or to the degree of a healthy individual, (such as running and jumping un-shod). A barefoot or minimalist person still may have health problems, but I’d say overall less of these individuals do than those who wear the typical thick, over-supportive shoes and especially orthotics. For those of you who may think that going barefoot does not have a significant impact on how you move and feel during the day I would ask how many of you are actually barefoot for a prolonged period of time each and every day? I have yet to meet a person who is often barefoot and no longer wears the typical shoes we see today who has not told me that they feel more vibrant, agile, and overall body awareness than when they were shod. There’s more to barefoot than just the feet Each foot is home to thousands of nerve endings and the information they receive and pass on to the rest of the body is nothing less than extraordinary. When your foot feels the ground, (or whatever is below it, including any footwear), the thousands of touch receptors in the nerve endings feed back to the rest of the entire nervous system. Since your nervous system runs your entire body, any foot impairment, dysfunction, injury, pain, or improper footwear can not only hinder you directly, (such as lower leg function and balance), but your entire health.

position (proprioception) and the feedback your nervous system receives from your feet (kinaesthetic sense). Natural, unaltered motions of the human body provide optimal neurological input and increase blood flow to the brain, improving the health of the nervous system. This increased blood flow provides more nutrients and oxygen to the brain and essentially the entire body thereby improving the health of the un-shod person. This is especially important in a developing child and is why a child should be barefoot as much as possible, inside and outside. Barefoot won’t cure cancer or other diseases, but it may improve your health There are some people with health issues who have no foot or leg problems, balance issues, or any body aches or pains. Are health problems and foot problems always related? Of course not. Do the feet always need to be examined and treated to get the person well from their ailment? Not necessarily - that depends on the individual (but examining foot health should be standard). The concept here is more that if you have a health problem yet you feel like your feet are already in excellent condition, then perhaps you can help your health problem by going barefoot more, (or start to if you’re not already), because of the amazing connection between your feet and your nervous system, fascia, and gait. Though, to reiterate, this type of person is rare, and often I find that once the person does try to go barefoot, they cannot, because they have lost their balance or perhaps they experience pain. They had a problem all along - it was just being supported (masked) by their footwear or perhaps an orthotic device.

Listen to what they have to say. Often they’re telling you that you’re unable to deal with the amount of stress you’re under. This stress could be emotional, such as family issues, work stress, or expectations you or others have. The stress could be chemical/nutritional, perhaps from a diet high in refined carbohydrates, too much caffeine, artificial flavourings, smoking, or environmental toxins. The stress could be physical from an injury – not just one you perhaps sustained last week but even one from when you were five years old! Your body can remember many of those injuries, regardless of whether they still bother you. They can and do affect fascia, gait, and the nervous system. The physical stress could be from something on your feet you shouldn’t be wearing. Often people have an accumulation of many stressors and they build up over time. They still feel healthy, though their body is slowly trying to adapt to the stress and compensate as more is added. Eventually you wake up tired every morning, or go out for a run or walk and your knee starts to hurt, or you get indigestion when you eat. Traditional medicine is great at diagnosing what is wrong with someone – the end symptom, you may call it. You have “tendonitis” or “restless leg syndrome” or “GERD” or “chronic fatigue”. They all sound so intriguing but they do absolutely nothing to resolve the problem. This is because it is always more important to diagnose the processes gone awry that lead up to the symptom(s). Often there are many processes that must

But more often the feet will tell you how you’re doing overall from a health perspective. Regardless of where the problem is, the feet will eventually pick up on it.

Walking or running barefoot is an ideal way to improve your sense of

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be investigated and treated accordingly.

Ready to make the change? Transition to minimalism and barefoot

By wearing over supportive shoes, arch supports, orthotics, or other devices, the person who has lost their health is only masking symptoms. It is symptom orientated – not a true correction of the underlying problem. I have a chuckle when a natural health care provider who touts themselves as “treating the cause and not the symptom” puts their patient in an orthotic. And let’s not be misled to think that “fallen arches” and flat feet need orthotics; they don’t.

Yes, too many people are getting injured by switching from their current footwear to minimalist footwear or even barefoot. This gives the traditional medical doctor, podiatrist, or therapist reason to believe that humans today are not meant to be barefoot and we need to protect our feet with more supportive shoes. I get a fair share of hate mail from these people who think that because we don’t live in wild jungles we need support on our feet to get through the day on our “unnatural” surfaces. Though of course I don’t agree with this, the typical unhealthy person and/or person who has always worn supportive footwear or orthotics can’t just make the shift so drastically. Many of them do, and they get injured, so these doctors and therapists see them in their office and rather than educate the patient on overall health (diet, lifestyle, and foot care), they convince them that barefoot is evil and humans need shoes all the time. This is pretty sad in my opinion, but it’s the standard of our healthcare system.

Should you venture into minimalism if you’re not injured or having any problems? If you’re not injured and couldn’t care less about performance, should you get out of your traditional footwear or running shoes? Though many advise just to keep doing what you’re doing I don’t support that position. You will only truly be sure if your feet and other areas of your body are strong and healthy if you venture out of your footwear. If you have trouble doing so it’s an indication that there is a problem you’ve been supporting just as if you were not having elbow pain every time you played tennis because you wore a brace, for example. Just because you don’t have pain, weakness, or discomfort doesn’t mean a problem is not there. Ask yourself WHY you can’t be without your supportive shoes or supportive foot braces. This doesn’t mean you go barefoot right away, but you should enter the realm of minimalism just to get an idea of where you’re at. Stronger feet and lower legs and more body awareness are definitely possible the more you are barefoot. A healthy individual can be barefoot, (barring some injury to the foot), and they can further improve their health, fitness and overall well-being. If you have a health problem or an injury, investigating the minimalist and barefoot approach may be an essential step in your recovery, and further prevention of that or another problem. As mentioned earlier, barefoot isn’t going to cure a disease you may have, but it will most likely have a noticeable effect on your health and well-being. And also, as mentioned earlier, if you don’t think it can have such an effect, how do you really know unless you’ve tried it?

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You must transition to barefoot slowly and carefully, so you do not become injured. There is no rush! Start just by walking barefoot inside your house as much as you comfortably can. If that’s painful then you can start with a minimalist-type “transitional” shoe and eventually work out of those to barefoot. It’s okay and often advised to alternate between your current traditional shoes and a minimalist shoe/barefoot if you have pain. If you’re wearing orthotics, talk to your prescribing doctor about getting out of them so you can walk naturally again and not support your dysfunction. If that doctor doesn’t think that it’s possible for you to rehab your feet in such a way then personally I’d find another doc, unless your situation truly warrants a supportive device (very rare). If you’ve been wearing supportive shoes with orthotics for years the transition is going to take time. Once you can comfortably walk barefoot then work on balancing (one leg at a time) barefoot too for several seconds and then a minute or so at a time. Hard surfaces (tile, hardwood) are okay and advised! Once you’re walking barefoot and balancing well inside comfortably

Barefoot Running Magazine

then venture outside onto hard, smooth surfaces such as your driveway. Slowly build up time as you comfortably can. Eventually make your way to other surfaces such as grass and gravel. Of course, make sure these areas are safe to walk on. If barefoot is bothersome to you outside then use a minimalist shoe at first. Remember that different shoes work for different people! Check out some of my recommendations for transitional and barefoot-style shoes on my website, under: “Lose Your Shoes!”. Once you’re walking barefoot outside comfortably then try a bit of barefoot running on a flat, hard surface – not too much at first or you’re likely to develop sore feet and calves very quickly! If you’re not a runner then a minimalist shoe will be more appropriate at first or you should just stick to walking. If you don’t want to or don’t like to run outside barefoot then that is perfectly fine. But do your best to get into a minimalist shoe or “barefoot style” shoe. Continuing to walk barefoot outside, and especially inside, as much as you can, is advised. Proper shoes for a healthy, fit body If you’re a runner or avid walker then, while introducing this barefoot program into your daily routine, you should also be transitioning out of your current “necessary” footwear into minimalist-type shoes. Think flat, firm, flexible, and wide. This means that the shoe should not have a significant, or any, heel to toe drop, (if you’re coming from a thick heel you will not want to go to a zerodrop shoe immediately), there should be little to no cushion or padding in the sole, and the shoe should not be rigid anywhere – it should bend throughout the shoe and in any direction. The shoe should also be wide at the toe box allowing the toes to naturally splay apart. Finally, don’t go back to your old shoes! The only unfortunate nuisance of barefoot and wearing minimalist/ barefoot-style shoes over time is that the typical shoes you were wearing will soon be very uncomfortable on your feet and you’ll need new footwear. Even a 4mm drop may be uncomfortable to an oftenbarefoot individual. It is for me.


,

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

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How to Make homemade electrolyte energy drinks by Claire Goodall

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atorade, PowerAde, electrolyte pumped-up sports drinks…they’re good for you, right? You see athletes chugging down bottles of the neon-coloured liquid in every advertisement and real life, surely they do something? And they do. They help you maintain your body’s balance of electrolytes during or after periods of heavier exercise. But when you look closer, you’re really just paying an outrageous price for glorified, brightly coloured sugar water. An overload of processed and refined sweetener (in the case of sports drinks - high-fructose corn syrup) is never a good thing. And while artificial flavours and colours don’t technically do much to your health, a part of me just shies away from the idea of ingesting things that are ‘fake’. We’ve been led to believe by certain companies that we need an extra-special drink to recover from some sweating. First of all, there is a huge difference between athletes that work out hardcore for hours, and those dedicated to fifteen minute morning workout routines. Secondly, our bodies are smart; staying well hydrated and eating healthily is usually enough to maintain a balance of electrolytes. For those times that you do have a heavier workout though, make your own sports drink. It’s easy, quick, and naturally refreshing. Ingredients: Lemons, limes, oranges, salt, honey, water, coconut water, sugar, strawberries. Why these ingredients? There isn’t much need to delve into why each ingredient is included. They all fall under the blanket statement of being a good source of electrolytes, tasty, or both.

we need them? Here we are making a big fuss over electrolytes, but what are they really? And why do they matter? I could write a dense (at least) six page article on electrolytes, but I’ll spare you (unless you want to go to sleep, then I can send you a copy). There are tons of electrolytes out there, but in our bodies they are basically calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium chloride, hydrogen phosphate (a mineral) and hydrogen carbonate (a salt). These electrolytes are vital for survival - not only could we not function if we didn’t have them, if we dilute them too much, it can lead to death by “water poisoning.” They regulate our nerve and muscle function, our hydration, the pH of our blood, rebuilding damaged tissue and determining blood pressure. One example of their job would be for muscle contraction; from your heart to the tiniest toe muscle, the electrolytes calcium, sodium, and potassium are required. Too little and muscles become weak, too much and they over contract. You’ll notice that these electrolytes can easily be provided by eating a balanced diet but humans will push their bodies, and during strenuous exercise you sweat, causing you to lose electrolytes. There are also times that diet won’t suffice; many pregnant women find they need extra means of getting electrolytes, others when they are ill. Regardless of why you’re drinking one though, try making your own first. It may not come with a fancy marketing scheme, but your body will thank you. Check out pages 90 - 92 for three great recipes to try.

What are electrolytes, and why do

Claire grew up in Minnesota, spending her summers and winters up in a little cabin in the boundary waters. The time spent in those incredible forests gave her a deep love of nature and all of the creatures we share the world with. In truth, it is probably a large part of why Claire tries to live a lifestyle that benefits her and her environment. In 2009, after many years of experience with over-the-counter and prescription medications, along with their various side-effects and complications, Claire was inspired to figure out an alternative way to be healthy. “I began to see more and more that our world is becoming dependent on these medications that, in all reality, can end up doing more harm than good.” Claire admits that she is not by any means a doctor, but hopes to share her widespread knowledge on natural remedies and restore faith in our roots. Claire does note that while not all natural or home remedies will work, they aren’t the lump of useless folklore many people pass them off to be. For more information, please contact Claire here: Claire@everydayroots.com

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Lay-Low Recipe You will need…

    

¼ cup of freshly squeezed lime juice ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 1½ to 2 cups fresh water, depending on how strong you want the flavour ⅛ teaspoon of sea salt 2 tablespoons natural sugar or honey to taste

Directions Throw everything into a food blender and blend until the honey is dissolved, or just use some elbow grease and blend it by hand. Pour yourself a tall glass, drop in a few ice cubes, and enjoy.

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Bright ‘n’ Early Recipe You will need…

    

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice 1½ to 2 cups fresh water ⅛ teaspoon of sea salt 2 tablespoons natural sugar or honey to taste

Directions As with the Lay-Low recipe throw everything into a food blender and blend until the honey is dissolved, or use some elbow grease. You can halve or double the recipe as you need, and feel free to experiment with flavours. Keep in mind citrus fruits, especially orange, are a good source of electrolytes.

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Sweet and Smooth-ie recipe You will need…

     

3 cups of coconut water 1 cup of strawberries 1 cup fresh water 1 cup of ice ⅛ teaspoon of sea salt 2 tablespoons natural sugar or honey to taste

Directions Throw into you blender and let it run until everything is thoroughly mixed together and the mixture is smooth.

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Treat almost any illness naturally Look young and beautiful with natural skin and hair recipes Never clean with non-toxic cleaners again


Aftershokz feature bone conduction technology. For whom was it originally developed? A. NASA space programme B. Military Special Ops and SWAT teams C. The Secret Service

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Write back at you Despite the Wall Street Journal - Barefoot running isn’t dead, nor coming to the end of the road by Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee

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'm here to report, contrary to what you may have read in the Wall Street Journal, barefoot running is not dead.

everyone, everywhere, all of the time. You start with 100-200 yards max, and increase by 100 yards every other time.

If it were, our children would all be born with Nikes on their feet.

Where people get into trouble is when they try to make the transition in footwear, such as the Vibram fivefingers. Now those shoes are fun, but they can actually be WAY too much fun in the beginning. Because they help you run with a bit more of a natural stride, BUT without the full feedback you get from the ground (i.e. you can still "cheat" and heel strike in them and get away with it, something you'd NEVER do fully barefoot) and because they protect your skin.

But they're not, and there's a reason for it. Marketing, and dollars, always trumps what's real, what's natural, and what's hard to profit from. And yet, thousands of runners have experienced greater health, better running careers, and improved overall wellbeing by shedding their shoes. Recently, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article, 'Barefoot' Running Heads Into the Sunset: After Initial Burst, Thin-Soled Shoes - Some Looking Like Gloves - Lose Steam. Now I'm not typically one to comment on articles on whether barefoot running is good or bad, that's really up to each individual. But I thought I'd take a look at this article in particular, to try and shed some light on what's really going on. In short, the article isn't about whether barefoot running is good or bad, but whether minimalist running shoes are making a lot of money or not. With that said, the first and most important thing is that the article misses the point entirely. Barefoot running was never about what shoes you wear…it's about GOING barefoot. Or, as Christopher McDougal says in a second WSJ article on a lawsuit against Vibram, "When did I ever say, 'buy shoes'? Never."

Weak skin is perhaps nature’s second greatest protection mechanism, right behind PAIN sensors. Pain sensors stop us, and weak skin quickly brings us to the point of pain, which stops us too. Protect the foot with rubber, any rubber, and we veto this mechanism, or blindfold our senses. Trick is, the weak skin is protecting the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and even bones on the inside. If we want to switch, we need to give EVERY part of the foot and leg time to catch up with our new stride. And that's where we come back to the article. The article's not about barefoot at all, but about footwear, and really about DOLLARS. I hate to say this, but footwear manufacturers do NOT have your best interest in mind. Think I'm wrong? Look at your

shoes and chances are they come to a point in the middle...yet no-one, no-where, ever has a third toe that's longer than all the rest. They did this for fashion, because a tapered shoe presumably looks fast, and looks cool. The footwear industry is about fashion trends. When there was money to be made in a new trend "minimalism" they were all over it, and rode it for all they could get...not informing customers that they needed to start slowly, or looking at which minimalist shoes worked and which didn't (we saw lots of shoes that actually HURT people more than their overbuilt counterparts). And now that minimalism has run its course, they're working on maximalism, trying to get the most cushioned shoe out there, saying minimalism didn't work. It's a dangerous swing of the pendulum, a bunch of marketing hype designed to get money from you, the consumer. They want in your wallet, not just in your shoes. Unfortunately, the consumer (and your feet) gets hurt by all of this. Which is why I want you to step back, look at the hype, and try to figure out what's best for you. Now I'm not saying go barefoot all of the time. Heck, I don't do that… though I certainly prefer it. But what I am saying is that barefoot running is an amazing tool to get you healthy, and help keep you healthy...and more connected to nature. It also helps you run with a quieter mind, or

Barefoot running may never be trendy, it may never be the hippest way to run, but it may very well may be the kindest, gentlest way on your body. But that's really up to you. In the article, it talks about people getting blisters and sore calves. Well guess what, they're right, if you don't start slowly enough. That's why I go on in all of our books, talks, clinics, retreats, and in our DVD and video series about starting slowly. I cannot emphasize this enough. You can't change your stride, even to a more "natural" stride, (meaning one where your body tells you what to do and how to land, rather than your footwear dictating it to you), without going slowly. ONLY 200 YARDS. That's what I tell

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in more of a mindful state as you run. You can do this too in a shoe, but it's much more difficult. So spend time out of your shoe training, growing strong, learning the best stride, and then you can carry that back into a shoe. Jessica chimes in here: "Barefoot running helps you learn YOUR most natural stride which is unique to YOUR body...no running expert out there anywhere would argue we all should have the same stride - to the contrary, they call it an "experiment of one". So how do you learn your own stride? By feeling it out, feeling the ground and seeing what feels best. Then you can carry it back into a shoe." But look for the most NATURAL fitting shoe possible. There are still a few out there, and if we keep buying them, hopefully more will still come to market, just don't expect them from the major shoe manufacturers, at least for a while, but that's okay. Let's support the little guys who are the true innovators out there! I'll be going into detail in an upcoming post on what to look for in a shoe, but here are 5 quick tips: 1. Look for shoes with the widest toe-box possible, one that isn't tapered in at the front, or doesn't come to a point. 2. Look for shoes that are FLAT and close to the ground, preferably with as much flex to the sole as possible. 3. Look for shoes that have NO high heel (this kind of goes with the above). 4. Look for shoes that have no arch support, or that don't inhibit the movement of your arch in any way. (Often arch support is hidden by making a shoe NARROW or pinched together in the middle. Flip the shoe over, if it tapers in the middle, then when you lace up, the material will wrap up and around your foot and voila: hidden arch support.) 5. Look for shoes that don't have funny asymmetrical or multidirection tread patterns on the bottom of the shoes. These cause your feet to go where the shoe wants them to go, not where YOU want your feet to go...often resulting in shin splints, IT band syndrome, or a general pain in the knee.

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Overall, look for the most moccasinlike shoe possible. That's a design that's stood the test of time for THOUSANDS of years over the most challenging terrain possible. The more your shoes are moccasin-like, meaning flexible, close to the ground, wide all around, and floppy, the more it'll let your foot move like a foot. That's what I'm personally looking for in a shoe, how naturally it lets my foot move. And how naturally I can run in them. Whether you're a full-time barefoot runner, or just dabbling to get yourself stronger, remember: let your skin and your body be your guide. If something doesn't feel right, in or out of a shoe, rest, and then try something different. Always make small, incremental changes, listen carefully to your body, and have fun! More soon from RunBare headquarters. Listen to your footsteps, dance out on those trails, have fun, and Run Bare! With blessings, Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee

Check out Barefoot Running: The Movie. Available from www.runbare.com

Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee are the best-selling authors of Barefoot Running and Barefoot Walking and have the top-selling DVD on Barefoot Running. They have travelled the world coaching thousands in barefoot running and teaching about mindfulness and movement. They also cofounded RunBare, a natural movement and meditation school. They have been featured in Trail Runner, Men's Health, Shape Magazine, Women's Health, Running Times, and Spirituality and Health, among others. They have been interviewed dozens of times by CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox, along with NPR and the BBC about natural movement and barefoot running. Last year, Michael was involved in a near-death accident (his second brush with death), when he slipped and fell into a freezing cold creek, shattering bones on impact. He stopped breathing and barely survived, requiring numerous blood transfusions. He now has two matching titanium femurs and hips, along with a total of ten knee operations, and no ACL. Despite this, he's now back up and running 10K's and further on hilly mountain trails. He credits his comeback to quieting the mind, visualization work, barefoot time, and the mindfulness system he and Jessica came up with to rebuild body, mind, and soul.

Barefoot Running Magazine


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What’s On Events around the World

Saturday 6th

O2 Prague Grand Prix

Old Town Square, Prague

www.praguemarathon.com

Saturday 6th

Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference

Edinburgh, UK

TheScottishBarefootRun

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

London 10

Tate Modern, London UK

See page 67 for more information

Sunday 28th

BUPA Great Yorkshire Run

Sheffield City Centre

www.greatrun.org

Sunday 28th

Baxters Loch Ness Marathon

Loch Ness, Scotland

www.lochnessmarathon.com

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

Saturday 4-5th

Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run

Glasgow, Lanarkshire

www.runglasgow.org

Sunday 5th

MBNA Chester Marathon

City of Chester

www.chestermarathon.co.uk

Sunday 5th

BFR UK Group Run

Richmond Park, London, UK

www.barefootrunninguk.com

Sunday 5th

Atacama Crossing

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

www.4deserts.com

Saturday 11th

Reebok Spartan Beast

Pippingford, East Sussex

www.spartanrace.com

Sunday 12th

Royal Parks Half Marathon

Hyde Park, London

www.royalparkshalf.com

Saturday 25-26th

Tough Mudder (London South)

Winchester, Hampshire, UK

www.toughmudder.co.uk

Sunday 26th

BUPA Great South Run

Southsea, Portsmouth, UK

www.greatrun.org

Sunday 26th

Steeplechase

Norfolk, UK

www.muckyraces.co.uk

Monday 27th

Dublin Marathon

Dublin, Ireland

www.dublinmarathon.ie

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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

Saturday 22-23rd

The Running Show

Sandown Park, Esther, UK

www.tcrshows.com

Sunday 23rd

Cyprus Aphrodite Half Marathon

Paphos, Cyprus

www.sporteventscyprus.com

Sunday 23rd

Great Ethiopian Run

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

www.greatrun.org

Sunday 23rd

Conwy Half Marathon

Conwy Quayside, Wales

www.runwales.com

Saturday 29-30th

24 Ore Del Sol

Palermo, Sicily

www.asdmol.it

Sunday 30th

Grim Challenge (2 Day)

Aldershot, Hampshire

www.grimchallenge.co.uk

Monday 1st

Kisumu World AIDS Marathon

Kisumu, Kenya

www.worldaidsmarathon.com

Saturday 6th

Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon

Munster, Ireland

www.runclon.ie

Saturday 6th

Death Valley Trail Marathon & Half

California, USA

www.envirosports.com

Saturday 6th

Reggae Marathon

Negril, Jamaica

www.reggaemarathon.com

Sunday 7th

BFR UK Group Run

Richmond Park, London, UK

www.barefootrunninguk.com

Sunday 13th

Nara Marathon

Nara, Japan

www.nara-marathon.jp

Saturday 20th

Duncan's Run-Hundred

Victoria, Australia

www.duncansrunhundred.com

Sunday 21st

The Cornwall Physio Scrooge

Cornwall, UK

www.mudcrew.co.uk

Sunday 21st

Pisa Marathon

Tuscany, Itally

www.pisacitymarathon.com

Friday 26th

The 94th Boxing Day Run

Ontario, Canada

www.boxingdayrun.ca

Friday 26th

Saltwood Boxing Day Charity Run

Hythe, Kent, UK

www.nice-work.org.uk

Sunday 28th

Across The Years 72hr

Phoenix, Arizona

www.aravaiparunning.com

Thursday1st

Hardmoors 30

Whitby, UK

www.hardmoors110.org.uk

Thursday 1st

Brooks New Year's Day 10k

London, UK

www.serpentine.org.uk

Sunday 4th

BFR UK Group Run

Richmond Park, London, UK

www.barefootrunninguk.com

Wednesday 7th

Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge

Epcot速, Walt Disney World速

www.rundisney.com

Saturday 10th

BUPA Great Winter Run

Edinburgh, UK

www.greatrun.org

Sunday 11th

Thanet Mountain Bike Duathlon

Birchington, UK

www.thanetroadrunners.org.uk

Monday 12-18th

Antarctic Ice Marathon

Punta Arenas, Chile

www.icemarathon.com

Friday 16-19th

Peak Winter Death Race

Vermont, U.S.A

www.eventbrite.com

Saturday 17th

Country to Capital 45

Wendover, UK

www.gobeyondultra.co.uk

Saturday 17-18th

HURT 100 Mile Endurance Run

Hawaii, U.S.A

www.hurt100trailrace.com

Saturday 17th

Brooks HellRunner: Hell down South

Longmoor, Hampshire, UK

www.hellrunner.co.uk

Sunday 25th

Gran Canaria Marathon

Gran Canaria, Spain

www.grancanariamaraton.com

Saturday 31st

Death Valley Marathon

California, USA

www.envirosports.com

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Sunday 1st

Midwinter Marathon

Apeldoorn, The Netherlands

www.midwintermarathon.nl

Sunday 1st

Tough Guy® The Original

Wolverhampton, UK

www.toughguy.co.uk

Sunday 1st

Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon

Marugame, Japan

www.km-half.com

Sunday 15th

The Lost Dutchman Marathon

Arizona, USA

www.lostdutchmanmarathon.org

Sunday 15th

Barcelona Half Marathon

Barcelona, Spain

www.barcelona.de

Thursday 19-22nd Princess Disney Half Marathon

Florida, USA

www.rundisney.com

Friday 20-22nd

Mercedes-Benz Marathon

Alabama, USA

www.mercedesmarathon.com

Saturday 21st

Streif Vertical Up

Kitzbuehel, Austria

www.kitzbuehel.com

Sunday 22nd

Peak Mexico Death Race

Zacatecas, Mexico

www.eventbrite.com

Sunday 22nd

Brighton Half Marathon

Brighton, East Sussex

www.brightonhalfmarathon.com

Sunday 22nd

Vodafone Malta Marathon & ½

Mdina, Malta

www.maltamarathon.com

Sunday 22nd

Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo, Japan

www.tokyo42195.org

Sunday 1st

Bath Half

Bath, United Kingdom

www.bathhalf.co.uk

Sunday 1st

Kilimanjaro Marathon

Moshi, Tanzania

www.kilimanjaromarathon.com

Wednesday 7th

PEAK National Snowshoe Series

Vermont, New England, USA

www.peakraces.peak.com

Wednesday 7th

The Green Man Ultra

Bristol, United Kingdom

www.ultrarunningltd.co.uk

Friday 13th

Sharm El Sheikh Half Marathon

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

www.egyptianmarathon.net

Sunday 15th

Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon

Silverstone, United Kingdom

www.adidashalfmarathon.com

Sunday 15th

Asics LA Marathon

Los Angeles, USA

www.lamarathon.com

Sunday 22nd

Maratona della città di Roma

Rome, Italy

www.maratonadiroma.it

Sunday 22nd

Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Marathon

Dallas, USA

www.runrocknroll.competitor.com

Sunday 22nd

Ocean Floor Race

White Desert, Egypt

www.oceanfloorracxe.com

Saturday 28th

Ueckermünder Haffmarathon

Ueckermünde, Germany

www.haffmarathon.de

Saturday 28th

Te Houtaewa Challenge 90 Mile

90 Mile Beach, New Zealand www.newzealand-marathon.co.nz

Sunday 29th

The Spitfire 20

Surrey, United Kingdom

www.eventstolive.co.uk

Saturday 3-15th

Marathon des Sables

Sahara Desert, Morocco

www.marathondessables.co.uk

Sunday 5th

SPAR Great Ireland Run

Dublin, Ireland

www.greatrun.org

Tuesday 7th

4th Everest Ultra

Kathmandu, Nepal

www.everestultra.com

Thursday 9th

North Pole Marathon

North Pole

www.npmarathon.com

Monday 11-27th

Annapurna Mandala Trail XV

Annapurna, Nepal

www.leschevaliersduvent.fr

Sunday 12th

Marathon de Paris

Paris, France

www.parismarathon.com

Sunday 12th

Hapalua Hawaii's Half Marathon

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

www.thehapalua.com

Sunday 12th

Brighton Marathon

Brighton, East Sussex, UK

www.brightonmarathon.co.uk

Sunday 19th

Great Manchester Marathon

Manchester, UK

www.greatermanchestermarathon.com

Monday 20th

Boston Marathon

Boston, Massachusetts

www.baa.org

Sunday 26th

Virgin London Marathon

London, United Kingdom

www.virginlondonmarathon.com

Sunday 26th

Lost Worlds 50/100K

Tuscany Crossing, Italy

www.lostworldsracing.com

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100k Ultra 50k Ultra

Individuals or team relay

Limited spaces at World Heritage sites


News from the sporting arena

n late June, British sprinter Dwain Chamber won his 5th successive 100m title at the British Championships with an impressive time of 10.12. The 36 year old fought off the younger competitors, proving that age is just a number, securing his place at the European Championships where he achieved a very respectable fourth place against a tough field. Olympic Silver medallist, Darren Campbell, put Chambers’ win at the British Champs down to experience, commenting that it is crucial, when competing, to be able to focus solely on one’s own effort and ignore the rest of the field.

On track

Chambers has been the subject of controversy in the past, due to drug use, but he has certainly since been making the most of the chances he has been given to make amends.

7,000 runners lined up this year at the start of the world’s oldest and largest Ultramarathon, the “Comrades”, in South Africa. Referred to as “The Ultimate Human Race” by the organizers, this 89.5km challenge maintains the same route each year but the starting place alternates, so that the race is either “uphill” or “downhill”. This year’s race was “downhill”, beginning at Pietermaritzburg and finishing in Durban. The race winner was South African Bongumusa Mthembu in a staggering 5:28:34. The woman’s race was won by British runner Eleanor Greenwood, in a very impressive 6:18:15. The iconic barefoot runner, Zola Budd, now a representative of Newton Running, was controversially stripped of her veteran’s title after the race when officials claimed that she hadn’t been wearing a tag indicating her age group next to her race number.

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News from the sporting arena

henomenal Swiss triathlete, Nicola Spirig, has just scooped her fourth European Championship Gold medal in Austria, adding to a string of successes, including Olympic Gold at London 2012. Spirig, who also has a law degree and took the Swiss Sports Personality of the Year title in 2012, had a year out last year to have a baby boy and was thrilled to come back this year to win such an elite event. Sophia Saller of Germany claimed a very impressive Silver in her first ever Olympic distance elite race and Annamaria Mazzetti (Italy) was pleased to bring home the Bronze. Congratulations to all!

Pavey had already won a bronze medal in the 5,000m at the Commonwealth Games but was able to sprint down the home straight 10 days later in an impressive time of 32:22:39. An inspiration to all female athletes, whatever their level, and yet another reminder that age is just a number. Congratulations Jo!

Dame Kelly Holmes plans to come out of retirement and compete on the world class stage once again, this time in the Duathlon

100m runner, Tyson Gay, finishes second in the Lausanne Diamond League after a one year ban due to drug use

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On track

ritish athlete, Jo Pavey, has become the oldest female in the history of the competition to win a gold medal at the European Championships. The forty year old mother of two found the 10,000m race tough, saying, “It felt so long, I was thinking, ‘Is this the right race?!’”.


The latest international news

International news

here have been rumours for some time surrounding a possible film relating to Chris McDougall’s book Born to Run. Happily, the film is in production and will focus on the goals and dreams of one of the book’s central characters: the legend that is Caballo Blanco (The White Horse). Caballo Blanco, aka Micah True, sadly passed away in 2012 but his legacy lives on, driven by friends and family who share his desire to support the Tarahumara and spread the spirit of runners in the Caballo Blanco Ultramarathon and indeed, runners everywhere. A percentage of film profits will be given to Norawas de Raramuri (Friends of the Running People) – a not for profit group founded by Caballo Blanco to support the Tarahumara people. You can show your support by donating to the film project via their kickstarter campaign. All the information you need can be found at: www.runfreemovie.com

e aware if you are searching for Manuka honey, notorious for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. You may, in fact, end up buying ‘regular’ honey at an elevated price. An investigation, according to a recent European Parliamentary report, discovered that only one in seven samples tested in a laboratory was true Manuka honey derived from the Manuka Bush, native to New Zealand. Manuka honey can cost well over £30 for a small 250g jar, but because the taste is similar to that of ‘normal’ honey, food fraudsters have picked up on this money making scheme. Hunt out jars with the ‘UMF’ mark (Unique Manuka Factor) to be sure of the honey’s authenticity. If it seems cheap, it’s probably not the real thing!

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A book by Laura Hillenbrand, detailing his fascinating story, is currently being made into a film due for release at the end of the year. An inspiration for us all.

John O’Connell, first over the line at the Bantry Duathlon in April, was disqualified due to running his second run barefoot

WHO (World Health Organization) launches plan to eliminate Tuberculosis from 33 countries by 2050

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International news

During his long and eventful life, Zamperini – son of an Italian immigrant – spent his teenage years training hard, resulting in the honour of representing the US in the 5,000 metres at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. He later gave up competitive running to serve in the US army, ultimately spending two years as a prisoner of war after surviving a plane crash and 47 days on a life raft.

The latest international news

lympic runner and World War II hero, Louis Zamperini, has died at the age of 97 after a battle with pneumonia.


Hi Anna & David Thanks for the newsletters and my is it a packed one, it's great! Sad though to read about the drugs (not read in depth yet) because 12 years ago I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and have been taking a diuretic and ACE inhibitor ever since so does this mean I can never compete? Not that I have started running yet, I am still at the practising walking in all weathers stage, when it 's not too wet (not all that often then!). I believe in finding a different purpose to many products so my footwear has never featured in any of the magazines and neither has my recovery drink. I love dual purpose products. I am, though, against the domestic farm animal abuse of vegetarians and vegans but of course I would say that - my

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background is as a chef and I am a committed (or should be) foodie. We have domesticated and evolved all of our domestic animals over thousands of years and if we stop eating them they will become extinct. We don't have enough room for all the people let alone repatriating domestic farm animals to the wild, so I shall continue to indulge and to be a member of CIWF. Also, I have fond memories of reading “The Victor” comic, as my hero who still resides in my psyche is the original UK barefoot runner: “Alf Tupper” aka “The Tuf of the Track”. Keep up the great work Warmest regards, Su (via email)


P.S. I went everywhere barefoot as a kid. Ed – The drugs issue is only relevant when you are competing at a high level. Also, there are allowances for certain drugs if there are medical issues. It is something that would be looked at on an individual basis.

Hi guys, My wife and I are barefoot fanatics (my wife is a loud voice for barefoot horses as well – many, many similarities).

running track. Unlike last year I was the only barefoot runner but there seemed to be a lot of support for the sole (no pun intended) barefoot runner this year. As usual a lot of people wanting to see the soles of my feet to prove that I wasn't injured or had blood blisters. Everyone who saw the soles of my feet were, like, “That’s amazing! Look at your soles! They look so untouched, so uniform! No cuts, bruises or blood blisters and although dirty look incredibly smooth”. In the photo, I am coming down the 'kinder' central gravel path ready to turn to the left and do the s****y loop again! Feedback I have had from many people is that I looked totally unphased and relaxed as I ran the course. (Ricardo, via email)

Our kids grew up barefoot but in those certain situations, they needed to wear shoes. There was nothing out there for them (6 and 4 years old), that fit the criteria (soft, light, with anatomical design and just enough protection from sharp objects and extreme cold) - so we came up with our own. It's called "Wildling". We have found some very exciting materials (all vegan) and we are in the first developing stages. We would be very happy if you'd join our page, give us your comments along the way, and bear with us on our journey towards the best barefoot shoe ever for kids. It would mean a lot to have you guys on board! Thanks Anna and Ran (via facebook)

Hi there, I have just started barefoot running and would love to find out more from you guys. Thanks for all the info on the website, really informative and useful to a beginner like me. Thank you also for sending the copy of the magazine, it is literally packed with awesome information. Now I just need to decide which sandboxes to buy! I completed a 5 mile run in bare feet earlier which has left me a little tight in the calves but feet feel relatively good. As a former Royal Marine I'm not great at taking my time with anything training related. Will take a few days off now though. Going to look through the back issues and get some more hints and tips. Keep up the great work and thanks again. (Aaron, via email)

Hi, This morning’s Medway 10K was hard with the temperature being around 25° very early. I ran the entire course totally barefoot gravel paths, broken glass, road,

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Product review index Page 110

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Product Review Testers

113

Not so minimal review

114

Vibram EL-X

Not so minimal review

118

Xero shoes - Amuri Cloud

Out of the box review

122

Earth Runners Circadian

Not so minimal review

124

Vibram SeeYa LS Night

128

Vivobarefoot: Trail Freak vs. EVO Pure

Out of the box review

134

Bedrock Syncline Sandals

Not so minimal review

138

Flip Belt

Not so minimal review

140

Altra Lone Peak 1.5

Not so minimal review

146

T Rockets

160

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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Product review index

Not so minimal review


Outlined below are the different types of review: Sneaky peek The sneaky peek review is a little taster of what’s to come. We take a look at products that are still in the development stage and find out the story behind them.

Out of the box Appalling. Not worth unpacking. The box is probably of more use.

This is a ‘first impressions’ review. The tester writes a brief summary of the product after having a quick look over it and taking it for a spin.

Very poor. Under performs in every area. Significantly flawed.

Not so minimal

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

This is the ‘nitty gritty’ review. Our tester takes the product thoroughly through its paces over two or three months and then reports back his/her findings.

Off the pace. Below average in nearly every area.

Long term review Does the product stand the test of time? This type of review reviews and rates the product’s longevity – usually after around six months or so of usage.

Acceptable. Average in most areas but has its disappointments. Good. Above average in some areas but very average in others.

Head to head

Very Good. Recommended in all areas.

This can take two forms: either one reviewer pits two similar products against each other and compares them both, or several reviewers test the same product to provide the reader with different perspectives.

Excellent. Highly recommended in all areas. Fantastic. Almost flawless. A must have.

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Name: Ian Hicks Preferred footwear: Barefoot/Minimal Preferred terrain: Multi-terrain Tester initials: IH Name: Tracy Davenport Preferred footwear: Barefoot/Minimal Preferred terrain: Multi-terrain Tester initials: TMD

Product review team

Name: Jonathan Mackintosh Preferred footwear: Minimal Preferred terrain: Trail Tester initials: JJM Name: Steve Richards Preferred footwear: Barefoot/Minimal Preferred terrain: Multi-terrain Tester initials: SR Name: Charlie Sproson Preferred footwear: Minimal Preferred terrain: Multi-terrain Tester initials: CS Name: Preferred footwear: Preferred terrain: Tester initials:

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Vibram EL-X

Not so minimal review

WEIGHT (UK9)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

121.9g / 4.3OZ

2.7mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

TC-1 Performance Rubber

Polyester Mesh

N/A

Male

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

6½ - 12

40 - 47

7½ - 13

N/A

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I am not sure why, but Vibram have limited the El-X to men only, with sizes from a European 40 to 47.

Styling

Personally, I like most of the Vibram designs and colour combinations and while they may look out of place in some situations, attracting strange looks, I think the multiple variations fit a wide range of tastes.

The toe spacing is good, even for those with extra ordinarily long middle toes (me!) and the low cut instep doesn’t rub even when wet but keeps the shoe securely to the foot.

Build quality Vibram have exceptionally good build quality. I still own an original pair of classic sprints (bought in 2009) with many good years of running still left in them and, from my impressions, the EL-X seem no different. During the test they have been through knee high mud, cold streams, one river and the washing machine several times and look (but not smell!) like new. The only issue I had with the Vibram Sprints was that they were liable to get holes on the upper portion of the toes. However, Vibram have incorporated miniature protective lines across the toe area to combat this - good call! Only time will tell how long they will last but at this moment the protection is doing its job well. They seem very durable – you can bung them in the washing machine (at 40 degrees) and just leave them out to dry.

Performance Fit Some Vibram models are difficult to get on your foot the first two or three times, but with the EL-X there

The well fitting EL-X is a well balanced all-terrain minimalist shoe that gives good protection on sharp or jagged surfaces, while not dulling the ground feel too

much. This, in conjunction with the well designed TC-1 performance rubber, gives excellent grip even on wet surfaces, making for a good all round minimalist shoe. Their light weight construction doesn’t interfere with my form too much and for someone who rarely runs in shoes, they don’t overheat or rub on any excursion. My only personal criticisms about the EL-X are that firstly: the flexibility of the toe section is too restrictive for my liking and so does not allow my toes to move through their entire range of movement in both my running and walking gait and secondly: it may seem slightly strange but I find the grip of the sole is, on occasion, too grippy. However, these two issues will probably not stop me from bunging them into my belt as I head out on a run in unknown territories.

Barefoot simulation Whilst it can be argued that the 2.7 mm footbed thickness of the EL-X is now on the thicker side of the lightweight minimalist shoes, with several thinner ones now available on the market (such as Sockwa at 1.2mm) I found them to have superb ground feel. The combination of flexibility from heel to toe accompanied with the rubber compound used transmits to the wearer all that is underfoot.

Price The Vibram EL-X has a recommended retail price of £75.00 (approximately €90.00). For what you are getting I think they are well worth the price

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Not so minimal review

I have always considered Vibram fivefingers to be one of the quirkiest minimalist shoes and think of them as a ‘Marmite shoe’ - very much a love-them-or-hate-them (“my wife will never let me wear them”) product. I personally like the styling so elected to test the bright red, quite ‘in your face’ option which also has some funky black stripes across it. It’s worth noting that it is possible to get more subtle colours, such as all black or grey and orange (as seen on the adjacent page).

was not a problem at all. I found them very easy to slip on and off and, when on, it they have a snug, but overly tight, fit.

Vibram EL-X

ibram market the EL-X as a simple, comfortable and easy to put on minimalist shoe, with an ultra thin sole coming in at 2.7mm that, “connects you to your environment”, while offering tremendous grip from its specifically designed TC-1 performance rubber sole. The glued-in upper is manufactured from a stretchy breathable mesh to ensure that the EL-X gives a snug and flexible fit, while weighing in at a mere 121.9 grams.


Vibram EL-X

tag. Yes, they may end up slightly stinky as all Vibrams do, but I believe they will probably become one of those tools in the toolbox that your hand will always gravitate to when you’re not quite sure and need a good old faithful. Plus, if you are willing to shop around, you will be able to purchase them more in the region of £60.00 and if they are anything remotely like the now obsolete Classic KSO, then they will be knocking around for years to come.

Overall rating I am pleasantly surprised with the Vibram EL-X. While testing this model, Anna [Toombs] has been trying to get to grips with the Vibram Seeya LS (full review on page 126) and is having some issues. However, from the minute I put on the EL-X it has felt that I have been wearing that particular pair for years.

To be honest they seem at the moment to be quite difficult to criticize but if I was to be overly harsh, I would say that the sole gives too much grip in certain situations and training scenarios, but that’s definitely personal preference. I have always been a fan of the Classic KSO and cursed Vibram on their decision to discontinue their production, but on testing the EL-X all is forgiven. Would I like to see the Classic KSO back on the shelves? Hell yes, but not at the expense of the EL-X! A great minimalist shoe with only one major downfall – they are not made for women. So Vibram get on the case and allow the female minimalist and barefoot runners to enjoy the same experience!

It is as though a designer at Vibram head office had a photo and measurements of my feet in front of them and said, “I shall build this man a shoe!”

Not so minimal review

They fit me like a glove and work almost everywhere. And while there are question marks over the longevity of the toe protection, I would happy invest in another pair - probably something a little more subtle next time.

Tested by DRR

Light Build quality Exceptional good grip

Lack of flexibility in the toes Excessive grip at times Straps Not available are a weak in female point sizes

Shoes kindly supplied by Primal Lifestyle www.primallifestyle.com

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www.running - memories.co.uk Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2014

Page 115


Amuri Cloud

Not so minimal review

WEIGHT (UK9)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

6 mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

FeelTrue速

N/A

N/A

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

5 - 12

38 - 47

6 - 13

7 - 10

130g / 4.6OZ

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Styling The Amuri Cloud comes in four different colours: black/charcoal, black/royal blue, mocha earth/ black and royal blue/lime. The footbed and sole is a blend of the two colours, as are the laces. There is a heel cup (designed to keep the heel secure, keep debris out and add to the look) as well as a silicone heel strap to make the laces feel “not there”.

Anna says: I personally really like the look. I tend to wear sandals throughout the summer for everyday wear and these look more interesting than other sandals out there, many of which tend to be predominantly black.

Fit Ian says: On the whole, the fit was fine for me. I tend to like a sandal snug to my foot and will often trim them so that they fit my feet perfectly. Ready-made sandals aren’t able to accommodate my DIY though! As I mention later, the heel strap did slip down so this was a bit of an issue.

Anna says: I think I needed a size (or half size) smaller, which wasn’t available. These sandals are made in the US and I’m wondering if the average female foot is longer and wider over there. In the UK, size 5 (my size) is quite a common size for women but the Amuri Cloud was just a bit too long and wide for my feet. I can imagine it is tricky, from a business point of view, to try and cater for all feet – they vary so much. In my case, for the best fit I need to go ‘custom-made’ (my original Xero Shoes were custom made and a perfect fit).

problematic for quite a few barefoot/minimalist runners in terms of the slapping sound they can make. Here are Steven Sashen’s comments regarding the slapping issue: “Slapping comes from one of 4 things: 1) Too-loose lacing; 2) Too long; 3) Overstriding (when running or walking); 4) Not "using" your foot when you walk.”

The Xero Shoe brand is becoming synonymous with build quality and every pair of shoes comes with a 5,000 mile guarantee.

Ian says: Unfortunately, this is the only sandal I have tried that I struggle to run in. I find that it slaps on the road and have spoken to Steven about the issue. He has suggested that my running form is at fault but having run several half marathons totally barefoot and tried out several other sandals, I have to conclude that the sandal just doesn’t suit my particular running style. I also found that, on trails, the sandal tends to flap so that it catches on branches, etc. The heel strap also feels quite insecure and falls down.

Ian says: No complaints here. The toe post has been known to pull out from the sole, but just pushes back in.

Anna says: I also find the slapping to be a problem and I suspect it may be a sizing issue for me. As mentioned, they are a little big.

Anna says: These shoes are well made and durable. I don’t know what happens if/when the lacing breaks (on the original Xero Shoes you can just change the laces), but I don’t think this will be an issue for some time. The shoe is more complex than the originals so there’s potentially more to go wrong, but so far no signs of any wear at all.

Performance-wise, they are very light, flexible sandals with good grip. Unlike Ian, I haven’t experienced any catching of the front of the shoe on obstacles so for trails they would work for me if I could scale down the size.

For the majority of people, sizing won’t be a problem and there is a detailed sizing guide on the website too.

Build quality

Performance A variety of sandals have been

I find the footbed incredibly comfortable. These are my go-to shoes for the summer as they are comfortable to walk around in. The straps can have a tendency to work their way loose and fall off my heels. I have them at their tightest, which meant that the

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Not so minimal review

Ian says: I like the look, although it is more like a summer casual flip-flop than a serious running sandal.

Amuri Cloud

he Amuri Cloud is the latest, ready-made offering from Xero Shoes, one of the first companies to begin creating minimalist sandals. Their first series of sandals were offered as either custom-made, or you could buy a ‘make-your-own’ kit. Some customers loved the challenge of adjusting the laces, getting them just right. Retailers, however, saw that many punters wouldn’t enjoy that extra fuss and would prefer to just slip the sandal on and go, so the guys at Xero Shoes first produced the Amuri (formerly Sensori) Venture and then the Amuri Cloud.


Amuri Cloud

ends were hanging down, but I adjusted them which eliminated the problem.

structure and build quality of the shoe.

Barefoot simulation

Ian says: I really like the look of the sandal and enjoyed the decent barefoot simulation. My reservations lie with the slapping sound and the fact that I couldn’t get the sandal to feel secure on my foot. I put this down to the fact that my running style and the Amuri Cloud are not a good fit but can certainly see it being a very popular choice for barefoot/minimalist runners.

Overall rating

This is where Xero Shoes come into their own. So many minimalist shoes are touted as having a ‘barefoot feel’ but have a thick sole or lack flexibility. Ian says: The barefoot simulation of the sandal is good. The sole is slim, light and flexible which allows my feet to move naturally.

Not so minimal review

Anna says: For true barefoot feel, a shoe needs to be open because part of being barefoot is about allowing air to get to your feet. Any enclosed shoe won’t do this, so sandals have an advantage straight away. As for the Amuri Cloud, they are very close to a barefoot feel. Not only is the sole very slim, light and flexible, but the material (laces, footbed, etc.) is soft so that nothing ‘digs in’. I was also very surprised by how the “Barefoam” feels soft, yet hard, at the same time. In other words, there is almost a feeling of cushioning but without comprising any stability or interfering with Ground Reaction Force.

Anna says: If I could have made the sandals just a touch smaller, I would have found them extremely comfortable and a great choice for walking around in. I have used them for several long walks and not had any adverse issues with rubbing or blisters. I also really like the look of the sandals. I have the black/royal blue ones and they do look good. The “Barefoam” is a winner for me too. Like Ian, I feel the need to have footwear that feels secure and as a barefoot runner, I am used to running silently so any slapping is distracting.

Price There are more and more minimalist sandals hitting the market with greatly varying price tags. The Amuri Cloud is at the lower end of the scale in terms of pricing.

When the sandals arrive, they come with a little card explaining how to adjust the laces which is a nice touch. You will also have no problems getting in contact with Xero Shoes to answer your questions – founder, Steven Sashen, is very ‘hands on’ and eager to answer queries.

Ian says: The Amuri Cloud does not suit my running style but is still very popular amongst minimalist walkers /runners and £35 is very reasonable for a ready-made sandal that is likely to last for some time. Anna says: Even if this shoe only lasted one summer, I would still consider it a good buy at £35. As it stands, it will last a lot longer so £35 is extremely reasonable, given the

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The Barefoam™ feel Styling Lightweight

Many report slapping The strapping


Earth Runners Circadian

Out-of-the-box review

WEIGHT (UK9)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

6 mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

Vibram Rubber

N/A

N/A

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

3 - 12

35.5 - 46.5

4 - 13

6 - 15

134g / 4.72OZ

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Earth Runners Circadian

arth Runners Circadian sandal uses a 6mm Vibram sole. There is the option to have a dark brown suede leather foot bed if you prefer a bit style and luxury. There are two lace options: Nylon laces which come as standard, or you can upgrade to the conductive laces, which have copper impregnated into the lace. They are attached to the bottom of the sandal via a copper plug. A further option is to have conductive inserts, which are made of copper. There are four inserts at the toe bases, plus two in the centre of the sandal, running horizontally, which Earth Runners say, “is the location of kidney 1 – a major acupuncture point of the body located centrally on the sole of the foot”.

My only concern is the side harness attachments, which are loops riveted to the sole. They seem secure, but I can’t help thinking that this is a potential weak point.

Styling I’m not sure that the Circadian will win awards for style, with the likes of Xero’s Amuri Cloud as a rival. However, having said this, I do like the copper inserts in the soles which makes them different from other huaraches on the market.

First impressions First Impressions are good. I’ve taken them for a couple of 5k runs around parkland and have really enjoyed wearing them. They are light and feel secure. Comfortable

Price

The fit is very impressive. The 6mm Vibram custom moulded sole fits very well on my feet. The lacing harness is very comfortable and gives a very secure fit. I also had no problem with sizing, no trimming was needed, which is unusual for me because it takes me a certain amount of trimming to get the fit just how I like it.

£33.00 will get you the standard Circadian sandal, plus £11.00 for international shipping. You can add a touch of luxury with a leather footbed for £6.00. Although the leather bedding looks good it does become slippery in the wet. I didn’t have the leather as most of my running is on muddy trails. I did, however, go for the conductive inserts at £8.00 and the conductive laces at £4.00, which comes to a grand total of £62.00. This is fairly high for a pair of huaraches, but you do get the grounding aspect which other sandals do not offer.

A note on sizes - their website does have sizing templates, as long as you print them off in actual size. This is so you can confirm your size before ordering. They will also custom cut sandals for non-standard size feet!

Build quality The Circadian uses a 6mm Vibram sole, so there are no issues with quality there. The nylon harness certainly seems strong enough to cope with some rough trails, but time will tell. The copper inserts are well imbedded in the soles and show no signs of popping out.

Good, secure harness

Price

Riveted harness anchor points Can’t trim to individual foot shape

Straps are a weak point

Overall rating I’m really liking the Circadians. They are light and comfortable to wear with a great harness. I like the fact that the sole is already moulded to take on the shape of the foot. I will be interested to see how the (optional) conductive laces and inserts work and whether I notice any difference.

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Out-of-the-box review

Fit


Vibram SeeYa LS Night

Not so minimal review

WEIGHT (UK9)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

3.5 mm

0 mm

Soft TPU

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

TC-1 Performance Rubber

Mesh

N/A

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

3½ - 13

36 - 47

7½ - 13

6 - 10½

150.2g /5.3oz

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Subsequently, the SeeYa appears to be a return to simplicity; just an ultra light shoe designed for “serious minimalist runners”. At the London Marathon Expo earlier this year, Matt Walden of Primal Lifestyle kindly gave me a pair to test out, so here are my thoughts!

Styling I’m not usually a fan of pink, but I have to say that I really like the look of these! They have just enough black and grey to make it work. Plus, the reflective strips on the shoes look pretty cool when they catch the light and are obviously great for visibility when out and about in the dark.

couple of seconds.

Fit can be a tricky one with many minimalist shoes. For Vibrams, I am generally a 38 (UK size 5) and have only bought one pair which seemed a bit too snug.

Now that I’ve worn the SeeYa’s in a little, they are a bit more flexible so they don’t take so long to get on, but the laces still require the same amount of tying time. I thought I’d given all that up when I stopped wearing trainers! The laces also tend to come loose but are really too short to tie a double knot, so this has been something of an annoyance.

The fit, on the whole, was fine with the SeeYa LS Night. The spacing between the toes seems more restrictive than my KSOs but this maybe due to the build and design rather than a specific sizing issue. I did get a blister below my right ankle bone and on the inside of my right foot after the first couple of times I wore them but this problem disappeared after a few more days of wear.

Build quality My pair of SeeYa LS Nights seem very well made. The fivefingers I have had in the past have lasted well, with the sole eventually coming away from the upper on the inner edge of the big toes, but this can be glued. So far, this current pair are still as good as new and the stitching, etc. seems thorough and high quality.

Performance The first thing I have to say about the performance is: those damn laces! When I first got the shoes (and I am no stranger to getting my toes into fivefingers) it took ages to get my toes in and then tying the laces added to the time. When rushing out the door in the morning and looking at which shoes to grab, I have generally been choosing my trusty, five year old KSOs which just slip on in a

In terms of walking and running in them though, they feel very lightweight and have good grip for the more slippery surfaces. They are not waterproof, but I don’t know of any fivefingers that are and it isn’t personally a problem for me. I prefer shoes that are just a simple covering for my foot, so I think the best version of this shoe may well have been the original – I much prefer a Velcro strap.

Barefoot simulation As someone who runs completely barefoot, no shoe has a true barefoot feel to me. Again, the KSOs I own have great ground feel and flexibility and I wear these on a regular basis for walking around. The SeeYa’s have a thicker sole along with significant tread which detracts somewhat from a barefoot feel. Of course, they still have much more flexibility and are far lighter than a traditional trainer and for those who are new to the concept of minimalist shoes, the barefoot feel may actually be a little too much! For the most part, I don’t feel that they restrict my

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Not so minimal review

The SeeYa LS have laces as opposed to the originals which have a Velcro strap – the resulting shoe being marketed as a minimalist shoe but with the “added versatility of a traditional sneaker”. The laces do complete the overall ‘look’ of the shoe and I imagine that this combination will appeal to plenty of fivefinger customers. For styling alone, I like it, but from a performance perspective…see later for more details!

Fit

Vibram SeeYa LS Night

he Vibram fivefinger SeeYa LS Night is basically a more lightreflective version of the SeeYa LS, which in turn is built on the concept of the original SeeYa. After the popularity of the very first series of fivefingers (Classics, Sprints, KSO’s and Flows) the people at Vibram began to create thicker shoes with various different ‘treads’ to cater for a mixture of environments as well as the diverse tastes of their customers.


Vibram SeeYa LS Night Stylish Lightweight Easy fit

Lacing Midsole stiffness

Not so minimal review

Straps are a weak point

feet too much; my only concern is the rather stiff nature of the midsole when I try and flex my toes. By that, I mean I can’t. I can lift my toes but not fold them underneath my feet which I like to do on a regular basis and plenty of minimalist shoes allow me to do so.

so in the long run, they are not overly expensive. I do think better versions of the FiveFingers are available at a lower price, however.

So, for me they are a little stiff and slightly too thick but I think someone who doesn’t go barefoot would probably describe them as having good ground feel and receive a fair amount of feedback.

The styling, for pure styling’s sake, is definitely a plus. I will be wearing these on a regular basis during the day when not running. My main issues are the laces and the stiffness in the midsole. I don’t mind that the sole feels a little thick – this doesn’t make it spongy so my feet still feel solid on the ground.

Price These retail at £139 in the UK. The whole range of FiveFingers are expensive compared to other minimalist shoes out there, such as Sockwa and the majority of sandal ranges. However, at the more simple end of the spectrum, these shoes suit me and last well (if you can manage the smell factor!)

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Barefoot Running Magazine

Overall rating

I think for those who enjoy running in a minimalist shoe and are fans of Vibram, this is a good shoe but I would recommend going for the originals with the Velcro strap, unless you particularly like using laces.


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Autumn 2013

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Not so minimal review Vivobarefoot: Trail Freak vs. EVO Pure


The Vivobarefoot argument is straightforward - your feet have all the technology you need. Their aim is to provide shoes that let your feet do ‘their thing’. "The key for a long life of efficient movement involves reconnecting your brain and reconditioning your body. This is achieved by relearning the skill of locomotion by perfecting simple motor skill milestones and simultaneously, and gradually, building up adequate strength." [2] This is achieved via the combination of a wide toe box, ultimate flexibility, and an ultra-thin sole. The above content will already be familiar to you if you read my review of the Vivobarefoot Breatho Trail in issue 11.

I was impressed with the Breatho Trail, other than a minor issue with the laces, and, as such, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to review not one but two new Vivobarefoot products for this issue. The products in question are the Trail Freak, intended, as the name suggests, for trail running, and the Evo Pure, essentially a road shoe but touted for use from everything from road and treadmill running through to weight lifting, court sports and gym classes. As with the previously reviewed Breatho Trail, the Trail Freak and Evo Pure and, indeed, all Vivobarefoot products, are constructed to be as minimal as possible, with a wide toe box, ultimate flexibility, and an ultra-thin sole.

Styling Trail Freak The Trail Freak is available in navy/ sulphur (not unlike the Breatho Trail) or red/orange male colour combinations and pink/teal and blue/turquoise ladies colour combinations. Aesthetically, the Trail Freak will never be accused of being subtle and, as much as I do like the slightly understated navy/sulphur, there’s something really appealing about the fiery red/orange colour combination. It screams for attention and looks fast - it’s just a shame I don’t have the turn of speed to match it! Perhaps with the exception of the navy/sulphur, the colour combinations may reduce the likelihood of people wearing the shoes casually, outside of their intended environment. Evo Pure The Evo Pure is available in red or blue/sulphur male colour combinations and blue/turquoise and white/pink ladies colour combinations. The colours are on the vivid end of the scale but I would go so far as to describe the male colour combinations as classy and, unlike the Trail Freaks, the Evo Pure would be far easier to pass off if worn casually.

Not so minimal review

If you didn’t read the review, the above will serve as an introduction to the Vivobarefoot ethos and I would strongly recommend that you check out the excellent, highly informative, Vivobarefoot web site: http://www.vivobarefoot.com/uk

Vivobarefoot: Trail Freak vs. EVO Pure

ivobarefoot is “a shoe technology aimed at offering the optimum biomechanics and posture commonly associated with walking barefoot and barefoot running” and it has been described as “as close to going barefoot in the city as you can get.”[1]

The male designs focus more on a single colour, with any alternate colour used minimally on trimmings. The ladies design, however, sees the alternate colour used through out the hexagon design of the upper material and I have to admit, I find that the contrast clashes a bit where my tastes are concerned.

Fit Both the Trail Freak and the Evo Pure provided a perfect fit straight out of the box, with a lovely wide toe box to facilitate toe splay, helping with both balance and running efficiency. I found the Evo Pure in particular was especially spacious, far removed from the typically cramped toe boxes of more traditional running shoes.

.

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Vivobarefoot: Trail Freak vs. EVO Pure

Build quality

Gone are the laces, replaced instead by a speed-lacing toggle system similar to Lock Laces and the system employed in a number of Salomon trainers.

Trail Freak The upper of the Trail Freak consists of a dual layer mesh with a laminated hexagonal overlay. It’s a very lightweight, highly flexible overlay, adding a slight element of protection. A more robust heel counter helps hold the foot in position. The upper sits atop a patented, ultra-thin, puncture resistant sole, constructed from V-grip rubber specifically designed for off-road surfaces, with multi-directional ‘V-teeth’ for improved traction. The 2.5mm outsole, with 4.5mm lugs is, by all accounts, the same sole that is used on the Breatho Trail. A Dri-lex lining with Lycra collar provides supreme comfort and moisture wicking. The Trail Freak is just as comfortable without socks as it is with socks, though I have found on numerous occasions that the insoles have a tendency to come with the foot when you slip the shoes off and getting them placed in exactly the right spot can be a faff.

Not so minimal review

I’ve saved one of the best elements till last. My biggest moan where the Breatho Trail was concerned was the overly long, chunky laces that had a habit of coming loose mid run. Double knotting them resolved this but, because the laces were quite so fat, this resulted in an unsightly lump of lacing on top of the shoe. I wasn’t alone in finding this and Vivobarefoot have responded to the feedback with a totally different approach to lacing.

Summer 2014

Evo Pure The upper of the Evo Pure consists of a thin, durable polyester mesh with V Web lightweight upper lamination for stitchless lateral support. The heel counter is considerably pared back in comparison to the Trail Freak, indicative of the reduced level of support required in an on road shoe. The one thing that did catch my eye initially was the use of very thin strips of material on either side of the main flex point of the shoe, which I can only assume are intended to strengthen the area.

Overall, the construction results in a ‘barely there’, almost ‘second skin’ fit.

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No more stopping to double knot laces mid run! What’s more, once you have found your preferred setting, there’s actually little need to alter the lacing as I have found that the Trail Freaks slip on and off with ease. There may, of course, be occasion when you will want to tighten the lacing but this is easily done. Any excess lacing simply tucks away, preventing it from flapping around.

As with the Trail Freak, a Dri-lex lining with Lycra collar provides supreme comfort and moisture wicking and the Evo Pure is also comfortable to wear both with and without socks. The sole used on the Evo Pure is the V Multi 2, providing a “coned hexagon grip for perfect balance between on and off road (light trails) traction, control and sensory clarity”. By all accounts, this is a

Barefoot Running Magazine

new approach from Vivobarefoot, replacing the thicker, multi-terrain sole employed on previous road shoes. Finally, the Evo Pure employs a standard lacing system. Thankfully, I have had no repeat of my problems with the Breatho Trail with the considerably thinner laces of the Evo Pure.

Performance Trail Freak The Vivobarefoot ethos is all about providing the necessary tools to let your feet do their thing, and there’s no doubt that the Trail Freak do just that. “Your shoes and your feet will move as one, no matter what nature throws at them. The Trail Freak is a durable and lightweight barefoot trail shoe suited for the toughest mud sections, slipperiest descents, and filthiest climbs.”[3] Touted as shoes for “hot and fast trail running”, travelling, trekking, and even cycling, thanks to the pedal friendly, grippy lugs, the Trail Freak is a highly comfortable, highly breathable trail shoe that manages to successfully combine a second skin feel with a spacious toe box. One of the standout points of the Breatho Trail for me was the excellent off-road traction afforded by the patented ultra-thin, puncture resistant 2.5mm outsole with 4.5mm multidirectional lugs and this same level of protection from unknown terrain is equally as welcome on the Trail Freak. The lugs towards the rear of the shoe face the opposite direction from those on the front, helping to maintain traction on


Vivobarefoot: Trail Freak vs. EVO Pure

steep and slippery descents. As with my experiences with the Breatho Trail, traction issues in the Trail Freaks have been limited to wet concrete - hardly the intended terrain for the shoe. The Trail Freak isn’t a waterproof shoe, but then the jury is out on the merits of waterproof trail shoes anyway - far better to have a highly breathable shoe that drains well. After a week of constant, often sockless, use in the Cairngorms, my Trail Freaks did start to develop an odour but this was nipped in the bud with a quick hand wash of the shoe and a machine wash of the removable insole. My sole concern (no pun intended!) as far as the Trail Freak goes is the long term durability of the shoe. Given the lightweight upper and overlays, it’s not a shoe that affords much protection to the foot and, by virtue of that same lightweight upper and overlays, it’s also a shoe that might just suffer from continued use in harsh environments. I’m thinking specifically about the kind of damage that might arise from repeated exposure to dry Scottish heather, for example. Those concerns would apply, however, to any lightweight trail shoe and certainly not just to the Trail Freak. production of the Roclite 305 (why?!!), I had gone through 5 pairs of them and I can see a similar situation developing with the Trail Freak. If I had to choose a single pair of shoes to be stranded on the proverbial desert island with, it would be Trail Freaks! Evo Pure “There’s nothing holding you back, it’s just you and the Evo Pure working together. This road running shoe will let your feet perform, as if they were barefoot. They’re stripped back to ensure it’s your feet that are in control.”[4] I’m a trail runner at heart and, as such, I will likely never have quite the same affinity for a pair of road shoes as I do for trail shoes. However, I have no complaints whatsoever with regard to the Evo Pure and I am particularly fond of the versatility of the shoe. It’s touted as a shoe with many uses and I’ve certainly used it in this way, in running, treadmill, gym and casual environments. I don't have the same concerns vis-a-vis durability that I have expressed above about the Trail Freak. The Evo Pure is arguably lighter and with even less in terms of protective overlay.

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Not so minimal review

The last time I enjoyed a shoe this much was the Inov8 Roclite 305, a shoe that felt like a favourite pair of slippers and saw me through many, many miles of ultramarathon training and racing. By the time Inov8 discontinued


Vivobarefoot: Trail Freak vs. EVO Pure

However, I just wouldn't expect them to receive the same levels of punishment.

providing shoes that appear to be perfect for their respective terrain.

Barefoot simulation There’s little point in dealing with the Trail Freak and Evo Pure separately at this point. Barefoot simulation doesn’t get much better than this, other than actually running barefoot.

Tested by JJM

So lightweight you forget you are wearing them, so spacious as to provide ample room for toe splay and with only millimeters of patented puncture resistant sole between your feet and the ground, both the Trail Freak and the Evo Pure certainly let your feet do their own thing, putting you in full control of the running experience. Even the 4.5mm lugs on the Trail Freak do little to dampen the barefoot experience. You still have excellent ground feel and will no doubt need to rein it back a bit on the rockiest of descents.

Not so minimal review

I would advise anyone looking for minimalist trail or road shoes to at least consider these offerings from Vivobarefoot. Both shoes certainly follow the Vivobarefoot ethos of providing shoes that let your feet do ‘their thing’ and do it well.

Taking the Evo Pure off-road, on a short woodland walk, soon gave an idea of how good the ground feel on the Evo Pure is. I have to admit to finding the terrain underfoot actually made for an occasionally uncomfortable experience and was glad of a return to the pavement!

Lightweight

Fit

Spacious

Surprisingly good ground feel

Can be worn as casual wear

Not so good on wet concrete

Little overlay protection

May not be durable in tough

Ladies colours may not be

conditions

to everyone's taste

Trail Freak RRP: £85.00 Evo Pure RRP: £90.00

Overall rating Having been suitably impressed with the Vivobarefoot Breatho Trail that I reviewed in issue 11, I was looking forward to the prospect of reviewing the new Evo Pure and, in particular, with trails being my favoured running surface, the Trail Freak. I’m happy to report that both models lived up to expectations,

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1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivobarefoot 2. www.vivobarefoot.com/uk/learn 3. www.vivobarefoot.com/uk/mens/trail-freakmens 4. www.vivobarefoot.com/uk/mens/evo-puremens

Styling

Price

 

References:

Barefoot Running Magazine


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Autumn 2013

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You will be taken through simple exercises that help to relax your mind and body, open your heart and immerse you in a place of deep feeling and rejuvenating energy. Barefoot Running Magazine

Spring 2014

Contact: lifecalmer@gmail.com

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mob: 07508 118072


Bedrock Syncline

Out-of-the-box review

WEIGHT (UK9)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

107.7g / 3.8OZ

8 mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

Vibram

N/A

N/A

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

2 - 12.5

35 - 46

4- 13

5 - 14

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Bedrock Syncline

think this review should be called “Out-of-Bag” review, because the Synclines are supplied in a hessian bag! The Bedrock Syncline uses an 8mm Vibram sole. The harness is a 13mm wide, US military grade strap. The toe strap is corded and countersunk to the underside of the sole. The buckle adjuster is placed on the top of the foot. The rear section of the heel strap is elastic, enabling the sandal to be quickly slid on and off. There is a handy pull tab loop attached to the rear of the harness for hanging the sandals up and helping to pull them on.

Styling Bedrock have gone for a simple design. Black Vibram sole with the harness available in a variety of colours. At the back of the harness they have the Bedrock logo, which I like. Also, the logo is embossed into the left foot-bed under the foot arch.

Fit

Initial thoughts are good. Bedrock has produced a lightweight, comfortable and robust huarache. The 8mm sole is good for runners wanting a bit of comfort on hard stony ground and also for transitioning to sandal running.

Price $70 (about £41) + shipping, although shipping is free in the US. For a robust, quality huarache it is a fair price to pay, compared to some other US made huaraches.

After I had made the adjustments to the harness, my first run over stony ground was enjoyable. The sandal felt secure and comfortable. It rained during my first run, which did make the foot bed slippery, but more testing in the rain is required to confirm my worries.

“Don’t miss our Not-so-minimal review in the Autumn issue!”

Build quality The sole, being an 8mm Vibram sole, should be good for many trail miles. The harness is a 13mm wide webbing strap so again, very doubtful it will cause problems. The harness side mount points wrap under the sole through a slot in the sole. The manufacturers have countersunk the underside of the sole, so the harness does not contact the ground, but if the harness is going to wear, on rough stony ground for example, then it will wear at these two points.

Comfortable Good, secure harness

Price

The harness straps going under the sole at the side mounts

Straps are a weak point

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Out-of-the-box review

“Out-of-Bag” fit did not work for me. Generally speaking, they were too loose with my feet moving around too much. After untying the harness and re-adjusting it to suit my feet, double looping the straps at the two side points, (I do this with all my sandals so the harness locks in place), I found the fit to be excellent, secure and comfortable.

First impressions


he more time you spend around barefoot running and minimalist running - the more articles you read in magazines and newspapers, the more interviews you hear with doctors or runners, the more stories you see on the news, the more websites you see about it, the more research you hear about it - the more often you’ll hear one particular admonition. Actually, if the piece is supportive of running barefoot, you’ll hear it as a recommendation. If the piece is anti-barefoot, then it’ll be a warning. And that bit of instruction/caution is: Transition to barefoot running SLOWLY. If you make the transition too quickly, you’ll get hurt. Admittedly, even on my website I say something that could sound similar

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about how to start running barefoot. But to focus on how quickly or slowly you make the transition is to miss the point. Running barefoot safely and enjoyably isn’t about whether it takes you a day, a week, or a year to do so. It’s about HOW you make the transition, not HOW LONG it takes to make it. It’s about form and function, not about seconds on the clock. In other words, the keys to running barefoot are following a few rules:

When your foot touches the ground it should be almost directly under your body. Don’t ‘overstride.’ That is, don’t reach out in front of you with your foot in order to land. Many people who’ve been running in padded, motion controlled shoes already overstride, reaching out

Barefoot Running Magazine

with their heels and landing on an almost straight leg. Some people will take off their shoes and continue to do the same thing, but point their toes in order to land on their forefoot. Others, who may not overstride in shoes, hear that you have to land on your forefoot when you run barefoot, and then will overstride in order to do so. Either way, landing on your forefoot, with your foot out in front of your body puts extra stress on the forefoot and could lead to problems or injury. Especially, if you have a “no pain, no gain” mentality and treat discomfort as something that you just have to work through. Focus on using less energy and effort. For example, rather than pushing yourself off the ground with your foot/toes, lift your foot off the ground by flexing at the hip. Pushing off the ground uses


WAY more calf muscle effort than is necessary. Similarly, if you think you have to stay on your toes and never let your heel touch the ground, which isn’t true, you’ll put more strain on your Achilles tendon than you need. Many people confuse the calf/Achilles pain they get from using too much effort with having tight calves/Achilles. Trust me, 99 times out of 100, calf or Achilles pain are an effort issue, not a tightness issue. And, trust me again, you’re probably not the 1 out of 100 for whom it’s not.

Rather than ‘landing’ on your feet, think of your feet as something that only touch the ground for as little time as necessary, and have them moving at the speed you’re travelling across the ground. Your feet should contact the ground more like a wheel that just rolls over it, than like a stick that gets planted and pulled out. Many of the other instructions about how to run barefoot are really just cues to help you get the correct foot placement and use

less effort. For example, the idea that you need to run at 180 steps per minute — it’s not a magic number. It’s that picking up your cadence makes it easier to place your feet under your body, at the correct speed, and with less effort. You can’t ‘plant’ your feet when they have no time spent on the ground. Similarly, successful barefooters recommend running on a HARD, smooth surface… the reason is that you get more feedback from running on a nice road or bike path than you do from running on the grass (besides, there could be things hiding in the grass that you don’t want to step on). HAVE FUN… if you’re just grinding out the miles it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll fall into bad form and increase your chances of injury.

How long it takes for you to learn to follow those rules is idiosyncratic. For some it takes no time at all because they already run in the way I described. For others, it takes longer, since you’re learning a new skill - and

Barefoot Running Magazine

different people learn at different rates. But to focus on the amount of time it takes you to make the change is to put your attention on the wrong thing. If you believe that it’s just about putting in the hours until you’re suddenly a successful barefoot runner, you may never make the form adjustments that will give you what you want. On the other hand, if you pay attention to the correct things, the important things, to your form… that could speed up your transition time dramatically. Pay attention to your sensations - if it hurts, take a look at the tips above and try something different until it doesn’t hurt. No pain, GAIN. Turn off the clock and turn on your awareness and you’ll be having fun running barefoot in no time. Join the conversation. Join the conversion. Feel The World!

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Flip Belt

Not so minimal review

he first time I saw a Flip Belt I thought, I like this product this is definitely one for me. They come in eight great colours, ranging from more sober tones right through to lurid bright ones. Naturally I chose the brightest neon yellow; I love bright colours for loads of reasons. For example road safety - the better you can be seen the safer you are. I also just like to brighten up the day a bit! It puts me in a better mood. The company is based Colorado, along with many other great sporting goods companies with which you may be familiar. It seems to be a really active and outdoorsy place and “necessity is the mother of great invention” as they say, so it's no small wonder there are loads of super things coming out of there at the moment.

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We all know that if we’re heading out for a run, or even just to the gym or for a bike ride, there will always be a few essentials we'll need to take with us – keys, phone, money, etc. It's just unavoidable and there are now tonnes of products out there to help you do this. But the question is: Why Flip Belt over another belt or arm/ wrist/leg band or shoe pocket?

Styling Visually, I think the colour range is great. The bright ones are punchy and the dark ones are crisp and the belt also looks really good on too. The look and thickness of the band works really well with pretty much any fitness clothing I've tried it with and helps to conceal muffin tops and other wobbly bits! I know

Barefoot Running Magazine

that you aren’t looking to buy a product just because it looks nice, but we want things to be both functional as well as nice looking don’t we?

Fit I am a women’s standard UK size 10 (29in around the waist, 36in around the hips), so when I was asked what size I would like for my belt I chose a small. With hindsight, I would have preferred to have the medium as I like wearing it on the hips and it does ride up to my waist when running in most of the kit I own, particularly if the clothing is made of a shiny or slippery fabric. However, this wouldn't be so much of an issue just going to the gym. When running there is absolutely no bounce which is fabulous - in


Flip Belt

fact most of the time you totally forget that you have it on because it is so comfortable with the belt width and the softness of the fabric that the belt is made of. Even the very best 'no bounce' belts often have to be fiddled with a bit to find their no bounce sweet spot or have to be loaded correctly to get the desired effect. With the Flip Belt it takes no effort, it is always in the no bounce zone.

Excellent colour range Build quality Comfortable

Build quality

The flipping could annoy

When it arrived in the post I was actually really surprised by the quality of it - the fabric is much more heavy duty and sturdier than I had thought it would be from the photos. It is made of a moisturewicking, spandex-lycra blend, but heavy and very stretchy as well as having an all over good quality stitching – no overlaps, pulls or stitch inconsistency. The Flip Belt is essentially a very simple tube with four 'pockets' around it. They are reinforced, barely noticeable holes where you can slide in the objects you'd like to keep with you. There are no dividers between each of them so they all link up on the inside. There was also a very useful feature I wasn't expecting inside one belt pocket: a tag with a plastic clip which is perfect for attaching your keys to as an additional safety measure.

Straps are a weak point

The Flip Belt is easy to use but I didn't get on so well with the stepping into it to put it on. Just a personal thing I didn't like doing – I prefer to clip a belt on for the sake of ease. The access to the pockets is also good but again not as easy as a zip when actually running. Not that too many of us need to go in and out of pockets continually when running but it does happen (especially if you are anything like me and take photos of everything!). The Flip Belt is also wide enough to take any phone, I'm told, although the Samsung Note is a bit of a squeeze. I'd personally say this is better as a short to middle distance running product; once you get on to longer distances, using gels etc., it gets a little tricky fishing around for them, particularly without dividers between the pockets. I also found that when I 'flipped'

the belt for secure closure of the pockets, I often ended up all twisted because I was doing it over and over as I went in and out of pockets whilst continuing to run. Also, flipping the whole thing over took much more effort than simply undoing and doing up a zip. But, I did also find that I didn't really need the added security of flipping the belt – everything pretty much stayed put and I didn't need to worry about my possessions working their way out.

Price

Not so minimal review

Performance

May not carry all phone sizes

The Flip Belt comes with a slightly steep price tag of £25.00 in the UK. If you are the kind of person who runs regularly and doesn't tend to go in and out of pockets, but needs a simple, no bounce way of carrying your small essentials, then it is worth the investment. I can't tell you how many types of products I have wasted money on to serve this purpose only to be disappointed. I could have bought several of them over!

Overall rating The Flip Belt is extremely comfortable, low profile and looks great. It wears and washes well too with no colour loss on a 30 degree wash. If, like me, you are always in and out of pockets then you will be better served by something like a SPIbelt.

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Altra Lone Peak 1.5

Not so minimal review

WEIGHT (UK XXL)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

23 mm

0 mm

EVA / AltraBound™

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

Rubber TrailClaw™

Mesh

Breathable fabric

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

5 - 13

22.5 - 48.5

7 - 14

6 - 12

280g / 9.9OZ

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Barefoot Running Magazine


I now find myself looking to complete the same kind of distances as before but, ideally, doing it in minimalist footwear. I do know of some ultramarathoners who regularly complete (and even win) events running in minimalist footwear but, on a personal level, I do not yet have the confidence to go beyond marathon distance in truly minimalist shoes.

There’s an interesting story behind the Altra brand, one that demonstrates the importance of timing and one that, not unlike my own, owes a debt of gratitude to the iconic Born to Run. "Two friends are selling shoes at the family running specialty store, Runner’s Corner in Orem, Utah, and they start zero dropping traditional running shoes to see if they could prevent injuries. Word of mouth spreads and soon they are firing up the bandsaw to zero drop shoes for friends of friends. The pair initially tried to pitch their zero drop idea to established shoe companies and were mocked, but little did they know that Born to Run would be released around the same time. In the summer of 2009, Altra was born with a focus on developing anatomically correct footwear with zero heel-to-toe drop, a concept that has caught on a great deal over the past several years."[1] Generally, where minimalist footwear is concerned, I expect a lightweight shoe with an ample toe box, minimal or no cushioning, a

high degree of flexibility and a good degree of ground feel. The Altra Lone Peak 1.5 is not a minimalist shoe per se, but does attempt to embrace elements of minimalism and, in doing so, positions itself midway between a conventional shoe and a minimalist shoe. As a result, it excels in some areas but not in others. This has actually made for a difficult review, written with ‘two hats on’, as a barefoot/minimalist runner, and as an ultramarathoner. Arguably, the Altra Lone Peak 1.5 may be of limited interest to many of you but, hopefully, this review will serve some purpose, to those who find themselves with a similar set of circumstances to my own. The Altra website describes the Lone Peak 1.5 as follows: “Inspired by Lone Peak, one of the rockiest, toughest mountains in the Wasatch Range, The Lone Peak™ was designed to conquer the Wasatch 100. While the foot-shaped design allows athletes to stay relaxed and comfortable for hours, this do-everything mountain shoe promotes happy feet, increases ankle stabilization and improves form with the Zero Drop™ platform. The Lone Peak™ features an innovative, sandwiched StoneGuard™ system that deflects rocks into the midsole for a smoother, more stable ride. Stand above the rest with the ultimate

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For a start, I am a ‘larger runner’, with a far from perfect running form, though I am constantly working on rectifying both of those issues! I am also conscious that my running form alters when fatigued, and I find myself resorting to the occasional heel strike. Finally, my preferred races take place on some pretty unforgiving terrain. Combine all of the above and you can perhaps see why I have been looking for a shoe that adheres to the fundamental principles of minimalism whilst, at the same time, addresses

some of the aforementioned issues. It was the search for such a shoe that first brought the Altra brand to my attention, initially through the USA/Canadian press. Altra has fairly recently crossed to the British shores and, with the Lone Peak 1.5, offered a potential product to meet my requirements.

Altra Lone Peak 1.5

n 2010 I discovered ultramarathons, defined on Wikipedia as “any sporting event involving running and walking longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi)”. Not long after that I first read Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run, which inspired an interest in barefoot/minimalist running. Since then, I have run a number of ultramarathons, in a variety of trainers and have even, for a period of time, dabbled with maximalist footwear!


Altra Lone Peak 1.5

trail running shoe.” [2]

Styling There is a considerably more subdued, almost all black version of the Lone Peak 1.5 available which may have a wider appeal, certainly to those who don’t want to stand out. However, I personally liked my predominantly red Lone Peak 1.5, with its retro old school vibe. The Lone Peak has a rounded, almost chunky look to it, thanks largely to the foot shape toe box, with a large toe bumper providing generous toe protection, ideal for a shoe intended for trail ultramarathons. The shoe makes good use of overlays for protection, including a white silhouette of the Wasatch mountain range on each outer edge of the shoe. The sole of the Lone Peak 1.5 has a cool footprint imprinted on it which, after considerable use, is only just starting to wear away on my own pair.

Not so minimal review

One aspect of the Lone Peak 1.5 that is quite unusual is the ‘TrailRudder’, a continuation of the sole that protrudes out the back of the shoe. More to follow on this.

Fit One of the things that most differentiates the Lone Peak 1.5 from your average trail shoe is the spacious fit, with a roomy toe box that would be the envy of any minimalist shoe. Trying it on for the first time, I did actually wonder if I needed to size down. Online reviews were mixed with regard to size, split between those who considered the shoe to be true to size, those who felt the shoe to be overly large, and, perhaps most surprisingly, one account where the reviewer felt the need to go up a size. Given my own experience and the online uncertainty where size is concerned, it might be advisable to try the shoe on before purchase if at all possible. There is a useful ‘show me how if fits’ tool on the Altra web site which may assist with regard to size. It asks for a

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known trainer as input, before then recommending the required size of Altra. I used this functionality to confirm that I did in fact have the correct size for me, a UK 8, and, further, the website advised that the Lone Peak 1.5 was constructed true to size. The spacious toe box is one of the strong points of the Lone Peak 1.5. From a minimalist perspective, it’s a desirable quality in a shoe as it facilitates toe splay. From the perspective of an ultramarathoner, it means that the Lone Peak 1.5 should be roomy enough to accommodate swollen feet, something which is not uncommon on longer distance runs. Despite my initial apprehension with regard to size, I found the shoe to be comfortable straight out of the box and would even go so far as to describe it as one of the most comfortable trainers that I have ever worn. Note that Altra offer gender specific versions of their product: “Women's feet are anatomically different than men's feet. Women have a narrower heel and midfoot, higher instep, longer arch and unique metatarsal spacing. While this has always been a fact of life, traditional running shoe companies have opted to make male and female shoe models virtually identical for years. Altra is the first shoe company to introduce an entire line of truly female specific shoes. Every last of Altra women's running shoes have been molded around the unique shape of the female foot. A shoe last is a 360-degree model of a foot used to create the shoe's heel, instep, arch and toe box dimensions.” Check out www.altrarunning.com for further information on the gender specific fit.

Build quality The upper of the Altra Lone Peak 1.5 consists of a quick-dry, abrasionresistant mesh with minimal seams and the aforementioned overlays for protection. Despite considerable use, I haven’t encountered any issues with the mesh or overlays. The Lone Peak 1.5 sole consists of


‘problem’ being the need to add Velcro to the back of your trail shoes. The addition of the Velcro flap on the Lone Peak 1.5 negates the need to even do this, making it even more straightforward to use gaiters.

Despite the numerous layers, and the mention of ‘energy-return’, the Lone Peak 1.5 offers a fairly firm ride. Compared to most minimalist footwear, it’s quite a built up shoe. However, there’s no comparison to the likes of the Brooks Cascadia and the various Hoka models which provide a noticeable sponginess and energy-return on each foot strike.

Performance Out on the trail I have no complaints whatsoever when using the Lone Peak 1.5. The multi-directional lugs on the sole cope well, providing excellent traction. However, a word of caution if you are not fortunate enough to step right on to the trail. I’ve had mixed experiences with the Lone Peak 1.5 on numerous hard/ concreted surfaces when wet and, worst of all, took a really bad tumble on wet wood. Despite these failings, I really like the Lone Peak 1.5 and it’s my current shoe of choice for trail runs of any length and/or when the terrain is really technical underfoot and I just want to run without undue caution. I mentioned the ‘Trail Rudder’ previously which, by all accounts, is intended to provide braking assistance and stability on steep and/or loose downhill sections. In theory at least, it makes sense. Most of us will likely find ourselves leaning back, digging our heels in slightly, trying to control and manage our descent. The Trail Rudder should assist, providing some additional traction. Now I’m not the fastest of runners so there’s a good chance that I just

If anything, I have actually found that it gets in the way, catching on steps/obstacles/debris when my foot placement has been really precise. Whilst I haven’t been sufficiently bothered by the rudder to consider removing it, it was an option that I saw suggested online, and a sharp Stanley knife would surely do the trick. One final observation is with regard to the laces, an issue I appear to have experienced with a few different shoes of late, most recently with the Vivobarefoot Breatho Trail. I’ve found that the laces on the Lone Peak 1.5 have a tendency to come undone over the duration of a run if not double knotted. It’s worth noting that the Altra Lone Peak 1.5 was awarded a Runner’s World Gear of the Year award in 2013.

Barefoot simulation The Lone Peak 1.5 is a zero drop shoe with a spacious toe box. However, with a stack height of 23mm, the Lone Peak 1.5 was never going to score highly for ground feel. The level of protection afforded by the Lone Peak 1.5’s cushioning comes at the expense of ground feel and, further, at the expense of flexibility. There’s limited flexibility in

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Not so minimal review

There’s a small Velcro flap at the rear of each shoe, something that I will admit to not even noticing until I sat down to give the shoes a closer inspection! It’s a neat little addition that those of us who use gaiters will no doubt appreciate. After experimentation with numerous gaiter brands, I discovered Dirty Girl Gaiters (not just for girls!), that utilized a Velcro approach when securing them to shoes. This proved considerably more robust than those gaiters that relied on cord, leather and/or elastic fastenings that run underneath the shoe. Unfortunately, where the latter approach is concerned, the constant pounding on the trails and the potential for direct contact with rocks and other debris, generally resulted in a fairly short lifespan. This just wasn’t the case at all for the Dirty Girl Gaiters, with the only

The only slight criticism is that, as is so often the case with Velcro, it tends to curl when used repeatedly over time.

haven’t pushed things hard enough to feel the benefit of the rudder. I have yet to feel any more in control on steep descents and, as such, am yet to be convinced with regard to the Trail Rudder.

Altra Lone Peak 1.5

the Abound layer, described as an energy-return compound, which sits directly beneath the foot. This, in turn, sits atop a 1mm thick plastic StoneGuard, intended to provide an element of protection for the foot, which sits above the EVA Midsole. Finally, the lower is finished off with the sticky rubber TrailClaw™ outsole which contains multi-directional lugs and the aforementioned footprint.


Altra Lone Peak 1.5

the Lone Peak 1.5, focused towards the front of the shoe.

shoes on the market.

A full-length rock plate sits between the layers of cushioning on the Lone Peak 1.5, shielding your feet from the worst that the trail has to offer. There is still a higher degree of ground feel than most conventional trail shoes. However, there’s simply no comparison against the average minimalist shoe with no cushioning and just a few mms of sole. At the end of the day, it’s all about compromise - protection vs. ground feel and, considering the possible use for the Lone Peak as an ultramarathon shoe, arguably ground feel is going to be less of an issue with the emphasis instead on maximizing ability to cover ultra distances without injury.

Price RRP £105.00

Not so minimal review

Overall rating It’s possibly unfair to review the Altra Lone Peak 1.5 using the same criteria that I typically apply when reviewing minimalist shoes. It is essentially a conventional trainer with some of the trappings of a minimalist shoe. While it does have an ample toe box, it doesn’t fare so well with regard to “minimal or no cushioning”, “a high degree of flexibility”, and “a good degree of ground feel”. As previously mentioned, it’s a shoe that may be of limited interest to many of you, especially those running short to medium distances, who would arguably be better served by one of the truly minimalist

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However, for those readers like myself, who wish to run ultramarathon distances in a zero drop shoe that still offers an element of protection, the Lone Peak 1.5 provides us with a potential tool to get the job done. Ideally, I would like to be in a position to run ultra distance events in truly minimalist shoes. However, be it for reasons of form and/or terrain, the Altra Lone Peak 1.5 provides me with an excellent compromise option, letting me run with a zero drop heel/ toe differential but with just enough cushioning and protection to hopefully see me to the end of the event without injury. As I have found to my cost, once you start to add fatigue into the mix, even the best running form can start to slip, with an occasional heel strike, contact with some potentially race ending debris, or simply missing things underfoot. Further, if you find yourself running through the night, visibility may also be an issue. Until my form is such that I can comfortably run ultramarathon distances in entirely minimalist shoes, I am likely to have a continued need for a product such as the Lone Peak 1.5 in my shoe rotation and, whilst it’s not a perfect shoe from a minimalist perspective, arguably, it is an excellent trail shoe. I very much doubt that this will be my last pair of Lone Peak 1.5 and I will, in all likelihood, check out Altra’s other minimalist leaning products. There’s word that the Lone Peak 2.0 will be released mid-2014, apparently with significant differences including reduced use of overlays on the upper (goodbye to the Wasatch

Barefoot Running Magazine

mountain range), an extra 2mm of cushioning in the midsole, and a second rockplate for additional metatarsal protection.[3] The most likely result will be to add weight to the shoe and to further reduce the flexibility. However, as long as Altra retain the zero drop heel/toe differential and the spacious toe box, an updated Lone Peak will still be of interest as far as meeting my own ultra goals are concerned. Tested by JJM

References 1. www.irunfar.com/2012/02/altra-lone-peakreview.html 2. www.altrarunning.com/fitness/en/Altra/Men/l one-peak-15-mens 3. www.irunfar.com/2014/06/best-shoes-ofwinter-outdoor-retailer-2014.html

Spacious Excellent traction Overlay protection

Poor barefoot simulation Limited flexibilty Not a true minimalist shoe


1.

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T Rockets

Not so minimal review

http://www.t-rockets.com

WEIGHT (UK 9)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

12 mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

Polyurethane

N/A

N/A

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

Made to Measure

Made to Measure

Made to Measure

Made to Measure

210g / 7.4OZ

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The T Rockets have a good quality look, a real handmade bespoke quality sandal, different to other huaraches which have the appearance of being massproduced. Wearing the T Rockets, I feel part of an elite club of sandal runners! The harness is 20mm wide, wider than most other huaraches. It is colour co-ordinated to match the orange or purple sole of your choosing, but you can mix the colours, purple straps with orange sole and vice versa.

Fit The fit is excellent. I sent Andrew Barnes (the owner and creator of T Rockets) an outline of my left foot and, with the bespoke service that Andrew offers, my sandals were made to measure with a perfect fit, no trimming necessary (which was a shame because I quite enjoy

customizing my sandals!). I asked for a non-elasticated harness which is an option; the standard harness is elastic which makes it very easy to slip the sandals on and off. The fixed harness, however, works very well for my running style as it has a very secure feeling and makes the sandal feel like part of my foot.

Build quality These are handmade sandals using very robust materials - hard to find any faults with the build quality. I have taken them over some very rough terrain and they have taken it all in their stride – pun intended! I don’t see these huaraches falling to pieces anytime soon. The webbing harness is strong and well fixed to the sole. What about the Velcro footbed? I’m very interested in this aspect of the sandal. To date, I’ve had no problem whatsoever with the sole moving or coming away from the footbed. When I received my T Rockets I was asked by Andrew not to pull the soles off for a few weeks to allow adequate time for the glue to cure. I think this should to be born in mind, to get the full strength from the Velcro.

Performance Taking the T Rockets out on the trails has been a pleasure. First, the fixed harness, which I have, feels secure and robust. The adjustable buckle on the harness is placed on the outside edge; it is simple and works well. The standard footbed fitted to my sandals is excellent it provides good grip even in the wet and mud. This is the best footbed that I’ve tested so far, providing outstanding grip. The interchangeable sole which is Velcroed to the footbed is genius. I was very sceptical at first when I heard that the sole was interchangeable and used Velcro to hold it on! Does this really work? Well the Velcro works extremely well, in fact it is quite hard to break the Velcro bond. With the trail running I have done the sole has not moved 1mm from the footbed. As these sandals are bespoke you specify the thickness and hardness. Lastly, the sole provides very good grip over wet and muddy terrain. The tread pattern gives the sole a great flexible quality across the length and the width of the sole. Wear is good, only minor signs of wear after around 50 miles of running.

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Styling

T Rockets

he T Rockets Hominid is a trail sandal that can also be used on the road. The outer orange sole (which can also be ordered in dark purple) on my pair is 3mm thick, with a square tread pattern, the tread depth being just short of 3mm. It has a softer middle sole which can be built to your specifications between 4mm and 6mm deep, which adds comfort to long distances. The sole is fixed to a rubber footbed with Velcro. The Velcro offers the user the flexibility to change the sole, either when worn out or when a different sole is needed, e.g. a thinner sole for better barefoot simulation. The rubber footbed has excellent grip in dry and wet conditions. The lacing harness fitted to my pair is not elasticated like the standard harness. It’s a three point harness, fitted to the sole between the first and second toes and either side of the heel. It has an adjuster at the side of the heel strap and the section over the midfoot. Also, the rear heel Velcro strap can be adjusted. With the elasticated harness correctly adjusted you should never need to alter them and the sandal should be easy to fit and remove. The upper lacing harness is available in black, purple or orange.


T Rockets Barefoot simulation

feel to them as opposed to a mass-produced look. Lastly, the fact that the sole can be replaced when it wears out is a very useful feature indeed.

Not so minimal review

This is the section that I always find hard to judge. As a barefoot runner, anything that comes between my feet and the ground will always disappoint me.

Bespoke sandal

Overall rating

The total sole thickness is 12mm. I say total thickness because there are 4 different layers to the sole of the Hominid, which are explained in the introduction. This is the thickest sole I have run on for a long time now. Obviously, at 12mm, barefoot simulation is not going to be good, but this is not really the point of the Hominid. This sandal makes an excellent sandal for anyone transitioning to sandal running. Also, it is ideal for running over rough terrain. If you are looking for a sandal with more barefoot feel, ask Andrew to make you a thinner sole - remember the T Rockets are a bespoke sandal!

Footbed

This is a very robust and comfortable sandal to run in. It’s an absolute pleasure to run trails. They soak up the miles with ease. There is some slapping noise with my running style on roads, but it is far less than some huaraches and overall, the noise caused me no problem. This is a first class sandal from a first class sandal maker. They are a must have for any trail runner. Even shod runners, if they could do at least one training session a week in these sandals they would benefit a great deal - well, I don’t need to go on about the benefits of barefoot/minimal running!

Price At £36 the Hominid is extremely good value for money - by far the best value huarache on the market.

And I must not forget - you receive a nipple with every pair of T Rockets… Tested by IH

There are several reasons why the T Rocket price is outstanding. First, Andrew will make the sandal to your requirements - I’m not only talking about foot tracing and cutting the sole to suit. This is the only sandal maker that will design a sandal to all your requirements harness type, sole hardness and sole thickness. Second, the T Rockets are exceptionally well made and have an individual

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Comfortable Price

Barefoot simulation Fit across the toes


OMM Sonic Smock

Not so minimal review

Barefoot Running Magazine

Autumn 2013

Page 123


Out-of-the-box Trail test re-

Make/Model: This tells you the manufacturer and model number of the product Date: This is the date of the test review. Please bear in mind that as the market changes, so do shoe requirements and people’s perception of the products available. Competition is getting tougher! Styling: This is a matter of personal taste! Does the reviewer like the look of the product? Fit: Reviewers are looking for a product that feels comfortable and secure without impeding their own form Build Quality: The product is put through its paces to see how stitching, gluing, fabric, etc. hold up Performance: Products are rated on how they fare on roads, trails and in all different weathers Barefoot Simulation: Relevant for footwear only - how does the ground feel compare to running barefoot? Sole thickness and density/type of material used are considered in this category Price: How much bang do you get for your buck? It’s no good being cheap if it doesn’t last a week! Overall Rating: This is a summary of the product after thorough testing Tested by: Initials indicate tester. Please see page 166 for a list of reviewers

Not so minimal review results

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

Altra Running Shoes Lone Peak 1.5

JJM

(07/2014)

Bedrock sandals IH

Earth Runners Circadian

IH

(07/2014)

GO ST Barefoot PaleoBarefoots® (08/2013)

IH

Human Foot David’s Foot

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DRR

(02/2011)

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Barefoot Running Magazine


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

INOV8 Bare X 200™

DRR

(01/2013)

Kigo Drive

DRR

(06/2012)

Luna Venado

CS

(12/2013)

Ozark Luongo Sandals IH

(02/2014)

Glove

Merrell Trail Glove

(06/2011)

Vapor Glove

(08/2013)

DRR JJM

Mizuno EVO Cursoris

(04/2013)

EVO Levitas

(04/2013)

JJM JJM

New Balance

Nike

Ozark Sandals Tri Black

ALT

(11/2012)

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Not so minimal review results

Luongos1


Out-of-the-box Trail test re-

Not so minimal review results

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

Saucony

Sockwa G3

IH

(03/2014)

IH

Swiss Barefoot Company. The Protection Sock (05/2013)

ALT

T Rockets

T Rockets

JJM

(07/2014)

Vibram fivefingers (05/2013) Classic Sprint

(01/2012)

EL-X

(07/2014)

KSO

(02/2010)

SeeYa LS Night

(07/2014)

DRR DRR DRR ALT

VivoBarefoot

Breatho Trail

(03/2014)

EVO Pure

(07/2014)

JJM JJM

Walsh

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

Xero Shoe 4mm Xero Shoe

(12/2011)

6mm Xero Shoe

(12/2011)

Amuri Cloud

(07/2014)

Amuri Venture

(12/2013)

ALT DRR IH/ALT

IH

ALT - Anna Toombs - Barefoot - Multi-terrain - 2010 to present CS - Charlie Sproson - Minimalist - Multi-terrain - 2013 DRR - David Robinson - Barefoot - Multi-terrain - 2010 to present IH - Ian Hicks - Barefoot/Minimalist - Multi-terrain - 2010 to present

Not so minimal review results

JJM - Jonathan Mackintosh - Minimalist - Trail - 2012 to present MB - Michael Bartley - Minimalist - Multi-terrain - 2010 to 2012 TMD - Tracy Davenport - Barefoot/Minimalist - Multi-terrain - 2010 to present

Barefoot Running Magazine

Spring 2014

Page 153


Club pages

e are excited to bring you a new section of the magazine: The Club Pages. This space is for you, the readers and runners, to bring us your stories and photographs, whether you’re documenting a race, taking us through an injury and your recovery process or have some mad, barefoot runningrelated story you want to share! You might also call these the

“community” pages because our aim for the stories featured here is to provide support, inspiration and encouragement to fellow runners, as well as potential new runners. We think it’s important to continue building the barefoot running community – to welcome new individuals and groups and maintain the sense of fun and freedom that is synonymous with barefoot running. Much of what we hear in the media is based upon what scientists have found out in their labs. We want to hear real stories from real runners!

Take a look at the next few pages to give you an idea of the sorts of things we’re looking for. We like visuals, as do our readers, so please send us your photos (high res if possible) along with your stories. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to include every story but we will endeavour to incorporate as many as possible. We look forward to hearing from you! Email us at: info@bfrm.co.uk

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Club pages

1st May - London

t the beginning of May, Andrew Barnes – creator of the increasingly popular T Rocket sandals – was in London on some business, which included meeting up with Ian Hicks to hand him a custom made pair to test for Barefoot Running Magazine. This meeting of two became a rather fun gathering of barefoot and minimalist runners who ran around Hyde Park in London in the rain, as well as being frowned upon in a smart hotel in Kensington! Andrew and Ian had already planned to go for a run, but it morphed into what became known as the “Save the Rhino Run”, with Andrew bringing along bracelets for each of the runners, in aid of a charity close to his heart. We decided to all meet up at the hotel where Andrew was staying,

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in Kensington. When David [Robinson] and I arrived, we spotted Ian and Andrew through the window and went in to meet them. We got chatting and took a few photos posing with the T Rockets, before we were joined by Andrzej who had been up since 2am having just flown in from Poland! We barefoot runners are keen! Tracy and Gray weren’t far behind him and then the group was complete. As we stood around chatting, the hotel manager approached us. He politely suggested that, due to the building works going on (“building works” = small area in the lobby protected by plastic sheeting), we ought to put our shoes on for our own safety. Despite the fact that we were about to head out onto the lessthan-smooth London streets to run

Barefoot Running Magazine

barefoot, we all duly put our shoes on, only to have to remove them again to put into our bags which we were leaving at the hotel. So, we all still had to make our way through the perilous lobby and past the “building works” with bare feet. Thankfully, there were no casualties. Andrew and David both had a rough idea for a route, so they ran off ahead whilst the rest of us hung back like naughty school kids, gossiping and catching up. It was wet and humid, so made for softer, more sensitive soles but it wasn’t too cold. Andrew led us into Hyde Park where most of us hadn’t run before. It’s huge! And the ground, for the most part, is quite rough so this was a nice opportunity for those who were barefoot to give their soles some conditioning. Andrzej gave Tracy (aka Camera


Queen) a run for her money for who could take the most photos! For the majority of the run, the ground was pretty rough, but there were some smoother sections and even a sand track for horses which we all ran on in for a bit of extra calf work! We ran at a leisurely pace for about an hour, managing not to get lost. We headed back to the hotel and were immediately accosted by the hotel manager again, asking us to put shoes on. He didn’t ask us why we were running barefoot, but one of the concierges gave us a knowing smile. He said, “I get it – I used to be an athlete so I know!”

Club pages

Andrzej’s long journey had not yet finished and he had to leave to catch a train down to the South of England, so we wished him well (and said, “See you Sunday!” because he would join us at the Brighton IBRD event) and then gathered in the bar for some rather indulgent (but well deserved, we thought) champagne, courtesy of Andrew (thanks Andrew!). Tracy was sitting barefoot and this time the bar manager took it upon himself to warn her of the dangers of sitting barefoot (?!) and asked her to put shoes on. After much chat about sandals, other minimalist shoes and running, it was time for us all to leave but we’d had a great time. You just can’t beat a fun group run!

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

London 10

Barefoot Running UK Group Run

Barefoot Running UK Group Run

Tate Modern (6.5 mile) Sunday 14th - 11.00 am

Richmond Park, West London (7 mile) Priory Lane Entrance Car Park Sunday 5th - 11.00 am

Richmond Park, West London (7 mile) Priory Lane Entrance Car Park Sunday 5th - 11.00 am

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Club pages

4th May - Brighton

n Sunday 4th May, we travelled down to Brighton in our rattling, squeaking Land Rover to meet up with a bunch of barefoot and minimalist runners for International Barefoot Running Day (IBRD). This was the third year in succession that the UK event to celebrate IBRD had been held near the hip and trendy City of Brighton, in a beautiful park just on the outskirts. Martyn Candler and his wife, Liz (www.fastandfresh.co.uk) had organized the event, tackling many issues on the way including fallen trees and a subsequent change of route at the last minute! Tracy Davenport of Barefoot Britain had slaved in her kitchen the day before to make what are quickly becoming the most unique medals in people’s collections; a gingerbread foot! When we arrived (with only one

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Barefoot Running Magazine


hiccup from our temperamental Land Rover – not bad), the runners were gathered in groups and chatting in the warm sunshine. We spotted quite a few familiar faces and were able to have a quick pre-race catch up with some of our good barefoot running buddies. Tracy had also managed to wangle some tables and chairs from generous friends, so the atmosphere was a little like a summer family picnic. No doubt there were a few nerves though as the race was about to start. We hadn’t arrived in time to watch the kid’s race but there were lots of happy looking tots munching their gingerbread feet!

There was an array of different minimalist shoes, as well as several pairs of bare feet. The complete barefooters were about to put their soles through some serious nerve stimulation as the terrain turned out to be quite a challenge. On Martyn’s cue, the runners leapt forward, beginning what would be a hot, hilly and somewhat thistly 5k run! Thirty runners became an array of dots on the hill several hundred metres away and then, one by one, they disappeared into the woods. We didn’t expect them to re-appear for at least fifteen minutes, which allowed us some time to chat to a few of the others who had chosen not to run. This included local Crossfit athlete and owner of “Paleo Pebbles”, Marta Prokop, who brought with her some tiny, absolutely delicious vegan treats that contained nothing but healthy ingredients and tasted like heaven! We also met a local massage therapist, Joanna Zwolak, who carefully and expertly tended the tired calves of a few runners

As we all stood and chatted, someone spotted the first runners re-emerging from the woods in the distance. A couple of bright orange Barefoot Brighton t-shirts could be seen, along with the even brighter ones of the Wiltshire Barefoot Runners! In the lead was Joe Addison, completely barefoot and looking strong as he headed towards us, crossing the line in an impressive 23.49. A few others were close behind him, finding the energy for a sprint finish.

organizing the race and to Tracy Davenport for the yummy medals and online promotion for the event. Thanks also to all the participants and spectators who came along to support and celebrate IBRD. Here’s to next year! Joe Addison is looking for volunteers to run part of his 24 hour challenge with him for company and support! For more information about the run (taking place on 6th/7th September), contact Joe here: joe.addison.pt@gmail.com or visit: www.addision-personaltrainerbrighton.co.uk

Not far behind them was the first lady to cross the line, Carol Henderson, in a very respectable 27.32. I spoke to both winners after the race. It turned out that Carol had only been running for four years but her racing achievements stretch from 5ks right up to full marathon distance. She had a huge smile on her face as she told me how she loves the buzz of a race and was also feeling very proud of her son, Leo, who had won the kid’s race earlier – his first ever one! Carol ran the first part of her race barefoot (even though she’d never run barefoot before!) but the unforgiving terrain proved a little too much of a challenge and she ran the rest of the distance in Brooks Ghosts. Joe has been a barefoot runner for some time and, as a trainer, understands the biomechanical benefits as well as enjoying the personal challenge. More recently, he has been running in Sockwas, his shoe of choice, but today rekindled his passion for going completely bare and he plans to do more running sans shoes. The runners continued to cross the line, all very happy with their efforts and enjoying the support of the crowd. There was much discussion about the heat, the hills and the thistles and praise for a course that offered something for everyone. No boring straight roads here! A little while later, after an award ceremony, it was time for most people to depart and head home or head to the pub for a well-deserved beer! A huge thank you to Martyn and Liz Candler for

Club pages

Liz took care of some last minute entries and arrivals and then Martyn called everyone to attention with the megaphone, announcing the start of the warm up, led by local personal trainer (and subsequent race winner) Joe Addison. He took the group through some mobilizations and dynamic moves to get the blood flowing before they all lined up at the start ready for the off, some hanging back preparing for a more leisurely run whilst others chomped at the bit ready to sprint off!

post-race.

RACE RESULTS 1st (1st male) Joe Addison 23:49: 2nd Amit Baswal 25:17: 3rd Russ Thorpedo 25:30: 4th Anthony Band 26:05: 5th Andrew Sharp 26:08: 6th David Morris 26:31: 7th Jay Eden 26:38: 8th Mark Dean 26:47: 9th Ian Hicks 27:00: 10th Brian Poore 27:12: 11th (1st female) Carol Henderson 27:32: 12th Roberta Wagstaffe 29:03: 13th Rolando Ayenza 29:56: 14th Roger Jones 31:17: 15th Kristian Meadows 31:43: 16th Andrzej Pilski 32:01: 17th Ricardo D’Ash, Raneesh Manandru, Tim Gay 32:50: 18th Jacinta Fletcher 33:15: 19th Dean Sartin, Keith Curwood 34:20: 20th Musu Maneh 35:50: 21st David Loader 37:30: 22nd Neil Davies 38:35: 23rd Urszula Robinson 44:49: 24th Alan Funnel 44:49: 25th David Carrington, Laine Shepherd 52:02:

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Club pages

10th May - Elk/Beaver 50 trail ultra

uestion: When does a DNF count as a success? Answer: When it involves winning. “DNF” and “winning” don’t usually go together – but sometimes it’s just the right thing. Consider the following quote from elite ultrarunner Kilian Jornet:

pointy stuff, and, as it turned out, covered about 2/3 of each 10K loop. Definitely not good news. I’d started the day at 3:00 AM, and, over my first espresso of the day, had my usual nervous jitters about the race. I was a long way from home, I didn’t know the course, and I was about to try something I’d never

“Winning isn’t about finishing in first place. It isn’t about beating others. It is about overcoming yourself. Overcoming your body, your limitations, and your fears. Winning means surpassing yourself and turning your dreams into reality.” Last Saturday, I arrived early at the Elk/Beaver Ultras race venue so I could check things out. And got a bit of a surprise… The course, which I’d been told was primarily packed dirt/rocks/roots (eminently doable in barefeet), had been “upgraded” by the Parks Department with fresh gravel a couple of days before. I arrived at 5:00 AM, in time to look things over. The fresh gravel consisted of medium-sized, sharp,

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done before. Guaranteed to bring all that existential angst to the fore. Now, seeing all that gravel, the doubts really built up. Still, I was there and I’d set myself a challenge, so what else was I to do but run it? I had two goals for the Elk/Beaver. One was to follow my ketogenic-


adapted regime, which meant running fasted (my last meal before the race was dinner the night before) and with only water as fuel during the race itself. The second was to run the entire 50K barefoot, and not worry at all about my finishing time, much less about getting a PB. The Elk/Beaver started as do most of the ultras I run – a small number of participants, the edge of a grassy field, and someone calling out “One, two, three, go!” After that, we began the first loop. It’s a pretty course. Mildly undulating (though the official course description had said “very flat”), a bit of mud, with good views of the two lakes we’d circumnavigate during the morning. A total of 77 runners were involved, for five events (50K, 100K, 50 mile, marathon, and 40K walk), so the race offered good company without any crowding. Kind of ideal when you think about it.

One of the fun things about this event, which is basically just a local club race, was that two of the three aid stations consisted simply of a flat of bottled water on a park bench, along with a small sign saying “Elk/ Beaver Ultras. ” The third station was a table at the start/finish, offering fruit, cookies, Coke, and water. Didn’t need or want any of that, though, so I just cruised by.

I soldiered for another kilometre or so, and then found that I simply wasn’t able to go on. In fact, once I stopped and took off my race bib, I found it difficult to even stand. A kindly course marshal gave me a ride back to the start, I crawled to the car, and drove back to my hotel in Victoria. This is what a 40K bailout moment looks like (picture right). And this is what my feet looked like about an hour after I finished. A little bit of blood (there was more, and it continued for a couple of days); the swelling had only just begun, would get much worse, and would last about four days. So what did I accomplish? And what’s all this guff about “DNF and winning”? Well, first of all, I ran 40K fasted and fuelled only by water. That proved, once again, that if you’re ketoadapted, you’ve got the fuel you need (fat) in your body, and don’t need anything else. In fact, it shows, once again, that it’s better to run this way, as it results in steady energy levels, with no insulin spikes, no bonking, and no hitting the wall. And, I might add, no ravenous hunger afterwards. Immediately after the race, I ate a few pieces of biltong (for the protein) and, an

hour or so later, about 500gm of full- fat yogurt (for the fat). And felt good. Second, although I didn’t run the full 50K, I did run 40K barefoot, on rougher gravel than I’d ever run on before. I ran the first 30K at my target pace, my form was good, and my spirits were high. I made the right decision (to bail at 40K) at the right time, clearly and cleanly. I learned that I am whole and strong, and that I can accomplish extraordinary things when I try. I won. Thanks to my wife for her love and support, and to Simon and Malcolm for being there.

I started to feel the gravel during loop #4, to the extent that, by about 35K, I was running on the grass verge of the trail if there was one. By 37K, I’d slowed down from the pace I’d kept to for the first 30K (7:10 mins/km) to a really pokey 10:15 or so. I knew I’d have to make a decision the next time I went past the start/finish area, and considered my options – keep on going for what I knew would be a real Death March, or slip on my Sockwa X8s in an effort to minimize the damage and maybe improve my pace a bit. I chose the second.

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At around 30k, after the first three loops, I felt really good. Lots of steady energy, no trouble moving across the gravel, and feeling sheer barefoot bliss on the packed dirt sections of the trail. My son and grandson were there at the 30K mark (and again at 40K), having journeyed from Vancouver to support me. Seeing them was pretty much the high point of the race and my day. I’ll always remember that.

But getting the Sockwas on my feet was difficult, as they were starting to swell. And the bottoms of my feet were bleeding in more than one place.


Club pages

4h May - International Barefoot Running Day vents took place in eighteen countries; Australia, Belgium, Brazil, USA, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa and the UK – and a great time was had by all! Top honours must go to Kranj, Slovenia, where they had a massive turnout of 232 runners who ran between 2.5 and 10km! Additional activities included barefoot training sessions, a kids’ run, a raffle draw and much trying -on of Vivobarefoot and Vibram shoes. Their youngest participant was 18 months old and the oldest 83 years. The event received extensive coverage on several TV and radio stations and in the newspapers. Awesome work Marko!

United States (10 events) Six people attended Ken Bob's run on a hot sunny day at Huntington Beach California, where they ran 2 to 4 miles at low tide, followed by a lovely picnic. Lauren, Sockwa representative Ashley, Marlin, Don, Lauren (another one) and Ken Bob were joined by Ken Bob’s dog, Herman and Herman’s friend, Stuey.

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Five barefoot runners of the Pennsylvania Chapter ran the “Joseph Plumb Martin Trail� around Valley Forge National Historic Park. Mike, Lara, Alyson, Joseph and Duane ran the 5 mile loop in light rain and a cool breeze. After the run, all runners adjourned to a local Indian restaurant for lunch. Not to be left out and to show solidarity with his fellow PA Chapter members, Bfsailor ran on his own in Erie, at the opposite side of Pennsylvania, also in light rain. Wind and rain didn't stop these barefooters!

David appropriately represented the BRS in Milford, Delaware by taking second place in his age group and then celebrating with lots of Bloody Marys! Georgia Chapter met up at Stone

Mountain. In attendance were Michael, Jim, Dave, Terry, Cole, Casey, and BRS President TJ, who did a walk/run mile to and from the children's playground with her boys Cole and Casey, while the others ran the five mile route around the mountain. Members stayed on afterwards to eat and socialize, making a day of it! Adolfo did a 3.8 mile run in Raleigh, North Carolina. Barefootmatt was the only biped runner at the Reynoldsburg event, but was by no means the only barefoot runner out that morning,

as he ran alongside five deer, two grey squirrels, two rabbits, a cat, an eastern bluebird, a cardinal and countless robins. Sounds like a scene straight from Disney Matt! Two events took place in San Diego. The Safari Park Half Marathon and 10K had at least four barefoot runners (Marco, Joe, Henry, and one other) and other BRS members got together for a run in the afternoon (Vijay, Glen, Emilie and Henry, with Vijay's kids along for the ride). On a cool morning in the San Francisco Bay area, four members

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At Burns Park, Ann Arbor, the Michigan Chapter was assigned a prime spot close to the start and finish lines for their super-cool Honda Element decked out in magnetic BRS signs and banner. Members Longboard and Diane ran the 5K barefoot, but the star of the day was minimalist runner and brand new BRS member Joe, who took first place ... a full minute ahead of second!


did a 10K run in Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. The park is ideal for barefoot running with soft single-track trails covered with decomposing redwood needles. Barefoot Terry, NorCal Will, JJHenry and Barefoot Bone Rod all conquered the challenge of long, steep hills for the first half of the run, followed by a mostly downhill, but not as soft underfoot run back to the finish line.

Michael and MovNat trainer ,Zac, headed for the local cafe for coffee and breakfast.

UK (4 events) The main event took place in Stanmer Park, Brighton (see page 158 for details).

Five participants attended an event in St Louis, Missouri for a 2.3 mile run, and wish to give a big shout out to Primal Living STL for their support!

The Scottish event was hosted by Colin McPhail of Footworks in Edinburgh. The Welsh event was a barefoot 10K which took place in conjunction with Amis Sans Shoes in support of Care International UK. Two runners, Paul and Mark, ran at Oxwich Bay on the beautiful Gower Peninsular, on a varied selection of paths and textures including a final sprint of 2.5k to the finish line along the smooth sand of the beach at low tide. The lovely, sunny day was topped off by coffee and cake at the local cafe.

France (4 events)

Club pages

Three participants attended a 5K barefoot run in Belleville organized by Hnes. Seven participants attended a 10K barefoot run in Lyon organized by Emmanuel Pillet and Frédéric Seguy. A full day’s session at the Suzanne Lenglen stadium in Issy-lesMoulineaux, organized by French Chapter President Christian Harberts, started with a brief introduction to the many new faces amongst 20 participants. A short barefoot warm-up was then followed by barefoot track exercises and a few laps of the park, and sessions of TrailBall, Play Zen and Speed. Runner Lambda ran the 12km Foulées Sanaryennes Trail Run in Sanary-sur-Mer in bare feet with only one aim in mind; to promote barefoot running on IBRD. The race was a series of steep climbs and descents, and right-angle turns, which Lambda completed in 1 hour and 11 minutes.

In Northern Ireland, IBRD took place on the Bank Holiday Monday, when Andy, Tim and Simon took on the Belfast Marathon. This got a lot of interest from the local media with TV interviews, live on-air radio interviews and newspaper articles. This was Andy's first marathon, Tim's second and Simon's fourth (but first barefoot). Andy crossed the line in 4 hours 36 minutes, closely followed by Simon, with Tim having to pull out at mile 22. Well done guys! You three must take the honours for the biggest achievement on IBRD!

Belgium

Australia Australia was represented by five runners who gathered at the Grange Jetty, Adelaide on a calm and sunny day, and ran 4km on the pavement to Henley Beach Jetty and returned along the beach. After the run, Neil, Cathy, David,

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In Brussels, 20 barefoot runners ran 1.6km and six barefoot runners ran 10km, which we are told was broadcast in "Tous s'explique" on Belgian TV (RTL) on May 15th.

Barefoot Running Magazine


Mexico (2 events) The Czech & Slovak Republic This event was held in Prague, where civic association Bosa turistika o.s. in cooperation with Vivobarefoot Concept Store held an interesting program for runners. Details were reported on TV, radio and in newspapers.

Mexico Chapter President, Barefoot JL, did a 16km run in his hometown of Hermosillo; nine kilometres in huaraches, and the rest barefoot. In Mexico City, El Yuca Descalzo joined the ESPN Half Marathon and did 13 kilometres in Vibram KSO EVOs and the rest barefoot, finishing

in 2 hours and 16 minutes. Well done Yuca!

Germany (2 events) Seven people attended in Aachen, and say they all learned something and had fun together! In Marburg, a barefoot running workshop was hosted for the second year by Marburg Running School (MRS) where Martin and co-instructor Tabea joined 14 others at the public stadium. Ages ranged from 21 to 56 years, including four attendees who had no previous experience of barefoot running.

Norway

India (2 events) In Ahmedabad, the first barefoot running event of its kind in India was hosted by "The Endorphins" with more than 150 barefoot runners participating from many different parts of the country. Congratulations Ameet! Very well done. ‌ and the final honours go to Jitendra and Abhie, who ran together in Kalyan-Maharashtra. Thank you to everyone who attended an event, big or small. I am sure we are all looking forward to next year!

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Six people ran 3.5km around Songsvann in Oslo, including some who said that they would never have ever done this run if they had to do it alone.


Club pages

29th June - Paleo Paws 5Km Fun Run, Lydiard Park

iltshire Barefoot Runners had the absolute pleasure of hosting a fantastic fun run at Lydiard Park, Swindon on Sunday 29th June. This event was sponsored by GoSt Barefoots, with Jรถrg Peitzker, the owner and CEO of GoStBarefoots, coming over from Germany with his wife Uschi to attend. It was great to finally meet up with other barefoot runners that I have known on facebook for some time but had never met. It is quite a strange situation to be in having never met someone in the flesh and yet knowing so much about them from social media! We all gathered at 10am in the car park. As barefoot runners do not get together very often (especially

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in such a large number – there were thirteen of us!), we naturally got chatting and started to forget about the time - once barefoot runners start talking about the latest barefoot gossip there is no stopping them! Eventually it dawned on us that maybe we should go for a run. The first 2km loop we did barefoot. We tried different terrain: grass, soil, woodland and plenty of lovely gravel, with also some nettles to boot! We then had the opportunity to try the Paleos, with Jörg offering an expert fitting service. We all went off wearing Paleos for another loop around the park; this time we all seemed to end up standing in the lake - typical of barefoot runners to do things differently. Jörg took the opportunity to explain the amphibious qualities of the Paleos and how easy they are to clean.

This was a longer loop with some grassland and more gravel (I'm sorry guys for picking such a gravelly park!). We finished off the event in

GoSt Barefoots very generously donated three pairs of Paleos for a free prize draw and all participants received a free key ring. The lucky winners were: Steve Bailey, Fizz Fry and Amit Baswal who are now very proud Paleos owners. I know how much fun they are going to have with them, being a Paleo user myself.

like to thank Jörg and Uschi for coming over from Germany to demonstrate the Paleos. Also, to all attendees for making this event a huge success. Lastly, to Anna and David of Barefoot Running UK for freely giving their time to answer questions and to give advice. I hope soon to be able to arrange another barefoot/minimal event, so watch this space!

Wiltshire Barefoot Runners would

Barefoot Running Magazine

Ian Hicks Wiltshire Barefoot Runners

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Time was getting on at this point so, unfortunately, some had to leave. After saying our goodbyes, we went on our third and final loop.

the cafe with coffee (kindly bought by Uschi) and a chat.


United Kingdom

United States

www.facebook.com/MaidstoneBarefootDashers

Boulder, CO www.runBARE.com

Europe

www.barefootbeginner.com

Club directory

lenaweebarefoot.runningclub@facebook.com

Austin Barefoot Running Club ianhicks1000@gmail.com

www.meetup.com/Austin-Barefoot-Running

Asia

www.meetup.com/New-England-Barefoot-Runners

www.facebook.com/BangkokBarefootRun

www.barefootnyc.com

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

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Coaching

Nutrition

Therapy

individual / group running tuition info@barefootrunninguk.com www.barefootrunninguk.com

info@barefootosteopath.com www.barefootosteopath.com

www.meorganic.co.uk info@meorganic.co.uk

info@yellingperformance.com www.yellingperformance.com

Minimal Stockists

Accessories

Personal Training

Luna - Sockwa - Xero - Kigo - O1M

www.barefootbritain.co.uk

U NI T 1 , BE AVE R T RADE P ARK QUARRY LANE CHICHESTER WEST SUSSEX PO19 8NY

www.coreresults.co.uk info@coreresults.co.uk

www.footworks-uk.com

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Web directory

www.n8pt.com


have a question for you. Is barefoot running a brand name? What I mean by this is: Can any individual, organization or, for that matter, any company have exclusive rights over what barefoot running is and how it is performed? Do I, as a founder of this magazine, have to subscribe to a particular viewpoint adopted by that individual, company or organization, or should I and the rest of the team be able to represent the viewpoints of the wider audience without pushing our own personal stance on the topic? Take the subject of running technique and its correlation to barefoot running, for example. Some believe that there is only one way to run - one ‘form’ and that form includes being barefoot. Some even go as far as to demonize all footwear (or should I say “foot coffins”?) suggesting that shoes are solely responsible for all of Man’s

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woes and ill health – the spawn of Satan himself! Now I don’t personally believe in this viewpoint; on the contrary, my belief is that running form is as individual as someone’s palm print. While certain aspects are common to all, such as not overstriding and keeping relaxed, running form is an amalgamation, in my view, of a person’s physical form, mental character and personality. In fact, our running forms, for me, are an expression of ‘self’ and being barefoot is but an extension of this expression. My ‘self’ expression leads me to run barefoot most of the time but I am by no means a barefoot evangelist. I accept that there are multiple situations where footwear is required, an opinion echoed by many other barefoot and minimalist runners that subscribe to this publication. In a conversation I had with a barefoot running friend last year, he came out with an observation I’ve heard many


times from ‘barefoot’ runners: “It’s quite ironic. I have more shoes now, as a barefoot runner, than I ever had before!” I find myself in a similar situation but it doesn’t bother me. Why? Because, in my opinion, we should view footwear simply as tools and use them whenever needed. Now I’m quite lucky in my line of work because being in the health and fitness game, I can choose to be barefoot or in minimalist shoes for the majority of my day. I am willing, however, to accept that there are times when I will be required to don a pair of shoes, perhaps even with restrictive properties deliberately designed into them, because they are tailor-made for the job in hand. Much like hand tools kept under the sink or in the garage, we should pick the right shoe for the job. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t try to tighten up a nut and bolt with a hammer and chisel, no one in their right mind would work in a steel mill barefoot and only the most reckless of people would travel at speed on a motorbike without the appropriate riding boots – it’d just be asking for trouble! Okay, riding a motorbike is an extreme example, but the same argument can be made for those who run in extreme conditions. A friend of ours, Darren Clawson, recently completed a Peruvian ultra in very extreme conditions (Green room, page 68) and the use of protective footwear was an absolute necessity, without which he would not have been able to complete such an event. The terrain, weather conditions and the likelihood of being bitten or stung by some deadly critter was high, yet according to some, he and the rest of the competitors would have had poor form and their feet would have died, even though he managed to complete the 250 km course over five consecutive days with his feet and legs intact (and is already training for his next extreme event!). He has a form that works for him, built from years and years of training and competing in unusual conditions. Does he run with perfect form? Probably not, but it works for him and what he does! Could it be better? Probably, but as it’s not broke, why should he fix it?

themselves as being barefoot runners, yet have never set their bare soles on the ground, but if we look at the bigger picture, barefoot running, like I have said, can be – at least in part – an expression of self and something bigger than the act of running itself. Darren runs for a cause – and the cause isn’t his own fitness. It is to raise money for a charity close to his heart; it’s to demonstrate to his children that anything can be achieved with self belief, focus and support from friends. Running is about pushing the limits, respect for others, camaraderie and more. His running is an expression of his belief; and expression of him. And what he has on his feet becomes quite irrelevant. Barefoot running ‘form’ may only exist as a theory. In reality, people change their running form dependent on distance, terrain, weather and other variables. It is so easy to assume that everyone in the world runs on the same roads or trails and in the same weather conditions but this is by no means the case. Mo Farah is a great example; recently, he noticeably changed his running form to run a road marathon, having come from relatively shorter distance track running. So we must remember that ‘self’ is just that - it’s an individual’s belief of how things fit into their own world. Some people will always elect to run in shoes, others wish to be totally barefoot and others, like me, will follow the belief that shoes are just tools. Barefoot running, taken from a wider perspective than its literal meaning of running without shoes, is an everevolving, personal journey and not a fixed mechanical form or belief system. My personal goal is to embrace the differences and not to allow myself to narrow the parameters. My hope for the wider running community (both existing and potential) is for people to simply seek – and find enjoyment from it.

Going a little deeper, can Darren be classed as a barefoot runner? Yes, it can be irritating when people refer to

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

Overseas tel:

+44 (0) 208 659 0269

email:

info@barefootrunninguk.com barefootrunninguk.com

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

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Autumn/Winter 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine


Barefoot Running Magazine

Autumn/Winter 2013

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Barefoot Running Magazine

Spring 2014

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Profile for Barefoot Running Magazine

Barefoot Running Magazine - Issue 12 (Summer 2014)  

Issue 12 - Summer 2014. World’s first barefoot & minimalist running magazine, written by barefoot runners, for barefoot runners. Lots of run...

Barefoot Running Magazine - Issue 12 (Summer 2014)  

Issue 12 - Summer 2014. World’s first barefoot & minimalist running magazine, written by barefoot runners, for barefoot runners. Lots of run...

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