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Autumn/Winter 2014 Issue 13 ÂŁ2.99 / $4.99 Free


A note from the editor...

It has been a busy few months for the Barefoot Running Magazine team. As I write this, we are still unwinding from a brilliant weekend at the Running Show (full feature in the next issue) where we had our very own “Barefoot Lounge”! Regular columnist, Tracy, has just launched her new brand “Minimal Sportswear”, selling all sorts of great kit and minimal shoes and another of our writers, Gray, has just announced that he’ll be heading up the UK branch of Chi Running. Congrats to both! The themes running through the magazine this time are kid’s fitness and ultramarathons. We had a fun conversation with talented runner, Patrick Sweeney, who is raising money for The 100 Club in the States and our main feature from Alex Mair introduces “Kids Run Free” which is a similar, worthwhile charity here in the UK. In our club pages, Alan Thwaits and Graham Pitcher tell us about two very different, but very long races and in our “In focus” piece, we detail the ultra journey that the Late Louis Zamperini endured after being lost at sea and then captured in the war…his story is incredible. Also following the ultrarunning theme is Gray Caw’s piece about his recent success in the Royal Parks 50k and the importance of mindfulness when it comes to challenges like this. Strength of mind is also key if you’re taking the plunge to live completely barefoot, as Sian Davis explains in her guest post in the “Green room”. Meanwhile, in David’s lab, he has been investigating the age-old nature Vs nurture debate, finding some interesting arguments. We offer you some technical guidance on reading the road and how to execute the popular deep squat which makes an appearance on a daily basis in the world of fitness as one of the best exercises for tackling ankle, knee, hip and back mobility all in one pose. Tracy talks through her thoughts on injury and how she has dealt with - and learnt from - a recent stress fracture. A very positive account and well worth a read. Chris Fielding also provides us with a very thoughtful piece about the potential error in putting too much emphasis on statistics and trying to put people into groups; he reminds us of our uniqueness and how that relates to our own barefoot running journeys. Our product review section develops with every issue and our testers have enjoyed putting a variety of gear and gadgets through their paces. As usual, our thanks goes to all our fabulous contributors. Run Strong, Run Free!

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

Scott Sonnon Martial artist, fitness coach and wellness speaker

editor

http://www.RMAXInternational.com

Alex Mair Media Assistant for Kids Run Free http://www.kidsrunfree.co.uk

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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Siân Davis Blogger and barefoot living enthusiast http://www.facebook.com

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Anna Toombs Editor

David Robinson Creative director

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

Co-founder of Barefoot Running UK, movement therapist, sports performance specialist, running coach, martial artist & author david.robinson@barefootrunningmagazine.com @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@barefootrunningmagazine.com

tracy.davenport@barefootrunningmagazine.com @BarefootBritian

Chris Fielding Reporter

Jonathan Mackintosh Reviewer

Blogging enthusiast, barefoot runner & founder of Barefoot Beginner

Keen ultrarunner & blogger jonathan.mackintosh@barefootrunningmagazine.com

www.pixelscotland.com

Gray Caws Columnist

Dr Steve ‘Sock Doc’ Gangemi Columnist

Director Chi Running UK & Ireland

Chiropractic physician & MovNat coach

gray.caws@barefootrunningmagazine.com @graycaws

steve.gangemi@barefootrunningmagazine.com @TheSockDoc

Steve Richards Reviewer

Gareth ‘The Gadget’ Underhill Columnist

Avid barefoot runner & member of the Wiltshire Barefoot Runners

Personal trainer, sports scientist and sports retailer

steve.richards@barrfootrunningmagazine.com

gareth.underhill@barefootrunningmagazine.com @garethunderhill

Ricardo ‘The Dashing’ D’Ash Columnist

Gray Caws Columnist

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

ChiRunning coach and personal trainer http://www.n8pt.com info@n8pt.com

Ricardod’ash@bfrm.co.uk

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

Don’t forget that you can read back issues of Barefoot Running Magazine via our website www.barefootrunningmagazine.com. Just click on “Back issues” in the main menu bar and then click on the issue you wish to read.

General enquiries info@barefootrunningmagazine.com E-mail firstname.lastname@barefootrunningmagazine.com Website www.barefootrunningmagazine.com Overseas +44 (0) 208 659 0269 Tests/reviews 0845 226 7303 Subscription email subscribe@barefootrunningmagazine.com Advertising 0845 226 7303 Advertising email advertising@barefootrunningmagazine.com facebook.com/BarefootRunningMagazine @BareFootRunMag

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Meet the team

chris.fielding@barefootrunningmagazine.com @bfbeginner


Main feature Helping kids run free by Alex Mair

In focus

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“Unbroken” - the unrelenting heart and spirit of Louis Zamperini

David’s laboratory

22

Nature or nurture: Born to run? Is it all down to a superior athletic gene?

Room 101

30

Room 101 - Airing your agitations

Injury corner

40

Flat feet – Causes, prevention, and treatment by the Sock Doc

Technical tip

44

Reading the road by Anna Toombs

Nutritional nugget

50

Ways to save time cooking Paleo by Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D.

A conversation with...

62

Ultrarunner and beach dude Patrick “Flying” Sweeney

The Green Room

70

Barefoot living…by Siân Davis

How to:

82

Execute a deep squat

Competition

86

Win a pair of Swiss Barefoot Company’s Protection Socks

Write back at you

88

If at first you don’t succeed...don’t complain! by Scott Sonnon

Outside the lab

28

On track

94

International news

96

Product news Page 6

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Questions & answers

34

Your questions answered

Season in pictures

48

What you have been up to

Caught in the web

55

Internet snippets

Events

56

Stuff that’s going on

Assorted goodies

74

Products worth a look

Picture from the past

81

Kenyan middle and long distance runner Kipchoge Hezekiah "Kip" Keino

What’s on

90

2014/5 events and race calendar

It’s your letters

98

Your stories and thoughts

Product reviews

100

Club pages & directory

149

Web directory

165

For products and services

Anna’s pause for thought

20

Tips and general musings

Chris Fielding

36

Roving Barefoot Reporter

Tracy Davenport

58

High society

The Sock Doc

78

Make your mind up: Will running make you stronger or kill you?

Gray Caws

130

50 Strides of Gray

Backchat David Robinson’s latest

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Main Feature Helping kids run free by Alex Mair

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ver the last three years, a strange thing has been happening in parks across the West Midlands. Places previously quiet and frequented by only a few walkers and their dogs now play host to groups of excited children. This is all thanks to a charity called Kids Run Free. Kids Run Free was started in 2010 by two experienced tri-athletes, Catherine O’Carroll and Martine Verwiej, and it aims to create much needed opportunities for physical exercise in the UK’s towns and cities. Physical exercise is important and beneficial to kids for all sorts of reasons. It helps sustain health by increasing physical fitness and general health, but it also has plenty of far less obvious health benefits. For example, according to the NHS, exercise has a raft of health benefits that include up to a 35% lower risk of heart disease and strokes, up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer and even a 30% lower risk of early death! It even has psychological and educational benefits, such as raising children’s confidence levels and self esteem, and contributing to improvements in academic performance. Unfortunately, modern towns and cities are so built up and full of

traffic that the children living in them are denied opportunities for physical exercise. Instead of running and playing sports, it’s easier and safer for them to eat junk food and play computer games indoors. Even our schools, which should provide nurturing environments for children to grow and develop, aren’t giving children the exercise they need. A 2013 Ofsted report found that over a third of primary schools were failing to provide effective PE for school children. The resulting health and social issues have become quite a concern. Inactivity is described by the Department of Health as a “silent killer.” According to GOV.UK, 28% of UK children are currently classed as overweight or obese. This increases their risk of getting heart disease and certain types of cancer. Children’s confidence levels and self esteem are suffering due to a lack of physical achievement and even their academic performance is lower, leading to a further reduction in their sense of self worth. Martine Verweij was motivated to do something about this problem because she had been shaped as a person by her own experience of running. “When I was a child,” she

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says, “I enjoyed playing hockey and running was a big part of that. Moreover, running gave me the confidence that I could achieve what I wanted to. At school, I often didn’t do well at academic subjects. Running was something I was good at; the positive feeling I got from running in sport allowed me to cope with the negative feelings I got from schoolwork.” Wanting to give her positive experience to today’s children, she took her charity’s purpose as her own. In its early days, Kids Run Free was actually run from a spare room in her own home; nowadays, the charity has its own office! Much more importantly though, it has over 3500 children registered with it and holds running events in over 14 locations, including major cities like Northampton, Birmingham and London - exactly where Kids Run Free is needed most. Kids Run Free’s strategy is to create sustainable running opportunities for children in as many UK locations as possible. Kids Run Free’s mainstay is its regular running events held in towns and cities across the West Midlands. Lasting for about an hour, the events are free and accessible to 0-16 year olds of all abilities. They provide a chance for kids to try their hand (well, legs!) at running in the way

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that suits them best. Initially, events were held on a monthly basis but due to their popularity and success, Kids Run Free has now moved to holding some of them on a biweekly and even weekly basis. The events get kids out of their homes and into local parks. The result is that the parks are used more and the kids are exercised more. Some locations also provide opportunities for a fun day as well as running. For example, in October Kids Run Free launched a weekly event at Tamworth Castle, a well known tourist attraction for kids. In 2013, Kids Run Free expanded and diversified the way it entices kids to try running by launching its Kids Marathon Initiative. While Kids Run Free’s regular events get children out of their houses into parks and fields, Kids Marathon aims to bring running right into primary schools where it can benefit children directly. So far, the project has been a great success. In the 2013-14 school year, Kids Marathon was in 10 Midlands primary schools and Kids Run Free plans to expand it to 10 more schools in the 2014-15 school year. The charity is still looking for new primary schools to be involved, so if you’re reading this and you want Kids Marathon at your school, please contact Kids Marathon at www.kidsrunfree.co.uk. The idea behind Kids Marathon is that children can run the equivalent distance of a marathon, but in lunch breaks and at their own pace. Children run laps round a course marked out by flags provided by the charity in the school playground. After each lap they receive a special lap band. At the end of each break, the lap bands are counted up and children’s progress is recorded on digital progress sheets. This process cuts the daunting distance of a marathon into bite sized chunks that kids can handle and gives them a sense of achievement. The resulting benefit is that kids get the amount of physical exercise they need every week. Kids are given a certificate for completing half a marathon and completing the full marathon gets them a certificate and a medal. There are no losers; even if children don’t manage to complete half a marathon they still receive a certificate saying how much they completed. The first wave of Kids Marathon graduates excitedly celebrated their achievement on 12th July at the annual “Festival of Running” held at Edmonscote

Athletics Track in Leamington Spa. This event served as a focus for all Kids Run Free locations. Kids got together to share their love of running while finishing their Kids Marathon in front of their friends and family. 150 children attended and three motivated kids even got a certificate and a medal for completing their marathon! Kids Run Free expects next year’s Festival of Running to be even bigger and have many more children taking part.

children are always competitive and obsessed with winning will be surprised at what Kiera had to say: “I like running because it keeps me healthy and fit. It's fun, sometimes I win, sometimes I don't. I don't mind.”

The most important part of Kids Run Free is the parents and children who benefit from it and their response towards the charity’s work has been extremely positive. Those who automatically imagine today’s children as a bunch of lazy kids who would rather play computer games than train for a marathon would be surprised at the attitude of Kids Run Free participants. For example, Holly would definitely train for a marathon. “Running is fun”, she explains, “Because you get to train and you get to go crazy. Without running I would be nothing. I think running is the best”. Meanwhile, Shariya tells us, “I like running because it is active. It keeps you healthy. Running is good for you.” And anyone who thinks

“Our daughter often asked if she could run with her dad. We don't want to sign her up to an athletics club as we think she's too young to commit and we just want her to have fun (she was 4 when we first took her to KRF). Kids Run Free is perfect in its informal setting where kids just run without trying to win or beat other people.”

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Parents also feel that Kids Run Free is beneficial for their children. One mother, Charlotte, really appreciated the space that Kids Run Free fills for her daughter:

The previous quotes show that Kids Run Free fulfils a real need in modern British society. Children are very keen to exercise in a way the present school system doesn’t allow. Most importantly though, they show that kids think running is the best! Kids Run Free just helps them to run more.

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In focus “Unbroken� - the unrelenting heart and spirit of Louis Zamperini by Anna Toombs

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arlier this year, we reported that running legend and master of human resilience, Louis Zamperini, passed away aged 97. Having heard the outline of his incredible life, we wanted to delve deeper and find out more about this man whose fascinating story has been told in the best-selling biography Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, currently being adapted into a film directed by Angelina Jolie and due for release in December. Louis Zamperini was born on January 26th, 1917 in New York to two Italian immigrants, Anthony Zamperini and Louise Dossi. When he was two years old, the family – including his elder brother, Pete - moved to Torrance, California, where Zamperinin spent his childhood and teenage years. He was a mischievous child and got himself into trouble on a regular basis, always managing to outrun the police! Eventually his brother Pete, along with one of the police officers, suggested that he make better use of his quick feet and he became involved in track running at school. It wasn’t long before he began winning most of his races and became serious about running. He

was so talented that he was able to join a group of experienced athletes at the Olympic trials in New York and bagged himself a place at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He’d been given the nickname “Torrance Tornado” by his college mates who had written it on his suitcase before the trials; he felt so embarrassed and unworthy of the title, though, that he found some tape to cover it up!

Zamperini was ordered, along with 11 other crew members, to attempt to find a missing US aircraft. During the flight, however, two of the four engines of the ‘plane failed and Zamperini and his colleagues crashlanded into the sea.

Zamperini enjoyed himself on the boat during the trip over to Berlin, confessing that he made the most of the free food! In the race itself, the competition was extremely tough and he finished eighth, but with a supremely fast last lap (56 seconds) - his trademark sprint finish – which earned him a personal congratulatory remark from Adolf Hitler, “Ah, the man with the fast finish”.

Once he could focus again, Zamperini could see that most of his colleagues hadn’t survived the crash. Two of them, however – Russell Allen Phillips and Francis McNamara – were still alive and after spotting a life craft, Zamperini helped them both in, marking the beginning of their terrible voyage together.

“The plane exploded”, he recalls. “I felt like someone hit me on the forehead with a sledgehammer”.

Many, including Zamperini himself, perhaps saw this first Olympic race, at the tender age of 19, as the first of numerous events to come. However, Zamperini made the decision to join the US Air Corps and this was truly the beginning of a most remarkable life.

Between them, the men had six chocolate bars and six bottles of water. Unfortunately, McNamara panicked on that first night and whilst the others were asleep, he ate all the chocolate. Subsequently, they decided to ration the remaining water; one sip in the morning and one in the evening.

Stationed in Hawaii in 1943, having earned the position of 2nd lieutenant,

After a few days of drifting and with no idea where they were, their spirits

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one day he would return. On day 47, the two crash survivors saw land. They managed to drift towards it and haul themselves up the beach, briefly believing that their ordeal was over. Their relief was short-lived; they had landed on the Marshall Islands, under the control of the Japanese and were immediately captured. “They put us in a cell. I just looked down at my knees, the bones, the skin…and I just started crying. Here I am, an athlete – I remembered myself when I was a powerful, physical athlete and now I’m just skin and bone. A skeleton, that’s all. And it brought tears to my eyes”.

lifted as they saw an aeroplane. They would be rescued! Sadly, despite their efforts at attracting the attention of the crew, the ‘plane’s passengers did not see them and continued on. “We went from one extreme to the other. From a feeling of exhilaration to one of fear”, remembers Zamperini. More solitary days followed before they spotted another aeroplane. After a split second of happiness, they soon realized that this was an enemy ‘plane, with the big, red circle of the Japanese flag on the side. Suddenly, they were being shot at. Zamperini jumped overboard whilst the other two pretended to be dead. After much gunfire, the Japanese retreated and by some miracle, all three were still alive.

and wanted brunch!” He jokes. Unfortunately, after 33 days lost at sea, McNamara’s fight for life came to an end and after saying a eulogy, Zamperini and Phillips gently tipped him overboard. Meanwhile, back at the Zamperini family home, they had already been told that Zamperini was dead. Some of his fellow athletes even ran together in a “Louis Zamperini Memorial Mile”. His family kept a vigil for him though, still hoping that

Zamperini and McNamara spent 43 days on the island before being transported to a POW camp in Japan, where they were split up. Of all the horrific events up to this point, Zamperini was about to meet his worst torment, in the form of a prison guard called “Mutsuhiro Watanabe”, or “The Bird” as he became known. Watanabe, the most feared guard in the camp and hated by the other guards, tortured Zamperini mentally and physically. “I couldn’t look in his eyes”, Zamperini remembers. “He used to tell me to look into his eyes but I just couldn’t do it. They were too sadistic”.

There was still yet more to come. One night they felt something nudging their little sailing craft quite hard. It was a shark. Again, they had to lay quiet and still, knowing that one small movement could be the end of them. The shark plagued them for several hours before giving up. As the days went on, the men became weaker and weaker. To keep them occupied, Zamperini began to describe to the men how he would prepare and cook certain meals. Before long, he was ‘making’ them breakfast, lunch and dinner. “…and then they got really greedy

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In 1944, Zamperini, due to his past notoriety, was instructed to speak on Japanese radio. Perhaps the Japanese sensed that they were losing the war and this was their effort to show that they were kind and respectful (they allowed Zamperini to say, in his own words, who he was and that he was safe and well) but still in control. Zamperini’s family heard the broadcast and their hope was re-charged!

captors. The preacher’s words reminded him of the many prayers he had uttered during those long days at sea in the life craft. Zamperini turned his life around and became a missionary, travelling to Japan and meeting with many of the prison guards who had been in control during his imprisonment. He shook their hands and forgave them.

Zamperini was again asked to speak on the radio, but this time they wanted him to read their words, not his. He refused. Shortly afterwards, he was again transferred, taken North into the snowy mountains. Zamperini didn’t care where he was going – he was just relieved to be putting distance between him and “The Bird”. He and his fellow prisoners arrived at the new camp and stood, as instructed, in the snow. After about 15 minutes, Zamperini’s heart sank as none other than “The Bird” appeared from inside. Zamperini was subjected to more torture, repeatedly being told that he would be executed and given physically demanding tasks that challenged his weak, undernourished body to its limits.

In 1998, at the Winter Olympics in Japan, a 35 minute documentary told his story. He was asked to carry the Olympic torch as part of the ceremony and at age 81, ran one kilometre with the flame, smiling and listening to the cheering crowd. Perhaps the most courageous thing of all was finding it within himself to forgive the people who had wounded him so deeply. Watanabe, “The Bird”, was interviewed for the documentary and showed no remorse. He claimed that his feeling at the time was that America and its people were the enemy, therefore he treated them with the hatred they deserved. Zamperini wanted to meet Watanabe but he refused.

Zamperini wrote two books about his life: Devil at my Heels and A World War II Hero's Epic Saga of Torment, Survival, and Forgiveness. He became an inspirational speaker, spreading the word of Christ and relaying the importance of forgiveness. It is extremely sad that he won’t see the film of his life. Prior to his death, he met with Angelina Jolie numerous times to discuss the movie and they became good friends. Her empathy and genuine affection will no doubt be apparent in a film that will remind us all of Zamperini’s incredible life and the resilience of the human spirit. Note: Zamperini’s colleague and friend, Russell Allen Phillips, also survived the ordeal and went home to marry his fiancé, Cecile, and live a long life. He passed away in December, 1998. Sources www.louiszamperini.net www.wikipedia.org www.youtube.com Quotes from CBS Sports Documentary, 1998

Finally, in 1945, an American ‘plane arrived at the camp. The war was over; Zamperini had survived. He came home to a hero’s welcome, he and his family overwhelmed with emotion. Despite his initial happiness, however, Zamperini was understandably plagued with memories of his years of torture, suffering nightly with terrible dreams of “The Bird”. “When he was beating me at the prison camp, all I wanted was revenge. When I came home from the war I thought, ‘If I ever make any money, I’m gonna go back to Japan and I’m gonna look him up and I’m gonna finish him off’”. This period of destructive thought was accompanied with physical selfdestruction; Zamperini had begun drinking heavily. Cynthia, the woman he married not long after his return from Japan, encouraged him to go and listen to a preacher by the name of Billy Graham. Graham’s powerful words transformed Zamperini’s thoughts and he began to feel love and forgiveness for his

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“All I want to tell young people is that you're not going to be anything in life unless you learn to commit to a goal. You have to reach deep within yourself to see if you are willing to make the sacrifices.� Louis Zamperini

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hat does it mean to be “fit”? I’ve often said to clients that fitness is, “a readiness to cope with whatever life throws at you”. Thinking this through recently, I’ve come to the rather unsettling realization that if this is true, the meaning of the word fitness has changed quite considerably and, perhaps, not for the better. Looking back over hundreds, thousands of years, fitness didn’t really mean anything at all. By that, I consider that fitness was a given. If you were surviving, you were fit because if you weren’t you wouldn’t last long. As far as we know, our ancestors lived off the land, scavenging, hunting and gathering. This required endurance, strength, agility and what I like to call “unagi” an awareness of surroundings. Whilst our forefathers (and mothers) were foraging for food, they needed to keep a keen eye on what was going on in the immediate vicinity – predators lurking perhaps, or the opportunity to kill some animal or insect for dinner or tasty snack.

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Each day was a keep fit lesson. Fast forward to now. Ask someone if they’re fit and they might say, “Yeah, I go to the gym three or four times a week”. Does that mean they’re fit? Fit also has, just to add the confusion, another new meaning, concerning someone’s appearance, as in, “Cor, he’s/she’s fit!” - in other words, easy on the eye. Are you fit if you go to the gym? Does it depend on what you do at the gym? Years ago when I worked in one, I saw many variations on what is generally known as a “workout”. I would see people plugged into a cross trainer, moving slowly as they watched the TVs in front of them, barely breaking a sweat and leaving 15 minutes after they came in. In the weights area, I would see huge guys busting a gut lifting enormous dumbbells, completely focused on getting bigger and bigger each week. Other gym members were cardio fiends – they would leave David’s [Robinson] spin class just before the cool down to then jump

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into my step class for another hour, sweat dripping but faces smiling. Can any of the above be classed as “fit”? Well, let’s take a look at my previous definition of fit - a “readiness for life” – and consider what that means. Of course, life is different for everyone, but generally speaking, none of us has to worry too much about being eaten, we don’t need to scavenge for, or catch, our own food and it’s no longer necessary to have the strength to build our own houses or the endurance to travel on foot for miles each day. If we expand the term “fit” to “fit for purpose”, it might give us more clarity. The girl in the gym who does her 15 minutes on the cross trainer – well, that might be all she needs to provide her with the endurance necessary for the amount of activity her day requires. She might even be watching the news whilst doing it, so that she gains some knowledge to help her later on at work. She may well, therefore, be amply fit for purpose. However, if she’s trying to

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lose weight or train for an endurance event, her workout regime is in need of some attention. For the meaty men, they’re quite different. If they’re training for a body building competition, their training is spot on. But what about the rest of their day? I know that one of lifters in the gym back then hurt his back reaching into his car to pull out a relatively light suitcase. So his strength was very gym-specific, but not helpful outside the gym. These guys were fit for the purpose of getting bigger for competition but unfit for anything else. What about the cardio fiends? In many ways, this bunch might be classed as the fittest – they have a good level of endurance and appear to be enjoying themselves. The cycling and step aerobics challenge their bodies in different ways too. But, as the Sock Doc article in this issue reminds us, our health is a balancing act and if those cardio fiends are training at a high intensity everyday without eating correctly or taking some rest days, their fitness maybe short-lived. What worries me about being “fit for purpose” these days is that it essentially means being able to sit for many hours at a time, staring at a screen, whether it’s a computer, a mobile device or a television. The stress that we all experience is related to long work hours, deadlines, trying to keep on top of social media updates and generally just trying to keep up. Stress for our ancestors was about survival in nature; we have created a society that is so far removed from that it’s a bit scary. Mental overload to the point where our brains explode as our bodies, if we’re not careful, wither away unused. How do you even ‘train’ for this? Practice? Certainly something odd that I’ve noticed is that the more I exercise, eat and sleep well, the less happy my body and mind are to sit for long periods. You’d think it might be the opposite – if I’m feeling happy and healthy, my body can handle much more. Not the case. As I write this, I feel the need to get up at least every thirty minutes because my body is craving movement. I can’t sit still, yet this is what is required of me for the majority of my day. Does this mean I am unfit?!

I guess the answer is that sooner or later your body catches up with you. I know people in their twenties and thirties who can happily sit all day. However, it is perhaps no surprise that most of my clients are older than that, in their fifties and sixties, beginning to feel the effects of taking their bodies for granted. This can result in aches and pains, but also other ailments such as high blood pressure and diabetes. I think it comes down to two things: balance and choice. For me to complete my work, I need to sit down and look at a screen for a proportion of my day. I can maintain my health though by regularly getting up and by limiting the time I spend sitting so that I can include a run outside in the fresh air, or therapeutic yoga session to nourish my mind and body and keep it functioning efficiently. The ‘sacrifice’ might be that I don’t make the big bucks or have a clue which celebrity is doing what because I’m not immersing myself in that world – and that is my choice. I would rather feel good and be able to keep moving my body throughout my entire life – however long that is. Having rambled on, I actually think that “fitness” is very difficult to define, perhaps because it is something that is quite subjective, relative and something that is ever-changing. What I do know is that if I’m going to be “fit for purpose” I would much rather that purpose be running outside barefoot for as long as want, than it be becoming proficient at sitting on my backside, staring into a virtual world.

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David’s laboratory Nature or nurture: Born to run? Is it all down to a superior athletic gene?

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ecently I came across an interview with four time Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson, with Sally Beck, of the Daily Mail in London, England. During their discussion, Johnson broached the “controversial topic” that descendants of slavery run faster than their opponents because of a “superior athletic gene” due to selective breeding. The interview was inspired by a documentary that traced Johnson’s lineage, taking him from the United States back to West Africa, and bringing up the question: Has slavery left an imprint through the generations both physically and mentally?[1] After his journey, Johnson believes that even though it is difficult to comprehend, his ancestors’ ordeals as slaves have benefited him - and athletes like him - due to what he believes is a “superior athletic gene”. The documentary presented the notion that the African Slaves underwent rigorous selection processes, both prior to transportation, as well as through the working and living conditions they endured once settled in their final destinations. It was suggested that this selection allowed for an accelerated evolutional process, creating the potential for stronger, faster and therefore superior athletic possibilities. This is perhaps a point well made if you consider that all the 100 metre finalists of both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics were all of Afro-Caribbean or African–American heritage, the main descendants of the African slave trade.[2] But is it that simple? Is the potential of an individual, be it in sport or even academia, down to what they are born with? Or does nurture have a

bearing when it comes to success? These questions have been posed multiple times and researchers have explored various methods in the search for greater understanding. So, what can we make of their results so far?

the possibility of contracting certain diseases, such as breast cancer or Huntington's disease. This is often known as our “Hard wiring”.[5]

Let’s start by defining what researchers consider to be nature and nurture respectively. Nature, or “genetic inheritance”, is the biological characteristics or qualities transmitted from parent to offspring,[3] via chromosomes. Within each cell of both parents’ bodies there are 23 highly important chromosome pairs. Researchers believe that one chromosome from each pair is inherited from either parent and contained within these chromosomes are the genes that will influence multiple characteristics within the dominant gene during development, such as hair, eye and skin colour, height, weight and somatotype (body type),[4] as well as an increase in

Nurture, on the other hand, refers to the sum of the environmental factors influencing the behaviour and traits expressed by an organism[3] after conception, i.e. food, global location, living experiences, education possibilities and financial status etc. – or, more generally, lifestyle. Both of these terms were coined by Sir Francis Galton, the pioneer of Eugenics and a cousin of Charles Darwin, in the late 19th century[6], whose work led him to believe that intelligence, or an individual’s intellectual ability, was largely inherited and that the superior gene or “genius” followed family lines; the so-called “nature model”.[7] Galton’s theories of “noble in heredity” or “good in birth” were intended to help the “science” of improving human stock, suggesting in 1883[8] that human society could be improved by “better breeding”, as he termed it, by giving “ to the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable than they otherwise would have had.”[6] Ironically, a belief that probably was prevalent in the development of the slave trade in the generations previously and still is used today to justify subjugation. But, do Galton’s theories have any credibility despite the negative connotations they create? Are we

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other sports too. For example, being 7ft 4” at the age of 13 has given Romanian basketball player, Robert Bobroczky, a huge advantage over his peers for having his potential realized. After all, the basket is a lot closer!

“born to run” for instance, or do we need to learn/mimic from our parents and wider society to obtain the necessary skill set? And, if so, are we only long distance/persistence runners or can there be variations? Let’s consider the three main running disciplines of sprinting, middle and long distance. It doesn’t take much to recognize that these three modes of running warrant different body types and varying slow/fast twitch muscle fibre (endurance and strength/power respectively) distribution. It is generally accepted that elite sprinters are nearer to the mesomorphic region of William Sheldon’s somatotype diagram[9], while elite long distance runners err towards the ectomorphic sector and middle distance runners somewhere in between - all of whom have different twitch fibre percentages, giving them all a genetic advantage within their respective fields.

are somatotype and fibre allocation the only qualities necessary for success? Well, obviously the power to weight ratio of a jockey is highly important to the success of the horse, as there are weight restrictions within horse racing.[12] Conversely, a heavier sumo wrestler will undoubtedly have an advantage over a lighter one. Both need to be strong for their respective events and will train for this. However, it’s unlikely that you will find a sumo wrestler who is also a successful jockey (or vice versa) and no training protocol is likely to change this. Genes play an important part in

But are an athlete’s physical attributes all the matter? Early theorists believed that talent was innate and that you are born with “The Gift”. Many have suggested that this is a dangerous viewpoint as it implies that a “gifted” athlete only has to show up, with no training, and they will perform well. Looking back to the 100m sprinters it would be unreasonable to assume that they could just turn up and run; research into motor learning (acquiring skill sets) has shown that thousands of hours of developmental practice are required for elite athletes to perform at their peak.[13] It can be argued, however, that a natural ability may be required to obtain the benefits from motor skill learning, i.e. two individuals of similar somatotype will gain different benefits from the same training schedule and therefore will not experience identical advantages. In Malcolm Gladwell’s 2009 book “Outliers: The Story of Success”, he highlighted a 1993 psychology paper putting forward a figure of 10,000 hours of focused (deliberate) practice[14] as the figure for “success”. However, recent research by Macnamara et al.

Research suggests that while individuals may be born with a degree of trainability within their muscle fibres (with correct training, FT-B fibres can take on some endurance characteristics)[10], the majority of the fast (FT) and slow twitch (ST) fibres inherited cannot be converted from one to the other. It is also important to note that within each of the groups there will be a disparity in the percentage of fibre types within the said individuals.[11] Muscle-wise, it would seem that whatever an athlete is born with is what they will have to live with! But

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of Princeton University has found that this arbitrary figure has no substance. The meta-analysis of 88 studies over a period of 20 years on deliberate practice found that focused practice only accounted for a 12% difference in performance in various forms of activities, the greatest being in game play (26%) and the least being in the professional (work) world (1%).[15] Sports, on average, had an increase in performance of 18% - not quite enough to consider it to be leaps forward into the elite, but it does highlight that there is a considerable amount of deliberate practice needed to attain elite levels, regardless of talent! High levels of performance are not just down to practice. There are multiple variables that also have to be considered; parents and their social standing, coaching quality, gender, culture, geographic location of birth and residence, age and luck - to name a few![16] Let’s review a couple of these nurturing variables in more detail, starting with parents and their social standing. Baxter-Jones and Maffulli’s paper on “Parental influence on sport participation in elite young athletes” concluded that in Britain, young athlete’s involvement in high level sport is heavily dependent on their parents, while coaches and sports clubs back up their supporting role later on.[17] After ascertaining how talented young British swimmers, gymnasts, tennis and soccer players had been introduced to their sport, BaxterJones and Maffulli surmised that in the present socio-economic and cultural situation, any talented young individuals with less motivated parents and/or from poorer economic backgrounds would be heavily disadvantaged, especially in sports such as tennis. They came to this conclusion after noting that oneparent families in the study made up only 5.3% of the total subjects which is 10.8% less than the country as a whole. In the study, Baxter-Jones and Maffulli interviewed 232 elite athletes between the ages of 8 and 17, along with their parents, to identify why and how the athlete started deliberate (intensive) training and of the four sports studied, the parents of swimmers were 70% more likely to have introduced their children to the sport, while the

parents of gymnasts were least likely at 42%.[17] In all, parental influence and social-economic backgrounds are an important factor in youth athletes commencing sport. This point is easily illustrated in the world of motorsport, with the increase of multiple motor racing drivers from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s having children in successful positions within the same sport, with some bypassing the normal route others usually have to take. An example is Max Verstappen who, at the age of 17, will be entering Formula One (considered by many to be the pinnacle of motorsport) in 2015 after only one year in competitive motor racing.[18] A prime example of parental connections and motivation! Another example of several of these variables is Matthew Syed, an international table tennis player and author. When interviewed about his book Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice and his sporting career, he explained how geographic location and coaching quality were vital parts in his sporting success, stating, “This is one of the things that really got me thinking about the nature of excellence because when I became the top English table tennis player I looked around me at the other top English table tennis players and they came from the same street, the same road and a very anonymous suburb of Reading. I mean, it was just extraordinary and people described

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it as a miracle that something like eight of the best twelve players came from this one particular road.”[19] It turned out that due to Syed’s residential location (Silverdale road, Reading), he attended a particular school that happened to have a highly regarded national coach who gave him access to high level coaching and facilities, contributing greatly to his athletic success.[20] A point backed up by the previous study of Baxter-Jones and Maffulli, who cited that 65% of all the elite youth athletes, regardless of parent involvement levels, had been encouraged by a coach.[17] This brings me on to a factor often over looked, and that is luck. It is a factor that embroiders through most other nature /nurturing factors as can be seen in the events that aided Syed’s career. Using Thomas Nagel’s identifications of several types of moral luck, it is possible to see how luck can influence athletic and academic success.[21] Firstly, there is “Resultant Luck”, the suggestion that luck can affect the outcomes of an individual’s actions and/or moral choices.[21] Often the example given to explain this type of luck is that of a motor accident,[22] but to keep it in the world of sport I’d like you to consider two cyclists who at one time or another had won, say, multiple Tour de Frances’, while taking performance enhancing drugs but only one had been caught. The exposed individual would be

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branded a cheat and removed from the annals of time, while the second cyclist would probably go on to be celebrated within the sport; the same situation playing out in two completely different scenarios. Next, there is “Circumstantial Luck”, which refers to the circumstances in which an individual may find themselves, for example being enrolled by his/her parents into a particular school or club that just happens to be run by an expert coach/teacher within their chosen field, as per the case with Matthew Syed.[20]

the category of causal luck to be redundant, since it is merely an amalgamation of constitutive and circumstantial luck,[23] yet in this instance I feel that it can be used to show the complexity of external elements that may or may not influence success. Nagel suggests that the appearance of causal, moral luck is essentially the classic problem of free will; that, in reality, we have no control of our fate.[21]

The general consensus is that actions are determined by external events and therefore ultimately an individual can only choose from the options laid out in front of them, influenced by past events and situations.[24] A good example of this is if funding for a sport gets cut or reduced due to poor results in the past; future participants will be disadvantaged and will probably not achieve their full potential.

Thirdly is “Constitutive Luck”, which relates back to the nature side of the debate. Nagel suggests this form of luck affects the kind of person one is - their traits and dispositions.[21] Environmental influences contribute to make us who we are - our interactions with our parents and peers and genes, for example. An individual’s confidence and willingness to interact - be it with teammates or members of the coaching and/or management team - can play an important role in success. Lastly, there is “Causal Luck”, which is determined by antecedent (preceding) circumstances.[21] Certain inquisitors, such as the philosophical researcher Andrew Latus, believe the inclusion of

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In conclusion In reality, the majority of researchers today do not accept either of the extreme positions as there are too many inconsistent contributing factors on both sides of the debate for there to be room for a “one-sideof-the-fence” viewpoint. Instead, the question has been redefined to how much of a combination of these factors are necessary. However, some researchers are still pursuing the belief that there is one key ingredient contained within the nature/nurture model that will assure elite success – the “magical component”. Yet, multiple studies have been unable to produce a definitive answer. If we focus on the hotbed of sprinting in the world -Jamaica - it is possible to see that Michael Johnson is, in part, correct as both the male and female sprinters seem to be dominating the sport and breaking records. However, this has not always been the case. Up to the last few decades, all the successful Jamaican athletes were actually residents of the United States and trained within American Universities. Incidentally, the two most successful 100 metre sprinters pre 1990, Lennox V. Miller (winner of a silver in 1968 and bronze in 1972), and Don Quarrie (winner of a silver in 1976), both attended and trained at the University of Southern California (USC), going some way to proving that nurturing factors are also key ingredients. They may have had the required genetics but due to the lack of facilities and guidance in their home country at the time it would not have been possible to achieve their success.

Jamaica now has an exceptionally good coaching programme, irrespective of the lack of funding compared to other nations. Along with their involvement in the CARIFTA (Caribbean Free Trade Association) Games since 1972, which has allowed promising youth runners to be spotted and showcased, they have been able to invest in world class athletes within the world of sprinting.

3. 4. 5.

6. 7. 8. 9.

So, to clarify things, it seems that elite sporting performance results from a combination of innumerable factors, including genetics (somatotype), innate abilities (talent), ability and motivation to learn, deliberate practice time and training facilities, in varying amounts depending on the individual in question. The extent to which the “elite” are born or made is a question that will remain one of considerable interest as the implications are extremely important, especially for talent spotting, athlete management and the way that sporting committees and federations allocate their limited resources.

10. 11. 12. 13.

14. 15.

16.

17. 18.

19.

References 1.

2.

Beck, S., 2012. Survival of the fastest: Why descendants of slaves will take the medals in the London 2012 sprint finals. Daily mail; Retrieved from www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2167064/London2012-Olympics-Michael-Johnson-descendants-slavesmedals-sprint-finals.html#ixzz3Inp9V6Gj. Agyemang, C., Bhopal, R., Bruijnzeels, M., 2005. Negro, Black, Black African, African Caribbean, African American or what? Labelling African origin populations in the health arena in the 21st century; J. Epidemiol Community Health 2005;59:1014-1018 doi:10.1136/jech.2005.035964.

20. 21. 22. 23. 24.

Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, Merriam Webster, 2006; ISBN 978-0877798538. Mai, LL., Owl MY., Kersting, PM., 2005. The Cambridge Dictionary of Human Biology and Evolution, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0511125881. Nordqvist C., 2014. What is motor neuron disease? What is Lou Gehrig's disease? Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles /164342.php. Galton, F., 2008. English Men of Science: Their Nature and Nurture (1874), Kessinger Publishing, LLC; ISBN 978-0548879726. Kevles, DJ., 1995. In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity, Harvard University Press; New Ed edition, ISBN 978-0674445574. Gerodetti, N., 2005. “Biopolitics”, Eugenics and the Use of History. Paper presented at ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, Granada, April. Sheldon, WH., 1954. Atlas of Men: A Guide for Somatotyping the Adult Male at All Ages. Gramercy Publishing Company. Bompa, T., Carrera, MC., 2005. Periodization Training for Sports - 2nd Edition, Human Kinetics. ISBN 978-0736055598. Karp, J. R., 2001. Muscle Fiber Types and Training. Track Coach. 155:4943-4946. Pony Racing Authority Rule Book 2014. The Pony Racing Authority. Retrieved from www.ponyracingauthority.co.uk Ericsson, KA., 2013. Training history, deliberate practice and elite sports performance: an analysis in response to Tucker and Collins review—what makes champions? Br J Sports Med June 2013 Vol 47 No 9 Gladwell, M., 2009. Outliers: The Story of Success, Penguin; Re-issue edition, ISBN 978-0141036250 Macnamara BN Hambrick DZ Oswald FL., 2014. Deliberate Practice and Performance in Music, Games, Sports, Education, and Professions. Psychological Science A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science. July 1, 2014;0956797614535810 Tucker, R., Collins, M., 2011. What makes champions? A review of the relative contribution of genes and training to sporting success. Br J Sports Med 2012;46:555561doi:10.1136/bjsports-2011-090548; Baxter-Jones AD., Maffulli N., 2003. Parental influence on sport participation in elite young athletes. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2003 Jun; 43(2):250-5. Esler, W., 2014. Max Verstappen will replace Jean-Eric Vergne at Toro Rosso in 2015, Sky Sports, Retrieved from http://www1.skysports.com/f1/news/12471/9428944/max -verstappen-will-replace-jean-eric-vergne-at-toro-rossoin-2015 Affleck, J., 2011. Transcript: Matthew Syed, author of Bounce (Max#26), Maximise Potential, Retrieved from http://www.maximisepotential.co.uk/transcriptmatthew-syed-author-of-bounce-max26/ Syed, M., 2011. Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice. Fourth Estate, ISBN-13: 9780007350544 Nagel, T, 1979. Mortal Questions, New York: Cambridge University Press Statman, P. (Ed), 1993. Moral Luck (SUNY Series in Ethical Theory) Paperback, State University of New York Press, ISBN-13: 978-0791415405 Latus, A., 2000, “Moral and Epistemic Luck”, Journal of Philosophical Research, 25: 149–172. Statman, D., 2005, “Doors, Keys, and Moral Luck: A Reply to Domsky,” The Journal of Philosophy, 102: 422–436

Running fact 22.

Running fact 23. The first recorded fell race is believed to have been organized by the King of Scotland, King Malcolm Canmore, sometime between 1040 and 1064, in the area of Braemar. He was reputedly looking for a messenger.

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Did you know

The fastest recorded speed of a human on foot was during a 100 metre sprint race, when Usain Bolt was clocked at the impressive speed of 27.79.


Outside the lab

eetroot is often featured in health articles as a very nutrient rich and recommended addition to any diet. Recent research at Kansas State University has proved its usefulness yet again, showing that beetroot can help athletic performance in footballers as well as being of benefit to heart failure sufferers. The study demonstrated how beetroot – or, specifically, the nitrate within it – improves blood flow to muscles during exercise. This benefit of improving oxygen delivery to the muscles is also extremely helpful for those with impaired heart function who may have mobility issues due to compromised blood flow. Beetroot contains a very high amount of nitrate; a 70 ml bottle contains around the same amount as 100 grams of spinach. Drink up!

study carried out at the Weizman Institute in Israel and published in the journal Nature has indicated that artificial sweeteners could be a contributor to the obesity epidemic. The research predominantly used mice as subjects, although some of the tests involved human subjects. The researchers were investigating the effects of sweeteners – particularly saccharin - on glucose intolerance, which can lead to Type II Diabetes. Within 5 weeks of sweetener consumption, the mice in the study had developed glucose intolerance. It was also noted that there were changes in the gut bacteria of the mice. Similar results were found in the 381 human subjects - they developed glucose intolerance and experienced changes in their gut bacteria. The conclusions of the study were that artificial sweetener appears to cause changes to gut bacteria, leading to glucose intolerance. More research is required, particularly investigating other, more popular sweeteners (saccharin is no longer widely used in products). The human element of the study was limited and this also needs to be expanded in further studies. These initial findings, however, have certainly caused interest and concern. Page 28

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esearchers at the University of Vienna have been examining the remains of Roman Gladiators, found in a gladiator cemetery back in 1993. Using specialized methods of exploring the collagen within the bones, the scientists’ findings indicate that the gladiators ate a plant-rich diet with very little meat, much like the ‘normal’ people of the same era. A noticeable difference, however, was that the gladiators appeared to consume much higher levels of strontium, a mineral that has been associated with improving bone health. The researchers suggest that the gladiators would consume some kind of plant ash tonic after physical exertion by way of a recovery drink to enhance bone and tissue repair.

esearchers have found that changes in the way a person walks could be a very early sign of cognitive impairment and dementia in Parkinson’s Disease. 120 sufferers were tested in a lab, walking for two minutes and having their gait analyzed. The findings indicated that changes such as a slower stride and swaying side to side were linked to some cognitive impairment which is one of the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Although decline in cognitive abilities has already been linked to dementia, this is the first study to find a link with Parkinson’s Disease. It is hoped that this research will provide doctors with an earlier indicator of impaired cognitive function in their patients than other, current tests and therefore make management of the disease more effective.

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Room 101 Room 101 - Airing your agitations

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As our Barefoot Running Magazine Room 101 is now newly open for business, I took it upon myself, as editor, to lay on the table some of my running pet hates. I wonder if Professor O’Brien will agree or disagree?

y first nomination for Room 101 is the umbrella. Yes, it rains a lot in the UK but that is what hoods are for! I sometimes feel as though I need to be wearing protective gear whilst out running to avoid being poked in the eye by someone trying to protect themselves from a bit of water. I would like to see a celebrity making the good old plastic head wrap (that more mature ladies have traditionally worn) into the latest fashion must-have. Then it’s a win-win!

This is Barefoot Running Magazine’s very own Professor O’Brien. He decides whether or not your running pet hates should be consigned to Room 101.

Professor O’Brien says: Although I see what an ingenious invention the umbrella is, in this health and safety conscious world it does pose a poking risk. On the same health and safety theme, wet umbrellas left in people’s hallways may cause hazardous, slippery conditions. With the numerous choices available for those who wish to be protected from the rain, I am going to put umbrellas into Room 101. My second item bound for Room 101 is the scooter. Yes, I know the kids love them but when you’re running along the pavement and a whole family, including the parents, are barrelling towards you and out of control of their vehicle, you just know that your toes are in peril. It is pavement mayhem! I need my toes!!!

A much more light-hearted character than George Orwell’s O’Brien in 1984 (although the team are still slightly wary of him), BFRM’s Professor O’Brien will nevertheless carefully consider your arguments and respond accordingly. As a runner himself, O’Brien will be sympathetic to your running woes, but Room 101 is a serious business and he will not send things there willy nilly - you will have to convince him! If you’d like to see your running pet hates sent to Room 101, please drop Professor O’Brien an email and he will look at your case! Click here to email.

Professor O’Brien says: With the ongoing increases in childhood obesity, we should be encouraging our kids to get on their scooters, bikes, trampolines – everything that provides a fun activity to get our kids moving. You can’t beat a bit of family fun – I can’t put scooters in Room 101! My third choice is people who habitually spit. Now, it may seem harsh to put human beings into Room 101, but when I am running along and see a globule of stretchy, slimy, germ-filled muck in my path, it really is most unpleasant. Even worse, I have been overtaking someone on the pavement just as they’ve launched a ‘grollie’ and it has only narrowly missed hitting me. As a runner, I know that you are more likely to have the need to spit as mucus does sometimes build up at the back of a runner’s throat, but spitting for the sake of it is NOT ON! Professor O’Brien says: Whilst I agree that spitting is not a very nice or hygienic habit, I cannot justify putting people into Room 101. I also cannot allow one rule for runners and another for non-runners – if you condone spitting for runners, you must put up with others who choose to spit! Maybe you should wear some shoes when you run? [winks]

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Hi Yesterday's run killed me - no, not literally, silly! It was just a seriously plodding slog in some searing heat and now I have really achey ankles and I'm concerned as I've had this pain before - and that led to tendon troubles… I keep analysing my form, try to change what I need to and for a while everything's great and then it all starts to hurt again. Most disconcerting. Any ideas? (Tim, London) Hi Tim Sounds like you always have specific runs or races booked in that you’re focusing on…this may be part of the problem as it puts the pressure on. Sits in the back of your mind all the

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time. For some people it’s not an issue, but for some it just means pressure which leads to tension that may then affect how you run, either your form, or doing more than you should, or both. For example, if your run yesterday was a “plodding slog”, should you have been running in the first place? Should you have stopped sooner? It’s a fine line between pushing yourself to make gains and pushing it too far which leads to injury. This is just another part of the learning process of how to achieve the right balance – it can take a while too! I’d say that you’ve had enough experience and probably read enough about running form to understand the fundamentals, so now try not to focus on it so much. Let your body relax. The heat will affect your energy levels and potentially your cadence, so make sure that isn’t too slow – apart from that, just breathe, relax and let your body move freely. The Sock Doc website is brilliant for

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info on other areas such as diet that might be affecting you physically – well worth a look. Good luck!

Hi Anna I have a question for you. Before races and Parkrun I see many runners stretching before running - is this a good idea!?! (Ian, via email) Hi Ian Ah, stretching is one of those continually hot topics. On the whole, static stretching (holding yourself still in a particular position to stretch your hamstrings or quads, for example) is no longer recommended before a run. There are a number of studies

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which suggest that static stretching has a de-stabilizing effect on your joints – not something you are looking for pre-run! In fact, this de-stabilization has been linked to a resulting increase in injury. Dynamic stretching, however, is a different game. Dynamic stretching before a run might include swinging your leg back and forth, to take your hip through an increasing range of motion, or repeated knee ups/butt kicks, allowing the knee to become involved as well. These types of movements help prepare your body for a run and this really is the key as far as warming up is concerned. I remember, years ago, doing a 15 minute, floor-based Pilates session before a run and having the heaviest legs ever during the run with no spring whatsoever. Now, a dynamic warm up with some light plyometric work makes my resulting run feel so much more effortless.

niggles now and again. It tends to accompany a lack of control of pronation as well as a tight calf complex. It may also be triggered by a nutritional issue or general stress on the body/mind. I'm surprised you've got it after so long walking and running barefoot. Have you changed your training in some way? Diet? Anyway, it does take quite a long time to heal unfortunately due to poor blood supply and because it's very difficult to rest it sufficiently. I really wouldn't want to recommend an exercise programme without seeing you. Basically, balance work, ankle mobility and calf raises would form a good part of it, progressing to some light plyometric work, but I'd need to know what stage you're at. I know that calf raises were out of the question for me at one point! Is there a good sports therapist/physio anywhere near you?

Stretching can certainly be useful post-run and I personally have re-introduced a stretch routine after most of my runs because it works for me. This is another very relevant point: do what works for you. A few issues ago, I chatted with Olympic marathon runner, Liz Yelling and she told me that stretching – pre and post run – was always part of her regime and generally helpful, without any adverse effects.

Icing worked quite well for me - once I could walk properly I did whatever I could manage and then iced afterwards. The Sock Doc website has some useful stuff on posterior tib issues too. Remember not to just think about the physical aspects - check your lifestyle and see if there are areas that need addressing. I know when mine kicked off I just had so much on my plate, training-wise and work-wise.

Flexibility is something that is often overlooked in many sports and lack of appropriate flexibility will certainly affect performance. However, it is also essential for normal, healthy movement so shouldn’t just be thought about as part of a run. A great way to maintain flexibility is to incorporate separate sessions – yoga is ideal and a popular choice.

The good news is that, if you don't push it and allow your body time to heal, your running career is not over! Doctors can be so negative! Keep me posted. Oh, by the way, when I couldn't run I did a fair amount of swimming but also did my yoga challenge of 108 days of straight yoga - that was a very healing experience for both body and mind. Use this as an opportunity to explore something different. Hope this helps - feel free to message me again with any other questions.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t recommend deep, static stretches before a run but other than that, experiment and do what works for you!

All the best, Anna. Hi Anna, do you guys know much about posterior tibial tendon dysfunction? Looks like I’ve got it and doctors painting a very negative picture for my running career… Georg, Stoke-on-Trent

Send your running questions to Anna & David and they will endeavour to answer them for you: questions@barefootrunningmagazine.com

Hi Georg - yep, had it! In fact, it still

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have just started a Doctorate programme in Education and for this issue Anna suggested that my roving take me through the doors of Manchester Metropolitan University to see how I stood up to a weekend with a group of social scientists. It was enlightening and it helped me find a way to navigate the murky, contradictory world of barefoot advice that washes over us all. Being a barefoot evangelist has never sat well with me. I sometimes find myself cast unwillingly into that role and I don’t enjoy it. I have no special gift for running. I am not an urban caveman or biomechanical genius. I am just a simple runner trying to find his way through the fog and run as injury free as possible.

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Nevertheless, over the last couple of years, I seem to have stumbled on a way of steering towards a sort of success and it is something that we can all do. I write regularly about my experiences and seem to be using something that social scientists call the ‘hermeneutic circle’. It is simple...and it is there for everyone. There is no shortage of barefoot related research out there. It is interesting but often the way it is interpreted jars with me. The thing with large scale studies is that they tend to average things out and come up with generalizations. That is useful as long as you accept that those generalizations don’t fit everyone. Unfortunately, generalizations are often accepted

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into the common vernacular and before we know it, we are being told the best way to run.

I worked my way quietly across the room and sat down at an empty seat on a table of four. I took out a chainmail, Paleobarefoot shoe and slid it gently onto the table in front of me. We had been asked to bring an object and the thing that I wanted to share most was my barefoot running. It is core to my identity but it was hard to express barefootedness through bringing a shoe. The Paleobarefoot, however, seemed like the easiest to talk about and most likely to generate a bit of interest.

What happens if you are the exception to the rule? What happens if you are one of the dots that is a long way from the curve? In my life, I have often found myself being a lonely dot and in a world of generalizations we are all an exception to the rule. Some of us more than others. I am not a large body of people looking for a best fit. I am an individual runner trying to find my way. I need to find what works for me. The first morning found me standing in a very big university feeling very small.

I was ready to explain all about it but we were heading deeper than that. I wasn’t asked to talk about my footwear at all. Instead, someone was asked to work out what my choice of artefact said about me. Then we went deeper still. We were then asked what that person’s

interpretation of my choice said about them. This sort of stuff is right up my street and I began to feel at home amongst this group of relative strangers. Someone described it as like watching an episode of ‘Lost’. We were loving trying to join the dots. These people were just like me and I began to relax and enjoy myself. My main worry about starting a five year doctorate programme is the idea of conducting research full of numbers, averages and charts. I have been there before and it just isn’t me. It isn’t where my interest lies. I am more interested in individuals and the stories that they tell. There is so much value to be had from their experiences that is too readily dismissed by dominant forms of traditional research. There is wisdom there that cannot be captured by a line graph however beautifully it is drawn. For me, the best part of the weekend was when we started to discuss how we can use writing to find our way through complex issues. How we can conduct qualitative research through the stories that people tell. It is one example of what is known as a ‘hermeneutic circle’. It works like this. We write and try and represent the thoughts in our head through words on a page. It always loses a little in translation but the very act of writing develops our understanding and changes our viewpoint. I instinctively know this.

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I do it all the time. When I am really struggling with something, I dump it on paper and put it to one side. I always feel better for it. A little while later, I write again and find my thinking has developed and moved on. I may not get clarity straight away but I always make progress. That seems like common sense and nothing new. Where it gets clever is when you look at your two pieces of writing and describe how your thinking has changed. The very act of comparing makes you look at things differently and informs your next piece of writing...and so on. The cycle is ongoing for as long as you like. My writing on Barefoot Beginner has been punctuated with pieces that have summed up my thoughts and feelings at a point in time. When I look back to my earliest pieces, they showed that I was simply using barefoot running as a pragmatic means to an end. I was barefooting to improve my technique so that I could run safely in shoes. Over time that has changed. My current writing is more concerned with wellbeing and the way running contributes to keeping us on an emotional even keel. I am more interested in why I run rather than how I run. Whenever I have had a period of my life where I have felt overwhelmed, I have dumped my thoughts on paper. I often use the analogy of sitting in a woodland clearing whilst I settle on which path to take next. I have shared these posts on Barefoot Beginner and they have always been amongst the most popular. Rereading and comparing those posts to find out how my thinking has changed is fascinating and gives me the basis of my next piece of writing. It helps me find my way. It is the hermeneutic circle in action. My venture into social science is bound to alter me both as a person and the way I write. I am learning that it is OK to be confused and feel the way that I am feeling. As long as I keep writing and comparing how my perspective is changing then I will make progress and find what is right for me. As the weekend progressed, I couldn’t get barefooting out of my head. I was meant to be thinking about Karl Marx and Plato but my mind kept drifting to the true greats such as Ken Bob Saxton,

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Chris McDougall and Danny Dreyer. It seemed that the main purpose of the weekend was to illustrate that the way we interpret things reveals hidden truths about ourselves. For instance, I have spent a lot of time selecting and providing a commentary on my favourite barefoot blog posts from around the world. I found myself wanting to go back through them and ask what my choices said about me at the time. Why did I select certain ones at certain times?...and why did I leave other posts out? What does that say about me? My original goal in starting Barefoot Beginner was to blog my way towards an injury free future. I may never quite get there but each piece of writing nudges me towards my own version of what works. We all have a story to tell. To reduce us to dots on a graph just doesn’t do it for me. It is all about how we interpret and react to the stories that

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we hear. How do we allow for the perspective and agenda of the storyteller? What do we draw from them and what do we dismiss? As well as writing, I enjoy being a collector of stories. Through them, we can navigate a path to our own truth. For those of you who have never kept a journal or written a blog post, this is a call to action. You don’t need answers or superb pros; you just need to dump what is in your head onto paper. Leave it a while, do the same thing and then compare the two. Make it a habit and clarity and a sense of purpose will emerge. The very act will make you act differently and by definition will change your life. Chris has just begun a Doctorate of Education at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is a bit lost and slightly confused but enjoying it immensely.

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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

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Injury corner Flat Feet – Causes, Prevention, and Treatment by the Sock Doc

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lat feet, also known as “fallen arches”, are often viewed as problematic simply because they look abnormal – the main arch of the foot, the medial longitudinal arch, has collapsed. Though flat feet are by no means normal, they are often the result of some other underlying condition or weakness rather than a problem with the actual arch itself that has collapsed. Conventional treatment involving foot support either via supportive footwear, orthotics, or some other bracing system is usually more disadvantageous than beneficial and surgery is rarely the answer.

Different Types of Flat Feet A normal foot has an apparent arch while non-weight bearing (sitting, lying) and also when bearing weight (standing, walking, running). There are two types of flat feet: rigid flat feet (RFF) and flexible flat feet (FFF). An individual with RFF has no arch at any time – weight or non-weight bearing. RFF is usually caused by some underlying pathology. A condition called tarsal coalition is the most common reason for RFF and occurs when two or more of the seven tarsal (foot) bones fuse together. Trauma, infection, and neuromuscular and autoimmune disorders (such as Rheumatoid Arthritis) can also result in RFF.

An individual with an arch non-weight bearing which fatigues or collapses when they stand or the foot is stressed is said to have FFF. FFF is most often due to ligament laxity (the ligaments connecting the bones together have weakened) or muscle or tendon weakness. The tibialis posterior muscle has a major impact on the medial longitudinal arch as it provides much of its support. Therefore, a problem with this muscle can result in FFF as

well as other problems associated with tibialis posterior dysfunction – shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and injuries associated with overpronation.

Development of a Normal Foot and Gait Flat feet are normal in a toddler; as they get older the tendons in the foot strengthen and tighten to form the medial longitudinal arch, often by the age of three to six. Some never fully develop this arch in the foot, most often due to poor footwear, so they develop FFF. A childhood disease or injury could result in RFF. A natural gait then develops in a child once they being to walk, and then run. If the child is left to move barefoot or in moccasin-type, unsupportive footwear their gait will not be disrupted by external means. When they walk they will quietly land and roll off their foot and when they run they will naturally land mid or forefoot, efficiently dispersing shock and generating power, strength, and balance. A child who moves with modern day shoes or braces (orthotics) will always alter their gait abnormally. It is very awkward for them and their proprioception (body position) and kinaesthetic sense (nervous system response to ‘feeling’ the ground) are hindered. Ligament laxity and tibialis

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posterior muscle weakness can and does often occur, resulting in FFF. As you can see, optimum foot development occurs barefoot.

Shoes and Orthotics Negatively Affect the Foot I always chuckle when I hear the terms “corrective shoes” or “corrective, functional orthotics”. These are misnomers – they provide support of the dysfunction, never any correction. I won’t discuss the major pitfalls with either as there is plenty of information on the Sock Doc site regarding the negatives of orthotics and the benefits of barefoot and minimalist-type footwear. There is clinical evidence and studies showing that treating FFF with orthotics doesn’t change the course of arch development. Actually, though strengthening the entire foot and lower leg is important for the health and fitness of everybody and especially a person with flat feet, the arch may not change significantly if there are anatomical changes that

have occurred during development. In other words, it may be too late (the person may be too old) to see FFF regain its weight-bearing arch.

However, this should not be of concern as there is no correlation between an arch height and injury, pain, or performance. In 2009, Pediatrics published a study of 218 kids aged 11 to 15 and found “no disadvantages in sport performance originating from flat feet”. The kids who had flat feet accomplished all 17 motor skills as well as the group with “normal” feet. Another study of 246 US Army recruits found that trainees with low or flat arches actually had a lower risk of injury than those trainees with high arches during their 12-week infantry training. So although one would not want to just ignore their FFF, or especially their child’s FFF, it shouldn’t be any cause for alarm, and especially no reason to wear supportive shoes or an orthotic – either will simply make the problem worse. Orthotics and arch supports that are used to treat flat feet and fallen arches don’t support the arch of the foot where it actually needs to be supported. To properly support any arch, from a bridge over water to the arch of the foot, either end of the open space should be supported. In the case of the foot, the heel and the forefoot should be supported, not the space in-between the ends of the arch. These devices only promote more weakness and dysfunction and DO NOT change

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the course of arch development.

Natural Prevention and Treatment of Flat Feet Though most FFF are asymptomatic (no pain or discomfort), they should still be addressed as it is not normal to have flat feet. Obviously it is always ideal to prevent a problem rather than treat it after it occurs, especially if FFF is being treated postfoot development. As mentioned earlier, barefoot is the best way to prevent FFF and a host of other foot and gait imbalances. To truly strengthen the entire foot and all the arches, it’s important to position the foot correctly at all times so when wearing something on the feet, footwear should be flat, firm, and flexible. This means that the shoe should not have a significant, or any, heel to toe drop, 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. Standing and walking barefoot are two easy ways to start treating flat feet naturally. Balancing on one leg

and light jumping while barefoot will further progress the normal development of the foot; and finally, running while barefoot is the ultimate way to naturally and most effectively strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the lower leg and foot. Of course a child running barefoot is much less likely to have FFF than a shod child. Sometimes other interventions and therapies are needed for flat feet. In the case of RFF, which is much less common than FFF, treating the cause of the problem is recommended. If the RFF is causing problems (such as pain) then in some cases, depending on the individual, surgery or a supportive orthotic may be beneficial. Trigger point work and other therapies can also be very beneficial for RFF and especially FFF to help in the rehabilitation of the supporting structures of the foot. The tibialis posterior muscle is the muscle I most often have to treat for flat feet due its importance with arch support. Check out the Sock Doc video on Plantar Fasciitis for more information on how to find and treat trigger points for this muscle, as well as more information as to why the tibialis posterior can fatigue aside from improper footwear or gait mechanics.

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

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Technical tip Reading the road by Anna Toombs

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aying attention to your surroundings is essential when you run and even more so if you’re barefoot. When you have shoes on, you might be watching out for obstacles such as other people in your path and road furniture but when you have nothing on your feet, your focus has to be even more acute. We’ve come up with a few pointers for road running to help you out when you’re tackling the concrete and tarmac with nothing on your feet.

Pavements (sidewalks) The smoothest concrete is usually found in the more built up areas of a city, with big paving slabs that are kind to the soles of your feet. However, watch out if it’s wet because the surfaces can become extremely slippery – more so if there are also wet leaves to contend with. Furthermore, there tends to be a more frequent relaying of the roads in bigger towns and cities, which can lead to those nasty little pieces of stone being thrown up onto the pavements. These tend to gather nearer to the road, so run on the side of the pavement furthest away if possible. Heading out of town and into the countryside, you may not find the pavements so forgiving underfoot. We often run in a village where some of the pavements are uneven and rough! Cracks in the pavement indicate an uneven surface which can attract debris (small twigs, stones, etc.) which gathers to create rough sections. You will get used to spotting these surfaces from a distance as the

colour appears uneven; generally speaking, the more consistent the colour, the smoother the surface. If these stretches of pavement last for a while and you’re not used the abrasive nature, running in the road might be a better option (more on that later!). Another important addition to pavements in more recent years has been the small ‘bumps’ that are added at crossings to let those who are blind or partially sighted know that there is a road to cross ahead. These bumps, when beige in colour, are the ones that have

been there for some time and not too much of an issue. Beware the ones that are orange in colour as they are bigger and harder, as well as the metal ones – they are pretty uncomfortable. For the most part, you just need to run lightly over these, or even leap over that section if you’re feeling particularly bouncy. There are variations on the ‘bump’ and you may come across ridges in the pavement, either across your path or running in the same direction as you. These are not particularly painful underfoot but can feel quite uneven so you may feel more stable slowing your pace and increasing your cadence over those small sections. Many larger pavements have a camber, causing the pavement to slope down slightly towards the road. You will notice this after a while as it feels as though you’re running with one leg shorter than the other. It’s not a big deal if it’s for a relatively short amount of time, but if you find yourself running a route with lots of cambered pavements, make sure you switch sides so that you run equal amounts with the road to your right and to your left. Debris comes in all shapes and sizes. Stones and sticks are most common but glass and the odd smear of

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dog poo or discarded kebab will cross your path every now and again. Regarding the glass, there isn’t actually a great deal that you can do differently if you come across it. Usually, if you do end up with glass in your foot, it is such a small piece that you wouldn’t have seen it on the pavement. The best thing to do is run around a pile of glass as best you can and tread as lightly as possible. You’ll also begin to know the areas where you’re most likely to see broken glass – often outside pubs or by bus stops. This may help you to manage your running routes so that you limit your exposure as much as possible. In the case of dog poo, it’s not usually in a neat pile but, rather, has already been trodden in by someone in shoes so be aware that a good 20 or 30 metres or so of the pavement will be covered in the ‘aftermath’. It’s easy to avoid though if you pay attention. Sticks and stones will appear on a regular basis, particularly during the Autumn season when in certain areas you’ll also find acorn shells. Just try to look for the less dense areas – this will meaning ‘dancing’ a little, rather than running in a straight line, which is good training anyway!

Roads For safety reasons, it is obviously more advisable to run on the pavement at every opportunity. However, there

are certain areas where, if you’re careful, you can run in the road and sometimes, such as on the outskirts of the village we run in, there are no pavements so the road is the only option.

restrictive, or both! However, when you’re running, they can provide a few precious seconds of forgiving smoothness on an otherwise battered road. They’re often close to the curb too (yellow/red lines) so it’s not quite so dangerous to drop down onto them if you’re on a rough pavement. Crossing a road, from pavement to pavement, there’s often a white dotted line for giving way, so take that line if you can. Road paint is your friend (unless it’s still wet!).

City roads are generally better maintained than roads in less populated areas. They won’t necessarily be smooth though – watch for the stones that are sunken in so that, even though they don’t move underneath your feet, they can still dig in sufficiently to feel uncomfortable. Smooth tarmac roads are quite blissful underfoot but, in the UK at least, you don’t tend to find good, long stretches of these. Right in city centres, perhaps, but then it usually is too dangerous to run in the road. As above, newly laid roads will often have tiny pieces of stone lying on the top which can take a few weeks to dissipate. Roads have a camber too. If you are in a very quiet area, running in the middle of the road is usually best because it is most level but also because the debris tends to collect either side. The rule is slightly different in very rural areas; here, roads can be quite narrow so the smoothest part is just to the left or right of centre, where the tyres of a car would sit. Quite often there will be a line of debris right in the centre of these roads, as well as at the edges. Road markings are annoying if you’re driving – they’re often confusing,

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Finally, now that we’re heading into colder weather, be prepared for a few surprises along your usual running routes. Until you’ve experienced it, you won’t understand just how different a surface can feel when it’s wet and cold, as opposed to dry and nicely warmed by the sun. You may need to adjust your runs, perhaps shortening them for a period whilst you get used to the new sensations. Don’t feel bad if you decide to slip your shoes on during the very cold weather – there’s no point tensing up and causing injury because your feet are so sore, when you could keep running happily in some minimalist shoes. Next issue we’ll discuss reading the trails! NB: This article is discussing conditions underfoot and not road safety, but it goes without saying that you must have your wits about you if you’re contemplating running in the road, even for a few steps.

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

Amit after running the Bournemouth Marathon barefoot

Laine running the Great South Run 10 miler

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Andrzej at the Gdynia (Poland) parkrun. “The third anniversary of the very first parkrun in Poland. Today there was 1°C only, so my hat from Amis Sans Shoes was useful”

Reinesch Ralph at the BIL Route du Vin 2014 Half Marathon, Remich, Luxembourg

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Nutritional nugget Ways To Save Time Cooking Paleo (Without Spending More Money) by Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. (The Paleo Mom)

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or me, the biggest challenge to eating paleo is the time commitment required for preparing and cooking everything we eat. The loss of convenience foods, including pre-packaged foods, easy frozen meals, take-out and delivery, means a lot more time in the kitchen. Although, it also happens to mean some money saved. In general, the more time you invest in food preparation, the more money you save. For example, the less a butcher has to work for your cut of meat, the cheaper it is (a whole chicken is a lot cheaper per pound than a chicken butchered into legs, thighs, breast and wings). If you do that work yourself, you save money. But how do you find the time? I could easily suggest that you buy your meat cut exactly how you want it or that you buy your fruits and vegetables pre-chopped, but then you’d be spending more money. If you have the money to spend, go for it. I don’t. I have time. But, even as a stay-at-home mom, I don’t have that much time and I can still get easily overwhelmed. So, I’ve assembled a list of tricks that I use to be efficient in the kitchen.

Plan ahead Having a sense of what you are going to cook over the next week will help you save time (and be more efficient in the grocery store!). If you know that you’re going to

need a meal of leftovers one night because you won’t have time to cook that night, you can plan for that. If you know you’re going to need to do some baking for a picnic lunch, you can make sure you find time in the days before. You don’t need to have everything mapped out to the last detail, but having some idea of what you will eat each day can be extraordinarily helpful.

You can change up the meal by cooking some different veggies on subsequent nights, or even by using the meat for a stir-fry or curry later in the week. If you have a large enough oven, you can also multitask by roasting some vegetables at the same time.

Roasting is fast, easy and the meat lasts a few meals

I have certain meals which I know are easy to prepare that we like to have mid-week. These are typically things like tacos, meatballs, roasts (you have to put them in the oven early, but they don’t take much prep), dinner salads, poached fish, and stir fries (which require more prep, but I try and fit that in earlier in the day). During the week is also a great time for a crock-pot meal, although you need to plan ahead. ‘Breakfast for dinner’ nights are also a great option for saving both time and money. You can go classic with some sausage, bacon and eggs or do something like a frittata. And because I like to freeze one meal’s worth of leftovers when I make a big batch of something, this is another great option for nights when I’m really low on time.

My favorite way to cook meat is to roast a big hunk of it. Whole chicken, whole turkey and pork roasts are the most economical, followed by boneless leg of lamb and then roast beef. If you are near a farm, you might be able to get some goose, duck, goat, ostrich, emu, venison, or bison too. I don’t do much other than put some simple seasoning over the surface of the meat and stick it in the oven at the appropriate temperature for the appropriate length of time (most comprehensive cookbooks will have a table with oven and meat temperatures times as well as approximate cooking times but be aware that grass-fed meats often cook faster). The best part about this is that the meat lasts a few meals, can be frozen for quick meals later if you don’t want to eat it five nights in a row (for most meats, that’s the longest you should keep it in the fridge after cooking it).

Have a repertoire of quick meals for during the week

Leftovers are your friend I never make a single batch of anything, except maybe fish, because it tends not to reheat that well (but in the Summer, we’ll enjoy leftovers cold). Get in the habit of doubling or tripling recipes. A couple of large pots or frying pans can be very helpful for this. Leftovers don’t necessarily need to be for supper the next night. They also make great lunches and even breakfasts. I even make extra when I scramble eggs; they reheat well enough that my kids will still eat them and I save a lot of time on those mornings that I don’t need to cook anything.

The freezer is for more than just raw meat If you haven’t invested in a freezer yet, I highly advise that you do so. Not only will this allow you to save some money by buying in bulk and taking advantage of sales (maybe buy a quarter grass-fed cow?), but it’s also a great place to store one meal’s worth of leftovers when you make a big batch of something

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that you can thaw and reheat for a quick mid-week meal. I especially like to freeze soups and stews, but I also freeze roasted meat and any casserole-type or one-pot meals I make.

Do food prep earlier in the day (or the night before) I often grab a few minutes here and there scattered throughout the day to do my food prep. Maybe I peel and chop yams while my kids are having a snack. If we’re going to have a stir-fry, I find time scattered throughout the day to chop veggies, mince garlic, thaw some bone broth, soak dried mushrooms, etc. I also often use the feature on my oven where I can set the start time. If I know we’re having roast chicken for supper but we’re going to be out at my daughter’s ballet class right when it should be going into the oven, I get it ready a little early (not too early because that would invite salmonella issues), stick it in the oven and then set the start time.

Multitask and be opportunistic When I am devoting some time to cooking, I often add something extra for some paleo baking or something I know I will need for the next day. For example, if I know that I will want to bake broccoli-banana muffins tomorrow, I might incorporate steamed broccoli into tonight’s dinner and make enough for the muffins too. If I’m steaming some vegetables for supper, which doesn’t require much work but does require me to be in the kitchen, I might use that time to make some trail mix, or make some cookie dough that can be baked the next day when I have

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more time. Or if I’m baking cookies in the morning, I might put together a salad for lunch or supper that night. I try and do as many things at once as I can manage without messing anything up (or getting too stressed, which is not the goal here!). I’m also opportunistic when it comes to grabbing time to cook or bake. For example, if supper winds up quicker than usual, I might whip up a batch of muffins to bake while we’re getting the kids ready for bed.

Set aside some special cooking time This is especially useful if you are doing any paleo baking for yourself or kids. I typically end up spending most of Sunday afternoons cooking and baking for the week ahead. It would be typical for me to bake a loaf of paleo bread, bake some muffins or granola bars, bake a batch of waffles (using the recipe from The Paleo Parents’ Eat Like a Dinosaur) and make a no-cook cookie or bar (homemade larabars, recipes coming soon). It’s also a good night for a supper that might take a bit more time to prepare.

Practise The more you practise time-saving strategies, the more natural, easy and efficient they become. Think of the first time you tried a recipe and how much work is seemed. Now that you make that recipe every week, you don’t even need to measure anything anymore. It’s the same with everything you do in the kitchen: practice makes perfect. And this is why my new mantra is:

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 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.

It’s only effort until it’s routine.

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Spring 2014

Barefoot Running Magazine Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

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Caught in the web www.caughtintheweb.com/Autumn2014/issue13/page55

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Stuff that’s going on illed as “Japan’s largest sports, fitness show and conference”, SPORTEC will be taking place this year at “Tokyo Big Sight” from 4th – 6th December 2014. An event which will attract an estimated 34,000 visitors, it promises to offer something for everyone, with product manufacturers introducing their newest and most innovative offerings for 2015, from the latest exercise machines to new health and fitness drinks, as well as up to the minute fitness technology and exciting new clothing. Admission is free if you pre-register (and 2,000 JPY on the day).

Events

Visit: www.sports-st.com/en/ for more information.

f you’re after an extreme challenge, look no further than the Dorset (UK) section of the “Coastal Trail Series”. Racing options are 10k right through to a 45 mile ultra, with the terrain and conditions deemed “extreme”. Adding to those conditions will undoubtedly be some pretty severe weather as this year’s race is being held in the height of Winter on 6th December. Taking place along the Jurassic Coastal Path, “This is the only location on the planet where in a few short hours of trail running you will travel through a few million years of earth time…Oh yes, and those years are represented in hills…” If you like the sound of this, visit: www.endurancelife.com for further information.

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Stuff that’s going on n 18th January 2015, the annual Key West half marathon and 5K will be celebrating its 17th year. This event, which spans an entire weekend, has attracted runners from all 50 states of America and 11 different countries, including Great Britain, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland and Brazil. After a Friday night party and a Saturday filled with a training run, race expo and pasta fuelling, Sunday sees the half marathon starting bright and early at 7am followed by the 5K at 7.30am. More partying is scheduled for the Monday, no doubt accompanied by beautiful weather. For more information about this popular event, visit: www.keywesthalfmarathon.com

Events he North Face 100 Thailand offers you the chance to run in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The race, with several different distance options, is taking place in Khao Yai, Thailand on 31st January and takes runners through a variety of undulating trails. Organized by Go Adventure Asia, there are plenty of details on the website, including route maps, race categories and corresponding prices, nearby hotels, etc. If you’re looking for some Winter sunshine combined with a long run to wear off some holiday calories, this could be the perfect choice! Find out more here: http://www.runthailand.com/race/north-face-100-thailand-2015/

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oday is just one of those days. I don't really get too many bad days and I wouldn't say today is bad, but today my inner spark isn't very, well, sparky. Today I received my rejection letter to let me know that I haven't got into the 2015 London Marathon and in all honesty, and completely foolishly, I like so many others I suspect - kinda thought I'd make it. It's been going on all week, it's all anyone has been talking about, it's as if nothing else matters. And I, like everyone else, have been on tenterhooks waiting to find out. I think tonight I shall have a stiff drink and put that one to bed (until next year anyway). There are so many very disappointed people out there and I get it, I really do. The thing that we all seem to have forgotten is how many other incredibly wonderful and stunning races there are out there and not all of them are at the killer distance of

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a full marathon either. Most races come with a choice of distances these days so it's easy to pick the best one for you. New and very good events seem to be cropping all over the place, we really are spoilt for choice! I know that I have Loch Ness Marathon on my bucket list of marathons as well as Beachy Head – both are beautifully scenic and I hear that the Bacchus Half over in Dorking was amazing (*read very boozy) this year. Fabulous, mixing my two favourite activities! I think the other thing creating a shadow in the back of my mind today is that we are only a day away from the Bournemouth Marathon. I was supposed to run it barefoot with two of my buddies, Tim Armitage who blogs for me about his barefoot adventures with music related analogies (did someone say Foo Fighters??! ) and Amit Boswal, who I met at the last Brighton Barefoot 5k. They are both cracking chaps .

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It sure has been a roller coaster. Tim has suffered with his back on and off since his teenage years and had suffered through a particularly bad patch recently whereby he wasn't able to run at all and feared that he would have to defer his entry. Luckily his back started to improve and he began running again just in time and is now nervously looking forward to it. Unfortunately for me though, just as Tim’s back was getting better I was going full pelt with the training. I haven’t run as much as I would have liked this Summer as I'm rubbish in the heat so by the beginning of September I thought I'd get cracking with it. But, I unfortunately did something I've done before – I started doing too many miles too quickly without upping my weekly mileage more steadily. The result was a stress fracture in my left foot. Pah. It was stupid really, I knew. I knew the day it happened that I should have had a rest day. But I chose to ignore the voice in my head, partly because

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the race wasn't far off but I also felt so fit that running was just a joy! I was running at every given opportunity up until that point. I was running everywhere like a crazy person, to the store, to the school, to the bank – just anywhere and everywhere I could! Now before I go too much further I would just like to clear up the urban myth about stress fractures being the barefoot runner’s injury. We, as barefoot and minimalist runners, are no more immortal than anyone else and just because we run this way doesn't mean that we won't ever have to face another injury. Granted, I think by running barefoot it has probably saved me a host of other running related injuries. Stress fractures are a common over use injury. My mother has had three in the same foot as me (so perhaps for me it's a genetic thing – I don't know). They affect everyone from soldiers to baseball players and can appear anywhere on the body which gets used a lot – arms, elbows, legs and feet. With us runners, the most common are found in the metatarsals of the feet. When we run it's not just our heart and lungs which have to adapt and become stronger. Unfortunately, women are also more prone to this type of injury due to hormonal changes or a lack of calcium in their diet. So here I sit four weeks down the line with another eight of rest before running again. But rather than being all down in the dumps about it I gave myself a quick talking to, and this is why: To me, it's very important that I either walk the kids to school or they ride their scooters. It's good for their health and also instils the fact that you don't just jump in the car every time you have to go a mile down the road (as much as they'd like to sometimes). It toughens them up in the Winter months and the trip in the Summer is positively delightful, it fills their lungs and brains with oxygen and for all of us, it gets the day off to a great start. BUT, having an injured foot, I'm not supposed to walk too much, and I wouldn't be able even if I wanted to – these things hurt! So, rather than giving in to that little devil on my shoulder telling me that there is no other solution and I have to drive – I dusted off the old bike and our routine barely skipped a beat.

really enjoy riding my bike. It's a great alternative to running and there is no impact on my feet so it's not painful. And it means I can still exercise so not only do I get to keep my fitness but – and this is the big one - it means that the increased blood flow to the foot will help it heal more quickly! Win, win, win. Woo Hoo! In fact, I have a good friend Lara (she is something of a super fit guru) who does triathlons but also frequently does those three disciplines individually at other events. She swears that the reason why she has never had an injury is because of the split of training she does. She never actually does too much of any one sport and therefore doesn't get the overuse injuries which are common amongst people who just do one sport. Makes sense. But not everyone wants to really get into other sports, which I also get; I didn't want to either until it was forced on me. Now I just see it as another string to my bow and a way to do something fun and enjoyable every so often to give my body a bit of a rest. I think while I'm healing I'm going to take a serious look at my running and the training I do. I say training… but really I just mean running, because I really like it and that's why I do it quite a bit. I'm going to look at a more balanced approach to incorporate all those things I enjoy so that I don't get to the point of overdoing just one thing again and then have to suffer the consequences of not being able to do any of the things I enjoy. I plan on doing at least one ultra marathon this year and in order to stay fit and strong I think it's time I grew up a bit in my approach to what I do. Strength training, yoga and other cardiorespiratory activities need to feature more in my repertoire. Running barefoot will always be the love of my life, my one true passion, but I guess you really can have too much of a good thing.

And whadda ya know, I actually

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A conversation with… Ultrarunner and beach dude Patrick “Flying” Sweeney

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f you’re part of the online running community, you may well be familiar with the name Patrick Sweeney. He has featured in the magazine a few times, setting records and running naked (yes, you read that right).

that is often absent in shorter races – improved Patrick’s speed and he was able to knock ten minutes off his marathon time!

We were lucky enough to catch up with Patrick one morning before he headed out for his usual run on Manhattan Beach in California. As the sun was setting here in the UK and the clouds were gathering, Patrick sat in his shorts and t-shirt ready for another sunshine-filled day on the warm sand. We were maybe just a little jealous! Patrick’s online persona is one of a chilled out ultrarunner who drinks beer and enjoys creating gigantic pizzas. If you read his blog (and we recommend that you do), you will become immersed in the world of someone who genuinely takes life one day at a time. He spends long hours running alone, but he enjoys the community aspect of races, often travelling at the last minute across the US to join friends for anything from a 5k dash to a 100 mile ultra. His antics are highly amusing with many drunken anecdotes – life for Patrick seems to be centred around fun and not taking life too seriously.

Patrick is a proponent of barefoot and minimalist running. In many of the photos you see of him, he’ll be wearing Luna Sandals (one of his sponsors) but he tells us that actually, 95% of his running is barefoot. This makes sense when most of his running is on the beach, where being barefoot is the norm. “I run more miles on the beach than probably anyone else in the world. It’s what I love doing”. In fact, he’s held the record for running the most miles on the beach in 24 hours.

participated a couple of weeks ago was a different story though and he really felt the repetitive nature of running on a consistent surface. He completed it, however, and there have been no adverse effects. He’s already considering another 100 miler that’s just a few days away. Maybe his abilities are partly to do with his vegan diet. “I maybe have a dairy intolerance so I was giving up dairy a while back and figured I’d give up meat at the same time”. As mentioned, Patrick is a lover of pizzas and you’ll see plenty of photos of his homemade meals online, always with lots of vegetables and several varieties of hot sauce.

“I can fake it through a mountain 100 miler because you’re using different muscle groups”.

And beer, of course. “Yeah, I drink a good amount of beer…but I also drink wine!” He does seem to have been blessed with a cast iron stomach and tells us that he’s never been sick during any race (as often happens to runners, particularly over longer distances). In fact, although he doesn’t do it often, he enjoys a run after a few beers.

The 100 mile road race in which he

“I like drinking and running at the

He is well aware of the benefits of running without shoes and the differences between on road and off road running.

We wanted to find out more about this crazy runner! Read on for more… Patrick’s running career began whilst he was at college. He was achieving very admirable 3:30 marathons but took a break from them to concentrate on “frisby golf’, something he still enjoys today. He played this professionally until he broke up with a girl who also played… and decided to go back to running. This time, he modestly tells us, as though it’s an average achievement, he was running marathons in just under three hours, but reached a plateau. While most of us would be pretty happy with just completing a marathon, Patrick heard about ultra marathons and decided to give them a try. “I never felt like I was that good at it but it felt like the competition wasn’t that good at it!...But the community was really great…you made friends in the process”. As it turned out, running ultras - as well as providing the sense of community

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same time! I’ve had a really good run where I’ve eaten a pizza and drunk a bottle of wine and then gone out for a three hour run”. There is a line to be drawn though. He recently took part in a “beer half”, which involved running 13 miles and drinking a beer every mile. He tells us, “I was kind of running ahead of the buzz. The first 8 miles were ok but when I stopped for the next beer, I really started to feel it. There are some incriminating videos! I’ve never drunk that much in such a short amount of time. I was pretty hammered. At least I’m a friendly drunk!” This event was probably a one-off for Patrick, although he regularly takes part in other fun and slightly mad races. Each year on 4th July, a race takes place on the beach which includes a one mile paddle in the sea and a one mile run, followed by downing a six pack of beer. Patrick has won this event before, a part of which can be attributed to his amazingly strong stomach – it’s in the rules that you mustn’t throw up for at least 15 minutes post-event so some don’t make the cut! Another raucous event is the “Naked 5k”. Yep, literally naked. Patrick tells us, “I’m more of a bare-chested runner than a barefooted runner. Like, if someone said you have to run in a shirt for the rest of your life or shoes, I’d probably wear shoes rather than the shirt”. His theory goes like this (we had a giggle discussing this): “If you have everything strapped down, you won’t see those inadequacies in your form that would be making your parts go flying around”. His (very sound) theory is that you run better without clothes on. It’s an extension of the theory behind running barefoot – when your feet are exposed, you run softer and lighter. The same goes if your “bits” are free to bounce around; you aim for as little bounce as possible! Running naked is probably Patrick’s top tip for improving your running form – even if you do it in the privacy of your own home on your treadmill. There aren’t too many naked races available but we all decided there should be. “I’d like to get the world record for the fastest nude marathon”, says Patrick. It will happen, we’re sure!

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Conversation about barefoot running, particularly with someone like Patrick, will always include some reference to Born to Run and the Tarahumara. Patrick has run the Caballo Blanco Ultramarathon and has become friends with many of the Tarahumara tribe members. As he tells us about it, it is clear he has a real fondness for this group of people. Something we wondered was whether or not Chris McDougall’s book has had any negative impact on their simple, pure culture. “It’s definitely been a good thing for them. They’re not minimalists, they don’t want to wear sandals. They

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wear them because that’s what they have”. He goes on to say, “I’ll collect shoes and bring them down for them – even though I don’t want shoes, if somebody else wants them and it can help better their life, that’s good”. So, we ask, do the Tarahumara people run barefoot at all? “No! Only if it’s a very short race for the kids - like three miles - and then if their sandal breaks, they’ll go ahead and run the rest with only one shoe”. Patrick also knew Micah True, aka “Caballo Blanco” and considered

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him a friend. “He was a dude with a caring heart and showed me how one man really can make a difference”. Patrick himself is trying to make a difference too. He is an ambassador for the “100 Mile Club®”, a charity for kids all across the United States with the purpose of encouraging children to be active and to give to those less fortunate than themselves. Each child who participates pays $10 USD and the idea is to strive to complete 100 miles of running within the school year at organized events (school races, etc.) so that their miles can be monitored. At particular ‘milestones’, such as 25 and 50 miles, they receive a small prize like a t-shirt and are presented with a certificate when they complete their 100 mile target. The money that is raised by the charity is put towards providing access for those children living in

poorer areas who are unable to afford to participate in sporting activities. For example, the charity might provide the 100 Mile Club® programme for a whole inner city school, or contribute towards soccer tuition, etc. Patrick’s interest in the charity is two-fold. Although, as a child, he was sporty, he was overweight, so he recognizes the importance of getting youngsters to be active as the obesity crisis continues in the US. It’s also about spreading the love! Patrick tells us a wonderful story about how the 100 Mile Club® helped a school in a poor area of LA to take part in the programme. Subsequently, these kids heard about the Tarahumara children and their need for support and each pupil in the school donated a pencil. They couldn’t afford much, but they all wanted to be able to give something and the ceremony of them each

placing a pencil into a bucket that ended up overflowing was extremely heart-warming (see the end of the article for a link to the video footage). Patrick regularly helps out with the 100 Mile Club® and, in a couple of months, he will be heading off with a bunch of other runners to “Run Across the USA”. This incredible challenge, raising money for the charity, involves running 120 marathons in 140 days. It starts in January and won’t finish until June! As part of a group of 12 core runners, Patrick is hoping to raise at least $5,000. The run is also being sponsored by “Trail Racing Over Texas” and the team will be spending a month in Texas during their run – it’s a big State! So, what sort of training does this involve? We know Patrick runs for several hours every day but does he incorporate any other training? “Uh, not really. I probably should! When I go to the gym, they always tell me to enjoy my workout but I’m just there to use the sauna and Jacuzzi!” What about swimming? We wonder. “I go in the ocean every day. I might say I’m going for a swim but I’m just kind of splashing around”. It makes one question whether all the strength training and drills that runners are so fond of are really necessary? Probably for some, but Patrick’s own regime definitely works for him. Patrick is not one to plan, but we ask him what he might like to do in the future. “I’m probably going to buy a trailer in New York and just mosey around the country all Summer long. It’s amazing how many ultrarunners I know whose dream it is to move into a van!” Not knowing what you’re going to be doing from day to day may be a scary thought for some, but there are plenty of people who would love to have Patrick’s lifestyle. During our conversation, though, it is clear that Patrick doesn’t necessarily believe that his life is perfect. He mentions regrets and the whole idea that there shouldn’t be any in your life. He doesn’t believe that at all. “I have regrets every day! I have so many things I would have done

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beach, an ocean to swim in…I’m more concerned with the process of doing things than the outcome. I’d rather just see what happens, try to listen to my body. Who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow? Just make the best of it”. As Patrick’s wise words again touch on beach running, we are reminded of Patrick’s other hobby: Collecting things from the beach and taking them home. If he’s not posting photos of pizza on his facebook page, he’ll post shots of “Things I’ve found on the beach”. We ask him about this and he smiles. “I was using tweezers yesterday. They were tweezers that I found on the beach. My brush is a “Hello Kitty” brush that I found on the beach!” What is his favourite find? “Hmm, that’s a good question. The shovels with hearts in the handles those are what make me the most excited”. Wistfully, he tells us, “I keep waiting for a heart with my name on it in the sand. One of these days…” If you want to follow Patrick and his running stories, visit his blog: www.bourbonfeet.blogspot.co.uk If you’d like to find out more about Patrick’s run across the USA or make a donation, visit: www.raceacrossusa.org/core-team To find out more about the 100 Mile Club®, visit: www.100mileclub.com And to watch the video of some children donating their pencils to a good cause, see: www.youtube.com

differently!” I think Patrick’s point is that people need to find what works for them in life, rather than feel the need to emulate others or strive for perfection. “Sure, barefoot running works for some people but it’s not necessarily going to work for everyone”.

Chasing after a certain lifestyle and therefore potentially narrowing your possibilities is perhaps akin to following a strict running schedule when it’s all about the numbers. Patrick takes a more laid back approach. “I run to clear my mind, to get some exercise, there’s beautiful girls on the

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The Green Room Barefoot living; living barefoot, without shoes, muddy toes, toughened soles‌by Siân Davis

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wo years ago when I took up running I knew I had to be careful as I already had a damaged knee from a kickboxing injury three years previous. So I did my research and opted for the minimal form, bought Vibram FiveFingers and worked really hard to avoid further injury. I was surprised at the results and after only a year I was up to ten mile runs pain free. I had never run before and was amazed at the freedom I experienced, a satisfaction that relieved all stress and worries. As the Summer drew to an end this year - my fitness on top form and my overall outlook on life at the most positive it had been - a stupid spiderman pushup gone wrong ripped my already damaged meniscus and I knew there were dark times ahead. As the realization of a severe knee injury sank in I knew I needed to find something to appease me the way that running had done. I don’t remember making a conscious decision to go barefoot that first time. Having two very energetic dogs gave me the motivation to get out of the house everyday and get some fresh air. One day I was wearing my sandals, the next thing I knew they were in my hand and not on my feet. It began in the Malvern Hills that overshadow my house and were my regular running trails. There I was, toes on the grass, coolness seeping into my soles. A sensation that goes beyond all that can be imagined, that took me back to childhood and happiness and laughter. As I walked those hills that first time something awoke in me that had sunk lower than I would have liked. As the days progressed and my outlook seemed to brighten, my barefoot dog walks became my crutch, they gave me the hope that I needed and soon the idea of putting shoes back on seemed odd and uncomfortable. Through my initial running research I knew there were barefoot runners out there, but when I found a Facebook group full of people that don’t wear shoes for everyday living either I knew I wasn’t alone. And so my barefoot living adventure began. I say adventure because it truly is. Every journey offers a new experience - the gravel on my driveway that initially felt like walking on broken glass now feels rough but bearable underfoot. The grass, as the Autumn

draws in, is prickly and crisp, the Autumn leaves, they are like silk and every pavement holds a new texture. Escalators are odd, tiled floors are cold, and mud - mud is my favourite, followed shortly by saturated moss. But it is now, as the Summer sun fades, that the comments begin to fly. Obvious questions, but all surprising answers. “Aren’t your feet cold?” Temperature is the thing that I thought would send me back into shoes, but in reality there is never a drastic change in temperature. One day may be 17ºC the next 16.5ºC, not enough change to notice. At the moment if I am out and walking about my feet are warmer than my hands, for one simple reason...movement. As your feet move your blood flows and your foot temperature stays high. Also, the blood vessels in your feet become more efficient, raising the standard temperature. I guess I have been very lucky not to have had a frost yet, however I do know there are barefooters that live in Canada and can handle around 10 minutes in the snow. I’ll see how I feel about that if it happens! Part of me is quite looking forward to the temperature falling now. The thing I am enjoying about the cold is what happens when I come indoors after being outside. A tingling or itching, similar

Barefoot Running Magazine

to that which you get in your hands when coming in from the cold. There is something soothing about it and is a reminder of how tough our bodies really are. “Doesn’t that hurt?” In reality, of course some things do hurt; a sharp stone right in your heel or a twig poking in your arch, but they are rare occurrences. Gravel has to be the hardest to master, but over time the nerves in your feet become less sensitive and you don’t find the tiny stones so sharp. And then there is logic; walking on rough ground isn’t making you suffer it might be uncomfortable, but it is temporary and does no damage. Plus, you avoid the roughest bits if you can. After a time you become good at scanning the ground, your foot-eye coordination improves and walking becomes instinctive rather than considered. It becomes a joy, rather than a chore. “Aren’t your feet all calloused and tough?” Calloused, no. Tough, yes, inside and out, but in a good way. Stronger muscles, healthier landing, straighter toes. Thirty years of wearing shoes has taken its toll on my feet, and I was never really one for crazy heels or winkle pickers! My toes are slowly recovering, splaying and spacious. The skin on my feet which has always

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been pretty soft is now firmer and more resilient, like well worn leather. My feet are happy! “Can’t you afford shoes?” Sometimes it’s even just a strange look. These are the things that can make barefoot living harder. Social acceptance. We live in a world where to not wear shoes is a sign of poverty. We send shoes to the developing world because we believe that to not wear them is uncivilized. But, in reality, what is their use? They weigh us down, restrict movement, alter our balance, interrupt our connection with the ground. For me, the best way to face these comments and looks is through confidence, in myself and my choice. I am happier and healthier being barefoot. It is no one’s right to judge me on that. Others choose to wear shoes. I choose not to. If anyone has a problem with this, that is their problem not mine. But I am not one to rant about my choice, as I would not expect everyone to understand. Of course, if someone asks, I am more than happy to explain my views on it. You can get into some very interesting conversations and inspire people to try it out themselves. “You can’t come in here with no shoes!” To be honest, this hasn’t happened to me yet. I think the British, being rather British, are far less likely to kick up a fuss about it than other countries appear to be, America in particular. The fact is, it is not against the law to go barefoot unless in an area where Personal Protective Equipment is needed, such as construction sites and for those employed in kitchens. If it were to happen, I would probably be tempted to inform the person that it was not against the law, or against any health code. I normally do carry a pair of sandals in my bag and I guess if they were really persistent I could put them on, even though they are only 3mm thick and don’t really offer any more protection than my own soles! Oh and it’s not illegal to drive barefoot either. For me, barefoot living has opened up a new channel to happiness. My stress levels are massively reduced in general and I am far less likely to become stressed. Knowing that I may not be able to run for some

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time was a massive shock to my system and adopting a barefoot lifestyle has been a bigger relief than I could ever have imagined. Plus, my bank balance is much happier for not spending so much on shoes!

Why not give it a go yourself: 1. Next time you are out on a walk or a run, strip off your shoes for a few minutes before you return home. 2. Don’t rush. Those first barefoot steps are the important ones, take your time and savour it. 3. Feel confident and don’t be afraid to smile. 4. Do it with friends, share the experience with a child or loved one, or even just your dog! 5. Up the anti. Popping to the corner shop for a pint of milk? Leave the shoes at home.

Things to try;

 

Grass - the best place to start, soft and easy Mud - there are so many different textures and consistencies of mud. I love the firmness of some and

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the sloppyness of others Autumn leaves - smooth but rough at the same time, like raw silk. There is nothing like kicking through a pile of fallen leaves Moss - softer than grass, and springy. Great after rain when it’s saturated Escalators - just odd!

Things to avoid;

Glass – now, some barefooters may say that they can walk on glass. I’m sure I have by mistake but I wouldn’t on purpose as it’s not going to be great for your feet if it gets imbedded

 

Horse Chestnut shells - just no!

Holly leaves - nasty! These generally have to be pulled out of your foot it they get stuck in.

Sweet Chestnut shells - although not as bad as the above, the spikes on these are like the hooks on Velcro and attach to your feet

To visit Siân’s facebook page, please CLICK HERE

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www.n8pt.com gray@n8pt.com gray@n8pt.com


Assorted goodies Products worth a look

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1. Oakley Flak Jacket Xlj This is the latest, very stylish offering from Oakley, one of the most popular brands of sunglasses due to their high quality and durability. This new frame is very adaptable, allowing you to change lenses in seconds according to the weather so you can enjoy your sport to the maximum. Available in several different colours. For more information, see this link: www.sunglasses-shop.co.uk/oakley/flakjacket-xlj.aspx 2. Vivobarefoot Ultra 2 Vivobarefoot have taken their original Ultra I and ironed out any of the issues to produce a simple shoe for all terrains and weather. The insole has been removed so it’s now just you and the shoe. Plenty of holes for breathability too! For more information, visit: www.vivobarefoot.com 3. Mio Fuse Mio Global have produced their version of a ‘know-it-all’ watch that monitors heart rate, steps, calories, etc., as well as connecting to various fitness apps. The design is sleek and funky and looks to be a serious rival for similar products already on the market. Find out more here: www.mioglobal.com 4. D|vide Hydration System by Source Source have come up with a great new design which allows you to carry water AND an electrolyte drink within the same pack. It uses two separate compartments and hoses, with capacity for either 2 litres or 3 litres. Look out for its release in 2015! For more information, visit: www.sourceoutdoor.com 5. The Fit Top water bottle “FIT” stands for “Filter Isolation Technology”. This funky little bottle takes water slowly through a “coconut-based activated carbon media” which removes impurities such as chlorine and “VOCs” (Volatile Organic Compounds). You can then easily add your own extras, such as protein powder, which won’t contaminate the filter for your next use. Highly technical! For more information, visit: www.fittopusa.com

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,

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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tudies, research, and expert opinions – sometimes they support our current training methods and lifestyle choices, and other times they may appear to completely debunk our methods and philosophies. This may lead to uncertainties and fear that we may be on the wrong path of health and fitness. You may read a new book or study or hear some health and fitness guru preach a new method of training and you feel as though you need to adjust your program or you’ll be left behind. It’s so hard to know when “new” research or ideas are actually valid and when they’re well, bogus and sensationalized. And how do you know if the recent evidence-based science, if it truly is evidence-based, even pertains to

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your situation? Questions. Confusion. Decisions. And then more questions.

Your Health – Your Fitness The main reason I wrote the Sock Doc Training Principles (see my website) was to help people understand the balance between training and lifestyle, and fitness and health. Sure, there’s a lot more explained in those five articles but essentially that’s the gist of it – figuring out what works for you and not someone else, and especially not the general masses. This is highly dependent on your current fitness level, your health, your life responsibilities, and your fitness goals. Your training should not suddenly be drastically changed by

Barefoot Running Magazine


a study which singles out certain precautions/dangers, (or benefits for that matter), of exercise for the general population who, if they have an exercise goal, it is often just to track their steps and keep their pedometer from malfunctioning.

it’s important to realize that most of the “new research” and current recommendations either aren’t really new, aren’t valid, or don’t even apply to you – the (hopefully) healthy and fit human being.

Research is necessary and beneficial, but you need to understand that research, especially human research. Studies on humans are highly variable and their conclusions often support the “perceived normal.” Subjects in studies like to please, so they often aren’t completely honest in what they are eating or doing for exercise. In some studies people are to getting paid for their time and they don’t want to be kicked out so they may change their lifestyle habits only temporarily to get through a study period or so they fit into a selective research model. And, as we all know, life provides a huge variable of factors – humans don’t sit in a Petri dish to grow or in a small climate-controlled cage where they’re fed a certain number of calories at a certain time of day and then forced to exercise at a given intensity for a set time each day.

Another “Less is More” Study – Nothing New

So why do I bring this up? Because

Back in June 2012 the New York Times once again wrote about some “new” research that basically says running over 20 miles per week may be more disadvantageous to your health than running less than 20 miles. So don’t run more than 20! Seriously. Out of health records from 52,656 participants between 1971 and 2002 they also came to the conclusion that those who ran moderately (again less than 20 miles) had an average of 19% lower risk of dying than those who didn’t run. So less than 20 miles is good, more than 20 is bad. Oh – and the part I love – if you ran faster than a 8:30/mi pace then you were more likely to die than if you ran a 10:0011:00/mi. It’s really comical, and not a word on intensity or heart rate. Don’t run too much and don’t run too fast no matter what your health or fitness level is. In other words – if

Barefoot Running Magazine

you’re fit (and healthy) and running a six, seven, or even eight minute-mile pace for over 20 miles a week then you need to stop and slow down! What most don’t realize is that an unfit individual running anaerobically for even ten miles a week at a pace of eleven minutes per mile will often be causing more harm to their body than another person running aerobically forty miles a week at eight minute miles. There are even more kickers from this “study.” First – only 27% of the participants ran as a form of exercise, the rest did other types of exercise. Yeah, it’s a running study but almost three times more of the participants didn’t even run. Wow. Second, the participants were free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, electrocardiographic abnormalities, and diabetes at baseline – at least as far as they could tell. So according to the medial researchers, they were “healthy.” I’ll stop there because if you really think that’s health then this is probably your first time reading any of my Sock Doc material, or that of drgangemi.com. Simply put, there is more to health than the absence of disease. Further, fitness and health are not

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the same thing even though the average person, medical expert, and researchers still equate the two.

How Healthy Are You? Optimal health is not merely the absence of disease. It’s a state where everything in your body is fully functioning in balance and harmony individually and with each other. Fitness is part of health, just like health is part of fitness, but being fit is an ability to do something athletic such as run fast or lift heavy weight based off some predetermined baseline. I’ve seen plenty of patients who come to me for a certain problem yet say they are healthy other than their presenting chief complaint. Yet once I take a thorough history and perform a thorough exam, I find, and they soon realize, that they weren’t as healthy as they previously thought. They may get indigestion after they eat, sleep only a few hours before suddenly awakening, need caffeine through the day, or have to stretch so they can run without tight hamstrings – all signs of less-than-optimum health.

In Part V of the SD Training Principles I more specifically address why running long distances may be more harmful than beneficial. Yeah, a marathon may kill you. Hell, a 5K may kill you if you’re not fit or healthy for it. I believe that Micah True’s death was related to “overtraining” – his training was out of balance with a healthy lifestyle and fitness program, which led to his heart disease. There will still be some who say that is crazy talk; that’s cool, think what you like or believe what the research says about “healthy” athlete’s hearts but it’s my goal to help you find a balance between fitness and health so your body is strong enough to support the fitness demands you give yourself. So should you run more than 20 miles a week? If you’re healthy and fit enough to do so and you like to run then yes – Run Forrest Run! I’m sure there are as many athletes in the Western States 100mi, for example, that are fit AND healthy enough to run as there are those who shouldn’t run it – or any distance close to it. Aerobic conditioning, which is a major aspect of health and fitness (and vice-versa) is severely lacking in most human beings. Yes – runners

too. You definitely don’t need a significant amount of training – volume or intensity – to make substantial gains in your health, or substantial gains in your fitness. More is not necessarily better, but if you’re fit and healthy, (yes, I will keep on saying it), and you want to participate in a long endurance-type event, then yes – more is better. Eat well, sleep well, live well, and please proceed with caution when reading all the bullshit (studies, programs, fitness gurus) out there saying that you need to train harder, or train longer, or run less, or run slower – or else you’re hurting yourself or increasing your risk of dying. Listen to your body. Many points are valid to a certain degree, but you need to look at the whole picture – YOU – your life, emotionally and physically, and your health and your fitness. You may need to train harder or you may need to slow down and train less; it all depends on your situation. For me, I’m gonna run more than 20 miles a week and it’s gonna be faster than ten minute miles.

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Picture from the past

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How to Execute a deep squat

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e’ve often said in the magazine and when working with our clients that stretching is quite a complex matter and it usually involves a different set of needs for different people. For example, if an individual has a job that involves multiple, varied movements throughout the day, they may never experience any need for stretching. Similarly, a person who has optimum movement throughout their body may never feel any stiffness or tightness in their joints. Genetics play a role too; some people are just naturally more supple than others. For most of us though, a significant part of our day is spent sitting down, which can lead to tightness in the hips. This often has a knock-on effect, causing problems with the knees and ankles. Conversely, some problems begin at the other end of the leg. If your ankles are restricted in their range of movement due to being encased in shoes for much of the time, this compromised movement can cause problems in the knee and hip. Ankle restriction is common and if you can’t flex your ankles sufficiently, this will affect your running, perhaps more noticeably when you make the switch to minimal shoes or completely

barefoot. The current go-to exercise for ‘fixing’ several issues all in one movement is the deep squat. There are quote marks around the word fixing because it is not a magic exercise and certainly not an instant answer to all your running problems. However, the reason it has become such a popular pose is that it can be very beneficial for almost everybody when executed correctly and when the learning process is undertaken with patience. Why is it such an important part of anybody’s movement routine? Basically, because it is one of the fundamental, natural positions for a human being to be in. Paul Chek, a highly knowledgeable exercise specialist, is renowned for his argument that human beings shouldn’t sit down when they ‘relieve themselves’. Although his essays on squatting to go to the toilet may make some people feel awkward or think he’s going a bit too far, he does have a point. If you look at other countries, individuals will often squat whilst they prepare food or build a fire. They are taking their joints to the fullest range in this position. In Western countries, our sitting down usually involves some kind of man-made chair, whether

Barefoot Running Magazine

it’s the sofa at home or the seat on a train. We sit with our hips, knees and ankles in a particular position, often slouching at the same time. Couple this with wearing rigid shoes with a heel which further restrict ankle and foot movement and it’s not surprising that many people have lost much of the potential range of movement in their lower body. Even in the gym, up until recently, it was considered safest to only squat to a maximum of 90 degrees at the hip and knee – any further and you might cause damage! This isn’t as silly as it sounds, though. If you haven’t taken your joints through their fullest range since you were a toddler, suddenly trying to squat to the floor will, at the very least, feel quite uncomfortable. It would be like coming across an old house and trying to yank the door all the way open when the hinges are rusted up, the likely result of which would be broken hinges. However, maintaining optimum mobility in your joints is crucial. Use it or lose it. A lack of mobility equals compromised movement and if you’re challenging your body by trying to run in this state, you are opening yourself up to injury, either sooner or later.

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So, the key is to proceed with an acute awareness of the feedback you are getting from your body. The wonderful thing about the deep squat is that there are so many ways to progress towards it safely. Let’s look at some of the variations and then you can go away and practise at your own speed, according to your own level of ability. Do not try and compete with your friends on this one – it is very much an individual challenge. Deep squat with movement If you’re used to squatting just to the point where your bottom is at the same level as your knees (or higher) you will notice the different feeling immediately as you move beyond this point. Quite often, there will be a sensation of tightness in your ankles and knees and sometimes discomfort, so go carefully. Foot position is not a one-size-fits-all rule. Most people find that a small amount of turnout of the feet is most comfortable. Those with more flexibility will be able to keep their feet pointing forwards. You want to avoid turning your feet inwards beyond that point though and also don’t turn your feet out too far – 45

degrees or less is generally most comfortable. Taking your feet out further than that may put stress on your ankle structures and won’t effectively help you increase ankle mobility in the correct manner. Your feet should be about hip distance apart. Once you’re used to the movement, you can add

variety by taking your feet wider or narrower. It is wise, when you first try squatting lower than you’re used to, to hold onto something, such as a banister rail or the door frame. Try to keep your upper body fairly upright. You will find that your spine probably wants to flex significantly but this will decrease as you gain more mobility in your hips and ankles. Generally, the deep squat is harder for those who have stiffness in their lower back, so knowledge of your own restrictions is useful to help you understand how best to proceed. Over a number of days, you can progress to going right down to the bottom of your squat. This might happen straight away or it might take days or even weeks. It depends entirely on your starting point. Once you can squat all the way down and come back up, you can try holding your arms out in front of you to counter balance, instead of holding onto something fixed. You can also try holding a weight in front of you, perhaps a 2kg or 3kg dumbbell to help you with that counter balance. Eventually, you’ll be able to squat all the way down and up with no ‘aids’, just your arms held in front of you. A variation on this dynamic squat is to allow your heels to lift as you go down. This allows you to keep your back straighter and is also quite a natural movement. However, it does put quite a lot of load on the knees

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so, again, pay attention! You may want to try the lower end of the position first and get used to that before going into the position from standing. ‘Sitting’ in the squat position Do you have a favourite television programme that you watch each week, or a certain time when you sit down for a chill out in front of the box? What position do you sit in? When we work with clients, we can sometimes guess how they sit in the evenings and on which side of the sofa because their posture has become that shape. Human beings are habitual creatures and like to have their own chair or side of the sofa but this does wreak havoc on the body. Try breaking the habit and working on your squat instead of slumping on the sofa. You can cheat a little at first if necessary by having your heels slightly raised on something like a cushion or rug, or again, holding onto something in front of you. Try for thirty seconds at first and then over a period of days and weeks, you can add on time. It’s a good idea to sit in the squat position a few times a day but always remember that doing too much of anything too quickly can cause problems, so take things gradually. Another popular time to sit in the squat is after a run. Once you’ve cooled down a bit, sit in your deep squat position for a little while. Again, you can cheat a bit if necessary by squatting on a slight slope (looking

down the hill) or on a kerb so that your toes hang off the edge.

cheat would be to practise whilst wearing shoes with a heel – but why would you be wearing those?

Lastly, try to do all your squatting barefoot. This allows freedom in your feet and ankles. Of course, another

Running fact 24. 26 bones, 33 joints, 112 ligaments, and a network of tendons, nerves, and blood vessels - all in the feet - have to work together when we run.

Did you know

Running fact 25. In 2007, three ultra-endurance athletes ran across the entire Sahara. That’s an equivalent of 2 marathons per day for 111 days, totaling approximately 4,000 miles. They started at the Atlantic Ocean in Senegal and ended at the Red Sea in Cairo.

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Autumn/Winter 2014

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The TÜV-tested (TÜV - German Association for Technical Inspection) Swiss Barefoot Company's Swiss Protection Sock is a five-toed sock, engineered and made in Germany. It consists of 50% Kevlar, 32% polyester, 8% spandex, and 10% cotton, laminated with eco-friendly PVC which offers protection from glass, broken fragments and other natural elements, while at the same time maximizing the foot’s freedom. Suitable for outdoor use on a variety of surfaces, including dirt roads, forest trails and sandy beaches. It provides protection for many different activities, including water sports, board sports, swimming and running, minimizing risk for Type 1 diabetics, haemophiliacs and people taking anticoagulant medication.

How to enter

The Swiss Barefoot Company’s Swiss Protection Socks are engineered and made where? A. Switzerland B. United States C. Germany See adjacent text for entry details.

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Competition closes midnight 5th February 2015. 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 along with your foot size. 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, along with your foot size. For more information on the terms and conditions, please visit our website at: www.barefootrunningmagazine.com

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Barefoot Running Magazine


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


Write back at you If at first you don’t succeed...don’t complain! by Scott Sonnon

everal months ago, I received a message from a student who had not passed his exams at my certification, stating that his partner had made mistakes on his scores, and had coached him incorrectly. I reminded him that he has 3 months to retest and re-submit the exams with no fees, that it had been explained precisely what he needed to work on, and been apprised exactly how to improve those elements in which he was not yet competent. He demanded that I pass him regardless because he didn't think he needed to retest, because it was his partner's fault, not his own. For six years, I didn't receive my certification. I could have blamed any number of situations for my failure year after year to receive certification - from my learning difficulties, to the repeated 11,000 mile commute, to the political pressures for being the first American. But I kept going. I didn't care what anyone threw at me. I had become 100% determined to become so good that it would be

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impossible even for the most staunch opposition to fail me. It took me six years, but I did it. Surprisingly, the methods that I innovated to ensure my success became even more valuable than the skills for which I had been receiving my certification.

or even the person who shut it. Failure compels you to find a way, or make one. Failure is a gift. FAILURE breeds innovation; not success.

Often it seems as if we've become a society that believes everyone is entitled to succeed. That's a dangerous error. Everyone should have equal opportunity to succeed, but when door, after door, after door slams in your face, then you have to either kick one open, run your way around, tunnel your way under, or drill your way through. But you don't blame the door for being shut,

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Barefoot Running Magazine


Let me give you a little love - because I don't believe in tough love, as love is tough enough without me. Never blame someone else for your performance. Blame gives away your power; it initializes you. You're a grown up, so when you face failure, grow better. Buckle down and work more efficiently. We became the "World's Smartest Workout" not by dumbing down our standards so that everyone can breeze through the exams. We have a 60% (initial) pass rate, because you have to get prepared and then apply the tools intelligently. We became the smartest by facing failure, recovering and working smarter the next time; and doing it again, and again, and again.

As I look back upon my life, I realize that every time I thought that I had failed, I was actually being redirected to become even better. When you face the appearance of repeated failure, use it to make yourself so good that no one can deny your success. The process that you undergo will create more than innovation. It will create a formula for you to overcome each obstacle you encounter, to become more prepared than any challenge you face, for you will have transmuted the lead of failure into the gold of growth. Dust yourself off. And saddle up. Very respectfully, Scott Sonnon

Despite doctors and teachers claiming that he would “never amount to anything academically or athletically,” Scott Sonnon overcame childhood obesity, learning disabilities and joint disease, to be named “one of the top trainers in the world” by Men’s Fitness Magazine and as “one of the most influential martial artists of the century” by Black Belt Magazine. Scott is also the founder of several different exercise systems, including intu-flow and TACFIT. For more information, visit his websites: www.RMAXInternational.com www.TACFITCommando.com www.TacticalGymnastics.com

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What’s On Events around the World

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

Wednesday 1st

Hardmoors 30

Whitby, UK

www.hardmoors110.org.uk

Wednesday 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®, Walt Disney World®

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 12th

Antarctic Ice Marathon

Punta Arenas, Chile

www.icemarathon.com

Friday 16th

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.oceanfloorrace.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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Saturday 2nd

Malvern Hills 83 Mile Ultra

Holt Heath, UK

www.ultrarunningltd.co.uk

Saturday 2-3rd

Genève Half Marathon for Unicef

Geneva, Switzerland

www.genevemarathon.org

Sunday 3rd

International Barefoot Running Day

Locations TBC

www.thebarefootrunners.org

Monday 4th

Belfast City Marathon

Belfast, UK

www.belfastcitymarathon.com

Sunday 9th

Rat Race Dirty Weekend

Burghley House, UK

www.ratracedirtyweekend.com

Saturday 16th

Great Wall Marathon

Jixian Village, China

www.great-wall-marathon.com

Saturday 16th

Born to Run 50K Trail Run

California, USA

www.marathons.ahotu.com

Sunday 17th

BUPA Great Manchester Run

Manchester City Centre, UK

www.greatrun.org

Saturday 23rd

Lost Worlds 50/100K

Causeway Crossing, UK

www.lostworldsracing.com

Saturday 23-24th

London 2 Brighton Challenge

Richmond Upon Thames, UK

www.london2brightonchallenge.com

Sunday 24th

Copenhagen Marathon

Copenhagen, Denmark

www.sparta.dk

Monday 25th

BUPA London 10,000

London, UK

www.ndcschallenges.org.uk

Saturday 30-31st

Edinburgh Marathon

Edinburgh, UK

www.edinburgh-marathon.com

Sunday 31st

Gobi March

Gobi Desert, China

www.4deserts.com

Monday 1st

Psiloritis Race

Psiloritis mountain, Greece

www.psiloritisrace.com

Friday 5th

The Jungle Marathon

Cuszco - Peru

www.beyondtheultimate.co.uk

Saturday 6th

Dartmoor Discovery Ultramarathon

Princetown, UK

www.teignbridgetrotters.co.uk

Saturday 6-13th

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Cusco, Peru

www.andesadventures.com

Sunday 7th

Europamarathon Görlitz-Zgorzelec

Saxony, Germany

www.europamarathon.de

Sunday 7th

Trail des Maures Running Festival

Collobrières, France

www.marathons.ahotu.com

Sunday 14th

ASDA Foundation Hull 10k

Hull, UK

www.runforall.com

Sunday 14th

Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool Marathon

Liverpool, UK

www.runrocknroll.competitor.com

Saturday 20th

Mozart 100

Salzburg, Austria

www.marathons.ahotu.com

Saturday 20th

The Rat Race - The Wall

Cumbria, UK

www.ratracethewall.com

Tuesday 23rd

Suzuki Midnight Sun Run

Reykjavik, Iceland

www.marathon.is/midnight-run

Friday 26th

Lapland Ultra Marathon

Adak, Sweden

www.marathons.ahotu.com

Sunday 28th

Olympus Trail Marathon

Litochoro, Greece

www.lostworldsracing.com

Monday 29th

Northwest Passage Marathon & Ultra

Nunavut, Canada

www.arcticwatch.ca

Friday 3-6th

London to Paris Cycle Challenge

Bexley, UK

www.charitychallenge.com

Saturday 4th

Grassland Extreme Marathon

Xilinhot, China

www.genghiskhanmtbadventure.com

Sunday 5th

The Wales Marathon

Tenby, Wales, UK

www.thewalesmarathon.com

Sunday 5th

The Freakman Triathlon

Devon, UK

www.freakevents.co.uk

Sunday 5th

Summer Plod Trail Events

Hampshire, UK

www.runevents.org

Friday 10th

Hardrock 100 Endurance Run

Silverton, Colorado, USA

www.hardrock100.com

Saturday 11th

Rhodes Trail Run

Rhodes , South Africa

www.rhodesrun.za.net

Sunday 12th

The Vitality British 10K London Run

London, UK

www.thebritish10klondon.co.uk

Sunday 12th

ASDA Foundation Leeds 10k

Leeds, UK

www.runforall.com

Saturday 18-19th

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Marathon

Chicago, USA

www.runrocknroll.competitor.com

Saturday 25-26th

La 6000D

Savoie, France

www.la6000d.com

Tuesday 28-30th

Badwater 135

Death Valley, Ca, USA

www.badwater.com

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100k Ultra 50k Ultra

Individuals or team relay

Limited spaces at World Heritage sites


News from the sporting arena

uccessful marathon runner, Rita Jeptoo, 33, is reported to have failed a routine drugs test, with a banned substance – EPO - found in her “A” sample. Jeptoo has been provisionally suspended while further investigations take place. She has requested, as is her right, to have her “B” sample tested also. The news caused the postponement of the awards ceremony for the 2013-14 World Marathon Majors (WMM) series due to take place in New York and where Jetpoo would be picking up a cheque for $500,000.

On track

Jeptoo’s trainer and agent have denied any involvement.

ast month saw the 34th Beijing International Marathon taking place under a blanket of heavy smog, with many of the runners wearing masks in an attempt to minimize the effects of the pollution. The male and female winners were both from Ethopia; Girmay Birhanu Gebru defending his title and finishing in a time of 2:10:42 and Fatuma Sado Dergo crossing the line in 2:30:03. Chinese runner, Gong Lihua, who came in third in the women’s event, commented that the conditions had affected her race, saying that she wasn’t able to sweat properly and that her body felt sweaty and clammy. Race organizers decided not to postpone the event as too much planning had gone into it and rescheduling would have caused too many issues.

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Despite her current, impressive form, the 41 year old is “not surprised” at the decision, guessing that she is probably too old. She is still hoping to attend her fifth Olympics at Rio in 2016 and the lack of funding isn’t something she will dwell on. She says she’s been in the position before and her involvement in running has never been about the money; she loves running and it allows her to spend lots of time with her family.

On track

op tennis player, Caroline Wozniacki, recently completed the New York marathon in a very impressive 3:26:33, raising a staggering $81,500 for the charity Team for Kids. The 24 year old Dane had originally hoped to achieve a sub-four hour time but realized a target of between 3:30 and 3:45 was realistic and was very pleased with her result. She hadn’t undertaken the ‘typical’ marathon training plan; her longest run was just 13 miles and instead of the usual tapering, she played in a tennis tournament less than two weeks before the race. Although she found it incredibly tough, she’s not ruling out another marathon and will definitely continue to run regularly.

Spain’s Javier Gomez pipped Jonny Brownlee to the post to win the 2014 Triathlon World Series title

Barefoot Running Magazine

News from the sporting arena

he funding for British athletes has recently been announced, with several great athletes missing out, including European Gold Medal winner at this year’s European Championships, Jo Pavey.

It has been announced that London will stage the IPC Athletics Marathon World Championships in 2015

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The latest international news

International news

n August, the United Nations declared an “international public health emergency” as the Ebola virus - the first case of the latest outbreak reported back in March – continued to spread at an alarming rate. The virus, discovered in 1976 in certain regions in Africa and with only a few hundred cases reported each year, has been spreading significantly in Africa, particularly Sierra Leone and Liberia, and has so far claimed close to 5,000 lives. Donations have poured in from around the world to help those affected and there are tentative reports suggesting that the spread of the disease is slowing. There have been cases reported in other countries such as the US, UK and Spain, but it appears that in all instances, the disease was contracted by those individuals within the affected African regions.

nother report relating to people’s happiness has been published recently in The Lancet. The report, using world survey data, found that happiness in the US and UK appears to dip to its lowest between the ages of 45 and 54, with the suggestion that although this is generally the age where wages are at their highest, the hard work and stress have a negative effect on well-being. In other areas, such as Latin America and Russia, happiness appears to decline with age, perhaps linked to a decline in health. Another suggestion is that countries like Russia, going through a transition period, will cause older people who are used to a particular regime, to feel unsettled. Sub-Saharan Africa has a consistently low level of happiness, with stress levels rated high.

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Puddicombe, who had a near death experience in his twenties when he also lost two friends, travelled to the Himalayas aged 22, beginning his long journey of studying to become a monk, which involved travelling to different countries and upwards of 18 hours a day of meditation. He is now a multimillionaire but says that money has never been the focus. He recognizes the benefits of meditation and is glad to be able to bring it to the masses and guide them towards inner calm. The popular App has been downloaded in 150 countries and is ranked 4th on the list of the best meditation Apps of 2014.

International news

scheme in Denmark, run by paediatrician Dr Jens Christian Holm, is proving to be successful in tackling childhood obesity. The scheme, piloted in the town of Holbaek, begins for each patient with a 24 hour hospital stay when several measurements are taken (height, weight, body fat percentage, blood pressure, etc.) as well as questions asked about their behaviour and eating habits. They are then required to make small changes to their daily lives, including limiting sugary food and drink, limiting time in front of the TV/computer screen and walking or cycling to school. So far, 1,900 patients have taken part, with 70% maintaining a healthy weight for four years. The scheme has now been adopted in eight other Danish municipalities and the hope is that other countries will recognize the benefits of the scheme and follow suit.

Scientists have discovered the chemical process which causes red meat to be a risk factor in heart disease and are developing a pill to counteract it

Barefoot Running Magazine

The latest international news

ndy Puddicombe, a Buddhist monk, is enjoying the success of his “Headspace” App, a meditation App which offers its users ten minute “time outs” to give them a break from the stress of a busy life.

A dying grandmother was taken outside in her hospital bed in Wigan, UK, allowing her to say goodbye to the horse she’d raised for over 25 years

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for example. She will start selling Knitido toe socks in a month or maybe sometime soon. Hello Just wanted to know if it is possible to get the magazine in Luxembourg? Is there a way to subscribe to it and maybe even get older ones? I myself run in Xero shoes and did my last race yesterday, 12k in 44m and finished 17th. I also run with my Knitido toe socks which I import from Germany to sell them in Luxembourg, Belgium, France and the UK. Right now I have started a dialogue with Tracy Davenport (Minimal Sportswear) because no one has these toe socks in the UK right now but they are superior in many ways to Injinji,

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I am making my own sandals with a car tyre as seen on a facebook page (Tyre Sandals), because Xeros are not so good with wet streets and in the woods. And honestly Luna Sandals are too expensive for what they are made of. Cheers, Ralph (Luxemburg, via email) Ed. – We would love to have the magazine in print and available in different countries Ralph. That is the dream! We are working hard and are grateful for the support from the barefoot and minimalist running community. Please keep spreading the word!

Barefoot Running Magazine


Hi from an oldie who has decided to ignore the podiatrist’s advice and try minimalist hiking instead. I look forward to tips and product reviews and supporting your endeavours. Not sure when, if ever, I will be able to run though! Annette, via email

Hello 12.12 miles this morning. BAREFOOT. Started at Canary Wharf, ran alongside the river as far as Embankment, up past Trafalgar Sq, up Charing Cross Road and then back through the City until I got back to Canary Wharf again. Beautiful sunshine and London looked really rather nice. Met an old guy working on a boat at St Katherine's Dock. 'Where you runnin'?' asked Salty Ol' Seadog.... 'Into the West End,' I replied.

Hi folks...thanks for letting me into the group! I have been running for 3 1/2 years now...got into it after losing 5 stone in weight! Ran a 10k in the Summer at the Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis....lovely run....and am now transitioning to minimalist shoes. I am currently in love with my Vibram Spyridons! I hope to run a half marathon in them in March next year...hope that's not too optimistic? AJ, via facebook

Hi - thanks for the add! I'm very new to this barefoot thing, and running in general tbh. I did a parkrun in old crappy trainers a few weeks ago and ended up hurting my foot. Luckily doesn't seem to be anything serious and it seems better now, but it's prompted me to start again and try to do things properly. So I threw away the old trainers and decided to go barefoot.

'No shoes?' he laughed. I shrugged. 'Run to the sea, laddie. Run to the sea.' And then he just went back inside his boat. I didn't quite get to the sea but it made me think...After that I met two drunk Polish guys next to the river who offered me a slug of vodka - it was about 8am by this point. I declined, they smiled and carried on smiling and drinking. A great run. And no pain at all, not during, not now. That means the form is there, the warm up stretches are working and the same for the cool down. Roll on September and then the big one in October! Tim, via facebook Ed. – Congratulations on completing the “big one” in October Tim! Hope your feet have recovered nicely!

I did buy some vivo shoes but didn't find them comfortable at all so I sent them back. I'd love to be totally barefoot, but right now I'm making do with wetsuit shoes lol! I went out yesterday and did run 1 of a couch to 5k programme. So far so good! Haydee, via facebook

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Product review index Page 100

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Product Review Testers

103

Not so minimal review

104

Sockwa X8

Not so minimal review

108

Be Real Shoes

Not so minimal review

112

The North Face FL Race Vest

Not so minimal review

116

Bedrock Syncline

120

Ambit 3 watch

Out of the box review

128

Sockwa G-Hi

Not so minimal review

132

Nutribullet 600

Not so minimal review

136

kigo leon

Not so minimal review

140

Circadian Earth Runners

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

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

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.

Head to head 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: Preferred footwear: Preferred terrain: Tester initials: Name: Preferred footwear: Preferred terrain: Tester initials:

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Sockwa X8

Not so minimal review

WEIGHT

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

76g / 2.7OZ

1.2mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

Thermoplastic polyurethane

Fully Synthetic

N/A

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

4 - 13½

37 - 49

5 - 13

6 - 12

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Styling I love the look of the X8. These are one of the best looking REAL minimal shoes around at the moment. The only possible let down is that they are only available in black, which is a shame because the Sockwa G3 range is available in a good selection of colours.

Build quality In my “Out-of-Box” review in the last edition, I had two concerns about the quality of the X8. First, will the glued rubber sole remain stuck to the upper? Well, I’ve been using the X8 since February and there has been no problem with the glue becoming unstuck. I wear them for work and have covered many running miles. They are also washed twice a week and with all that twisting the sole has stayed firmly fixed. Second, would the “Ariaprene” fabric used for the upper easily tear on sharp objects? Well, no holes have appeared yet in the fabric, although I have kept most of my miles to the road. The sole is showing some wear to the heel, forefoot and big toe, but no more than I would expect for the miles that I have covered. The sole is softer than some shoes; this eliminates the slapping sound that some hard soles have. All-in-all a well put together shoe that should last a decent amount of time.

Fit

Barefoot simulation Excellent. This has the best barefoot simulation of any minimal shoe that I have tried, to date. It has a sole that is ultra-thin polymer, the thickness being only 1.2 mm. The sole is also very flexible allowing natural foot movement.

Price The X8 is now available from Sockwa for $59 or £36 without shipping. This equates to very good value for a minimal shoe that offers such good performance and barefoot simulation.

Performance Definitely a go-to shoe for running on gravel tracks (if you like closed shoes) and any rough, worn out surfaces. They performed far better

Barefoot Running Magazine

Overall rating The X8 feels most at home running on the road. Out on the trail there

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Not so minimal review

The Sockwa X8 overall has an excellent fit. They are comfortable to wear all day. There is a slight tight feel across the forefoot (my feet are 11cm at their widest point) but the fabric is stretchy, so does not cause any real concern.

than I had expected they would. With the rubber soles coming up high over the sides, they manage to keep water out from all but the deepest of puddles. Even in quite heavy rain they still manage to keep water out. There does come a point, however, where they become sponges, but it does take heavy rain for this to happen.

Sockwa X8

he Sockwa X8 is a development of the very good “G” range. The X8 shares the same sole, which is very thin and flexible. It also comes up high around the upper helping to keep surface water out for longer. The upper itself, however, is all new. It is made from a breathable fabric called “Ariaprene”. This fabric is moisture-wicking and also has anti-odour properties. A definite improvement over the G3 which did not breathe and would soon start to stink. As long as you like the colour black you will be okay, as they only come in black!


Sockwa X8

is much (brambles, branches, etc.) for the upper fabric to catch on. The Sockwa X8 makes an excellent cool/ cold weather minimal shoe. The X8 manages to keep the cold out and the warmth in. I did, however, find them too uncomfortable to wear during the Summer as my feet became too hot and sweaty, but I do have hot feet; my feet tend to stay warm even while running barefoot through the Winter months. It has been an absolute pleasure reviewing the X8. This is a real go-to minimal shoe for the Winter months. They make a great shoe for carrying during a run as an emergency back-up as they are so light and can be folded to fit in the palm of your hand.

Barefoot simulation Build quality Performance

Feet become hot Smelly feet Straps are a weak point

Not so minimal review

Tested by IH

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www.running - memories.co.uk


Be Real Shoes

Not so minimal review

WEIGHT

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

223.9g / 7.9OZ

7 mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

Slip Resistant Dermi

B0reathable Mesh

N/A

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

3 - 11

35½ - 46

9 - 12

5½ - 10

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Be Real shoes

When I opened my parcel I was a little disappointed that the shoes didn't have any packaging, they were simply free floating in the postal pouch. Despite the fact that

most shoe packaging is disposed of pretty much immediately and is effectively a cost to the company which achieves zero return, I would have still expected something - a pouch perhaps, or simple brown paper wrapping. There is no actual benefit of it to the end consumer however, the longer I am in this industry the more I realize that it's difficult to make anyone take you seriously without packaging for your product and customers expect it, especially if you want stores to stock it. Don't get me wrong - I would also like to point out, on the flip side, how difficult it is to start up a new company; money is tight and you need to save anywhere you can if you want to make it. Given the choice, which would you do: make another (fill in the blank) pairs of shoes or fork out for packaging you don't make anything on?

The end result is that now Be Real shoes are making their second emergence into the market place with what is not only a better product for the consumer but also more ecologically sound.

Styling

So, I'd like to just give you a little bit of company background before I go onto the review itself. Be Real shoes started out at the same time the book Born to Run by Chris McDougall was released, so the timing was perfect in the earlier days of the barefoot movement and they had pretty much immediate success. Unfortunately, they had used a manufacturer in China and it seems the same quality control they had received in the early orders was not there in the later, large order they had placed to get the company off the ground. It was

Barefoot Running Magazine

The styling and look of the shoe is nice and fits well with the more traditional sports shoe (which is what 8 out of 10 people are looking for), or the more normal end of the spectrum for minimalist shoes, looking more like a hybrid. Currently, they come in two basic pallets of grey or black and then you have an option of white or electric blue trim on the black, or red or lime green with the grey. However, I've seen some of their earlier marketing with bright orange, lime green and even red

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Not so minimal review

hen my Be Real shoes arrived I was actually really excited to get them. The parcel was handed to me by my postie and I knew it was them! Now, I had seen them in pictures before and really liked the look of them. They offer a look which is somewhat similar to a toe shoe but without having separate toe pockets, although as I later found out this was completely unintentional. It's more of a by-product of cutting down on materials and therefore offering a more ecologically sound manufacturing process. At any rate, if I had a penny for every person who said to me, “'Oh, I love those funny toe shoe things but can't stand anything between my toes�, I'd have...well...about a fiver. But, if you think about it, that's still 500 people! There are also many of us who just have funny toes, not all of them are straight and not all of them point in the direction they are supposed to, so putting toe shoes on just becomes impossible. Honestly, I sat with one chap at a trade show for 40 minutes while he struggled to get a pair of Vibram FiveFingers on - unsuccessfully. So, despite the demand being there for that kind of 'look', it just isn't possible for some.

not only a huge disappointment but also a crippling blow to the company. Virtually none of the stock could be used. After that they vowed to work much more closely with the manufacturer they chose for the future, but finding the right manufacturer for the job wasn't easy and took years. But those years in between didn't just go to waste. They spent the time working on product development, they never gave up and eventually, after such a big knock back, they managed to get back on their feet admirably with determination and a better shoe design.


Be Real Shoes

soles! Now, I love a bit of bright for sure and if they were to become available in any of these other colours I would be the first to stump up for a pair (even though I already have some!). Personally I have to say that I don't particularly like the appearance of the rubber used - it just looks a little shiny and in my old school way of thinking that would have – in the past - equated to a cheap material. I have to be very clear here because it is not a cheap material and is certainly fit for purpose, I just don't particularly like the look of it.

Fit My very first impressions when I put these shoes on was, “Wow, that sure is a nice wide toe box” (I do have fairly wide feet), and what's nice about having laces is you can do them up to fit the width of your feet so there is room for adjustment for those with narrower feet. I found them extremely comfortable.

Build quality

Not so minimal review

Interestingly, Be Real Shoes now manufacture state side with a company in Georgia that specializes in recyclable materials and injection moulding. Now, both of these facts should interest you. Why?? Well, for starters, the sole is made of Micro Plast which is not only recycled but also recyclable and it is much more hard wearing than EVA & TPR, therefore your shoes will last longer giving you more value for money. They are well constructed, meaning that the fit is good but also that they are durable. I put them through some tough race conditions (see below) and they fared very well.

Performance The design of the sole is also far more complicated than you may ever realize and so I'm just going to touch on a couple of the key features. For starters, the most obvious thing is the circular pattern on the pads of the sole with the design being taken from the bottom of a crutch. It seems that Jason, the owner of the company, spent so much of his life on

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crutches with injuries that he grew to realize what good traction the design provides. Poor Chap! I do have to agree with him there though - they do provide excellent grip. I wore them in the water on some extremely slippery and slimy rocks and they did rather well! I managed not to get a dunking for a change. The circular design also spreads out as weight is distributed on it, therefore it almost grips the surface as you move across it – nifty! You will also notice that there is a ridge running along the outside edge of the sole with small breaks at the toe points and on the inside of the shoe where your arch is. The purpose of this ridge is to provide protection and grip like a cleat, but has been removed at the arch to increase the flexibility of the sole. Pretty clever eh? Now on to the upper. It's made of a mesh like fabric which to my mind is fantastic. The ventilation you get from this fabric is brilliant, it keeps your feet cool, the sweat evaporates quickly and I suspect that mine don't smell because of this. The shoes are also billed as a water shoe and great for water sports like paddle boarding, surfing etc., so I'm told. I only went out in the water in the rock pools off one of my local beaches in them, but I was 2 miles from home at the time and after being in the water I came out and ran right home. All of the water drained out of the shoes quickly so there was no sloshing around in there and the shoes were on their way to drying out by the time I actually arrived home. I didn't find them uncomfortable to run in wet, I wasn't wearing socks and there were no hot spots running in them (and none since either). And although there is stitching around the inside, I didn't find that I could feel it at any point. I only ended up doing one event in my Be Real shoes which was the Insane Inflatable 5k in Atlantic City this Summer. I always like to try to test shoes in a race if possible, the reason being that it's a more intense situation and if there are going to be issues with a product, I guarantee you'll always find out about it in a race environment, even if you have been using a product for months out on your regular runs. Suddenly, you'll find something which was never a

Barefoot Running Magazine


Be Real shoes

run, when I suspect they will also perform well. Even though I do like them for pure running quite a lot, nothing beats being truly barefoot for me! I would highly recommend them as a comfortable, flexible shoe with good barefoot simulation and built with conservation of the environment in mind. Tested by TMD

Good off-road grip Comfortable fit Build quality

Barefoot simulation The thickness of the sole is 4 to 7 mm which I know may sound like a lot to some of you out there and admittedly I was a little sceptical before I started to wear-test mine, but the ground feel is remarkably good! I was actually very pleasantly surprised. Also, since the rubber compound of the sole is directly injected to the upper, it means

that there are no stitched seams or toxic glues used.

Only available from the USA Limited colours

Price They are $89.99 or £56.51 per pair, which isn't unreasonable in the slightest! Definitely good value for money – not only do you get a good running shoe, but also an all round sports shoe with great ground feel and a zero drop. The manufacturing process is sound and the life of the shoe is better than most.

Overall rating I really like the Be Real Shoes. One more thing I'd like to add to this review is how great they are for sports like CrossFit – a perfect match in my opinion and now that the review is complete it's what I will be using mine regularly for, perhaps even for my next mud

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Not so minimal review

problem before which can be ‘Your Race Ruiner’. But, as I said, they handled very well. At the end of the race my husband asked me how the shoes performed and I had to say, “Great”. I totally forgot I had anything on my feet - they were so comfortable and offered the protection I needed. It was a very hot day (28.5 degrees) and all of me was hot and sweaty but I never once noticed that my feet were slipping around or uncomfortable.


The North Face FL Race Vest

Not so minimal review Page 112

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Barefoot Running Magazine


With input from the likes of ultra luminaries such as Jez Bragg, Seb Chaigneau, Lizzy Hawker and Rory Bosio, amongst others, you can be assured that The North Face FL Race Vest has been developed with performance in mind and the continued use of the FL Race Vest by TNF athletes is testament to its pedigree. I can’t recall exactly when I first spotted the FL Race Vest’s prototype, but it must be coming up to approximately 2 years ago, if not longer. Providing a generous 8 litre carrying capacity and with a compartmentalized approach to storage that ensures easy access to kit, The North Face FL Race Vest offers versatility both in terms of storage and hydration.

I finally got my hands on my own FL Race Vest in May of this year and have been putting it to the test over the past few months.

The North Face FL Race Vest offers a highly adjustable fit, using both front and side straps, and can easily be adjusted on the move, easily accommodating the addition of - or removal of - extra layers, as dictated by the weather. After initial experimentation, having achieved the desired fit, I found The North Face FL Race Vest to be equally comfortable, both when loaded to maximum capacity and, also, when practically empty, save for a waterproof and some energy bars. The adjustable straps on the front of the pack, both of which have quick release buckles, can also be moved up and down to ensure the best possible fit.

Styling The North Face FL Race Vest is completely black save for a few reflective logos and the occasional blue elastic chord that is used on all zips to enhance accessibility and to attach walking/ running poles to the pack. Whilst perhaps lacking the bling element of some other race vests, this is certainly a practical colour that isn’t going to appear grubby over time!

Build quality

Fit Anyone who has taken part in a running event where people are using backpacks will likely have witnessed the all too familiar bob of an ill-fitting pack, with the contents contained within lurching from side to side. Aside from the annoyance factor, continued pack movement introduces the potential for chaffing, especially over longer distances, with areas that come into contact with the pack straps and the lower back being particularly susceptible. The point of a race vest is to offer

a level of storage akin to that of a traditional backpack but to combine this with a more clothing -like fit, thereby reducing the potential for chaffing.

Not so minimal review

Designed with the likes of the 166km Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) in mind, and put to the ultimate test by Jez Bragg on his epic 3054km TeAraroa Trail run from the North tip to the South tip of New Zealand, this is the first vest style offering from The North Face.

The North Face FL Race Vest

esigned for ultra athletes and refined with their feedback, The North Face FL Race Vest is the ultimate lightweight endurance running pack. Large main compartment and wellplaced ancillary pockets ensure that everything you need is readily available.” www.thenorthface.co.uk

What The North Face FL Race Vest maybe lacks in style, it certainly makes up for in terms of build quality. Constructed from 70D SiloxaneRipstop fabric, as used across many other packs in The North Face range, The FL Race Vest combines durability with low weight, weighing in at a mere 325g. The back panel and strapping are constructed from a large weave fabric, something I will admit to at first thinking looked quite strange. I’ve come to appreciate, however, that this large weave adds considerably to the breathability of the pack.

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The North Face FL Race Vest

Performance I’ve been testing the FL Race Vest for the best part of 6 months now. Despite repeated use, both whilst running and as my go-to pack for mountain biking, there’s no sign of any wear and tear, testament to the materials used. For me, The North Face FL Race Vest excels on account of the copious pockets that the pack contains, which facilitates all manner of packing options and, further, opens up a number of choices when it comes to hydration.

Not so minimal review

My hydration preferences over the years have changed from bladders, to bottles, to soft flasks and, most recently, to a combination of bladder and soft flasks. The FL Race Vest easily accommodates any and all of these options thanks to the aforementioned pockets and, when it comes to bladders, thanks to a generous capacity in the main compartment and a hook from which to hang your pack. Note, however, that use of a bladder does have obvious implications for the amount of space left for other items in the main compartment. The FL Race Vest doesn’t come with a bladder, bottles or soft flasks. You have to provide your own. However, I think that this is actually a positive point. Most of us already have (at least!) one bladder sitting at home and/or will already have favoured bottles/soft flasks. Not providing these with the vest most likely reduces unnecessary waste and helps to keep the cost of the vest down. I started with 500ml Salomon soft flasks in the two upper front pockets of the FL Race Vest but found that these were marginally

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too big for the pocket space available, hanging out the top of the pocket slightly. After experimentation, I found that 150ml soft flasks just didn’t carry enough fluid and I finally settled on 350ml Hydrapak offerings which fitted the available pockets perfectly. Just as an aside, soft flasks are really worth considering if you have not already done so. It’s so easy to take a spare soft flask along, just on the off chance that you want to add to your capacity to carry fluid. An empty, rolled up flask takes up virtually no space, whereas a bottle is always going to be fairly cumbersome to carry. With regard to a bladder, I found that a 1.5 litre bladder was optimum but, given the variety of bladder shapes and sizes out there, this would likely vary from model to model. The FL Race Vest has one main compartment and numerous smaller pockets of varying sizes, located both internally and externally, on both the front and back of the vest. While you will need to remove the vest to gain access to the main compartment of the FL Race Vest, it has been designed in such a way as to provide access to a lot of content on the move, with a large mesh area that itself has two small zipped pockets on the rear, four front pockets, and two front shoulder pockets. The large internal pocket is compartmentalized, perfect for careful packing and, perhaps most importantly in a race situation, enabling quick and easy access to specific items of kit. The long zipper on the main pocket facilitates easy access, far better than having to try and root around for kit using a limited top opening. The rear mesh pocket can be accessed from the top or via the sides. It has been designed for ease of access to items on the go and is perfect for holding a jacket, for example. My only concern would be the potential for items to possibly fall out of this pocket, though it has to be said that this is more down to my tendency to fear the worst rather than anything

Barefoot Running Magazine


Price

The front of the rear mesh pocket contains two very small, zippered pockets, ideal for money, keys, etc., though I have to admit to not really having the need to use these as of yet.

RRP £85.00

Overall rating

It’s on the front of the FL Race Vest that you really find yourself spoilt for choice. The lower front area of the pack contains two large Velcro fastening pockets, perfect for any items that require an additional level of security. I found myself using the lower left Velcro pocket in particular for storage of my iPhone, facilitating quick and easy access as and when required. If anything, this fuelled my tendency to stop and take too many photographs but it certainly beats having to rummage around for your phone. Two large mesh pockets sit behind the Velcro fastened pockets, large enough to accommodate a Buff and/or some gloves. I took to storing a 500ml flask there on longer runs.

With a generous 8 litre capacity, multiple points to adjust and refine fit, and copious internal and external pockets, it’s a pack that sits comfortably on the body, reducing the likelihood of chaffing, and offers quick and easy access to content on the go. I’ve found that it works well not just for running, but also for biking, with the numerous pockets being equally suited to holding bike tools, spare tubes, pump and so forth. Further, again with reference to the pockets, the pack copes well with all manner of hydration options, be it bladder, bottle or soft flask.

Tested by JJM

Specifications

      

1 top pocket & a large stash pocket with 2 smaller zipper pockets 4 front pockets & 2 shoulder bottle pockets Large main compartment with 2 internal pockets & a hydration sleeve Trekking-pole attachment Fabric: 70D siloxaneripstop Approximate weight: 325g Volume: 8 litres

www.thenorthface.co.uk Adapted from a review first submitted to The Running Bug, http://therunningbug.co.uk

In conclusion, The North Face FL Race Vest is an excellent pack

Not so minimal review

The two upper shoulder front pockets tended to hold my 350ml soft flasks, and I found that it was possible to drink from the flasks without the need to remove them from the pockets which saved a fair amount of faffing! Additional mesh pockets attached to these also proved useful for holding often used items such as Sport Beans and Cliff Bars, my preferred fuel of choice.

The North Face FL Race Vest may not be the most stylish race vest on offer. However, it more than compensates for this in terms of the functionality it offers, being equally at home as a sparsely packed vest for short runs as it is when packed to the gunnels for an ultra event with a mandatory kit list.

for runners (and bikers!) looking to cover long distances in training and/or complete ultra events where mandatory kit may be required.

The FL Race Vest has also been constructed with running/walking poles in mind, with blue elastic fasteners situated at the top right and lower middle areas of the pack, to facilitate easy, safe stashing of poles when not in use. The only ‘unused’ area as far as I am concerned is the side area of the FL Race Vest. Left open as it is, it certainly aids breathability and the flow of air. However, I’ve used a Salomon race vest in the past and have found the side pockets useful for stashing items. Arguably, however, the FL Race Vest already has more than enough pockets to accommodate the kit required when running long distances.

Barefoot Running Magazine

The North Face FL Race Vest

that I have experienced in testing!

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Bedrock Syncline

Not so minimal review

WEIGHT (UK9)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

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

107.7g / 3.8OZ

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The Syncline 2.0 has a new footbed, the “Bedrock Ballistic Footbed”, which is 4mm thick made from synthetic hemp. It is machine heat sealed, glued and stitched to the sole and it is claimed on the website to give unparalleled footbed traction in water and on wet trails. The harness has also been improved, with bonded recycled rubber sections to give the strap more durability. The website states: “Our Granite Grip Straps give full standing shape to our sandal straps while on and off the wearers foot – eliminating any heel slipping that’s characteristic of huaraches styled sandals”. 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 Bedrock Syncline is an all-round sandal for general trail, road and casual use. The sole is a lightweight 8mm Vibram sole. The harness is a 13mm wide strap. Bedrock offers a repair warranty to any component of the sandal that fails and also covers shipping both ways – only

within the U.S.A. The Syncline is the same as the Earthquake but the Vibram sole is 33% thicker and more durable.

at the rear of the harness came off. I would say this is a minor fault and would not give me any negative feelings for this great sandal.

Styling Bedrock has come up with a no-fuss design of sandal. Black Vibram sole and a choice of several different colours for the harness make the sandal look simple and non-offensive. It does have a robust and quality look to it. The embossed “Bedrock” logo on the footbed under the foot arch area is a nice touch.

Fit The fit has proved to be a major plus for the Synclines. I made a few adjustments to suit my feet and after this I’ve had no issues with fit, not even any minor adjustments. The harness is a secure and comfortable fit, which has felt great out on the trails.

Build quality The only problem I’ve had with them to otherwise excellent build quality is one of the pull tabs

Performance I’ve run trail and road wearing many different makes of sandal, as well as ones I’ve made myself from various different materials and to-date, the Bedrock Syncline has offered the best performance in the dry. My only concern is the performance in the wet. I find the footbed loses traction and becomes quite slippery.

Bedrock Syncline

ince I received my Synclines for review Bedrock have replaced them with an updated model, the Syncline 2.0.

Barefoot simulation For those of you that read my reviews, you will know that I can be quite strict when it comes to this section, simply because I much prefer running barefoot, only resorting to a sandal or minimal shoe when the terrain becomes too rough. The Synclines have an 8mm Vibram sole and although they are lightweight and flexible, which are ideal qualities for the stony trail runner, it is not possible

Not so minimal review

Barefoot Running Magazine

Autumn/Winter 2014

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Bedrock Syncline

for me to give them a high barefoot simulation score because of the thick sole.

Price Around £41 + postage from U.S.A. (postage is free if you live in U.S.A.). May sound a little steep, but you must consider this is a high performance, comfortable and durable sandal. With all things considered, yes, I would pay this price.

which I’ve not had a chance to test. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking the Synclines out on the trails where they feel right at home. In dry conditions they are excellent. I just hope with the new footbed they will prove to be great all weather sandals. Tested by IH

Overall rating I’m extremely impressed with the Syncline. It’s a great, lightweight and comfortable sandal. Apart from the issue I have with how it performs in the wet, the performance is good. I know since testing the Syncline, Bedrock has replaced this model with a new footbed that they say gives excellent traction in wet conditions,

Excellent harness Performance Easy fit

Barefoot simulation Midsole stiffness

Not so minimal review

Straps are a weak point

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Autumn 2014

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Suunto Ambit3 watch

Not so minimal review Page 120

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Ambit3 Peak (£360.00 without HRM/£410 with HRM), offering up to 50 hours battery life and more advanced outdoor functionality.

If, like me, you pay any attention to race reports and photographs, the ‘blue bling’ of the new Suunto Ambit3 Sport adorning the wrists of most Salomon athletes the past few months will likely have caught your attention.

In preparation for the arrival of the Ambit3, I set about the installation of the Moveslink software on my Windows 8 PC. Try as I might, I could not get the software to install, with the installation process aborting early at each attempt as a result of a .NET Framework 3.5 installation error.

Suunto is a brand with a reputation for making innovative sports watches, dive computers and sports instruments and, with its first Bluetooth Smart compatible product, Suunto appears to have once again set a benchmark for other sports watches to aspire to.

Before getting in to the review proper, I want to mention the only issue that I have encountered with the Ambit3 Sport to date, an issue that didn't actually involve the watch itself, but, instead, resulted in a few wasted hours of effort as I readied my PC for the new watch.

The .NET Framework Issue

I finally found the answer to my problem, not on the Suunto website, but from general searches concerning the .NET Framework 3.5, when I happened across the following information: "The .NET Framework is an integral part of many applications running on Windows and provides common functionality for those applications to run. For developers, the .NET Framework provides consistent programming model for building applications. If you are using the Windows operating system, the .NET Framework may already be installed on your computer. Specifically, the .NET Framework 4.5 is included with Windows 8 and installed on your computer with the Windows 8 operating system."

Note that this review focuses on the Suunto Ambit3 Sport with Suunto Smart Sensor (Heart Rate Monitor). The Suunto Ambit3 product range also includes the

Therein lay the problem! Moveslink relies on the .NET Framework 3.5 but, with version 4.5 already installed on Windows 8 machines, I had to manually enable the .NET Frame-

Barefoot Running Magazine

    

Open the Control Panel, available in Settings Choose Programs Select the 'Turn Windows features on or off' option Select the .NET Framework 3.5 check box Click OK

With this done, I was then (finally!) able to successfully install the Moveslink software. A simple solution (once you know it!). Excuse the slight tangent from the actual review, but hopefully this information can save others from experiencing the frustration that I did. Full details of the above can be found online at Microsoft MSDN. Now back to the review!

Fit The Ambit3 Sport can best be described as ‘chunky’. It’s not as big as some GPS units I have worn in the past but is a comparable size with other units offering similar functionality. It sits comfortably on the wrist, with plenty of scope for adjustment thanks to 16 pin slots on the strap. The Ambit3 Sport doesn’t look out of place when worn throughout the day as a regular watch and, indeed, Suunto must have expected this when they introduced the Daily Activity Monitoring functionality. More to follow on this shortly.

Styling The Ambit3 Sport is available in Sapphire (£360 without HRM/£410 with HRM) - a toughened glass version of the unit - and the standard blue, white and black (RRP £275 without HRM/£325 with

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Not so minimal review

Released to us mere mortals in early September, the Ambit3 Sport is Suunto's first Bluetooth Smart compatible product, offering iPhone connectivity (Android to follow) alongside a raft of features including anything and everything from typical GPS watch features such as the logging of activities and routes, speed and distance, through to advanced functionality such as on the go customization, push notifications, and the ability to create movies of your activities, complete with photographs taken during the activity.

work 3.5 in the PC’s Control Panel:

Suunto Ambit3 watch

he desire to be faster is universal. Whether you’re pushing your limits on the trail, on your bike or in the water, Suunto Ambit3 Sport GPS watch is your invaluable training tool to become the best you can be. Track and analyze your performance to progress. Connect your watch wirelessly to your iPhone and use the free Suunto Movescount App to adjust the watch on the go and visually enrich, relive and share your experience to make every move count.”(www.suunto.com.au/en)


Suunto Ambit3 watch

HRM) colour options. As someone who has owned numerous black sports watches over the years, I was drawn to the blue. There’s just something appealing about the colour and it matches the blue that can be found throughout elements of the Salomon clothing range over the past couple of seasons. Given that both Salomon and Suunto are subsidiaries of Amer Sports Corporation, that's possibly no coincidence.

the Ambit3 Sport is no different. The unit feels solid, like it would withstand whatever punishment you threw at it. The slightly recessed screen affords a degree of protection to the all-important watch face and the buttons feel sturdy, offering enough resistance that you can be confident they aren’t going to be accidentally pressed.

Performance

Five buttons provide access to the extensive functionality offered by the unit, their purpose clearly marked, and the overall interface has a clean, almost minimalist look.

Any evaluation of the Ambit3 Sport needs to take into account not just the watch itself, but also the Suunto Smart Sensor (Heart Rate Monitor), the Movescount smartphone App and Movescount.com, Suunto’s online sports community:

Build quality

http://www.movescount.com/

Suunto watches are renowned for their quality construction and

and, as the app & website titles infer, Moves do indeed count.

Suunto Ambit3 Sport – The Watch The Ambit3 Sport manual can be downloaded online which provides an opportunity to both familiarize yourself with the operation of the watch and, further, to check out the functionality on offer well in advance of any purchase. In addition, there are a number of YouTube videos available that supplement the manual and highlight specific aspects of the unit’s functionality. It’s well worth investigating both the manual and the videos if you intend to fully get to grips with the unit’s functionality and get the most out of your unit.

As the name implies, this is the 3rd version of the Suunto Ambit. By all It’s worth pointing out at this point that accounts, the functionality set isn’t Suunto refer to all activities as ‘Moves’ all that far removed from what was on offer in the Ambit2. However, the newly added connectivity features may prove to be more than enough to inspire Ambit2 owners to upgrade. Certainly, as an owner of the original Ambit, I do notice a considerable difference.

Not so minimal review

The first thing to say about the Ambit3 Sport is that this is much more than ‘just’ a runners watch, offering as standard: Sports profiles specific to running (both outside & treadmill), cycling, and swimming (both pool & open water), with each profile recording a raft of metrics specific to the selected Move type. With the ability to prepare routes and points of interest (POI) in advance, and to use these for purposes of navigation, there’s also a feature set that will appeal to walkers and hikers. The navigation functionality on offer is, however, fairly basic, highlighting the direction in which to travel, and the distance to the next POI only. Secondly, with the majority of watches, what you see is what

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Profiles As previously mentioned, the Ambit3 Sport comes with a number of default sports profiles and there is ample provision for running, both outside and on the treadmill, biking, and swimming. Most GPS units are of little use when it comes to treadmill running but the Ambit3 Sport has a default ‘Treadmill’ sport profile that turns off GPS position updates and, instead, makes use of internal accelerometers to estimate the distance covered. Assuming arm movements don’t deviate too much during the course of the run, the end results are surprisingly accurate.

One of the main new features of the Suunto Ambit3 Sport is the ability to record heart rate data underwater while swimming. This is possible thanks to the new Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitor,

The main downside of this is that you do not get real time heart rate information displayed on the watch. However, you do have comprehensive information to analyze at the end of your training session. The Ambit3 Sport also offers a Triathlon sports profile, with easy transition between the respective components. The concept of multisport is not limited to triathlon, and it is possible to link different sports profiles, providing an ability to create custom duathlons/ triathlons and so forth. Using the Movescount.com website, you can create any number of sports profiles, over and above those provided by default, though you are limited to 10 profiles on the watch at any one time, arguably a generous amount for even the most active of people. These profiles can be created from scratch or based on existing profiles, particularly useful where a variant on the basic profile is required. Each profile can contain up to 8 data pages, with between 1 and 3 data fields per page. Your sports

Barefoot Running Magazine

profile can be as basic (single data page with a single field) or as complex (8 data pages with 3 data fields on each page) as required, enabling the recording of only essential data or of a raft of metrics, that can be viewed both during and after your activity. Sports profiles can easily be created for indoor based activities, with the ability to turn off the GPS position update. After all, there’s little point collating GPS information for an activity that involves a static bike in a spin class somewhere! Further, the frequency of the GPS position update can be altered, for example, from every second to every 60 seconds. This is some thing that I have done for an ultramarathon variant on the basic outdoor running sports profile, with the intention of extending the battery life of the unit to the absolute maximum for extreme duration events. Note that, with a claimed battery life of 25 hours for the Suunto Ambit3 Sport, it’s going to take a considerable endurance event for me to fully test the battery life! The only downside to the reduced GPS update rate is that this may be accompanied by reduced accuracy, obviously depending on both the route and the speed of travel. If, for example, you found yourself running quickly up tight switchbacks, the recorded distance would likely fall short of the actual distance travelled, with the reduced accuracy resulting in a straight line up the side of the mountain rather than the longer,

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Not so minimal review

These same internal accelerometers come into play yet again when the unit is used for swimming, enabling the Ambit3 Sport to determine lap information while in the pool.

which replaces ANT devices used with past Ambit models. The Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitor is unable to sync in the water, unless no more than a few inches away from the watch, and, as such, it stores data for the duration of your swim, syncing with the watch at the earliest opportunity.

Suunto Ambit3 watch

you get, a specified functionality set that cannot be altered, with the exception of any firmware updates that might be released. This couldn’t be further from the case where the Suunto Ambit3 Sport is concerned, thanks to fully editable sports profiles, the ability to create and add your own sports profiles based on your specific activity requirements, and the ability to create and add Apps, which further expand the functionality of the unit in any number of ways.


Suunto Ambit3 watch

more accurate, switchback based route actually travelled. Perhaps the best thing about the overall sports profile functionality is the granularity that it facilitates when it comes to recording your training. There’s no excuse for not using the watch to record your activities, resulting in a comprehensive overview of your training and generating a pile of metrics for those with a penchant for data analysis.

Apps If the ability to create and control every aspect of your sport profiles isn’t already enough for you, Suunto Apps take the notion of adding functionality to the extreme, in a way quite unlike any current GPS unit that I am aware of.

Not so minimal review

Since the launch of the Suunto App Zone back in November 2012, some 5000 Apps have been created, ranging from the serious (current incline, estimated marathon finish time), to the not so serious (estimated beer consumption based on current activity), all with the aim of expanding on the functionality of Suunto’s Ambit range of products. Once you find an App that fits your requirements, you can add it to your collection and then, when you next go into your sport profiles, you can add the App as a data page to the required profile. It’s then just a question of scrolling to that data page when next using the sport profile and whatever additional data or functionality that has been added will be available to you. In the event that there’s no suitable App, the Suunto App Designer lets you create and upload your own App. Admittedly, that’s something I have yet to try, partly because the functionality available via sport profiles is more than sufficient for my current requirements. However, the programmer in me is interested to see just how easy it is to craft additional useful functionality for my Ambit3 Sport.

Recovery With each activity performed, the Ambit3 Sport suggests a ‘Recovery Time’ in hours and this is adjusted

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accordingly in the event of further exercise. ‘Activity Today’ and ‘Weekly Activity’ are also shown, with data relating to kcal and average kcal respectively and, further, with a suggested daily activity level such as ‘Inactive’, ‘Moderate’, ‘Vigorous’. I’ve had some fairly sizable suggested Recovery Times following particularly vigorous activities in the past, sometimes in excess of 80 hours and I have to admit to having largely ignored these when I have felt fit enough to exercise.

Activity Tracker The aesthetics, size and battery life of the Suunto Ambit3 Sport lends itself well to everyday wear, with the obvious benefit that you are always ready to record activities. A further benefit comes from the constant monitoring of daily activity, which enables adjustments to suggested recovery time where required. One of the plus sides to this daily activity tracking is that it can demonstrate just how sedentary we can be, particularly those of us who, like myself, are tied to a PC for the duration of the day. On the other hand, there’s a definite psychological boost that comes from notification that your daily activity is considered as being ‘vigorous’. One thing to remember is that an accurate reading will depend on you keeping the watch on, and using it to record each and every activity, regardless of what it is. I've seen me dispense with the watch prior to swimming sessions that I know will end with some time in the steam room and, as a result, the Ambit3 Sport is none the wiser when it comes to my activity, still registering me as having had a sedentary day. Certainly at this point, the activity tracking functionality is quite limited. It looks simply at the bigger picture, the overall activity level as witnessed by the watch, and uses this to adjust recovery time accordingly. It doesn't provide any constituent details regarding daily activity (or lack of!), and no activity tracker data is transferred to the Movescount.com website. As such, you will still need additional

Autum n/W inter 2014

technology should you be interested in monitoring how many steps you took in a day, how much sleep you got, etc., etc. Hopefully this functionality is something that Suunto will look to develop further, perhaps with a future software update and, certainly if the Ambit3 aims to compete with the raft of health monitoring smart watches that are expected in 2015, this omission is something that will need to be addressed.

Notifications The Notifications functionality of the Ambit3 Sport may be a godsend to some, whilst others might consider it an intrusion into one of the only times when we can actually ‘switch off’. Whatever your opinion, it’s a functionality that arguably has its uses and, from a personal perspective, there’s nothing worse than stopping mid-run to answer a call that turned out to be spam or something that could easily be dealt with at a later time. For Notifications to work, the Movescount App needs to be running on your smartphone, with Bluetooth enabled and you need to enable Notifications on your Ambit3 (Options > Connectivity > Notifications = On). It’s important to note that, without the Movescount App enabled, you will not receive any notifications on your watch. Notifications are, just as the name implies, ‘Notifications’, with no option to respond to them. There’s no way to answer an incoming call directly from the Ambit3 or to respond to a text message but, at least now, you know whether the call or text merits an immediate response. Notifications can queue up, and you can iterate through them. Notifications obviously have the potential to be distracting but you can, via the notifications centre on your phone, configure what Apps are/are not permitted to send notifications. I’m quite looking forward to receiving some Notifications from friends and family when taking part in my next ultramarathon event, hopefully with

Barefoot Running Magazine


Suunto Ambit3 watch

some suitably motivational comments, and the best part is that there will be no rummaging in my pack for my iPhone as the comments will be visible via the watch face of my Ambit3 Sport.

know.

Movescount.com – The Web Offering Suunto’s online presence, Movescount.com, is a slick, polished online interface to the Suunto world, which lets you analyze your Moves/activities, plan your training, select from existing, goal specific training plans or, even construct training plans specific to your own requirements. Further, Movescount.com provides the necessary tools to both create and edit sport profiles, routes and Apps, all of which can then be transferred to your unit. Gear and Settings menus let you work with individual Suunto devices, adjust your own body information and personal preferences, and let you connect your account with Movescount compatible applications, such as Strava and Map My Fitness.

Movescount.com – The App The Suunto Movescount.com App can be used as a standalone App, with the Suunto Bluetooth Smart Sensor heart rate monitor, or paired with the Ambit3 Peak or Ambit3 Sport, providing an easy way to track your latest activity. The App replicates the look and feel of the online Movescount.com offering and is easily paired with the Ambit3 Sport via Bluetooth. Once paired, you can use your phone as a display for the watch, perhaps most useful when cycling, with the phone mounted on the handlebars. Whilst running, however, I would be more likely just to check the watch itself for any information that I wanted to

Not so minimal review

Finally, there are community aspects to Movescount.com, enabling you to share your own Moves, and to view the Moves of others and follow them. As you might expect, the majority of Salomon athletes are on Movescount and it is possible, for example, to view the inspirational Moves from the likes of ultra legend Kilian Jornet.

The Movescount App offers on the go customization of general settings and/or sports modes, though an internet connection is required for the latter. I haven’t done this since I got the Ambit3 Sport but there have been times in the past when this functionality would have been extremely handy. I’ve created sport profiles from scratch, accidentally missing out important data fields, and then headed out for a run without first testing the new profile. In the past, this has meant continuing on without the data field but, with on the go customization, it should be easy enough to remedy any mistakes or omissions. Further, what seems like an optimum arrangement of data fields at the time of development might prove to be flawed when it comes to actual usage. On the go customization again permits quick and easy changes to be made. For those of us who like to head off for extended periods of time away from the PC, the ability to customize on the go via the App is a real boon. The Movescount App automatically syncs your Moves with Movescount.com. As a result, data from my latest activities is available to me online before I even make it back to the office, a far cry from times when data remained unsynced for months on end as I failed to hook up my sports watch of the time. One of my favourite aspects of the Movescount App is the ability to create movies of my Moves. The resulting movie, combining a 3D map of the route with key metrics and photographs taken during the

Barefoot Running Magazine

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Suunto Ambit3 watch

Move, can be shared via social media or can be exported for use elsewhere. Using this functionality I can, for example, run a particular scenic, hilly Cairngorm route and then create a movie that reminds me of the route at a later point. The Movescount App is a powerful tool that supplements the functionality of the Suunto Ambit3 Sport well and removes the dependency on a PC/Mac that is common to many sports watches.

Price

Not so minimal review

RRP £275.00 without heart rate monitor / £325.00 with heart rate monitor, though I have seen it available for as little as £225.00 from a reputable online retailer a steal at that price!

Overall rating At £325 with Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitor, the Ambit3 Sport is certainly not the cheapest sports watch available. However, the functionality on offer, and the potential to edit and expand upon that functionality, set it aside from its competitors. It’s a watch that will likely require some reading of the manual and/or viewing of the topic specific videos available on YouTube if you want to make the most of its extensive functionality but this investment in time is soon rewarded with an unparalleled ability to generate a highly granular training log, rammed full of metrics for each activity.

happy. When used in conjunction with the Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitor, the Movescount App and Movescount.com, the metrics available increase significantly and, further, you can benefit from Notifications and the ability to work with the photography, video, and social media aspects of the Ambit3’s functionality. As good as the Ambit3 Sport is, however, it is not quite perfect. The omission of vibration alerts is significant, especially to those of us who have a tendency to train with headphones on and, therefore, have the potential to miss any audible alerts. Further, whilst the addition of an Activity Tracker provides some neat additional functionality, it’s a very limited implementation, offering little more than an indication of what the unit perceives your activity level to be and an updated recovery time from activities based on this. There’s no statistical data to accompany the activity tracking, either on the watch, via the app, or online. Hopefully this latter issue is something that can be addressed via a software update.

Product Highlights

             

Smart mobile connection with iPhone/iPad Enrich, relive and share your moves Route navigation Up to 25 h battery life with GPS Compass GPS altitude Heart rate in swimming** Activity based recovery time Speed, pace and distance Bike power support (Bluetooth Smart) Multiple sports in one log Training programs

Connectivity

  

Upload and share your moves instantly*

Use your phone as second watch display * (Add an extended battery pack for your iPhone to support even longer adventures)

Tested by JJM

Autum n/W inter 2014

The GPS watch with advanced run, cycle and swim functions

Growing feature set through Suunto Apps **with Suunto Smart Sensor

These niggles aside, the Ambit3 quickly became my watch of choice, both for sport and daily wear, and I look forward to putting it to the test in ultras in the coming year.

How much, or how little, of the available functionality that you use is entirely down to you. As a standalone unit, it makes for an excellent sports watch, capable of generating enough data to keep the majority of runners more than

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Specifications

 

Customize your watch on the go* Time and GPS satellite data up to date on the go*

See calls, messages and push notifications on the watch* Enrich, relive and share Take photos during your Move showing your current speed, distance, and more* Create a Suunto Movie of your Move with 3D map, key metrics and images* Share your experience instantly to your social media networks*

*With the Suunto Movescount App and Smartphone

URL: http://www.suunto.com

Barefoot Running Magazine


Intrinsic Touch Energy Making Your Life Calmer With Colin Boyd Your Relaxation Coach At the heart of you there is a place of great energy, deep happiness and profound subtle awareness. An Intrinsic Touch Energy session helps you to locate this place and draw on its great power to revitalise your whole body. The process works on the whole being – body, mind, heart and soul – through a carefully designed combination of:     

a free personal consultation breathing exercises guided meditation playful loosening up of the body energy testing using Chi Gong

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.

Contact: lifecalmer@gmail.com

mob: 07508 118072


Sockwa G-Hi

Out-of-the-box review

WEIGHT (M13)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

1.2 mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

TPU

Neoprene

N/A

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

4 - 13½

37 - 49

5 - 13

6 - 12

133g / 4.7OZ

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Sockwa G-Hi

he Sockwa G-Hi has a TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) sole which Sockwa, the manufacturer, claims is the “thinnest sole on the planet”. This is the same sole used on the X8 which has excellent barefoot simulation. The upper is the same as the Playa-Hi with 2mm Neoprene sides and toe box. The central upper tongue is Lycra, making it breathable and stretchy. The G-Hi rides high over the ankle, boot style, rather than a shoe. There is a nice wide Velcro ankle strap for a good, comfortable, secure fit.

Styling Funky. I love them. When I first saw them I thought, “No, they are just wrong! But, having owned a pair for a while now, my mind has changed. They are fun to wear, a real head turner. The G-Hi is available in red and black, which is an improvement on the “only available in black” Playa-Hi.

Fit

I’m really impressed with the G-Hi. They are light, flexible and very comfortable, apart from the tight toe box. I was unsure about the high ankle style, but this is proving to be very comfortable. My first run - which was only 3 miles on pavement - proved to be great fun. In fact, they are far more comfortable to run in than to walk. I think this is because the tight toe box is less noticeable when I’m running.

Playa-Hi sells for £24, which is the same shoe but without a rubber sole. So this works out at £25 ($40) for the rubber sole.

Overall rating By the looks of things, Sockwa have come up with another great product. The G-Hi is lightweight, flexible and has good barefoot simulation. I think the G-Hi will earn its place in any barefoot/minimal runner’s shoe rack. Maybe not so good in the Summer, but an excellent minimal shoe for Winter road running.

Price The G-Hi sells for £49 ($79). My only concern with the price is that the

Lightweight Barefoot feel

Price

Build quality I have had the pleasure of owning four different models from Sockwa and every one of them has excellent build quality. First impressions of the G-Hi are that this tradition will continue, with an excellent upper and the standard Sockwa rubber sole.

Tight toe box

Straps are a weak point

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Out-of-the-box review

The only issue I have with an otherwise perfect fit is the shape of the toe box. The G3 has a good, spacious toe box, with the front being squared off. Unfortunately for me, with my wide feet, the G-Hi has a rounded toe box which makes my toes feel squashed. When running, this is not really noticeable and my toes can spread naturally on contact with the ground because the upper fabric is very stretchy. But I do wish minimal shoe companies would allow more room for toes with a wider and squared off toe box.

First impressions


irstly I have to say that I didn’t pick the title for this column blame David Robinson, though it is quite clever.

aspects of my life bearing in mind that as a personal trainer and Chi Running instructor my client’s training had to come first.

Last year I was presenting at the Running Show when I came across the Royal Parks Foundation Ultra Marathon stand. I’d been thinking of running an ultra since finishing the Abingdon Marathon a month previous and needed very little recovery. I couldn’t resist so I had to sign up. With a whole year ahead and a strong marathon just behind me I had the ideal opportunity to create the perfect training programme following the principles of gradual progression and mindful practice.

The programme focused on FORM ––> DISTANCE ––> SPEED: Working on form to ensure muscles are balanced, body aligned and working as a unified system, building distance to develop a good aerobic base and practise energy management and economy of effort and allowing speed to happen through relaxation and the stretch-recoil of the leg swing rather than reaching forward and pushing.

I devised a plan. I assessed my strengths and weaknesses and created a vision of seeing myself fulfilling the desired outcome. I made a schedule compatible with all other

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I worked daily on posture, balance, hip mobilization and stability. I ran a long slow distance once a week followed the day after by a tempo run for about an hour. I also did a steady hill plus an interval/speed session each week and at least one

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strength-resistance session at the gym. Each session included various form focuses such as arm swing, balance, breathing, cadence, vertical alignment and rotational movement. Combining a gradual up-hill session with an arm swing form focus and downhill with controlled balance is a great way to integrate form focuses into a programme and introduce mindfulness into your training. I built in good recovery periods, made sure I got adequate sleep and plenty of rest, and ate ‘clean’, nutritional food (most of the time) to avoid overtraining and burning out. I spent two weeks of August on holiday in France. Here I had some great runs with my nephew. We’d get up early each morning and head out through rural villages to

Barefoot Running Magazine


run a lap of a beautiful lake, stopping occasionally for the odd set of plyometric exercises such as squat jumps, clap presses and log throws. I ran my most mileage in a week there, having to fit two long runs into that week. One was a 20-miler out and back on which I was testing my new energy gel squeezy bottle and managed to squirt most of it down my front. Sticky honey, maple syrup, banana, chia seeds and cacao power is not a good look splattered down the front of a white Chi Running T-shirt. The next was a split 21 miler – seven on our morning plyometric lake lap, seven at lunchtime in 28ºC running to a ‘go ape’ style theme park and then seven in the early evening followed by a barbecue during the tail-end of a tropical storm. After a long day of running that burger was the best tasting ever, even if a little soggy! The week prior to the race was more hectic than it should have been. I took a group of three clients and their partners over to the Costa Brava for a Chi and trail running camp. I met our trail guide two years ago via twitter. He was so intrigued by my Chi Running tweets that he invited me over and I immediately fell in love with the place, its culture, food, weather and stunning forest and coastal trails. Now I was back for the third time. We were out from 10 in the morning practicing drills and exercises then running until late afternoon with occasional stops for lunch, swimming and sightseeing. What’s great about

trail running is there’s no focus on time or speed but simply the pure enjoyment of running. The amazing camaraderie within the group meant no pressure of competition and it was such an experience for me to see people challenging themselves beyond what they thought possible yet still having enormous fun. I arrived back from Spain on the Friday with the ultra on the Sunday. As I left the house on race day I picked up my Garmin only to find that it hadn't charged and had only 9% battery. I’d done all my training on effort level so I didn’t panic too much but I was still a bit anxious,

wondering how I was actually going to know my pace and how far I was running. I had to ensure though that I didn’t let this stress me out and create tension. I borrowed a Garmin that had enough juice to get me to the first 10k and reckoned that mine would hopefully last out to use at the end. It was actually an extremely liberating feeling, not counting the miles, only getting a marker every 10k and truly running on effort level alone. As a result I ran quicker than I had expected. Thinking it would be great to come in under 5 hours I finished in 4:40:38 and when I checked lap times on the results website I found that I’d run the last 10k faster than the first. More importantly, the next day I was back teaching at 7:30am and honestly felt as if I’d just done a usual long slow Sunday run. Ultimately I was pleased with the whole process of running my first ultramarathon. Yet again I had proved to myself that running can be an enjoyable, sustainable practice through developing not only the physical but also mental and emotional skills.

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Nutribullet 600

Not so minimal review

few months ago, one of my clients decided to buy a juicer to do a bit of a detox and increase her fruit and vegetable intake. I have read so much about the benefits of juicing and although I tend to try and encourage people to eat a balanced diet, it can be difficult for some to reach their recommended daily intake of fruit and veg, so I was keen to see how the juicing – and therefore drinking the fruit and veg - would work for her. Well. I have to commend her on her perseverance. I would arrive at her house at 7am for her training session and find her in the kitchen amongst an array of various bits of machinery, discarded pieces of fruit and vegetables and bottles of powdered nutrients. The juicer itself would be whirring away at

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a steady rate, with her poking two or three chunks of pineapple through a spout every few seconds after which a tiny bit of juice would dribble into one container and the pulp would wind its way out of a different spout into a different container.

I came across the Nutribullet. I think someone posted about it on facebook, or I may have seen the advert on television. When I asked my sister if she’d heard of it, her response was, “Every insomniac has heard of the Nutribullet!” – late night TV adverts!

Despite the great tasting juice that was eventually produced, it seemed like a lot of work for very little reward and after only a couple of months, part of the juicer broke and needed a replacement. I had been contemplating getting one myself, but the hassle that seemed to be a necessary part of the experience put me off. I decided to stick to eating raw veg and a couple of bits of fruit each day.

Something about the simplicity of the Nutribullet made me want to test it out and review it for the magazine. I contacted the Nutribullet team and they were very friendly and efficient, sending one out to me the very next day!

Fast forward a few months and

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When it arrived, I opened it carefully in the kitchen and took everything out. The production/marketing team really have done a good job. Not only do you receive the machine itself, but also two cups in which to carry your juice when

Barefoot Running Magazine


vegetables in the different phases outlined in the booklet. For example, spinach provides a smoother taste than using kale. However, kale is one of those veggies that is so full of goodness that it’s a good idea to include it if possible. The key for me has been to experiment and use a variety of ingredients. I don’t like a sweet taste, plus there aren’t many sweet, Summer fruits available at the moment (peaches, nectarines, etc.) so the fruits I tend to use are bananas, apples and pears. I have stopped using avocados as I’ve found that I prefer the taste without them, although if you like a thicker smoothie, avocados will give you that rich consistency. I use a mix of vegetables – this morning, I included spinach, broccoli and sprouts. I sometimes use kale instead of spinach and although the taste is a little more distinct, it is still enjoyable and full of vitamins and minerals.

My first smoothie Now, I’m not very technical but this machine is so simple that even I can use it. I had a look in the fridge (after, as instructed, I had washed all the different components) to see what I could put in my first juice. Although there are specific recipes in the booklet provided, the basic rules are: Use 50% veg, 50% fruit, plus (I know, technically you can’t add to 100% but I know what they mean) a few nuts or seeds. My first smoothie contained spinach, banana, apple, avocado and mixed seeds. I put a handful of spinach in then chopped the rest of the ingredients up, added it to the spinach and then filled with water to the “max” line, as per the instructions. All that’s required after that is to screw the lid onto the cup, then turn it upsidedown and press it down so that it twists into place in the Nutribullet and starts spinning. It’s pretty loud but I wouldn’t expect otherwise. I’ve heard that some people have commented on the volume, but it’s only on for about 30 seconds and to me it’s not an issue. To stop the machine, it’s just a case of a little twist of the cup and it stops spinning, ready for you to lift it out, unscrew the blade and pour. After that, the blade (set in a plastic surround) just needs rinsing, as does the mixing cup. And that’s it - so easy. My first smoothie tasted pretty good. After a few weeks of experimenting, I have honed my ingredients according to my tastes. I have to say, I am quite used to freshly made juices that are vegetable based, so the more veg the better, as far as I’m concerned. I think that people who are used to drinking readymade, more fruit-based smoothies might struggle initially with a more savoury taste. Of course, you can add what you like to your smoothie, but there are guidelines for how to introduce more bitter tasting

Barefoot Running Magazine

And this is undoubtedly quite a large group of people! However, looking at the Twitter feed for Nutribullet, and taking into account my own lifestyle, it is obviously also appealing to younger, already fit and healthy people. There are lots of tweets about using the Nutribullet for pre and post workout drinks. You also get a sense of busy people taking their smoothies with them when they’re out, so that they have a healthy snack rather than grabbing a high calorie sandwich or processed snack bar. I use mine for breakfast; I used to chop up a banana and apple and put nuts and yoghurt on the top. These smoothies mean I’m having fruit, vegetables and nuts/seeds all in one go and it sets me up for the day. This is so useful, as my day revolves around training people

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Not so minimal review

The main booklet that comes with the Nutribullet seems to be geared towards slightly older people. There is an emphasis on the antiaging goodness that comes from fruit and vegetables that are completely broken down so that all the essential nutrients necessary for healthy joints and skin elasticity are released. The target market appears to be those who have reached middle age and realized they’ve let themselves go a little bit and need to lose some weight and start to eat more healthily.

Nutribullet 600

you’re on the go, a little booklet detailing the nutrients in many different fruits and vegetables and a bigger booklet which includes juice recipes, healthy eating information and ideas, and a full six week nutrition plan to re-vamp your health.


Nutribullet 600

at strange times so there’s no way I can eat regular meals each day. Getting my five-a-day in at the beginning of a busy schedule has been the perfect answer for me.

The marketing Why is the Nutribullet so popular when there are other, perfectly good blenders on the market? Well, the main reason (I think) is that it offers a complete package. Having had a look at other blenders out there that have good reviews, are easy to clean, etc., they are less appealing simply because that it is all you get. The blender in a box. The Nutribullet (which, at £99, also comes in slightly cheaper than other blenders of the same spec) provides the buyer with the motivation and information they need for a complete lifestyle change. If you’re already healthy, you can still go onto their website for recipe ideas and the Nutribullet team are extremely responsive on Twitter so that there is almost a sense of being part of the ‘Nutribullet’ family. This is very clever marketing. But marketing alone will not be enough if the product is not up to scratch.

Happily, the product backs up all of its claims of being easy to use, powerful enough to break down food thoroughly, easy to clean and taking up very little space. I have seen comments that the wording in the booklet/leaflets is a little “cheesy”, but again – this is just marketing and their aim is to make you feel excited about using the product and re-vamping your health.

In conclusion If there was anything I would like to see to improve the product, it would be to include some guidelines about exercise. It doesn’t need to be anything too specific, but I think some general encouragement to be active is essential. The implication that you will feel more lively with your new nutrition regime is there, but with no suggestions of how to put that to good use, it feels as though something is missing. For me, just that added extra would join all the dots. I thoroughly recommend the Nutribullet. It genuinely is my new favourite thing!

Not so minimal review

Tested by ALT

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kigo leon

Not so minimal review

WEIGHT (UK 9)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

6 mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

Gomma rubber

100% recycled PET

Kaluna

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

3½ - 11½

36 - 46½

4½ - 12½

6 - 14

136g / 4.8OZ

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kigo leon

ome of you may not have heard of kigo before, probably because they aren't too big in Europe yet despite having been around for a few years. I had heard of them, but it's my business to know that kind of stuff and it's how I make my living – so of all people I should know! For those of you who are familiar with them, you will probably know of their older “drive” or “flit” models. Visually a little un-inspiring but both good minimalist shoes with a firm grounding in ecologically sound manufacturing processes and using recycled plastic milk cartons. Admirable.

Styling

about the styling of the design because Marco is actually a shoe designer from Mexico. He became utterly passionate about minimalist shoes and how they affect our feet, the strength in them and the way we move. He would run in minimalist shoes, then take them off and put on his structured and confining shoes for work and other day to day activities. Much the same as how many of our stories started out – mine for sure. In the beginning I was working in an office and wore heels every day to work, then I'd get out, take my shoes off and run. It didn't then - and it doesn't now make any sense, yet still it is the situation most of us are in, or have been in at one time or another.

Right, now that we have put my addictions (to shoes) and insecurities (about writing) to one side, I can get on with the review. Or at least try, without getting too distracted. I'm going to go back a little to talk

I guess because we all start off as runners so, for a runner, kit is important (just a little). Then, for one reason or another, we discover barefoot or minimalist running – great! The shoes, or lack thereof,

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Not so minimal review

Well, last Christmas they were bought out and so a breath of fresh air blew through the belly of the company. Kristin and Marco took the company and in nine short months have transformed it into a different kind of animal. Maintaining the importance of the ecologically sound manufacturing, they have gone in the direction of casual/smart day to day footwear. They also moved the manufacturing from China to Mexico. And so here we have it, my first ever review of a casual shoe. For me this is quite a challenge because at first, all I could think of was pairing the shoes with different outfits to show how well they could be worn with different styles of clothing. Clearly something some of us girls would have an interest in but would it really peak the interest of my male readers? Humm, it might hold their interest for all of 0.2 of a nanosecond – IF I'm lucky. So it's really made me have to think about this. Normally I can talk about the pros and cons of performance on varying terrain and what other activities you could use them for. Do they have good grip in the mud, how well do they cope with water, yadda, yadda, yadda. Although I was given a choice of any of their shoes to review I chose the one which I felt

was best suited to both men and women: The “leon”. But I did also, for the record, purchase a pair of the “bali” (now I know that's just greedy but I am a gal and gals love shoes!). Also, before I get accused of having the ability of a four year old with my writing, I'd just like to state for the record that the company kigo does not use capital letters. It's something which goes back to the founder of the company being a lover of the English language and word play (crikey, I'm not insecure. Just had to make sure you were all aware of that one!).


kigo leon

become imperative to our passion, our running. But the crossover to using a minimalist shoe in the rest of our life is something which normally follows much later. It’s not immediate, I guess, because that connection to our running has yet to be made in the minds of many. Then one day there is a Eureka moment. We realize there is no point playing chess without our pawns – we need our pawns in chess to strategize and build strength to our side - it's not just all about the Kings and Queens. In other words, with the running we do, not all of it is about the long run or the hill sprints we do every week – it is also about all the other little parts. The pawns, the day to day, the building of strength in our feet on a less noticeable scale, the not spending the rest of our time in a raised heel undoing all the hard work we’ve put in with our training to get to this point. Eventually, we realize that to continue improving, the running part of our life will bleed into our day to day life.

Not so minimal review

The whole work/casual shoe thing can be a bit of a minefield, particularly for men. Most of us girls can pick up a pair of flat ballet pumps somewhere but many of the men I speak to don't have that to fall back on. (Although I do know quite a few gentlemen who wear ladies shoes, they wouldn't be seen dead in a flat pump – something more like your seven inch heel, to be more precise). Marco wanted to make something which, in black, would be suitable for the office and then the coloured versions as a great, casual alternative. The leon comes in four colours: black, sand, comfrey (which is almost like a pine green) and placid blue, all of which I really like and can see that at least one of these would fit well into most men’s and pretty much every woman’s casual wardrobe. The upper is made of canvas which means they almost have that cool converse kind of feel about them but far smarter

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in appearance; you could go out to a nice restaurant in these whereas I wouldn't in a pair of Chucks. The sole is black as well as the laces, tongue, trim around the ankle and the toe cap. They are classy and smart.

Fit The fit of the kigo leon is extremely comfortable. Nice and wide (particularly in the toe box) and with a traditional lacing system that adjusts for a narrower foot, to a certain extent. However, if you have very narrow feet you may find them a little too loose to be comfortable. The lightweight materials used to make the fabric of the upper (made of recycled milk bottles as I mentioned earlier) means that they are so lightweight on your foot they have a barely there feel about them. The overall weight of each shoe comes in at only 4.8oz, depending on the size.

Build quality The quality of their construction and manufacturing again is very high. Kigo, as a rule, send out their 'seconds' and samples for reviewing so as to cut down on waste, something I appreciate and think is a good policy. They explained this to me before sending out the shoes, so when I actually received them I gave them a good looking over and to be completely honest with you, for the life of me I can't see why they are seconds! The stitch quality is good and uniform all over - no pulls, snags or fabric defects that I can see, either inside or out. There is one tiny little spot where the stitching is not 100% snug to the cut of the fabric but without my thorough scrutiny, I would never have noticed it. Their quality control is clearly very high.

Performance Well, there isn't an awful lot I can really say her other than that they perform very well as a casual or smart shoe. They aren't made for road running or rugged trails, they are made for walking indoors and out and for that, they certainly tick the box. The tread on the sole of the shoe is a simple design of

Barefoot Running Magazine


the smaller brands?

Overall rating

Barefoot simulation With a 3mm out sole they give you a pretty decent barefoot feel – better than Vivobarefoot who use a thicker sole. They do also have an insole which, in the newer models, is non-removable and does add a bit of thickness but again, compare them to other minimalist casual shoe offerings and you'd be hard pressed to find better.

Overall, it is difficult to find something I don't like about these shoes and going back to my point at the beginning, they look really great with shorts, with jeans, chinos...possibly not a ball gown but you could certainly wear them with a suit. I like them very much and have had many compliments about them (especially from non-minimalist shoe wearers). They look cool but not too trendy and therefore could be worn by a wide variety of people of varying age and type.

Environmentally friendly

kigo leon

a pattern of squares which isn't going to give you amazing grip in the mud but they aren't made for that and the grip they do provide works well; you certainly aren't going to slip over in an urban environment.

Stylish for everyday wear Wide toe box

Not for running Only 4 colour options

Tested by TMD

Price At $74.99 or £46.54 per pair (if you live within the USA) they are well worth it and isn't it nice to support

kigo are kindly offering readers 20% off their products – use promotion code: BarefootBritain20 (expires 31st December 2014).

Not so minimal review

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Circadian Earth Runners

Not so minimal review

WEIGHT (UK XXL)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

134g / 4.72OZ

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

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The laces are a 16mm nylon weave, climbing grade webbing. The standard option is the nylon laces, or you can upgrade to the conductive laces which have copper impregnated into the lace, with the strap attached to the underside of the sole via a copper plug.

Circadian Earth Runners

he Earth Runners Circadian sandal uses a 6mm Vibram sole. It has a simple, textured tread which provides good grip on the trail. The sole comes with the option of copper inserts that curve at the toe bases in the shape of Fibonacci's "Golden Mean Spiral". A central copper inset approximates the location of Kidney 1 – a major acupuncture point of the body located centrally on the sole of the foot. The copper inserts, totalling seven per sandal, allow energy to flow between the foot and earth. Both copper inserts and conductive laces ground you electrically by allowing electron transfer from the planet directly to your body.

for non-standard size feet!

Build quality The Circadian uses a 6mm Vibram sole, which has excellent build quality. This sole will be good for hundreds of trail miles. The 16mm climbing grade nylon harness is, again, very strong and robust. My feeling towards the eyelets (that act as the harness side mounts), since my "Out-of-Box" review, have not improved. I can't find anything wrong with them, but for me they are just wrong. I would much rather see the laces going through the sole, which I think is an easy and effective way of securing the harness to the sole. The copper inserts have proved to be reliably inserted into the sole I've not lost any on the trail.

Performance

Styling

The conductive laces and copper inserts make the Circadians stand out from other huaraches, making them look far more interesting and provide a good talking point when discussing the Circadians with other runners.

Fit I love the fit of the Circadians, they feel secure and comfortable. The laces, with the 16mm wide webbing, give a great fit. The locking plastic buckle that is situated on the outside of the heel (Fibula) point gives a good, secure fit, which is also very easy to adjust. The toe strap, which people tend to query ("does it rub?") gave me no problem. A note on sizes: The Earth Runners 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

Not so minimal review

The Circadian has a rugged trail sandal look to it. It looks strong and robust, ready to take on rough stony tracks. With the option of the leather footbed, this trail sandal can transform into a half decent looking casual sandal.

These are yet another high performing huarache. The combination of the Vibram sole and the 16mm nylon laces give a good, secure and comfortable ride. They make an excellent trail sandal, which is where they belong. I'm not convinced that sandals are needed for the road - our bare feet are good enough for this job - but they do work on the road without the dreaded slapping!

Barefoot simulation I run barefoot as much as I can, with the aid of sandals for stony trails. So when it comes to barefoot simulation, a 6mm sole, which the Circadian uses, can only provide a mediocre barefoot feel. This does not make them a bad sandal - it's just that, from my point of view, I find it hard to say that a 6mm sole gives good ground feel. But the sole is flexible, lightweight, comfortable and a joy to take out on stoney ground.

Price The Standard Circadian 6mm sandal with 16mm nylon laces is £34. Postage within the USA is £5.60 and £11.80 outside the USA. There are several options that will push up the price, these include: £6 leather footbed; £6 leather laces; £6 slip-on laces; £7.40 slip-on

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Circadian Earth Runners conductive laces; ÂŁ8.70 copper inserts; ÂŁ4 nylon conductive laces.

Not so minimal review

Overall rating I've thoroughly enjoyed testing the Earth Runners Circadian sandals. They are very comfortable, lightweight and have a good, secure harness. The 6mm Vibram sole, (which is already moulded to the shape of the foot), is flexible and lightweight. The Vibram tread pattern gives good grip in wet and muddy conditions. I find it hard to comment on the earthing/grounding aspect of the Circadian sandals as I don't feel any different when running in these sandals. Having said this, I do like having the copper inserts and the

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conductive laces - they are what make the sandals stand out from other huaraches. It's not my place to comment on the validity of earthing; my role is to review the Circadian as a sandal for running. I do, however, put my trust in Michael Dally's (owner of Earth Runners) earthing philosophy. As barefoot runners, we do feel the connection with the earth, whether we like to admit to it or not, so it makes perfect sense to purchase a good quality sandal that, with the aid of conductive laces and copper inserts, can enhance this connection. The Circadian sandals definitely have a place in my sandal collection.

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Barefoot Running Magazine

Laces Performance

Riveted harness anchor points Fit across the toes


Open Ear Sport Headphones Nothing In Your Ears Listen Safely While You...

Features & Benefits  Open ear design - nothing in, or covering, the ears

 Unblocked hearing for safer outdoor activities  Patent pending bone conduction technology transmits sound through cheekbones to the inner ear, bypassing the eardrums

 Lightweight, ergonomic design offers unmatched comfort when worn for extended periods of time B aB rrae a iiznniee SS up e 4 31 3 Ba er ffeo of oo tto R tR u Rn u n inni g n gMM a gg aa a gzzaSweat n eand Sm p r im rni g n rg 220201014144 PPa Pag agg ee e11 49 water resistant

www.aftershokz.co.uk

 Includes deluxe hard storage case


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 Syncline 2.0

IH

(11/2014)

Be Real Shoes Be Real Shoes

TMD

(11/2014)

Earth Runners Circadian

IH

(11/2014)

GoSt Barefoot PaleoBarefoots®(08/2013)

IH

Human foot David’s foot

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DRR

(02/2011)

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

INOV8 Bare X 200™

DRR

(01/2013)

kigo Drive

(06/2012)

leon

(11/2014)

DRR TMD

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

(03/2014)

X8

(11/2014)

IH 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

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e’d like to hear from any of you who are part of a barefoot/ minimalist running club. Tell us a bit about the history of the club, how it got started, where you run, how many people there are, etc., as well as any stories that you’d like to share with our readers.

Barefoot Running Magazine was originally the newsletter for Barefoot Running UK until it grew so big that it claimed its own identity!

Of course, if you are a barefoot/ minimalist runner who doesn’t have any others nearby to run with, you can still email in and tell us about your “club of one”!

The Barefoot Running UK website aims to educate runners about barefoot and minimalist running, with plenty of information, photos, videos and links.

We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, our first featured club is the “Wiltshire Barefoot Runners”.

Visit: www.barefootrunninguk.com

his group, created by experienced barefoot runner and magazine contributor, Ian Hicks, meets every first Sunday of the month at various venues in the Wiltshire countryside. Most members run barefoot or in minimalist shoes but they welcome anyone, regardless of footwear, who has an interest in finding out more about barefoot running. They are notorious for running wherever the mood takes them which means they often get lost! However, they look after newcomers very well and will adapt the route according to who is in attendance. You can find out more about them on their facebook page CLICK HERE.

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Club pages

arefoot Running UK is a running coaching company, helping individuals and groups make the most of their running practice by improving their technique and running efficiency as well as encouraging a healthy mental approach to the sport.


Club pages

6th September- Stonehenge to Avebury

or my first marathon distance I chose to do a trail route from Stonehenge to Avebury, covering 26 miles of the beautiful Wiltshire countryside. I also decided to attempt this barefoot, but with the back-up of my homemade tyre sandals, which are about 3mm thick. At 6am on Saturday 6th September, I arrived at Avebury to pick up the coach to take me to the start at Stonehenge. The weather was perfect - warm and dry. Once I had registered and done all the last minute checks of my kit, I headed to the start line to wait for the off. While listening to the Race Director giving out the instructions for the race, he said, “We have a barefoot runner here today, I think that warrants a round of applause”. I put my hand up while everyone was clapping and I’m sure I looked very embarrassed! He then went on to say, “On the subject of blisters…”. I just wished I could have shown him my blister-free feet at the end of the marathon! The race went extremely well for me, with only two sections that I found to be a bit of a challenge. First, a path that wraps around a hill for about a mile (seemed longer at the time), which matched the angle of the hill. It’s a good job my ankles are strong enough to cope with side angle walking! Second, two miles of a path that was very uneven and was over-grown with stinging nettles. This was the hardest section for me. My feet and legs became very badly stung, but all in a day’s work for a barefoot runner! Luckily I was on my own at this point so I was able to swear away as loud as I needed to…and it was very loud at times! I thoroughly enjoyed myself, finishing in 6hrs 21mins, which I was extremely pleased with. I’m now looking to do a 60 mile non-stop trek wearing my trusty homemade tyre sandals, in under 20 hours. Watch this space…

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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

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Club pages

14th September - London 10

n a surprisingly mild, sunny Sunday in September, David and I headed into London to meet up with some barefoot runners for a leisurely spin around the city. We arrived early at the meeting place, the Tate Modern, but James and Ady had already beaten us to it and were sharing their running stories as we strolled up to meet them. There was still half an hour before we were due to run, so a discussion ensued, as invariably happens, about shoes! Ady was wearing some Earth Runners, we had rocked up in old Vibram FiveFingers and James was barefoot. The general consensus, as usual, was that sometimes shoes are needed and that different models suit different people. We all agreed that going completely barefoot was the most fun though! Mid-way

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through our chat, our friend Andrzej who hails from Poland, arrived. He lives completely without shoes in one of the coldest countries but always has a smile on his face! We headed into the Tate Modern to leave our stuff in their cloakrooms and all emerged completely barefoot and ready to go. Just as we were setting off, another barefoot runner – Mark – caught up with us to join in and we set off across Millennium Bridge towards St Paul’s Cathedral. As we ran over the bridge, which is probably the roughest part of the route with its metal-grated, non-slip surface, Mark told us all that it was his birthday. A run around London in the sun? Not a bad birthday treat!

the cars beneath it to melt! We stopped here for a breather and quick photo shoot!

David led the way, giving us a guided tour of our fine capital city. Our route took us along the path of the old London Wall, some of which is still standing. We ran through a shopping precinct and down a fun, spiral walkway before continuing along the wall, past the Bank of England and towards the so-called “Walkie Talkie” building. David reminded us how this building had been in the news over the Summer; the abundance of glass windows means that it absorbs a lot of heat and during the very hot days, it was causing the paint on

As we ran, we all chatted and learned more about one another. Mark has a fascinating story. He chooses to live barefoot and has actually completed the Everest base camp trek without shoes! He is very modest about this achievement and his feet didn’t seem to mind the cold at all. He does do some preparation for these kinds of treks, making sure that his feet are very tough and strong prior to the event. I think he’s the first person I’ve met who has done anything quite so extreme. I also think that he is another example of how walking/ living barefoot can be so beneficial for running. In fact, it may well be

that secret ingredient – or even necessary stage – that most of us miss out which often results in injury from doing too much too soon on under-developed feet. Mark’s progression into running is relatively recent and he just decided to do it to boost fitness. He’d read some articles and picked up technique tips online but really just runs as it feels comfortable – and it works! James and Andrzej have similar stories in that they just both prefer to be out of shoes whenever possible. James is new to running barefoot and is taking it slow and very patiently. Andrzej is a big fan of parkrun, taking part both here in the UK and in Poland. One of the parkruns he attends in Poland crosses the border into the Czech Republic so he enjoys telling people, “I ran in two different countries today!” Ady is an ex-soldier and although laid back, is undoubtedly hardcore! That doesn’t mean he is one of those manic barefoot runners who runs until their soles bleed; on the contrary, he is a qualified personal trainer and running coach so understands the importance of sensible training. Ady runs ultras, so our 10k was a stroll in the park for him! Our running tour took us next through Leadenhall market, with cobbled streets and lovely, old style buildings. This is often a busy area as it has featured in the popular Harry Potter movies. David led us

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As we ran towards St Paul’s Cathedral, it began to chime, as though we’d planned it. We also ran past one of the fireman’s brass bands which had attracted several onlookers, some of whom did a double take when we shot past without our shoes.


a look at the poppy display that was beginning to take shape, cascading down the walls of the Tower. Standing together, barefoot, in our group of six, sparked some interest and a lady started talking to us about not liking wearing shoes. We encouraged her to take them off! The final stretch of our run took us past the Golden Hind and we stopped there for another photo opportunity. It always feels strange to be standing next to something which represents so much history when it’s sitting opposite a Caffé Nero!

Club pages

We ran up Bankside, past the Globe Theatre and back towards the Tate Modern, where coffee and a chat were in order. We found a nice little café behind the gallery and shared some more stories before we all headed home to put our feet up!

down Pudding Lane, where we stopped outside “Faryner’s House”, the site where, reputedly, the Great Fire of London started. The building that stands there now is a modern, quite boring piece of architecture; nevertheless, we stood for a moment and did our best to imagine the streets as they were back then and the horror that the event had caused.

We headed towards the Tower of London, the grounds of which were very busy. The cobbled surface underfoot was pretty tough going as it’s quite a long stretch! We stopped for a moment to have

We hope to make this run a yearly event. It takes in so much of the city and is, for the most part, kind underfoot with a few challenging sections and the odd set of steps. Keep an eye on the website for more details of next year’s event, provisionally set for Sunday, 14th June.

We continued on our way, pausing briefly at the Monument and considering running up the steps (all 311 of them). Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps!) none of us had the correct change for payment, so on we went with our journey. There was a cycling event happening on the same day as our run: The 8th stage of the Tour of Britain. As we ran along Lower Thames Street, with the cycling route cordoned off, two elite cyclists shot past as spectators lined the streets. Funnily enough, they were the only two cyclists we saw that day and, just like the St Paul’s chimes, it was as though we’d set it up!

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28th September - Kingston Self Transcendence 12 Hour

riting this report is a bit of a daunting task. Not because it was a bad race – on the contrary, it was a very good race – but because it was my very first 12 Hour and because, a few days later, I’m still processing information, emotions, and lessons learned. It’ll take a while, I think, for me to sort everything out. In the meantime, here’s a first take. (There may be follow-ups. Just sayin’.) An indoor track, 400 meters per lap. Covered by a huge white translucent bubble, with big fans going all the time. A track surface made of a thin layer of rubber, laid over concrete. Warm, still air. There were 16 other people running the 12 Hour, 10 people running the 6 Hour, and 44 running the 24 Hour. And there were a whole bunch of volunteers on hand to make sure our needs were met. It was a pretty impressive setting, a pretty impressive event, and there

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were some very impressive people there. Above is a photo of some of those people. This is the 12 Hour group. The third woman from the left in the front row, in the dark blue shirt, finished first, racking up 112.8K in 12 hours. The tall fellow in the back, in the yellow shirt, completed 102.2K. My friend Pierre D., standing to my right, completed 82.2K. I managed a paltry 75.15K. (I don’t do well with getting my picture taken, which may explain why my eyes are closed.) Here’s a photo of me waving to my counter as I went past her, probably somewhere around the four hour mark. At the beginning of the race, every runner was assigned a counter, a real, live human being who, at the completion of every lap, made eye contact and called out the runner’s name. It was a wonderfully human way to make data collection happen. My counter was a young woman named Eugenie.

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contact. At the end of 12 hours, my feet were a little dirty, but felt great. No blisters, not even any hot spots, and no swelling. And, since running barefoot means better form and improved running economy, my legs were surprisingly fresh at the end of the race. Sure, my quads were a bit sore, and lower back was a bit tight, but a hot Epsom salts soak back at the hotel quickly dealt with those minor issues. Fuel: Low-carb, high fat all the way. I started the race fasted (had a tin of sardines, a couple of hard-boiled eggs, and an espresso at about 7:00 the previous evening), and mostly followed my LCHF regime throughout the race.

(I say “mostly followed” because, in the last couple of hours of the race, I got into the watermelon slices that were on offer at the aid station. “Lots of electrolytes,” said my friend Pierre, and, let’s face it, all I needed at that point was an excuse…).

And above is me, at somewhere around the seven or eight hour mark. Still hanging in, but differently focused, and a bit slower. It was warm inside the dome. The big fans you could always hear were there to keep the dome inflated; they did nothing to make the air move around. And, as luck would have it, this late September day in Ottawa was a hot and sunny one. So the temperature inside the dome stayed at a more or less constant 25C or so all day. I was hot, I was sweaty, and I was tired. But I was still truckin’. It all ended well, though, and I was ready, willing, and able to receive my certificate and group photo at the awards ceremony. (Upright and smiling, right?). Each entrant got a cotton (i.e., non-tech) t-shirt,

Morton Stretch: I don’t stretch except during ultra races. Then, I do something called the Morton Stretch. It refreshes the legs nicely, and is simple and quick. Highly recommended! In this race, I did a Morton Stretch once every couple of hours. It only took a couple of minutes, and I was soon on my way again.

while each finisher got a certificate, photo, and medal (the medal’s coming in the mail, as the supplier didn’t get them to the organizers in time). I couldn’t care less about the medal and the certificate. And I usually pitch race t-shirts straight into the recycling bin as soon as I get home. But this t-shirt is different. I really earned this one! So, a great event, wonderful people, and an excellent race. But what worked? What didn’t? What did I learn? And where do I go from here?

What Worked Barefoot: This race was barefoot bliss, with a track surface that was absolutely made for skin-to-ground

Barefoot Running Magazine

People: The Self Transcendence was full of good people. Ultra runners tend to be a friendly and upbeat lot anyway, but the Self Transcendence crew members were above and beyond that. I’ve never felt so welcome and so supported at any race anywhere. I want to run with them again! The volunteers were incredibly kind and helpful, and the counters did an amazing job of keeping track of us all.

What Needs Work Guts: I’m a wussy boy. I tend to run out of steam – both physically and

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I had a bowl of mashed avocados at about the six hour mark, munched on macadamia nuts or biltong every couple of hours, ate some chocolate (the good stuff – raw, Ecuadorian, and 89% cocoa) later on in the race, and drank some home-brew espresso at the six hour mark and again at the nine hour mark.


Transcendent reflection It’s been a week since I ran the Kingston Self Transcendence 12 Hour. It was a remarkable experience, and one that I’ve been thinking about a lot. Though some specific learnings come to mind (train better, walk better, be more gutsy), it’s the ‘softer’ lessons that have more meaning. In some ways, I feel like I’m a different person since running the 12 Hour. Still not quite sure what the difference is, but I’ve begun to get a sense of it. First, I’m surprised that it’s not a sense of accomplishment that stands out above all else. Sure, running for 12 hours and 71K is a big deal – I’ve never done either of those before. But what’s significant is that I feel more complete than I did before.

Club pages

Second, I’m happier. Not that I didn’t feel happy before last Saturday. I have a very good life, with little stress and lots of joy in it. But, since running the 12 Hour, I’ve been generally more at peace, more optimistic, and more calm. Something changed because of last Saturday, that’s for sure. Third, I feel stronger. Not only physically (I’ve been running well all week), but psychologically and emotionally. I’m facing the world differently, and am a better person for that. mentally, but especially mentally – at the end of long races. I really lost both focus and pace in the last couple of hours of this race, and simply didn’t dig deep enough to tough it up. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if this is what “self transcendence” is all about – the ability to let go of the tiredness, the pain, and the negativity, and go beyond that. I need to work a whole lot more on that aspect of my running. Walking: I started walking too late in the race, and therefore ended up walking too much towards the end of it. I need to discipline myself to start walking earlier, to power walk when I do it, and to keep my walk breaks to a reasonable time and distance. I watched other folks doing it, and was impressed at how they integrated their walking breaks

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into their patterns of strong and steady running.

What Next? I’m going to run the Kingston Self Transcendence 12 Hour next year. Part of me wants to say I’ll give the 24 Hour event a try. But, to be honest, the thought just scares me breathless. When I walked away from the 12 Hour on Saturday night, tired but happy, I looked back over my shoulder at the people who were still running round and round that track, and would continue doing so through the night and into the morning. I’m not sure if I have the gumption for that.

The outcome? Well, you may not be surprised to hear that I’m considering running the Self Transcendent 24 Hour next year. Something’s going on here, and I want more of it.

But I will run the 12 Hour, and I’ll run farther next year than I did this year. Maybe I’ll even transcend myself.

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Photos by Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and Chloe Duschene


had started running ultramarathons in 2013 as I was not getting any quicker at the marathon distance, so thought I would try and go longer. At the beginning of 2014, knowing I had an entry to the Marathon des Sables (156 miles across the Southern Moroccan Sahara desert) I was working out some races to do as training for the MDS and what to do after. I ended with nearly one a month so added a couple more and set myself a challenge of completing 14 ultrarunning marathons in 2014. As well as the Marathon des Sables, the races included the 45 mile Classic Quarter from Lizard Point to Land’s End, a 50 mile Swiss Alpine Ultra that encompasses the highest marathon course in Europe, and 48 miles round the coast of Jersey known as Round the Rock. I chose the YoungMinds charity that focuses on the mental health and well-being of young people. In completing the challenge I raced

755 miles and have raised £4,850 at the last count. Knowing that I was running for a good cause and that people had sponsored me kept me going when at times I was wishing it was over. Running long distances is mostly in the mind as the body will keep moving forward so long as the mind is strong enough to tell it to do so. I managed to complete 14 ultras by the end of October and on my last run I was reflecting on how my ultrarunning challenge sometimes mirrored life in general. Experience tells you there will be some tough sections and you know there will be times when you want to stop, but reminding yourself that you have come through bad times before helps to keep you going – you build up some mental resilience and a coping strategy. This is one of the reasons I chose YoungMinds as the charity. Part of their strategy is to “...build emotional wellbeing and emotional resilience

Barefoot Running Magazine

so that young people can cope and withstand the knocks that happen to all of us in life. For this reason, building emotional resilience is our priority objective.” I’m now planning next year’s challenge which at the moment looks like a 268 mile self-supported race called the Spine Race along the length of the Pennine Way in early January - the middle of the British winter. This is preparation for the 350 mile self-supported 6633 footrace in Canada from Eagle Plains, Yukon and crossing the Arctic Circle to the banks of the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk, which takes place in March. In the Summer I plan to take on the South West Coastal Path of 630 miles. You can sponsor me at: www.virginmoneygiving.com/ GrahamPitcher

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April to October - Ultramarathons for YoungMinds


Club pages

he August online competition was held to see which BRS chapter could do the most miles in one month. At the finish line the ultimate winner was France, with an impressive total of 2,194km by 16 runners. 104 members and 21 chapters took part. Top performer was DNE Chris of the New York Chapter with 438km. The Top Chapters for August were: 1. France 2. Illinois 3. UK The rules were amended for the September competition to see which chapter could get the most

members to walk, run or hike 25km to 50km in one month. The winner this time was the United Kingdom, with 17 runners doing 50km and 4 runners doing 25km. 103 members and 18 chapters took part and DNE Chris again took the top performer slot with 440km. The Top Chapters for September were: 1. UK 2. France 3. Norway The next Toes on Roads online competition will be in May 2015, and will be to see which member can beat DNE Chris!

ix members of the BRS Deutschland Chapter took part in the Marburg City Run on 28th September. This race was sponsored by Ahrens, a local department store. Martin and the barefoot participants all found it pretty comical that the store had highlighted that they have a “large sport shoes department� in the race literature!

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daho Chapter President happysongbird completed the City of Trees Marathon in Boise, Idaho on 12th October, all of it in bare feet apart from a short chip seal asphalt section at mile 15. This was Laura’s first official marathon, but she is already thinking about preparing for another. Nice job Laura! Catch her if you can!

RS Pennsylvania Chapter members Mike and Lara chose to run the Laney's 1st Annual Fashionista 5K in West Reading, PA and then added an additional 5km immediately afterwards to qualify for their 2014 Amis Sans Shoes 10K beanie hats. The race itself was very challenging as it used a local rail trail that had lots of gravel, but once they returned back to the streets things got much better. They then did an out and back on a neighbourhood street for the second 5km, but took it slowly as Mike was still a little tender from the gravel. Top job guys!

RS member Barefoot Dama ran the Quad Cities Half Marathon in Illinois on 5th October. Three years ago she ‘ran’ the full marathon, but it was such a terrible experience (got hypothermic) that she had blocked out everything and entered blindly into the race this year, not remembering whether the race was barefoot friendly or not. Luckily, the weather was this time in the low 50s at the start and clear and sunny.

path with lots of broken pavement that was being resurfaced, and was one of the toughest surfaces that Dama has ever encountered. Despite all of this, Dama has admitted that she did still have lots of fun (but is never going to do this race barefoot ever again – EVER!) and finished in a time of 1:56:37, and got a 3rd place trophy for her age group. Well done Dama!

Dama reports that the entire route was, “Just awful, all of it! Sometimes we say a route is for the most part good with few rough stretches here and there, but not this one. This was all rough with little stretches of about 20 feet (6m) of half decent surface.” Most of the race was done on a bike

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issouri Chapter President flipngrip bared his soles for a 5km race for Health & Wellness Week at Schneider Electric in O Fallon. James outran many of his colleagues and left them all in awe, finishing in 4th place in a time of 23:10 minutes!

For further reading, visit: http:// dailyimprovisations.com/90-barefootcity-trees-marathon-2014


he Barefoot Runners Society is a supportive, international barefoot and minimalist running club with many resources and chapter clubs worldwide. We are a not-for-profit community, organized entirely by volunteers, with currently just over 6,000 registered members.

Club pages

Our mission is to:

he EcoTrail des Massif des Brasses was launched in 2013 with around 200 participants. This year, the organizers Séverine and Sebastien Chaube, decided to propose a barefoot-specific podium to attract barefoot and minimalist runners. This year’s event drew nearly 600 runners, equally divided between the 15km and 30km races. 16 barefoot runners started, eight in each race.

Here are the Barefoot Podium Results: 15km 1. David H. - 01:34:04 2. Maxime B. - 01:47:04 (New Balance NB MB101) 3. Christian Harberts France - 2:14:04 (Homemade Vibram Dunas 10mm sandals)

30km

Three BRS France runners, Frédéric, Lamda and Nixul, showed up shoeless.

1. François L. - 02:51:41 (Vibram

Others, like Courirpiedsnus, opted for a bit of protection - huarache sandals or Vibram FiveFingers.

3. Jose C. - 04:38:07

FiveFingers KSO)

2. spirit bear - 03:37:43 (Inov-8 TrailRoc 115)

he BRS designated August 9th 2014 as International Barefoot parkrun Day in support of Leah, who was doing her first ever barefoot parkrun on this day. Six other members joined Leah and ran in bare feet at their local parkruns; the fastest being Ian, with a time of 24:12 minutes and the slowest being Greg in 37:02. Well done to everyone who participated!

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Offer resources that unite barefoot and minimalist runners around the world; promote barefoot running around the world and at race events as a competitive sport; educate the running public on the health benefits of barefoot and minimalist running; and dispel the myths associated with barefoot running that negatively impact the sport.

Some of our resources include: Forum discussions; Barefoot/ Minimalist running groups in your area; International Member Map to find running buddies, Coaches and Mentors; Map of BarefootFriendly Doctors & Specialists; ' Ask the Docs' Forum with six doctors on call; Calendar of Events in all countries; Mileage Competitions; International Race/Trail Reviews rating courses on barefoot friendliness; News; Product Reviews; Blogging; Private Messaging; and an extensive library of information in progress to help you transition safely to barefoot and minimalist running, including a 'Barefoot Running 101.' Our motto is: 'Changing the running world one odd look at a time!' Join us at: www.thebarefootrunners.org Membership is free.

Barefoot Running Magazine


xeroshoes……..


United Kingdom

United States

www.facebook.com/MaidstoneBarefootDashers

Boulder, CO www.runBARE.com

Europe

www.barefootbeginner.com

Club directory

lenaweebarefoot.runningclub@facebook.com

Asia

Austin Barefoot Running Club ianhicks1000@gmail.com

www.meetup.com/Austin-Barefoot-Running

www.facebook.com/BangkokBarefootRun

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

Australasia www.barefootnyc.com

www.barefootrunningaustralia.com.au 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

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

info@barefootosteopath.com www.barefootosteopath.com

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


hat a wonderful Summer we had here in Britain this year! T-shirt weather most days, lasting into late October. Now, if you are from sunnier climates such as Southern Europe or the Southern States of America, then you may not truly appreciate the miserable weather that we here in Britain are afflicted with most days of the year. Simply, it’s grey! No, more than that, it’s dull, bland – colourless, in fact. Darkness crawls in late afternoon even before most individuals are heading home from work. A tiny group of countries, largely ignored by the sun, being constantly spat on by cold drizzly rain that penetrates our bones and soul! No wonder we drink so much! And just this month, experts from the “Tornado and Storm Research Organisation” (TORRO), have named Britain as the “tornado hotspot” of the world with an average of 47 twisters per year! But, as we here in ‘good old Blighty’ have to contend with such soul destroying weather, we

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have, in a perverse way, become obsessed with it and just what it’s going to do next. It is an integral part of our lives. The Telegraph newspaper reported that over 60% of Britons talk about the weather every six hours and a quarter of all Brits, according to the study, were so obsessed with the misery of rain, cold days, floods and twisters that they placed it at the top of the list of conversation icebreakers. In a separate survey, designed to discover what Britons thought were “typical British” traits, it topped the list, beating being great at queuing, sarcasm, watching the soaps and getting drunk! A spokesman for research firm Onepoll, which conducted the latter survey, summed it up by saying: "You can't go anywhere or do anything in Britain without someone talking about the weather and we're almost proud of the fact that we get more rain than anywhere else." Now, I’m being quite sarcastic (a true British trait!) about my nation’s

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top obsession, but as an obsessive topic, it is very mild and unlikely to be harmful. (Except for the likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome in weather broadcasters resulting from their overly excessive remote clicking on the continuous weather show broadcasts. Please, BBC, I only need the one national forecast, there is no need for you to air a regional followed by an individual road by road account of weather that has already happened! Just tell us vaguely what we should expect so we know whether we’ll need a jacket or not. And, while I’m ranting BBC and the MET office, what is all this about amber warnings for a rain shower? It’s only rain! Amber warnings should be reserved for pending nuclear disasters or a Bruce Willis Armageddon, asteroid plummeting to earth type of thing, not just to be prepared that we might get a bit wet!

be 40°C all year round? Or more rain for the gardens, orchards and farmland? Or even snow? After all, who wouldn’t want it to be like Christmas day everyday of the year? (Actually, most of us…) We all have our preferences – although one thing I’m pretty certain of is that no one, given the choice, would ever choose sleet! Britain’s weather obsession, I believe, is very low on the spectrum of a compulsion chart or scale, similar to the ‘Green zone’ weather alert the MET office uses, i.e. no threats, no big surprises, maybe the odd shower or bluster of wind but, on the whole, relative calm.

In fact, most Brits actually have a fondness for a topic that unites individuals. You can always rely on the weather to bring people together – we suffer the damp, dark and cold as one.

However, there are people worldwide whose obsessions are more towards the red - or extreme – end of the scale. This is where things can get tricky. Imagine if this group of people, whose single-mindedness can lead to conflict and war, were able to control the weather? They might choose scorching conditions every day or endless rain. These extremes would ultimately have a huge, knock-on effect on everyone else’s lives, creating division – even weather wars!

The harmlessness of our weather obsession is probably due to the fact that we ultimately have no control over it and being at its mercy creates unity amongst the affected. It’s us against a higher power, which has no affiliation or favouritism with anyone or anything. But what if we could control the climate? Would it

So what the hell has this to do with barefoot running? Well, simply, we are not in control of our weather, let alone our environment, and our survival as a species is due to us not being too fanatical or extremist about anything. While the Brits may not like their weather the way it is, this same climate has provided

I feel much better now.)

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them with rolling green hills and valleys where they have been able to grow food aplenty for centuries. It’s given them strong trees to build ships to travel around the globe discovering new lands, but without the threat of year long droughts, earthquakes and Tsunamis. In other words, ‘middle of the road’ weather. And it is this ‘middle of the road’ attitude I think we, as barefoot runners, should strive for. We have to accept that while we may believe that barefoot running is the way to go, we have to appreciate that many people, including other barefooters, will have a different opinion on the obsession sliding scale, depending on their circumstances, terrain, weather and location. If a barefoot runner lives, say, in a region of Russia, that has -10°C temperature readings on a regular basis, what should they do? Not run for the duration, run with the risk of frostbite or wear some protection? I like to think they would adapt to the environment and use footwear as tools to achieve the best outcome for them – to enjoy running. Mentioning Russia having temperatures of -10°C, a Siberian friend assures me that is quite normal, but if you want to know cold you should visit a village called Oymyakon in North-Eastern Siberia, believed to be the world’s coldest inhabited place, recording temperatures of -71.2°C! I wonder if it has any barefoot runners?

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Spring 2014

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Profile for Barefoot Running Magazine

Barefoot Running Magazine - Issue 13 (Autumn/Winter 2014)  

Issue 13 – Autumn/Winter 2014. World’s first barefoot & minimalist running magazine, written by barefoot runners, for barefoot runners. Lots...

Barefoot Running Magazine - Issue 13 (Autumn/Winter 2014)  

Issue 13 – Autumn/Winter 2014. World’s first barefoot & minimalist running magazine, written by barefoot runners, for barefoot runners. Lots...

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