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Winter /Spring 2015 Issue 14 ÂŁ2.99 / $4.99 Free


A note from the editor...

Here in the UK we are heading towards Spring, with the days getting longer and warmer – perhaps with the promise of a hot Summer! We are seeing more and more runners and cyclists out on the roads and in the parks and there’s that positive energy in the air which comes from seeing the sun out and the flowers blossoming. As I look out of the window at the bright, blue sky it seems to fit very well with the topics/themes running through this issue: freedom and simplicity. Gray Caws discusses the benefits of play versus structured, often less fun, exercise whilst David Robinson bemoans the invention of the high tech, driverless car. We chat to Vanessa Runs, who lives her life in an RV, travelling, exploring and living the simple life. Vanessa is passionate about encouraging people to follow their dreams and not getting stuck in the mundane lifestyle that society dictates. There’s also an endurance theme in this issue. Our main feature brings you an account of the Running and Endurance Show at the end of last year, where the magazine hosted the “Barefoot Lounge”. Vanessa has just released her second book, Daughters of Distance, which delves into the world of female endurance running. She and her husband, Shacky, are currently crewing Patrick Sweeney (featured in our last issue) as he runs 30-40 miles a day in his “Race Across the USA” in aid of the 100 mile club organization. Our “In focus” piece talks about the amazing feats of Alaskan ultrarunner, David Johnston, documenting his incredible achievements so far this year, including winning a 350 mile race through the icy mountains of Alaska, fuelled mainly by Budweiser! Tracy Davenport is training well for her first ultra, having come back stronger and wiser after her injury. Chris Fielding, who has run barefoot every day since the beginning of the year, visits Jean Haines for some Hellerwork Structural Integration and insight into freer, more natural movement. As usual, there is an element of science held within the pages. Gareth Underhill puts into question the value we attach to scientific studies whilst David Robinson examines the evidence for and against coffee – could it be that simple coffee is, in fact, beneficial and it’s the rubbish we add to it that’s the problem? There’s all the usual advice and reviews from our wonderful team – huge thanks to them all. Run Strong, Run Free!

editor

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

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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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

Margaret Sinclair Columnist

Director Chi Running UK & Ireland

Human and animal osteopath

gray.caws@barefootrunningmagazine.com @graycaws

margaret.sinclair@barefootrunningmagazine.com @barefoot_osteo

Dr Steve ‘Sock Doc’ Gangemi Columnist

Gareth ‘The Gadget’ Underhill Columnist

Chiropractic physician & MovNat coach

Personal trainer, biomechanist and sports retailer

steve.gangemi@barefootrunningmagazine.com @TheSockDoc

gareth.underhill@barefootrunningmagazine.com @garethunderhill

Ricardo ‘The Dashing’ D’Ash Columnist

Gray Caws Columnist A glass statue, called “Dromeas” (runner), located in Athens, has become a symbol of the city. ChiRunning coach and personal trainer Avid barefoot runner & co-founder Created in 1988 by Costas Varotsos, using glass slates. of the Maidstone Barefoot Dashers

The Big Picture:

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 Running and Endurance Sport Show 2014 by Anna Toombs

In focus

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Ultrarunner extraordinaire, David Johnston by Anna Toombs

David’s laboratory

22

Is all I want just a proper cup of coffee?

Room 101

32

Room 101 - Airing your agitations

Injury corner

42

Posterior tibial dysfunction by Margaret Sinclair

Technical tip

46

Reading the trails by Anna Toombs

Nutritional nugget

52

Why don’t I need to worry about calcium ? By Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D.

A conversation with...

64

Ultrarunner and author Vanessa Runs

Book review

72

parkrun: much more than just a run in the park by Debra Bourne

How to:

86

Reassess your health

Competition

90

Win a pair of Xero Shoes Amuri™ Z-Trek Sport Sandals

Products of the year awards 2014

101

Outside the lab

30

On track

96

International news

97

Product news Page 6

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Questions & answers

36

Your questions answered

Season in pictures

50

What you have been up to

Caught in the web

57

Internet snippets

Events

58

Stuff that’s going on

Assorted goodies

76

Products worth a look

Picture from the past

78

Middle distance runner Steve Ovett

What’s on

92

2014/5 events and race calendar

It’s your letters

98

Your stories and thoughts

Product reviews

126

Club pages & directory

167

Web directory

172

For products and services

Anna’s pause for thought Tips and general musings

Chris Fielding

38

Roving Barefoot Reporter

Tracy Davenport

60

High society

The Sock Doc Surgical Intervention: Think Twice Before You Get Knifed Part I

Gray Caws

Gareth “Gadget” Underhill The problem with science…

Backchat

154 174

David Robinson’s latest

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82 94

50 Strides of Gray

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Main Feature Running and Endurance Sport Show 2014 by Anna Toombs

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t the end of November last year, David [Robinson] and I were desperately trying to get our Land Rover back on the road. We were very pleased to have been invited back to the Running Show for the third year in a row but with all the kit we needed to bring with us, it was necessary for our temperamental “beast” to be in working order. Luckily, David has plenty of engineering experience and, with much tinkering, was able to make it roadworthy. We were particularly excited about the 2014 Running Show. Not only were we going to be hosting the “Barefoot Lounge”, but we were also representing three rather unique footwear companies: GoSt Barefoots® (Germany), Soft Star Shoes (USA) and the Swiss Socks Barefoot Company (Germany). The show took place on a Saturday and Sunday, so we headed to the venue on the Friday evening before to set up. When we arrived, there was the usual sprinkling of people with their stands in various stages of development. Some had clearly been much more organized than us and had completed their set up and gone home for an early night. David parked up while I searched for stand number G38…but I couldn’t find it. I found Tracy Davenport’s Minimal Sportswear stand and Gray Caws’s Chi Running UK stand and knew we were close by but all I could see was a huge, empty carpeted area.

Well, it turned out that this was, in fact, our lounge. We were very excited but also quite daunted: How were we going to fill the space? David began to build our display cabinets while I hunted out Sarah Townsend, one of the show’s organizers. She said she’d try and source some lounge-type furniture for us and whilst David and I were setting up the displays, two burly men appeared with a sofa and two chairs! They then informed us that more were coming – perfect! Our lounge was really taking shape and by the time the two men arrived with a further sofa, chairs and two tables, we were beginning to feel right at home! We eventually left at around 9pm to head home for a quick bite and some sleep before heading back the next day. The morning was relatively warm, which was a blessing. Those big event halls can get pretty nippy and in previous years we’ve needed to wrap up with freezing temperatures outside. This year felt decidedly balmy in comparison. We said our hellos to Tracy and Gray before bringing in the remainder of our kit. Try as we might, we’ve never learned to travel lightly so our previously sparse lounge was in danger of looking like it could already do with a good clean. Never mind, it looked homely, which was our main aim. We wanted as many visitors as possible to come and chat to us.

The GoSt Barefoots company produces the increasingly popular Paleobarefoots®, or “chainmail” shoes as they’re sometimes known. Company owner, Jörg Peitzker, agrees one hundred percent with David’s [Robinson] verdict that, “These shoes shouldn’t work – but they do!” Meticulously crafted with trademark German precision, they really do provide incredible barefoot simulation whilst protecting the wearer from rough terrain, thorns, etc. They are one of the best off-road minimalist options on the market, highly durable and winners of the Barefoot Running Magazine “Most innovative product of the year” award in 2013. We were very pleased to be able to introduce them to runners at the show.

Soft Star Shoes offer something completely different. A small company, based in Oregon in the US, Soft Star Shoes offer an entire range of handmade footwear geared towards allowing your feet to move freely and comfortably as you go about your daily activities. Tricia Salcido, who owns the company, sent us samples of their footwear to introduce at the Running Show, including a very cute little pair of booties for keeping babies’ feet warm! She also sent two pairs of the RunAmocs the Soft Star range of running footwear which still work well for everyday use.

Lastly, we were representing the Swiss Socks Bareafoot Company. Now, there are numerous sock choices out there, including ones with separate toes, but the Swiss Socks offer something extra special. The sole is 50% Kevlar which means that they are far more hard- wearing than conventional socks and the barefoot simulation is second to none. They provide just enough protection to take the edge off rough ground and have great grip too - perfect for those pure barefoot runners who occasionally like to carry some protection with them in case of very abrasive terrain or extremely cold temperatures.

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At 9.30am, the announcement was made that “The 2014 Running and Endurance Show is now open!” We weren’t expecting a huge rush of people as they tend to trickle in so that the venue slowly fills with people. However, we were soon chatting to punters about running barefoot as well as introducing them to the more unusual footwear that we were showcasing, compared to the more conventional trainers on surrounding stands. We met numerous runners who were already familiar with Barefoot Running Magazine, but many visitors to the show were still only vaguely aware of the concept of running without shoes so we encouraged them to check out past issues of the magazine online.

Altra stand and to the right, an array of beetroot based products from Beet IT Sport. Next to them were our buddies Tim and Rachel from The New Forest Running Festival and behind, as mentioned, Tracy from Minimal Sportswear and Gray from Chi Running UK. We chatted at length with the rep from ‘Pulse on’ about their watch that is based around using your heart rate for regulating and monitoring training and visited Richard on his Running Memories stand. There were so many other people there who we didn’t get a chance to meet, but the displays and diversity were fantastic. Anything from nutrition to clothing to gadgets – there was something there to peak every runner’s interest.

Not long after the show opened, Ian, best known to most of you as our Head product reviewer, joined us after having completed a parkrun nearby. He’d brought with him a vast array of sandals, including his homemade tyre sandals. These were also of interest to punters and Ian is a great example of how beneficial barefoot/minimalist running can be, being physically fit and calm of mind. He spent the day convincing people to try it out and even managed to sell one of our books whilst we were elsewhere teaching a workshop.

A new addition to the show this time around were the “one mile gallops”. These took place during the first half of the morning and although we didn’t get to watch any of them, we listened to the race commentary and interviews with participants post-event that could be heard over the tannoy. It sounded like it was a lot of fun and there will likely be more “gallops” added in this year’s event.

During the quieter periods of the day (of which there weren’t many) we took the opportunity to speak to some of the other representatives at the show. Across from us was the team from Wolfpack running, just across the aisle to the left was the

One interesting chat I had was with a podiatrist. He came up to the stand, ready for ‘battle’, claiming that he was completely against barefoot running but was ready for me to convince him otherwise. On further discussion, it turned out that, in fact, he wasn’t against the concept but wasn’t happy with the way it is often approached which

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has led to a lot of injuries. He was slightly wrong-footed (pardon the pun) when I informed him that I was in complete agreement with him. I think he was expecting, perhaps understandably, that representatives of Barefoot Running Magazine would be anti-shoe evangelists. However, it soon became apparent that we were more or less on the same page, with the general belief that the theory was sound but that shoes were sometimes necessary and that a great deal of patience is required during a transition from running in shoes to going barefoot. Each person is unique and mustn’t try to conform to somebody else’s schedule. So, hopefully he left slightly happier knowing that we, as coaches as well as producers of the magazine, are knowledgeable about the subject and are passing our philosophy onto as many people as we can. This type of discussion cropped up in both of our workshops (one on each day of the show). Participants had heard of the benefits, most had gone out and bought “barefoot shoes” but were having problems adjusting. Patience, patience, patience we taught them, along with drills and exercises to help achieve more efficient mobility and ‘spring’. One lady who had been dragged there by her husband and loved her pink Nike shoes at the beginning of the workshop was reluctant to put them back on by the end. “That was so much fun!”

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She said, clearly surprised at how much she’d enjoyed it. We also covered a lot of the technical aspects of running technique as well as dispelling some of the myths associated with barefoot and minimalist running. We had more attendees too than last year – proof that this way of running continues to become more popular. After a trip home on Saturday night and an exhausted sleep, we returned to the show relatively fresh faced on the Sunday. Sunday morning at the Running and Endurance Show always includes a very popular 5km and 10km run. A lot of quite serious runners turn up to run their preferred distance before wandering around the stands to see what new kit they can get their hands on. Again, there was much interest in the Paleos, Soft Star Shoe and the Swiss Socks. Regarding the Paleos, the main concern for prospective buyers is the price – a pair will set you back around £200. However, once people had handled the Paleos and seen the high quality, they were convinced. A lot of trail runners were interested, fully recognizing that they would get through several pairs of trail shoes in the lifetime of just one pair of Paleos.

discuss their various injuries. It was a great deal of fun and hopefully we were able to offer some useful advice. Margaret kindly looked after our stand whilst we taught our workshop and we were lucky to be able to leave it in her very capable hands. Towards the end of the afternoon, the crowds dwindled and it was time to start packing things away. As we dismantled the last of the display cabinets, we had a bit of a surprise. In amongst the soil that we used as part of the display was a slug! It had obviously been there all weekend, having travelled to the show in a bag of compost, but it was still happily sliding around; David took it outside and finally set it free. Reflecting on the show afterwards, there was certainly a great buzz and more visitors than the previous year. This year it looks to be even bigger and better, perhaps with a barefoot /minimalist race alongside the traditional 5km and 10km.

Occasionally over the weekend it was interesting just to sit back and observe hundreds of runners altogether, enjoying their passion. We had such a variety of conversations during those two days - anything from barefoot running to the difference between trail runs and cross country runs. The constant, unchanging basis for all conversations though was fuelled by the enthusiasm that everyone had for running; time and again, it brings people together in their joy and triumph, challenges and setbacks. It was lovely to watch and be a part of such a rewarding experience. A huge thank you to David, Sarah and Claire Townsend for hosting such a fantastic event. Thanks also to our sponsors: GoSt Barefoots®, Soft Star Shoes and the Swiss Sock Barefoot Company. Thank you to Ian and Margaret for your help and support and to everyone who came to visit us at the Barefoot Lounge. Roll on the next one!

Initially, for hard core or regular runners, the Soft Star Shoes were a bit of a mystery. However, once we explained that the majority of their shoes were designed for everyday wear, with minimalism and foot health in mind, people were keen to know more, especially when we showed them the RunAmocs – yes, you can run in them! The booties received lots of, “They are so cute!” comments too. The Swiss Socks were intriguing for our lounge visitors and of particular interest to those already running barefoot. So many barefoot runners struggle to find a foot covering that genuinely feels like being barefoot. The Swiss Socks are just the ticket and are also ideal for water sports and climbing for those multisport enthusiasts. Our Sunday ‘helper’ was Margaret Sinclair, aka the “Barefoot Osteopath”. Margaret carries out osteopathic treatment on humans and animals and is well aware of the importance of foot health. Between us, we inadvertently created a mini ‘clinic’ in the corner of the Barefoot Lounge, where people came to sit with us to

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In focus Ultrarunner extraordinaire, David Johnston by Anna ToombsAnna Toombs

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ccomplished ultra runner David Johnston of Willow, Alaska, recently won the Iditarod Trail Invitational in a time of 4 days, 1 hour and 38 minutes, smashing the course record by a massive 13 hours and 22 minutes. Johnston, who had won the Susitna 100-miler only a week before, battled against nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea – not to mention a broken sled and holes in his shoes. Not surprisingly, in an interview a couple of days later, he said, “ I can feel the things coming back to life that got numb out there. They’re not coming back to life very happy.” (www.irunfar.com) Johnston, 43, lives and trains on the Alaskan trails. He has been a runner since the age of eight, when his dad took up running having been inspired by the release of the Rocky movie in 1979. Johnston used to tag along sometimes and never really stopped. He ran cross country in high school and went on to run over 60 marathons before he ran his first ultra, aged 35, feeling the need for a new challenge.

Johnston is notorious for his unorthodox nutritional habits during races. Whilst many of the other runners are fuelling on healthy, wholesome food, Johnston is well-known for having a sleep at aid stations followed by a couple of cans of Budweiser. He is often asked about his fuelling strategies during interviews and describes his intolerance to food during running as “perhaps a weak point”. He struggles to eat on the run so will choose high sugar, high calorie, smaller snacks on the go rather than heavier, larger meals which other runners are able to manage. The beer obviously provides some much needed calories and one could argue that it helps with electrolyte balance! Johnston also enjoys the social aspect of having a few beers; it can be lonely out on the trails, especially in a race such as the Iditarod Trail Invitational which covers a whopping 350 miles, so the thought of a chat and a beer at the next stopping point provides a welcome incentive. Another reason that Johnston stands out in the crowd is, despite his race success, he doesn’t rock up to each

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race in the all the latest gear. He looks more like a surfer dude with his long hair and old t-shirts. Often within the ultra running community, where couples are concerned, there will be one runner and one very patient supporter. In Johnston’s case, his wife, Andrea Hambach, is as hard core as he is and in the past they have both run the Iditarod Trail Invitational together. The duo have two sons, one who is 13 and the other just 18 months and they enjoy living a very outdoorsy life an hour away from where they both work - Johnston as a medical rep and Hambach as a vet. As well as their two children, they have a multitude of cats and dogs. Johnston’s race wins (he won the Iditarod Trail Invitational last year too) come down to two main factors: his thorough training and his pure mental strength. All ultra runners have the ability to push through what many others would not deem possible but it is those who have the extra strength, talent and training behind them that have the edge. Johnston knew that he would be pulling a sled for the

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entire 350 miles and so trained everyday for four months pulling a 35lb sled behind him. He also did 300 sit ups everyday to strengthen his abdominals. Aside from the training, as mentioned, Johnston has an incredibly strong mind. He has had a fall in training before, sliding down a mountain and suffering various injuries, including a broken nose. A week later he was back running (albeit very stiffly!) and ran a 100 mile race a month later. Post-Iditarod Trail, he feels very battered. He says: “I’ve been on a three-mile walk every day very slowly, just trying to get the circulation back in my legs because they’re kind of like Vienna sausages now…it’s not pretty.” (www.irunfar.com) In the same interview, Johnston talks about the nightmares he has postrace. He dreams repeatedly of being lost out on the trail, or not being able to move his feet quick enough and just being stuck. He has the same nightmares for a while after each time he runs that trail. His wife even has similar ones! He certainly needs to catch up on sleep though – throughout the four days of running, he only had 6.5 hours sleep. His body somehow manages to cope though and he believes that every now and again he is able to drop off for a few minutes whilst he is running! The ultimate toughness of the race doesn’t put him off and he’s already planning on next year’s race in the hope of beating his record. He is an inspiration to the running community and to anyone who believes that once they’re past 40, their body is no longer capable. If you’re considering an ultra, read some more about this man and you are guaranteed to sign up! Sources www.adn.com www.halfpastdone.com www.iancorless.com www.alaskapublic.org www.irunfar.com

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2015 achievements so far: January 3rd – 551 miles covered and a win at the 6 day “Across the Years” race February 14th – Susitna 100 mile race win and the second fastest time ever run in that race March 5th – Iditarod Trail Invitational win and second fastest time ever in that race

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obody wins races running without shoes”, say the nay-sayers of barefoot running.

“Yes”, the nay-sayer will reply, “but he ran even faster in shoes”.

matter of fact - as I run on Christmas Day. The sun is shining, the air is crisp without being too cold and I’m able to run in shorts with only a couple of tops on. I’m also wearing my Santa hat and next to me, David [Robinson] runs in just a t-shirt and leggings, along with a very fetching elf hat on his head. We’re barefoot; our preferred way to run.

I contemplate this obsession we all have with speed - and distance, as a

As I run, I feel the cold surfaces beneath my feet - tarmac, damp soil,

“What about Abebe Bikila?”, someone will counter. “He won the 1960 Olympic Marathon running barefoot!”

pockets of soggier ground with big muddy puddles. I feel my whole body begin to loosen as my feet warm up, enjoying the different sensations and nerve signals awakening my mind. The air is beautifully cold and fresh against my face as my feet find that regular rhythm that flows through my entire body. As is often the case when I run, I feel thankful. Overwhelmingly thankful that it is within my ability to be able to do this - to have a body that can move lightly over the ground, however far and however fast I wish to go. I think of the many people who do not have this pure and simple joy. Perhaps they are confined to a wheelchair, or have an illness that prevents them from exerting themselves. I am well aware that some people are spending Christmas Day alone - without a home, even. When someone says to me that no one wins races barefoot, my reaction is: So what? Who cares?! Abebe Bikila ran the fastest on that day in

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Rome half a century ago. He returned to Ethiopia to a hero’s welcome and went on to run several other races, representing his country yes, in shoes and yes, with faster times. Ultimately though, his country - or his king at least - betrayed him. He was left permanently injured after being falsely accused and beaten for an apparent crime against the king and was unable to run again. Speed, in the end, did nothing for him. Of course, I am not suggesting that everyone ought to throw away their watches and never enter a race again. On the contrary, having just read the story of parkrun (reviewed on page 72), I can wholly understand the significance for a lot of runners of knowing the time that it takes them to run a particular distance. It provides them with a tangible way of monitoring their progress and a sense of achievement when they run a PB. It just doesn’t sit well with me when, as soon as someone finds out that I run, the first questions off their lips are “How far? How long does that take?” Some people even take my answer as evidence of whether or not I’m a ‘good’ runner. A friend of a friend found out that I coach people in running technique but I was written off because I hadn’t run a marathon. Is that really the indicator of someone’s running abilities? In fact, I am a far better runner now than I was ten years ago when I used to run for speed and distance. I was a sprinter at school and played sports like netball, so my endurance wasn’t necessarily my strong point. I persevered with distance running though, spurred on by a friend entering me into the Bupa Great North Run, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The training, however, was mixed, at best. I set myself targets with distance and running frequency. I was also doing a full-time job, as well as teaching classes at the local leisure centre. I remember enjoying some runs but really struggling through others, without much thought for my technique or well-being. When race day came, I was ready. I managed the distance comfortably, having got up at 4am to make the start line in time. It was fun, too. However, I don’t remember any

sense of enjoying my movement during my training runs, or noticing the scenery around me. Rather than listen to my body, I shut my mind off from it, as it would probably just have told me, “Stop! You’re in pain! Walk for a while, take a day off…” Looking back, I realize how much my approach has changed and a significant part of that change is due to running barefoot. Take your shoes off and connect with cold or rough ground, and you’ll be listening to your feet whether you like it or not. It’s as though the channels of communication are complete so that everything works as it should. Your natural sense of preservation won’t allow you to push it too far. Running barefoot has also allowed me to find my default running pace. Yes, I tend to start slowly and gather speed as I warm up and I do some sprints or faster sections during my runs. But I have a comfortable cruising speed where my body is working at optimum efficiency and it’s my own natural speed - not dictated by somebody else, or by my watch.

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We are warned against speed in other areas of life, because it can have a negative effect. “More haste, less speed”, as the expression goes. Speed is linked to carelessness, cutting corners and sometimes even danger. The faster you go in a car, for example, the more control and concentration you need to keep the car safely on the road. Furthermore, if you try and race your Nissan Micra against a Ferrari, it won’t be long before it breaks. Speed is personal. It’s about discovering boundaries and being aware of that point where you lose control of your ‘vehicle’. At some point, your reaction speeds aren’t quick enough or your ‘machinery’ isn’t capable and this is when injury occurs. So many runners I work with are injured simply because they are trying to run too fast. What’s the rush? What are you running so fast towards? The finish line - the end? My advice is to not be in such a hurry. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the process of running for the rest of your (hopefully) long life.

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David’s laboratory Is all I want just a proper cup of coffee?

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e it a double espresso with a splash of steamed water, a single shot mocha in a takeaway cup or for those concerned about their weight, a guilt-free skinny soya latte with cinnamon dolce (oh! - and a blueberry muffin!), it’s probably acceptable to say most of us have an addiction, however mild, where coffee is concerned. Personally, a day doesn’t go by without a few hits of the good old “full leaded” cuppa Joe. As a matter of fact, I write most of my articles in my favourite Caffè Nero in London, and this one is no exception. But is my coffee addiction, as the media and conventional wisdom dictates, bad for me? Or does coffee, as many are starting to believe, hold some health or, importantly, any athletic performance enhancing properties? If you believe some of the coffee rhetoric, one cup can be lethal, but does its popular and controversial consumption over many centuries go some way to explaining its negative health image, more than any true scientific research data? For millennia, coffee plants have grown wild and over that time the belief has been that they were used by the nomadic tribes of Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia). However, it was not until the 1400’s that the bean was first roasted and converted into the beverage we know and love today[2] and even back then, it had its critics. As far back as 1675 King Charles II of England attempted to ban coffee-houses by proclamation, but due to pressure from his own ministers, it was quickly rescinded. They obviously loved their coffee as much as me! His reason for desiring the ban was because it made him nervous; for the price of a cup of coffee (which strangely was taxed by the barrel) you could read the latest pamphlets, tap into the latest news and gossip from home and abroad, attend scientific lectures, strike business deals, listen to a live rendition of the latest music of the great composers of the time, or chat with like-minded people about literature and politics, all of which made coffee-houses, to his mind, potential centres of political and cultural dissent.[2] King Charles’s argument was that coffee-houses disturbed the peace

of the realm, promoted idleness and, “Some scurrilous and defamatory rumour-mongering”. That doesn’t sound like my local Caffè Nero! (But then again…).

have to learn to embrace coffee instead, because drinking tea had become unpatriotic! I believe in many ways that the association coffee has had with rebellion, both political and cultural, goes much of the way to condemning coffee as a harmful item. Strangely, the year before King Charles II’s proclamation against coffee, the women of London were convinced that the consumption of coffee was making their husbands impotent. A rumour I’d like to dispute totally unscientifically – go into any coffeehouse today at 4pm and you won’t be able to move with the amount of kids climbing around on the leather sofas and whizzing up and down on the scooters.

Strangely, coffee seems to have been considered a seditious item throughout much of history and from as early as the 16th Century the consumption of coffee was subject to banning. The religious leaders of Mecca in 1511 first attempted to ban its consumption claiming it was intoxicating and, “Should be subject to the same prohibition as alcohol and bad for the health”.[3] However, their reasons were more similar to King Charles II’s sentiments and the recognition of the alarming potential of coffee-houses for facilitating political discussion and activity. Perhaps these leaders weren’t entirely nonsensical in their respective attempts to ban these establishments, because on the 12th July 1789, Camille Desmoulins, fuelled by political outrage at the dismissal of the very popular finance minister of France, Jacques Necker (who had been dismissed by King Louis XVI the day before), leapt upon a table outside the Cafe du Foy, in the garden of Palais Royal, passionately calling the French people to take up arms and adopt cockades (green livery associated with liberty)[4] exclaiming, 'Citizens, there is no time to lose; the dismissal of Necker is the knell of a Saint Bartholomew for patriots! This very night all the Swiss and German battalions will leave the Champ de Mars to massacre us all; one resource is left; to take arms!'[5] From that small coffee-house one of many cafés in the garden of the Palais Royal known to be frequented by political dissidents and free thinkers - riots spread throughout Paris leading to the storming of the Bastille two days later and eventually the French Revolution. This was not the only time coffee has been associated with rebellion. It is believed by many that America’s universal consumption of coffee is a direct result of the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when American colonists raided British ships and threw their tea cargo overboard in protest against the British colonial tea taxation. This

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is evidenced in a letter written by “Founding Father” John Adams to his wife Abigail, when he proclaimed his love of tea but said that he would have to learn to embrace coffee instead, because drinking tea had become unpatriotic! I believe in many ways that the association coffee has had with rebellion, both political and cultural, goes much of the way to condemning coffee as a harmful drink. Strangely, the year before King Charles II’s proclamation against coffee, the women of London were convinced that the consumption of coffee was making their husbands impotent. A rumour I’d like to dispute totally unscientifically – go into any coffeehouse today at 4pm and you won’t be able to move with the amount of kids climbing around on the leather sofas and whizzing up and down on the scooters. Coffee’s influence on history seems to always revert back to its association with thinking. In fact, one of the most consequential and well-known meetings of scientific minds happened as a result of a discussion in a coffee-house. The meeting happened in Cambridge, in 1684, between a young astronomer, Edmund Halley, and (at that time)

a recluse named Isaac Newton. The subject? The curve that Newton thought would be described by the planets, supposing the force of attraction towards the sun to be reciprocal to the square of their distance from it.[6] Without the Robert Hooke, Christopher Wren, and Edmund Halley discussion in that London coffee-house following a meeting at the Royal Society, where Wren offered a cash prize to whoever could provide an answer to this dilemma, Newton may never have formulated his ideas concerning mechanics and universal gravitation and, with the help of Halley a remarkable 18 months later, produced Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy). This very publication revolutionized the world as we know it and is arguably still the greatest single advance in human understanding ever achieved in the history of science. So does coffee contain elements that have an astonishing effect on the human brain, or is it purely coincidental? It is universally known that coffee contains caffeine. Over the years,

coffee’s influence on mental and physical performance has been thoroughly researched, in both its naturally occurring state (in approximately sixty plant species such as coffee beans themselves as well as tea leaves, cocoa and kola beans) and in its synthesized state in “energy” drinks such as Redbull and Monster and in multiple pharmacological and over-thecounter medicines like Pro Plus. In 2011, The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA), evaluated the claim that caffeine increases both cognitive and mental performance in the general, adult population. Mental performance was defined as: “… those aspects of brain and nerve functions which determine aspects like concentration, learning, memory and reasoning, as well as resistance to stress” and cognitive function described as; “enhanced mental alertness during intense muscular activity”.[7] Weighing up the evidence presented, taking into consideration evidence provided by consensus opinions, reports and scientific studies, it was concluded that a “cause and effect relationship” was established between caffeine consumption and an increase in attention and alertness when consumption was at least 75mg. This, along with increased levels of fat oxidation, was deemed a, “beneficial physiological effect”. The panel noted, however, that in the case of children a consumption of just 5 mg/kg body weight of caffeine could result in “transient behavioural changes” and could manifest itself as an increase in arousal, irritability, nervousness or anxiety.[7] This conclusion backs up multiple experiments into the positive effect of caffeine on both cognitive and mental performance and reaction time. My favourite is a 2012 study which found that subjective driving quality during a simulated two hour monotonous motorway driving test was greatly improved in the first hour after consuming a typical cup of coffee containing approximately 80mg of caffeine[8] – great news for me, any excuse to stop at a coffeehouse suits me fine! Furthermore, it has been suggested that drinking 125ml of “strong coffee”, containing 200mg caffeine (say, a double espresso) is as effective as a 30 minute

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sleep in reducing driving impairment, without altering subsequent sleep.[9] In a related 2013 study by Sharwood et al. it was found that coffee, or similar caffeinated beverages, is associated with a reduced risk of crashing for long distance, commercial motor vehicle drivers.[10] In addition, it has been suggested in a 2001 study by Elke De Valck and Raymond Cluydts of the Department of Cognitive and Physiological Psychology at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, that 300mg of slow- release caffeine reduced lane drifting, speed deviation and accident liability in a simulated driving test.[11] Caffeine does not only affect mental performance. There is also evidence to suggest that it can be a very effective athletic performance enhancer. In a previous article entitled “Better for a brew? - Tea’s effect on sports performance” I suggested that for some time, caffeine had a positive effect on performance to a point where the WADA (The World Anti-Doping Agency) had it listed as a banned substance until 2004. However, it was subsequently removed from the list of prohibited substances, as it was believed that performanceenhancing doses of caffeine are practically indistinguishable from everyday use.[12] In the same article I cited a 1979 study by Ivey et al. that monitored nine trained athletes completing a two hour cycle endurance test while consuming 250mg of caffeine (that’s only two and a half cups of coffee) one hour before the test and a subsequent 250mg dose divided into 15 minute intervals. The study found that the athletes were able to increase their output throughout the test, producing, on average, a 7%

increase in total athletic output[13], and whilst not condoning the use of caffeine by athletes, researchers at William Marsh Rice University, Houston, reported that athletes who wish to increase their endurance with the aid of caffeine should consider consuming their coffee/ tea or caffeine supplements approximately 3 to 4 hours before they compete. Further, to gain maximum performance benefits, they would need to abstain from drinking any caffeinated drinks for three to four days prior to competition to reduce tolerances and gain maximal effects.[14] Several more studies have proposed a link between caffeine intake before exercise and an increase in athletic performance. A 1992 study conducted by Wiles, Bird, Hopkins and Riley investigated the effects of caffeinated coffee on perceived exertion along with other independent variables including blood lactate, respiratory factors and running speed. The researchers tested the effects of low doses of caffeine, equivalent to two cups of coffee and mimicking an athlete’s “normal” dietary habits. A protocol was established with subjects running 1500 metres on a motorized treadmill with a one minute burst at the end of the high intensity run. It was found that subjects who consumed coffee before completing the 1500 metres completed their run, on average, 4.2 seconds faster than the control group.[15] As well as the multiple effects on both mental and physical performance, it is has been suggested that caffeine has the ability to metabolize fat in a similar way to that of tea catechins, delaying the depletion of glycogen. Studies have shown that during 15 minutes of activity there is up to a fifty percent reduction in the loss of glycogen.[16] It is believed that coffee, when consumed before exercise, can cause fat cells to be used as an energy source as opposed to glycogen. Actually, consuming

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higher amounts of caffeine in, say, black coffee, will increase an individual’s metabolism by 3-11% which, in turn, will burn a greater amount of calories throughout the day than a non-drinker.[17] Other than caffeine, coffee beans also contain over one thousand compounds, many of which are biologically active. These include a complex mixture of naturally occurring antioxidants such as chlorogenic acids (CGA), caffeic acid, and melanoidins that can de-activate oxidants and N-methylpyridinium, boosting cell defence mechanisms. It also contains diterpenes compounds including cafestol and kahweol, making it one of the most pharmacologically active beverages.[18] These compounds, together with caffeine, not only contribute to its fantastic taste but it is also believed by many researches and authors that they have health benefiting and performance enhancing properties. Looking at antioxidant compounds first, in particular chlorogenic acid, it has been theorized that these compounds can demonstrate numerous effects in the body. A 2010 study by the Suncheon National University, Republic of Korea, concluded that chlorogenic acid, along with the caffeic acid also found in coffee, significantly lowered body weight, visceral fat mass and plasma leptin and provided an important role in lowering blood glucose and therefore insulin levels, compared to the high-fat control group. They also lowered triglyceride (in plasma, liver and heart) and cholesterol (in plasma, adipose tissue and heart) concentrations.[19] The study’s conclusion suggests that these polyphenols improve lipid metabolism, body weight and obesityrelated hormone levels in high-fat fed mice and that chlorogenic acid played a greater role in body-weight reduction and regulation of lipid metabolism than caffeic acid, suggesting

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two possible combative compounds in relation to the diabetes type II (metabolic syndrome) epidemic that is prevalent today. It is worth remembering, however, that multiple factors, such as level of roast, the addition of milk and/or sugar, and how diluted the coffee is, will affect the effectiveness of these compounds.[19] Chlorogenic acid, with the aid of caffeine, has also shown powerful effects in protecting brain cells from “age-related” neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, according to recent studies.[20] It has been reported that chlorogenic acid reduces oxidative stress-induced brain cell death, as well as preserving the activity of vital neurotransmitters (the chemical substances, such as dopamine, that aid the transmission of nerve impulses across a synapse) that are depleted in Alzheimer’s sufferers.[21] There is also evidence to suggest that caffeine helps to reduce inflammatory cytokines (substances that are produced by cells within the immune system that relay signals between the immune system cells engaged in the process of amplifying inflammation), preserving brain cells in memory regions.[22] In fact, it has been theorized that people suffering from MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment), the precursor to Alzheimer’s, who have a higher caffeine blood level/intake are less likely to progress to full dementia, with rates of cognitive decline being slower.[23] Chlorogenic acid has also been linked to aiding the immune system’s detection and destruction of cancer cells. A 2011 study by Yu et al. looked into coffee consumption and risk of cancers using predefined searches that identified a total of 59 publications and 40 prospective cohort studies, including a total of 2,179,126 participants and 34,177 cases of cancer, with a follow-up averaging 14.3 years. It was concluded that, “All in all, our metaanalysis including 40 prospective cohort studies confirmed that coffee drinking has no harmful effect. Instead, coffee consumption that contains large amounts of antioxidants [including chlorogenic acid], is inversely associated with the risk of following cancers: bladder, breast, buccal cavity and pharynx, colorectum, endometrium, esophagus, hepatocellular, leukemia, pancreas,

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and prostate.”[24] Lately, there has also been mounting evidence that caffeinated coffee MAY have health benefits in relation to cardiovascular disease.[25,26,27] The suggestion is that the complex mix of anti-inflammatory polyphenols and other compounds found within caffeinated coffee provide protection for the cardiovascular system from disease, with the greatest effects resulting from filtered coffee.[28] As per the effects on the brain, it is thought, after multiple epidemiologic studies, that the heart and blood vessels are positively affected, reducing the risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), endothelial dysfunction and strokes.[29] A Republic of Korea study investigated 25,138 employees, both male and female (mean age of 41.3 years) who had undergone workplace health checks and found that those employees that drank an average of three to five cups a day were found to be less likely to show any early signs of cardiovascular disease in their medical reports.[30] The researchers looked for any disease of the coronary arteries (clogging of the arteries that supply the heart by a gradual build-up of fatty compounds).[30] Further evidence was gathered in a large meta-analysis, surveying 1.2 million participants who were evaluated for their risk of cardiovascular disease in relation to their coffee consumption. When comparing these participants with subjects who did not consume coffee at all, it was found that there was a 15% reduction in the risk of contracting a cardiovascular disease among those who drank an average of 3.5 cups/day, and an 11% reduction for those who had an average of 1.5 cups/day.[26] However, it is worth noting that there has been some confusion when it comes to the effects of caffeinated coffee on the cardiovascular system. Some studies have linked unfiltered coffees’ high consumption to risk factors, such as increased blood pressure and both total and LDL cholesterol.[31] Other studies have found that the consumption of two or more cups of coffee a day can raise the risk of heart disease in individuals with specific “genetic mutations” that are fairly common and can slow down the breakdown

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of the caffeine compound.[32] One reason for these risks may be due to the naturally present oils (diterpenes) contained in coffee, called cafestol and kahweol. When consumed at high levels, they have been shown to raise both total and LDL cholesterol[18], with their impacts greatly dependent on the method of brewing.[33] These diterpenes can, however, be mostly removed if the coffee is filtered, as studies have found that they are mainly retained in the filter paper and “moderate” consumption of espresso (2-3 cups) also has negligible effects, with levels being recorded lower than unfiltered coffee.[34] But! We shouldn’t vilify diterpenes just yet as studies have shown that they may play a role in cancer protection (although further research is pending)[35] as per the aforementioned 2010 study by Cho et al. which found that chlorogenic acid lowered cholesterol (in plasma, adipose tissue and the heart).[35] Finally, I want to look at the effects of caffeinated coffee consumption on muscle pain - predominantly how it affects the body, both during and after a workout session. Caffeine has long been known to be a potent painkiller and so is an active ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter medications, but can just drinking a cup or two be as effective? Robert Motl, PhD, a researcher and former competitive cyclist, conducted a study in 2003 with colleagues from the University of Illinois, USA, into the effects of caffeine on perceptions of leg muscle pain during moderate intensity cycling. The study involved twenty-five college aged males, some who were regular caffeine consumers (up to four cups a day) and others who were non-users.

followed by two monitored, highintensity, half- hour exercise sessions a week, one week apart. All subjects were asked to refrain from caffeine, alcohol, and exercise prior to the testing days. For the first high-intensity exercise session, all participants were given a placebo one hour before, and for the second a caffeine tablet equal to the consumption of 2.5 to 3 cups of caffeinated coffee.[36] On gathering data via questionnaires at regular intervals about their perceptions of muscle pain, as well as oxygen consumption, heart rate and work rate, it was found, statistically, that there was a significant reduction in quadriceps muscle pain after consuming the caffeine, compared to the placebo. All subjects, regardless of their previous history of caffeinated coffee consumption, demonstrated reduced pain with caffeine ingestion prior to the prescribed exercise testing.[36] At the University of Georgia in 2006, Motl, PhD continued his research alongside colleagues O'connor, Tubandt, Puetz, and Ely into the effect of caffeine on leg muscle pain during cycling exercise, but this time among females. The study concluded that a “moderate” dose of caffeine (equal to approximately 2 cups of brewed coffee) taken by low caffeineconsuming college-aged females 24 and 48 hours following electrically stimulated eccentric exercise of the quadriceps, reduced postworkout pain (delayed-onset muscle injury or soreness) by up to 48%.[37]

has isolated a protein in coffee beans (apart from caffeine) that they claim has “similar analgesic and sedative” effects to that of morphine. The discovery of these peptides came about through the work of Felipe Vinecky of the Molecular Biology Department at UNB, with the consultation of Embrapa, when they were looking to combine coffee genes to improve the quality of the grain and further research is desirable to find out more about this protein and its pain relieving applications.

In conclusion I suggest at the beginning of this article that coffee has been given a bad reputation, not because of the true evidence of the harm it causes but instead, for the idealism it may represent. In other words, due to its association with controversy throughout history we, as a society, have been quick to condemn the simple bean. With modern coffee processing methods that help to enhance the polyphenol content, such as chlorogenic acid, drinking good quality coffee looks to be both good for general health as well as athletic performance, contrary to earlier studies that seem not to have taken into consideration “known high-risk behaviours” of heavy coffee drinkers

There are multiple other studies confirming these findings. However, it is worth noting that a new research study conducted by two Brazilian institutions, the Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology and the University of Brasilia (UNB),

The participants were asked to complete an initial exercise test on a stationary cycle to test for maximal oxygen consumption (VO²Max),

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at that time, who tended to be individuals that smoked and took limited, if any, physical activity.

References 1. 2.

Some more recent studies are now suggesting that the once bad-foryou beverage may hold important compounds in promoting good health, athletic performance increases and longevity. But despite all research, there should be an aspect of caution. Too much of anything can - and probably will - be bad for us and caffeine dependency is a real possibility if not monitored. While it has been theorized that the multiple antioxidant compounds found in coffee appear to show different beneficial effects, more understanding is required before conclusions can be drawn. Yet, if the latest research is anything to go by, drinking coffee could be, if only in part, a great asset in improving cognitive and mental performance, reaction times and athletic performance, as well as accelerating fat loss and therefore reducing metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, it could also help in decreasing muscle pain and depression and to prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and various cancers. Potentially (further research is required) it may also aid in the protection against heart disease, atherosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction and strokes. Who would have thought all this may be contained in a simple bean!

3. 4. 5. 6. 8.

9.

10. 11.

12. 13. 14. 15.

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International Coffee Organization: Story of coffee. http://www.ico.org/coffee_story.asp Dicum G, Luttinger N. (2006) The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry from Crop to the Last Drop. ISBN 978-1595580603 William H. Ukers (1922). “Early History of Coffee”, All about Coffee, 16-19. ISBN 0810340925. Doyle, William. The Oxford History of the French Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. The French Revolution By David E. A. Coles Celestial Revolutionary: Copernicus, the Man and His Universe By John Freely EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to caffeine and increased fat oxidation leading to a reduction in body fat mass (ID 735, 1484), increased energy expenditure leading to a reduction in body weight (ID 1487), increased alertness (ID 736, 1101, 1187, 1485, 1491, 2063, 2103) and increased attention (ID 736, 1485, 1491, 2375) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061. EFSA Journal 2011.9(4):2054 Yamakoshi T, Matsumura K, Hanaki S, Rolfe P. Cardiovascular hemodynamic effects of Red Bull® Energy Drink during prolonged, simulated, monotonous driving. May 2013. doi: 10.1186/2193-1801-2-215 Mets M.A. et al. Effects of coffee on driving performance during prolonged simulated highway driving. Psychopharmacology. 2012. 222(2):337-42 Sharwood L.N. et al. (2013) Use of caffeinated substances and risk of crashes in long distance drivers of commercial vehicles: case control study. BMJ, 346:1140 De Valck E. et al. Slow-release caffeine as a countermeasure to driver sleepiness induced by partial sleep deprivation. J Sleep Res. 2001. 10:203-9 Society for Experimental Biology. Olympic gold? A new effect of caffeine boosts performance; 30th June 2010 Ivy J L, Costill DL, Fink WJ, Lower RW. Influence of caffeine and carbohydrate feedings on endurance performance; Med Sci Sports. 1979 Spring; 11(1):6-11 Irwin C, Desbrow B, Ellis A, O'Keeffe B, Grant G, Leveritt M. Caffeine withdrawal and high-intensity endurance cycling performance; J Sports Sci. 2011 Mar; 29(5):509-15. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2010.541480 Wiles JD, Bird SR, Hopkins J, Riley M. Effect of caffeinated coffee on running speed, respiratory factors, blood lactate and perceived exertion during 1500-m treadmill running. Br. J. Sports Med. 1992.26: 166-120 Hartley J. Caffeine and Sports Performance. http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health _psychology/caffeine_sports.htm Dulloo, AG, Duret, C, Rohrer, D, Girardier, L, Mensi, N, Fathi, M et al. Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70:1040– 1045 Urgert R, Katan MB. The cholesterol-raising factor from coffee beans. Annu Rev Nutr. 1997;17:305-324. Cho AS, Jeon SM, Kim MJ, Yeo J, Seo KI, Choi MS, Lee MK. Chlorogenic acid exhibits anti-obesity property and improves lipid metabolism in high-fat dietinduced-obese mice. Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Mar;48(3):937-43. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2010.01.003. Epub 2010 Jan 12 Shen W, Qi R, Zhang J, et al. Chlorogenic acid

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inhibits LPS-induced microglial activation and improves survival of dopaminergic neurons. Brain Res Bull. 2012 Aug 1;88(5):487-94. Cho ES, Jang YJ, Hwang MK, Kang NJ, Lee KW, Lee HJ. Attenuation of oxidative neuronal cell death by coffee phenolic phytochemicals. Mutat Res. 2009 Feb 10;661(1-2):18-24.. Shechter M, Shalmon G, Scheinowitz M, et al. Impact of acute caffeine ingestion on endothelial function in subjects with and without coronary artery disease. Amer J Cardiolog. 2011 May 1;107(9):1255-61. G.B. Toews, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Fax: 1 7347644556. Yu X, Bao Z, Zou J, Dong J. Coffee consumption and risk of cancers: a meta-analysis of cohort studies. BMC Cancer 2011.doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-96 BMC Caner 2011 March Shechter M, Shalmon G, Scheinowitz M, et al. Impact of acute caffeine ingestion on endothelial function in subjects with and without coronary artery disease. Amer J Cardiolog. 2011 May 1;107(9):1255-61. --Ding M, Bhupathiraju SN, Satija A, van Dam RM, Hu FB. Long-term coffee consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and a doseresponse meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Circulation. Feb 11 2014;129(6):643-59. Takami H, Nakamoto M, Uemura H, et al. Inverse correlation between coffee consumption and prevalence of metabolic syndrome: baseline survey of the Japan Multi-Institutional Collaborative Cohort (J-MICC) Study in Tokushima, Japan. Japan Epidemiological Association. 2013;23(1):12-20 Kishimoto Y, Tani M, Kondo K. Pleiotropic preventive effects of dietary polyphenols in cardiovascular diseases. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 May;67(5):532-5. Papamichael CM, Aznaouridis KA, Karatzis EN, et al. Effect of coffee on endothelial function in healthy subjects: the role of caffeine. Clin Sci. 2005 Jul;109(1): 55-60. Choi Y, Chang Y, Ryu S, Cho R, Rampal S, Zhang Y, Ahn J, Lima J, Shin H, Guallar E. Coffee consumption and coronary artery calcium in young and middleaged asymptomatic adults. Heart doi:10.1136/ heartjnl-2014-306663 George SE, et al. A perception on health benefits of coffee. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2008;48:464.. Gellene D, Chong RJ. Genetics found to have a hand in coffee risk. Los Angeles Times. www.articles.latimes.com/2006/mar/08/science/scicoffee8 Jee SH, He J, Appel LJ, Whelton PK, Suh I, Klag MJ. Coffee consumption and serum lipids: a metaanalysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. m J Epidemiol. 2001 Feb 15;153(4):353-62. Gross G, Jaccaud E, Huggett AC. Analysis of the content of the diterpenes cafestol and kahweol in coffee brews. Food Chem Toxicol. 1997;35(6):547-554. Cho AS, Jeon SM, Kim MJ, Yeo J, Seo KI, Choi MS, Lee MK. Chlorogenic acid exhibits anti-obesity property and improves lipid metabolism in high-fat dietinduced-obese mice. Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Mar;48(3):937-43. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2010.01.003. Epub 2010 Jan 12 Motl, RW, O’Connor PJ, Dishman RK. Effect of caffeine on perceptions of leg muscle pain during moderate intensity cycling exercise. J Pain. 2003 Aug;4(6):316-321 Motl RW, O’Connor PJ, Tubandt L, Puetz T, Ely MR. Effect of caffeineon leg muscle pain during cycling exercise among females. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2006. 38, 598–604]

Running fact 26.

Did you know

Olga Petrovna Bondarenko of Russia was the first woman to win the Olympic gold medal for the 10,000 metre race at the1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea.

Running fact 27. In order to burn off a McDonald’s Big Mac (approximately 540 kcal), a 63.5Kg (10 stone) female would have to run for 52 minutes at a 10 min/mile pace.

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8.

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

Date: 14th June 2015 Time: 11am Location: The Tate Modern, London, UK Footwear: All welcome! Entry: Free Page 29

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Outside the lab esearch at the University of Georgia has been carried out to test the effects of a mix of phytochemicals, along with vitamin D, on levels of fat in the liver and visceral fat in post-menopausal animals. The study was aimed at researching methods to help reduce the problem of non fatty liver disease in post-menopausal women, which is quite a common occurrence when oestrogen levels drop at a certain age. The animals in the study were administered a mixture of plant-based chemicals, extracted from grapes, onions, soybeans and apple peel, along with vitamin D. The results showed visceral fat layers (fat around the internal organs) decreased in the animal subjects. This research proves the importance of a healthy diet, not only for post-menopausal women but for anybody. Non fatty liver disease is becoming more prevalent in both sexes and all ages with resulting negative health issues.

study of the brains of people suffering with depression (conducted by the Centre of Addiction and the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute in Toronto) shows that there is an inflammatory increase of 30% compared to those without depression. In addition, the more severe the depression, the higher the level of inflammation. Other studies have looked at markers in the blood when investigating the link between inflammation and depression. So far, it appears that depression is a contributory factor in inflammation, rather than inflammation being a cause of depression. This current study is the first to look at inflammation in the brain and medical professionals state that the outcome is important in the continuing development of treatment.

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study in Copenhagen has apparently revealed that fast runners are doing themselves as much damage as their non-running, sedentary counterparts. Researchers tracked 1,098 “healthy” people over 12 years, recording their running frequencies and speeds. It was found that those with the lowest mortality rates were running at a slow to moderate pace between 1 and 2.4 hours per week. Those who ran in excess of three times per week at a “fast” pace (7mph) were as much at risk as those who did not run at all. The recommendation from this study was to undertake moderate exercise rather than strenuous exercise or none at all, if the goal is general health and longevity.

study carried out at Cambridge University has found that sleeping for longer than eight hours per day is linked to an increased risk of having a stroke. The study followed 10,000 42 to 81 year olds for nine and a half years, monitoring their amounts of sleep. During that time, 346 participants suffered a stroke. It was found that those who had more than eight hours a day were 46 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke and those having less than six hours increased their risk by 18 per cent. Whilst the study shows a definite link between sleep and stroke rates, it is less clear whether too much sleep is a causal factor or in fact an early sign of cardiovascular problems.

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Room 101 Room 101 - Airing your agitations

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Barefoot Running Magazine


In this issue, David Robinson offers up his three running pet hates for Professor O’Brien’s perusal. Will he agree or disagree? Will they make it into Room 101? Let’s find out...

y first nomination for Room 101 is somewhat of a new phenomenon: doggy do plastic bags. Ok, firstly I think it’s a good thing that dog owners pick up after their dogs – it’s much more pleasant not having to dodge the ‘doodie’. But why do the dog owners, after they have taken the time to get the plastic (usually non bio-degradable) bags from the local pet shop or supermarket, pick up the offending ‘steamy heapy’ immediately after their dog has ejected it and then proceed to leave it randomly hanging off a tree branch, at head height, or on a gate post?! Steamy heapy in a bag must go into Room 101. Dog owners - just pop it in your pocket. After all, it will keep you warm in the Winter!

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.

PO’B says: ‘Doggy do’ bags placed anywhere other than designated bins should certainly be banned. However, if disposed of correctly, the bags are useful and do take the offending ‘do’ off the streets, so the bags themselves, unfortunately, cannot go into Room 101. My second nomination is rock salt. Yes, I understand that it probably saves many a person from having a dramatic slip and resulting injury on a cold, icy Winter’s day, or a car hitting black ice and losing control, but it is just plain evil when it comes to the foot department. So, simply because it causes me discomfort, even after seven years of barefoot running, I want to cast it into Room 101.

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!

PO’B says: I’m afraid that when the rock salt is down, it may be time to wear some foot protection. It is only at certain times of the year and does help keep pedestrians and road users safe, so unfortunately it cannot go into Room 101.

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!

My third and last item for Room 101 is any pedestrian that walks along the pavement (or should I say, zigzags across the pavement) on some handheld device, either reading a book on a kindle or updating their non-relevant personal status on facebook, often wearing headphones and further limiting the chance of hearing approaching obstacles. Is facebook that important that it is worth risking their life and mine? People running with handheld devices must go into Room 101!

Click here to email.

PO’B says: Now, I am always hesitant to put people into Room 101 but the use of devices when walking down the street is not necessary. So, my solution is to put any mobile device being used on the streets into Room 101, unless it is being used for an emergency.

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Hi I’ve suffered from plantar fasciitis for 4 years now and was thinking that running was no longer an option for me. Well, one of the running coaches at the gym suggested barefoot running on the treadmill set at level 2 incline to minimize heel strike. I’ve now done two short runs (10 minutes) barefoot and it’s not been too bad. I want to get some minimalist shoes and was thinking of Merrell Barefoot Run Vapor Gloves. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

both very popular choices. The main piece of advice is to proceed slowly and patiently, regardless of what's on your feet. Have fun! Anna

Hello Out of curiosity ladies, do you ever wear wellies? And if so, have you found any that are wide toed, flexible and zero drop?

(Alex, via facebook)

client who has experienced some misalignment in her sacroiliac joint and the only thing she’s done differently is taken a walk in wellies that she hasn’t worn for years. I expect there are flexible versions but I find traditional wellies very alien to walk in and they do alter your natural walking mechanics. Not that I’d want to be mucking out stables barefoot! The neoprene ones sound good… Anna

(Sian, via facebook) Hello BFRM

Hi Alex

Hello Sian

It depends how minimal you want to go. The Merrells can still feel quite stiff for some runners. Have a look at Barefoot Tracy Davenport's shop "Minimal Sportswear" - she sells Sockwa and Vibrams which are

I think flexibility is a key issue with wellies. Because they come up higher than your ankle, they can restrict your foot and ankle movement. This is interesting as I have just come back from a

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Are you planning any group runs this year? (James, Kent) Hi James We’re definitely trying to fit some into

Barefoot Running Magazine


our schedule. On Sunday 14th June we’ll be running the “London 10” again, which is a 10km route through the streets of London, taking in the sights before chilling out with a drink. We’re hoping to make it down to Brighton for the IBRD which promises to be a fantastic event. We’ll also schedule in a couple more at Clapham Common and Richmond Park under Barefoot Running UK . Clapham is a flat route which we can vary length-wise according to participants. The terrain can be quite tough though! Richmond Park is quite a challenge – off road and plenty of hills – but worth it to run with the wildlife. We’ll be posting dates on the Barefoot Running U.K. facebook group…

Hi Sometimes my feet feel more sensitive than other times. The reason for this is obvious if I’ve run the day before on harsh terrain, but sometimes there seems to be no explanation! Can you shed any light on this?! (Karen, Cambridgeshire). Hi Karen You are not alone in your puzzlement! This is a subject that crops up a lot in barefoot running discussions. As you say, there is sometimes an obvious answer, i.e. that your feet are recovering from a recent run on rough surfaces. However, there are a few other reasons that seem to be quite common in the barefoot running community. Firstly, it could simply be ground temperature. Even if the road doesn’t feel particularly hot or cold, if the seasons are changing and the ground is warmer or colder

than you’re used to, your feet may initially feel more sensitive to this change. Think also of the general state of your health on any given day. Many runners report that their feet are more sensitive if they’ve had a poor night’s sleep, if they’re coming down with an illness or if they’ve had a few too many beers the night before! General stress may be a factor too, which leads onto my next suggestion, which is tension. The more tense you are, the ‘tighter ’ the soles of your feet will be and this will make them more sensitive. Try doing plenty of mobility exercises and dynamic stretches for your feet and legs before a run and see if this makes a difference. If you feel more relaxed in your mind too, you’ll probably feel less sensitive on your soles. The thing to take away from this is to remember that your feet are speaking to you. Sensitivity may well be a sign that you’re under the weather (even if you feel fine) so be aware you may have to take things more easily. Keep a diary too and see if you can identify any patterns – this can be really helpful. If your feet are sensitive over a few consecutive runs, take a few days off running – it may be that your feet need some time to heal and get stronger.

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

Thank you Scott Smith for your humour and reminding us not to take life too seriously!

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y barefootedness is driven by a quest to be an injury free runner well into my old age. These rovings are part of my search for things that will make a difference in the long term. I have met some inspirational people and learned that the mind plays a large part in things. This time, Anna asked me to travel to Cumbria and meet Jean Haines to learn how Hellerwork Structural Integration can help people like me. Mindfulness seems to be everywhere at the moment, from Ruby Wax’s Ted Talk to Michael Sandler and his new running programme, and I would say that I am much more at peace with my running than any point in my life. Meeting Jean

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helped me join the dots of the separate strands of my journey so far. I came out with a greater understanding of my body and plenty of food for thought. I met Jean at her home in Wigton in the north-west corner of Cumbria. After a pleasant drive through a frosty Lake District, I was welcomed by Jean and shown into the airy, fire-lit front room of her house. She was barefoot and I took off my shoes and felt immediately at home. Jean has a bit of an aura of wisdom about her and was skilled at putting me at my ease. I had spoken to her beforehand and over the next two and a half hours, she took me through the history and process of Hellerwork Structural Integration

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Barefoot Running Magazine


and worked with me to help me understand an old issue that I have with my hip and groin.

climbing trees.

Structural Integration was a concept pioneered by the legendary Ida Rolf, combining bodywork with movement re-education. “Rolfing” as it became known aims to restore fluidity to the body’s fascial system. Jean described the fascia like a body stocking that helps muscles and connective tissue to move freely over each other. Continued stress and lack of movement can cause the fascia to become stiff and rigid and they begin to stick to each other, inhibiting free movement.

in my running life where I need to slow down, take time and get to know my body better. It is what a Gestalt therapist would call “The paradoxical theory of change”; the idea that to effectively bring about change, we need to accept and step into who we are at the moment. Jean was helping me have a dialogue with my body and making me listen to it in ways that were new to me.

These were not accidental questions. They formed part of the mindful aspect of Hellerwork Structural Integration. Heller draws heavily on the Hakomi method of body centred psychotherapy developed by Ron Kurtz. Hakomi can be described as a method of assisted self-study and discovery. I really enjoy this kind of thing. Jean was helping me to create little experiments with verbal prompts and seeing how my body would react. She was then helping me be aware of some of my reactions and habitual patterns.

As I mentioned, Jean has an aura of wisdom about her and I was not surprised to hear that she spent many years as a midwife. It was during this time that she saw firsthand how mind and body are connected. How mindset can have a huge impact during childbirth. She has that calm, reassuring demeanour that looks like it has seen most things and I felt in safe hands.

It is all about bringing about change by understanding properly where we are now. It is a step that most of us miss out. We all talk about setting goals and creating an image of where we want to be without much consideration of the here and now. Modern life is so fast paced that we often crash on without too much thought, fail and then set another goal, fail and the cycle continues.

The Rolf Institute opened in 1971 and aerospace engineer, Joseph Heller, began his training with Ida Rolf the following year. He ran his own Rolfing practice and then became the first president of the Rolf Institute in 1976. It was an exciting time with free thinkers such as Rolf, Feldenkrais, Alexander and Ron Kurtz bouncing theories off each other.

I have a hit a period of understanding

She started life as a national level gymnast and then moved into coaching. Hellerwork Structural Integration joined the dots for her and brought the strands of her life together and gave her a platform to use her skills and knowledge to

Also Joseph Heller, a student of humanist psychology, developed a holistic approach that combined the myofascial release of structural bodywork, movement re-education and body centred psychotherapy. He modified the original 10 session Rolfing series with the addition of body centred dialogue and movement exploration throughout each session and called it Hellerwork Structural Integration. Jean invited me to take a seat and took me though some of the questions that she asks new clients. They were certainly more wide reaching and holistic than I have had before. Suddenly, Jean asked me to hold still and observe how I was holding my body. It was an eye opener. I had the toes of my right foot curled deeply under my foot and I was putting pressure on them. My left foot was similar but not to the same extent. For a few minutes, Jean had me experiment with what felt natural and we explored how the way I was holding my feet made other parts of my body feel. She asked me to think about where those feelings took me. She asked me to think about ages and places. I instinctively responded that they reminded me of being about 7 years old and of

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about what works for me. What we have here is a programme that is designed to do that. It takes you through a series of explorations in a systematic way. It gives some structure to the dialogue and discovery. That is very clever. Everyone will react differently and find things that are unique to them. I have a healthy scepticism of franchised or approved programmes. The type where practitioners pay for training and then become approved. I am much more interested in the people delivering the programme and particularly those who have a deep seated need to teach and help others. I went to see Jean to experience Hellerwork Structural Integration.

help people. We then began some work on the way I stand and move. I spend a lot of my time standing and often stand on one leg, sometimes to the point where I topple over. I hadn’t really thought about it too much before. There was something very secure about the way Jean stands. She had me softening my legs and sinking into myself. It felt very like Tai Chi and I learned that Jean is also a very experienced Tai Chi instructor and has trained for many years under Patrick Kelly. Tai Chi, she says, has had the most profound impact on her life over the last 20 years. Unconsciously, she said it twice and you can see how important it is to her. Whilst sitting on a stool, my feet repeated the same pattern and my toes curled under. I was also putting tension through my legs and hip in order to support my back. Again, I hadn’t really thought about it before but these habitual patterns must have an impact. I was encouraged to celebrate when I noticed myself in these patterns rather than beat myself up about it. We need to be aware of what we are doing before we can change it. We worked on pelvic tilt for a little

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while and chatted about Danny Dreyer and Chi Running before moving onto the bodywork. Jean worked on the areas around my hips and then discovered that the fascia was very solid in the lateral region of my lower back. I do have trouble bending down to put on shoes and it is this area that protests the most when I try. I have often speculated about the fact that although I have no bone there, it is a solid mass. Rather than press into the tissue, the feeling was of Jean sinking in slowly. I was asked to be mindful and scale discomfort from 1-10. We were aiming for about a 6 and Jean backed off when I told her it had gone too deep. It is a slow and patient approach and a typical bodywork input can last an hour out of a total hour and a half session. It felt good and I was much looser afterwards. I felt lighter on my feet. So...what did I make of Hellerwork Structural Integration? I think that it is all about readiness. You need to be ready for this type of approach. I came across it at just the right time. I have had enough of people telling me to do this and that because it works for most people. I want to experiment and learn

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I got much more than that. What I found was a Tai Chi loving, holistic therapist with the calm wisdom of a midwife and the body awareness of a gymnast. There are programmes galore out there but it is the person behind them that counts. Jean is a person who has successfully drawn aspects of her life together and found a way to help people learn about themselves. She came to life when she could see me making connections and learning about myself. I found that I instinctively trusted her. The biggest compliment that I can give Jean is that I would love to go back and see her again and work my way through the 11 sessions. I would like her to spend some more time “Rolfing” the fascia in my lower back and then working on some movement re-education to keep things moving freely. Most of all, I would like to go through the series of body centred psychotherapy sessions so that I can develop an understanding of how things manifest themselves in my body and use them as a springboard to a few experiments of my own. I watched my wife come in from work yesterday. She slumped in, her body looking wrecked. The stress and tension of her work manifesting itself in the way she moved. My first instinct is to send her to Jean. In fact, I think that is what I will do. It is just what she needs. If you would like to know more or book a session with Jean then visit her site at http://bodymindtaichi.co.uk/

Barefoot Running Magazine


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 Posterior tibialis dysfunction by Margaret Sinclair

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he posterior tibial muscle is one of those muscles you probably don’t know anything about… until you injure it. Then it can become a definite pain in the leg and can be difficult to get rid of.

runners?

The most common runner’s injury of this muscle is posterior tibial tendonitis (PTT). Not to be confused with posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, which is degeneration of the muscle tendon complex; a much more complicated and difficult problem to rehabilitate. This article will discuss PTT. The posterior tibial muscle attaches to the tibia and fibula bones at the back of the calf. It lies underneath the better-known gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. The muscle runs down the calf, becomes a tendon and passes down the inside of the anklebone. Here it splits and attaches to various points on the bottom of the foot. The muscle acts to turn the foot inwards, flexes the foot downwards, stabilizes the ankle and supports the medial arch of the foot. Loading and unloading of the muscle causes it to stretch and contract. Overuse of the muscle causes micro tears, inflammation, swelling and pain. This, if it continues, leads to tendonitis. Why is this muscle important to runners and especially barefoot

Most barefoot runners run with a forefoot or midfoot strike. These landing patterns have been shown to place increased force on the plantar surface of the foot, the area the posterior tibial muscle works to support (Bergstra et. al. 2014) (Squadronea et. al. 2014). The muscle is also active in running when it assists in pushing the foot off from the floor for propulsion. The posterior tibial muscle supports and stabilizes the medial foot arch which naturally deforms and reforms through the different stages of the running gait. Overuse and repetitive injury of this muscle can lead to PTT. Taking time and thorough transition training from using trainers to barefoot running minimizes the chances of injury, as does increasing mileage and intensity slowly. The muscle needs to be trained and strengthened like any performance muscle. But if transition is made too quickly, or mileage is increased too fast, the use of the posterior tibial muscle becomes beyond what it can cope with and micro tears occur. Another potential cause of overuse injury is a change in running surface. The muscle works to stabilize the ankle and foot over uneven terrain; a change to running surface can

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increase the load and use of the posterior tibial muscle. If the body is not used to the workload then damage can occur. If the body does not have enough time to heal and recover from the damage before the next training session the muscle becomes more painful and can become a chronic problem over time. Initially, pain may be felt in the inner or lower calf and ankle at the end of training and for an hour or so after. Continued training will cause the pain to start earlier during running and last for longer after. If not addressed, the problem may become a constant ache with pain on walking and running. In very severe cases, pain can lead to problems walking. The posterior tibial muscle is used with every step during walking and running. Therefore, if PTT is being experienced, it is difficult to rest the muscle to help in healing and recovery. Very advanced cases require medical intervention with an MRI or scan to determine the best course of action. Acting immediately at the first signs of a problem is always the best course of action:

Initially, make sure you are not doing too much too fast. We all

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want to run further and faster but maybe dialling the training back for a while is the best option

Stretching the calf muscles, especially after training, helps the muscle stay healthy and supple. The foam roller really can be your best friend to help with this Allowing more recovery time after training will allow the micro tears to heal and prevent tendonitis Using contrast bathing on the area improves blood flow and reduces inflammation. Alternating cold with heat for 3 minutes at a time for 15 minutes will help relieve the symptoms and enhance healing Exercises to improve the muscle strength and function are helpful, including heel raises and static/ dynamic core exercises

Speak to a local pharmacist about anti-inflammatory medication. There are also plenty of foods and supplements which have been shown to have excellent anti-inflammatory properties, including tumeric, oily fish and garlic, to name a few (Yuan, 2006). Physical therapy – including soft tissue work, biomechanical assessment, exercise advice, taping and dry needling.

If the injury keeps recurring it is a good idea to seek out professional advice about biomechanics and gait analysis. Any poor function or instability in the body will lead to poor running technique and overuse of the muscle. There are plenty of us out there who can help with this. Keep healthy and run strong. I am a registered osteopath with the General Osteopathic Council and a qualified sports injury therapist. I am also a massive barefoot enthusiast, living my life barefoot as much as I can. Before barefoot living, I suffered back, knee and ankle problems regularly. Since being barefoot, I no longer experience any of these. But it took 2 years to transition fully to barefoot. As a therapist, I believe in looking at the person as a whole, working with a patient not only to alleviate pain but also to acquire and maintain health and wellbeing. This often includes analyzing a patient’s biomechanics. Gait analysis can lead to recommending barefoot running and/or exercises to assist the body to work in harmony. A gradual transition to being barefoot is key to doing so injury free. I have a background in barefoot living and running, archery, distance running and martial arts, providing me with the necessary insights into the requirements of both amateur and professional athletes. This includes the importance of getting people back to doing what they enjoy. I also treat animals, which offers me further interesting opportunities to learn even more about biomechanics and movement. As a therapist, I enjoy - and am committed to - continuous learning and self-development.

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Technical tip Reading the trails by Anna Toombs

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s runners, we all know that running off road on uneven, unpredictable terrain is very different from running on concrete, consistent surfaces. These differences are enhanced further when you’re running barefoot. The issues for shod runners, such as avoiding mud if possible to limit shoe-washing or choosing the most appropriate shoe tread for the given terrain, are replaced by an awareness of darkness and light in the colours of the mud and grass, avoiding thistle patches where possible and just learning what grip your own particular feet are able to achieve on the various off road surfaces.

Mud There is nothing quite like running barefoot in the mud. Once you get over the initial ‘naughtiness’ of getting dirty and expecting your mum to appear looking very cross, running in the mud is one of the most joyful experiences – it feels like pure freedom. There are a number of different types of mud. A very wet, rainy day followed by two dry days will give you trails with mud that feels like plasticine beneath your feet. It is smooth, cold and extremely comfortable to run on. You’ll get great grip and ground reaction

forces with limited abrasion. This surface is quite a rare treat because you have to catch it at the right time weather-wise and it is also, often interspersed with tricky tree roots, so pay attention and watch out for those. Two more common muddy surfaces are the really wet ones and really dry ones. Wet mud Running on – or in – wet mud is a lot of fun but takes quite a bit of skill, particularly if there are hills involved as well. At Richmond Park in London, there are wide areas of very boggy, muddy puddles where you can sink in right up to your knees. Quite often, these will be patches that are sheltered by trees, meaning they don’t get as much sun and remain more wet but also that there are usually plenty of twigs and small branches lurking in the puddles. If you’re feeling brave, you can go ahead and run right through the puddles, keeping you cadence high and lifting your feet and knees more to limit the amount of ‘sinkage’. Personally, I will often walk through these areas, in case I’ve misjudged the depth and also to allow my feet to feel the way and not get poked by any hidden sticks. The method that you use over this type of terrain depends on how

Barefoot Running Magazine

well you know it and just your own, personal preference. As always with puddles, remember that you don’t know what’s at the bottom so be as light and quick on your feet as possible so that if there is a twig lying at the bottom, it will do limited damage. On narrower, more formed tracks, you will find that the drier areas are at the edges and the middle of the track will quite often be lower and wetter. You may therefore surmise that the best plan over this type of terrain is to run on the higher edges. However, it often makes more sense to not plan such a straight route. Be prepared that all of the track higher and lower levels – will have slippery patches so allow the path you take to wind, or meander. It is difficult to make sudden changes of direction in wet conditions, so a good tactic is to run a few strides on the higher ground, drop down through the lower section through the middle of the path and out onto the other side, so that you’re not trying to run for too long in a straight line. Again, make sure your cadence remains fairly quick – the longer your foot is on the ground, the more likely that it will slide out from underneath you. Another point worth noting here is that, on the whole, there will be more debris in the centre, lower point of a track or path than on the

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higher edges. Again, if it is a forest type trail, there are likely to be plenty of loose twigs as well as tree roots that may well be hidden if the ground is particularly sodden. If in doubt, slow your pace – to a walk if necessary. Dry mud As we head towards Spring and Summer, the expectation (rightly or wrongly!) is that the ground will become drier. The routes that feel quite comfortable and ‘squishy’ will change considerably and you’ll notice much more debris sitting on the surface, rather than being sunken into the ground. This generally means you’ll experience more abrasion, with grit, stones and twigs wreaking havoc on your soles. For some barefoot runners, particularly those with years of experience, this doesn’t present any problem. If you’re relatively new to it, or just have quite sensitive feet, it can feel like there is no respite from things digging into your plantar fascia. The best advice is to relax and keep your cadence up. The pain will increase the more tense you are, so accept the discomfort and keep as light on your feet as possible. Try to vary your path so that the entire run isn’t on an uncomfortable surface. If grass is available, mix it up so that some of your run is on softer ground. In terms of the impact on this type of ground, it feels fairly similar to concrete. Most barefoot runners will know that, contrary to some beliefs, this is no bad thing. In fact, your running will be more efficient on a harder surface. Just like concrete, muddy trails can get very hot underfoot in the height of Summer so bear this in mind when running in the Summer months. Try to plan your runs so that you’re running in the cooler morning or evening temperatures, rather than midday and early afternoon. Grass Grass, on the whole, can surprisingly provide you with some extra grip just when you need it. If you’re running on a surface that’s predominantly mud and you spot a sprouting of grass, head for that to give you a couple of secure steps. Be aware, though, that there may also be a mound of soil beneath it that might

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require some play in your ankle joint. As well as a few sprigs of long grass, you may also find muddy trails that are regularly interspersed with patches of shorter grass. Again, these will provide more grip than the pure mud sections but may only be narrow ridges on the side of a trail, so the meandering mentioned earlier can be useful here too. Tussocks These are mounds of earth, covered in grass, that appear frequently in off road environments. If you’re feeling light and sure on your feet, go ahead and use them as stepping stones, bouncing off them at random. Be aware that they may be slippery and it’s easy to misjudge your footing, so use your intuition; if you’re having a clumsy day or you feel fatigued, choose routes through the tussocks rather than running over them. If, on the other hand, you’re feeling good with plenty of energy, add them in it feels less like running and more like a countryside version of Parkour!

Hills All of the above still applies on hills. If you’re running uphill, you have the added challenge of using more energy and it’s harder to concentrate when you’re fatigued. A punchy cadence and short strides are key components as usual and you can use the hills to give you a mental workout as well as a physical one. Downhills can be just as tricky as running uphill, especially if the surface is slippery. The more you practise, the better you will get so don’t avoid hills. Use a meandering route, rather than trying to run straight down a hill; this will help control your speed and allow you to find the best route down.

higher concentration of debris too. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid these areas, but as you become a more accomplished off roader, you’ll recognize the various colours and know instinctively how they’ll feel underfoot and how they might affect your stride. Light and dark also refers to sunlight. Running barefoot, off road in pitch black is generally not a good idea. If you’re very experienced and wearing a head torch, it is an exciting and very different experience than running during the day but from a safety point of view, as well as making the most of taking in and enjoying your surroundings, daylight hours are preferable! Technique

Light and dark Darker patches of ground, be they mud or grass, will usually be wetter and more slippery. The darker areas will often have a

The more extreme your off road route, the less the ‘rules’ apply when it comes to efficient technique. Of course, you are always trying to run as efficiently as possible, but trying to achieve a particular and consistent arm position or cadence when running off road is virtually impossible. Instead, have some fun with it. You’ll probably naturally run with your arms held slightly lower and straighter (to help catch you if you fall!) and on the more slippery surfaces you may well find that lifting your knees more and thinking of your feet landing slightly further forward will help you to feel more stable. Your ‘suspension system’ becomes more relevant off road. Think of the best rally vehicles and visualize their movement: the running gear (wheels, etc.) is very reactive and flexible but also controlled. There are consistent, small adjustments made at high speeds. This is what your legs should be doing – your joints should be soft but stable, adapting quickly to the changing terrain. Contrast this with the body of the car which remains stable and doesn’t interfere – this is what your ‘core’ is doing as you run, providing stability but also fluidity to your movement. Experiment with your off road technique – the best runners are those that can adapt to their surroundings. However, always remember these two rules: stay relaxed and have fun!

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

Steve Bailey’s foot after a 16.1 mile ultra training run. 10 miles in Lunas and the rest barefoot!

David Robinson cools down in the Long Pond at Clapham Common after a Christmas Day barefoot run

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James Graham running barefoot in the Hastings Half Marathon (courtesy of Sussex Sport Photography)

Andrzej cutting through the pack at The Birthday Run (birthday of the city of Gdynia, Poland)

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Nutritional nugget Why don’t I need to worry about calcium? By Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. (The Paleo Mom)

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his is one of the biggest areas of concern when people (especially women, who are at greater risk for developing osteoporosis) switch to a paleo diet. If we aren’t eating any dairy products, how do we make sure we get enough calcium??? It is one of the many pervasive bits of misinformation that we battle against (akin to saturated fat causing heart disease): that we need to consume dairy products to protect our bones. This simply isn’t true. And it isn’t true for three reasons. First, dairy is hardly the only source of dietary calcium out there. Second, the calcium from other food sources is actually more absorbable than the calcium in dairy. Third, bone health is determined by a whole lot more than just calcium. Most importantly, dairy products are not the only good source of calcium out there. In fact, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, and seafood all contain calcium. Let’s compare some paleo foods against a glass of milk (see below):

Not only do fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and seafood contain substantial amounts of calcium, there is scientific evidence that you actually absorb more calcium from cruciferous vegetables (like kale) than you do from dairy! Cruciferous vegetables (like kale, cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, turnip greens, etc.) may actually be your best source of dietary calcium. And in fact, several studies show that fruit and vegetable intake correlates much more strongly than dairy intake with bone health - yes, to prevent osteoporosis and look after your bones, eat your veggies!

for bone health. Yes, you need other minerals to make bones too! This might be one of the reasons why higher vegetable intake correlates with better bone health - vegetables also provide these other essential minerals.

Other great sources of dietary calcium include: green leafy vegetables, nuts (almonds especially), seeds (especially sesame seeds), figs, oranges, dried apricots, okra, bok choy, seafood (especially when you eat the bones like canned salmon or sardines), and to a lesser extent, all fruits and vegetables. Organ meat and bone broth are also excellent sources of not only calcium, but magnesium and phosphorous, which are also critical

Bone health is about much more than calcium and the other minerals used to physically make up bone. Not only do you need minerals as raw materials, but fat soluble vitamins (A, D and K2 in particular) are essential regulators in bone mineralization. Where do you get these essential fat-soluble vitamins? Seafood, dairy fat from grass-fed cows (meaning grass-fed ghee, butter, or heavy cream), and the fat from grass-fed and pasture-raised meat. Because the majority of people still don’t source meat and dairy from pasture -raised sources, for most people the dominant dietary source of these vitamins comes from seafood. No wonder high seafood intake also correlates with bone health! You know what else is critical for bone health? Weight bearing exercise -

Food

Calcium / Serving

Milk

300 mg per 1 cup

Collard greens

210 mg per ½ cup

Kale

205 mg per ½ cup

Bok Choy

190 mg per ½ cup

Figs

35mg per 5 figs

Turnip Greens

104 mg per ½ cup

Spinach

99 mg per ½ cup

Almonds

93 mg per ¼ cup

Sesame Seeds

51 mg per 1 Tbsp

Sardines (with bones)

213mg per 2oz

Salmon (with bones)

241 mg per 4oz

Orange

52mg per medium orange

Mushrooms

18 mg per 2oz Barefoot Running Magazine

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meaning exercise where you move your own body weight around, like walking! Basically, if you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables (especially cruciferous vegetables) and seafood, sourcing the best quality meat you can, maybe incorporating some bone broth into your diet, and getting some exercise (even if it’s just walking), you are doing a great job of looking after your bones.

References: 1. Heaney RP and Weaver CM. Calcium absorption from kale. Am J Clin Nutr April 1990 vol. 51 no. 4 656-657 2. Charoenkiatkul S, et al. Calcium absorption from commonly consumed vegetables in healthy Thai women. J Food Sci. 2008 Nov;73 (9):H218-21. 3. New SA et al. Dietary influences on bone mass and bone metabolism: further evidence of a positive link between fruit and vegetable consumption and bone health? Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jan;71(1):142-51. 4. Chen YM et al. Greater fruit and vegetable intake is associated with increased bone mass among postmenopausal Chinese women. Br J Nutr. 2006 Oct;96(4):745-51. 5. New SA. Intake of fruit and vegetables: implications for bone health. Proc Nutr Soc. 2003 Nov;62(4):889-99. 6. Zalloua PA et al. Impact of seafood and fruit consumption on bone mineral density. Maturitas. 2007 Jan 20;56(1):1-11. Epub 2006 Jun 27.

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.

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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 here are two remaining events at different locations within Australia this year: Perth (11th-13th September) and Sydney (16th-18th October). They promise to be extremely entertaining and useful for all those interested in the latest fitness trends, gadgets and technology. There will be the opportunity to try out various different classes and equipment, with representatives from areas such as martial arts, natural body building and body weight training. There is plenty of information on the website and you can sign up for the newsletter to receive further updates.

Events

Visit: www.fitnessexpo.com.au

he London to Brighton 100km takes place this year on 23rd and 24th May. “Walk, jog or run it!” – the choice is yours! This year there are also half challenge options – a 56km route and 44km route. Another new addition this year is the option for relay groups of four. With a lower entry fee, starting at just £39, it looks to be a fantastic event. Join around 3,000 other walkers and runners for this event by visiting the website: www.london2brightonchallenge.com

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Stuff that’s going on

escribed on the website as, “Like taking a sightseeing tour�, the route takes in a variety of different vibes, allowing runners to truly appreciate the entire city. The course is flat and, for the most part, friendly underfoot, incorporating mostly asphalt with a couple of short, cobbled stretches. The start and finish lines are within 100m of each other, making it the perfect outing for friends and family to come along and support you. For more information, visit: http://www.copenhagenmarathon.dk

Events

he North Face Endurance Challenge comprises of seven different race distances at six different locations throughout the United States. Beginning in Washington, D.C. in April and finishing in California in December, runners can opt to run any distance from 5km right up to 50km. All of the races are on trails, taking in some fantastic, picturesque routes along the way. There is detailed information about each event on the website and you can also download a free app from Mountain Athletics to help with your training. Visit: http://www.thenorthface.com for more information

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any of you will know if you read my previous column that I am now coming back from injury my second stress fracture in my left foot. Although in the bigger scheme of things I wasn't actually 'out' for long - 2 weeks of complete rest (no walking) and then another 5 weeks cycling to get the kids to and from school as well as gradually building up my cycling miles outside of those times - I felt my fitness had really suffered. It's not something I noticed till I started to actually run again I forget how much running actually gets you fit and keeps you there. And even now, I feel like I'm just getting back to where I would be normally, without an impending marathon looming - but I do have an impending half marathon, full marathon and 100k Ultra Marathon looming on the horizon!!! (I must be nuts, but I do love a challenge!) Time to start training properly now that I'm in a good position to do so.

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So, I have started reading my Chi Marathon book (thank you Gray Caws – guru of all things Chi Running in the UK!) and I also purchased Hal Kroners Field Guide to Ultra Running. Admittedly, the latter of the two frankly scared the living daylights out of me when I took a look at the training schedule, starting at 50 miles a week!!! Woah, this means I really have to sit down and think about this‌ Of course, when you sign up to a big challenge it is your responsibility to know what the demands on you will be both physically and mentally. Now I know me, and I know that little old me is prone to breaking if I push too hard in certain places. So it's really important to figure out just how I plan on tackling it. I also know that in the group of people I have signed up with for this ultra (The Race to the Stones), I am most certainly the slowest. So we are all going to have to have a conversation on

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how this is going to go on the day. I am more comfortable being on my own because it takes the pressure off me to push myself harder than I know I should. However, I don't really want to do it completely on my own as I enjoy running with others for the company as well as the safety. I know the others may also want to use me as some have done in the past as a long distance pacer so that they don't burn out or push themselves to breaking point either. It's a tricky one. I have no doubts in my mind that at my own pace I will finish and be comfortable with it, but if I go with the rest of the group there is every chance I may not finish. I'll have to let you know what we decide and why in the next column. So, that is the first part of what lays heavy on my mind. The second part is: how on earth do I actually get the best out of myself to perform

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well without sacrificing too much? I love running, but I'm not about to let it make me miss important time with my family; they will always be the most important thing to me. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I really don't want to pick up an injury. So I'm taking my own advice and I'm going to mix up the training more. I signed up to one of the Kinetic Revolution workshops by James Dunne which was fortunately here in Brighton a couple of weeks back. No matter how good a runner you think you are, there is always something someone else can teach you, and in James's case he taught me a lot. I have followed James for some time on his blog and I highly respect his teachings. It was a good virtual friend, Alan Thwaits (@basicbare on Twitter), who brought James to my attention with his free 30 day challenge - if you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend it (www.kinetic-revolution.com). So I started with mentally prodding myself with information I was reminded of in the workshop, and information I learned in the workshop, to start me off on the right footing. I plan on starting my training off with two shorter (up to 5 mile) runs in the week, one tempo and the other speed or hill training, my long weekend run will be a minimum of 12 miles building up and then dropping back down to double up on back to back 10 mile runs, and gradually building the distance there too.

Next step was that I started back at the gym last week to begin my strength training. Why strength train? Well, for me the most important aspect of this is to prevent injuries and one of the ways it does this is by helping me maintain good form and will also help me run further. I've been very lucky that a good friend, Dede Dean, from physiques-training.com, has offered to help me out here – he's highly knowledgeable and works with many different types of people from jockeys to bodybuilders to MMA fighters. Even though it's been over 13 years since I stepped into a gym, I was shocked to see how little I remembered AND how weak I am! I aim to train one to two times a

week, depending on my schedule. The next piece of the puzzle is that I'm going to start doing yoga once a week too. Again yoga, like strength training, is completely under rated by runners unless you have actually done it enough to see the benefits. I know I have mentioned her before but after doing a Yoga for Runners workshop with Emma Spencer-Goodier, I still have the DVD of the routine we worked on in the workshop so I can continue my practice at home, without having to shell out on classes if I don't want to. So yeah. It's a lot to think about and fit in, as well as work and raise a family, but I'm not going to be too strict with myself. If I have to miss something here and there I will, just as long as I don't miss too much! My final bit of news to tell you, which I am ever so excited about, is that I will be collecting my new running buddy in a couple of weeks time, probably just before this issue goes out. Her name is Birdy and she is a Sussex Bulldog. She's a long legged variety, bred to be a working dog, and will have no trouble running with me once she is old enough to do so. I cannot wait for those days to come! So, until next time, happy running!

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A conversation with‌ Ultrarunner and author Vanessa Runs

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anessa Runs is probably a familiar name to many of you. She is not only a barefoot/minimalist runner, but also an accomplished ultrarunner and author. She and her husband, Shacky (also an ultrarunner) live a life well and truly off the beaten path, travelling around the US in their RV, along with the other members of their family: Kitty (the cat) and Ginger (the dog). Vanessa and Shacky are currently crewing for Patrick Sweeney as he runs across the USA (covering around 30 miles per day) raising money and awareness for the “100 mile club” www.100mileclub.com), a charity encouraging and supporting sporting activity amongst children in the USA. Vanessa has also recently just launched her new book Daughters of Distance.

School was always an inconvenience for me. It felt way too structured and limited. My grades were always high - 90% averages every year - but I yearned for the freedom to explore more deeply. I feel that if I had been allowed to ‘learn’ at my own pace, I could have done some extraordinary things. I started writing my own stories very early in elementary school. Most of them were gibberish and heavily influenced by whatever I was reading at the time. I published my first piece of writing at age 13 and won my first writing contest at age 15. I developed a permanent blister on one spot of my finger from holding

a pen to paper. I wrote thousands of words a day - much more than I do today as an author. Today that blister is still a permanent bump-scar on my finger even though I type now. When and why did you start running? When and why did you start barefoot running and what are your thoughts about how it has evolved within the running community. Also, tell us what your thoughts are about the input of the media on the subject – pros/cons? Do you still run barefoot? I started running in 2007 as a way to combat stress. I was going through a difficult period in my life in college

Unfortunately, we were unable to establish an adequate Skype connection with Vanessa, but she kindly answered some questions that we sent her via email. Enjoy! What is your motivation behind reading and writing? Have you been a keen reader since childhood? Were you actively encouraged at school? I grew up in a very sheltered and religious home. I had no television and no toys. To entertain myself I would read my dad’s thick seminary textbooks and my mom’s English As a Second Language study books. Half the time I had no idea what I was reading. Before I even started school I could read and write in Spanish, tutored by my mother and I had memorized several Bible passages. When I started going to school, I discovered children’s books and libraries. It was heaven for me. I would sit in a corner of the library and read every single book in the order it was shelved one by one - it didn’t matter what the subject matter was. I wanted to know everything. Reading was my window to the outside world - my only window for many years. I don’t recall ever being encouraged to read - I never needed encouragement. I was never discouraged either, so I indulged freely and deeply. I would stay up very late every night, just reading.

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and starting to break free from the religious beliefs I was raised with. I was finding my own place, my own voice and feeling some resistance from those around me. I was also struggling financially. Running was a hard physical effort that took my mind off my troubles and left me feeling exhausted but refreshed. I loved it. The longer I could run, the better. Before long I had registered for my first marathon and second marathon. I started to blog about running and Shacky (now my husband) started following my blog. He was running barefoot and also ultramarathons. I learned everything I know from him. I never had any running injuries so I didn’t care about form or technique. I fell in love with the connection to nature and running in the woods with my feet on the soil. I began trail running barefoot and fell in love. I don’t have any knowledge or opinions on how barefoot running has evolved within the running community. I don’t know and don’t care what other people think about it - I’m fairly isolated from most barefoot running media and I prefer it that way. Barefoot running is something I do for myself. It’s good for my soul and I like how it fits into my minimalist lifestyle. I was barefoot running before I read Born to Run and I’m indifferent to the science behind it. For me, it is and always has been a more spiritual experience. It works for me, so I do it. These days I run more in Luna Sandals (huaraches) than fully barefoot. It allows me to get on more technical trails - harsher terrain and bigger climbs for more miles. That’s the stuff I love to run on. The more wild and secluded, the better. Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind The Summit Seeker and Daughters of Distance In many ways, I was inspired by running. I had always wanted to write a book, but despite all my writing experience and published works, I never felt I was a good enough writer. After my fifth 100-mile race I finally realized that I could do some pretty amazing things - much more than I gave myself credit for. I quit my cubicle job and started

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while experiencing the country in a new way. We have been living this way for four years now with no plans to ever stop. How do your dog and cat get on and what do think they think about living in the RV and moving around? A few days before we were going to head off in the RV there was a rainstorm in San Diego and we found a kitten cowering on our front porch. We took her in and soon discovered she was pregnant. We waited for her to have her kittens, waited until she had weaned them, and found homes for all the babies. She had grown up as a stray and was pretty sickly. We had her fixed and vet-checked and by then we had bonded - she was ours. We named her Mama (since she was a young mom), threw her into the RV and took off.

working on The Summit Seeker. I have been travelling and writing books ever since. The Summit Seeker was my own story but I also wanted to tell the stories of other women. Daughters of Distance contains the stories of many other women in endurance. It’s a lot more research-based and the first of its kind in the running community. It will raise a lot of important issues that are rarely discussed. I’m pretty proud of it. Do you think everyone has it in them to be an ultra runner or do they have unique qualities? I believe anyone who wants to can finish an ultramarathon. Much like writing a book, it often feels like an insurmountable task but little by little you can get it done. One mile at a time. I jumped from 50K right into 100 miles. It wasn’t pretty, but I generally find we can do so much more than we think we can. How did you and Shacky meet? What made you both give up your jobs and move into the RV?

Shacky started following my blog back in 2007 when I first started running. He gave me a lot of pointers and mentored me through my training. He then flew out to pace me on my first (and later second) marathon. I was living in Canada at the time and he was in California. Then I moved to San Diego and we’ve been inseparable ever since. After I finished my fifth 100-miler and quit my job to write my first book I became a huge advocate of following your dreams with an added urgency I had not felt before. I realized that life is short and the last thing I wanted to do was delay my ambitions. Both Shacky and I had dreams of living minimally in nature and travelling. The RV was a perfect fit for us so we just took a leap and did it. Shacky quit his job and we hit the road. I can now honestly say that this is the life I would be living if I were a millionaire: complete freedom and full-time travelling. We are currently crewing our friends as they fulfil their own dreams of running across America. They started in January and we will follow them until they finish in June. We have the flexibility to help them full-time and

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Kitty LOVES travelling. She fights me for the front seat and wins most of the time. She goes out when it’s safe but never strays far from the RV. She is extremely affectionate with me and comes when I call her. Ginger tolerates her. She adores Ginger and follows her ‘big sister’ everywhere. Ginger puts up with it. Shacky has had Ginger for 14 years. Ginger adores living in the RV - the difference was actually shocking to me. She became MUCH more affectionate with us living in such close proximity. She is much better behaved and truly one of the ‘pack.’ We’ve bonded on a much deeper level. The animals are very special to us and often influence where we go and what we do. We think hard about doing trails that aren’t dog friendly and have postponed many adventures where Ginger isn’t welcome. When it comes to finding a place to park for the day, we look for spots that are safe for Kitty. They are both very much part of the family. Do you think everyone would benefit from selling up and roaming in an RV for a while or is your message more just about encouraging people to find more of a balance in their lives? It’s obviously a big step and very difficult at times – has everyone got it in them to be able to just let everything go, do you think? (This question would be

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better as a conversation, so feel free to elaborate/go off on a tangent!) I don’t think everyone should live in an RV and I don’t think everyone wants to. My message is more about empowering people to follow their own dreams, regardless of how far away or impossible they seem. For us, that was RV living and travel. For others that may be starting a business or pursuing a degree or living on a farm or running across the USA. We often delay the things we really want to do and there’s often no good reason to do so. I am a strong proponent of sustainable and environmentally responsible living. For most people, this involves simplifying their lives. Less priority on stuff and more on experiences. I strongly believe in farming and meeting/growing your own food. I believe in gardening. I believe in protecting our planet. Many of these things have nothing to do with travel or RV living. You come across as very much your own people, doing your own thing rather than following convention. You recently got married (congrats!) which is quite a conventional thing to do – what made you want to tie the knot? This is a great question! I have very unconventional ideas about relationships, but I believe strongly

in loyalty and honesty (not the same as monogamy). I’m uncomfortable with the concept of marriage in a religious context and for that reason I didn’t think I would ever get married again (I was married and divorced in my 20s), even though I am wholeheartedly devoted to Shacky. However, the benefits of marriage for ease of travel were ultimately impossible for me to ignore. Crossing borders has become a real hassle, both on the Canadian and American side. We have often been pulled away and interviewed separately. I am always asked by immigration officials why we are not married (even though that seems like an inappropriate question to me). It feels like an interrogation and it makes me unhappy. Visas are also becoming an issue now that I’m no longer employed by a company and therefore not eligible for a work visa. I’m not willing to cross a border every three months for a travel visa. Marriage is an easy solution to many of my travel woes. In a choice between working for anyone other than myself and getting married, I choose marriage. It sounds crude and unromantic, but I find great comfort in our practical approach to life. I don’t plan to go anywhere without Shacky (or Ginger for that matter). There are strong benefits in both Canada and the USA. Being married, the travel and

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health care possibilities open up to us. Do you have any plans for the future? Do you see yourselves settling in one place or do you think you’ll continue to travel, perhaps overseas? Anything is possible. After the dog passes away, Shacky and I are planning to thru-hike and get into a lot more international travel. We’re already making contacts and plans. I’d like to traverse a country and New Zealand is high on my list (Canada and El Salvador are others). Many, many other countries are on that list. It’s a big world out there and there’s always time for exploring. The first and third questions are more for you Vanessa, but the others are for you both and we’d love to hear thoughts from both of you. Shacky was content to read my answers and nods in agreement [Smiley face] He usually leaves all the typing stuff to me. Both of Vanessa’s books are available on Amazon – Kindle and hardback. You can follow her travels and thoughts via her website: www.vanessaruns.com You can also follow the team currently running across the USA via their facebook page Run With Us America.

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Book review parkrun: much more than just a run in the park by Debra Bourne

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(reviewed by Anna Toombs)

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he first year that David [Robinson] and I were at The Running Show, we asked the audience at one of our seminars, “Does anyone here run barefoot?”

Before reading the book, I of course knew of parkrun. Having read the book, I am sorry that I have yet to take part in one and it’s definitely now on my list of things to do.

Once you have registered (for free), you can join in any parkrun of your choice and some runners love to try as many as possible, earning the title “parkrun tourist”.

Only a couple of people put their hands up; one of those people was Debra Bourne. Debra is an ultrarunner who has embraced the idea of barefoot and minimalist running and truly relishes the challenge of running longer distances.

I had no idea that the “Bushy Park Time Trial” that I regularly saw advertised in Runner’s World years ago was in fact the very first parkrun. Keen runner, Paul Sinton-Hewitt, originally wanted to create a free, timed, 5km run that anybody could take part in. Debra’s book documents how the dream continued to grow so that new events began sprouting up all over the UK and then internationally.

There is some sponsorship that helps to fund new parkruns (it costs in the region of £3,000 to set up a new parkrun, with items such as a laptop, finishing tokens, etc.) and cover the costs of a core team of people who earn a wage but other than that, the parkruns rely on community support. Debra explains how every runner is encouraged to volunteer every so often rather than run and there are many quotes from people saying that they enjoy the volunteering as much as the running! For many, the role of volunteer allows them to continue to be a part of the running community when they are injured or when it is their partner’s turn to watch the kids. The whole family can go and take it in turns to run or support.

Each subsequent year we have attended the show, Debra has popped by our stand to say hello. At the end of last year, she bounded up to us with some news: “I’ve written a book about parkrun!” Debra told us about a foot injury that had temporarily seen her stop running and then her introduction to parkrun as a means of getting back on track. Debra is now Event Director at Lloyd parkrun and very much a part of the parkrun family. We were keen to hear more about this running phenomenon that seems to be sweeping across the country and immediately offered to read the book and review it. Chequered Flag Publishing kindly sent us a copy and I got stuck in.

Most people I know, runners or otherwise, have heard of parkrun and know where their nearest parkrun takes place. This is incredible, considering that parkrun continues to be available for everyone, for free. As I read Debra’s book, I found myself repeatedly saying, “No. Really?” There are parkruns all over the world, with hundreds of thousands of runners participating every Saturday at 9am, sometimes at their local parkrun and at other times as visitors at a different location.

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In fact, there is a huge emphasis on the family joining in. Debra relates how junior parkrun has developed – a shorter, 2km run held on a Sunday. During the standard, Saturday events, runners can bring a dog or run with

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a buggy and the fact that runs are relatively early means that they signify the start of the weekend, rather than eating into precious weekend time. The sentiment of the book and of parkrun itself is inspiration. parkrun is inspirational for several reasons. Firstly, who would have imagined that one man’s dream to make available free, weekly, timed 5km runs would ever happen and continue to grow on an almost exponential basis? Secondly, parkrun manages to transform even the most shy or adamant non-runners into outgoing, competitive athletes! I have been helping one of my personal training clients to get back into running after a layoff of several years. After several coaching sessions and shorter runs together, she went along, by herself, to her local parkrun and was overwhelmed by the support. She felt that she ran slowly and found it quite a struggle but felt so welcomed that she returned the next week. In the book, there are endless quotes from parkrunners who have come out of their shell after volunteering at events, because it involves interacting with potentially hundreds of people. Speaking of quotes, when I chatted to Debra about the book she told me that she had interviewed over 150 parkrunners to provide numerous personal accounts of the different ways that parkrun has changed so many lives. Debra has sprinkled these quotes throughout the book, each one its own little story of parkrun success. There are those who have overcome injury or gone from walking the 5km parkrun to running marathons, as well as those who are feeling the therapeutic effects of running and socializing together, helping them to overcome depression. All walks of life are represented. Young and old, men and women, all sizes and shapes and all different kinds of backgrounds. You don’t even have to be a runner; as mentioned, many people walk the 5km routes and events are also structured, if possible, to be wheelchair friendly. Another staple part of each run is the coffee and chat afterwards; every single event has a designated café or pub so that the social element is as much a feature of parkrun as the running itself! It hasn’t all been plain-sailing. There

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parkrun: much more than just a run in the park by Debra Bourne Paperback: £11.99 Paperback: 360pages Language: English Publisher: Chequered Flag Publishing (1 Dec. 2014) ISBN-10: 0956946070 ISBN-13: 978-0956946072

have been plenty of hiccups along the way but they’ve all been dealt with successfully, whether they’ve been technical problems, weatherrelated problems or just good old human error. From the book, it sounds as though – ironically the biggest hurdle has been to get regular running clubs on side. Many existing clubs are initially concerned when a new parkrun in their area is launched, worrying that it will discourage people from joining, preferring to parkrun instead, and also that it might deplete the number of people entering races. There is definitely an inter-club competitiveness when it comes to running, whereas the focus of parkrun is enjoyment and - if it suits you - to compete against yourself, i.e. working on improving your 5km time rather than racing others. Happily, the opposite tends to happen; people are introduced to running through parkrun and go on to join running clubs and enter races. Debra writes about this issue in a very positive manner but it personally did rile me a bit that there has been any negativity towards such a great gift to aspiring runners the world over. In fact, the parkrun message is certainly one of unity and coming together and this, to me, is one of the very special things about running.

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Debra writes in a very fluid, easy-toread style. She has structured the book so that it follows the progression of the parkrun story, but she cleverly uses anecdotes and quotes so that it is not just a series of “this happened, then that happened” but a wonderful story of a hugely ambitious dream that has blossomed into an international gem. If you parkrun, if you’re thinking of doing it or you are just after an inspirational book, then I highly recommend this one!

Note: If you’d like to find out more about parkrun and perhaps join in your local event, visit: www.parkrun.org for more information.

Barefoot Running Magazine


100k Ultra 50k Ultra

Individuals or team relay

Limited spaces at World Heritage sites


Assorted goodies Products worth a look

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1. Bikila Evo WP This is one of the latest offerings from Vibram FiveFingers. The Bikila Evo WP is waterproof, with taped seams that will keep you both dry and warm. A great minimalist shoe option for running in cold, wet conditions. Retailing at around £150. For more information, visit: www.vibramfivefingers.com

2. GU Energy Gel - Root Beer Each shot provides 100 calories in the form of a patented carbohydrate blend. It is easy to digest and useful for any sportsperson at any level. This portable little shot of energy comes in 15 different flavours, including Love Espresso, Peanut Butter and the latest offer, Root Beer! Retailing at around $20 for a box of 18 gels. For more information, see this link: www.guenergy.com 3. LED LENSER® NEO Headlamp This colourful and ultra light headlamp is perfect for anyone who wants to be seen when they’re out and about in the dark. Not only does it provide wide illumination for the wearer, it also allows the wearer to be seen by other road users. Available in a variety of colours. Retailing at around £20. Find out more here: www.ledlenser.com 4. TRIGGERPOINT™ GRID® STK This is a handheld, more portable version of a foam roller. Its 3 dimensional structure supports healthy circulation of blood and oxygen to the tissue and the secure grip and waterproof materials make it easy to use. Perfect for working out those knotted muscles! Retailing at around £40. For more information, visit: www.tptherapy.com 5. Skins A400 Long Tights These high quality tights provide dynamic gradient compression to deliver more blood to active muscles, increasing power and stamina. They also potentially reduce post-workout muscle soreness and with fast wicking material, transport moisture quickly away from the skin. The waistband adapts to your movement so there’s no rolling or flipping and there’s a small pocket for that necessary key or bit of change. Retailing at around £90 For more information, visit: www.skins.net

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Picture from the past

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Autumn 2014 Page 79 xeroshoes……..

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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

aerffo eofooottoRR t uuRnnunnniinngign M g Mggaaagzzaiin znieen e A uStuum A u t u m n 2 0 1 3 BBaaBrre Maa mmn e 2r 021031 4P aPgaeg e1 0891


n injured athlete is sometimes faced with the decision to go under the knife to hopefully rid them of their pain once and for all. With the multitude of diagnostic tests available today it’s often very easy to be convinced that surgery is the only way you will get better. After all, if you see a bulging disc on your MRI, then that must be the cause of your lower back or sciatic-type pain, right? Or maybe you’ve been told that the loss of joint space in your knee is the reason for your pain and that you need to go and have it cleaned out so you can get back to running again. “There’s just no other solution” is what many are often told. Well, surgery is sometimes necessary but more often, it is not. When the recommendation is that you go under the knife, you should

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not only think twice, but ask twice, get a second if not third opinion, and consider all other options. The often promised positive outcome is typically not as rosy as it’s made out to be. What’s That Film Say Again? Although technology is a beautiful thing it’s not guaranteed to give you a precise diagnosis or solution to your problem. Just because something shows up on a film (i.e., CT scan, MRI, X-Ray), it doesn’t necessarily mean that that is the cause of your problem. Often, the problem is distant to where the symptom is felt – yes, even in the case of something sometimes staring you directly in the face as a result of an image on a film.

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Take, for example, the classic lower back disc bulge or herniation. If you have lower back pain and your MRI shows a disc issue, then it’s often easy for medical professionals to convince you that the disc is causing pressure, perhaps on a nerve, and hence your pain. But this very sane reasoning is why most lower back surgeries fail – the person has the disc or some bone removed so the pressure is relieved yet their back pain is little, if any, improved. How can that be? I’ve actually seen patients come in to my office with a disc completely removed that was supposedly putting pressure on a nerve yet by surgically removing this pressure, it resulted in zero pain reduction. Yes, zero. This might sound crazy but it’s more common than you think and this result occurs not just in spinal discs but in many other areas of the body too. Who’s Reading What? Get a Second Opinion

if not third opinion especially if you’re thinking about surgery. You don’t need someone telling you after the fact that your problem wasn’t as bad as it appeared to be. Once your surgeon is at the area of concern, it is not likely that he or she will abort the procedure if the problem doesn’t correlate with the report or diagnostic study finding. Look at the Other Side It’s not uncommon for someone to have a complaint and the area of concern shows something rather remarkable just by pure coincidence. In other words, how do you know if what was discovered during a diagnostic study wasn’t already there before you had pain or loss of motion? Maybe that’s just how you were made and now it’s being cited as the reason for your ailment or inability to heal. I’ve seen this numerous times and very recently by a student of mine’s son. Recently, his boy fell and hurt his foot so he took him into the orthopedic clinic and they did an X-ray and the doctor came back in stating that he had fractured his sesamoid bone. The dad told the doctor that he didn’t see how that was possible given the way his son described hitting it. So he told him he wanted an X-ray of the other foot also. The attending doctor looked surprised at this, but the dad insisted that he wanted to see if his other sesamoid was also split in half (bipartite). Sure enough, the X-ray of his other foot came back and showed that the sesamoid was also bipartite. He told the doc he didn’t think he broke it after all and that it was most likely congenital. His wife also had a foot injury about a year ago and the doc misdiagnosed her with a broken sesamoid, when in fact she also had a natural bipartite sesamoid in both feet. So, this doc told him that, regardless, his recommendation for treatment was the same, which was to put him in a boot and give him pain meds and to follow up in two weeks. So much for that doctor listening, looking at the facts, and trying to figure out the problem presented before him.

Realize that any diagnostic test is only as good as the person who takes it combined with the observation of the one who reads it. It’s not difficult to miss something on an X-ray if you’re not set up properly by the tech and likewise it’s not too hard to cast a shadow that someone might read incorrectly as a problem, or hide a problem for that matter. Reading a film is very subjective. One radiologist reading a film may consider that a problem is better, or worse, than another radiologist. I remember one case many years ago where I saw this guy who travelled to see me for his back ailments. He brought his films and his report in with him. The report made it sound like the discs in his back were severely herniated, yet I couldn’t see that on the MRI. I’m no expert at reading MRIs (at least not to the point that a radiologist should be), so I decided to call the center where he had the films taken. Another doctor there was nice enough to review the films with me and he too couldn’t understand why the report exaggerated the case. The report noted “moderate” and “severe” disc bulging while the doctor I spoke to said he would classify them as “mild” and “moderate”. So the take home message here is that it’s always good to get a second,

Don’t assume that something you see is the whole or complete reason for the problem. This is also very common with arthritis in joints. I’ve seen X-rays of bad knees that clearly show loss of joint space which just

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must be causing the person’s pain. Yet, when they have the other asymptomatic knee filmed, it’s often been just as bad, if not worse. Exploratory Surgery Exploratory surgery seems to be more common than you’d like to believe. Often, when a diagnostic film just doesn’t correlate with exam findings or identify a specific problem, the physician must use their own experience and hopefully a thorough exam to determine whether surgery is still necessary or not. Of course this aspect should always play a huge role in the decision process, as you should never go into surgery just because of a finding on a diagnostic test. (Yes there are exceptions of course – like a piece of glass sticking in your head.) This Hail Mary approach to surgery is highly sceptical. If, for example, you are having shoulder problems and nobody can figure out why and an MRI, X-ray, or other study is unable to identify something remarkable, do you really want a surgeon to cut you open to see what they find? I realize that after perhaps months or years of pain and loss of mobility you may be at your wits’ end. Consider the possible consequences several times over because once you’re cut open, there is no turning back. For two areas of the body – the feet and the jaw – I’d recommend that you are certain you have exhausted all your options even if that includes going to consult with some witch doctor on the top of a desolate mountain range. Those areas tend to be the most problematic when it comes to surgery; I’ve seen horror stories from botched TMJ and foot surgeries and some of them just can’t ever be properly corrected again. If, after you’re more informed by talking to more than one doctor and you’ve had your films thoroughly looked at, you’re still convinced you need surgery, you’ll want to know what to expect during and after surgery. In Part II I’ll discuss going under the knife, post-op recovery, and why more times than not, surgery won’t correct all your problems.

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


How to Reassess your health

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was recently chatting with a researcher at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health in London. We were discussing different movement methods and their limitations, very much from a physical perspective. Whenever I have discussions like this, I am reminded that however much researchers and fitness professionals are aware of the integral connection between mind and body, we always tend to discuss the physical and neglect the mental. This got me thinking about our “How to…” section of the magazine. We tend to offer advice, guidance and instruction concerning useful exercises but again, past examples have included mainly physical movements.

It feels safe to put things into separate boxes. If the boxes break and the contents start to leak and mix with the other boxes, control is lost. It’s funny how the more stressed we get, the more we focus on getting just one thing right (going to the gym/for a run) and bizarrely labelling it “health”. If any of this rings true with you, have a look at our suggestions below and give them a try. First of all, have an honest look at the following areas of your daily life:

     

From each category, choose up to three aspects that, deep down, you know are having a negative impact on your health. Here are a few examples: Nutrition –

Exercise –

Nutrition Exercise Sleep Work Relationships Pain/discomfort

I regularly eat something sweet after my evening meal even though I’m no longer hungry

I push myself to do cardio and weights, although there are many movements that I need to be careful with as they aggravate my muscles/joints

Pain/discomfort

I have weak areas of my body that flare up regularly and cause me pain

So for this issue, we are going to suggest something different and discuss some mental exercises rather than physical ones. I know people who exercise a lot. Every day – sometimes twice a day. At the end of each week, they either feel pleased that they have done enough, or disappointed that they haven’t. If asked, they will say that their assessment of success/failure relates to their fitness; if they haven’t done enough, they think they will lose fitness and this is a fail. A good portion of these ‘fit’ people are in pain. There are certain things that they cannot do because they have restricted movement, old injuries that still rear their ugly heads every so often, poor quality sleep through stress, IBS through poor diet…the list goes on. Are you fit and healthy if you are able to push to achieve your weekly mileage but have fluid retention, feel angry for no reason and can’t do anything that involves your shoulders because you have tension and pain in that area? The answer is obviously no, but the problem is that we, as human beings, have a tendency to compartmentalize. Exercise goes into one box labelled “fitness and health” and we forget that our other boxes with labels like “work”, “family” and “nutrition” will also have an impact on our health. My back is twingeing and I’m so tired… but never mind, if I force myself to do my quota of cardio in the gym, it’s ok. I’m still fit, I’ve still succeeded.

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Once you have your list, try to think of some strategies to begin making changes. Be aware that recognizing that you’re not quite as healthy or fit as you thought may well be the hardest part of this exercise. Let’s use the given examples as a guide. For the first example, your strategy might be very simple. Just for a week, don’t eat anything after your evening meal. You’ve already established that you don’t need it and you might find that you have a better night’s sleep. Make a note of anything you notice over the week as a result of cutting this out. Was it as difficult to do as you thought? In the second example, the strategy you undertake might be a bit more involved. You may choose the route of finding a trainer who can help you modify your exercise routine; this will mean being open to some significant changes. A hands-on sports therapist might also be able to work out some of the ‘kinks’ and give you some general training advice. If you want to go it alone, start by exchanging one of your gym sessions for a Pilates or yoga session, then try to keep (gradually) modifying what you do so that you begin moving your body in different ways. Identify your exercise intensity levels and adjust them so that you’re not always at your maximum. This is essential: if you are finding that your exercise choices are becoming increasingly limited because your body won’t move in certain ways it’s time to make some changes. This will be a positive step towards improving your fitness, even if it might feel like you’re letting something go. Regarding the third example, most people find they have ‘weak’ areas in their body. If they’re feeling under the weather or tired, they will generally feel pain or weakness in the same areas of their body, whether it’s a knee, lower back or neck. You may always have areas of your body that feel more vulnerable but you can certainly decrease this vulnerability. Keeping a diary can be extremely useful – certain foods may inadvertently be causing inflammation or putting extra stress on your body. Another contributing factor might be the amount of time you spend sitting – monitor this for a week and see if there’s a correlation between the pain and sitting down.

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so that I pick up niggly injuries I have begun to combat this by being more aware of my eating and exercise habits. If I’m starting to crave sugar, it usually means that I need to substitute a planned run, say, for a gentle, meditative yoga session or a day off. In addition, although I don’t ban puddings or sugary foods, I make sure that sugary treats do not become a habit. What I am trying to be more habitual about is the time I go to bed – it was too erratic before so my body was never able to get into any sort of rhythm. So far, I am feeling more relaxed and less anxious and my sleep feels more wholesome.” If it feels as though the process is becoming too complicated, just whittle down your list of issues to the ones that bother you the most. These are, in fact, often the ones that you know the answer to - you just need to be prepared to make the relevant changes.

Once you’ve identified key factors, it’s then much easier to begin to address them. Bear in mind that all the issues that you come up with in your original list will be linked, for instance: “I have been having real trouble sleeping recently. Sometimes I lie awake and my heart is racing, sometimes I fall asleep quite easily but wake up in the early hours feeling restless. Having monitored my activities and nutrition, I’ve realized that sugar is one of the contributing factors. When I do a lot of cardio

exercise, I unconsciously up my sugar intake. If I eat sugary foods, or drink alcohol close to going to bed, it affects my sleep. My sleep is also affected when I overeat. Sometimes I don’t get the balance quite right and the combination of too much cardio and sugar means that I am wired but tired when it comes to bedtime. I’m attempting to sleep when I’m on some sort of strange, stressy high.

Lastly, don’t forget to pay attention to how you mentally approach situations. Do you wake up and automatically start on a negative thought path? Make a promise to yourself that, for one day, you’re going to put a positive spin on every situation you are faced with and not to take it too seriously. Difficult to do at first but life-changing once you get the hang of it!

Of course, the lack of sleep means that I feel sluggish and achey and over time, my recovery is affected

Running fact 28. The human body has approximately 45 miles of nerves.

Did you know

Running fact 29. The world’s biggest and oldest ultramarathon event is the Comrades Marathon, held in South Africa - a 90Km event that attracts 20,000 participants.

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The Amuri™ Z-Trek is the latest offering from the team at Xero Shoes. It is a new kind of sport sandal that is lighter than other sport sandals but provides comfortable, secure protection for your chosen activity. With a super-thin, flexible sole that grips the ground, it will give you confidence over all terrain without sacrificing ground feel. The adjustable Z-pattern of the lacing allows you to find the correct tension across your foot, over your foot and behind your heel. It comes in three different colour combinations and is very affordable - but still comes with the renowned Xero Shoes 5,000 mile warranty.

How to enter

The latest offering from Xero Shoes is the Amuri™ Z-Trek sport sandal. But what renowned distance warranty do they come with? A. 4,000 miles B. 5,000 Kilometres C. 5,000 miles See adjacent text for entry details.

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Competition closes midnight 5th August 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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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.

Barefoot Running Magazine

Winter 2012/13

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Available direct from www.trcpublishinguk.com


What’s On Events around the World

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

London 10

London, UK

www.barefootrunningmagazine.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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Saturday 1st

Round the Rock Ultra

Island of Jersey, UK

www.roundtherock.co.uk

Monday 4-10th

Atacama Crossing

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

www.4deserts.com

Saturday 8th

Glacier 3000 Run

Les Diablerets, Switzerland

www.glacier3000run.ch

Tuesday 11-16th

Transrockies Run

Buena Vista, Colorado

www.transrockies-run.com

Wednesday 12th

The Battle of Britain 75 Challenge

Samphire Hoe, UK

www.saxon-shore.com

Thursday 13-15th

Swiss Irontrail

Graub端nden, Switzerland

www.irontrail.ch

Saturday 15-16th

Spitfire Scramble 24hr

Hornchurch, London, UK

www.spitfirescramble.co.uk

Friday 21st

Ghosts of Yellowstone 100m

Montana, USA

www.mysteryranchultrachallenge.com

Saturday 22nd

Leadville Trail 100 Run

Colorado, USA

www.leadvilleraceseries.com

Saturday 22nd

Reykjavik Marathon

Reykjavik, Iceland

www.marathon.is

Saturday 29th

London 2 Cambridge Ultra

London, UK

www.london2cambridgechallenge.com

Sunday 30th

Da Nang International Marathon

Da Nang, Vietnam

www.runfuntravel.com

Saturday 5th

Birill Prague Grand Prix

Old Town Square, Prague

www.praguemarathon.com

Saturday 5-6th

The Buff Joust 24hr

Worcester, UK

www.ultrarunningltd.co.uk

Sunday 6th

Kamikaze. The Banzai Challenge

Mapperton, Dorset

www.votwo.co.uk

Friday 11-12th

Lost Soul Ultramarathon

Alberta, Canada

www.lostsoulultra.com

Saturday 12-13th

Thames Path Challenge (100k)

Putney Bridge, London

www.thamespathchallenge.com

Sunday 13th

BUPA Great North Run

Gateshead, Newcastle

www.greatrun.org

TBC

Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference

Edinburgh, UK

TheScottishBarefootRun

Sunday 20th Lon-

don Duathlon Richmond Park Lon-

don, UK

www.londonduathlon.com

Friday 25-26th

Bear 100 Mile Endurance Run

Utah, USA

www.bear100.com

Sunday 27th

Baxters Loch Ness Marathon

Loch Ness, Scotland

www.lochnessmarathon.com

Sunday 27th

BUPA Great Yorkshire Run

Sheffield City Centre

www.greatrun.org

Sunday 27th

BMW Berlin Marathon

Berlin, Germany

www.bmw-berlin-marathon.com

Saturday 3th

The Isle of Man Mountain Ultra

Isle of Man, UK

www.manxtreme.com

Saturday 3th

Ultra-trail Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa

www.ultratrailcapetown.com

Sunday 4th

Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run

Glasgow, Lanarkshire

www.runglasgow.org

Sunday 4th

MBNA Chester Marathon

City of Chester

www.chestermarathon.co.uk

Saturday 10th

Mount Bogong Vertical K

Victoria, Australia

www.runningwild.net.au

Sunday 11th

The Gower Ultra 50 challenge

Llanmadoc, Wales, UK

www.runwalkcrawl.co.uk

Sunday 11th

30th SPAR Budapest Marathon

Budapest, Hungary

www.runfuntravel.com

Saturday 17-30th

Badwater Mustang Trail Race

Kagbeni, Nepal

www.trailrunningnepal.org

Friday 18th

Viamala Run & Walk

Thusis, Switzerland

www.transviamala.ch/de/

Saturday 19-27th

Spartan Beast

Pippingford, East Sussex

www.spartanrace.com

Sunday 25th

Lode of Mud

Lode Village, UK

www.muckyraces.co.uk

Sunday 25th

BUPA Great South Run

Southsea, Portsmouth, UK

www.greatrun.org

Trans

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controversial statement but could it be true? Don’t get me wrong, anything that gets people moving is good but the key word here is moving. In my quest for a deeper understanding of health and fitness, I turn to my colleagues out there and look at their methods of teaching. I see a growing distinction between exercise and movement emerging and the concept that exercising ‘out of context’ may not necessarily have the desired positive effects on our health and well-being that we hope for. Inigo PT, a colleague of mine from PT training course days, has literally just posted this on Facebook: “What is a sedentary lifestyle? Scientists might say it is when we do less than 4 hours of vigorous, physical activity per week. On that definition, we could spend 5 days a week sitting down and watching TV and then do a couple of hours exercise Saturday and Sunday to tick the box”. In this case, it’s not good enough just to exercise and in fact exercise could be bad if it gives us an excuse to do nothing else for the rest of the time. Another colleague of mine, Michelle Muldoon, who is training to be a Restorative Exercise™ Specialist, introduced me to the work

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of Katy Bowman of The Restorative Exercise™ Institute and author of Move Your DNA. Katy highlights some key differences between movement and exercise. Today we have an abundance of food. We eat and get full then feel guilty so we exercise, whereas as hunter/ gatherers we would have to move to get food. So the motivation to move is now the wrong way around.

technique and developing skill, is essential. Running and walking are both types of movement so I believe we should treat them as such rather than simply just forms of exercise. By focusing on the understanding and reasoning of ‘doing’, your running and walking can become enjoyable, mindful movement. And for those who see the idea of mindful movement as an easy or ‘light’ option, Danny Dreyer founder of Chi Running has a great approach to improving performance: “Performance means doing something in a specific way, with the accent on form. It doesn't mean being the best at anything; it just means paying attention to how you do something. If you're aware of how you do something, and how you can become better, you hold the possibility and promise of improvement in your hand.” You can read the full blog at: www.chirunning.com/blog/entry/ chirunning-performance-for-everyone

As a biomechanist, Katy also highlights issues that can arise if the body is not ready for a particular exercise - the squat being a good example. Squatting comes easily to children as there is nothing structural limiting this type of joint action, but as we grow older and spend less time doing this natural movement it can take a lot of time and effort to ‘relearn’ it. Forcing the body to squat before it is structurally prepared is not a good idea. www.restorativeexercise.com When we look at running, statistics vary but some show a staggering 74% of runners experience a moderate or severe injury per calendar year. Whilst I would never want to tell someone to stop running, I would strongly suggest that a mindful approach, focusing on learning

A few weeks back I was asked to present a Chi Running workshop at the London College of Communication. Following on from my workshop, Darryl Edwards, a movement therapist, paleonutritionist, blogger and author of Paleo Fitness presented his ‘Primal Play’ workshop. Darryl believes you

Barefoot Running Magazine

should play, experiment and explore to make activities varied, functional, practical, enjoyable and adaptive. The warm-up was a game of tag, so 10 minutes of high-energy movement with everyone laughing and having fun! Next time you watch someone doing a set of burpees check if they are laughing and having fun at the same time. The game of tag was as hard a workout, if not even harder, than sets of burpees but guaranteed to be more fun. The day after I was running in the park and saw two different group exercise classes going on. One group was doing repetitive jump squats, the other playing tag. Guess which group was having the most fun? One was doing repetitive exercise, the other purposeful play. Not that there is anything wrong with squat jumps used in the right context… (http://www.thefitnessexplorer.com) It seems clear to me that just prescribing a series of exercises to help someone get fit, lose weight, run a marathon, …… (fill in any other end goal you can think of), can only take you so far in terms of optimal health and fitness. Real, long-term benefits will come from a focus on mindful movement, all day, everyday. Understanding the reasoning behind it and ultimately enjoying what you’re doing will motivate you to continue to do it.

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News from the sporting arena

female Kenyan runner crawled across the finish line to finish third in the Austin Marathon in Texas. Hyvon Ngetich was leading the race when her body began to give up on her and she collapsed with only two-tenths of a mile to go. She was offered a wheelchair by the race volunteers but she refused, determined to finish the race unaided. Ngetich crossed the line on her hands and knees, finishing in third position. Race Director, John Conley, told Ngetich how impressed he was and pledged to adjust her prize money to the amount she would have received if she’d come in second.

On track

The exhausted runner said, “For the last two kilometres, I don’t remember. Finish line, I have no idea”.

ltrarunner, David Johnston, has won the first stage of the Iditarod Trail Invitational. This takes place each year in Alaska and comprises of 350 miles of trails of varying conditions according to the weather. This year saw most of the mountainous route made up of dirt trails and frozen tussocks. Johnston, who is current record holder, completed the race in 4 days, 1 hour and 38 minutes. With only 50 invited runners taking part, the race also offers limited support and runners carry all their survival gear, sleeping bags, clothing etc. with them. Race organizers say, “Sometimes when you offer too much support you cheat the true adventurer out of a big part of why they are on the trail”. Photo courtesy of Dan Mcdonough

Mo Farah has broken the world record over 2 miles at the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix, in 8:03:40

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Mo Farah sets new European record of 59 minutes and 32 seconds in the Lisbon half marathon

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After feeling breathless on Christmas Eve, Tracy Ralph was transported to hospital where she was put into a medically induced coma. She has since battled for her life and had all her fingers, as well as both legs, amputated after septicaemia set in. Her family have set up a fundraising page to raise money for her rehabilitation and prosthetics.

The latest international news

keen runner from Essex in the UK has had both of her legs amputated after suffering an unexpected and serious bout of pneumonia at the end of 2014.

To donate, visit: http://www.youcaring.com/medicalfundraiser/help-tracy-get-back-on-her-feet/293454

International news

he World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of the dangers of consuming too much sugar rotting teeth, expanding waistlines and risk of Type II Diabetes. The advice is to limit sugar to less than 10 per cent of total calories consumed per day. It is also stated that cutting sugar intake to 5 per cent, “Would provide additional health benefits�. WHO suggests cutting down on all added sugars such as syrups, fruit juices and honey but do not advocate limiting natural sugars in fruits and vegetables, although many nutrition experts would advise limiting fruit intake due to sugar content.

Eddie Vilbar Vega completed 101 barefoot marathons in 2014, gaining him a place in the Guinness Book of Records

Barefoot Running Magazine

In December 2014, the International Triathlon Union deleted their rule stating that participants must not run without shoes

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Hello It was so very disappointing when the National Portrait Gallery insisted I leave the premises if I did not put on footwear. I am a stone sculptor (and veteran barefoot runner and general barefoot all the time person) who travelled all the way to London to study the stone busts there. Half an hour into my visit I was singled out by a staff member and embarrassed in public and then given the H&S rubbish that they always fall back on when all their objections are shown to be absurd. I eventually relented and produced a pair of flip-flop-type footwear, since I needed to continue with my studies. How odd that such intrinsically dangerous footwear

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should be regarded as more acceptable to the gallery than my plain feet! The rest of the visit left me understanding a little better how it must feel to suffer racial or religious prejudice! Hi all! Fie to the NPG!! And shame to think that the work created by feisty and often eccentric sculptors should end up being left to languish in such a stuffy environment as that.

I did my first barefoot jog of the year today; there's a fast 'loop' of pavements from my girlfriend’s house, about 5.5km in total, mainly long shallow inclines/declines with a couple of very short steep sections. I've done it a few times this year in trainers but today was my first try barefoot.

McAlastair, Berkshire

Hello I finished 18th in a trail run on Sunday. It was 14k distance in Winter conditions with our Sea Shepherd team. You can see us in the photo (below) still smiling at the end! I am at the bottom right. I had to wear my five fingers as it felt pretty cold. My Xeros need to be pimped a little more... Reinesch, Luxembourg

Although the first half was exactly the same as my fastest jog in trainers (and it's a route I'm comfortable barefooting - did many jogs down it last year), the second half was a bit slower - I hadn't noticed just how broken and littered with small stones the last km or so was. On the upside, I wasn't anywhere near as exhausted as I usually am, so if it had been a bit smoother, I'd probably have got a very similar time (I tend towards a minute either side of 30min for 5.5km at the moment). I do have a pair of Xero shoes which I might try - but although they're my shoe of choice for all the walking/ travelling I do (I managed to wear a pair out!!), I've never managed to feel comfortable running in them, and I'm not sure why. Ian, via facebook

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“Thanks to the ladder adjuster, you can easily dial-in the fit by tugging on the webbing to get it "just right" around your ankle. Bonus, the Wokova webbing is flat and soft and lays on your foot comfortably without digging in at all.” Birthday Shoes

“The build quality of the Luna Venados is great. I have been running in mine for several months and the outsole has barely worn and the straps are still in perfect nick. The grip on hard dry surfaces is fantastic too.”

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The T-Rockets are one of the most versatile sandals on the market because they are custom made for each client. They can be adapted for trail runners or road runners and preferences can be catered for in terms of sole thickness, straps and colours. They are a real passion for the creator (and ultrarunner) Andrew Barnes, and are becoming increasingly popular in the barefoot/minimalist running community due to their high quality, comfort and secure fit.

Barefoot Running Magazine

“Such an innovative idea to be able to change the soles of the sandals according to how far/fast you’re running. Genius!�

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“So lightweight you forget you are wearing them, so spacious as to provide ample room for toe splay, letting your feet do their own thing.”

“The Vibram Bikila LS give you a feeling you just don't get with any other footwear and their more quirky look is becoming somewhat of a status symbol these days. They feel fantastic with the range of movement you can get - they certainly aren't just for running. In fact, I can't think of a thing they wouldn't be great for.”

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The Sockwa X8 continues to be one of the most popular minimalist shoes for those looking for something thin-soled, flexible and affordable. The X8 meets all of these requirements, with the added bonus of being highly durable. The X8 is a shoe that can be used for everyday, casual wear but also seems to suit the running style of most barefoot runners. It has been around for a while and promises to continue to be a shoe that is part of the wardrobe of most barefoot/minimalist runners!

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“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.�

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“The fit is very impressive. The 6mm Vibram custom moulded sole fits very well on my feet. The lacing harness is very comfortable and gives a very secure fit.“

“Shamma Sandals are about quality, as can clearly be felt when running in them. Even though the company has only been in business for two years, it has developed quite an extensive range.”

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Since their successful kickstarter campaign in 2011, the team at Bedrock have managed to produce some of the most impressive sandals currently on the market. They are given top rated reviews by the most experienced sandal runners who truly know what they need from a running sandal. It seems the Bedrock Syncline may have the edge over other sandals in terms of pure comfort and freedom when running. They offer great grip which is why they are so popular amongst trail runners.

“I’m extremely impressed with the Syncline. It’s a great, lightweight and comfortable sandal.”

A worthy winner of the open trail category.

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“I’ve always liked the Inov-8 Bare series and these are no exception. They provide extreme grip in the toughest conditions with minimal interference when it comes to running mechanics.”

“The Trail Freak is a highly comfortable, highly breathable trail shoe that manages to successfully combine a second skin feel with a spacious toe box.”

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PaleoBarefoots are still one of the most intriguing pieces of footwear on the market and hugely popular amongst runners who are after superb barefoot simulation and simultaneous protection when running off road. The paws (coming in different patterns/thicknesses) offer that little bit of extra grip and protection without disrupting running style. They may be slightly more pricey than your average trail shoe but if you look after them, they’ll look after you for life!

Barefoot Running Magazine

“I love everything about the PaleoBarefoots. The presentation when you purchase them is perfect - every little detail has been thought of and is a reflection on the flawless product itself.”

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“This is a first class sandal from a first class sandal maker. They are a must have for any trail runner.”

“I love the fact that my toes, arch and heel are all exposed allowing contact with the ground, so giving good ground feedback. ‘Less is more’ definitely applies to BarePadz.”

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The PaleoBarefoots won last year’s “Innovative product” award and with the addition of the “paws” they have won it again! They have been positively received by runners, particularly by those for whom the original design didn’t offer quite enough protection. You can even send your footwear back to be ‘re-pawed’ if you wear them out, although with correct usage this is unlikely to happen. We look forward to the next exciting offerings from the PaleoBarefoots company!

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“Eye-catching, unusual but extremely fit for purpose.”

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“I gave a pair of these to a long distance cyclist client of mine who was having constant calf pain. Within a matter of weeks, his calf pain had disappeared. A very impressive piece of kit!”

“Simply, the Mythos 2.0 Thermo Tights are excellent. They are as good at keeping the legs warm (and I mean REALLY warm) and protected from the wind, regardless of whether the wearer is waist deep in muddy water out on the trails, or running on a cold, rainy day through the city.”

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Gore apparel is synonymous with quality. This jacket received a huge thumbs up from Jonathan, our reviewer, who put it through some thorough testing over the Winter months and reports that it is still as good as new. Very popular amongst runners who need some serious kit for extreme running and prefer quality over quantity. This jacket will last for years and is a thoroughly deserved winner.

Barefoot Running Magazine

“It is super lightweight (262g), highly breathable, protective against wind, snow, rain and cold, and highly comfortable, with no impact on your freedom of movement. I have been so impressed that it has become a go-to part of my running kit.�

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“It provides high performance fabrics and is the best quality touch screen glove on the market. The perfect companion when you are running or needing the ultimate inner ski glove.”

“These frames are truly multipurpose. I’ve used them for running, cycling, surfing and shooting, changing the lenses according to my needs. A great product and stylish too!”

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North Face products are highly regarded in the fitness world, providing outstanding quality and reliability. This race vest has received some great reviews, both from runners and cyclists. It is extremely functional and a real must for serious athletes covering significant distances, requiring them to carry hydration and nutrition as efficiently as possible.

Barefoot Running Magazine

“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. It is an excellent pack for runners (and bikers!) looking to cover long distances in training and/or complete ultra events where mandatory kit may be required.�

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“These are so comfortable – soft, flexible and light. My feet have plenty of room and I wear them when I have to look a bit smarter than when I’m in my usual scruffy runner’s garb. They work very well for everyday wear and they are so meticulously put together that the pair I’ve had for years is still as good as new.”

“Some minimalist shoes, even those designed for everyday wear, still don’t quite fit the bill. This offering from VivoBarefoot maintains the desirable attributes of a minimalist shoe but is also one of the smartest out there. The best of both worlds!”

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The kigo leon is gaining popularity as barefoot/minimalist runners are becoming more aware of the need to wear flexible, lightweight shoes when they’re not running! The kigo leon is stylish with a thin sole and a wide toe box which is often lacking in casual footwear. It’s smart enough to wear for work and the company has the added bonus of being very environmentally aware, using recycled materials where possible and limited wastage during production. A great all round shoe!

Barefoot Running Magazine

“Overall, it is difficult to find something I don't like about these shoes. They look really great with shorts, with jeans, chinos...possibly not a ball gown but you could certainly wear them with a suit.”

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“I’m really enjoying my Garmin Forerunner 220 with HRM. Training by heart rate is a whole new thing for me and looks like it can make a huge difference.”

“The Ambit3 has quickly become 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.”

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There don’t seem to be many health conscious households without a Nutribullet these days! Incredibly easy to use, you can pack so many nutrients into one drink. Perfect for post-workout fuel or a healthy kickstart to your day. The company itself is approachable and actively encourages Twitter followers on a daily basis to share their experiences and ingredients.

“I thoroughly recommend the Nutribullet. It genuinely is my new favourite thing!”

A very deserved winner of “Gadget of the year”.

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“They are both light, flexible and well made. There’s really not much to get in the way of your running...and there’s really not much to choose between them!”

There is so little to choose between these two sandals and both are so popular with the barefoot/minimalist running community. On the one hand, you have the versatility of the T-Rockets with the custom-made, personal approach and on the other, the extreme comfort and outstanding build quality of the Bedrock Syncline. Preference is down to the individual, but both sandal companies deserve an award for their great products and genuine passion.

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“I’ve had my Nutribullet since last Summer and still use it on a daily basis. I’ve experimented with different ingredients and have honed my mixing skills. Pretty much anything goes though - just bung in whatever you like and the Nutribullet does the rest. I love it!”

The Nutribullet came a very close second this year. It is obviously not something that is especially geared towards the barefoot/minimalist market, but it certainly fits right in, being easy to use and easy to clean! Our readers are very conscious of what they put into their bodies and enjoy being able to make their own nutritious drinks in record time. Nutribullet continue to expand their range and we look forward to seeing more of what they have to offer.

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Congratulations to the PaleoBarefoots team for winning “Product of the Year”. We have watched as the company continues to grow and evolve without compromising on the thought and detail that goes into each pair of Paleos. They come into their own both as a trail shoe and an ‘outside the box’ bizarre invention that works perfectly – the “Paws” being the latest addition that really enhances this minimal footwear. The website has some excellent advice on both the care of the Paleo “Paws” and generally about barefoot running/minimalist running, so be sure to check it out. Thoroughly deserved.

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Product review index Page 124

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Product Review Testers

127

Not so minimal review

128

Sockwa G-Hi

Not so minimal review

132

Mythos 2.0 Thermo Tights

Sneaky Peek

136

Shamma Sandals

Not so minimal review

138

LifeBelt by Aura Cycle Systems

142

Soft Star Shoes Runamoc™ Dash

Not so minimal review

146

Gore X-Run Ultra Windstopper Soft Shell Light Jacket

Out of the box review

150

BarePadz™

Not so minimal review

156

Salomon S-LAB ADV SET SKIN3 5 & 12 2015 Backpacks

132 Blank

132

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 G-Hi

Not so minimal review

WEIGHT

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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of a good quality. It is available in red or black. The pair on test is black, which is great as I’m able to wear them for work, so I’ve been getting very good use out of them.

The upper is made from 2mm thick Neoprene and the central upper tongue is Lycra, making it breathable and stretchy. There is a good quality, wide Velcro ankle strap that provides a comfortable and secure fit. Sockwa use a TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) sole. Sockwa say that, “The sole is the thinnest on the planet” and I have no reason to question this as it truly is remarkably thin, light and flexible.

Styling The G-hi fits up over the ankle and has a wide Velcro strap which is

I love the style. I’m not sure they are to everyone’s taste but, for me, I like the fact that they are different from the normal with their bootie style. My only criticism with the style is the toe box which tapers around the toes. I would much rather see it squared off at the front to a more barefoot style of shoe, which would allow more toe room.

Fit Overall, the fit is good. The 2mm Neoprene upper and Lycra tongue is stretchy, so provides a bit of give. The Velcro ankle strap has a secure feel, which I’ve not had to adjust since the day I first put the G-Hi on.

They are very easy to pull on and off, again because of the great, stretchy fit. The main issue I have with the fit, which I do find annoying, is the shape of the toe box as I mentioned previously. The shape of the G-Hi does taper around the fourth and fifth toes, which causes restriction around the toes. This could be because I have wide feet (12cm across the toes) but I don’t believe they are exceptionally wide. I have to add that the upper is sufficiently stretchy to cope with natural toe flexing that occurs on contact with the ground, so I don’t believe it affects my running gait. The rest of the G-Hi provides an excellent, comfortable and secure fit.

Build quality I find it very hard to find fault with Sockwa build quality. All their shoes are of excellent quality. The upper Neoprene and Lycra are well stitched together and show no signs of coming apart. The TPU sole is very hard wearing and is only now starting to show signs of wear. The upper and sole are glued together but, again, are bonded extremely well.

Performance Sockwa have produced another great performing minimal shoe with the G-Hi. I have primarily used them on tarmac for winter morning runs, where they have proved to be very effective, with great ground feel and excellent flexibility. I have occasionally taken them for a trail run, where they have been quite impressive, performing very well in the wet and muddy conditions. Having the high ankle Velcro strap really does make them feel secure - great for trail running. The only performance issue I have with them is that they don’t breathe, making my feet become

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Not so minimal review

I really do love the quality of the Velcro ankle strap. It is of a fine weave and so is very soft and comfortable to use. I wish other minimal shoe makers would adopt this Velcro.

Barefoot Running Magazine

Sockwa G-Hi

he Sockwa G-Hi is basically an ankle boot version of the “G” range. Excellent, a minimal boot for running!


Sockwa G=HI

too hot and sweaty. They make an excellent Winter minimal shoe when the temperatures are low and you if like your feet toasty, but for Summer running, I’m afraid to say I can’t run in them. For me, minimal shoes should allow feet to breathe and not become hot and sweaty.

Barefoot simulation Sockwa have an excellent reputation for producing shoes with remarkable ground feel. Apart from the PaleoBarefoots®, I have not tried - or know of another - minimal shoe that offers such great barefoot simulation. To the barefoot beginner, the Sockwa G-Hi will give you fantastic ground feel that will encourage you to have good running form. The experienced barefooter will be able to go over very rough ground. It’s also a great shoe for taking the sting out of cold, wet tarmac!

Price Minimal Sportswear sells the G-Hi for £49, with free postage in the UK. Not bad value for a shoe that is comfortable, offers good barefoot simulation and is of excellent quality.

Price Styling

Overall rating If you are looking for a high performance, great ground feel, lightweight, flexible and durable minimal shoe for Winter, then look no further. The G-Hi makes an excellent Winter minimal bootie. The biggest problem with the G-Hi is that the toe box does not allow enough room for my toes, as mentioned in the “Fit” section. It’s been an absolute pleasure testing the G-Hi. I love the bootie style and how comfortable they feel – they are great for wearing at work. I’ve also enjoyed running in them, primarily because of the excellent barefoot simulation.

Not so minimal review

Tested by IH

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Barefoot simulation

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Tight fit around the toes Not breathable Straps are a weak point


www.running - memories.co.uk


Mythos 2.0 Thermo Tights

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in poorly lit areas.

Build quality Gore Running Wear®, I have always found, have somewhat of a good reputation when it comes to their build quality. Okay, their products are usually at the upper end of the pricing scale, but this can be seen in the quality of the material used as well as the thorough stitching.

The entire range boasts high visibility, along with GORE-TEX® and WINDSTOPPER® technologies, giving the wearer the confidence they need to run their “loop” in gloomy mornings or evenings, while keeping dry and shielded from adverse weather.

I have worn the same pair of Mythos 2.0 Thermo Tights for well over 20 runs through the month of January, both on and off road, and cannot tell you how impressed I have been with them. With over 20 40° washes, alongside other running kit of various colours and fabrics, they look as new as they did on their first wear. The neon yellow panels are still vibrant and no stitches have loosened or broken.

Fit In the Mythos 2.0 Thermo Tights, I find the balance quite perfect when it comes to a good, compressive fit that is not restrictive. I must admit I am quite pernickety when it comes to sport clothing and its fit – it has to be ‘just so’ and I must say it is as though Gore Running Wear® had my measurements on file while making my sample.

Performance

Not so minimal review

To be honest, I’m not quite sure why Gore Running Wear® has marketed the Mythos 2.0 Thermo Tights as a product only suitable for those, “Participating in urban 10K and half marathons”. They are more than adequate for both shorter and longer distances, as well as in off-road conditions.

I have spent several hours at a time in them and not had to adjust them once – they really are very comfortable. In fact, they feel like a second skin, without the familiar fight I often have with many other running tights which have me rolling around on the floor trying to get them over my ankles. They are highly practical to put on and take off due to the good length of zips in the ankle section.

Gore Running Wear® - I think your marketing team have under-sold this particular item!

Styling The Mythos 2.0 Thermo Tights come in either all black or a neon yellow and black combination. I elected to go with the whole neon thing what barefoot runner doesn’t what to stand out in the crowd? And I found the cut to still be quite classical. The simple but effective layout of neon panelling and reflective fabrics creates very good visibility

Mythos 2.0 Thermo Tights

ythos 2.0 Thermo Tights are a new addition to the Gore Running Wear® range and are marketed for those runners, “Whose life is about training for 10K and half marathons, whenever they get the chance”. The tights are equipped with thermo properties that continue to work, “Even when the days get shorter, with more chance of fog and rain”.

Simply, the Mythos 2.0 Thermo Tights are excellent. They are as good at keeping the legs warm (and I mean REALLY warm) and protected from the wind, regardless of whether the wearer is waist deep in muddy water out on the trails, or running on a cold, rainy day through the city.

Price At £74.99p, the Mythos 2.0 Thermo Tights come in at the higher end of the market and while I have found them considerably

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Mythos 2.0 Thermo Tights

cheaper on various discount internet stores, I would not have an issue in purchasing them at the original RRP. I have already had a great deal of wear out of them and they will last me a long time.

Overall rating The Mythos 2.0 Thermo Tights would make an excellent addition to anyone’s running attire, regardless of whether they’re running a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon. They are also suitable for any terrain. While

they may cost slightly more than some of their competitors, the extra cost is well worth it. With their good cut and fit, on test they never failed to impress and on occasions left me stating, rather surprisingly in sub-zero temperatures, that, “My legs are quite hot now!” I highly recommend them for any runner out in the cold temperatures who is looking for high quality, comfortable leg wear. Tested by DRR

Specifications

Made of 85% Polyamide (Nylon) and 15% Elastane (Spandex)

  

Thermo-stretch functional fabric Reflective detailing Adjustable elastic waistband with flat cord

Tight bottom leg to be closed by long zippers

 

Zip pocket on back Zipper with reflective detail

www.goreapparel.co.uk

Thermo properties Performance

Not so minimal review

Excellent fit

Price Midsole stiffness Straps are a weak point

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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


Shamma Sandals

hamma Sandals is based in Santa Cruz, California, and is the brainchild of Josh Shamma Stiles. At the age of 31, Josh realized he was starting to get slower. He plays a great deal of softball one of many outdoor activities that he enjoys. While at one of these games, he witnessed a, “Very skilled runner with incredible running form, who looked like his feet were barely touching the ground”. On another occasion, there was a young man playing softball wearing Vibram FiveFingers. Josh enquired into VFF’s and found the world of barefoot and minimalist running. After going for his first barefoot run, he realized how good it felt and was hooked.

sandals and decided to make his own, originally making sandals purely for himself to save money and to improve on already available sandals. Now he makes and sells them because he feels he can bring a better quality sandal to the market. Even though the company has only been in business for two years, it has developed quite an extensive range, comprising of four main types of sandal: 1. The Jerusalem Cruiser was the original sandal. It uses a 6mm Vibram Moreflex sole. It is ideal for the urban environment, running on road, grass or beach. It can also be used for light trail and on top of that, makes a nice casual sandal.

2. Next up is The Warrior. The sole uses 5mm Vibram Newflex; this is a durable sole and has a decent tread pattern. This sandal is ideal for trail, uneven paths and forest trails. 3. The Mountain Goat (which I will be reviewing for the next edition), is the ‘bad boy’ of the range. At 11mm, they are the thickest sole in the range. They use a dual composite sole Vibram Moreflex for the top section and Newflex for the lower half - making these sandals excellent for rocky/ mountain terrain. 4. The last category of sandal is The Classic, with four different

He went through the transition to barefoot running with the usual issue (aching calf muscles), but came out the other side a better runner.

Sneaky peek

As he puts it, “The pain of transition gave way to longer, more enjoyable running”. His first pair of huaraches was made by his father-in-law. They were made from a piece of rubber that was used to repair pipes. He bought a pair of Vibram KSO’s which he loved, but the stink was to put him off! The Luna Equus came next, the thinnest in the Luna range. The only problem with these was the knot breaking every 30-40 miles. Josh quickly became a fan of running in

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how well they fair in the wet and muddy conditions that I run in. It is just a given that in those conditions a leather foot-bed is too slippery and becomes unsecure. I need to put this theory to the test. Maybe the goatskin will provide more grip than the rubber foot-bed.

All Shamma Sandals have options for the foot-bed, either a leather top, (available in cowhide, sheepskin or goatskin) or naked top with no leather - just as they come! I have two pairs of Mountain Goats that I’m testing. One is the “Naked Top” and the other is the “Goatskin” foot-bed. I’m interested to see

Josh takes things that he likes from other sandals, like wide straps and Velcro adjusters. Shamma Sandals are about quality, as can clearly be felt when running in them. If I had to compare them to another it would have to be Luna, for they

also produce a very high quality huarache. The company is still small and is currently housed under an awning at the side of Josh’s house. He runs the company with his business partner, Daniel, and also a couple of brothers and friends who do the assembling work, along with his wife doing the postage. Josh welcomes all feedback from users so that he can continue to improve the sandals and because he feels there is indeed room for improvement within the huarache market.

Shamma Sandals

models to choose from: All-Browns, Super Cruisers, All-Blacks, Black & Tans and Super Cruisers Black & Tans.

Sneaky peek

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LifeBelt by Aura Cycle Systems

Not so minimal review Page 138

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They spent a good amount of time with me going over things they had found, what was good and what wasn’t as of much interest. The key thing which stood out to me was the Lifebelt. Here's where we make the connection between my attention seeking traits and liking things which make a person stand out from the crowd a little. I knew the minute I saw one that I just had to have one! Just at the end of the show, as people were beginning to pack up, I went off in search of them. Luckily I caught them just in time as they were packing away their last boxes, but I was able to have a quick chat and arrange a time for a phone call as well as getting one for myself. Of course I chose orange - it seems to have become the barefoot runner’s colour of choice! Originally having been designed for cycle safety, the company owners thought that they'd give the running market a go so went along to test the waters at The Running Show. Apparently the response they had was even better than any of the cycle shows they'd ever done!

Barefoot Running Magazine

The Lifebelt is an adjustable, heavy duty nylon belt with an LED strip which runs all the way round to help illuminate you and make you visible at night or dusk when it is difficult to see. There is large plastic clip at the front making it very easy to put on and take off, as well as the very small battery box which is also the light setting control for: solid light, slow blink or a faster blink (therefore legally road safe). It will normally last about 70 hours, so I'm told, on one battery. I really like that it is battery powered and therefore less wasteful in the bigger scheme of things. Quite often these types of safety lights are completely disposable which basically means that once the battery runs out, you have to chuck the whole thing. Not very earth friendly. The batteries themselves are the larger, round kind (like a 10 pence piece) which are now easily available in most supermarkets so they aren't a hassle to replace. The belt looks great on and I always have people asking me where I got it and how much it cost - it draws a lot of attention. My local run club has nicknamed it my “rave running belt”! It really is very good at making you visible (up to 300 meters) and it provides a full 360 degrees of illumination, whereas most lights are either forward or rear facing unless you

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Not so minimal review

So, let’s rewind back to November when Anna [Toombs], David [Robinson], Ian [Hicks], Gray [Caws], Margaret [Sinclair] and I all worked together at the Barefoot Lounge at The Running Show in Sandown Park. I was pretty busy talking to people for the majority of the show - people are always so barefoot and minimalist curious that I didn't really get too much time to have a wander round to see all of the new products coming out in the market. But because I am a member of several 'cyber' running clubs, I had said for people to pop by to say hello if they were heading along. It was so lovely when a

surprising number of my BOSH runners came along to finally put a face to the name and it was actually through them that I was able to get a really great feel for what was going on in the show.

LifeBelt by Aura Cycle Systems

k, anyone who knows me, knows that my personality has a tendency towards being just a little attention seeking. It's just a wee personality trait. I mean, I'm not like a huge show off or anything - I'm not likely to flash my boobs or streak across a football pitch. But I do like a little bit of attention, which would probably account for all the luminous stuff I put on when I race and possibly one of the things which drew me into barefoot running in the first place. Not that the same is true now - once I did it, I was addicted to it for so many reasons other than the attention. I guess I just like to be a bit different is what I'm trying to say, in a nut shell.


LifeBelt by Aura Cycle Systems

Not so minimal review

opt for the arm band style, but even they are not fully visible 100% of the time when in motion. Now, they are made very well, they make you look cool and they make you safer at night. The only thing they don't do is light your way, but if that is the kind of thing you are looking for then you'd probably just go out and get yourself a decent head torch anyway. Within the realms of 'being seen' kit they do a great job and have prevented me from getting hit by other runners and cyclists this winter – yes, I have actually been ridden and run into while running at night. Probably part of the reason I like being lit up like a Christmas tree nowadays. There isn't really too much more I can write about this belt other than it comes in a range of colours – pink, red, orange, yellow, green and blue. Everyone I meet comments on it and likes it too. Perfect for additional safety if you also commute on your bike, or for children to wear on their walk home from school on those darker, shorter days. And did I mention how cool they look??! You'll either totally get it or you won't see the point. I'm clearly in the “I get it” camp but I like safety and I like bling. For me they are a win, win and I'll probably never run in the dark without one again.

Styling The styling for this product is simple and uncomplicated which adds to the overall of the belt really well. It comes in a range of colours and there is nothing unnecessary.

Fit

whether worn across the body or around the waist and with a range from a women’s size 4 to a men's size 42. As it is not elasticated, you may find that you may have to fiddle a bit to get it right so that it does not bounce when running, which is why I have marked it down slightly in this rating category.

Build quality

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Performance 360 degree visibility up to 300 meters and is completely weatherproof. It is a known fact that in terms of safety, active lights are safer than reflectors and save more lives. Does what it says on the tin.

Price The manufacturer’s price is £22.99, but they can be found for less. For a product which could save your life one day, I personally think it is remarkably reasonable, especially when it comes with a full 12 month warranty.

Overall rating This is a product that I not only love the look of but I love the function of it too, - it is actually difficult to find fault with such a great, useful and safe product.

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Styling Price

Not elasticated

The build quality is very good, with a high standard of stitching and only the odd loose thread. It is clearly a tough construction product with a hard-wearing, ballistic nylon that’s built to last.

The fit of the belt is adjustable and can be made to fit any size,

360° visibility

Tested by TMD

Barefoot Running Magazine

Midsole stiffness Straps are a weak point


Soft Star Shoes RunAmoc™ Dash

Not so minimal review

WEIGHT (UK10)

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

2 mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

Vibram

Leather

N/A

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

2½ - 14

35 - 49½

5 -15

6 - 16

229g / 8.07OZ

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Soft Star Shoes RunAmoc™ Dash

he RunAmoc™ Dash is an offering from Soft Star Shoes of Oregon, USA. All their products are hand-made by “elves” in a small workshop, to a high quality standard using materials sourced within the USA and with multiple styles available for both adults and children.

width and berth is quite easy. The shoe is roomy and secure. With that, however, I did find that the front of the shoe pressed down slightly on my big toe, which has a tendency to stick up at the end. I do have quite large big toes, but not particularly wide feet so I feel I may have been better off with a narrower fit which may have lifted the top of the shoe up a bit more.

Soft Star Shoes market the RunAmoc™ Dash as having a great feel “for both trails and casual everyday use“ and while allowing “barefoot-like movement to promote strong feet and natural foot development.”

Build quality

Soft Star’s philosophy is to be as close to barefoot as possible while providing basic protection from the elements. Let’s see how the RunAmoc™ Dash fairs!

I can’t fault build quality. The care taken in the manufacturing process is quite impressive - I’ve had the privilege of having a tour of their little workshop!! The stitching is excellent and the materials used are of high quality. I’m sure that the RunAmoc™ Dash will be very durable and more than adequate as an everyday shoe.

Styling The styling is unusual and unique, but I must admit they’re a bit too ‘earthy’ for me – I still like Italian style shoes but just can’t wear them anymore!

Performance

However, luckily, the RunAmoc™ Dash comes in different colours, so you can go for plain black if you want to be understated or something a bit more eye catching if you want to stand out in the crowd!

Personally, I view the RunAmoc™ Dash as an everyday shoe instead of a running shoe. I have only run short distances (5 miles) in them twice and while they felt comfortable and unrestrictive, the idea of ruining the high quality leather on the water soaked and rocky trails I normally run on just seems wrong –

Not so minimal review

The rounded toe is far too rounded for my tastes and, along with the colour, makes my feet look like platypus beaks! (Do platypuses have beaks? I think so…)

Fit Soft Star Shoes always offer many sizing options – narrow, regular and wide fit, with sizes 5 all the way to15, so getting a pair in the correct

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Soft Star Shoes RunAmoc™ Dash

even if they make my feet look platypusey, they’re too nice to get dirty and smelly from the pond water!

Barefoot simulation For a relatively structured shoe, the barefoot simulation is actually very good. With a 2mm Vibram sole, it is slim and very flexible allowing the shoe to mould to the ground surface.

Soft Star Shoes should consider offering something for vegans who don’t want to wear leather and for us runners that like to tackle more unforgiving terrains. Other than that the RunAmoc™ Dash is a good addition to any minimalist’s collection. On reflection, I should have got a pair with a narrower fit and in black – more me! Tested by DRR

The RunAmoc™ Dash is one of the best zero drop, minimal work/ everyday shoes out there when it comes to ground feel.

Price

Not so minimal review

With the retail price starting at $97.00 USD, the RunAmoc™ Dash is quite expensive matched against other minimalist running shoes but, unlike others, it can be used in everyday work situations if you unfortunately have to suit up. This added versatility as well as the durability of the shoe means it becomes a reasonable alternative and not overly expensive.

Overall rating All-in-all I can’t criticize the RunAmoc™ Dash too much in any one aspect. Its barefoot simulation and fit are very good. The build quality is excellent and the materials used are of the highest quality with great attention to detail, even down to using formaldehyde-free leather. On that point I think perhaps

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Build Quality Barefoot simulation Sizing options

Styling not for everyone Compressive toe area Straps are a weak point


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Not so minimal review

Gore X-Run Ultra Windstopper Soft Shell Light Jacket


“Trail running is all about adventure unsurfaced trails, narrow paths and long distances. The new X-RUN ULTRA line from GORE RUNNING WEAR™ provides optimum support for competition-oriented longdistance and endurance trail runners. All components of the X-RUN ULTRA line are equipped with innovative and sophisticated solutions to cater for the most extreme requirements. So there’s nothing more standing in the way of a runner’s high or a breathtaking sporting experience.”[1] I own a number of Gore garments, some dating back as far as 10 years. Whilst the materials and technologies in these older garments may not be bang up to date, there’s one thing that is common to all of the items – despite considerable use over the years, they all look as if they have just come off the shelf.

I’ve always found Gore garments to be fairly conservative on sizing and, admittedly, I would have struggled to fit the provided size XL had I not lost 3 stone over the past 6 months! Nervous anticipation was soon replaced with a sense of glee upon arrival of the Gore X-Run Jacket as I tried it on for the first time and found a form fitting garment with the perfect amount of give that didn’t make me look like I had eaten all the pies! Despite the aesthetics of the garment (more to follow shortly), I have actually worn it out when I haven’t been running, testament to the comfort provided and, certainly where I am concerned, a sure sign that I am 100% comfortable with the fit. The form fitting nature of the garment also works perfectly with my favoured vest style running packs, with little extra material to fold and potentially cause chaffing. There’s an overall stretchiness to the material used in the Gore X-Run Jacket, with an excellent, highly breathable, super stretchy panel on the rear of the garment.

Styling

Certainly where Gore product is concerned, the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is most certainly true.

Fit I have to admit that I haven’t purchased any Gore garments for my running wardrobe over the past few years. This omission has partly been down to the reduced budget that I have found myself working to as a result of parenthood, though, arguably, there’s an element of false economy if I have to buy multiple garments over the years when a single Gore garment would instead suffice.

Aesthetically, the provided red colour scheme ensures that I am highly visible. Whilst this may dictate/limit when the garment can be passed off socially, the bright yellow trim is common to all of the available colour schemes (black, red, splash blue and fresh green) and, from a safety perspective, is a welcome addition. Further, the yellow contrast stitching and reflective hem trim further facilitate increased visibility. Not the subtlest of colour schemes, but definitely one that is going to get you noticed.

Not so minimal review

The Gore brand, whilst most definitely not cheap, is renowned for producing high quality garments and, as such, I literally jumped at the opportunity to review the Gore X-Run Ultra Windstopper Soft Shell Light Jacket when presented with it.

Mostly, however, it has been down to fit.

Gore X-Run Ultra Windstopper Soft Shell Light Jacket

he Gore X-Run Ultra Windstopper Soft Shell Light Jacket is described as a robust, super-lightweight, protective outer shell, made with Windstopper Active Shell material to provide maximum protection from wind chill, and is targeted specifically at long distance trail runners seeking weather protection.

Build quality I’ve already alluded to the expectation of quality that comes with a Gore garment and the Gore X-Run Ultra Windstopper Soft Shell Jacket most certainly doesn’t disappoint. The quality nature of the garment was obvious from the moment I removed it from its packaging, from the lightweight nature of the garment, to the quality feel of the material used in the construction of the garment,

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Gore X-Run Ultra Windstopper Soft Shell Light Jacket

Not so minimal review

to the attention to detail that is evident throughout. One of my main grievances when it comes to garments is stitching, with items often appearing as if they have been ‘thrown’ through the sewing machine. Now I am not about to claim that I know the first thing about garment construction but, certainly to my mind, I would describe whoever put this garment together as less of a ‘machinist’ and more of a ‘craftsman/woman’. Not only is the garment’s stitching impeccable, there’s also contrasting stitching of bright yellow on black, the kind of colour scheme that you would only ever dare to use if you were 100% confident in the quality of work. “Engineered in Germany, Made in Turkey” is stamped on the inside of the garment, and it’s certainly a combination that appears to work. Incidentally, there are no annoying tags in the neck area of this garment as the information contained there has instead been printed on. In terms of the technologies used in the construction of the garment, Windstopper Soft Shell offers “total windproofness with maximum breathability”, whilst “combining the comfort of a soft mid-layer and the water resistance of a shell in one garment.”[2]

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There are, apparently, some measurable benefits from the use of the Windstopper membrane, most notably a lower heart rate: “Direct comparison with other fabrics proves that during the most intensive stages of activity (e.g. cycling uphill), an athlete's heart rate is up to eight beats per minute lower with WINDSTOPPER® clothing than with less breathable fabrics.”[3] Ideally, I would be in a position to confirm this claim but the reality is that there’s just no way that I could replicate testing conditions to the required levels for any scientific basis. As good as all of the above sounded, I couldn’t help but think back to early experiences of Windstopper t-shirts - garments that certainly reduced wind chill, but at considerable cost to comfort, ranking as some of the most uncomfortable garments I have ever had the ‘pleasure’ to wear.

Referring again to my previous comment with regard to attention to detail, it’s also worth mentioning at this point that the Gore X-Run Ultra Windstopper Soft Shell Light Jacket comes with a head band stowed neatly in one of the pockets, and fold out mittens that sit neatly on the arms when not required. Both the headband and mittens are bright yellow, adding to visibility when used. Having invested in the Gore X-Run, be sure to note the care instructions for the garment – machine wash warm and do not tumble dry. After extensive use and almost as extensive washing, I’ve found that the Gore X-Run jacket dries quickly overnight and, other than some very slight degradation of the reflective trim, appears as good as the day I first removed it from its packaging.

Performance

Admittedly, this was almost a decade ago and, thankfully, things would appear to have come a long, long way in the interim.

I have to admit that I had initial reservations when it came to the Gore X-Run Ultra Windstopper Soft Shell Light Jacket. Due to my aforementioned experiences, I was concerned with regard to both the fit and comfort of the garment.

Windstopper Soft Shell provides a garment that is super lightweight (262g), highly breathable, protective against wind, snow, rain and cold, and highly comfortable, with no impact on your freedom of movement. It’s a far cry from the rigid garments experienced so many years ago.

Just for the record, up until now, I have tended to run in nothing more than a t-shirt and shorts, with the addition of a waterproof layer when dictated by extreme weather conditions (and occasionally race regulations). I’m prone to heavy sweating and to overheating quite easily, hence the avoidance of

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Specifications

there are no uncomfortable encounters with the zip.

As such, certainly as far as I was concerned, the Gore X-Run Jacket was going to have its work cut out to convince me of its worth. I was pleasantly surprised! I’ve put the Gore X-Run Jacket to the test in most weather conditions, including snow, rain, wind and, even, some unseasonal sun. On the one extreme, caught unexpectedly on higher ground by wintery snow showers with a high wind chill factor on a pre-dawn training run, I retained a constant, comfortable temperature throughout, maintaining a high effort level despite experiencing low visibility, something that the jacket could unfortunately do little to help with! Given the conditions, which I will admit had me slightly worried during the worst of the weather, I was taken aback at just how comfortable my body temperature had remained.

The pullover mittens are a neat idea, especially in the event that you forgot to take, or decided against, taking gloves. They are, however, quite boxlike and can be quite restrictive. There’s certainly no question of performing anything but the most rudimentary of tasks with the mittens on and, should you anticipate the need to work with gels, energy bars, take photos etc., they are no substitute for a good pair of gloves. However, if it comes down to a choice between cold hands or not, I would definitely make use of this functionality.

Reflective print on hem

     

Stowaway headband in the front pocket Highly functional material mix Cuffs can be turned down and used as mittens Reflective print on hem Wear-resistant elastic binding on sleeve hem Abrasion resistant elastic binding on hem Zip-underflap and zip-port Close fit collar Reflective logo on front and back Napoleon pocket with zip 262g Materials:

 Shell Outside: 87% 

Polyester, 13% Elastane, Windstopper®Membrane Shell Inside: 100% Polyester

URL: http://www.goreapparel.com

RRP £179.99 but can be found online for considerably less.

Overall rating With an RRP of £179.99, the Gore X-Run Ultra Windstopper Soft Shell Light Jacket certainly isn’t cheap. However, the garment screams quality and attention to detail. Whilst I did expect something pretty special from a Gore garment, I wasn’t so sure that I would come to see it as an indispensable item in my running wardrobe.

Excellent build quality Breathability Windstopper ability

Price

However, I have been so impressed by the breathability of the garment, and by its ability to eliminate wind chill, that it has become a go-to part of my running kit, and will likely remain so until the temperature starts to rise.

Midsole stiffness Straps are a weak point

Further, the garment’s resistance to the elements means that my waterproof can remain firmly packed away, save for all but the very worst of conditions that the Scottish outdoors has to offer.

With regard to specifics of the jacket, I was surprised to find that I was 100% comfortable with the collar zipped up fully, which I found was an excellent way of retaining heat. The ‘zip-port’ ensures that

If this Gore X-Run Jacket lasts even half as long as some of the other Gore items I have worn, I will be more than happy. Tested by JJM

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Not so minimal review

On the basis of the above, I can only conclude that the garment is indeed highly breathable and, further, certainly at this relatively early stage of the garment’s life, is highly water resistant - a quality that I hope will remain for years to come.

  

Price

On both occasions, and the many other runs in between, I returned having experienced a comfortable run, arriving home just as I left, wearing the Gore X-Run Ultra Windstopper Soft Shell Light Jacket, with my waterproof layer (carried at all times in the interests of safety) still firmly in my vest pack.

2 front zip pockets

 

Finally, there’s no hem draw chord and, as such, it’s not possible to prevent air flow up into the garment. Having said that, it’s already a close fitting garment and I have yet to experience feeling cold whilst wearing it, even in terrible weather conditions.

On the other extreme, a long run in unseasonably warm temperatures, with an effort level that saw me beat, albeit unofficially, my half marathon PB time, I did consider removing the Gore X-Run Jacket with a view to storing it in my vest pack, but ultimately decided against it. There was just no physical need to remove the garment.

 

Gore X-Run Ultra Windstopper Soft Shell Light Jacket

‘unnecessary’ layers when running.


BarePadz™

Out-of-the-box review

WEIGHT

FOOTBED

DIFFERENTIAL

MIDSOLE

35.4g / 1.25OZ

5 mm

0 mm

N/A

SOLE

UPPER

LINING

GENDER

Kevlar threaded pad

Neoprene

N/A

Unisex

UK

EU

US-M

US-W

2 - 13

35 - 46

6 - 13½

4 - 15

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BarePadz™

arePadz™ is probably the closest you can get to a minimal shoe. The next step has to be barefoot. It resembles a fingerless glove rather than a shoe, for the only part of the foot that is covered is the forefoot area, leaving the toes, arch and heel exposed. The aim is to provide protection for the forefoot (so only forefoot strikers need apply) and to leave the rest of the foot free to feel the ground. The shoes are made from neoprene with a Kevlar underside. There are three fixing points. First, the big toe goes through an opening which fits securely around the toe. Secondly, there is a loop which goes over the third toe. Finally, there is a Velcro strap which runs across the top of the foot and makes the BarePadz adjustable across the shank of the foot. A honeycomb design covers the top part with the BarePadz logo in the middle.

Styling

Fit Greg of BarePadz™, after I’d supplied him with my foot length (29cm), very kindly sent me an XL size. I don’t think the fit could be better - they have a tight and secure feel. The hole for the big toe is tight without feeling too restrictive. The loop for the third toe initially felt too tight, but that seems only to be the case when I first put them on before a run; during a run I hardly notice the loop. The Velcro strap is not needed as the BarePadz™ are such a good fit, but is actually

useful for making adjustments. I found that tightening the Velcro strap when running in wet and muddy conditions gives the BarePadz™ a better fit in these conditions, preventing them from slipping off.

Build quality Overall the build quality is good. The Neoprene and Kevlar are well stitched together and should hold well in the long term. I have a couple of points that I need to mention. Firstly, the Velcro strap, I feel, could be finished off better. It would be nice if a better quality Velcro strap was used rather than the one currently used. Secondly, the third toe loop has an untidy finish to it which I feel could be improved. The BarePadz™ have only been on the market for a few months so they are a work in progress. This

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Out-of-the-box review

There is very little to them. Black (only available in this colour), fingerless gloves is probably the best way to describe them. If you are looking for a minimal, minimal shoe then look no further. The BarePadz is a real head turner and makes for a good conversation with shod runners. I personally

love the no nonsense hard core image of the BarePadz™. Maybe some funky colours might make them even more of a head turner!


BarePadz™

has to be born in mind when criticizing any ‘rough edges’ to the finished product.

First impressions My first impression was how good the fit is. I was a bit concerned that they may not allow my toes to spread properly on contact with the ground but to be honest, I don’t think that this is an issue because I feel no restriction of my toes while running. I love the fact that my toes, arch and heel are all exposed allowing contact with the ground, so giving good ground feedback.

Out-of-the-box review

My first outing was a 5km run on frosty tarmac with a temperature of around -2C. The two things I noticed were how good my toes felt being in contact with the ground and that I felt no stinging sensation from my forefoot (the area that the BarePadz™ cover). As so much of the foot is in contact with the ground, barefoot simulation is excellent. They were surprisingly warm, which does sound strange as they only cover a fraction of the foot, but my feet were lovely and toasty in sub-zero temperatures.

Price The price of the BarePadz is only £19.57 before sales tax ($2.85/£1.96), postage and packaging. Postage to the U.K. brings the total to £28.05. Initially this does seem a high price for not very much fabric but I’m pleased with them and I do find them fun to use. When I do the “Not-so-minimal” review and see how durable they are I will be able to tell you whether they justify this price tag!

extremely minimal shoe. He has dared to go where most barefoot /minimal runners have only thought about, producing a wrap around pad that just protects the forefoot and allows the rest of the foot to feel the ground.

“Less is more” definitely applies to BarePadz. I’m now looking forward to seeing how well they cope with the long term test.

Barefoot simulation Fit

Overall rating I love the BarePadz. I’ve been looking for a shoe that just gives my forefoot some protection when needed and the BarePadz fit the bill perfectly. My congratulations to Greg of BarePadz for producing an

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Price

Cheap Velcro Strap

Straps are a weak point

Barefoot Running Magazine


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

Barefoot Running Magazine

Autumn 2014

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here is a big debate in running, it’s been fizzling out a little, but it’s about to come back to the fore (excuse the pun). It’s that of barefooting vs. supportive shoes, forefoot running vs. heel striking. If you look at the fashion of what’s hot in running shoes, minimalism was it for a while, but it’s been drifting back to the middle ground where shoes are lighter weight, more flexible and with a lower heel to toe drop, but still cushioned. These “barefoot” shoes turned out to be just too hardcore for the masses. Many in the industry have predicted the demise of the “barefoot” or minimalist (as I prefer to call it) market. It came to commercial prominence off the back of the book “Born To Run”, but I see that the book is going to be turned into a film. I think this will make even more of an impact as it will take the message to an even wider audience. And I’m all for it, both as a retailer specializing in

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Winter/Spring 2015

minimalist footwear and as a biomechanist and personal trainer wanting people to run better. However, the debate will burn brighter! I have a problem with the debate that surrounds it. Both sides of the argument become a bit evangelical about the camp they are in. It’s perpetuated by the media and the way they report science, then it’s perpetuated by brands trying to sell their shoes, by athletes trying to rationalize their successes and failures and then by the rest of us trying to impress our mates in the pub! Lines become drawn, views become entrenched and before you know it there’s no turning back, no concessions to be made. It’s black and white, there’s no nuance. That’s what you call dogma. As examples you see it in religion or atheism, and in diets such as low fat vs low carb. These are ideologies that are at loggerheads,

Barefoot Running Magazine


where seemingly each position is incompatible with the other. You often see it with products too; iPhone vs Android, Nike vs Adidas, Windows vs Mac. These aren’t ideologies, they are clever brands, but the camps are just as fierce! At the moment, running seems to suffer from both these wars concurrently. Brands have positioned themselves according to their ideologies, and those ideologies are based on scientific “fact”. The problem is, there isn’t really such a thing as fact in science - it’s actually a relatively unscientific thing to say. When we analyze where we get these notions from (and I’m just as guilty as the next of doing it), we’ve often just read a snippet somewhere or been told it by somebody who surprisingly wasn’t the relevant scientist. That’s not very rigorous research on our part is it? I have suffered (and seen countless others suffer) the opposite of this though which is to try to research something to death. To remove all uncertainty, to have my facts in place and to be absolutely sure before I commit. This is procrastination. There is a diminishing return found

where the benefits of your research reduce the further you keep looking into it. As I mentioned before, there is no certainty in science, so it’s futile looking for it. Far brighter people than me, who have dedicated their lives to researching these subjects, still debate their views with their counterparts, so what makes us think we’ll find clarity? There are a couple of points to my little rant, I promise! Somewhere between dogma and procrastination lies the happy medium. The place where you are well informed, but you are not paralyzed into inactivity by your own indecision. It’s good to be inquisitive, to have an open mind and to want to learn more. But action speaks louder than words. I think this is one of those clichés that is fact (someone told me so…!). As a trainer, I find that most of the time, those who are body aware and active in their movement practice running in this case - will oftentimes find their own answers and solutions just as quickly as those who have researched it. The difference is, if something’s working for you, nobody can tell you it’s wrong, not even the most qualified scientist in the world.

Barefoot Running Magazine

But until you put even the most certain scientific evidence into practice in your own running, you can’t know for certain that it’s going to work for you. If barefoot or minimalist running is working well for you, then no matter what happens in the future debate, consistently apply that thing that is working for you and you’ll consistently progress. If something isn’t working for you, be adaptable enough to assess and implement some alternatives. Balancing the two off is to be self-aware, and being self-aware is more effective than being scientifically aware! Science is like fashion, it can be fickle.

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Not so minimal review

Salomon S-LAB ADV SET SKIN3 5 & 12 2015 Backpacks


you are looking at 42x20cm weighing 270g, and 33x16cm weighing 225g, for the 12 SET and 5 SET respectively. As far as the pockets and compartments are concerned, the 12 SET has an additional 2x stretch mesh pockets (under each soft flask pocket) and the rear pocket is zipped, rather than open top, for securer storage. In all other respects, the packs are similar.

Over the past few years, this product range has expanded to include S-LAB products, athlete tried and tested running shoes, clothing and backpacks that can be relied upon to perform in the field.

Fit For those of you who haven’t read my review of The North Face FL Race Vest from the Autumn/Winter 2014 issue of Barefoot Running Magazine, the point of a race vest, in a nutshell, 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.

Arguably, the S-LAB ADV SKIN vest pack series is one of the most iconic products to have come out of this range, heralding the advent of the vest pack approach and, over the past couple of years, of a whole new approach to hydration revolving around the use of soft flasks instead of bladders and bottles.

Both the S-LAB ADV SKIN3 12 SET and the S-LAB ADV SKIN3 5 SET

offer close fitting packs that don’t move or bounce about and, thus, reduce - even eliminate - chaffing. Further, thanks to the approach employed on both packs, utilizing stretchy mesh, the packs are as comfortable and compact when empty as they are when filled to their respective capacities. Space is created when required, rather than something that is there to be filled. As such, unlike conventional packs, there’s no excess of material to bob about when empty, saving you from the unnecessary movement and noise associated with the contents of your pack moving about as you run. Adjustable front sternum straps, utilizing lightweight elastic and clips, are employed as a fastening mechanism, ensuring a responsive, comfortable fit. As the owner of a first generation S-LAB ADV SKIN vest, I’ve always found the fastening mechanism on that pack to be ‘fiddly’. However, in the 2015 incarnation of the vest, Salomon have done away with the plastic rod previously employed in the

Not so minimal review

The S-LAB ADV SKIN packs have been updated for 2015 and, thanks to The Ultramarathon Running Store, I was able to get access to the Salomon S-LAB ADV SKIN3 12 SET 2015 and the Salomon S-LAB ADV SKIN3 5 SET 2015 vest packs for testing.

The Differences The 12 SET and 5 SET packs actually have so much in common that it makes little sense to cover them separately. Thanks to the approach taken and the materials used in the construction of the packs, there is actually very little difference between them, other than the few differences outlined later. Having covered the differences, the remainder of the review will be written in a way that is equally applicable to both packs. The most obvious difference, as indicated by the subtle difference in the name, is the load capacity, with the packs capable of accommodating 12 litres and 5 litres. In terms of dimensions and weight,

Barefoot Running Magazine

Salomon S-LAB ADV SET SKIN3 5 & 12 2015 Backpacks

he Salomon trail running team reads like a who’s who of ultramarathon running, with luminaries such as Kilian Jornet Burgada, Ryan Sandes, Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg , Francois D’Haene, Stevie Kremer and Ellie Greenwood to name but a few. Little wonder then that Salomon is renowned not just for the quality of its team, but also for the quality and extensive range of trail running products that it offers.

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Salomon S-LAB ADV SET SKIN3 5 & 12 2015 Backpacks

Not so minimal review

fastening mechanism in favour of a cord and, it has to be said, this is far less troublesome when it comes to fastening and unfastening. Note that the packs are available in 3 sizes, XS/S, M/L and XL, with fit appearing similar to your usual t-shirt size.

Aluminium/White/Racing Red and White/Blue Line/Racing Red. My own personal preference is for the Aluminium/Black/Racing Red colour scheme, which is both stylish and practical. I can’t foresee the pack getting washed much, if at all, and, as such, the Aluminium/ White/Racing Red colour scheme in particular sounds like it would be high maintenance to keep it looking clean.

Styling Both the 12 SET and the 5 SET are available in 3 colour schemes Aluminium/Black/Racing Red,

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Build quality Both packs, as you would expect from a brand like Salomon, have a

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quality feel to them. However, that aside, there’s no disputing that the packs are constructed in such a way as to be as lightweight and accommodating of their loads as possible. As such, I do have long term concerns with regard to the durability of the stretch mesh employed throughout. It is, however, impossible to comment with any degree of authority until I have put the pack through a season of training and racing and, obviously, there are things that can be done to mitigate any wear and tear. I noticed, for example, that the packaging of my favoured Jelly Belly Sport Beans appeared harsh when protruding out of the stretch

Barefoot Running Magazine


necessitate that runners carry kit, nutrition and hydration.

I actually have a first generation S-LAB ADV SKIN vest pack which has seen considerable use and it is still in great condition. That pack has arguably been superseded, with new approaches to hydration and new technologies which actually raises the question of how long you should expect a pack to last, something that will ultimately depend on your inclination to upgrade each season or to eke out the longest usage possible.

Both the 5 SET and 12 SET come with a handy bladder sleeve. However, no bladder is supplied. Instead, the emphasis is on hydration using the two supplied 500ml soft flasks, which sit on the front of the pack in two specifically designed pockets.

Hydration

This was one of the main selling points of the latest S-LAB ADV SKIN vests for me. I’ve all but abandoned using bottles and bladders in favour of soft flasks, which I have found to be considerably more versatile.

Performance The basic principles of the S-LAB ADV SKIN3 range remain the same - the provision of a functional, stable pack with an excellent fit, and there’s no disputing that Salomon have done just that with these, their latest additions for 2015.

With this emphasis on soft flasks, many people will arguably never use a bladder with the S-LAB ADV SKIN packs and, as such, the inclusion of a bladder by default would be unnecessary and, further, would likely have increased the cost of the pack.

Both the 5 SET and, especially, the 12 SET, have been constructed for use in long distance ultramarathons, such as UTMB, where mandatory kit requirements and logistics

I have a small collection of bladders, mostly unused, that have been provided with packs throughout the years. On the rare occasions

that I do use a bladder, I generally use the 1.5 litre bladder that came with my first generation S-LAB ADV SKIN pack. As a word of caution, I would advise that you remove the sleeve if you don’t intend to use it. On a recent long run I felt something at the back of my head and, on inspection, found that the sleeve was attempting to climb its way out of my bag. Had it succeeded, I would likely have been none the wiser until returning home! Initially, on the first couple of outings wearing the packs, I felt quite ‘booby’/’mooby’ with two full 500ml flasks, but this soon passed. One benefit of having your fluids on the front is that, especially with temperatures of late, it’s always chilled! With appropriate weather conditions however, this may actually backfire and result in frozen water. That’s thankfully something I’ve yet to encounter! Further, on a more serious note, this frontal positioning of fluids ensures that you can quickly and easily monitor fluid consumption. I’ve lost count of the number of times when I have rationed water

Salomon S-LAB ADV SET SKIN3 5 & 12 2015 Backpacks

mesh pockets and, to avoid even the potential for damage over long term use, I simply chose to port the beans to a softer Ziploc style bag. Problem solved.

Not so minimal review

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Salomon S-LAB ADV SET SKIN3 5 & 12 2015 Backpacks

Not so minimal review

Pockets and Storage Both the 5 SET and 12 SET offer a multitude of storage options, with numerous pockets offering the runner the potential to customize his/her setup to their specific needs and with only the main compartment actually requiring that the pack be removed for access. It’s quite remarkable to see just what can be packed into the S-LAB ADV SKIN vests, possessing an almost Tardis like quality, and, as such, they are prime candidates for races with compulsory kit lists, such as UTMB, and/or for long days on the hills, where sense dictates that you carry kit that will let you comfortably weather all conditions. A complete, SET specific, list of pockets can be found in the Specifications element towards the end of this review. However, it’s worth noting the following with regard to pockets and storage.

during races only to find, once back home, that my water bladder contained significantly more than I thought. Not only is it annoying but it also has implications for performance. Occasionally, when the fluid levels dropped, I would find that the soft flask would slip down further into the pocket, making it slightly more difficult to retrieve and drink from. However, I found that blowing air into the flasks quickly and easily inflated them, keeping them in place. With a little upward squeeze, I was able to run and drink without actually having to remove the soft flasks form their pockets. The only real criticism I have of the soft flasks and front pocket combination is that, when the flasks aren’t full, it can be a bit of a faff to reinsert the flasks, hence my preference not to remove them if at all possible. You do, on occasion, hear the water sloshing around in the flasks but this would be heard regardless of your approach to hydration,

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and is something that I have experienced with both bladders and bottles. When it comes to training, I tend to plug in so it hasn’t bothered me in the slightest and, once race season starts, I will hopefully be more focused than to be bothered by something as trivial as this.

Size Each incarnation of the S-LAB ADV SKIN packs has seen the pack slim down, most notably between the first and second generations of the packs, but also, more marginally, between the second generation and the most recent 2015 packs. I couldn’t find specifics for the first generation pack but the most recent 12 SET comes in at 270g and the 5 SET at 225g, instead of 320g and 260g respectively for second generation packs. Looking at the three generations of packs side by side, it’s hard to believe that they all offer the same 12 litre volume, which leads nicely onto a look at pockets and storage.

W inter/Spring 2015

Both the 5 SET and 12 SET have the aforementioned soft flask specific pockets on the front of the packs. Whilst not perhaps as flexible as the pocket setup on the first generation S-LAB ADV SKIN vest, this does offer an almost perfect solution to the storage of fluids, as discussed previously. Numerous other stretch mesh pockets, including a zipped pocket, provide a variety of storage solutions on the front of the pack, handy for small things that a runner might wish to quickly and easily access. Two side zipped pockets, with vertical zip, offer excellent storage potential, happily accommodating, amongst other things, an iPhone 6 in a fairly chunky OtterBox case, all wrapped within an Exped waterproof bag. This provides quick and easy access to my phone/camera when required. Initially, in an effort to keep faffing to a minimum, I chose not to use an Exped bag. However, using the OtterBox case alone, I noticed condensation appeared on the case, which I can only assume was down to a combination of the positioning of the pocket, my sweating, and the cold temperatures. Keen to avoid a

Barefoot Running Magazine


I really like the vertical zip, something which works easily, even on the move. Employing both hands, with one hand around the back and holding the bottom of the pocket, I have found that it is quick and easy to load and unload contents from these pockets. Hopefully this description makes sense! The main thing to get used to with the various pockets is the flexibility of the stretch mesh, which is very accommodating. The main ‘issue’ is mastering the art of navigating contents into the pockets, past the respective zips and openings. The rear double access stretch ‘kangaroo’ or ‘stash’ pocket, can be accessed by either hand. With a bit of practice, this provides access to ‘stashed’ items such as a jacket, gloves, buffs etc. The stash pocket doesn’t employ a closure mechanism, but the stretchy mesh ensures that the contents are tightly held.

My only concern would be that I dropped something in the process of stashing it without noticing, and being none the wiser until it was too late.

Price

 

Salomon S-LAB ADV SKIN3 12 SET 2015 £134.95 Salomon S-LAB ADV SKIN3 5 SET 2015 £107.95

Overall rating I remember when the first generation S-LAB ADV SKIN vests came out and were, rightfully, considered to be a highly innovative approach to carrying necessary kit on long distance runs. In just a few short years the S-LAB ADV SKIN vests have been further honed and developed to the point that it’s difficult to see where they can be improved upon.

plain to see that they are a world apart. Most noticeably, the pack has shrunk with each incarnation and is now considerably lighter. Further, the stretch mesh used throughout later versions of the pack provides the perfect solution to storage, expanding as required to accommodate the contents, and means that the pack reverts back to its original shape when empty. As such, the S-LAB ADV SKIN is as comfortable when empty as it is when full. Faced with a choice between the 12 SET and the 5 SET, my personal preference is for the 12 SET, which, with its additional 2x stretch mesh pockets, handily located under each soft flask pocket, and its potential extra 7 litre carrying capacity, weighing just 45g more, is more in line with my ambitions and race bucket list. Tested by JJM

Comparing the 2015 model with its first generation predecessor, it’s

Fit Capacity

Some experimentation required Midsole forstiffness optimum usage Straps are a weak point

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Lightweight

Salomon S-LAB ADV SET SKIN3 5 & 12 2015 Backpacks

‘water damaged’ phone, I quickly added the Exped bag into the mix.


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)

Barepadz™ Barepadz™

IH

(02/2015)

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)

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IH

Barefoot Running Magazine


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

Human foot David’s foot

DRR

(02/2011)

INOV8 Bare X 200™

DRR

(01/2013)

kigo Drive

(06/2012)

leon

(11/2014)

DRR TMD

Luna Venado

CS

(12/2013)

Luongos1

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

Ozark Sandals Tri Black

ALT

(11/2012)

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Not so minimal review results

Ozark Luongo Sandals


Out-of-the-box Trail test re-

Not so minimal review results

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

Sockwa G3

(03/2014)

G-Hi

(03/2015)

X8

(11/2014)

IH IH IH

Soft Star Shoes RunAmoc Dash

DRR

(01/2015)

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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Barefoot Running Magazine


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

However, there is a new wave of interest beginning, marked by the talk of a film of the book Born to Run, and there are more and more people signing up to Barefoot Running Magazine.

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

These pages are for the newbies and ‘oldies’ to tell folks about their barefoot running exploits. Formed a new club? Tell us about it. Run your first race barefoot? Let us know how it went.

Visit: www.barefootrunninguk.com

These are your pages – get in touch with your stories and help spread the word!

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Club pages

aving been immersed in the barefoot running world for six years, I have seen a fluctuation in interest on the topic. Companies jumped on the band wagon, producing an array of “minimalist” shoes but some are now steering towards the bigger, cushioned shoes again.

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

ur Winter Challenge was in full swing until 1st April, where members challenged themselves to run in the snow and cold. This year’s annual challenge started on 1st October 2014, and the runs only counted if done in barefoot at a wind chill (feels like) temperature of less than or equal to 10°C (50°F!). Going to press, BRS members had logged a staggering 5,335 miles, with the USA team in front on total miles, but Deutschland Chapter member Christian Lemburg leading the pack with just over 600 miles, including 35.7 miles on snow!

he February Toes on Roads competition is also in progress to see which BRS member can do the most miles in the one month. This is a monthly competition open to barefoot and minimalist runners all around the world. Australia Chapter member Spiderweb62 is currently in first place in the barefoot category, with Skartar from the UK Chapter in top spot in the minimalist group.

arefoot and minimalist runners from the UK Chapter are still regularly attending parkruns every Saturday morning. We currently have 42 members on our weekly Personal Best League Table, with the current top three slots held by Mike Greenwood, James Lake and Chris Bonner. The UK Chapter also has a team of seven in the ‘Small Team’ category of this year’s Jantastic Online Challenge, which runs from January to March. We are currently in joint 27th place out of 300 entries! Go Team UK!

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reat news for all barefooters! As of December 2014, the International Triathlon Union have deleted their rule forbidding the running of Triathlons in bare feet. Gergely Markus, Sports Director from the ITU advised BRS Canada Chapter President Horseman42 that, "The driving factor was to be more inclusive with our rules, partly based on feedback from groups like the Society for Barefoot Living and the Barefoot Runners Society.� As Horseman42 said himself, it is very refreshing to know that we all could make a difference! Nice work everyone!

etherlands Chapter President Johan131 is looking for runners to join him at the 12th Hilversum City Run, Hilversum Media City on Sunday, April 19th. If you'd like to join him, please contact Johan through the BRS website.

Canary Islands member Canary Island Feet is planning on doing a number of marathons in Spain this year; Seville in February, Barcelona in March and Madrid in April, and is hoping to do at least one of these barefoot.

wenty-seven members reached the upper echelons of the BRS Mileage Clubs last year, with two members being inducted into the 2,500 Mile Club; Taiwan Chapter President Spoonerweb, and New York Chapter President DNEChris. Two members joined the 1,500 Mile Club, five members the 1,000 Mile Club, and eighteen were inducted into the 500 Mile Club.

Everyone at the BRS has their toes crossed for you guys. Good luck!

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Club pages

eutschland Chapter member Barefoot Robin has registered for the Paris Marathon on 12th April. This marathon is regarded as one of the most popular and scenic marathons in Europe, and Robin is hoping to run the full race barefoot. Robin knows that he can do 30km, and is hoping that the road surfaces will be sympathetic. In true BRS club spirit, Robin has posted on the French Chapter forum, and is hoping for some useful tips from our local members.


Club pages

alifornia San Francisco member Efrem has set up a Meetup Group for barefoot runs around Lake Merritt, and the group has already held their first monthly run starting from the Pergola at the Northeastern tip of the lake. If you'd like to join them on their next run, please contact Efrem through the BRS website.

hio Chapter member Tristan-OH woke up to more than a few inches of fresh snow this month… so went for a run. It was his third consecutive day of running, so didn't plan on doing much, but thought this was a good opportunity to test his snow mileage barefoot, since he did not figure he could run more than a mile or two on snow in the cold anyway! (He reports that the temperature was

-6°C (22°F) with a feels like of -11°C (12°F) but seemed much colder!) Tristan felt that he was right at his absolute tolerance on this run, but after stopping at his house a little over 2 miles in to check his toes, decided to do one more and pushed out his longest continuous snow run to 3 miles! Well done Tristan!

exas Chapter member Chaserwilliams celebrated his 30th birthday last year by running his age in miles: 30.36 miles in a time of 5 hours 51 minutes 42 seconds. Chaser then celebrated his run with a birthday dinner of Prejeans famous Crawfish Enchiladas cooked by his mother in law. Happy Birthday Chaser!

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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.

Our mission is to:

lanning is well underway for this year’s events all around the world on Sunday, 3rd May. This event is a grassroots, inclusive effort, meant to promote barefoot running as a healthy and viable way to run, and organizers of all our events seek to create a fun event where anyone can enjoy running barefoot with thousands of people worldwide on the same day. The BRS provides the central platform for this event and encourages its chapters, members, and anyone with an interest and desire to host local events or run on their own or with their friends and families. Local organizers are responsible for setting up the meets, which may also occur at scheduled races. The recommended distances are fun runs of 1 km, 1 mile or 5 km. Currently, we anticipate a larger turnout than in years past, and local events will be listed on our website as they are organized. Instructions for coordinating a local meeting may also be found on our website. Anyone can participate, and we are extending a special invitation to those wanting to try barefoot running for the first time. BRS President Tamara Gerken says, “The Barefoot Runners Society is excited about the future of barefoot and minimalist running, and is looking forward to another great International Barefoot Running Day! ALL are welcome to join us! We also welcome anyone running in minimalist running shoes.” We are currently in the process of receiving designs from our members as part of our annual t-shirt design contest for this event, and we will shortly be selling the winning design’s t-shirt in our online store.

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.

Events currently posted on our website include Hove Park, Brighton, UK on 2nd & 3rd May, and Burns Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan, US on 3rd May.

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Club pages

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.


United Kingdom

United States

www.facebook.com/MaidstoneBarefootDashers

Boulder, CO www.runBARE.com

Europe

www.barefootbeginner.com

Club directory

lenaweebarefoot.runningclub@facebook.com

Austin Barefoot Running Club ianhicks1000@gmail.com

Asia

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


y New Year’s resolutions lasted all of seven days. I must say, that’s something of a record. Well, okay, seven days is not technically true. In fact, my first resolution - to stop the drinking of “The Alcohol” never really took off. I had the best intentions in the world to go on the wagon after the silly season, but what can I say – one has to be sociable! My second resolution was to be more positive and mellow; not to take

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things too seriously and to look for the spice of life and not the thorn. But, less than eight days in to 2015, I got my first prick. Strangely it wasn’t from the normal sources - global terrorism, persecution or any of the other evils man manages to create or, closer to home and one of my pet hates, out-of-control sugar high scooter kids whizzing backwards and forwards in front of me when I’m out for my daily run. No, the first thing to get me wound up in 2015 was the Mercedes Benz

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Motor Company; more precisely, their new F 015 “luxury in motion” driverless car. Probably some of you couldn’t care less either way when it comes to the motor car industry - I would even surmise that a pocket of readers would rather see the end of all four wheel beasts, but I am by no means one of you. Sorry! I love them! Yes, it may seem to many to be a contradiction that I am a barefoot runner and yet a lover of all that has a combustible engine. However, I firmly believe

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that these contradictions can coexist quite happily as both seem to be 21st Century taboos, neither considered the norm or conformist. And it is for this reason that I am so angered by this new Mercedes Benz, as it goes against, for me, all that a motorcar should represent FREEDOM.

too much robotic interference in my life. Computers even tell me how much of my OWN money I’m allowed to withdraw from an ATM on a daily basis, as though it’s my pocket money. Gosh, it’s like I’m seven all over again! This motoring ‘advancement’ will be one giant leap into total state control and several nails in the coffin of self reliance and choice.

I have referred to this freedom in the past when the day came, as a young child, for me to receive my first “grown-up” bicycle. It set me free from the restraints of my family home. It allowed me to explore further afield, to discover new friends and adventures – the first steps to adulthood that allowed me to make my own choices. Yes, they were quite limited – should I turn left for the local park or right for the woods but the choice was there, along with a modicum of responsibility. And this freedom, however small, as we have seen in recent months, is a fragile thing which must be protected and fought for. “But”, I hear you say, “What has this got to do with driverless cars?” The answer is: Everything. At the CES tech-fest event in Las Vegas, Mercedes Benz’s chairman, Dr Dieter Zetsche, took to the stage with a clear message that autonomous (driverless) cars are coming to the world’s roads whether we like it or not. So get used to it!!! Dr Zetsche went on to say that all cars will turn into “mobile homes” that enable people to do exactly what they want or need to do. As he put it, “A third place in addition to the home and office where you will actively want to and enjoy hanging out.” So Mercedes’ vision is that, with just a tap or two on a mobile device, the car (or should I say robot?) will head off to its destination while its occupants can sit back and relax, maybe catching up with some emails (yeah, that sounds like relaxing), watching a movie or the latest music videos on YouTube. Ooh - and this doesn’t have to be done on a tablet or a precariously balanced laptop! No, no, no - the interior has SIX display screens inside that use proximity sensors and gesture control, all viewed from rotating lounge chairs! Now listen, Dr Zetsche: I already have

We only have to look at our civilization to see the effects of automation. Each generation has less basic skills than the last. Yes, a three year old can push a sequence of icons to bring up the latest version of Diamond Dash but so can lab rats for a piece of cheese. If you were born pre 1980, your parents would have memorized the telephone numbers of every family member, friend and business they used regularly, while most of us now can’t even recite our own mobile number! Miraculously, they would probably have been able to navigate, using road signage and various A to Z maps, all the way to a seaside town on the other side of the country - and in a beaten up brown Morris Marina which, when it broke down, your dad would have been able to fix on the roadside, while your mother got out the packed lunch that she had made in case “for such occasions”. Repairing your own car was the norm - I bet most people don’t even know nowadays how to top up their oil levels. But more worryingly, within another few generations Western children won’t even know how to drive car, less fix it! We are obsessed with automation - the pressing of icons on a hand held screen. The problem is that we are becoming automated as well, limiting our freedom millimetre by millimetre. We are tied to our “technology” and the “web” like the unborn are umbilically attached to their mothers and being disconnected, even for the briefest of time, is mentally and physically damaging. We already rely too much on these boxes of tricks, they tell us where to go, what to do and how to do it, rewarding us by making us feel pampered, looked after and worthwhile. I would go as far as to say that machines are turning into our new slave masters - this “tech” needs our energy and life-force to survive and grow and the more it grows the more it will

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need to feed – remember the Tamagochi games of the ‘90’s?! They would demand your attention and at the same time, feed your addiction. Back to Mercedes. While, theoretically, you'll still be able to drive certain driverless cars, their subtext is, “Why on earth would you want to?” Well, Mercedes, it’s because I am a human with the free will to choose - good or bad, right or wrong. I dispute the claim that autonomous (driverless) cars are the antidote to commuter drudgery. Surely running home is the true antidote to commuter woes? We need to embrace our world, not isolate ourselves even more.

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Barefoot Running Magazine

Spring 2014

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Barefoot Running Magazine - Issue 14 (Winter/Spring 2015)  

IN THIS ISSUE: An account of our very own Barefoot Lounge at The Running and Endurance show, a feature on ultrarunner extraordinaire David...

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