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Spring 2012 Issue 04 Free

Running and Biomechanics Specialists Workshops and individual tuition to help improve running performance and reduce injury. Visit the website or contact us for more details. 0845 226 7302

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Spring 2012

Barefoot Running Magazine

How to contact us TRC Publishing Limited 21 Lyric Mews, Silverdale, London SE26 4TD United Kingdom email: website: tel: +44 (0) 845 226 7304 Overseas +44 (0) 208 659 0269

Cover Picture: Run Strong • Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running by Anna Toombs & David Robinson Photographer Michael Molloy

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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.

TRC Publishing 21 Lyric Mews, Silverdale, London SE26 4TD United Kingdom

Spring is in the air and it is probably our favourite time of year for barefoot running. It brings with it longer days, warmer (hopefully!) weather and is representative of new beginnings so it’s perfect for those thinking about taking the barefoot running plunge. Along this vein, we’ve made some changes to the magazine and given it a name: “Barefoot Running Magazine”! We toyed with clever plays on words but decided that simple is best – a bit like barefoot running. The magazine has more content and a more sophisticated layout (David’s been working hard on this) and we are delighted to have contributions from several new writers, including yoga expert Emma SpencerGoodier, nutrition guru Leigh Rogers and creator of The Invisible Shoe, Steven Sashen. The wonderful Scott Hadley has once again offered us his educated insights into injury; many of you will be able to relate to his piece “The Runner’s Triad” on page 24. Other exciting news is that our book will shortly be available for pre-order with the launch due at the end of April/beginning of May. Check out our feature in the BFRUK supplement for more details. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we’d like to take this opportunity to express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of legendary ultrarunner and dedicated supporter of the Raramuri, Micah True, who sadly passed away earlier this month. Many of you will know him as Caballo Blanco (The White Horse) whose vivid, genuine and honest character helped Chris McDougall’s Born to Run become such a success and whose tireless work improved – and will continue to improve – the lives of the Tarahumara. He made a significant, lasting impression on the running world and will not be forgotten. “Easy, light, smooth” (Caballo Blanco) – keep on running everyone! All the best

Meet the team... Anna Toombs Movement therapist, running coach & author

David Robinson Movement therapist, sports performance specialist & author Scott Hadley PhD Doctor of anatomy & cell biology

Leigh Rogers Holistic Sports Nutritionist, Health & Wellness coach

Michael Bartley Sports massage therapist & running coach

Guest writers Steven Sashen Creator of the Invisible Shoe, sprinter.

Emma Spencer-Goodier Yoga Alliance Senior Instructor


Anna & David force Barefoot Running Magazine

Spring 2012

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Main feature


The truth about exercise?

In focus


Daniel Howell: The barefoot professor

David’s lab


VO2 Max explained

Book review


Ken Bob Saxton: Barefoot Running - Step by Step

Injury corner


The Runner’s Triad

Technical tip


Running uphill

Yoga Nutritional nugget

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The Green Room


Barefoot Running - The footfall Is a vegetarian diet a good of a yogi. option for runners?

Barefoot running - the footfall of a yogi

Try this at home


The Squat jump

Try this How to:at home

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Spine mobility Tie a Huarache

Write back at you


Steven Sashen questions the questionable lawsuit against Vibram

International News

National news


On track


International news


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Spring 2012

Barefoot Running Magazine

Caught in the web


Internet snippets

Outside the lab


Other peoples’ labs

Season in pictures


A showcase of what you have been up to

The Season What’s new in pictures

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Clubhouse calendar Events

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The Asics worth Uksemadebate Products look

Stuff that’s on etc. Events andgoing workshops

What’s on & answers Questions

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Clubhouse calendar It’s your letters

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Out inquestions the barefoot world Your answered

Let us know your storiesetc. and Events and workshops thoughts

Clubhouse events Minimal review

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BFRUK’s latest The Vibram FiveFingers Sprint

Minimal review results


Out-of-the-box trail test results

Anna’s pause for thought


Some thoughts on injury



David Robinson’s latest

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Main feature The truth about exercise? below average” scale. It was therefore concluded that Mosley is what is known as an exercise “non-responder”, meaning that whatever he tries, he’ll never really achieve any benefits from exercise. There were several pertinent points raised in the programme and some useful advice, but I have a feeling that, unless you’re qualified to filter out the truth from the ideals of overzealous scientists, you might Some of you may have watched have come away from this the recent Horizon programme broadcast with a very distorted which explored some of the view of exercise. latest ideas surrounding the benefits (or lack of) of The programme began with moderate, regular exercise. Mosley’s visit to Loughborough University where he met with one If you missed it, here’s a quick of our Olympic 110m hurdles summary: a journalist (Michael hopefuls, Will Sharman. Mosley Mosley) was recruited to had already mentioned that he investigate a new theory that, was a non-exerciser and known with 3 minutes of intense as a “toffee”, in other words exercise per week, most he appears to be thin on the individuals can achieve outside but he’s “fat” on the similar (or better) health gains inside. He demonstrated his compared to the government guidelines of 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise. Mosley undertook a 4 week programme of HIT (High Intensity Training) and achieved an overall 23% improvement based on his body’s tolerance and reaction to glucose, measured by his consumption of a glass of sugar water and subsequent blood tests. It was also found, however, that Mosley’s VO2 Max (the body’s ability to utilize oxygen – see David’s Science Lab on page 14) remained the same, right at the bottom of the “very Page 6

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lack of fitness within the first five minutes by pulling a hamstring muscle 3 strides into a warm up with Sharman. This section of the programme introduced the often misconstrued relationship between calorie intake and exercise, demonstrating that, if running at a speed of 6mph, one would need to run for 55 minutes just to burn off a cappuccino, muffin and banana. This was quite a key point: so many exercisers hoping to lose weight eat far more than they need to and often end up putting weight on. I am generally quite “antiscience” in that I find lab studies where variables are often questionable and conditions are very artificial (such as measuring someone’s VO2 Max by making them cycle on a stationary bike with a mask and nose peg) sometimes need to be taken with a pinch of salt. However, science can also be very useful when visible results are

Testing the number of calories burnt in one minute - just 16!

Barefoot Running Magazine

produced that people can relate to. The next section of the programme was a great example: Mosley’s blood fat was measured before and after a (delicious looking) fry-up. The measurement was repeated, but with Mosley taking a 90 minute walk the evening before the fry-up. The results showed a significant reduction in the amount of fat circulating in Mosley’s blood, due to an enzyme that is produced during exercise that leads to better efficiency in dealing with fat intake. This fat was visible in a test tube which definitely made it more tangible. Measuring VO2 Max

I remember the days when people used to go out, postmeal, to “walk off their dinner”. And this is a good reason to re-establish the tradition.

Mosley undertook a genetic test. He also followed the exercise programme that Prof. Timmins recommends. He doesn’t believe in long periods of After this section, however, the programme began to go slightly exercise, but short – extremely short – bursts of vigorous activity. pear-shaped (no reference to Mosley was therefore asked to body shape intended). A Prof. cycle as fast and as hard as J. Timmins was introduced, possible for 20 seconds, then around whose theory the programme was based. Timmins rest, before repeating it two more times. He had to do this explained that people react differently to exercise and some 3 times a week for a month – a mere 12 minutes of exercise in people seem to gain more total. “Sounds too good to be benefits than others. This, in true”, he said. my experience, is true. He also claimed that he could Soon after he embarked on identify those who would not this challenge, Mosley met with respond well to exercise by obesity expert Dr James Levine, looking at their genes. He whose ideas, refreshingly, were believes that a huge 20% of both sound and achievable. the population are “nonHe introduced Mosley to his responders”. This did not sit concept of NEAT – Non Exercise well with me. Yes, some Activity Thermogenesis. In people find it more difficult to layman’s terms, this basically exercise but they should not means fidgeting. Indeed, Levine be discouraged from doing it. had developed some “fidget We are designed to move, pants” which can be used to hence our intricate network of monitor somebody’s NEAT. bones and soft tissues. To label somebody a “non-responder” is Three people were tested for a misleading and very negative 24 hours whilst wearing these pants: a waitress, an author and message.

regular gym goer and Mosley. Not surprisingly, the waitress was constantly active through her entire working shift, the author demonstrated periods of no activity with short bursts of high intensity movement and Mosley’s activity was virtually non-existent. He therefore decided to consciously try and be more active, just walking more and leaving his desk to speak to people rather than email them and managed to burn an extra 500 calories in one day! This was one of the main points that Levine was making – that with a little effort, a lot can be achieved. One of my clients pointed out that it is easier to adopt that “move more” attitude once you’ve lost weight as you feel less lethargic, but even a little movement initially is better than none. When suggesting people incorporate more walking into their day, Levine insisted that there is no need to walk especially fast, but just to “get off your backside and do it!” Brilliant and yet

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simple advice.

was no explanation given for this however.

At the end of the programme, Mosley went back for more tests – the same ones he undertook prior to his HIT 3 minutes a week experiment. At this point in the programme, I already knew that whatever the results, I would be disregarding them. No one can produce plausible results when they’re asked to follow an exercise programme and then say, “whilst I’m at it, I’ll change some other aspects of my lifestyle too”. There is a reason for controlled conditions in experiments, which is why I would have found the report more enlightening if the rest of Mosley’s life had been kept constant, instead of him undertaking more NEAT at the same time as following the HIT programme. It would also have been useful if he’d maintained a monitored, uniform diet for those four weeks. Anyway, as I stated at the beginning of this article, at the end of the 4 weeks, Mosley’s body was dealing with glucose a lot more efficiently, which may have had something – or absolutely nothing – to do with his 3 minutes of exercise a week. His VO2 Max had remained the same, something Timmins gleefully explained that he had predicted right from the start due to the results of the genetic test. No one seemed to notice the fact that Mosley’s vigorous exercise was of an anaerobic nature (meaning “without oxygen”) so one would not expect any improvement in his body’s use of oxygen! Mosley did report, however, that during the VO2 Max test he felt that he wasn’t working as hard as the previous test and was able to cycle for longer….there Page 8

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The conclusion of the programme was given to Timmins to explain. He again made the valid point that individuals respond differently to exercise. Alas, he also reiterated his view that some people are non-responders and wouldn’t respond well to any exercise. He also claimed that there is no need to spend much time exercising, saying that his experiments prove that just 3 minutes a week is ample time to improve fitness.

a daily basis. This includes endurance (keeping going all day), speed (running for the bus), balance (reaching on tiptoes to the top shelf for the biscuit tin [smiley face]), coordination (multitasking when you’re late for work, toast in one hand, hairbrush in the other), etc. Would 3 minutes a week on an exercise bike improve any of these? Highly unlikely. What if you’re training for an event? Many people feel a great sense of achievement and community when they complete a 5km “Race for Life” in aid of cancer research. I know of numerous individuals who’ve taken up yoga or Pilates and improved their posture and hence eliminated their back pain. Yes, everybody should move more and as Levine said, they don’t have to struggle and sweat, they just need to be a bit less lazy. No one should expect the same outcome from exercise as the next person. If you’re five feet tall with an apple shape, you will never look like a super model.

Michael Mosley powering through his thrice weekly one minute of exercise

Mosley concluded that: “most people don’t enjoy the gym or running” (er, I beg to differ!) but that they might just manage 3 minutes a week – indeed, he said he would be continuing this practice for the foreseeable future.

Sadly, the overall impression of this programme, or at least the message it seemed to send, was that scientists are actively searching for ways that you can have your cake and eat it. Exercise is such a miserable past time, let’s see how we can cut corners and move even less.

Sorry, but you can’t outsmart nature. We’re human beings whose very existence relies on I have several thoughts, the first movement. I vote we stop (which David pointed out) being demonizing exercise and that fitness was never really embrace it for a healthier, defined in the programme. happier nation! Our own definition is always that fitness is a readiness for whatever life throws at you on

Barefoot Running Magazine

Caught in the web Internet snippets In May 2008 before his 47th birthday Roger decided to change his life for the better. Aided by his very supportive wife, Mary, and his good friend and trainer Rick, Roger took on the challenge of completing the Boston Marathon. It had been a dream of his ever since, at the age of seven, he watched his father finish the race in1968. Driven by this memory and his efforts to raise money for, and awareness of, Cystic Fibrosis - a disease from which his niece Julia suffers his journey starts with just 10 yards of walking. This inspirational video is well worth watching and if you’d like to read more or make a donation to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), please visit:

To view follow this link below:

Found on

David really enjoyed this one - can you spot him by the lamppost on the left?

For thoughts on barefoot running and general health, visit Anna Toombs’s blog: Barefoot Running Magazine

Spring 2012

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In focus Daniel Howell: The barefoot professor like us in jeans and t-shirt. He just happened to have no shoes on.

a world where everyone is barefoot most of the time, because it’s healthier from a He has a mildness about him biomechanical point of view that sharpens to a passionate as well as improving general intensity when he talks about well-being. He refuses to one of the subjects closest to his go into restaurants or other heart: the health benefits of establishments that try to force running – and living – barefoot. him to put on shoes and feels that a certain “anti-barefoot” Professor Howell conducts his culture has developed as a “day job” at Liberty University in result of the association Virginia, where he is Associate between bare feet and the Professor of Biology. As well hippy movement of the as teaching, he carries out seventies. research, and he’s contributed to many publications and There’s still not enough positive journals . promotion out there at the moment to encourage more Professor Daniel Howell, However, with the recent people to re-think their beliefs nicknamed “The Barefoot explosion of interest in barefoot but this is slowly changing, Professor” by his students, is running, Professor Howell’s thanks to Prof Howell. He is a well-known in the barefoot knowledge and experience is wonderful ambassador to have running world and indeed, the now in demand worldwide. He in the “barefoot corner” barefoot world full stop. This is is regularly invited to speak at because he argues his points because, for the last six years conferences and participate intelligently, without any or so of his life, he has spent in discussions relating to the aggression or smugness, but 95% of his time barefoot and continual controversy that with an authority that comes has written a book about the surrounds the subject. And with years of scientific and benefits (The Barefoot Book, as because Professor Howell anecdotal confirmation. reviewed by Jason Robillard in isn’t just a scientist relaying the Winter 2011 Issue). laboratory results, but a real Hopefully, along with the work life example of the merits of of other great barefoot runners If you haven’t met Professor barefooting, he has an even and walkers, Professor Howell’s Howell or seen any previous continued efforts to dispel the pictures of him, you might have wider appeal, appearing on numerous TV and radio myths and prejudices of barebeen wondering what he looks programmes, including the footing will slowly change the like. Quite often, the dedicated infamous “Today” Show with perspective of sceptics and we barefoot proponents possess Kathie Lee Gifford! will begin to see a healthier, either a wild freedom, wearing more mobile western world as very little clothing, or are Professor Howell has run over a result. nothing short of biomechanical 2,000 miles barefoot and his machines in streamlined kit preparing to run their next hard daily life is shoeless, unless he has no choice but to put core ultra marathon. something on his feet. He doesn’t behave like this to However, although Professor Howell is an extremist (by his own make a statement about admission), when we met him he being different or any desire to go against the norm. On was clean shaven, with normal the contrary, he’d like to see length hair, and dressed much Page 10

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Barefoot Running Magazine

The Loss of Micah True In recognition of legendary ultrarunner Caballo Blanco, The White Horse

In loving memory of Micah True

Truth is beauty Beauty is truth That is all ye really know in life And all ye need to know Barefoot Running Magazine

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Anna’s pause for thought Some thoughts on injury They both talked with candour about their crashes but also about their journeys since then; about how they've coped with new thought processes, feelings and getting back into a car. One thing in particular that struck me and started me thinking was something that Stirling Moss said. You may or may not know that he chose to end his racing career after his crash, despite having seemingly to have fully recovered. His explanation for his retirement BBC presenter Richard Hammond went something like this: "When meets driving ace Sir Stirling Moss I drove before the crash, it was through pure instinct. I didn't I recently watched a need to think about it, I just did it. After the crash, I was still documentary featuring a conversation between the great able to drive fast but I found that I was consciously having former racing driver, Stirling to process what I was doing. Moss, and Richard Hammond, one of the presenters of BBC My driving became calculated rather than instinctive and it just One's "Top Gear". didn't feel right" (paraphrasing). The reason for getting these This rung so true with me, having two together was because of worked with numerous injured an experience they had in clients. This is exactly how they common: they had both move - they think about their crashed a car at high speed and been on the edge of death. Many of you will remember hearing the report a year or so ago that an experiment for Top Gear in a 200+ mile an hour car had gone horribly wrong and that Richard Hammond was in a coma. You may not remember so well the crash that landed Stirling Moss in hospital in a life threatening condition back in 1962. The men's conversation was emotive and almost painfully honest - I would highly recommend that you seek it out on BBC’s iplayer or YouTube. Page 12

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movement first and then control their body with their brain. Sometimes, simple movements such as walking become brain teasers as back, knee and hip pain cause them to over-think something that before their injury was natural. In Stirling Moss's case, the reason for his over-mindfulness in a car was probably -understandably fear of death. For most of my clients, there are several fear factors: pain, immobility and the idea that a wrong move might create more damage. Again, this is understandable but unfortunately this fear can be detrimental. An injured individual quickly learns which movements are uncomfortable and begins to find ways around them. If their knee hurts, they avoid bending it, so if something is on the floor that needs picking up, they'll bend their backs instead. This can fairly swiftly lead to back now, their knees and backs are suffering so even more work is given to other areas of the body.

Sir Stirling Moss being removed from his Lotus wreckage

Barefoot Running Magazine

The devastating crash on BBC’s Top Gear, 20th Sept 2006, involving Richard Hammond at a speed of 288mph (464 km/h)

So, what's the answer? Ignore the pain? No. It's there for a reason. BUT, if it hurts to bend your knee, you shouldn't avoid all movement of the joint. The goal is to maintain and gradually increase movement but within your comfort zone. This slowly helps to restore mobility but also confidence. Movement systems such as Feldenkrais and mine and David's own movement therapy aim to restore natural movement. The word "restore" is correct. During early child development, movement comes naturally as children play: running, jumping, rolling, play-fighting. Somewhere in early adulthood and beyond, movement becomes unnatural, as it's no longer the "done" thing to roll around on the floor, run really fast or spin around like an aeroplane for no reason. The brain imposes restrictions due to societal "rules". Throw in a few injuries - sometimes through trauma or sometimes as a direct result of moving unnaturally and movement becomes even more distorted. It can come to feel as though you're not fitting quite right in your body and so your brain tries to figure out how to combat this, which often just makes things worse! Instinct rarely comes into the equation at this point because it's been lost. This is often the

spiralling pattern that creates recurring injury. Perhaps this is why many runners give up running. Perhaps this is why barefoot running has become recognized as the secret of injury reversal. Connecting with ground helps your body's interconnected parts talk to each other in the same language again. And because there's no way you can do too much too soon, you stay in that "comfort zone" area which breeds patience and confidence. It displaces the fear too - you're focused on keeping off the sharp stones which leaves your knee to find its own natural way of working. One thing that Stirling Moss would also have grappled with would have been the element of competition. That pressure to win that comes with any high level competition. Runners often put pressure on themselves but barefoot running can help disperse this competitive element and lead to a more relaxed attitude towards running. Stirling Moss certainly still drives, but for the love of driving and cars rather than with the goal of winning a competition. Of course, it's better to avoid injury altogether. I often refer to the martial arts and I will do so again here, for the training

philosophy of true martial arts has not changed in thousands of years and has not changed for one simple reason: it works. One of the many pieces of wise advice given to David during his long years of martial arts practice was this: you should learn your art so well that you no longer need to think about how to do it. In fact, your goal is almost to forget what you've learned. The way you maintain your skill level is through practice - and not through practising harder and harder kicks and punches, but by routinely going through the basics. I remember Michael King years ago during my first Pilates certification course telling us about the benefits of returning to a complete beginner's class every so often rather than always striving for bigger and better. Build and maintain a strong foundation and the world of the injury-free is yours!

The remains of Sir Stirling Moss’s F1 car

So, the message here is to not stop moving when you're injured but stay within your comfort zone so that it slowly expands again to restore you back to health. Many of Stirling Moss's peers claimed that he made a premature decision to give up racing - maybe if he'd started again with the basics and without any pressure, he'd have found that instinctive driving talent again. Who knows?

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David’s lab VO2 Max explained This gives us the following equation.

Welcome to David’s lab where we take an in depth look into the science surrounding health and sport. Let’s firstly define what VO2 Max is. VO2 Max (also called maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, maximal aerobic power, aerobic capacity, or functional aerobic capacity) is considered by many to be an accurate measurement of cardiorespiratory endurance and aerobic fitness, and an indicator of longevity, as it is the highest rate at which oxygen can be consumed by the body during exercise or the maximal oxygen uptake and distribution that the body can utilize during physical activity (1). VO2 Max is usually expressed relative to bodyweight - as oxygen (O2) and energy (Joules) requirements change in relation to mass - and is measured in millilitres (ml) of oxygen consumed per Kilogram (kg) of body mass in the specified time lapse of one minute (min). Page 14

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On average, women have a 20% lower VO2 Max compared to their male counterparts(3) VO2 Max = ml/Kg/min due to differences in body composition such as heart size Significant factors such as and fat to muscle ratios. A study age, gender, heredity, body by Hutchison, Cureton, Outz & composition, state of training Wilson (1991) found that, on and mode of exercise can easily average, women have smaller influence VO2 Max outcome in hearts, which seriously affects healthy adults. In addition, a the delivery of oxygen to number of diseases such as operating musculature (4). diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Furthermore, Heywood (1996) bone-related diseases (such found that the average as osteoporosis) and chronic sedentary female generally has obstructive pulmonary disease 30% bodily fat relative to body can markedly impair the weight compared with just 16% outcome of VO2 Max levels. in the average sedentary male. However, a study by Sjodin and This difference is quite significant and in fact, if we express VO2 Svedenhag (1992) followed a Max only in terms of muscle group of adolescent boys for 8 mass (fat free) rather than body years (approximately from the weight, then VO2 Max is equal age of 12 to 20 years); half between both genders (5). were trained in a standard manner, while the other half were left untrained, but active. On completion they found that, relative to body weight (kg), there were no differences in VO2 Max suggesting that the training prescribed had no influence on maximal oxygen uptake. However, the same study did find that when VO2 Max was calculated in relation to body surface area (m2), then there was a significant difference between the groups, and the oxygen uptake had indeed increased in proportion to the training stimulus provided (2).

This brings into question the methods that are used to measure aerobic capacity. Take the gender factor for example.

Barefoot Running Magazine

A typical method of testing VO2 Max

VO2 Max

ability to perfuse the blood into the muscles accounts for the increase of VO2 Max in training. The Utilization theory holds that the limiting of VO2 Max is due to a lack of sufficient oxidative enzymes within the body’s power cells (mitochondria) and an untrained individual can increase the number of mitochondria with training stimulus, which in turn, allows for better transportation of oxygen.

Bed rest days The effects of 40 days bed rest on VO2Max, resulting in a very significant decrease of around 30 percent.

With this knowledge we can surmise that the accuracy of VO2 Max , when comparing individuals, is flawed. We should therefore be cautious about making comparisons between one sportsman’s VO2 Max and another, as a true comparison cannot realistically be made. However, the traditional way that VO2 Max is calculated can be useful in charting the progress of an individual over a given timeline to predict their own cardiorespiratory development, with the aim of increasing their athletic performance.

personal – with genetics being a significant factor (7) - the starting point of the individual must also be taken into account as the fitter they are, the less potential there is for an increase. Indeed, research has found that the maximal levels of VO2 Max are generally reached within 8 -18 months of regimented training (6) calling into question the possibilities of increasing athletic performance after this plateau point has been reached. To understand why there is a plateau point in VO2 Max theorists have come up with two explanations:

Increasing VO2 Max Anyone can increase their VO2 Max by simply committing to a fitness regime of 3 sessions a week of 30 minute’s continuous exercise, and research by ML Pollock (6) found that over a 6 month period it’s possible to increase ones VO2 Max by an average of 17.5%, with a range of participants in his study achieving benefits from a relatively modest 4% through to an amazing 93%. While the response is extremely

Both theories have their merits. However, Saltin and Rowell’s studies concluded that the supply of oxygen was the most logical restrictor of endurance performance (8), while other studies have found little or no relationship between enzyme increase and its correlation to VO2 Max increases (9,10). So with these theories in mind it is generally believed that endurance performance increases are due to the athlete being able to perform for longer periods of time in the higher bands of their VO2 Max . General athletic performance improvements can also be attributed to increased anaerobic threshold, increased athletic economy (usually due to correct form coaching and high levels of practice), and types of training pursued.

1. The Presentation theory 2. The Utilization theory

Speaking of which, training stimulus is very important. The presentation theory suggests Normal resistance style or that VO2 Max is restricted not by intensity enriched anaerobic training protocols will have little how much an individual is able to inhale or “pump” the oxygen to no effect on VO2 Max unless the participant is at a low starting supply to the active tissue point to begin with (11). Instead, (cardiorespiratory system), but considerable amounts of instead by the cardiovascular system and its ability to transport aerobic training will be required to reach the upper limits of VO2 the required oxygen to the required tissues. It is maintained Max , but much less training is required to maintain levels, and by these theorists that an in fact peak aerobic power can increase in blood volume, be maintained even if training is increased heart stroke and the Barefoot Running Magazine

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decreased by two thirds as in “tapering”- when endurance athletes reduce training volume by up to 60% for two to three weeks prior to competition (12). Factors that affect VO2 Max Once VO2 Max limits have been achieved there are a few factors that may affect VO2 Max levels. Firstly there is altitude. As altitude increases, VO2 Max decreases, generally 1200+ m (3940 ft) above sea level, with a loss of approximately 10% per 1000 m (3280 ft) (13). This decrease is due mainly to the lack of available oxygen that results in a net falling in inspired oxygen supply to organs and active tissues (13). The other major affecter of the VO2 Max measurement is aging, where an average rate of 1% per year or 10% per decade after the age of 25 is accepted as a norm. A large study by A.S Jackson et al found that the average man would lose 1.2% per year to a woman’s 1.7%. However, it’s worth noting that this loss in VO2 Max may not be due to aging process per se, but other factors that accompany aging (14,15). For example, weight increases can drastically alter VO2 Max readings even without any changes in the level of inspired oxygen or perfusion into the active tissues. However, the most common factor is a decrease in training stimuli. Even elite athletes succumb to this, as it has been found that with a decline in training (tested between the ages of 23 and 50) there was a decline in VO2 Max of up to a staggering 43% (15% per decade or 1.5% per year), which in some cases was greater than the average Page 16

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population (16).

untrained subjects during a 30-s sprint test in a wheelchair ergometer. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol.;64(2):158 But there is hope! Master -164 (1992) athletes (35-50 years of age), 4. Hutchison PL, Cureton KJ, Outz H & Wilson G. Relationship of cardiac size who maintained their training to maximal oxygen uptake and body stimulus were found to only lose size in men and women. (1991) 5-6% per decade or 0.55 per 5. Bouchard C, Shephard RJ, Stephens year and this correlates to a T, Sutton JR & McPherson BD (Eds.). decrease of 3.6% over a 25 year Exercise Fitness and Health. (1990) 6. Pollock ML. Quantification of period. endurance training programmes. Exercise and Sport Science Review; 1,155-188. (May 1973) 7. Heywood V. Advanced Fitness Assessments and Exercise In conclusion Prescription: 5th Edition. (2006) 8. Saltin B & Rowell LB. Functional Simply, there is not sufficient adaptations to physical activity and evidence that VO2 Max alone inactivity. Federation proceeding; 39 is an accurate indicator or (5):1506 -13 (Apr 1980) 9. Gollnick PD, Armstrong RB, Saubert predictor of performance. CW 4th, Piehl K & Saltin B. Enzyme activity and fibre composition in VO2 Max can be a useful tool skeletal muscle of untrained and in monitoring one’s own fitness trained men, J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol.;33(3):150-7 (Sept 1972) levels but due to the minuscule 10. Costill DL, ThomasR, Robergs RA, increments that can be gained Pascoe D, Lambert C, Barr S & Fink after the initial increases it is a WJ. Adaptations to swimming very limited way of charting training: influence of training progress and in fact, is only a volum. Med Sci Sport Exerc.; 23 (3):371-7 (Mar 1991) very small piece in a more 11. Kraemer WJ, Deschenens MR, Fleck complex picture. However, SJ. Physiological adaptations to VO2 Max measurements are a resistance exercise: Implications for good indicator of performance athletic conditioning. Sports Med.; 6 (4):246-56 (Oct 1988) loss, such as in severe injury or 12. Hickson RC, Foster C, Pollock ML, bed rest and can highlight the Galassi TM & Rich S. Reduced amount of work necessary to training intensities and loss of aerobic regain one’s aerobic function. power, endurance and cardiac growth. J Appl Physiol.;58(2):492-9 (Feb 1985) As with most scientific fitness test 13. Noakes T. Lore of Running: 4th components, in isolation VO2 Edition. (2002) Max provides little information, 14. Jackson AS, Wier LT, Ayers GW, Beard but as part of a series of diverse EF, Stuteville JE & Blair SN. Changes in aerobic power of women, ages 20fitness tests can be a worthwhile 64 years. Med Sci Sports Exerc.; 28 tool. (7):884-91 (July 1996) 15. Jackson AS, Beard EF, Wier LT, Ross RM, Stuteville JE & Blair SN. Changes References in aerobic power of men, ages 25-70 years. Med Sci Sports Exerc.; 27 (1):113-20 (Jan 1995) 1. Wilmore JH and Costill DL. Physiology 16. Trappe SW, Costill DL, Vukovich MD, of Sport and Exercise: 3rd Edition. Jones J & Melham T. Aging among (2005) elite distance runners: a 22 year lon2. Sjodin B, Svedenhag J. Oxygen gitudinal study. J Appl Physiol.; 80(1) uptake during running as related to 285-90 (Jan 1996) body mass in circumpubertal boys: a longitudinal study. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol.;65(2):150-7 (Mar 1992) 3. Veeger H, Lute E, Roeleveld K & van der Woude L. Differences in performance between trained and

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Outside the lab Other peoples’ labs

Lieberman’s latest Professor Lieberman, one of the most well-known professors in the barefoot running world, has produced two new studies, published in the Journal of Medical Science and Sports Exercise. The first study investigated running economy in relation to footwear in a group of habitual minimalist and barefoot runners. The results of the study indicated better running economy for those wearing minimalist shoes or running barefoot, versus running in cushioned shoes with a definite heel. Interestingly, the study also included results regarding foot strike and the runners with a rearfoot strike were more economical than those with a forefoot strike, going against the general beliefs associated with forefoot strike and efficiency. Amby Burfoot also notes that if runners who are usually barefoot are asked to run in cushioned shoes, they may run less economically merely because they’re unused to wearing shoes. In another study, Lieberman and his team looked at foot strike and injury rate in a group of 52 cross country runners. The results showed that in every year, 74% of all the runners experienced moderate or severe injury, but twice as many repetitive stress injuries were suffered in the group of habitual rearfoot strikers compared to the forefoot strikers. This is probably the expected result amongst barefoot and minimalist runners but several well thought of running specialists had their own opinions to add. Dr Mark Cucuzzella (of The Natural Running Center) is keen to point out that we shouldn’t just think about foot strike, reminding us that back in the ‘60’s, runners invariably landed first on their heel and rolled through their foot but that because of the nature of the shoes they wore – flat and thin-soled – there was no tendency to overstride. Dr Steve Gangemi points out that the issue isn’t necessarily to do with foot strike but poor mechanics in general resulting from muscle imbalances that are produced through stress in the body, whether from shoes, poor diet or other stressors. Danny Dreyer, founder of ChiRunning, says he sees a lot of injured runners who have issues with the toe-off phase of the running gait rather than the landing and that this aspect of gait is unfortunately largely ignored. For more info and insights on both these studies, visit: Typical overstriding

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www. and

Barefoot Running Magazine

Demons in red meat

and the results indicate that a daily portion of red meat can increase your risk of premature death by 13% and that number jumps up to 20% in the case of processed red meat such as ham and bacon. Apparently, the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke is increased by red meat and it is recommended that no more than 70g is consumed per day. In fact, if you cut down to 40g per day your risk decreases dramatically.

There has long been debate about the merits of eating red meat. Followers of the Paleo diet will attest to its attributes and claim that their bodies feel cleaner and healthier through mimicking the eating patterns of our ancestors. However, red meat is often demonized in the Press, and has been linked to various health issues numerous times. In the latest research featured in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the diets of a large number of participants were monitored for over 20 years

Of course, the other general rules apply. For example (surprise surprise) you are likely to be healthier and therefore at decreased risk if you beat more fruit and vegetables. The other common sense rule is to eat higher quality red meat (rather than two for one packets of processed ham from low budget supermarkets, for example). It seems that the conclusion drawn by most is the same as it usually is, i.e. eat a balanced diet of high quality, natural food and get plenty of exercise and fresh air. Simple really!

Heart warming news

The New Scientist published a study back in November 2011 revealing results indicating that saunas can help your heart. Participants with chronic heart failure who took five saunas per week showed improved heart function and boosted their exercise endurance. Other research has shown that increases in body temperature brought about through sauna usage can trigger neurons to release serotonin, leading to that feel-good sensation. Finally a valid excuse for those who prefer passive heating over active heating!

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Book review Barefoot Running: Step by Step

If I had to sum this book up in one word, that word would be “delightful”. Ken Bob’s book (co written by Roy Wallack, a sportsman and sports writer) is full of fun, with fantastic photos of gorgeous landscapes underneath blue skies and of course, Ken Bob’s own unique sense of humour. It is also packed with advice that can only come from someone who really knows his craft – and Ken Bob does. The book begins with an outline of Ken Bob’s own journey towards barefoot running. In a nutshell, he found running in shoes uncomfortable, hobbling through a marathon with blisters all over the top and sides of his feet. However, noticing that the soles of his feet were still unmarked by the ordeal, he had a “light bulb” moment and has been running barefoot ever since, completing no less than 77 unshod marathons and showing no sign of stopping. Many of you will have come Page 20

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across Ken Bob’s website ( and will be familiar with his amusing manner. One of the things I liked most about the book was that it was sprinkled with “Ken Bob-isms” throughout and just when things were getting a little in depth and serious, such as when discussing the technical issues surrounding good running form, a Ken Bob-ism would pop up in quotation marks to lighten the mood again and make me smile (“Face the direction you wish to travel, or you’re likely to end up someplace else” – Barefoot Ken Bob-ism #55). Ken Bob’s method of learning how to barefoot run follows what I might call “The Blue Peter” approach. For those of you who did not grow up watching this programme, much of it was based around finding what you can in your immediate environment to help you with whatever project you’re currently working on. The presenters were always teaching their young, eager viewers how

Barefoot Running Magazine

to make a space ship out of a toilet roll middle, a washing up bottle and some sticky back plastic. Anyway, Ken Bob’s teaching is this way inclined, in that it’s based around having fun and using your intuition. Although he covers in detail correct running position and is adamant about the bending of the knees, he ultimately believes that your own two feet are your best teachers: “If I’d waited for academic studies, I would probably not be running at all, except for a few times a week at the beach. If I waited for academic studies, I might not be eating!” This attitude might not appeal to those who are fans of the scientific research but for me, it makes sense. And the fun element is refreshing; even Ken Bob’s running drills are based on having fun. Drill number one is called “The Staggering Drunk” and, rather than specify a set amount of repetitions of this exercise that has you tottering about on wobbly legs, he tells you to “repeat until you see a cop approaching”!

“Face the direction you wish to travel, or you’re likely to end up someplace else” – Barefoot Ken Bob-ism #55 Ken Bob, like all good teachers (in my opinion) is still open to learning and happily relates how he has been taught things by other barefoot runners far less experienced than him who have

written to him or posted in the runningbarefoot forum. He has also found new things out by attending Pose and ChiRunning clinics, telling us that he only learnt about the benefits of the 180+ cadence from Danny Dreyer (founder of ChiRunning) in 2004. The last section of the book is filled with inspirational stories about competitive, successful barefoot runners, such as Zola Budd and Abebe Bikilla. Perhaps even more pertinent are the other tales Ken Bob includes from “normal” runners whose running practice has been transformed by taking off their shoes. All these put together would encourage any runner, or indeed couch potato, to get outside and discover the joy themselves.

“If I’d waited for academic studies, I would probably not be running at all, except for a few times a week at the beach. If I waited for academic studies, I might not be eating!” Along with this huge surge of interest in barefoot running comes a belief that there is one correct way to run and that this is what we should all strive for. I actually think there’s more to it than this, and Ken Bob sums it up well in one of my favourite sentences in the book: “You never really get barefoot technique locked down, partly because it’s a matter of responding to so many variations in terrain and in your own body, as well as continuous improvement

from experimenting, getting feedback from your quality control inspectors (the soles of your feet), and playing.” With this in mind, any “how to” book should be viewed as a guide with the understanding that everyone is different and that learning from a book is a one way street. It is always worth adding to what you learn from a book by having an experienced teacher check out your form, just to make sure you’re on the right path. Be aware of where you’re starting from too; Ken Bob’s book is a detailed guide to barefoot running and it is not the purpose of – or possible for - the book to be able to account for any injuries you may have starting out. Everyone who reads it will be coming from a slightly different starting point.

Book details...

Barefoot Running Step by Step: Barefoot Ken Bob, the Guru of Shoeless Running, Shares His Personal Technique for Running with More Speed, Less Impact, Fewer Injuries and More Fun Paperback: £14.99 Kindle edition: £9.33 Publisher: Fair Winds Press (26 May 2011) Language English

But Ken Bob’s book will certainly start you off in the best possible way – he is, after all, The Master!

ISBN-10: 1592334652 ISBN-13: 978-1592334650

Barefoot Ken Bob at Golden, Colorado 24th June 2005

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

David Robinson just out and about in the snow

Stephen Fraser competing in the Nairn 10k road race

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Barefoot Mecki making the most of a great photo opportunity at the World Stroke Day fun run

Barefoot Running Magazine

Steve Goodier doing some barefoot Parkour

Alan Thwaits showing how it’s done at the 19K mark of the Sarasota, Florida Half Marathon

us d n Se os t o h p r e u o ou’v y

hat y il w w kno to - ema s u t Le up been @bfrm.c os phot

Photograph by Hans R van der Woude Barefoot Running Magazine

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Injury corner The Runner’s Triad by Scott Hadley PhD, DPT run happy and pain-free. Chi Running, the POSE Method, Good Form Running, Newton Running, and of course Barefoot Running (my personal choice) have made a lot of headway in teaching a better way to run. And a lot of the success of these methods is due to good press by Born To Run and some people who rode the wave of enthusiasm behind this exciting new/old way to run. Entre: the problem. We still get injured. [Curses] In fact, injury rates among runners practicing the above approaches are not much One of my favorite books is different than the general Born To Run by Christopher population of runners. Its McDougall. Maybe you’ve read actually getting hard to tell the it. It’s a fun read with a great difference in my city of Grand plot and some interesting ideas. Rapids, Michigan who has It started a revolution too. This taken the Good Form Running book almost single-handedly courses and who hasn’t. Seems popularized the minimalist and like most people in shoes are barefoot running movement. taking shorter strides, leaning forward from the ankle, landing People rushed to buy Vibram on the midfoot, bleh, bleh, Five Fingers in the hopes that bleh…. their running injuries would be miraculously cured – like But I still see those people in my Barefoot Ted, who was cured clinic. Maybe because Good of his low back pain by running Form Running isn’t so good? barefoot. Shoe manufacturers eventually caught on to the movement, and now just about every major shoe company has a minimalist line of shoes to appeal to the growing demand among runners. Some really great running methods became popular as runners raced to learn how to Page 24

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And do you know who else I treat? Barefoot runners. Since I’m only one of a two barefoot running doctors in the state (that I know of), and the other one works with me at the Hadley Clinic, barefoot runners drive from abroad to get some good treatment from someone who knows the sport, knows the science, and won’t tell them to get orthotics.

Barefoot Running Magazine

But why? I thought barefoot, minimalist, Chi, etc. were supposed to help us? Barefoot running did not cure that IT band syndrome any better than a thick, supportive shoe. And that Achilles tendonitis? Still there.

“Regardless of having the best running form known to modern mankind, we are still subject to injury.” Don’t get me wrong. I think people DO have a better chance of not getting injured if they run with proper barefoot form. But injuries still happen. In just the past two weeks I’ve treated two of the best ultra runners in West Michigan. One is a barefoot purist who only wears these flimsy little moccasins with a 3 mm Vibram sole (Moc3, He’s such a barefoot running nerd that he ran a 50-mile trail ultra last summer in Moc3s with his jaw wired shut. Maybe you read about him in Runner’s World or saw him on YouTube. Try to breath, hydrate, and suck gels like that for 12 hours. My point? Regardless of having the best running form known to modern mankind, we are still subject to injury. But one of the most exciting days of my professional life was when I discovered why even the best runners get injured.

Regardless of speed, distance, size, training, and mental fortitude, there is one common feature that limits every runner and will eventually turn that runner into a statistic. No. Not running shoes. Tight calves. A tight soleus to be specific. This one muscle is like the center of the universe when it comes to running overuse injuries. Give me 100 runners with overuse injuries, and I’ll find a dysfunctional calf in 99 of them. But that’s not all. The soleus has some really key mechanical roles for attenuating shock. And it has some critical functions in activating other muscles by way of stretch reflexes. So when the soleus gives out, lots can go wrong mechanically and neurologically. And the result is what I call the Runner’s Triad. In short, the Runner’s Triad presents like this: 1. Tight and painful soleus (often accompanied by the same in the gastroc, quads, and hip abductors) 2. Inhibited hip abductors and extensors 3. Pelvic asymmetry causing a leg length difference (usually longer on the side of the pain) Here is the basic mechanism of the Runner’s Triad. 1. The soleus is overloaded and becomes inflexible. It’s a key muscle for shock absorption, especially in barefoot and minimalist runners. When the soleus gets tight, it loses about 50% of its strength due to neurological inhibition of its stretch reflexes (this has been published in 3 separate research papers…).

2. The tight soleus also causes reflexive inhibition of the hip extensors, which can lose up to 75% of their strength when the calf is tight. I’ve recently submitted a research paper describing this reflex and shown how it can be reversed. In 41 runners, the average improvement in hip extensor strength after 5 minutes of soleus manipulation was 65%. 3. Some subjects showed two-fold and three-fold increases in hip strength after ONE soleus treatment! 4. The tight soleus causes a reflexive spasm of the quadratus lumborum in the lower back. This results in asymmetry of the pelvis causing a leg length difference of up to 2 cm. So a tight calf causes a weak calf, a weak hip and a leg length difference. That’s it. That’s what is common in every single overuse running injury. If there was no traumatic event like a fall or joint sprain, if there is no major joint problem like a meniscus tear, and if there is no stress fracture, the Runner’s Triad is the underlying source of all running pain. Period.

“When the soleus gives out, lots can go wrong mechanically and neurologically. And the result is what I call the Runner’s Triad.” Over time, the Runner’s Triad becomes a scaffold upon which the most common overuse injuries are built. With

a tight calf, a weak hip, and a leg length difference, other muscles start to compensate. In fact, there are 12 common compensations for the Runner’s Triad that I see regularly. I call them the Dirty Dozen. The Dirty Dozen running overuse injuries include things like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, calf strains, patellofemoral pain, IT band syndrome, hamstring strains, several types of hip pain, and low back pain. Any of those feel too familiar to you? But there is hope. One really cool thing is that the Dirty Dozen can be avoided by fixing the Runner’s Triad before the symptoms appear. And the Dirty Dozen injuries can be treated by fixing the Triad first, and then fixing the compensation. So how do you fix and prevent the Runner’s Triad? Roll your calves on some HARD cylinder – like a rolling pin or a steel water bottle. Foam is too soft. “The Stick” is too flimsy. You need to dig deeply into the sore soleus (which is quite thick and makes up the bulk of the calf) to release the tension in the muscle and fascia. Treating the soleus REVERSES the Runner’s Triad. Just a few minutes of rolling the soleus corrects the pelvic alignment and restores the reflexive strength of the hip and calf. This is not a massage. This is a manipulation. Painful. Tedious. Agonizing. Nauseating. But if you want to run, you have to pay your dues. And the soleus roll is one of them. Here are some basic instructions to get you going:

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Soleus Rolling  With toes pointed in a relaxed

  

position, place your calf on a rolling pin just over the Achilles Lift your hips and roll from the heel upward about 2/3 up the calf. Roll the midline, the inner side, and the outer side When you find a painful area, spend more time there Use as much pressure as you can tolerate and then some more To increase pressure, cross your other leg over the one you are rolling. Don’t do this if you have a history of blood clots in your calf or a current fracture in the tibia or fibula.

To view similar treatments and explanations of stretch reflexes please visit:

Look out for Scott Hadley’s upcoming book this summer: The Runner’s Triad: prevention and self-treatment for the Dirty Dozen running injuries. We’ll keep you posted with information about the publication date and how you can get your hands on a copy!

The method and the images presented here are owned by Scott Hadley, PhD, DPT. Copyright © 2011, Scott Hadley, PhD, DPT. All rights reserved.

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What’s new Products worth a look

This little gadget is like a very sophisticated pedometer. It not only counts your steps, but monitors things like climbing stairs, calories burned and even how much sleep you’re getting. It clips easily to your clothing and comes in a range of colours. As is the standard these days, it also links to your phone and connects wirelessly to your pc so it’s easy peasy to monitor your progress. If you’re into gadgets, check it out:

Nākd have produced a new range of flavoursome raisins. Yes, raisins already have a flavour but in terms of tempting but healthy snacking, these are worth a second look. They have cola ones, lemon, cherry, orange, tangy lime and pineapple to choose from. All natural ingredients and no artificial flavours. Visit: to order some tasty, healthy treats.

We love chocolate, so we’re very excited to hear about Ohso chocolate bars. They’re made from dark chocolate, so are high in antioxidants and rich in essential vitamins and minerals. These chocolate bars also contain around a billion “good for you” bacteria and are only 72 calories per bar. Fancy a taste? Visit: for more info.

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SE20 Cycles Parts & servicing Race preparation Modifications Custom builds Expert advice from a friendly team 160 Maple Rd London SE20 8JB 020 8778 2023

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Spring 2012 Issue 4

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Main feature Run Strong • Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running

Main feature


Run Strong • Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running

BFR UK’s news


BFRUK’s latest

BFR UK’s events


Events & workshops

BFR UK’s calendar


BFRUK’s 2012/13 Year

Find us at barefootrunninguk / facebook

Whilst continuing our work with individual clients and teaching workshops, we’ve also spent much of the last year and a half putting together a book about barefoot running. When we were still contemplating whether or not to do it, someone warned us that the actual writing of the book was only about one third (if that) of the entire process. At that point, we couldn’t see past the daunting vision of sitting down and producing the thing but now the writing is complete, there’s still so much to do! We discovered years ago that (thank goodness) we work quite well as a team. David is the “science” man with a very logical brain whilst I tend to work through feeling and intuition. This means that, together, we can tackle the concept of barefoot running from all directions, which is hopefully what we’ve achieved

in the book. We wanted to offer readers some concrete, yet relatively simple, information about human structure and movement in relation to running. We hear all the time that barefoot running is very efficient from a biomechanical point of view but it is extremely helpful (if a little mind-blowing) to find out exactly why. We’ve also included a section on breathing, the mechanics of which are generally overlooked but very important. Breathing is easily compromised through muscle imbalances and when you consider the fact that there are entire books written only about breathing, you begin to understand that it’s not just a case of inhale, exhale, inhale…. etc. Of course, all readers are interested in “how” to barefoot

To subscribe: UK (0845) 226 7302 Overseas +44 (0) 208 659 0269 email: or visit four website or more information: 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 newsletter 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 newsletter.

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Spring 2012 Issue 4

Our photographer, Mike, getting shots of David’s feet to demonstrate optimum foot landing

run. We strongly believe that it’s impossible to write a book about barefoot running unless you do it yourself and have gained so much more insight into the practice by spending many hours investigating it ourselves. In fact, we were both recreational runners already but made the decision to start completely from scratch without our shoes, with our first run being only 400 metres in the freezing cold one winter! We discovered that finding optimum running form is only one part of what barefoot running is all about and came to understand very quickly that each person’s barefoot running journey is different. It’s also a process rather than a “before” (in shoes) and “after” (without shoes) scenario. The time we have spent working on ourselves and teaching clients with very different running backgrounds has provided us with a more complete understanding of barefoot running. There is much discussion in books and on the internet about how to develop your barefoot running. Some people advocate drills, some say just run a little more each day, some say stretch, some say don’t stretch…. It’s a tricky one, again because the true answer is that everybody’s different. Therefore, within the book, we’ve included exercises that we have found useful for most clients and readers can follow all of them or pick and choose the ones that they discover work for them.

The photo on the front cover!

make and dispel some of the myths, such as the one about treading in dog poo every five minutes! (Neither of us ever have, although we have when wearing shoes!).

tirelessly to produce the exercise shots within the book. We’d like to also thank our illustrator, Jo Spaul, who managed to make sense of our rudimentary anatomy drawings and create some fantastic diagrams to The finished product is something help explain the theory behind that will appeal to runners of sound running mechanics. all levels and capabilities. It’s obviously about barefoot The manuscript is now in the running but any runner will find safe hands of our typesetting/ it helpful in terms of addressing printing company Headley their biomechanical issues and Brothers and we’re hoping to mental approach to running. publish in April. We will be We cover form in detail. We announcing pre-orders as also address issues that are We’d like to acknowledge the soon as they’re available and particularly pertinent to barefoot help of Mike Molloy, our superb would be grateful to you all for running, such as climate and photographer, who spent time helping us spread the word. terrain. We’ve outlined what lying on the freezing ground we’ve found to be the most in December to get the front common mistakes that people cover shot and who also worked Spring 2012 Issue 4

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Barefoot Running UK news BFRUK’s latest

Breaking News! New look workshop for 2012 We are changing the structure of our workshops slightly, amalgamating all of the information into a one day course that corresponds with our new book - Run Strong • Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot

running, which we’ll use as course material. We’re planning to take the course to a number of different locations throughout the UK this year in the hope that we can accommodate as many interested people as possible. Check out the calendar to see when we’re in your area. If you wish to arrange your own workshop/talk, please feel free to call or email us to see if we can set something up.

BFRUK is going runabout

As some of you know, we hold monthly group runs on Clapham Common. We have decided to take these group runs further afield so that we can include as many areas of the UK as possible. We will still be holding some London runs but, as you will see in the calendar, we’ll be visiting other areas too. If you’d like to join one of the monthly runs, please send us an email to book your place. Page 3

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Michael Bartley joins the team

The runs are free of charge but we will need you to fill out a health form and return it to us prior to the run date. We will be limiting the number of spaces to 10 and bookings are on a first come, first served basis. We’re looking forward to meeting more runners throughout the UK and investigating new running routes!

We are pleased to announce that our good friend and talented sports massage therapist, Michael Bartley, has joined the Barefoot Running UK team. Michael has an extensive background in the health and fitness industry as well as an impressive running history. Michael has transitioned to barefoot and minimalist running and is enjoying it immensely – apart from the occasional sore calf episode! He is based in Westminster where he carries out sports massage in two gyms (one of which he manages) and he is also available for some home visits. Feel free to contact Michael directly for more information:

Welcome to the team Michael!

Barefoot Running UK events Events & workshops

BFRUK group run

We organize monthly group runs for anybody interested in barefoot or minimalist running. The runs are usually between 3 and 5 miles, at around a 10 minute mile pace. They are useful get-togethers for likeminded individuals to discuss their running issues and there is usually much swapping of ideas and experiences. We try to cater for everybody, so there is sometimes a faster and slower group with the option for people to peel off at appropriate stages when they’ve had enough!

Run Strong • Run Free one day workshop

We try to cater for everybody, so there is sometimes a faster and slower group with the option for people to peel off at appropriate stages when they’ve had enough! Check out the calendar for group run dates and venues. Please note that, due to group numbers and limited time frame, we cannot provide individual technique feedback. For more information, join us on facebook or drop us an email:

Barefoot Running and Yoga Weekend you a weekend of barefoot running tuition and yoga classes on the beautiful Isle of Wight on 8th and 9th September.

We are pleased to be working in collaboration with Emma Spencer-Goodier (see her yoga feature on page 36) to bring

We will be posting more details soon on the website, with info on what the weekend involves, how to book and options for places to stay. In the meantime, please drop us an email if you’re interested in attending and would like to reserve a space:

Our new course is spread over an entire day from 9am to 6pm. The material, as we’ve mentioned, is based around the content of our book, due for release very soon. The course will include: Anatomy and biomechanics Optimum running technique Barefoot running The influence of weather and terrain  Injury  Useful drills and exercises  PLUS individual feedback on your technique.    

We like to gear the workshops towards the attendees so each one is slightly different. They are also informal and interactive; we enjoy discussion and welcome any fitness/health related questions. Please see the calendar for workshop dates, venues and details on how to book your place. Spaces are limited to 12 people Check out the website for more details or feel free to call or email us. 0845 226 7302 Spring 2012 Issue 4

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Barefoot Running UK calendar BFRUK’s 2012/13 Year

May 2012 Here is a layout of our plans for the coming year. For more information, please visit the website or drop us an email or phone call with your questions.

Saturday 7th BFR UK Group Run Saturday 12th BFR UK Group Run 10.00 am Clapham Common , London The Bandstand

BFR UK Group Run All club runs are between 2 and 5 miles, around 10 minute per mile pace.

July 2012

Saturday 19th Run Strong•Run Free:

Any footwear is fine!

An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running.

Please email us prior to a run if you’re planning to attend.

A running workshop based on our book with the same title

Bacon’s College - London

June 2012 Bespoke talks & workshops

Saturday 2nd BFR UK Group Run

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

11.00 am Cambridge (Location TBC)

11.00 am Brighton, Sussex (Location TBC)

Saturday 28th Run Strong•Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running. A running workshop based on our book with the same title Brighton, Sussex (Location TBC)

August 2012 Saturday 4th BFR UK Group Run 10.00 am Clapham Common , London The Bandstand

Saturday 18th Run Strong•Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running.

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

Saturday 30th Run Strong•Run Free:

York (Location TBC)

An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running.

Sunday 19th BFR UK Group Run

A running workshop based on our book with the same title Romsey Mill Centre - Cambridge

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Spring 2012 Issue 4

A running workshop based on our book with the same title

10.00 am York (Location TBC)

September 2012

November 2012

February 2013

Saturday 1st BFR UK Group Run

Saturday 3rd BFR UK Group Run

Saturday 2nd BFR UK Group Run

10.00 am St James Park, London The Tea Rooms

10.00 am Blackheath, London The Royal Observatory

10.00 am Blackheath, London The Royal Observatory

8/9th Barefoot Running and Yoga Weekend A complementary mix of mind/ body exercise and tuition.

Saturday 16th

Saturday 17th Run Strong•Run Free:

Run Strong•Run Free:

An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running.

An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running.

Run Strong•Run Free:

A running workshop based on our book with the same title

A running workshop based on our book with the same title

An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running.

Bacon’s College - London

Bacon’s College - London

Isle of Wight - St Helens

Saturday 29th

A running workshop based on our book with the same title Bacon’s College - London

March 2013 October 2012 Saturday 13th Run Strong•Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running.

December 2012 Saturday 1st BFR UK Group Run 10.00 am Clapham Common , London The Bandstand

A running workshop based on our book with the same title Liverpool - Location TBC

Sunday 14th BFR UK Group Run 10.00 am Liverpool (Location TBC)

Saturday 2nd BFR UK Group Run 10.00 am Hyde Park, London The Italian Gardens

Saturday 16th Run Strong•Run Free:

January 2013 Saturday 5th BFR UK Group Run 10.00 am Clapham Common , London The Bandstand

An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running. A running workshop based on our book with the same title Location TBC

Spring 2012 Issue 4

Page 6

Run Strong • Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running workshop

tel: 0845 226 7302

Is your running disrupted by: Recurring injuries? Niggling pains? An awkward/uncomfortable running gait? Do you feel that something is missing? Join us on our one day workshop to discover how to improve your running form for a more comfortable ride! We will be covering: Misconceptions of barefoot running How to get started Human Anatomy & biomechanics Types of breathing Optimum alignment in relation to running Optimum running technique Injuries Barefoot running and its role in achieving balanced movement and improved performance  Concepts/myths/opinions surrounding “minimalist” shoes  Different terrains/weather and the accompanying challenges  Useful drills and exercises        

PLUS individual feedback on your technique

Limited spaces available

Total Cost: £90.00

based on our book with the same title

For more information or to book your place please visit our website

Various dates and locations - see website for details

Events Stuff that’s going on

Cutting Edge 2012: The Research Behind Sport This is a series of events brought to you by the Research Councils UK initiative, in partnership with Royal Institution, the Department for Innovation and Skills, The Institute of Engineering and Technology and PODIUM (the Further and Higher Education Unit for the 2012 Games). There are several sessions happening in the first half of this year that will debate the latest in sports research in a number of different fields. Those that might be of particular interest to our readers are: Behind Triathlon – Leeds, Tuesday 27th March Behind Athletics – Sheffield, Thursday 26th April Behind Cycling – Glasgow, Thursday 19th July

International Barefoot Running Day (IBRD) On Sunday 6th May, a group of barefoot and minimalist runners will gather together in Stanmer Park in Brighton to run either a 1km or 5km race in celebration of the International Barefoot Running Day. As the name suggests, a similar scenario will be happening in many other places all over the world at the same time, in association with The Barefoot Runners Society ( who created the concept. If you’d like to be part of this celebration, please visit: where you will find information about how to enter and other details provided by Martyn Candler, the President of the UK Chapter of The Barefoot Runners Society. Stanmer Park, Brighton

There’s also a little video clip of last year’s event. Fingers crossed for good weather!

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Technical tip Running uphill Foot strike

Some people hate hill running, some people love it. Most runners know, however, that running hills can help build strength and endurance and it’s good preparation for races with an undulating course.

When there is only a slight gradient, it’s often easier to find good running form than on the flat, particularly if you’re someone who tends to find it difficult to tuck your pelvis and bring your knees far enough forward. However, steeper hills are a bit trickier and can require a different foot strike. If you like to punish yourself with hills, you have probably sought out some almost vertical bad boys. Tough challenges like this will bring you right up onto the ball of your foot and work your calf muscles hard. This is also where you might be more aware of the surface beneath the soles of your feet, especially if it’s rough terrain. On more gentle gradients, some of you will still want to stay up on the balls of your feet. Others of you will have the flexibility and elasticity in

your calf muscles to allow your heels to touch down, as they would on flat ground. The point at which you make that switch will depend on your ability and personal preference, but be aware that if you’re incorporating a variety of hills into your training and racing, you’ll need to learn both. Also be aware of the extra demands steeper hills place on your calf muscles and build gradually, starting with shorter hills and fewer reps (if you’re only doing a hill session) and see how your calves feel the next day. “What can you do if a part of it is uphill? You can't work out another route. You've just got to run the one they give you. But they tell me London is a nice course. Even the cobbles, I hope, are not very much of a problem for me.” Haile Gebrselassie

Running hills in shoes is markedly different from scaling them barefoot. It’s hard to avoid the fact that the soles of your feet will suffer slightly more on hilly terrain than on the flat. Also, it feels different mechanically, without having a wedged heel as part of your landing. Here are some pointers to help you develop your uphill technique. As always, personal preference comes into play and each individual will ultimately find their own best style. Focusing into the hill to maintain alignment Page 30

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Legs Running up hills is when you can really get to grips with driving your knees. Try to keep your seat tucked underneath you and power forwards with your knees, pulling your feet up towards your bottom using the strength of your hamstring muscles.

Arms Much of the information you find on the net regarding technique is focused around running longer, relatively slower distances, so the advice is usually to keep your arms relaxed and not allow them to interfere with your leg movement. On hills, your arms can help you power upwards. You may find it useful to work your arms as though you’re sprinting, i.e. bringing them forwards and upwards with a 90 degree angle at the elbow and then bringing them back and letting them straighten out behind you more. The tendency when you’re trying to “lift” yourself up a hill is to lift your shoulders. This won’t do much good; in fact, it will probably be detrimental. One of the golden rules, wherever your running, is to remain relaxed, so drop your shoulders

Arms power forward and back like a sprinter

away from your ears and make sure you maintain a regular breathing rhythm.

Cadence Aim for shorter strides as you run up hill – this should happen naturally as it’s very difficult to over stride, particularly if the gradient is steep. Try not to let your foot turnover slow down – maintain a 180+ cadence if you can. All of this will help your efficiency up the hill, keeping your feet beneath your centre of gravity.

Spinal alignment When you’re heading up a steep hill, it’s tempting to either focus on the top of it for inspiration or to look down at The revolutionizing running coach and guru Percy Cerutty and Herb Elliott training on sand dunes.

your feet to shut out the view of how much further you have to go! Both of these will affect the alignment at your neck and therefore the alignment of your entire spine. Think about how you run on the flat: with your gaze level, your pelvis slightly tucked under and your chin subtly drawn in so that your head is balanced on top of your spine rather than poking forwards and your seat is underneath you. Try to keep this alignment, rather than allowing your neck and lower back to hyperextend. This will result in your gaze being directed into the hill, rather than at the ground or towards the top of the hill. Again, this will help with efficiency and better overall mechanics.

Next Issue: We’ll tell you how to get down the hill!

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Nutritional nugget Is a vegetarian diet a good option for runners? But is a vegetarian or vegan diet a healthy choice for runners? Yes it can be if managed correctly. Protein intake is often the biggest concern for vegetarians, particularly for endurance athletes as it is vital for rebuilding and repairing lean muscle mass. It is true that the most abundant sources of complete proteins (ones that contain all 9 essential amino acids that the body can't make itself) are meat, chicken and other animal products, but they are not the only sources. By Leigh Rogers Holistic Sports Nutritionist, Health and Wellness Coach

thinking of when it comes to preparing our bodies for exercise? Often people can become consumed with ensuring their carb to protein More and more people are becoming aware of the positive ratios are correct or making sure their fat intake is sufficient. effects their diet can have on While this is important, it's just performance and are looking as important as the quality for ways to fine tune what they eat in order to have the greatest and source of these nutrients. impact on their energy, strength The aim of any athlete should and recovery. be to reduce the nutritional stress load that is put on their Take for example the recently bodies by eating a nutrient crowned number 1 tennis dense, alkalising and well player, Djokovic. What does balanced meal. he attribute his fantastic rise through the ranks of elite tennis For barefoot runners, having player to- a change in diet actual physical contact with and the removal of gluten. For mother nature can often many athletes they are well provide a more grounding and aware of the importance of a balanced effect on both the healthy and balanced diet body and mind. Too often our and the benefits it can have soles never touch the ground on performance, but what we walk on and this chosen does this mean for those not way of running, more in tune surrounded by personal sports with nature, can sometimes nutritionists and advisers? lead people to consider a more vegetarian or vegan diet. What exactly should we be Page 32

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Plant based options include quinoa- a nutrient dense protein grain from Peru , buckwheat and hemp seed, often used as a protein source in smoothies or sprinkled on salads. Interestingly one cup of cooked quinoa provides about 18 grams of protein. Pulses, nuts, seeds and nut butters are also great sources of protein. Simply making sure you are eating a varied diet containing a range of the above, throughout the day, will ensure you create a balanced amino acid profile. While protein is used to repair and rebuild, carbohydrates are the fuel for the body. Our bodies can use fat and protein but they are not the most efficient or "cleanest" source as protein can create toxins when burned. The best source is complex carbohydrates such as unrefined whole grains like brown rice, legumes (beans, lentils), fibre-rich vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds as they are lower on the Glycemic

Index and provide sustained and long-lasting energy. Vegetarians need to make sure they are also getting adequate amounts of good, healthy fats such as unrefined, cold pressed olive oil, almonds, and avocados as these are not only beneficial for lubrication and protecting the joints but also to absorb the fat soluble vitamins A,E,D,K. Often on a vegetarian diet you need to particularly ensure you are getting enough essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6). Without omega-3, there's an increased risk of inflammation, muscle soreness and lowered immunity. Great sources are nuts, (walnuts), seeds (hemp, flax, pumpkin, chia) and plant based oils. Vegetarians, or even vegans, can still get the necessary macro and micro nutrients their bodies need and research has shown there is no significant difference between a vegetarian and non-vegetarian athlete. There are also loads of physical benefits for the athlete on this type of diet:  Nutrient dense plant foods

are generally digested much quicker in your system, reducing the amount of energy expended to break them down, leaving more reserves for exercise.  A healthy vegetarian diet that includes an array of fresh fruit and vegetables will contain loads more antioxidants, excellent for boosting energy levels and speeding recovery times. More importantly they reduce free radicals in the body that are caused by environmental pollutants

and work stress.  Eliminating animal products

that are typically acid forming in the body has profound health effects. For those wishing to optimise performance, improve sleep, avoid diseases (like cancer and osteoporosis), increase energy and lose weight, i.e. reduce the internal stress on their body, an alkalising diet is way more beneficial. By eliminating meat in the diet and eating more alkaline green vegetables, almonds, quinoa and millet you are helping to greatly reduce acidity in the body.  Finally, plant based diets can also be lower in saturated fat due to less animal products. A few things vegetarians do need to be extra vigilant about are key nutrients like iron, calcium and b12. While they are more readily available to meat eaters, plant based sources are more bio-available than those derived from animal products, which means your body can absorb them more easily. Without B12, the body can't convert fats and proteins into energy, a transformation critical to a runner's performance. Leafy greens and sesame seeds are great sources of calcium, while iron can be obtained from pumpkin seeds and b12 from nutritional yeast (delicious and tastes cheesy) and miso. So yes, vegetarians and vegans can fuel their bodies correctly with only plant based foods. Just remember to keep it varied, keep it unrefined and keep it fresh. The more unprocessed foods you consume, the less stress you are placing on your body and the better the environment you are creating for peak performance.

About Leigh Leigh is a qualified Holistic Sports Nutritionist, Health and Wellness Coach. Having overcome her own health issues by making diet and lifestyle changes, she now teaches others how to do the same. Based in Richmond (London, UK) she works with individual clients as well as leading a variety of inspirational cooking workshops. me organic is a holistic health and wellness business based in Richmond. We focus on transforming the health and fitness of our clients through 1to1 nutrition programmes, personal training, cycling coaching, health workshops and more. Contact us for your FREE session and receive 15% off all our programmes for all Barefoot Running Magazine readers. Plus 10% off all workshops, using code: barefoot12. Visit for more info.

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Questions & answers Your questions answered technique it’ll be better for your back and going barefoot is the best way to find your own optimum running form. However, you probably need to do some other tailored exercise to improve your overall movement and alignment, although I assume you’ve been seeing a physio?

Thank you for the e-magazine still a lot of debate! I took my running shoes and socks off this morning - don't know why. It was a brilliant blue sky but white frost and iced puddles, I don't like the thought of being cold. Amazing! My feet were toastie! The road is tarmaced but I live in very rural Northumberland so it is a very rough surface. I need Barefoot running isn’t a magic to learn to run light for sure! I do cure for injury but it will: make want to ask a question though. Send your running questions you re-assess your attitude to I have not had a very good to Anna & David and they will running (you’ll be more relaxed prognosis on my ankle which I about it), slowly begin to broke in a fairly comprehensive endeavour to answer them awaken/stretch and strengthen way nearly 2 years ago to the for you: your calves (tight calves lacking day. I was trying Chi Running, which has helped me but I can't Hi I have been running regularly in elasticity often go hand in hand with lower back problems), bend my ankle to 'lean' perhaps since 2003 completing the make you more aware of your the way I should. When I bend London marathon and various my knees it tends to be from my half marathons. Last November body and how you’re moving and make your body move ankle but is barefoot running I suffered from a bulging disc biomechanically correctly. more about bending the knees in my lower back and have run in a squat position? If that makes very little since and only on a The shorter answer is yes (!) but sense? treadmill. I have been very it takes time to adjust and you interested in barefoot running will need to be aware of general (Beth, Northumberland) and wondered whether the movement issues that may need reduced impact would be addressing. better for my back? I would Hi Beth be very keen to hear your Our next Foundation & Principles thoughts. Also when will you workshop is in London on 14th It’s certainly harder to run know the dates of your next and 15th April. We’re currently barefoot in rural areas, the roads workshops ? trying to source other venues tend to be less well-maintained outside London. Whereabouts which can make for rough, (Sarah, Surrey). a are you based? We’re also uneven surfaces. Mind you, compiling lists of people who there’s some pretty rough stuff Hi Sarah are interested in the workshops here in London too. Good for and noting where they are in the challenging your feet! Thanks for your email and sorry UK so we can visit the areas to hear you haven’t been able where we’re needed most! Your ankle will probably always to run for a while. be a weak area with perhaps We have a book coming out in less range of movement than Usually a bulging disc is the April which will offer a lot of your other ankle. The human outcome of some spinal guidance too. body is wonderfully adaptive deviation which means there is though so if you progress slowly, more pressure or force going All the best it’ll give your body the time it through that particular area. needs to adjust. Barefoot is Anna & David better and wearing slim, flexible Certainly if you run with better Page 34

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up barefoot running. Could you offer advice? Many thanks. (Ed, London) Hi Ed Thanks for your email.

Danny Dreyer demonstrating the ChiRunning form

shoes when you’re not running is also a good idea.

technique without seeing you.

Barefoot running (completely bare, not with “barefoot shoes”) is certainly the easiest way to find the technique which works best for you, although it’s a very gradual process. I can’t really make any judgements on your current movement/running form without seeing you. There may be issues with your movement that are causing the shortness in your Achilles tendons. It may be the lower calf rather than the could be a number of things really!

Finally, take a look at Pose Leaning Vs upright can be quite running if you haven’t already an individual choice. We tend ( This is to advocate running completely close to how people run when upright but with the slight tuck they’re barefoot, although it is of the pelvis recommended in a MUST that the heel does ChiRunning. This still requires contact the ground (pose quite a significant bend at the technique can sometimes ankle. I’m not quite sure what encourage people to stay too you mean by “squat position” far forward on the front of their but to me, squat position is foot). sitting back towards the heels with the torso angles forwards, Hope this helps – best of luck! which is definitely not what you’re looking for. Anna & David

You could probably begin barefoot running now but you probably need to be doing other exercises alongside to help iron out any imbalances.

We’re looking at doing some more workshops around the UK this year and have had some interest from the North East so we hope to teach up there at some point. We also put together online training packages for people who can’t make the workshops, so let me know if you might be interested in that. It would involve you sending us footage of you running as it’s very difficult to comment on your

Heel striking is not the answer. Neither is striking with the ball of your foot. Your mechanics will be most efficient with a mid foot strike which means the middle of the foot lands first, followed very swiftly by the heel. Usually the foot strike sorts itself out once you’ve sorted out what’s going wrong with the rest of the body.

Hi. I'm interested in this as I used to run a lot, landing primarily on the ball of my feet as I have always had short Achilles tendons. Then I was told to learn to heel strike and seem to have had more injuries. Would like to look at barefoot running, but I cannot squat down on my heels - only on the balls of my feet.

If you’re based in London, I would suggest you book a session with us so we can start you off on the right foot (so to speak). If not, just start very slowly and listen to your body. Patience is the key – if you try and do too much, you’ll get injured.

Best of luck! Some literature says I must be able to heel squat before taking Anna & David Barefoot Running Magazine

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The Green Room Barefoot running - the footfall of a yogi

The word ‘yoga’ means path; a path that takes you on a spiritual journey back to your true nature, back to yourself. Kicking off my shoes and running was a revealing and delightful journey; naked feet through the dew drenched grass and puddles unlocked my inner child and revealed my natural running form. Barefooting has been for me as much of a yoga experience as any found on my mat, however I do remain very grateful for the conditioning that my mat practice has given my body and I am convinced that it has made my transition out of shoes far quicker and less painful than I could have expected otherwise. Eighteen months ago, after over a dozen years of developing a serious yoga practice and business, I became curious about running. Everyone seems to be doing it; my kids, my husband, the dog, the neighbours, even the large elderly ladies of our village! It’s free, it’s private, it’s social, it’s as goal driven as I want it to be, and it would seem that we are indeed designed to enjoy it. It Page 36

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was all very well being able to wrap myself inside out and back to front, but I should be able to run for the bus if required. In March last year Born to Run was plucked from the shelf and devoured - a convert was born. Bare feet make perfect sense to a yogi - we understand that whole foot/body/earth connection, and although we never refer to proprioception we are unwittingly fine tuning our balance by grounding and feeling mindfully through the feet. My expensive trainers have gathered dust ever since. The transition wasn’t to be all plain sailing. Parkrun was my first extended attempt, 5km round Medina Seaclose Park with half the running community of the Isle of Wight. Ego played it’s part; I’d been moving up the ranks each week, and although not a real contender I had enjoyed a few weeks in the top 5 women - in retrospect, I think all the great and the good were training for the Island Games, but at the time I didn’t know that. We started, and off I popped, light as a marshmallow on my speedy feet. Memories of childhood sprints came flooding back, inspiring my limbs as I fancied my chances with the club runners. One km in and all was well, two km in and there began a hither before unknown tightening sensation in my calves and 500m later the pain and cramping had me limping to the side. It took a good number of weeks to repair the damage done in 2.5km! Luckily I have my Yoga First Aid kit. Downward facing

Barefoot Running Magazine

dog is a fantastic yoga posture for runners, especially those in the throws of Barefoot Exuberance Syndrome with tight calves and tender Achilles. The inverted ‘v’ shape, lengthens through the calves and hamstrings, decompresses the spine and lower back and opens shoulders that can become tight and uncomfortable. It has proved to be a very useful tool in the early stages of my transition and if you do nothing else, I highly recommend adding this to your stretching portfolio. The stretching and strengthening possibilities of yoga are enormous, but essentially for runners it is a case of balancing and strengthening the imbalances that your running creates in hips, inner quads and your core. With my first excursion without my shoes, I had begun to understand that this was going to be a long game of patience and I was to be very glad of my yoga mat. Back to the books, I may well have been born to run, but somewhere between birth and 41yrs old I’d forgotten how to. Barefoot Ken Bob put me right, in his book Barefoot Running Step by Step. Cadence, stride length, bent knee and foot lift became my mantras, as I had to consciously move away from a long heavy stride. I took Bob’s advice and stopped running where it’s too easy not to genuinely feel the terrain, taking to the tracks and footpaths during the summer. I became totally absorbed in the whole mechanics of my body, forgetting to dread the hills, my iPod became an unwanted

distraction and I found myself taking longer and longer routes as I enjoyed myself more and more. A lot less huffing and puffing was happening and a lot more delight was being experienced. There is a direct relationship between how you breath and how you feel, and yoga has a number of great breath control techniques known as pranayama. These improve your sense of well- being, but will also dramatically increase your VO2Max capacity. Cardiorespiratory health is commonly tracked using VO2Max. As the intensity of exercise increases, the body consumes more oxygen, until it plateaus and can consume no more, regardless of how much more you raise the intensity. This plateau is your VO2Max. Tests have shown that regular yoga and pranayama increased the readings of participants by between 7% & 10%. Admittedly my aerobic fitness levels would be improved by my running, shod or barefoot, but whatever the means, the result meant that as my breathing came under control I could now focus completely on the biomechanics of my running and suddenly this total, barely broken concentration was beginning to feel like a very intense meditation. I can also breath a sense of softness into my body which is great when you find yourself on an unexpectedly stoney track, keeping me as relaxed as possible and not building any unnecessary tension into my stride. A guiding principle behind a yoga practice is Ahimsa, or ‘non- hurting’, which from a physical perspective, translates as listening to your body and

never forcing it. Pain in or near joints is telling you to stop before you do any more damage. This has been an important guide in my barefoot running. Your feet and body are very quick to tell you if you’re doing something wrong, but are you listening? There is also the issue of the discomfort of change and transforming the musculature of your body which is a different call than that of damaging yourself and it can be very hard sometimes to distinguish between the two. My ankles proved to be a major area of change as they learnt to support each footfall. They were sometimes really stiff and tender. I have found that one legged balancing work is really useful in encouraging this strengthening. Even simple tree work with your eyes closed really begins to key into the balancing effects of proprioception, strengthening ankles, hips and core. Stretching through the ankles and plantar fascia regularly, with lotus and hero work have kept them mobile as my muscles have developed.


The ego will often push us further than our intuition is telling us is wise, and a regular yoga practice will help to give you an insight into what’s motivating your decision making. In my case, so convinced by the benefits of barefooting, I am often consumed by an evangelical zeal to prove to the running community it’s advantages, when other factors are indicating otherwise. My husband, a keen club runner and barefoot enthusiast, struggles to admit that when stretching himself for a PB he inevitably looses his form and ultimately great sections of his feet as a result. He has often sacrificed skin rather than time doing the barefoot cause little

Traditionally yoga is always taught and practitioners expect to use the expertise of a teacher. Despite the fact that fewer people participate in yoga than running, 15.8 million: 36 million, the financial outlay for the yoga practitioner is over twice that of the runner, due mostly to tuition expenses, $5.7 billion: $2.3 billion. (2009, Running USA and 2008 Yoga in America Survey) So who teaches us to run? We strap on a pair of trainers, or in our case throw them off, and head off and limp back in. Few of us invest in actual running assessment and guidance, other than to purchase Runners World.

Temperature has proved to be an important consideration. Having worked so hard and carefully to become comfortable in our naked feet, it can feel like a step backwards to slip into our shoes at the first chilly day, however, cold unfeeling feet are prone to real damage; that precious feedback we have been nurturing is lost and technique becomes sloppy. The result can be heel striking, deep blisters and frost nip. Recognizing this, I asked for and received a pair of Vibram FiveFingers for my birthday in the Autumn. These have been an invaluable training tool during the cold months and I am grateful for them. I often find that once my legs and feet are up to temperature after a couple of miles, I can slip them off and continue comfortably. Even on chilly days, the sun on the tarmac lifts the temperature enough not to need them, but having the option has kept my feet safe.

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Toombs of Barefoot Running UK last time I was in London. She videoed me, assessed my gait and brought to my attention a number of factors I needed to work on, also sharing with me some drills that I use as my warm up now. This was the final launching pad for my barefoot running. I run now barefoot and fancy

free and love the childish freedom it unlocks. I can run for miles now on almost any track or road, with the new friends I have made along the way, or very happily by myself. I thoroughly enjoy the races, racing no-one but my own capacity for pain free running and together hubby and I did the Great South Run and we are training for 20 miles round

the New Forest in March and the Brighton Marathon in April. My yoga keeps me grounded, supple and safe, my running brings me joy. I share the benefits of yoga with runners in specialist workshops around the south coast, and I am convinced that barefooting is simply a moving expression of yoga.

Emma demonstrating some yoga poses to promote balance and flexibility:

Hero Pose


Downward Dog


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Half Lotus

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, visualisation 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.


tel: 0845 226 7303


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National news The latest national news

BISHOP’S WEEK OF HELL A Liverpool comedian undertook a gruelling “week of hell” at the beginning of March in aid of Sport Relief. John Bishop, 45, began in Paris, cycling a mammoth 185 miles to Calais before rowing across the channel to Dover, along with his celebrity support team: Davina McCall, Denise Lewis and Andrew Flintoff. He then completed 3 marathons, with huge support from more celebrities and the public, to finish in one piece (just!) on 2nd March in Trafalgar Square. So far, he’s raised in excess of £1.6 million ($2.5 million) and donations continue to roll in. To find out more visit:

Skinner conquers his fear of water for Sport Relief On 23rd March, Frank Skinner (UK comedian) faced his fear of water in aid of charity and swam 25m without stopping. There is already footage of his feat on YouTube with some very uplifting comments, as well as some downright nasty ones. Everyone has their own mountain to climb and this was Frank’s. We’ve worked with individuals who see a 5km run as an ultra-marathon. It’s about having the strength and courage to beat your demons and our hats go off to Frank for completing his own “marathon” challenge. Page 40

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Barefoot Running Magazine

Welcome to Outdoor Fitness, Britain's first magazine dedicated to helping you get fit, stay fit and train for awesome events, all in the great outdoors. We've nothing against gyms but given the choice of a gentle breeze or stale air con, birdsong or MTV we'd much rather be out in nature's gym. We'll show you how to train more efficiently and enjoyably to get fitter, faster and stronger, and we'll inspire you to focus your fitness on tackling the most exciting, adventurous and life-affirming challenges around.


We've assembled a first class team of professional coaches to share their expertise so you can make the most of the training time you have available, whatever your ambitions. And we'll explore in depth the physiological to give you a complete understanding of how to beat your current personal bests. So whether you're setting out to run your first 10km or you're a veteran ultra-runner, whether you're dipping your toe in open water swimming or you're an experienced triathlete, whether you're looking to lose weight on your ride to work or you're a competitive club cyclist, each issue of Outdoor Fitness will be rammed with cutting-edge tips, advice and authoritative gear tests to take your fitness to the next level. On this journey together we'll also introduce inspirational athletes and adventurers who dig deep into their souls to push back the boundaries of human experience. And we'll have a whole heap of fun along the way. So whatever your goals, Outdoor Fitness will help you get out, get fitter and live more. Best wishes

Jonathan Manning, Outdoor Fitness Editor

Try this at home The Squat Jump People often associate “springy- ness” and power with sprinting. In fact, distance runners require that same soft tissue elasticity and reaction speed in order to achieve optimum running efficiency. Unfortunately though, many runners don’t train this aspect of their movement potential which can result in heavy footfalls, a slow cadence and susceptibility to injury.

Try to take off and land from both feet equally, rather than favouring one side. Aim for 10 repetitions, 1-3 sets.


There are numerous ways to train your body to improve its elastic strength, but the squat jump is a sound base from which to start. Outlined here are a couple of options you can try with the basic squat jump and once you feel comfortable with these you can begin to play around with depth, direction and add-ons.


Basic Squat Jump Start with your feet hip distance apart and feet facing either directly forwards or slightly out to the sides. Bend your knees, sitting back towards your heels and bring your arms down by your sides to prepare for launch (fig.1). Swing your arms through and up, springing up off the ground at the same time (fig.2). When you first start, keep the jump small but as you improve, make the jump bigger and more explosive.



As you come back down towards the ground, lower your arms and prepare to bend your knees as you land (fig.3). As you reach the ground, you’ll naturally land on the balls of your feet first, followed closely by your heels. Lower your arms back down to your sides as you slow down and stop in a stable, bent-knee position (fig.4). Page 42

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Once you’ve mastered jumping straight up, you can practise jumping forwards or to the side.

Depth Jump


This is more demanding on your body, so make sure you’re comfortable with the basic squat jump before you move on to this variation. Stand on a small log or similar and begin in the same position as the basic squat jump (fig.5). Jump off the log (think “off” rather than “up” when you first start) from both feet equally and as you land, allow yourself to decelerate into a squat position with your arms in front (fig.6).

fig.6 When you land, make sure your feet are hip distance apart, facing forward or slightly out, with equal weight on both feet. Aim for 10 repetitions, 1-3 sets. As you become more experienced, you can progress to jumping onto the log, or even sideways off/sideways on. You can also increase the height from which you jump.

fig.7 Make sure you begin on a low surface, no higher than half way up your shin. Also, make sure your landing surface is clear and relatively even. You can progress to higher heights and more challenging surfaces as you practise and gain confidence. Try to achieve a stable and balanced landing position (fig.7)

As always, listen to your body!

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How to: Tie a huarache sandal There are a number of Huarache sandals on offer out there. One of the most popular is the series of “Luna� sandals created and produced by the infamous Barefoot Ted. Here he is showing you how to tie one of his original Lunas (taken from his website:



Next, you want to adjust all the straps so that they are snug on the foot. Start at the strap that comes over the top of the foot, then the heel strap, then the side..

Start with the straps partially adjusted so that your foot will fit nicely into the sandal before tightening. Snug, but not too tight..


Now it is time to start the first wrap around the ankle. Once again snug, but not too tight. Depending on how much strap you have, you will be making several revolutions around your ankle.

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Getting a feel for just how snug is right is one of the arts of wearing huaraches. Practice makes perfect. Try to keep the wrap slightly above the ankle bone and work up, keeping the strap untwisted.

Barefoot Running Magazine



Keep wrapping around the ankle until you have about 8 inches of strap left. You are going to push the end of the strap under the strap that is coming across your foot.

After you push it under, pull it back. It is now going to go up and over.

Now bring the strap over the top of the down-coming strap. With the eyehole just below your thumb, place a loop through it and tighten.


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Make a loop with the end of the strap and insert it into the eyehole. Now by pushing down from the top and slightly pulling from the side, tighten the slip-knot.

9 Here's what you do if you have only a little strap left. It does not make a slip-knot (the slip-knot being easier to undo), but it is effective. You do the same thing as with the longer strap going under the strap that runs across the top of the foot and pulling back. This time, instead of a loop, you just make a knot. Finished.

The finished product after the final tightening and adjustments.

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Luna Sandal Company 1108 19th Ave E. Suite B, Seattle, WA 98112 206-395-8238

The Equus 2mm premium shell cordovan upper and 2mm Vibram rubber sole with the new elasticized leather laces.

$124.95 plus shipping

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The ATS Combining the 8mm or 10mm Leadville Vibram sole with a non-slip footbed on top. Perfectly designed for wet, muddy and rugged conditions.

$85.00 plus shipping No more tender feet on those long rocky trails.

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Our aim is to promote all things natural in running – body movement, core stability, breathing technique as well as a natural and healthy lifestyle, general wellness and enjoyment of life. It's also about sharing experiences with like-minded people and learning from each other.

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on d e

raw food

superfoods & supplements


get fresh! magazine


cleansing & detoxification

kitchen equipment

skin & hair care

innertalk mind training

We’d love you to get involved so if you have any comments, suggestions or want to contribute in any way please get in touch. Email: Tel: 020 7697 0088.

RUNBARE is a barefoot wellness school devoted to inspiring runners and non-runners alike to run and walk barefoot for a better, healthier injury free lifestyle.

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On track News from the sporting arena

UKA Indoor Athletics Championships record medal haul for Team GB Women’s 4x400m relay team after winning gold. From left to right: Perri Shakes-Drayton, Shana Cox, Nicola Sanders and Christine Ohuruogo.

March saw the UKA Indoor Athletics Championships taking place in Turkey. Team GB did very well, bringing home several medals. Our women’s 4x400m relay team were victorious, winning gold in a time of 3:28.76. In the winning team were: Shana Cox, Nicola Sanders, Christine Ohuruogo and Perri Shakes-Drayton. Well done ladies!

Also bringing home a gold medal in the long jump was Yamilé Aldama, with an impressive 14.82 metres. Team GB also achieved several silver and bronze medals, with Jessica Ennis (Pentathlon) coming second to Ukrainian rival Natalia Dobrynska and the men’s 4x400m team coming in just behind the USA to win

silver in a time of 3:04.72. All in all, Great Britain came second in the medals table, with congratulations to the USA who won an amazing 10 gold medals! Keep it up Team GB and best of luck to all the athletes worldwide in their training and preparation for the 2012 Olympics.

Button wins first GP race of the season Some of you will wonder about the relevance of motor racing in a running magazine, but we always like to recognize dedicated sportspeople and Jenson Button certainly deserves this recognition. Formula 1 drivers require a phenomenal level of fitness and Button is renowned for his regular participation in triathlons, the training for these helping him to maintain his endurance and dominance in the vast majority of his races. We wish him all the best in this year’s F1, as well as in any triathlons he’s planning to race! Barefoot Running Magazine

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Write back at you Steven Sashen questions the questionable lawsuit against Vibram of the big shoe companies pull out a “lightweight” sneaker (612 ounces) with an inch of heel lift, massive toe spring, and a healthy dose of foam padding, and claimed it was “just like barefoot.” And here I sit with a 3.4 ounce, 4mm thick piece of flexible rubber, thinking, “Uh… really?” Perhaps this case, or merely the conversation around it, will add a much-needed dose of clarity.

Vibram’s marketing strategy under scrutiny

BIG news in the barefoot running shoe world today. Vibram has been named as the defendant in a class action lawsuit seeking $5,000,000 in damages for the use of deceptive statements about the health benefits of Vibram FiveFingers. Is there anything to the case? Well, I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t play one on TV. But I read the case (case 1:12-cv-10513-DPW, United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts), and have some thoughts (and I’m looking forward to yours). My first few thoughts, having nothing to do with the merits of the case, are: a) I like Vibram. Even though the products don’t work for me, and as you know I’ve teased Page 50

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them (about smell and the primate styling), if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here. The popularity of FiveFingers and their marketing in the last few years has lifted the tide of the entire barefoot/minimalist footwear market, and I’ve been a beneficiary. A year and a half ago, I said to Vibram CEO Tony Post, “Thanks for doing the heavy lifting!” b) This case could be the best thing that happens to the barefoot/minimalist shoe world, regardless of the outcome. How? Because it could help clear up the way language is used in marketing minimalist products, change unrealistic expectations of certain customers, and inspire even more research into the benefits (or lack thereof) of various “barefoot inspired” products.

Quick aside: Let me play Uri Geller and give you my prediction about the outcome of this case: a semi- expensive settlement (which, for all I know is the reason the suit was filed in the first place). Okay, onto the case. In essence this case is similar to those against Skechers Shapeups (ongoing) and Reebok “toning shoes” (Reebok settled for $25 million), where the plaintiffs argued that there was no scientific basis for certain claims that the shoe companies were making, that they sometimes inaccurately stated there was such a scientific basis, and that they enticed customers to pay a premium for the product based on the idea that they (the customers) would get various claimed benefits. This suit describes how Vibram has claimed that running in VFFs will provide the following benefits:

 Improved foot health  Reduced risk of injury It’s no secret that I’ve had my hackles raised when any number  Strengthened muscles in feet

Barefoot Running Magazine

   

and lower legs Stimulated neural function improving balance, agility and range of motion Improved spine alignment Improved posture Reduced lower back pain Improved proprioception and body awareness

Here as well, the plaintiffs say there is no scientific backing for these claims; that claims there is are untrue; that if any of the claims are true there’s no evidence that VFFs do these any better than regular running shoes and, therefore; these claims are fraudulent and deceptive and that Vibram has profited by enticing customers to pay a premium price to receive benefits that Vibram cannot reliably deliver. The case adds that Vibram’s fundamental claim - that VFFs simulate being barefoot - has no proof to support it, either. In fact, the action quotes the ACE study which showed that runners in Vibrams pronate more than when they’re barefoot as an example of how that claim is false.

of you are thinking: How is this different than my box of Cheerios, that says “supports colon health” or my vitamin that says “promotes strong bones”?

I don’t know if there’s something similar for footwear. But few would argue that if you make a specific claim, you have to be able to back it up.

Good question.

Looking back at the claims Vibram makes, I’m sure you can see that some of these are testable, and others have a “keeps your colon happy” flavour. Some have a bit of both: Stimulates Neural Function… a bit vague, but no real problem. “Improves balance and agility”… well that’s testable and I’m not sure there’s an independent study to back that up.

In the food and supplement world, those kinds of claims are called “structure/function claims.” The FDA uses very specific language to tell companies how to use very non-specific language about their products. The law is designed, at one level, to prevent supplement and food companies from making “druglike” claims, like “cures cancer AND baldness.” On the other hand, it allows companies to make it sound like taking 3 Mega-Ultra-Men’s Formula capsules every day will make you healthy, wealthy, and able to bend steel with your mind. I think it’s a poorly designed law (sponsored by congresspeople who, wouldn’t you know it, come from states with a lot of nutritional supplement companies), but it is a law and it does have specific guidelines and rules.

Now, I can guess what many

Reebok’s Easytone “toning shoe” that cost them $25 million in settlements

“Reduced risk of injury” and “strengthened muscles” seem testable. “Improve foot health” and “promote spine alignment” are more like what you see on the bottle of every supplement at Whole Foods. I’ll admit that I take issue with one claim Vibram makes, mentioned elsewhere in the complaint: “No footwear comes closer to recreating this natural sensation than Vibram FiveFingers.” Even though I’m 100% convinced that Invisible Shoes give a better approximation of barefoot than anything else out there, including VFFs, I don’t have the science to prove my case and so I can’t state it as a fact. I’ll also admit that it’s tricky to talk about any product without getting close to the line between something obviousbut-vague, like “can align your spine” (clearly, going to a zero-drop shoe changes your posture), and something scientifically testable like “strengthens your feet.” It gets especially hard when you have hundreds of testimonials from people talking about

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strengthening their feet, improving their posture, running pain-free, developing arches, and dozens of other reports that are anecdotal and not scientific. Interestingly, while the plaintiffs argue that there are no studies to support Vibram’s claims, they present no science to dispute them either. The suit spends many pages saying, basically, “Vibrams cause injuries,” yet they offer none of the double blind, placebo-controlled studies they expect of Vibram to prove so. Instead, they rely on the same anecdotal “evidence” that they criticize Vibram for using. They quote a story in which a podiatrist says that 85% of her patients get injured trying to transition to minimalist shoes. I’ve taken the logic of those types of claims to task before, but here’s the Readers Digest version: a) I’ll pay $100 if the podiatrist has actually kept statistics to back up the 85% claim b) If she’s discussing existing patients, we’re talking about people who, by definition, already had foot problems before they decided to try something minimalist c) She will never see patients, or non-patients, who make the transition without any need for medical care, so even if the 85% number were true, it has no relationship to the percentage of people, in total, who have problems d) It does not separate out people who went barefoot, in VFFs, in Nike Frees or any other of the myriad footwear options

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e) It does not account for whether the patients simply over trained f) I’ll pay another $100 if she checked to see if form was the problem, not footwear g) How soon we forget that doctors made these same claims, and errors, 40 years ago when padded running shoes became the rage h) And, most importantly, since surveys have shown that 80% of marathoners get injured every year… the statistic is totally meaningless! The claim also takes Vibram to task for charging a premium price based on the idea that customers are enticed to pay more to get the promised benefits. And while VFFs are undeniably pricey, they’re no more extravagantly priced than many high-performance shoes, or any motion-stabilizing shoes (seriously, $275 for the New Balance 2040?!). While the lawsuit criticizes Vibram for saying, without any science to back it up, that Fivefingers are essentially the same as barefoot, some of the arguments of this case require accepting the position that VFFs are the same as barefoot. The claim quotes the American Podiatric Medical Association which says there isn’t enough research to know what the long-and short-term effects of barefoot running are. Okay, but since your argument is that VFFs aren’t barefoot, then some comment about whether barefoot running is good or bad is moot. When I first read the claim, one thing stuck out in my mind above all others. The plaintiffs

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claim that Vibram created FiveFingers in 2006 to capitalize on the barefoot running trend. History wasn’t my best subject in high school, but I know that: a) Vibram didn’t design the FiveFingers as a running shoe b) The barefoot running boom started in 2009 But, if you’ve been around the minimalist world for any amount of time, you’ll know there are a LOT of other companies who’ve made some or all of the same claims that are described in the suit.

“’traditional running shoe’ companies - I put it in quotes to highlight how funny it is that many people call them ‘traditional’ when they’ve only been around for 40 years” Not a big point, I’ll admit, but if they missed something as simple as that, it gives me pause. Another thought that keeps popping up: Why Vibram? Some of the comments on Facebook and Twitter suggest that this case is completely without merit. Given everything above, I disagree. The question “Why Vibram?” also prompts us to look at the bigger picture. And by “bigger,” I mean, “the rest of the running shoe world,” not just the minimalist “barefoot” shoe world. Leaving out the “toning shoe” lawsuits, we know that running shoe companies have been making many of these same

claims for decades without a hitch. As Phil Maffetone pointed out on, running shoe companies aren’t required to demonstrate the same level of safety as ice-packs. In fact, unlike Vibram where there aren’t studies proving or disproving whether they “reduce injuries”, studies have existed for 60 years showing how padded running shoes can be injurious. While Vibram may have made claims without proof, it seems that “traditional running shoe” companies (I put it in quotes to highlight how funny it is that many people call them “traditional” when they’ve only been around for 40 years) may have been engaged in

behaviour similar to the tobacco companies: selling a product that they know causes problems. Why do they get a free ride? I wonder if this is a situation like when a bunch of cars are all speeding and only one gets pulled over… or is it a foreshadowing of future events where the whole industry minimalist and non-minimalist is subject to actual scrutiny and as a result, is held to a higher advertising standard than they have been so far. Some say this looks like a case that’s more about 5 law firms making money than it is about whether Vibram has scientific

proof of their claims. I don’t know. Frankly, if it were, I’m surprised the suit is only asking for $5,000,000. Even if money is the motivator that doesn’t mean there’s no “there” there in some of the plaintiffs arguments. I know that there are many companies much larger than mine who are waiting to see how this plays out with the anticipation a runner feels in between “On your marks!” and “GO!” Or maybe with the sphincter tightening that comes with opening your front door and hearing, “We’re from 60 Minutes and we’d like to talk to you.” What do you think?

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It’s your letters Let us know your stories and thoughts

Thanks for subscribing me to your great online magazine. I have enjoyed reading the articles, and people's views on a subject that when I first became interested in a few years ago had very little information available. I’m learning all the time from barefoot running, and found it quite difficult to transition at first after a life time use of ‘modern trainers’. Wish I had done it years ago, 52 now. I also run with a fell running club, and enter the local fell races when I can (in my fell shoes) as I do not enjoy road running, I much prefer the hills and open moorland of Yorkshire, and getting dirty. Known as ‘Barefoot Gary’ by Page 54

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some of the guys at the club, although I only run without footwear when out alone, I often get strange looks by other runners and hill walkers… Working on a North Sea oil rig (rota – 2 weeks on, 3 weeks off) is great for the time off. But I am restricted to a treadmill at work, and it took me quite a while to move from ‘five fingers’ to barefoot on them after suffering lots of blisters and calf pain from trying to do too much. I guess I learned the hard way, but I’m fine with it now and believe the transition is complete and I feel great.

emergencies, but I have never needed them. I sometimes miss the company I get from running with the fell club, but I don’t think there is anyone else in my area interested or doing it, unless you know different, because I would love to run with others. Please keep up the great work you are doing with the website, and I wish you every success, as I’m sure it will grow. Take care and enjoy your running. Kind Regards

When I am home I usually run at least 3 times a week totally barefoot for between 7 and 12 miles on the hills, and carry fell shoes in my backpack for

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Barefoot Gary Muir

What a difference a recession makes! About 5 years ago I was a regular (barefoot) customer at a local restaurant in Lynchburg, Virginia, USA. Then one day they turned on me. They RUDELY told me to put on shoes or not to come back and they posted a large hand-made sign on the door: "Shirts & Shoes Required, No Exceptions." So I quit going. On a whim, I went back a few nights ago. The sign on the door had gone so I went in (...wearing shorts and barefoot). They seated me and took my order. During my dinner the owner approached me and asked if everything was okay & said he appreciated my patronage! Apparently, the restaurant went out of business at some point and then reopened (same owners). Later, when I paid for the dinner, the owner again said he really appreciated my businesses, reduced the bill and little, and asked me to come back again soon.

Another success story Morning, I have been running barefooted for nearly 2 yrs, since having so many injuries wearing trainers I thought I would try barefoot running and I LOVE IT....I ran the Great South Run last October barefooted (no shoes) in 1hr 55mins.

couple of months. I found it very academic, and a bit boring, somehow removed from the fun of running. However, my distance improved hugely, and I can run 6 miles quite comfortably in minimalist shoes. But I am slow as a snail (11 minute miles).

Recently I have started reading Ken Bob Saxton's book, and it Hopefully when the weather makes a huge amount of sense. changes and starts to warm He is totally inspiring and it got up I could start running further me thinking that it would be barefooted. good to meet other barefooters and to have barefoot lessons. Happy Barefoot Running. (My idea of a good time is Barefoot Blond running and jumping on rocks on the beach, just playing around, for an hour or two.)

Runner in the making! Thank you for your reply, and the very excellent magazine.

As a bit of background, I grew up barefoot in South Africa, and wore shoes only when I had to, probably up until age 14. I've never been a good runner, but always liked the sensation of it and still, at age 44, it feels a very natural thing to do. After reading Born to Run (my favourite book) I started barefoot running last February, Wow! What a difference losing and loved taking my shoes off and running in mud and all the your business can make! other textures. As summer Dr. Daniel Howell progressed I got self-conscious and changed to VivoBarefoot shoes. I had instruction in Chi Running over last summer and stuck with the focuses for a

Best regards, Nicolene (Peterborough)

And finally, this email in response for BFR UK’s request to hire a room for one of their workshops at Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge: Thank you for your enquiry, I am afraid we cannot accommodate this type of event. The College has strict rules about use of the grounds and running would not be looked upon very kindly by the Fellows and Students. Us runners are such trouble makers after all!

Read about our stateside friends and their amazing adventures at: Barefoot Running Magazine

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International news The latest international news

The passing of Micah True We wrote the article below before we heard the sad news that Micah True, aka Caballo Blanco, had passed on whilst out for a run in New Mexico. We never had the good fortune to meet this great running legend, apart from in the pages of Born to Run and through his amusing, insightful and thought-provoking facebook posts. However, we do know that the Copper Canyon Ultra will always be his race and his memory will live on through it.

500 participants take on the Copper Canyons The race that was central to Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run took place again this year on Sunday 4th March. There were close to 500 participants running through the challenging yet stunning setting in the heart of the Mexican mountains. As usual, Caballo Blanco was the race organizer and promoting the importance of community and enjoyment of running: “We ran in peace together, dancing in rhythm to the lovely heartbeat of our Mother Earth; the heartbeat of freedom” (Caballo Blanco, aka Micah True). Veteran barefoot runners Barefoot Ted and Patrick Sweeney were amongst the runners as well as many native Raramuri. The fastest runners were: 1. Miguel Lara (Copper Canyons) 2. Daniel Uralek (Czech Republic) 3. German Silva (Mexico)

Participants lining up to getting their race numbers

....but Caballo Blanco is keen to point out that: “we are all winners”. “With the change in journey for Caballo comes new focus for the future of CCUM and Norawas. Stay tuned. Caballo's vision will not be lost but will be renewed and carried forward within the true spirit of Korima.” Search Copper Canyon Ultramarathon on facebook for ongoing details. Page 56

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Minimal review Out-of-the-box review: The Vibram FiveFingers sprint The FiveFingers sprint was one of the original versions of this hugely popular brand and is still one of our favourites today. We decided to re-visit it and remind ourselves – and you – what it has to offer.


It’s still one of the quirkiest minimalist shoes out there and will get you some strange looks. Although it is available in a relatively subtle all black model, people often opt for the more vivid colour schemes, of which there are many!


They’re appearing in more and more shops, so it’s worth trying them on if possible as the fit can vary. We’ve found that the KSO model is roomier compared to the sprints so be aware of some disparity in sizing between the different models.

Build quality

David has had the same pair of sprints for four years and they’re still going strong, bar a slight hole in the second toe upper. Generally very durable – you can bung them in the washing machine and just hang them out to dry. Make sure you use a cool wash though! (40 degrees).


We’ve tried several different minimalist options and do keep coming back to the sprint as a sound shoe for those occasions when footwear is required. The sprint has become a bit of a benchmark for other minimalist running shoes to live up to as it is popular with a number of veteran barefoot runners. It is simple and does the job well.


As always, this is a very personal opinion. We’ve found that once you’ve developed sound running form, these shoes will do very little to impede it. They’re extremely light, flexible and flat.

Barefoot simulation


Again, this is very personal. Some people find the separate toes quite difficult to adjust to but we’ve found that they allow your toes to be very flexible and move individually. A thin sole means quite accurate feedback too. A thinner sole and less structure would be even better!

Build quality


Barefoot simulation

This has unfortunately escalated considerably along with the minimalist running boom. However, it’s still on a par with the majority of trainers but more durable and less disruptive to running technique. On the expensive side compared to other minimalist shoes.



Price Overall rating

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Minimal review results

Human Foot My Foot


Invisible Shoe 4mm Invisible Shoe


Merrell Trail Glove


Vibram FiveFingers Classic Sprint




Vivo Barefoot

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Build Quality



and Model


Out-of-the-box trail test results

Backchat Risk I’m not truly sure what this says about me but as a child I found a great deal of pleasure in a game I invented called “Stairs”. Now, I need to start by setting the scene of my early childhood in the 1970’s where me and my friends would entertain ourselves for hours with the most basic of items found lying around in the typical 70’s household. These items could range from a couple of tin cooking pots and a wooden spoon, which with a bit imagination became a drum kit (to test my mother’s patience to its maximum) to my favourite: the good old cardboard box. These cardboard boxes over my early years played a significant role in my playtime adventures, sometimes being a fortress defended by my teddy bears from a horde of imaginary monsters, or at other times helping to create suits of medieval armour wrapped in my mother’s tin (aluminium) foil so that me and my friends could meet in the street and smash chunks out of each other with homemade swords and flails. Of all the games that were enhanced by the simple brown cardboard box, “Stairs” was the greatest. The basic rules were as follows:  Locate one large cardboard

box from your parent’s larder  Place said box at the top of a very steep flight of internal stairs

 Get inside box and close

up flaps to restrict all light  Jiggle around in box to

bounce and shuffle it over the edge sending it and yourself down the staircase As you can imagine not all the slides went well, but with trial and error and a few episodes that required generous dabs of TCP antiseptic, I learnt that some boxes were better than others and that a large teddy bear rested on the corner of the metal telephone hall table was a valuable addition to my inventory. Why I’m bringing this memory up is because recently (well, over the last decade) risk has been slowly removed from our society. Now, some of you may think that this is a good thing – after all we need to protect ourselves and our young. But in pursuing this campaign of a safe utopia we are, in my opinion, losing the ability to assess risk and act appropriately, and in the long term will create a more dangerous place to live.

cannot make an informed decision to do something and may have an insight into something they don’t know about? Or two: have they not considered that I might be a crazy person that should not be confronted?! Either way, they have misjudged the situation! We should encourage risk and reward, without it there would be no planes in the sky or electricity in our households. Our great pioneering ancestors didn’t just sit around in a huddle worried about germs on their hands or dog mess on the trails, they stood and ran from one side of this amazing world to another and through their excited courage, enhanced the lives of all those who have come after. So throw off those shoes and let’s let the dirt (yes dirt – not mud) into our sterile lives. I have and I’m much better for it.

I have lost count of how many times I have been literally stopped in the street while running barefoot, to be warned about glass, dog poo, catching a cold, etc. Now, two things jump into my mind when this happens; One: do people not think that I as an adult (most of the time) David Robinson (co-founder of Barefoot Running UK) Barefoot Running Magazine

Spring 2012

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Profile for Barefoot Running Magazine

Barefoot Running Magazine - Issue 4 (Spring 2012)  

Issue 4 – Spring 2012. World’s first barefoot & minimalist running magazine, written by barefoot runners, for barefoot runners. Lots of r...

Barefoot Running Magazine - Issue 4 (Spring 2012)  

Issue 4 – Spring 2012. World’s first barefoot & minimalist running magazine, written by barefoot runners, for barefoot runners. Lots of r...