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Autumn 2012 Issue 06 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. www.barefootrunninguk.com info@barefootrunninguk.com 0845 226 7302

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Barefoot Running Magazine

How to contact us TRC Publishing Limited 21 Lyric Mews, Silverdale, London SE26 4TD United Kingdom email: info@bfrm.co.uk website: www.bfrm.co.uk tel: +44 (0) 845 226 7304 Overseas +44 (0) 208 659 0269 Cover picture (Getty Images) taken from Barefoot Runner: The Life of Marathon Champion Abebe Bikila by Paul Rambali ISBN-10: 1852429046 ISBN-13: 978-1852429041

Find us at bfrm.co.uk/facebook


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

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

As Winter approaches fast, we hope that this latest issue will provide you with all the motivation you need to keep out there running! We’re excited to have several new contributors this time round. Tracy Davenport, our friend at Barefoot Britain, helps us make sense of supplements on page 34. We learn more about the controversy of stretching from experienced trainer Shaun Harris (page 26) and Jon Yohe tells us about his Luna Sandals marathon experience back in August. Meanwhile, the guys at Xero Shoes have been busy developing some new colour options and Steven Sashen has put together a series of pics and instructions on page 56 to demonstrate how to tie slip-on versions. David has been in his lab deciding if the treadmill is a ‘trick or treat’ (page 16) whilst I share with you on page 14 the reasons why I think barefoot running should come with a warning! Jae Gruenke explains beautifully how the Feldenkrais Method can be so helpful to runners (page 52), the usual news, reviews and handy hints are in abundance and we see the launch of our regular Barefoot Runner’s Society pages (page 68). We’d like to thank all our wonderful contributors for their time, expertise and commitment – we are truly grateful.

Anna Toombs Movement therapist, running coach & author anna.toombs@bfrm.co.uk @ToombsAnna David Robinson Movement therapist, sports performance specialist & author david.robinson@bfrm.co.uk @barefootdrrob Leigh Rogers Holistic sports nutritionist, health & wellness coach info@meorganic.co.uk Steven Sashen Creator of the Xero Shoe & sprinter www.xeroshoe.com

Dr James Stoxen DC Chiropractor & President of Team Doctors www.teamdoctorsblog.com Shaun Harris Chek exercise coach & Advanced Metabolic Typing advisor info@sussexbackpainclinic.co.uk Michael Bartley Sports massage therapist

Run Strong, Run Free! a & running coach

michael.bartley@bfrm.co.uk Jae Gruenke

Jay Danek

Founder & CEO of The Balanced Runner

Ultra runner from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Barefoot Running Magazine

Tracy Davenport Barefoot runner & owner of Barefoot Britain

Autumn 2012

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Main feature


Running motivations by Anna Toombs

In focus


The legendary Abebe Bikila

David’s lab


Treadmills: Trick or treat?

Book review

The Barefoot Runner


How I got my wiggle back: A memoir of healing

Injury corner


Are Your Stretches Encouraging your Pain Syndromes?

Technical tip


Cold weather running

Yoga Nutritional nugget

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A conservation with...


Barefoot Running footfall Supplements - keep-itThe simple of a yogi.

What to stretch?

Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee

The Green Room


Forest Park Marathon

Try this How to:at home

Spine mobility Tie slip-on Xero Shoe Huaraches

46 56


Write back at you


Why are we so serious, it’s just running?

International News

National news


On track


International news


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The truth about treadmills

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Cold weather running

What’s your motivation?

Caught in the web


Internet snippets

Outside the lab


Other peoples’ labs

Season in pictures


A showcase of what you have been up to

Events The Season in pictures

33 4

Questions answers Clubhouse&calendar

38 8

Stuff that’s Uksem going on The Asics debate

Your questions answered

Events and workshops etc.

What’s new on

50 10

Try this at home Clubhouse calendar

52 14

Clubhouse The society events pages

16 68

Products worth a look world Out in the barefoot

Listeningand to Your Body and Events workshops etc. Finding Your Form with the R Feldenkrais Method®

BFRUK’s latest What’s happening within the Barefoot Runners Society

RunBare chat

It’s your letters


Let us know your stories and thoughts

Minimal review


Ozark Sandals

Simplifying supplements

Minimal review results


Out-of-the-box trail test results

Anna’s pause for thought


Barefoot running should come with a warning

Sashen speaks


How NOT to start barefoot running



David Robinson’s latest

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Main feature Running motivations by Anna Toombs

ave you ever stopped and considered why you run? Why other people run? You’ve probably got a good idea why you run personally. For the majority of people, they’ll answer, “for fitness” or “weight management” or “head space”. It’s generally considered something that people do, albeit reluctantly sometimes, to make an effort to stay healthy or, at least, use it as a way to balance out their unhealthy lifestyle habits! If you actually sit down though and start to make a list of reasons to run, it becomes longer and more involved than you’d expect. Whilst an initial list might look something like Page 6

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this:  Weight management  Easy/cheap way to stay fit/

healthy  Have more energy  It’s fun!

....after some thought, the list may become more diverse:           

Fresh air It’s natural Focus, discipline Improve self-esteem For socializing For ‘alone time’ Accomplishment Overcoming fear Rehabilitation Surrender to the elements Satisfy appetite for statistics and gadgets

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......and the list goes on. Of course, one of the main arguments for running in the last couple of years, as a result of Chris McDougall’s Born to Run, is that it’s simply something that’s within us, something that’s entirely innate and we’re built to do it. However, whilst this appears to be unequivocally true given our current knowledge of evolution, most people don’t actually run all that much because modern living does not require it. So then running becomes a choice rather than a necessity. And this thought inspired me to take a look at some running blogs/websites just to find out what people’s motivations are.

Weight loss Many people take up running with the aim of losing weight. They may have already tried the gym or a trainer and are looking for something that’s hopefully simpler, cheaper and more flexible. I work with a lot of clients where weight loss is the primary goal and in my experience, it’s never just a case of eat less and move more and asking, “Why don’t you just go running?” is never my advice. However, after discussing the possible reasons why my client is overweight (it’s yet to have anything to do with hunger), we talk about strategies and more often than not, my clients will end up with running or run/walks as part of their overall programme. It’s tricky when you start out, as this blogger (www.fatgirlrunning.co.uk) tells us: “Why Fat Girl Running? Because that’s how I feel when I’m out on a run. I feel incredibly self-conscious every time I start, no matter how much weight I lose or how much quicker I get. I think a lot of women will identify with that, even if they’re not particularly overweight. When you first go out you do feel silly and like everyone is looking at you. But that’s something I always get over within a matter of minutes….” Those first few moments of a run can be daunting. The sense of the unknown is both exciting and also something that will make you stop in your tracks and think of an excuse to stay inside. Once you’re out there, you feel as though the whole world is watching

and waiting to judge. In my experience, this happens to most runners at some point, whatever their weight, because it’s about fear of failure, of losing control of your body (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve started a run feeling great and then, for some reason, a niggle kicks in that just won’t go away). Perhaps you’re anticipating not running far enough or fast enough. What struck me about this girl’s blog and the effect that running seems to have on people struggling with their weight, is that she’s kept at it. Yes, she’s still having some problems regulating her food intake but, unlike many activities that she’s probably tried, tested awhile and then forgotten, running remains this constant thing in her life. There’s no humiliation like there might be in a gym class that has a beginning, middle and end – a structure that, left incomplete, equals failure. This girl has gradually built up her mileage and has felt the sense of achievement that running can bring – which is why running is still (and probably always will be) a part of her life.

A sense of consistency in an erratic world This almost links to my previous points, although in this instance, the reason for running has nothing to do with weight. We live in an unpredictable world. Yes, the sun comes up each day and most of us have some kind of regular routine, but we never know what’s around the corner. This can leave a person with a sense that they’re not in control of their life, particularly if something unexpected happens that changes the course of a life completely. This happened to our friend, Sophie Walker, when she discovered that her eldest daughter had Asperger Syndrome. Suddenly little Grace’s behaviour made more sense but at the same time, it threw open a whole new set of worries for Sophie – how should she approach this? What about schooling? How is this affecting her daughter, how can she begin to understand what her daughter’s going through? Sophie had been a regular

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runner previously but her vigilance had lapsed as life took over. She resolved to begin running again so that she could take control of her health and her life, which could only help her daughter. She decided to run the London marathon and the structure of the training plan gave her a constant in her otherwise chaotic world; it gave her back some of the control. The other great bonus was that she could ask for racing sponsorship to help raise funds for The National Autistic Society, a positive, tangible step towards dealing with the issue (www.courageis.blogspot.co.uk). I see this in so many other runners, all of whom have unknown, fragile segments of their life that can leave them feeling doubtful and insecure. That’s not to say we’re all leading miserable lives but in a busy, hectic lifestyle, getting up before the sun to clear your head can be extremely therapeutic even if it’s a struggle at first. As relatively new runner, Sam Knowles, reiterates in his blog: “But as ever, you never actually regret going for a run” Page 8

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(www.firsttimerunner.wordpress. com). And Nicole of ‘Mom’s Home Run’ also points out: “Personally, I have never regretted going out for a run. I have however regretted having that second Big Mac, or that third chocolate Easter Bunny…” (www.momshomerun.com). Running is challenging which means it’s also rewarding – that’s how life works!

Running as rehab Exercise is addictive. If you pursue it long enough, it becomes more enjoyable and less uncomfortable. This is especially true for running. You’ve all heard of the runner’s ‘high’ and you’ve probably all experienced itchy feet when you’re having a day off. Some people experience this more acutely than others; those who have what is generally termed an ‘addictive personality’. In this respect, running is often used as a means of deflecting addictions away from the harmful (drugs/ alcohol) and using it as a way of dealing with issues in a positive manner. I’ve read a

Barefoot Running Magazine

number of stories in Runner’s World of former drug addicts taking up running, becoming healthier, happier people. Of course, too much of anything is not a good thing, so there’s still more risk of injury in someone who ‘must’ run than someone who is able to take it or leave it, but running has certainly helped to save lives and that’s not an exaggeration. Todd Crandell, based in the USA, is a prime example of this. He has difficulty dealing with life and used to use drugs and alcohol to drown his misery. Luckily, he had the support around him of friends and family and decided that he needed to act: ‘do or die’ effectively. He began by running but, due to his personality and deeply ingrained worries and concerns, he pushed harder and began to compete in triathlons and eventually, Ironmans. He wrote a book From Addict to Ironman and set up ‘Racing for Recovery’ – a non-profit organization that helps people just like him. He is a highly qualified counsellor and, whilst he still struggles with his own thoughts and emotions (he has recently released a film called Running with Demons)

he remains committed to his own training and helping others. Yet again, running provides something steadfast in a world of turmoil. It helps Todd and others like him stay on ‘the straight and narrow’. Running has been his saviour – again, perhaps this is because fundamentally, the desire to run is within us. (www.racingforrecovery.com)

Competition and numbers For some people, running is just all about the gadgets and the stats. They love to buy the latest kit, map their runs with technology and then share them with the rest of their running peers. It’s almost a hobby, but approached with ferocity and strict adherence. I tend to shy away from schedules, races and numbers as it feels like unnecessary pressure, but for others this is the best part of the ride. Creating a running schedule and ticking off each run, clocking the distances and times into a perfectly formed spreadsheet, is part of the buzz, giving the runner a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. These people are driven and thrive on the physical and technological! (for gadget/gear ideas and reviews visit: www.warriorwomen.co.uk)

The long road... into stopping and going for a beer instead. I wonder if everyone has the angel and the demon – but for some they are more ‘present’ than others. I hear my demon fairly vaguely in the background when I run – I’m quite competitive and enjoy pushing myself too. David’s demon has a stronger personality and will tempt him with all sorts of things, like the T.V., a comfy sofa, a big slice of cake…..

These mental battles are just another way to experience a run and if the angel and demon are arguing, it becomes difficult to ‘hear’ any other arguments that might otherwise pop into your head and cause you upset (“should I tell my boss at work that he’s annoying? Should I tell my friend her new hair cut doesn’t Mental battles suit her? I really want to move house, but can we afford I know of many runners who run it?....”etc.) and this can have with a demon on one shoulder quite a calming, therapeutic and angel on the other. The effect. One running blogger angel confirms to you, as you’re writes: “It’s amazing how running, what a great job you’re much a mental sport running doing, whilst the demon is urging is [smiley face]”. you, tempting and cajoling you www.toenailsareoverrated.com

Taking the time to read and hear about other runner’s stories is inspirational. Give running a chance and it’ll capture your heart; you’ll never want it to stop being a part of your life. One other thing that struck me when reading these blogs: there are so many! Running is so diverse, it’s such a unique experience for each person and something we want to share with others. One after the other, I read about someone’s exhilaration after completing their first 10k followed by another’s mere satisfaction and even slight deflation about ‘only’ hitting 3 hours 17 minutes in their latest marathon! You can run with iPods and the latest shoes, guzzling the most sophisticated energy drink or just throw on some old shorts and head off barefoot. It really doesn’t matter. As long as you get out, have fun and spend a little time just enjoying life, that’s all that matters. And nothing makes you feel more alive than running! Off you go!

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In focus The legendary Abebe Bikila position in the Imperial Guard. However, after a physical inspection by the General, the teenagers were made to stand still in rows in the strong heat of the sun. One by one, the exhausted candidates slumped, collapsed or just gave up and walked away. Only the ones left standing were deemed resilient enough to become guardsmen and Abebe, used to physical hardship, was one of them. bebe Bikila was born in 1933, the son of a shepherd, in a small village in Ethiopia. It was when he was just 13 years old and the crops were poor that Abebe, having completed a rudimentary education, announced to his family that he would travel to Addis Ababa to become a member of the Imperial Guard. His father asked the village priest to write to the palace on Abebe’s behalf and a year later, he was invited to try for a position. So, when he was just 15, he set off entirely on his own, with all his belongings wrapped in a piece of cotton attached to a stick and slung over his shoulder. All he knew was that he must reach the town of Addis, where he had an Uncle named Mirus who would look after him. Abebe walked for months, often close to starvation, but eventually found his uncle and from there, made his way to the palace. There were many other young men with hopes of securing a Page 10

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Meanwhile, a running coach named Onno Niskanen, originally from Finland but living in Sweden, had applied to work as a coach in Ethiopia, to train potential future athletes. The Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie I, was keen to progress the country and see Ethiopians participate in the Olympic Games. Back then, the idea of ‘black’ people competing in athletics was still, on the whole, out of the question, despite Jessie Owens’ triumphs in the 1936 Olympic Games. Luckily, things have changed radically, but in those days skin colour was considered very relevant to status and opportunity. It wasn’t long before Niskanen spotted the exceptional abilities of Abebe Bikila. He’d already recognized that the Ethiopians, contrary to popular opinion, had athletic abilities on a par with their white counterparts, with perhaps more unique qualities that might give them an extra edge. As part of his own desire, as well as that of the whole Nation and its Emperor, Niskanen was keen to prove that his African students

Barefoot Running Magazine

were talented enough to compete internationally. He took two of his best runners at the time, Negussie Roba (a sprinter) and Wami Biratu (a distance runner) to take part in some laboratory tests in his home country of Sweden. The researcher there found the two runners to be extremely fit and healthy. He also commented on the slightly longer tibia (lower leg bone) of the runners as well as their incredible ability to regulate their fluids, so that they held onto water much like a camel. This, he explained, was no doubt very helpful in race conditions and something perhaps in the genes of the runners, given the hot climate and limited water supply.

“Back then, the idea of ‘black’ people competing in athletics was still, on the whole, out of the question” These positive results meant that Ethiopia was invited to compete in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. Although no medals were won by the team, they performed very well – confirmation of their ample athletic abilities. The victory of Frenchman Alain Mimoun, a native Algerian, in the marathon event also opened Niskanens’ eyes further to the fact that those of African origin had particular abilities in long distance running.

When Abebe took part in the athlete’s homecoming ceremony, it was then that he realised the importance of running for his nation. He was fiercely patriotic and eager to please the Emperor and decided then that he would like to become a runner. Soon after, the National Armed Forces Championship took place and Abebe competed in all the running events, from the 100m sprint right through the marathon. Although he was fairly fast, he was no match for the others in the shorter events. However, to his delight, he won the marathon and became one of a group of athletes on whom Niskanen was to focus for future competitions. Niskanen had been observing the training regimes of other athletes, incorporating what were then new methods, such as interval training and hill repeats. During one training session with his students, he also had a rather surprise revelation: Bikila’s times were always quicker when he wasn’t wearing shoes! None of the students had learnt to run in shoes and it was only relatively recently that shoes and training kit had become available to them. Although Niskanen was excited about this discovery, he was also mindful that Abebe’s feet were more vulnerable to cuts and damage if he was barefoot and didn’t encourage Abebe to ditch his shoes completely. In 1960, the athletes were busy training for the Olympics in Rome. Wami Biratu was chosen to run the marathon but at the very last minute, broke his ankle playing football. Niskanen decided to take Bikila instead. It was an amazing experience

Olympic Marathon Rome, 1960

for the young runner – he’d never been in an aeroplane before and was wide-eyed at the Olympic village when male and female athletes conversed, exercised and relaxed together. In his own country, interaction between men and women was much more formal and regulated and he remained shy and in awe of all the proceedings. Not long before the race, Abebe confided in Niskanen that his shoes were feeling loose and uncomfortable. Niskanen said that they’d get hold of a new pair for him, but the suppliers at the Games had run out. Niskanen was slightly concerned about Abebe running barefoot on relatively unknown terrain, but Abebe was happier to be running without shoes. And it was without any training shoes on his feet that he won the Rome marathon, becoming one of the most celebrated barefoot runners about whom we still talk today. Abebe immediately became a national hero. He was promoted to Corporal in the

Imperial Guard and given a gold ring set with a diamond by the Emperor himself. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Abebe, resistance against the Emperor from within the Imperial Guard had been secretly building. When the Emperor was away in Brazil, Abebe and his fellow guardsmen were forced against their will to take over the palace and a number of the Emperor’s family were shot dead in the process. When the Emperor returned, he regained control with the support of his soldiers and all those involved in the coup, including Abebe, were sent to prison to await execution. Abebe was beaten and underfed during his stay, suffering terrible wounds to his precious feet. Despite appeals led by Niskanen, as well as international intervention, it looked as though Abebe would be hanged. However, Abebe’s roller coaster of luck changed course yet again and he was pardoned. The Emperor

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that he had broken a bone in his foot in training during the lead up to the race.

Despite the loss of feeling in his legs, his competitive spirit remained

understood that Abebe had not been part of the coup of his own accord and besides, he was a national treasure and potentially very important for the future progress of the country. Abebe’s wounds healed and he was back running again. Although he was running well, Niskanen felt that he needed more international competition and took him to run in the Boston marathon, where he performed poorly due to an insistent muscle cramp. This sparked some doubt between Niskanen and his fellow coaches – what if the Rome marathon was just a fluke? Then came another blow: a few weeks before the Tokyo Olympics, Abebe collapsed during training with appendicitis. The doctors were able to operate in time and save his life, but there seemed no hope of recovery in time for Tokyo. Once again, Abebe demonstrated his passion to fulfil his duty and honour his king and country. Not long after his operation, he snuck out of his hospital bed and Page 12

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It was after this that Abebe decided to stop racing and coach others himself. This went very well for a while until the ultimate piece of bad luck came his way. During a student protest in the streets, he was forced to swerve in his car and ended up upside down in a ditch and the spell was finally broken. Abebe could no longer use or feel his legs.

began a training run in the moonlight, ignoring the pain and pushing on in his bare feet. Such was his determination that he was indeed able to run in the Tokyo marathon. This time he wore shoes – made especially for him by Asics – and just six weeks after his appendix were removed, he won the Olympic marathon, becoming the first ever athlete to have won twice. He was ecstatic; the only thing to mar his happiness was seeing the sorrow on the face of the Japanese competitor who, despite the expectations of his country for a win, came in third. Abebe once again returned to Ethiopia as a hero, with children running beside him during training runs trying to copy his running style and calling out, “Abebe Bikila! Barefoot runner!” He was unable to win a third Olympic title however and had to drop out of the Mexico Olympic marathon with a sore knee. The doctors thought that he had some kind of infection, although it has been suggested

Barefoot Running Magazine

Despite treatment and exercises, Abebe Bikila never regained his mobility. He wondered whether he was being punished for something – perhaps the fact that after losing the Tokyo marathon to Abebe, the Japanese entrant Tsubiraya, went home to his village and committed suicide. Forever optimistic and faithful though, Abebe recognized that this was his fate and resolved to make the most of it, competing in several events from his wheelchair, including archery and racing. Abebe’s life was radically changed with his accident and eventually cut short with his death from a cerebral haemorrhage in 1973 when he was just 40 years old. Abebe Bikila was a fine example of perseverance, hard work, discipline and honour. He is still proof that running is about so much more than the clothes you wear and the shoes on your feet. Abebe Bikila: We salute you! Sources: ‘Barefoot Runner’ by Paul Rambali Wikapiedia.com

Caught in the web Internet snippets Patrick Sweeney (left) defended his title at this year’s Bare Burro 5k

Mega Downwards Dog in San Francisco

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Anna’s pause for thought Barefoot running should come with a warning home procedure is actually quite satisfying and most barefoot runners develop quite a knack for it. Injury-wise, as long as barefoot running is tackled with patience and appropriate guidance, it’s generally associated with injury- reduction rather than the other way around.

Anna’s thoughts on various health, exercise and runningrelated topics ith a title like this, it’s easy to guess what’s coming next. I mean, of course barefoot running should come with a warning! Duh?! Surely there’s every likelihood of injury or infection if you decide to step outside with no protection for your feet from all the glass, stones, needles, dog poo, etc, lying around all over the place. It’s an adventure riddled with danger! Well, as my barefoot running friends will know already, there’s really not much to worry about regarding physical damage. Barefoot runners rarely, if ever, tread in dog poo. They get used to the debris and even come to view it as a fun, added challenge. Extricating the odd piece of glass from your foot in an amateur, minor surgery Page 14

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So, no, what I’m talking about is something a little deeper and less expected; less discussed. For me (and many others it seems), whilst I knew to be aware of all of the above, another result of barefoot running is something that happens more gradually. What I’m talking about is a subtly changing perception of the world around me. It goes something like this: I was relatively happy running in shoes. In fact, I got quite excited about the shoe reviews and ratings in Runner’s World, as well as other nifty bits of kit and gadgets that would tell me even more accurately exactly how far and fast I’d run. Aside from running, I was also keen to see the latest movies, try out the newest mascara or test a new ‘super food’ product. Then I began running barefoot. I delved deeper into the mechanics and evolution of the human foot. I knew about the benefits of being barefoot already, most of the time encouraging clients to do their workouts minus the footwear to achieve better balance and overall movement. But, I didn’t really think about it properly. Not really. I had no idea I’d been sucked in to the huge

Barefoot Running Magazine

whirling depths of the marketing machine, which convinces me that I have a problem (the wrong shoes, too many wrinkles, dry hair – no, greasy hair – no! brittle hair....) and then provides a solution in a pretty box that I absolutely must buy. However, once it dawned on me that I’d been duped regarding training shoes, I started to think a bit more. Along with a slowly evolving approach to my running, with more focus on fun, longevity and efficiency and less on distance, speed and racing potential, I began to look for a more simplistic, fun approach in other areas of my life. What happened? Well, I threw out a lot of stuff! And stopped buying so much of it too!

“I have a problem (the wrong shoes, too many wrinkles, dry hair – no, greasy hair – no! brittle hair....)” Discussing this with one my clients, she suggested that it was merely my age – in a nice way, i.e. that I was becoming wiser and less naive. I don’t know though. It’s rammed down our throats practically all day, every day (adverts are everywhere) that we cannot survive without investing in solutions to our devastating (!) problems and I think I’d have remained with that mindset without having freed my feet. I know I drive people mad by

repeatedly telling them that by running barefoot, they’ll have better connection with their body and a heightened sense of awareness. But it happens! You look at things differently, which not only radically changes your running experience but also more generally, the angle from which you view what’s going on around you. Why the warning? Well, it can start to feel like you’re looking from the outside in. David uses quite an extreme analogy when he explains the concept: he says it’s like the film ‘The Matrix’. You’re born as a tiny particle in a massive machine which sucks you dry, forcing you to spend money to keep it going and giving you no choice; you can’t escape. But you’re not even aware of it (unless you’re Keanu Reeves). Admittedly, this is a bit of a ‘slit-your-wrists’ way of looking at the world but hopefully you can see his point. Maybe you think this is a load of rubbish, but just take a look at some of the more well-known barefoot runners out there, like

Neo (played by Keanu Reeves) awakens from the Matrix pod, in the 1999 American science fiction action movie “The Matrix” written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski.

Ted MacDonald, Ken Bob Saxton, Patrick Sweeney, to name just a few. None of them are dressed in high tech, precision running kit. In fact, they’ll only be wearing an old pair of shorts and that’s if you’re lucky! They are spiritual people who respect nature and the world around them. Barefoot runners Jason and Shelly Robillard have taken a gigantic leap against conformity, having sold their home, given up their jobs and become selfproclaimed running hobos!

So, this is why I think those of you on the brink of taking the plunge should be warned: it’ll be life-changing in more ways than you can imagine. David makes the added point that although thinking this way might initially leave you slightly ostracized from your peers, it would actually be a positive thing for Western society to take a giant, collective step back and cause a re-setting of the parameters to restore an element of balance. Who’s in?!

And by the sounds of it, they’re having the time of their lives!

Send us your letters for a chance to win a copy of: Run Strong • Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running.

We’ll pick our favourite for the winner! email: letters@bfrm.co.uk Barefoot Running Magazine

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David’s lab Treadmills: Trick or treat?

Welcome to David’s lab where we take an in depth look into the science surrounding health and sport. he treadmill, over the last few decades, has become a very popular piece of exercise equipment for convenience (dark nights or poor weather), rehabilitation and scientific research. However, are treadmill sessions the same as running overground when it comes to allowing us to keep our form and technique?

Kinematics (the range of movement of certain joints during a task such as in motion) and kinetics (the branch of mechanics concerned with the effects of forces on the motion of a body or system of bodies, especially of forces that do not originate within the system itself). While the kinematics of both treadmill and over ground running can be deduced relatively easily by the use of reflective markers on particular areas of the body, kinetics is much more difficult. To obtain the kinetic measurements of overground running the use of a force plate is utilized, where the subject is FORCED to alter gait during their running cycle to allow for readings to be taken (try if for yourself: start running and try to land on a designated fixed point without changing your stride length, cadence or body position) and, as for the treadmill, it’s only been very recently that there has been successful development in a generation of treadmills that

For the past forty years overground running has been subjected to biomechanical studies but only relatively recently has there been research on treadmill running. Both methods of testing have their flaws – it can be very difficult to obtain accurate data for either method. Let me explain. The only feasible way to acquire meaningful running measurements is to use Page 16

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Barefoot Running Magazine

allows ground reaction force to be measured. Now, with this supposed advancement in correctly measuring the kinematics and kinetics, are overground running and treadmill running similar? I happen to think not! Typically, a standard gait analysis, such as those conducted in your local running shop, podiatry clinic or general coaching session, are carried out on a treadmill as it’s easier in several ways: time, space, equipment required, etc. The latest scientific evidence, however, suggests that a number of modifications in your running form occur when on a treadmill that will more than likely produce false positive results, meaning that your biomechanics will appear to be much better than they actually are due to the facilitation of the treadmill. From a kinematic viewpoint, treadmills will cause us to take shorter stride lengths, reduced

ground contact phase, giving the bounce effect related with treadmill running. So it is less of a run (which would involve stabilizing on each ground contact phase and absorbing one’s own impact forces) but instead, more of a bounce from foot to foot, creating a spring-like momentum effect, especially in runners whose feet move slower than the treadmill belt.

The typical enclosed treadmill design found in most gyms and clinics

Conversely, if the runner’s foot is faster than the belt, then there is a transfer of energy from the runner to the treadmill platform. This energy transfer produces a skidding-like braking effect and therefore the runner works less efficiently in terms of energy expenditure.

our stride time, increase our cadence, encourage greater knee angles and have our ground contact point under our centre of gravity (C of G)1, 2, 3 all of which are kinematic markers relating to a better running efficiency and form. 4, 5, 6 Along with these factors there is also an increase in hip extension, due to the backward motion of the treadmill belt and this, in turn, creates more recoil in the lower limbs due to better utilization of the elastic compounds contained in the frontal hip and thigh areas 3, 4 - not to mention that treadmill belts also reduce/ remove any ‘braking phase’ as they pull the ground contact foot directly backwards from beneath the body, rather than having the body move over the supporting foot. 3, 4

Furthermore, false negative results (when the biomechanics look much worse than they actually are due to the hindrance of the treadmill) can also happen! One is the occurrence of increased ground contact times caused by the shock absorption effect of the sprung belt platform which, in turn, reduces ground reaction forces (GRF) and this effect limits elastic recoil within the lower legs as well as reducing the need for quick stabilizing strength of the lateral stabilizers. 2, 3, 7 This kinetic factor is believed to contribute to a reduction in the amount of energy used in treadmill running as the amount of elastic recoil is held within the suspension of the treadmill platform, and it is this that will create the storage of potential energy at the runner’s

So you may think that if you find ‘your optimum speed’ then all will be fine, but it’s not that easy unfortunately! Firstly, when we run overground we should constantly be altering our stride length, cadence, ground contact time etc. to compensate for terrain, gradients and all other variables located outside, such as the weather (wet surfaces or a crosswind), but on a treadmill the environment is constant, contributing to an unnatural running style, altered mechanics and a decrease in adaptation to the forces that are experienced in overground running. 1, 4, 8, 9 This brings me on to my next point. Our running form is only part of the package we require to aid in the limitation of injury and the maximizing of endurance. As a barefoot or even minimalist runner your skill and adaptive base has to be much more advanced than the basic shod runner. Predictability and risk assessing are of major importance

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along with the ability to adjust one’s technique in order to navigate the path you intend to travel along. Treadmill running will dull the senses as well as the ability to structure risk assessments and this will restrict the nervous system’s ability to compensate accordingly, opening up the runner to a greater chance of injury through slow adaptation. Other factors such as pace judgement can only truly be formulated once an individual understands their own strengths and weaknesses on undulating surfaces (“I maybe slower going uphill, but I’ll catch them back up on the descent!”) and during hill work, both ascending and descending cannot be simulated correctly on a treadmill. This limitation suppresses other technical factors, from secure foot planting (learning to position the foot correctly in steep ascent situations to allow continuous traction, much like traction control on a modern car) to developing a good descending technique to minimalize the forces Page 18

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associated downhill running. 4, 12

In Conclusion There is a very simple rule when training athletes – the training and form coaching must be transferable into their chosen sport. In the case of running, if you have chosen to run overground (competitively or for recreation), then the majority, if not all your training in form, technique and stamina must be overground to allow the body time to adapt and the very sensitive nervous system ‘to learn’ the prescribed task. 6, 10, 11 It’s similar to training to run a marathon in a shoe with a 2” heel lift then on the start line leaving them behind and completing the next 26.2 miles barefoot – bad things will happen. So if you want to improve your overground running then there is only one sure way to do it – run over ground. And it’s the same for treadmill running - if you are only interested in say, losing weight and being generally fit, with no aspirations to run overground then by all means stick with the treadmill.

Barefoot Running Magazine

1. Nigg, B.M; et al. A kinematic comparison of overground and treadmill running. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 27(1): 98-105; 1995 2. Frishberg, B.A. An analysis of overground and treadmill sprinting. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 15(6): 478 - 485; 1983 3. Schache, A.G; et al. A comparison of overground and treadmill running for measuring the three-dimensional kinematics of the lumbo-pelvichip complex. Clinical Biomechanics. 16: 667-680; 2001 4. Toombs, A.L & Robinson, D.R. Run Strong • Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running; 2012 5. Romanov, N. Pose Method of Running (Dr. Romanov's Sport Education) 2002 6. Deyer, D. Chi Running: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running; 2008 7. Chapman, R. PhD. Measurement of Ground Contact Time in Elite Distance Runners: Utilization of Accelerometer Technology. NPEP meeting in Las Vegas; 2008 8. Riley, P.O; et al. A kinematics and kinetic comparison of overground and treadmill running. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 40(6): 1093-110; 2008 9. Telhan, G; et al. Lower limb joint kinetics during moderately sloped running. Journal of Athletic Training. 45(1): 16-21; 2010 10. Bompa, T. Total Training for Young Champions; 1999 11. Gambetta, V. Athletic Development: The Art and Science of Functional Sports Conditioning; 2007 12. Matthews, N & Quinlan, D. Fell and hill running;1996

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Outside the lab Other peoples’ labs

recent study has demonstrated that breakfast is an important meal not to be missed! Researchers at Imperial College, London, used brain scans of 21 participants to demonstrate the differences in response to food after having no breakfast, compared to when they’d eaten a large, 730 calorie breakfast. The scans showed that the brain’s response to high calorie food changed after no breakfast, but remained the same for low calorie food, with or without breakfast. The research suggests that the brain ‘seeks out’ higher calorie food in response to hunger. Nature makes complete sense yet again!

etting an inadequate amount of sleep is a risk factor for obesity and Type II Diabetes. Several studies in the past have shown how sleep affects sugar levels and the hormones that control appetite. A small, recent study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, has provided further support for these findings. Eight men and women were monitored in a laboratory over eight consecutive nights. For four nights they were allowed to sleep normally but were restricted to 4.5 hours of sleep

Source: BBC News a

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for the remaining four nights. Food consumption was controlled throughout so that participants were unable to respond to different cravings and appetite levels. The results showed that sleep deprivation caused a 16% lower sensitivity to insulin and that the response of fat cells to insulin dropped by 30% similar to levels seen in obesity and Type II Diabetes sufferers. So – train well, eat well, REST well!

Source: Amanda Gardner, Health.com

SOPHIE WALKER Published by Piatkus on 4th October 2012 £13.99 Trade Paperback 'Very powerful, very moving, and an important contribution to better understanding of a much misunderstood condition' Alastair Campbell ‘This is a book about Asperger's Syndrome and a book about running, but it's so much more than that. It's at heart a love story, testament to the power of a parent's fierce devotion to their child. Any parent will see in it something of themselves’ Gaby Hinsliff, journalist and author of Half a Wife When Sophie Walker's daughter Grace was finally diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, Sophie was close to falling apart. Daily difficulties fitting in at school, left bright, artistic Grace frustrated and Sophie feeling teary, sleepless and depressed. Feeling overwhelmed by life, and fighting off a prescription for anti-depressants, Sophie determined to stop neglecting her physical and mental wellbeing and decided to go for a run. She soon found release in running and set herself the challenge of completing the London Marathon to raise awareness of Asperger’s and to make herself strong enough to support her beloved, courageous child. In running she found the strength to battle for Grace’s education, happiness and future as well as the strength to overcome her own depression. A beautifully written and extraordinary frank account which charts the highs and lows of raising a child with Asperger’s and the challenge of becoming a long distance runner. The book began life as the popular blog Grace Under Pressure which had an amazing response from readers and was promoted by Mumsnet and the National Autistic Society and has scores of loyal readers. Sophie Walker has worked as a journalist for Reuters news agency for fourteen years, reporting news around the globe. She has written about oil, trade and politics in Washington and has been foreign correspondent in the UK, travelling to Iraq and Afghanistan with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. She was selected as Ambassador for the National Autistic Society’s new Autism Action Network in October 2011 Sophie completed the London Marathon on behalf of the National Autistic Society, raising £4,000, and has signed up for next year’s too. She has also appeared recently on both the BBC and Channel Four discussing the governments proposed changes to the special education needs system. Barefoot Running Magazine

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Book review How I got my wiggle back: A memoir of healing – by Anthony Field agree with that. Might have worked for him/her but I’m not convinced it’ll work for many other people’.

his book tells the story

collapsing afterwards, eating of how one very sick man rubbish, craving sugar and morphed from an exhausted, having troubled sleep. Not chubby, pain-ridden misery to to mention his embarrassing a bright-eyed, physically strong digestion issues with endless and energetic athlete. emergency visits to toilets on aeroplanes, hotels and Written in the first person, even back stage before an Anthony Field of ‘The Wiggles’ interview. (a world-renowned children’s entertainment group) details his Anthony’s coping strategies will transformation in the form of a also ring true with most people. biography which pays particular Each time he met a new attention to his health and how medical professional or heard it affected his quality of life. about another cure for his ailments, he would feel a Although Anthony’s battle and renewed sense of hope, suffering were at some points whether it came from a new extreme (all his teeth fell out at doctor, therapist or nutritionist. one point and he ended up in All of these attempts at finding hospital), the majority of readers the answer helped a little bit, will be able to identify with his or so he thought, but in reality plight. His busy schedule, he was making his body more travelling and touring with toxic with each new ‘miracle’ snatched, nutritionally deficient drug. meals on the go, isn’t unlike the way that many people are living Now, when I read this kind of their lives in today’s society. book, I’m usually anticipating Anthony explains how he fell into disappointment when the a downhill spiral, summoning up author announces the answer all his energy to entertain on to their problems and my stage and then practically reaction is, ‘Oh. Not sure I Page 22

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However, I already knew my reaction to this book would be different because I’d had the good fortune to have read the theory and practical applications that formed a part of his recovery. No doubt many of you will have heard of Dr James Stoxen, the ‘human spring doctor’ (and contributor to this magazine!) who is also a barefoot runner and proponent of going barefoot to strengthen the feet as part of the ‘human spring mechanism’. Anthony Field was lucky enough to meet Dr Stoxen during one of his US tours and asked him for help before, during and after his shows. “Work on my back” he ordered Doctor Stoxen, because that was where he had the most pain.

“All of these attempts at finding the answer helped a little bit, or so he thought, but in reality he was making his body more toxic” Dr Stoxen refused, and instead looked at how Anthony walked, concluding that his ‘spring mechanism’ was locked and affecting his entire movement and bodily functions. I’ll leave you to read the full theory, but it is sound. If you’ve ever massaged your feet thoroughly

before a barefoot run, you’ll have experienced that natural spring that you just don’t get if you allow your feet and calves to become tight or ‘locked’. The book also outlines simple, self-help exercises that anyone can do to help improve their natural spring and movement and indeed, these are the same exercises that Anthony followed religiously to become the strong, healthy person he is today. Anthony also introduces the reader to his other ‘guru’, Doctor Richard Gringeri or ‘human engine doctor’ who helped Anthony reassess his eating patterns and cleanse his system. He attributes his recovery (which is really what it was, although there was no specifically named disease) to these two doctors, although he does point out that it’s involved a lot of hard work, patience and perseverance on his part. There are a number of photos sprinkled throughout the book which clearly show the complete turnaround in Anthony’s life. Usually, photos of people in their thirties are much kinder than when they’re getting close to fifty. However, with Anthony it’s the other way around – he emerged from his thirtysomething slouching, baggy body to reveal the toned, super-shiny specimen he is today. Along the way, Anthony also details the road to success of The Wiggles. If you’re from the UK you might bridle at the regular digs at the way UK execs wanted to handle The Wiggles, which comes across as a general criticism of UK folks.

He was told that The Wiggles’ act was too cheesy and some of his writing reflects that inclination towards the cheese-tastic. However, this is probably just an indication of the level of energy that goes into the act itself and for the most part he is very funny and clearly wants to share with as many people as possible that there is an answer – there’s no need to suffer with chronic pain and here is the perfect place to start. This book should - will become popular throughout the world. A highly recommended read.

Book details...

How I Got My Wiggle Back: A Memoir of Healing By Anthony Field Hardback: £17.99 Paperback: 288 pages Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (3rd Feb 2012) Language English ISBN-10: 1118019334 ISBN-13: 978-1118019337

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

Mladen Milic during a 12k race near Zurich, Switzerland

Bob Allsopp of Harborough Athletics during his final mile at the Perkins Great Eastern Half Marathon.

Ian Hicks and his children (Laura and Daniel) at the Barefoot Beach Run in September

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From left: Ricardo, Vicky, Martyn, Robin, Tracy, Anna & David half way through a Brighton run in the sun!

Georg looking comfortable in some great shoes during the Great Birmingham Run in October!

Photograph by Hans R van der Woude Barefoot Running Magazine

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Injury corner Are Your Stretches Encouraging your Pain Syndromes?

any people know that stretching our muscles is good for the body. But is your stretch programme really benefitting yours? With today’s sedentary lifestyle and desk based jobs, stretching has become as important now as ever before. Even with an active lifestyle, regular gym or class based exercise, the need to stretch correctly is still just as necessary. The general attitude to stretching after exercise is to stretch all the major muscles of the body. While this is great for people in optimal alignment, for the vast majority of people it is Page 26

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inadequate and results in pain. Due to lack of knowledge most gym instructors, personal trainers and amateur fitness enthusiasts haven’t the skills or abilities to recognize the potential pitfalls that inappropriate stretching can have on an individual’s performance or rehabilitation. Our muscles have a direct influence on our posture and joint ranges of motion. When optimally aligned, muscles can work in their most efficient way - stabilizing and moving the body to achieve a specific task, whether it is picking up the children, walking, or running, etc.

Barefoot Running Magazine

When viewed from the side, a plumb line dropped from just in front of the ear should fall through the centre of the shoulder, hip, and knee, finishing just in front of the ankle bone. Tight muscles exert forces on the skeleton, pulling the attached bones out of optimal position, leading to compensatory shifts in postural alignment. There are many such patterns that occur from increased muscular tension. The two most commonly seen are “Pink Panther” and “Donald Duck”. Pink Panthers tuck their tail/ pelvis under, while Donald

Ducks stick theirs out. Take a look around, and you will see these postural types everywhere.

Pink Panther or Donald Duck, which are you?

The results of both postural faults are short, tight over active muscles, and long, weak over stretched muscles. Both postures will lead to any number of pain syndromes throughout the body. The most commonly seen offender is back pain. Now consider the hamstring (back of the thigh) stretch. While it can be a great stretch to perform, on the wrong posture it encourages pain and reduced performance. In the case of Pink Panther it would help in correcting his pelvic alignment. Pink Panthers hamstrings are very short and tight, which pull his pelvis backwards and down, flattening the natural curve of the lower spine, leading to pain. Stretching the hamstrings would allow his pelvis to realign into a normal position, helping to reduce his pain syndromes.

However, with Donald Duck, this stretch would only exacerbate his condition. Donald Duck’s hamstrings are already in a stretched position. Because muscles help to keep our joints stable, stretching an already long muscle will create a loose joint, instability and often tear the muscle fibres leading to pain.

Before understanding the importance and concepts behind a correct stretching programme I too used generalized stretch routines. I regularly participated in martial arts, where a large emphasis is placed on being able to perform the splits. I was a classic Donald Duck excessive lumbar curve and a forward tilting pelvis. I was desperate to increase my splits. I stretched my hamstrings most days, for a significant length of time, and continued to do this for six months. During this period I picked up several injuries, yet hadn’t increased my splits level by even one inch. All I had achieved were sore hamstrings and injuries to other parts of my muscular system. Stretching a muscle that is already long is like loosening the spokes of a bicycle wheel. It creates instability in that particular area, which has a knock-on effect through the rest of the system, encouraging injuries through muscular and

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joint weakness. The inevitable joint restrictions and pain syndrome are the end result. health and fitness industry ever since.

There are many more muscles and forces placed throughout the human body, exerting pressures on structures not designed to handle the loads. With this in mind, are you sure that your current stretch routine is giving you any benefit? Assessing muscle balance, and joint ranges of motion, is a highly skilled practice which is often misunderstood. If you want to be sure that your routine is a help and not a hindrance, book a basic assessment with Shaun Harris at the Sussex Back Pain Clinic, and receive a routine specific to your personal needs, progressing your performance and enhancing your osteopathic treatment.

Shaun Harris is a Chek Exercise Coach, Advanced Metabolic Typing Advisor and IDD Therapy Practitioner (spinal decompression using the ACCU-SPINA Intervertebral distraction dynamics technology). Initially qualifying as a Personal Trainer and Sports Therapist in 2001 with Premier Training (now Premier Global) he has been working in the

Shaun’s background is in Karate, Boxing and Kickboxing and he competed successfully for several years at international level. However, after retiring early due to injury, Shaun became interested in specific, individual training for sports, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach and from there has worked with numerous clients to improve their performance and health. He has been working at Sussex Back Pain Clinic since 2006, where a complete approach to pain relief and management is offered through a variety of therapeutic methods delivered by a highly experienced and professional team.

alk w t

us j n’t o D

CALL US : 01273 725667 EMAIL US: info@sussexbackpainclinic.co.uk Page 28

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London City’s First Specialist Health and Fitness Shop Functional Footwear Fitness Equipment Supplementation

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Technical tip Cold weather running Autumn During the summer months, especially in the UK, the ground doesn’t tend to get too hot very often and surfaces are quite comfortable; neither too hot nor too cold. This makes things easier overall, so that even rough ground is fairly manageable once you’ve had a few months practice.

What’s underneath the leaves?!

here’s definitely a chill developing in the air and as we head towards Autumn and Winter, it’s useful to know what you can expect from your running experience as the ground underfoot gets colder and the icy breezes start to kick in. It is particularly important for the barefoot runner to understand and be aware of the challenges that cold weather can bring. Some barefoot runners will be thinking of dusting off their minimalist shoes in preparation but others will be getting ready for the challenge of continuing to run barefoot throughout the winter months. With this in mind, we’ve come up with a few helpful hints that we’ve noted in the past from our cold weather barefoot escapades. Page 30

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When the seasons begin to change, however, the ground begins to cool along with an increase in debris underfoot. Twigs, thorns and conkers start to make an appearance, with the added challenge of leaves on the ground potentially covering a multitude of hazards that might cut your feet or at least have you reaching for the disinfectant. Regarding the increase in extra paraphernalia on the ground, you can do one of two things. You can either maintain your usual running form and run over the obstacles, using them as extra training to toughen your feet. Or, allow your footfall to become even lighter and more dance-like so that you dodge the majority of uncomfortable objects underfoot by paying close attention to your surroundings and adapting your route accordingly. It’s worth trying to avoid piles of leaves altogether as you have no idea what’s underneath them. It sounds obvious, but be aware of the shorter days and resulting diminished light. Barefoot running in the dark isn’t off limits

Barefoot Running Magazine

by any means but it does take some practise and there’s also the added issue of running alone in the dark – best not to!

As Barefoot Ted says, “numb feet are dumb feet.“ Winter Although the weather has been doing rather strange things recently, the Winter months are still when you can expect to experience the coldest temperatures and the corresponding unpleasant side effects such as numb extremities, runny noses, painful lungs and attempting to run with at least five layers of clothing on, making it difficult to even move. Taking your time to warm up and loosen your body is essential. When you feel cold, you tend to stiffen up and you’ll probably feel this particularly in your feet and ankles. Mobilizing all your joints and doing some reactive/plyometric exercises will increase your body temperature and give your body a bit of ‘spring’. If you’re completely barefoot, you’ll find that the ground feels more abrasive. Rough sections that you could run relatively easily in the summer will feel harsher. Even if your feet are warm when you start out (which we would recommend) they will get cold initially before

they warm up again. If you’re unused to barefoot running in the cold, cut your mileage to start with to see how your body and feet cope. People never believe us (until they try it) but your feet will end up being the warmest part of your body by the end of the run because they’re moving and creating heat through contact with the ground. Sometimes, if it’s snowing, we wear minimalist shoes at the beginning of a run to allow our feet to warm up and then complete the rest of the run with bare feet. In the past, we’ve completed entire runs with shoes on but find that our feet remain cold and can get wet too, depending on whether or not the shoes are waterproof. Some of you will already have experienced the blisters that often accompany running in wet conditions in minimalist shoes.

Different types of snow Barefoot runners will be aware of the fact that, when they ran in shoes, concrete was just that: concrete. However, once the shoes come off, tarmac takes on many different forms, from smooth, level surfaces to bits of jagged stone and potholes. Snow is similar, in that it has a few different consistencies that you don’t particularly notice in shoes but that become quite distinctive when barefoot. Powdery snow is actually quite warm, as well as soft. It’s fun to run in – everyone loves to be the first person to make footprints in freshly fallen snow. Just be aware that you don’t necessarily know what’s underneath it, so it’s worth running routes that you know well, although there’s always still some risk.

Snow that has been on the ground for a while, especially if it’s on grass, can be more like ice than snow. If your feet are already cold and feeling a bit stingy then icy, crunchy snow like this can be rather uncomfortable. Try to avoid it if possible, although it’s usually fine as long as you’re not running on it for too long. The other type of icy snow is the smooth, unbroken stuff that you’ll find on trails and pavements. This is often very slippery so a quick cadence with a focus on picking your feet up again as soon as they touch the ground is key. It’s a real technical challenge so like any extreme cold weather running, should only be tackled by experienced barefoot runners or those that are patient and sensible enough to only do a little bit at a time. Both these types of icy snow have the potential to be sticky too, so careful you don’t get stuck!

Numb feet, frost nip and frost bite As Barefoot Ted says, “numb feet are dumb feet.” If your feet turn numb and are not showing any signs of warming up, then it’s probably too cold for you and you should head back indoors for a reviving mug of hot chocolate. Sometimes your feet will go numb for a little while but warm up again fairly quickly, which is fine if you’re able to see what you’re running on and check your feet regularly for any cuts/debris. One of the strangest sensations is when you begin to get the feeling back in your feet. It’s not unlike after a visit to the dentist when you begin to get the feeling back in your mouth after a local anaesthetic. The feeling comes back in an irregular pattern so your body awareness becomes distorted. Some of you would rather avoid this; others will find it quite funny. So, it’s a case of individual preference but also having a solid, sound grasp of good

Winter Solace by Hans R van der Woude taken from Run strong • Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running Barefoot Running Magazine

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running technique so that when feedback is somewhat interrupted, you’re still able to maintain your form.

how your body copes – everybody’s different. Here is our list of the most important dos and don’ts:

We have come across barefoot runners who’ve suffered frost nip and even frost bite. Frost nip is essentially a milder version of frost bite, where the blood is drawn away from your extremities to try and maintain core temperature. It’s not always something you’re aware of until it’s too late, so again, keep checking your feet and know that the wind chill factor along with moist air will increase your chances of suffering frost nip/bite, as well as poor circulation. Basically, if you’re keen to keep barefooting all year round, start with shorter distances and see

Don’t:  Warm your feet up too quickly

Do:   Warm up appropriately. Make

 

 

sure your legs and feet feel springy and responsive before setting off Wrap up warm, wearing several layers including hat, gloves and neck warmer Carry shoes with you if you have any doubts/concerns Expect your feet to get cold initially before they warm up again Check your feet regularly for any cuts/debris Breathe through your nose if possible – this warms the air before it reaches your lungs

after a run. Let them warm up gradually and naturally – no electric heaters or hot showers, it’ll hurt! Run an unfamiliar route, particularly if there’s snow on the ground. Limit the unexpected as much as you can Expect to run the same distance as you do in warmer weather – at least not to start with Get too competitive. View cold weather running as a fun challenge but stay safe Keep running if your feet remain numb for more than a few minutes. You’ll run the risk of compromised technique and even frost nip or frost bite

One last tip: avoid the yellow snow!

Parts & servicing Race preparation Modifications Custom builds Expert advice from a friendly team 82 High Street London SE20 7HB 020 8778 2023 info@se20cycles.com Page 32

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Spring 2012 Issue 4

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Main feature A long weekend...

Sick Landy Main feature


A long weekend...

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.com barefootrunninguk / facebook youtube.com/bfruk arlier in October we set off on a Friday in the Land Rover to Liverpool where we were teaching a workshop on the Saturday. All was going well until we stopped at Oxford services to fill up…. and then couldn’t start again.

To subscribe: UK (0845) 226 7302 Overseas +44 (0) 208 659 0269 email: info@barefootrunninguk.com or visit four website or more information: www.barefootrunninguk.com The health and fitness information presented in this magazine is intended as an educational resource and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Consult your doctor before attempting any of the exercises in this 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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Those of you who know Land Rovers will understand how they can be a little temperamental, especially when they are almost 30 years old! The RAC man scratched his head and tried hitting it (which David had

Inside Barefoot Running UK

done already – it’s always our first tactic since it’s worked in the past!) but the engine refused to start so after waiting at the services (and doing some work on this magazine) we were ferried back to London on a flatbed lorry. Plan B began at 3am on the Saturday when we set off again, having re-packed and reduced what we were taking so that it would fit into the boot of David’s car. We arrived in Liverpool in time, thankfully, to teach our workshop at 8.30am.

As you can see from the photo, we had a real treat with the room we’d booked. We felt more than a little shabby in our running clothes and subsequent dirty feet after practising the running drills outside. The workshop was great fun and as usual, we covered much more than just barefoot running. We’ve had some positive feedback so it looks as though the participants learnt a lot as well as having a good time. David and I were exhausted as we didn’t finish until 6pm and then had to find the B&B we’d booked. It wasn’t far away though and had a lovely, hot shower! On Sunday we negotiated the roads which was tricky as many of them had been closed due to the Liverpool marathon taking place. We made it to Sefton Park where we were meeting a client and then Georg and Andreas turned up after the session to join us for a barefoot

Our decorative training room! run. It was cold but sunny and we trotted round for about an hour, with Georg taking ‘action shots’ along the way! The weekend was certainly a

Our Liverpool group run on a lovely sunny, Sunday morning

mixture of good and bad. After a great night on Sunday with Andreas (who’d also been on the workshop) we then broke down AGAIN and Monday morning saw us at Halford’s (car parts retailer) fitting a new car battery. We eventually made it back to London though and caught up on some much needed sleep! A big thank you to the workshop attendees and to the guys who came to the group run. Also, congratulations to the marathon runners – they went past the park at mile 22 but were still full of determination at that point and there was a decent crowd to spur them on. It’s always a heart-warming sight to see how running brings people together.

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Barefoot Running UK news BFRUK’s Latest

n August, during the Olympics, we were contacted by a journalist from BFM TV, a French TV station. Although they were in town for the Olympic period, his team had been given the task of finding interesting cultural topics to cover alongside the Olympic news. They’d only recently heard about barefoot running and were interested in hearing about the benefits and how barefoot running compares to shod running. David and I met up with him and his colleague at Clapham Common and were instructed to run up and

e’re looking forward to being at the Running Show at Sandown Park on 24th and 25th November. It looks like it’s going to be a fun weekend, with lots of running merchandise to tickle your fancy as well as a 10k run around the grounds on the Sunday morning. David and I will be at stand K21 with copies of our book: ‘Run Strong • Run Free: An Page 3

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down whilst they filmed us from different angles. We were incredibly self-conscious and a little bit awkward, although once David got chatting in front of the camera, he forgot his nerves as his passion for

barefoot running shone through and they couldn’t shut him up!

introduction to the science and art of barefoot running’ on sale with 10% off the normal retail price.

Well as our own personal reasons for pursuing it.

We’ll also be taking part in the seminar programme, with a talk on ‘making sense of barefoot running’ along with a Q&A session to follow. We’ll be talking about the reasons why barefoot running is becoming so popular as

Inside Barefoot Running UK

Hopefully we’ll continue to spread the word about barefoot running and become a bit more media savvy in the process!

We’re hoping to chat with as many runners as possible too and hear their own, unique running stories. If you’re attending the event, come and say hello to us! Entry is FREE if you register online beforehand at: www.runningshow.co.uk

Barefoot Running UK events Events & workshops

You say:

ur 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, now available from our website.

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.

The course will include:

Please see the calendar for workshop dates, venues and details on how to book your place.

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

Spaces are limited to 12 people Check out the website for more details or feel free to call or email us. 0845 226 7302 info@barefootrunninguk.com

“Anna and David make a very good partnership, with David irrepressibly fizzy and buzzy and full of all sorts of diverse and relevant experience. You can take the man out of engineering (one of his early career paths), but you can’t take engineering out of the man. Lots of helpful diagrams and analogies, particularly on biomechanics. Anna, by contrast, is incredibly chilled and softly spoken, and though she talks less, she’s full of gently-delivered knowledge and wisdom.” Sam, Surrey “Just wanted to say a big thank you to both of you for doing such a great job yesterday! It was a very comfortable and relaxed atmosphere and I made quite a few notes and picked up a number of new ideas that I think will help me a lot moving forward.” Mathias, Cambridge

Our book Run Strong • Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running is a comprehensive guide into the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of barefoot running. The book explains the theory behind running barefoot as well as providing practical advice, drills and exercises to help readers improve their running technique. Although the emphasis is on barefoot running, this book is useful for any level of runner, whether barefoot or not. Inside Barefoot Running UK

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Barefoot Running UK calendar BFRUK’s 2012/13 Year 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.

December 2012

April 2013

Saturday 1st BFR UK Group Run

Saturday 6th BFR UK Group Run

10.30 am Clapham Common , London The Bandstand

11.00 am North London Please email for more information

January 2013

BFR UK Group Run All club runs are between 2 and 5 miles, around 10 minute per mile pace. Any footwear is fine! Please email us prior to a run if you’re planning to attend. info@barefootrunninguk.com

Saturday 5th BFR UK Group Run 10.30 am Clapham Common , London The Bandstand

February 2013

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.

11.00 am West London Please email for more information

March 2013

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

Booking guidelines Bookings can be made via our website and they close two weeks prior to the workshop date. If you have any trouble booking online, please let us know.

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

May 2013 Sunday 5th International Barefoot Running Day 10.00 am

Sunday 3rd

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Run Strong•Run Free:

Saturday 2nd BFR UK Group Run


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Saturday 20th

BFR UK Group Run

Brighton, Sussex Location TBC

10.00 am Moat Park Maidstone , Kent

For more information visit: www.fastandfresh.co.uk

Saturday 9th 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 Bacon’s College - London

Inside Barefoot Running UK

June 2013 Saturday 1st BFR UK Group Run 11.00 am London - City Location TBC

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

Saturday 22nd 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 Edinburgh, Scotland Location TBC

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

Sunday 14th BFR UK Group Run 10.00 am Sheffield Location TBC

November 2013

10.30 am Clapham Common , London The Bandstand

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

September 2013

11.00 am Brighton, Sussex Location TBC

July 2013

10.00 am King’s Parade Cambridge

11.00 am East London Please email for more information

Saturday 9th

Saturday 7th BFR UK Group Run

Saturday 20th BFR UK Group Run

Saturday 5th BFR UK Group Run

Saturday 2nd BFR UK Group Run

Saturday 23rd BFR UK Group Run 11.00 am Edinburgh, Scotland Location TBC

October 2013

Bacon’s College - London

Date TBC The Running Show 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 Bath, Somerset Location TBC

Sunday 29th BFR UK Group Run 10.00 am Bath, Somerset Location TBC

A running workshop based on our book with the same title

10.00 am Sandown Surrey For more information visit: www.runningshow.co.uk

December 2013 Saturday 7th BFR UK Group Run 10.00 am Clapham Common , London The Bandstand

Inside Barefoot Running UK

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Run Strong • Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running workshop info@barefootrunninguk.com

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

hese races – not for the faint-hearted – are very popular and are held throughout the country at various locations. They are for those who fancy adding a little bit more excitement to their races, where running is more a way of getting you from one obstacle to the next rather than being the focus of the race. Scramble over walls, underneath cargo

nets and generally get covered head to foot in mud. This year, just to increase the fun factor, the race organizers have added a night race into the diary. This will be held at Battersea Power Station on 17th November. The 10k race will take place during the day and then the toughest bits of the course will be condensed into a 5k hard core challenge for the night racers.

The majority of you will have seen references to ‘Movember’ on facebook, Twitter etc. along with photographs of men with variable amounts of hair on their top lip. This is because each November, there is a month-long moustache-growing event to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues. This idea began in Australia in 2003 and has expanded to become a worldwide challenge. The idea is that men begin the month clean-shaven and register themselves online at the Movember website (www.movember.com) with a photograph. They are then supported by the men and women around them, or ‘Mo Bros and Mo Sistas’ as they raise sponsorship money, spread the word and take regular photos to demonstrate the progress of their fabulous follicles! It’s a fun way to build awareness of some very real health issues. To find out more, visit: www.movember.com

A beer tent will welcome you at the end of the race with a party continuing on late into the night. As the race creators point out, “If candles weren’t meant to be burnt at both ends, they wouldn’t put the wick all the way through”. For more info and to enter, visit: www.mhsurvival.co.uk

This fabulous event is taking place on the weekend of 24th and 25th November. It is for all levels of runner and includes a series of seminars as well as plenty of the latest running gear and gadgets to help you get the most out of your running. David and Anna of Barefoot Running UK will be there all weekend and are looking forward to debating the merits and mysteries of barefoot running! There is also a 10k race on the Sunday at 10.30am which will take place in the grounds of Sandown Park. Race entry is £15 and visitor entry is FREE if you book in advance, so be sure to visit the website soon to secure your place: www.runningshow.co.uk

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Nutritional nugget Supplements - keep it simple

By Leigh Rogers Holistic Sports Nutritionist, Health and Wellness Coach

n an industry which is growing an enormous 20% every year, the supplement industry is becoming ever more mainstream. However the use of supplements and herbs has been around for centuries. So there has to be something in it, right? Going back in history we are all familiar with ancient Chinese herbal remedies or even the travelling salesmen touting their magical elixirs and potent potions offering the promise of good health and vigour! And why not, it's what we’re all looking for isn’t it? But before we go any further, consider that scientific research has proven the benefits of using supplements such as proteins as early as the 1940’s when Page 34

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people began to utilize them to either boost performance, speed recovery or enhance muscle size. Today, there is such a wealth of information available on supplements that it is often downright confusing. Which is why I suggest you keep it simple, at least until you have a better idea of your own needs and what your options are. With all of the media hype around these days it would be easy to believe that some of these products can literally offer you the fountain of youth, as well as super human strength – simultaneously!! So it is often best to err on the side of caution when it comes to the imagination of marketing men, as well as being cautious

Barefoot Running Magazine

in terms of the formulation of some of the products out there. I would also strongly recommend you do a little research into the brand you choose to go with – make sure there have been no label claim issues and that they have a good reputation. Understandably most people today who have an interest in their well being will naturally try to attain better health through their diet and exercise and logically it makes sense to do so if at all possible. However, even those with the best of intentions can find it difficult to meet the increasing demands which work and family put on you. This is where supplements come in, particularly if you are an active individual whose natural stores will, or have,

become depleted leaving you run down and susceptible to illness or injury. So, it is with this in mind that I’ll recommend a few basics. A good multivitamin geared towards an active lifestyle, but remember that not all multivitamins are created equal. Active individuals simply have different needs because in order for us to perform at our best it is imperative for us to have the correct nutrition; even slight deficiencies can cause us to under perform. Most multi vitamins available in the market today have scientifically researched levels of ingredients based on the RDA, so any bought from a reputable manufacturer should be of a decent standard as long as they contain at least the RDA of the following vitamins B1, B2, B3, B12, C, D and Folic Acid. Ratios of calcium and magnesium (preferably the more bioavailable form of

Anti-oxidants are vital for a healthy body

magnesium citrate) included, which should be ideally between 2-4:1 calcium to magnesium. This is known to play an important role in skeletal maintenance, but more importantly is essential for cellular energy and optimal muscle function. Consumption of dairy protein powders will help to boost calcium content but is often otherwise easily attainable through natural diet. Vitamin K-2 (MK7), more readily absorbed than MK4 and has a longer half life, is also highly recommended as it is only found in trace quantities in foods. It has a number of important key functions such as preventing a build up of plaque within the arteries therefore preventing some forms of cardiovascular disease. At the same time it removes any excess calcium in the blood and deposits it into bones. Look out for products which contain ingredients such as

Bioperine (or piperine extract – a form of black pepper which aids absorption). Omega 3, one of the most widely used supplements in the UK today. Most of us are aware that we should be taking it for the numerous health benefits it offers. But it is important to know what you are looking for in a supplement and in this case, don't just go for any old fish oils. It simply isn't necessary to supplement with Omega 6's and 9's as they are much more readily abundant in other foods, so it really is just the Omega 3 you need to look for. Then it is important to check the information on the label as there are a variety of kinds out there which all offer varying levels of health benefits. What you are looking for here is the EPA and DHA content, ideally between 500-1000 mg per day. These have been proven to be the most effective forms of Omega 3 for improving heart, brain and immune function as well as being known to work as an anti-inflammatory. In addition to this it is also important to know the purity in terms of heavy metal contamination. What this means is that some of the waters in the world are subject to high levels of contaminants such as mercury and other toxins and it is this which is the other variable you can encounter. Naturally we all know that heavy metals are toxic and should not be consumed, so it is important that the fish are sourced from declared clean water sources. If you are unsure contact the manufacturer who should be able to provide you with this information and even a copy of the certification which will come with each batch.

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Another option here is to go for something like a Krill oil being relatively low on the food chain they are considered to have extremely low levels of contaminants as well as offering the same EPA & DHA and are speculated to be much more bio-available (easily absorbed into the human body), but the cost is often considerably more. Protein, known as the body’s building blocks and is broken down into amino acids (of which there are approximately 20) which are essentially the raw materials for all proteins. They are utilized for a number of the body’s key functions as well as being found in every part of the human body – normally sourced within chicken, fish, beans, lentils, peas, nuts and red meats as well as dairy produce and regularly referred to as being one of the things which made us humans the way we are today (if you believe in evolution, that is). It’s thought that through access to large amounts of protein the human brain evolved relatively quickly, so from the point when our ancestors went from being vegetarians to carnivores the

Protein powders often form part of the diet for serious exercisers

evolution process sped up quite dramatically. Our brains grew which in turn improved our cognitive ability, which in turn made us into better hunters which led to us getting more protein. Getting back to the point, protein is responsible for growth, building & repairing cells within the body, making antibodies and ensuring that key functions are possible. However protein is not stored like fats are and therefore must be consumed regularly otherwise quite serious health issues can arise. Naturally, this isn’t so much of an issue with modern diets but

Autumn 2012

Branch Chain Amino Acids or essential amino acids (valine, leucine and isoleucine) are most commonly used to improve exercise performance and reduce muscle breakdown and can be taken in their own supplement form of a powder which is normally encapsulated as they don’t dissolve in liquids. (As an additional note regarding the recent addition of VAT - as of 1st October 2012 - on all sports supplements: products such as protein powders have been severely affected in terms of their price and this is coupled with the fact that the price of whey protein continues to rise. I would suggest looking at other types of proteins for example pea proteins such as Nutralys, which is not only a sustainable crop and GMO free, but it is also allergen free. Or perhaps try a blend of whey and pea protein as a way of cost cutting and getting a more balanced profile).

Nutralys Pea Protein Page 36

when it comes to active individuals, it benefits them to consume more to improve muscle function, growth and repair.

Barefoot Running Magazine

A good antioxidant or antioxidant blend. Antioxidants are known as being scavengers of free radicals that cause damage throughout the body which can in turn lead to premature ageing and even serious illnesses such as cancers. Free radicals are constantly flooding our bodies because they are a direct result of chemical reactions happening within the body, for example every time we breathe we create them (and it’s not like we can stop breathing!). Physical activity exacerbates the situation and can cause slowing of recovery, inflammation of tissue and impairing of muscle function.

The most important antioxidants known are vitamins E (composed of four oils called tocopherols: alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherol) and C, although Co enzyme Q10, selenium (a mineral which works in conjunction with vitamin E), alpha lipoic acid and carotenoids such as lycopene are also high on the list of antioxidants to consider.

Although possible, it is pretty difficult to consume through natural a diet the amount of antioxidants necessary, which is why it is advisable to supplement, to help the reduction of free radicals.

In conclusion

With a herbal supplement always try to go for the ‘extract’ as this generally means that it will be a more potent form. Also, companies are more frequently using a pro-biotic complex to aid intestinal health.

I would always exercise a certain amount of caution when looking at some types of supplements, particularly pre-

I have always had a personal interest in exercise and supplementation and so have, as long as I can remember, been wanting to learn more about the foods and supplements available to me which can either enhance my performance or aid my recovery. After University I spent several years working in gyms which supplied supplements to their customers. Although many a thing may be said about body builders, one thing for sure was the average standard of knowledge on supplementation was surprisingly high! The discussions on supplementation in this environment was always interesting, igniting my interest in the subject even more.

workout formulas. Some of these offer very little more than a bit of salt and sugar at an extortionate price and others have previously contained ingredients which have since become banned substances or have extremely high levels of caffeine. Consider carefully the types of products which are suitable for you and speak to the person selling the goods or contact the manufacturer directly if you have any concerns. Comparatively, the supplement industry is considered to be fairly loosely regulated and so it is once again that I would like to remind you to look at only using reputable brands using the highest quality ingredients and manufactured to the highest standards. Before taking anything, do your homework.

It wasn't long after that I started working at Reflex Nutrition in February 2000 and a short while later I began studying with the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine). Although I was unable to complete the final exams, what I learned there gave me a fantastic foundation for my job at Reflex. This, combined with regular training by Reflex Nutrition and assisting in staff training at shops and gyms which sell the Reflex range, as well as the on the job learning experience of nearly thirteen years, leaves me where I am today. I was bound to pick up a thing or two along the way!

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Questions & answers Your questions answered Hadley, p. 16-17, Issue 3) alleviates the problem, the pain eventually comes back. Recently I’ve taken to using a golf ball for the rollering, and this seems to give the best results. The problem is worse on the left leg (the right is more normally fine), and I’ve identified a tendency for that side to develop sore spots on the ball of my foot when running in Invisible Shoes huaraches, or Send your running questions to Anna & David and they will during interval training in Vivobarefoot Evos. When fully endeavour to answer them barefoot on these fantastic for you: letters@bfrm.co.uk smooth natural stone paths we have in Edinburgh, the soreness is far reduced or absent. It Earlier in the week I ordered your book, and I’m really looking seems there must be some shear force on impact on that left side forward to giving that a good that tends to happen when I old read through! I always look don’t get full feedback from forward to your magazine, the ground. There’s an obvious which for me is normally far answer here! However, there more interesting and relevant than the majority of off-the-shelf are times when footwear of some kind (on our rocky Scottish titles I routinely buy that are oriented toward specific running trails or in the gym for instance) is necessary. Clearly my form is ‘niches’. It seems you are first to blame, but I can’t work out on the ground with such a title, and there is certainly a gap out what’s going wrong. I’d like to find a barefoot-friendly sports there on the shelves of W.H therapist to have a look, but I Smith for something like this. have two races this month (one I was hoping you might be able 10K, one 10 mile) and don’t want to start major mucking to give me a wee bit of advice around so soon. Any ideas as on a recurring problem I have, to obvious things to look at? though I realise this is a nearly impossible without actually Dr Stig Walsh, Edinburgh seeing what’s going wrong. Ultimately I need to attend one of your courses, but wasn’t able Hi Stig to make it when you came north Your problem is a fairly common to York. Hopefully in the coming one – in fact we were working with someone earlier today with year things will change. the same issue, except he was experiencing more problems I’ve been suffering Achilles’ with the right Achilles/calf. Tendonosis in both ankles for a while, and though rollering the calf (as suggested by Scott Page 38

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Part of the problem will be the

Barefoot Running Magazine

shoes, just because at the moment it sounds as though you’re running slightly differently in them compared to when you’re barefoot. We see this a lot as minimalist shoes tend to have a thinner, harder sole and can therefore make quite a bit of noise when you land. Your natural instinct is to try and eliminate this noise and usually what we see is people landing too far towards the front of their foot, which makes the landing quieter but ultimately puts more strain on the calves, particularly if the heel doesn’t contact the floor as part of the running gait. It sounds as though you might be doing this, given the sore spots on the balls of your feet. Too much pressure is going into that area – try shortening your strides and make sure your heel lands each time. Don’t reach out in front with your foot – think of leading with your knees and then your foot will land naturally underneath you. The fact that it’s worse on the left than the right might be due to several things. Are you right handed? If you’re right handed, it means that you have more control over your right side so it becomes your ‘gesture’ side. By default, the left side of your body becomes the ‘stable’ side. In other words, if you were going to kick a ball, you would plant your left foot and kick with your right. Or, if you’re washing the dishes, you hold/clamp the dish with your left hand and clean with your right. This usually means the left side of the body is more stable but also tighter. However, although the right side is more under control, it’s often

Tendonosis is often confused with tendonitis, but they are different conditions. Tendonosis causes no redness or warmth in the surrounding soft tissue, although the area can be painful to touch. It develops gradually and can last over a long period of time. When seen under a microscope, inflammatory cells are not present, although chronic damage and microscopic tears of the tendon may be seen.

knee like hell to start with, the pain is getting better the more of them I do. I’m also pretty sure you’re spot on about attempting to alleviate the noise made by the shoes (especially with treadmill work) by rising onto my toes. I was consciously aware of trying to land more quietly, and that probably was how I was reducing the noise.

I should have run the Great more mobile which can lead to this when we get older and run Edinburgh Run 10k yesterday, lack of stability which can also at consistent speeds in a straight but in the end decided to run cause issues at the hip, knee line which eventually limits our an 11k circuit where I live in or ankle. Try and do plenty of movement capacity and leads West Lothian. I made an effort mobility exercises for both to joint restriction and sometimes to land more mid foot, but ankles. pain/injury. with what felt like an increased flexion at the ankle (following It’s worth you getting someone All the best and let us know how your advice about ‘landing with to film you when you run. You you get on! the knees’). The result? The 11k might also be running with an I did was no real problem with uneven stride – see if you can no sore spots on my soles; today spot this on film. A good way to Thanks for sending the book off my Achilles’ tendonosis is barely remedy this (as well as working so quickly – it just arrived with noticeable, although my calves through the drills and exercises me now! It certainly looks nice – are sore higher up than they from the book when you receive lots of really well chosen and have been. I haven’t had sore it!) is to use a metronome and constructed diagrams, and a calves for quite some time, practise running up and down great section on drills and which to me shows there has with an even rhythm. 160 -180 exercises. I can see a massive been a genuine change in strides per minute is the optimum amount of work has gone into form. I can’t say how pleased cadence (stride rate) so play this, and I’m looking forward to I am, this is great!! I’m really around with it to see what feels getting into it. looking forward to giving the most comfortable for you. drills in your book a go. You’ve Wow – thank you for giving so really shown how great your Sometimes there’s also a lack much advice, and really brilliant knowledge and experience is of ‘spring’ involved (see James advice at that!! You mentioned in coaching and dealing with Stoxen’s article in the summer several things I really hadn’t form correction. It goes to issue of the magazine). Keep considered at all, despite having show how useful attending one doing the rollering but focus read around the subject a great of your courses will be, and I particularly on releasing your deal over the last year or two. really wish I was able to attend feet, maybe using your own I am indeed right handed, so the one in Liverpool on Saturday, hands for massage rather than there probably is an immobility but I have to be somewhere a golf ball. Reactive exercises issue on the left side. Likewise, else on that day. I’m not put (there’s lots in the book) will I tend to have right knee pain off coming down to London help you develop or re-discover (less so when running, but though. If there were enough your body’s natural spring. particularly so when using stairs), interest I think you’d like Zig-zagging when you run too which would tie in well with Edinburgh as a barefoot-friendly is also very useful. Watch how what you said about over city (not until well into the children run when they’re mobility on that side. I recently summer though). I don’t know playing – they hardly ever run in (as in the last few days) started anyone who is actively running a straight line and they change to do single leg squats – barefoot other than me in the their speed constantly. We lose although these hurt the right area at the moment, though I Barefoot Running Magazine

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do know two who tried it and decided it wasn’t for them.

Hi Darren

My cousin John forwarded an Dr Stig Walsh, Edinburgh email from you about barefoot running. I’m so glad you think I’m hard core! London streets aren’t so bad though – you This email was sent to Anna’s learn to spot the glass and piles cousin: of vomit early on so you can nimbly avoid them. I am getting into barefoot running (but not completely Firstly, barefoot running and barefoot mind you) I’m more minimalist shoe running are not of a minimalist runner and still one and the same. If you try rely on a certain amount of a little complete barefoot cushioning. running, you’ll understand what I mean. I’m not anti-shoe (shoes From what I understand are tools to use when necessary) barefoot running promotes but running is about good your feet to land on the forefoot technique and this is easiest to instead of the heel by way of find without something attached having no increase in height in to your body that shouldn’t be the shoe between the heel there. and forefoot. My road shoes are a 4mm heel to toe drop It’s also not just about foot and my trail shoes a 3mm which strike. This is something the is moving the way I run into the media has picked up on and right direction to go completely something that can be tested zero drop soon which is barefoot in a lab, which is why there’s running. so much about it on the internet. It’s certainly true that, Your cousin look s a bit hardcore generally speaking, your foot though. I’ve looked on her lands differently when you’re website and she actually runs not in shoes, but that isn’t the without shoes on… through only aspect. It’s about whole London!!! I intend to progress body mechanics and how to zero drop but I’ll have the direct connection to the specialist shoes for that - exactly ground with your foot disperses the same as barefoot but forces correctly and efficiently without the risk of stones, glass through your foot and up or even worse - dog poo!!! through your body. You should land with your foot underneath It would be good to rack her your centre of gravity, rather brains with regards to barefoot than out in front of you; this running and more specifically then means that you’ll naturally speed. I’ve found with all the land more mid-foot. People ultra training in minimalist shoes tend to run with too long a has affected my speed work. I stride when in trainers, so they can run far now but my 10k, half reach out in front of them and marathon and marathon speeds this is when striking with the have been affected. I’d like to heel first happens (and causes know her opinion on whether problems). you can run fast barefoot and how to train for it Zero drop shoes are better than those with a heel because Darren, London they allow your calf to lengthen Page 40

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appropriately during eccentric loading (when you land and bend your hip, knee and ankle, gathering potential energy) which leads to a more efficient ‘spring’ mechanism during the running gait. However, shoes will still disrupt ground reaction force (the opposing force to gravity) which will have more of a damaging impact on your joints over time. You asked specifically about speed, although you didn’t mention how drastically your speed has been affected. I’m also not quite clear if you mean speed as in ‘how fast you can sprint’ or your speed over race distance. Most people find (with the appropriate amount of practice, which varies between individuals) that their race times decrease with barefoot/minimalist running because they’re running more efficiently. This can take quite a long time though, so one of the main rules is to remain patient. Actual speed work (intervals, sprints, etc.) shouldn’t be slower once you’ve adapted your running form. If you are completely barefoot, sprinting speed takes time because it hurts the soles of your feet to start with! My question to anyone who emails me about speed is this: why do you want to go faster? If your choice was to run faster and faster races but ultimately damage your body, OR enjoy running, at whatever speed, for as long as you live, what would you prefer? Injuries are always a result of one, or a combination, of these: doing too much too soon, either through distance or speed and/or poor running mechanics. Sprinkled into the mix are other factors such as

obviously running wrong as my knees went to jelly at mile 20 and I was not in a good way. My speed in recent interval training is also slower than it has ever been.

diet, sleep quality, inadequate training (and resting) and SHOES! I would need to ask more questions and see how you move/run to give you an accurate answer, but I suspect you were probably ‘cheating’ in conventional trainers, bounding rather than running and using the trainers for spring rather than your soft tissues and joints. In minimalist shoes, your body is probably working more as it should. If you feel that you must increase your race speeds, you’d probably benefit from more cross training – plyometrics in particular. Self massage using a foam roller might also be useful (do a search on youtube – lots of examples on there). And again, be patient – you may find that you just naturally speed up over time.

runners: www.thebarefootrunners.org Hope this helps Sorry I haven’t replied sooner to thank you for your email - it has given me a lot to think about.

I’ll definitely be buying your book but I won’t be able to make the running show - it’s my wedding anniversary on the 24th and I have a local Ultra race on the 25th. You’ve hit the nail on the head in response to my speed as I in myself didn’t quite know what I was asking. Over the past 2-3 years I’ve got into ultra marathon running and this year did my first 100 mile event on the North Downs Way. The build up to this involved lots of long training runs which spurred me onto minimalist trainers which really did help as I had knee problems before hand. Touch wood I haven’t had any We have a book out (John may since running in a 3mm drop have mentioned) which explains shoe. much of what you need to know and is cheaper than personal My training and overall running training! You can buy it from pace slowed right down and I here: www.trcpublishinguk.com failed to keep up any speed work - mainly because of the David and I will also be at the amount of miles I was putting in Running Show in November was draining in itself. (www.runningshow.co.uk) and entry is free if you register online Anyway- in my quest to get the beforehand (£12 on the door). sub 3hr 26.2 marathon I entered into one. Trying to keep the Lastly, this website is a great pace was too difficult and I was resource for barefoot/minimalist

However - your question asking why I want to go faster has hit me like a truck!! The answer is I guess it’s to be sociable. All of my running buddies will happily go out for a 10k, 10 miler or even a 20 mile long run if they are in marathon training. They are constantly trying to gain a PB in these distances so social running and training has to be on their terms at their pace/speed. Asking for someone to accompany me on a 40 mile Sunday run starting at 5am running at 10 min/miles never gets any takers. What I’ve come to realise over the past few weeks is that I actually prefer the long distance. The 100 miles. The “are you mental” response when people talk to me about it. The mentality of the other runners that you chat to during the race. The challenge of staying awake for over 24 hours while constantly moving. But most of all - to run on my terms for the reasons I want. Although your last email was so informative with regards to barefoot running it was more effective as a realisation of what I want out of running - I can’t thank you enough for that. I’ll definitely be buying your book and will look forward to meeting you at a show, race, run or whatever some day. You can now call yourself a barefoot running specialist, running coach, running author and now a running psychotherapist!

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A conversation with… Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee What’s your recipe for your favourite run, i.e. terrain, weather, place, time of day? Michael: Getting up hours before the sunrise, heading uphill to a high elevation trail, bringing the camera, then running in the dark until the sunrise; stopping to take pictures of “the show,” then sitting and doing a mediation with the sun, before running back home again with a permanent grin glued to my face. long with the release of their new DVD, Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee took a few moments out of their hectic schedule to answer a few questions for us about their thoughts and experience with barefoot running. Here’s what they said: What aspect of barefoot running do you enjoy the most?

Jessica: My recipe includes having no expectations for time nor distance and sometimes even which route to take. To keep running fun, I try to approach it like a child. Children never plan out their playtime. They seldom map out a course before they head out and they don’t bring a stopwatch either. They play until they’re tired. As for favourite terrain, I love dirt

Michael: Connecting with the earth and the incredible freedom and feeling health and joy it gives me. Dancing barefoot on the road or the trails, I feel like a kid again! Jessica: For me, it’s an opportunity to unplug from the material world and plug into the natural world, which is healthier for the mind, body and spirit. The extra awareness I perceive from my surroundings through my feet help me stay present in the moment. And like Michael, suddenly it feels like playtime .

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trails (or muddy trails if it’s rained) and trails with soft pine needles. Occasional obstacles like big boulders and tree roots are fun to manoeuvre around too. Both Michael and I love wide open landscapes, the feeling of being on top of the world, and crisp clean air, so we’re usually both happy anywhere at high altitude. Any time is a good time to run as long as I’m not fatigued. What’s your favourite minimalist shoe? Michael: First, I always look for shoes without a rubber sole to give me the greatest electrical connection to the earth, and feel of the terrain possible. That’s also why I’m barefoot over 90% of the time, but if I need to be in a shoe, then it’s terrain dependent. For the most part it’s a Soft Star Dash moccasin with a leather bottom, and if the conditions are incredibly gnarly, then it’s

the Altra Sampson with a flat rubber sole. Jessica: At present my favourite footwear for most excursions are my Soft Star Dashs like Michael. I also love the FeelmaxKuusas, but wish the synthetic material was more breathable. There is a benefit to minimal breathability and that’s keeping my feet warmer in colder conditions. Basically, I want to maintain as much sensory feedback from the ground as possible, but have just enough sole to take the edge off really rough terrain, like lava rocks or sharp gravel.

preach. And to learn from the earth and indigenous people, What other exercise do you do and discover a more natural, apart from barefoot running? healthier way to live and coexist Michael: I’m walking and hiking with our planet. I’m also training to gain the fitness necessary to barefoot even more than I’m travel the world and run and running. In addition I cycle two hike with indigenous people to three days a week, always everywhere, no matter the pointing myself up the steepest distance or duration. Just for hill I can find, and also love kicks I’m working on hills, to playing with my aerodynamics. run and dance straight uphill Lastly I do one-legged strength faster than I ever have before and core drills which are (I love running above tree-line found in our DVD, stretching thousands of feet above it (particularly with a foam roll), and lots of time on a rebounder, all). A last goal would be able to keep up with Jessica a type of mini-trampoline for recovery and over-all springiness on her sprints, and amazing manoeuvres through the forest, of the body. though that’s a toughie!!! Jessica: For the most part, I’m Jessica: I want my barefoot doing the same exercises as running and barefoot cross Michael, though he’s more training to become more and disciplined than I am. I tend more fluid. While Michael to do my cross-training runs like a powerful steady spontaneously when I’m out on locomotive, running mile after the trails – balancing on tree mile after mile, I’m a sprint-walkstumps, running across logs, sprint-hop-sprint-climb-sprint climbing trees, etc. In the DVD, kind of runner. I’m sporadic I call it “Nature Play.” running in short bursts, burning out, recovering and going What are your personal goals again. Shorter recovery periods with barefoot running? would be fun and being even more nimble and light so that in Michael: To spend more a flash, I’m on the ground and time running, walking, and next thing you know I’m up in a connected to the earth, tree. Perhaps my real goal is to practicing more of what we Page 38

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manoeuvre like a ninja. Finally, a couple of questions for you to answer together: What’s a typical day like in the life of Michael and Jessica? Michael tends to head for the hills for an early morning run/ photo shoot, while Jessica hangs back to keep the business going. From there it’s an early-morning meditation, sitting on the earth, followed by time at our computers (sitting on grounding pads). We usually break mid-day for a raw-food lunch sitting on the front lawn (plus plenty of green smoothies through the day). Then we may head out to a farm to pick some greens, get a little more work done, then it’s out for a late afternoon/ early-evening run with the sunset out on the trails (camera always in tow); then back to unwind. We try and do as much as we can outside, and without electricity whenever possible, and keep the driving/ travel-time to a minimum. Every day we ask what’s the smallest eco-footprint we can make. What are your plans for the immediate future for RunBare and longer term plans?

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In our immediate future, we see a successful movie release, where runners of all kinds can be exposed to the joy of barefoot running. Next, we’ll be looking at where we can go to learn from indigenous people. We’re feeling the need to stretch our legs, travel, and learn about more natural ways that’s more in balance with Mother

Earth. Then in March we have the release of Barefoot Walking, a book for everyone we’re very excited about! There’s also the possibility of holding a multiday destination retreat over the winter. Right now we’re positioning RunBare to help educate people worldwide about connecting with the earth, sustainable

living practices, and how to live and heal more naturally. Thanks guys! We wish you all the best with RunBare Movie. For more info on Michael, Jessica and their company RunBare, please visit: www.runbare.com

Barefoot Running, The Movie: Free Your Feet to Minimize Impact, Maximize Efficiency and Discover the Pleasure of Getting in Touch with the Earth We had a blast working our tails off this winter, filming the ultimate barefoot running DVD in Maui, Hawaii. You’ll find everything you need to know about safely easing into barefoot running, from foot strengthening to proper posture, running form and recovery, all with a greater sense of awareness of your body and the world around you. Be inspired to go out and play like a kid again!

OUT NOW! www.runbare.comm Page 44

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Exercise and Movement Therapy is about re-educating your body to move as it was designed to move. It’s about releasing your body from restrictions that result from past injuries, emotional issues, tension and stress. Imagine how a dancer moves; with elegance, grace and control. Using physical exercises, 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.

Website: www.trbalance.com

tel: 0845 226 7303

email: info@trbalance.com

me organic is a holistic health and wellness business based in Richmond, London. 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 www.meorganic.co.uk for more info.

Summer 2012 Issue 5

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The Green Room Forest Park Marathon coming up, the Conservancy supervisor yells ‘Go!’

Jon and Katherine at the finish line

ever going to happen again in my life probably, but I’m actually walking from my door, two blocks to a marathon. I live near the Forest Park Conservancy, in northwest Portland and have already run its trails, so when I saw the sign for this marathon, I couldn’t resist, even with the perhaps steep price of $150. I’ll be saving money not having to drive, and all proceeds support the Park, which I’d do anyways. At Montgomery ‘Park,’ a huge office complex, and a well-known landmark around Portland, I get on one of the shuttle buses to take us to the actual start of the marathon. The half-marathoners will be starting an hour later in Macleay Park, my normal entry into Forest Park, only four blocks up the street, and we’ll all end there as well. The bus dumps us at a dirt road farther north, where we wait in Page 46

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the cold dark. Fortunately I actually have Katherine to talk to, who I met on a BRS meet-up about a month ago. This is her first marathon. It was going to be the Portland Marathon in two weeks, but I conned her into doing this, as a ‘training run.’ She’s another barefoot/ minimalist runner, sporting her VFFs today. I’m trying out my new Leadvilles, heavy duty huaraches from Barefoot Ted’s Luna Sandals. Some of the trails here are fairly rocky, and we’ll be on some gravelly roads, so I’m giving 6mm of rubber a try. We spot a few other VFFers. Also: a woman wearing Crocs! Does that count as minimalist or not? ‘Croc Lady’ says she’s been running in them for years now. She doesn’t like the toe sockets of the VFFs, though didn’t seem to be aware of minimalist shoes like Merrells. I never do get to ask her the why/how though. Without much ado, and the sun just

Barefoot Running Magazine

The road is less gravelly than the parts I run. My Leadvilles handle the rocks easily. Still occasional bumps, but these soles are thick! That said, Katherine is doing fine in her VFFs, running on the smoother edge of the road. It’s uphill, enough to keep us slow, but not so steep as to be annoying. We even pick up another VFFer after a while, down from Seattle for his first marathon as well. Dude’s got like four kids, including a new born. I don’t see how people like that can stay active enough to run marathons. Crazy. The first aid station, at Mile 8, is at the northern most part of the route. From here, the five or six of us in our ‘group’ line out on the Wildwood Trail, which runs the length of Forest Park. And although there are some small ‘ups,’ the trail generally seems to be going either level, or downhill-ish. And we’re off the gravel! This would be basically good barefoot terrain. Our pace so far: slow and steady. Not getting passed, and not passing many people, so about perfect. The only problem seems to be footing: Both Katherine and I take some spills. My Leadvilles are a little longer than I’m used too, so the tip catches on sticking out stuff. That, and/or I’m just a wee bit clumsy. The rest of our group eventually passes us, including Croc Lady. Katherine doing well, though starting to feel

doubts as we pass beyond 13.1 miles and into uncharted territory for her. At about Mile 16, she really wants to deploy her iPod and hear some music, which I understand. She needs tunes more than me for moral support, so we agree to separate. I feel bad for abandoning her, and I think she feels bad for holding me back, but we’d agreed ahead of time that we would both just run at our normal pace. She’ll be fine. I pick up the pace a little, and catch up to a guy with a weird technique, and/or he’s just got super long legs. Hardly looks like he’s moving at all, but I have a hell of a time keeping up. Weirdly, I find myself with energy. Instead of my normal ‘penguin waddle to the finish after burning out early,’ I’m actually still running, in large part to the still general downhillness, though also perhaps to my Leadvilles, allowing me to be not so dainty: I simply let gravity work, and don’t have to worry about poking my foot. Which leads to the question: whither my barefoot running? If I was doing this barefoot, I’d still be picking my way along that gravel road. Do I remain pure to barefooting, because it feels good, or do I go ‘heavy duty minimalist’ with Leadvilles and thereby increase my speed? And by barrelling down these hills, am I falling back into the potential injury zone that ‘normal’ shoes bring, putting more stress on my joints? I still feel like I’m running light, picking up my feet rather than slamming them down. I don’t know. Seems to be a question of, do I want to be a ‘barefoot runner’ (in which case I run slower) or a ‘runner’ (using barefooting or minimalist-ing, as an option).

I like races, and don’t view them so much as competition as ‘group efforts’, inspiring each other to run better, in the same way a yoga class makes one a better yoga practitioner than merely doing yoga at home. I just don’t want to be at the end of the pack and get to the finish when the organizers are already packing everything up. Going minimalist (at least on trail runs, not really on pavement) helps me go faster and keep up with shodheads, and I like being part of the pack. My thought-ramblings after twenty miles....‘

“I like races, and don’t view them so much as competition as ‘group efforts’, inspiring each other to run better .” ‘Normal’ runners appear - just out for their normal runs, the Park not closed off. Doesn’t slow things down, no crashes, though not the best day for a high school cross country team to be out running ‘against the stream.’ My energy level stays high, running faster now than some points in the first half. Again, downhill helps. If I keep lifting my feet fast enough, I can keep barrelling down, which in turn kind of inspires me to run faster in the straightaways. Or did I finally find the right combination of food to eat yesterday? Or is it the bagel and peanut butter from this morning? I don’t know, but I’m digging it. I even finally pass ‘Legs’ McGee, and people who passed me earlier, including that VFFer from Seattle, who’s now walking.

Oy. And now I’m in familiar territory, the Wildwood Trail I’ve run on. I know exactly where I’m going, and don’t even need the friendly volunteer pointing to the turnoff and saying, ‘Less than a mile to go!’ Time to kick it into overdrive! Of course this trail isn’t closed off, and it’s a popular one, so all kinds of normal people are out for a Saturday stroll, though they seem aware a race is going on and get out of my way. Still, weird, since I’m like the only runner I’ve seen for a while, and I don’t catch up to any. But voilà, there’s Macleary Park, with the finish line, and a kind of pathetic-looking crowd of about twenty people. But, they clap and cheer, and I sprint across the line. 5:01! Ha! A PR by a half-hour! Katherine comes in a half-hour later. Yes! Her first marathon! She did it! And in way better condition that I was when I did my first one. She also adds another possibility as to my quick finish: That the route might not be in fact 26.2 miles. While she started her Garmin a little late, it registers as her having gone 23 miles. So hmm.... Time to go. The best part? Simply walking four blocks back to my apartment and getting in a hot bath.

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Sashen speaks How NOT to start barefoot running ast year I was on a panel discussion about barefoot running. At one point, someone in the audience asked “So how do I transition to barefoot running?” Before I could respond, a well-respected physical therapist suggested the following:

The only reason I didn’t interrupt him was that I was in shock. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. But then he tossed out this next line: “Expect to spend about 2 to 3 years making the transition. That’s how long I’ve been doing it and I’m still not there.” And that’s when the politeness stopped. “Hold on,” I said, “this is completely upside down.” Danny Abshire from Newton jumped in as well, “Right, that’s Autumn 2012

I’ll tell you what Danny and I proposed, instead, in just a moment. But first, let’s back up to the question that started it all. “How do you transition!?”

“First, switch to a slightly lower heeled shoe than what you have. Run in that for a few months. Then add a racing flat, maybe one day a week for a while… then add an extra day every month, until you can run in those. Then maybe try something like Vibrams on a soft surface, like grass in a park. Work up to being able to run on the grass… then try a soft dirt path. Eventually you may be able to run on hard surfaces, but don’t do that too often. And I don’t recommend being totally barefoot because you could step on something.”

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The idea built into the question itself seems to make sense. If you’re wearing a motioncontrolled shoe with a 3″ heel and a $400 orthotic, it seems logical that you need to slowly wean yourself from all that support. It seems clear that you would need to get comfortable in a lower and lower heel until you’re ready for barefoot.

“The only reason I didn’t interrupt him was that I was in shock. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”

feet will change either your stride and biomechanics or the amount of sensation you’re feeling in your feet (or both) compared to being barefoot. So once you take off your shoes, or fully feel the ground, you’ll need to learn to move differently. Here’s where some people stop reading what I’m saying and respond with two arguments (to points I’m not making). First, they’ll say, “Oh, so you’re some sort of barefoot purist! Who are you to tell me what to wear or not wear?” To be clear, I’m not telling anyone what to wear and I’m not saying barefoot is the only way to be (the majority of my time I am in Invisible Shoes). This article is about the myth of “transitioning”, not about your footwear, or lack thereof.

Secondly, people will say, “Yes, but switching to a racing flat or zero-drop shoe will give your Achilles time to stretch and strengthen, and that better prepares you for being But things are not always as they barefoot. seem. ”To them I say, “Not always and, Here’s the bottom line: There is even if it were true, there’s a nothing that “prepares” you for better way.” being barefoot. Nothing. Keep in mind that the biggest Not “zero-drop” shoes (where reason for going totally barefoot your heel is at the same height is that feeling the ground with as the ball of your foot. Not your skin gives you the most Vibrams. Not a thinner insole. feedback about your form. Not even huaraches - more Feedback that, if you attend to about those in a second. it, can inspire you to change your gait to something more Anything that you put on your efficient, easy, and natural.

Barefoot Running Magazine

Running in Invisible Shoes is, really, the same… if they covered everywhere you stepped in 4-6mm of flexible rubber.

heels ever touch the ground (Not necessary… land mid or forefoot, but your heel can touch down. No need to do 200 yards of calf raises).

I’ve seen hundreds of people in VFFs (Vibram FiveFingers) or racing flats who still heel strike or have some other gait pattern where they aren’t getting much if any extra “Achilles strengthening and stretching”.

In other words, a little soreness is probably normal. A lot of soreness is telling you to try something different.

So, what’s the better way to “transition” that Danny and I chimed in with? Take off your shoes (or put on your Invisible Shoes), find the hardest and smoothest surface you can find (like a bike path or street) and run. But only do it for about 200 yards. Then see how you feel the next day. You may be sore, you may be fine. If you’re sore, wait until you’re not. Then go try again, and add 100 or 200 yards. Repeat. I think of this as the “Shampoo method” of barefoot running. Instead of “Lather, Rinse, Repeat,” it’s run a little, rest, repeat (and run a little more). Keep in mind, there are two types of soreness. One is from using muscles you haven’t used in a while, or using them in a way you haven’t used in a while (if ever), or using them a bit more than usual.

And this idea that you need to be on soft surfaces. Completely wrong. And wrong for the same reason that you don’t want to be in cushy running shoes. Give yourself a soft surface and the odds are good you’ll heel-strike. Plus, soft surfaces don’t give you the feedback you want, the kind that can help you quickly learn a new and better way to run. I’ve seen barefoot runners who’ve only run on grass, and they usually look like shod runners who lost their shoes. Instead of thinking that you can work your way to barefoot or huaraches slowly, go there immediately. But work your way up in time/distance slowly. All the strengthening that you want to do before you run barefoot, you’ll get that faster by running barefoot. To misquote Yoda’s famous lines “There is no try. Only do.” There is no transition, only run. “May the Force be with you.”

The other is from doing something wrong. Like doing way too much distance (which part of 200 yards was confusing to you?), or trying to stay on your toes without letting your Barefoot Running Magazine

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What’s new Products worth a look

‘Invisible Shoes’ have been rebranded and are now ‘Xero Shoes’. Along with the new brand, you can also now get the shoes in COLOUR! From salmon pink to mocca earth, you now really do have the wherewithal to create your own unique pair of huaraches. Xero Shoe founder, Steven Sashen, has put together a little video of the Xero Shoe premises and an introduction to some of the new colours – visit: www.youtube.com and search ‘Xero Shoes in COLOR’. To purchase Xero Shoes and find out more, visit: www.xeroshoes.com

We are pleased to inform you that you can now buy Xero Shoes from here in the UK! Tracy Davenport, a keen barefoot runner based in Brighton, set about investigating how to import the footwear after they became her shoe of choice for those situations when foot protection is necessary. Tracy is selling both custom made Xero Shoes and DIY kits, via her fantastic new website: www.barefootbritain.co.uk. Xero Shoes are becoming one of the most popular amongst the minimalist options and are the favourite choice for the Barefoot Running UK team. Drop in and visit Tracy’s website and get yourself a pair now!

This is a superfood, powdered drink containing a unique blend of antioxidants, developed to revitalise your body and mind after a challenging Bikram yoga session or just to help provide you with a boost at any time of day. It comes in two flavours - original and berry - and can be found, along with many other exciting yoga products, at www.urbanyoga.co.uk

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National news The latest national news he future of the Olympic Park in London was surrounded in doubt and controversy for many months leading up to the Games. However, modifications are now underway that will see the site transformed into a multipurpose sporting venue as well as offering thousands of new homes. There will be 25 different sporting activities on offer as well as open spaces for cycling, walking and running. Around 8,000 new homes will be created within 5 ‘new neighbourhoods’ and a number other events such as music and comedy shows will be held at the arena every year. For more information on the project, visit: Courtesy London Legacy Development Corporation

n 30th September over 9,000 people took part in this annual event which offers a variety of races from marathon distance right down to the ‘Wee Nessie’ – a mini race of 400m for children under five.

The first female runner not too far behind with a brilliant time of 2:54:54 was Avril Mason.

The winner of the marathon, which takes in breathtaking scenery throughout the route, was Ross Houston, completing the race in a very impressive 2:20:24.

To take part in this popular event next year, visit www.lochnessmarathon.com for more information.

Athletics is increasing in popularity The number of athletes registered with England Athletics has risen from 96,000 in 2007/8 to over 121,000! Page 44

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Each runner was fortified with a hot dinner at the end of the race, courtesy of Baxter’s.

The E.R.R.A has a new venue E.R.R.A will now hold their national road relays at Clumber Park in Notts. See the website for details! www.englishroadrunningassociation.co.uk

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Try this at home Listening to Your Body and Finding Your Form with the Feldenkrais Method® (by Jae Gruenke, GCFP)

arefoot running gives you the gift of sensation, of being able to immerse yourself in feeling how your body works every time you go out for a run. Besides being purely enjoyable, that ability to feel is also a powerful tool to test what you've read or been told about running form to see if it fits you and feels right. Sometimes, though, the answers can be hard to pin down. Why are some runs comfortable and others not? Should your heels ever touch the ground? What does “run tall” mean anyway? Why did you get injured? In my running, the Feldenkrais Method has allowed me to take listening to my body to a level where I can feel more, find answers, and help my clients do the same.

coordination, economy, health, performance, and pleasure. The method was developed by Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc., a distinguished scientist and engineer whose career included work at the Curie Institute in Paris in the 1930′s. He was also a respected Judo instructor, and was a founder of the Ju Jitsu Club in Paris. It was, however, in the relationship between bodily movement and our ways of thinking, feeling and learning that Feldenkrais achieved his greatest success. An injury to his knee in his youth threatened Feldenkrais with severe disability in middle age.

The Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education® is a technique for learning how to move and function better using many of the same principles children use when they’re originally learning: exploration and experimentation, variation, listening to your body, and seeking out the most comfortable, easy, and enjoyable ways of doing things. For runners, this method brings Page 52

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Despite being given little hope of ever walking normally, Feldenkrais refused surgery and instead applied his extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, psychology and engineering, as well as his mastery of martial arts, to healing his own knee. His insights contributed to the development of the new field of somatic education, and continue to influence disciplines such as medicine, gerontology, the arts, education, and psychology. As a Feldenkrais practitioner specializing in working with runners – I've even been called a “running form guru” – I've been asked to help with many knees, feet, hips, backs, and so forth. Most of the runners who come to me have been seen by medical professionals first, who've looked at them with the question, “what is wrong with this body part?” – with unsatisfactory results.

A group of runners listens intently to Jae’s advice

My job is to look at how the person runs and does other movements with the question, “How is the way this person moves their whole body stressing the painful part?” It's an engineering question, really. And once I get the answer it's my job to help the person feel, step by step, how to safely change their movement so they use their structure better, reducing the stress. What that means is that they learn to use their body the way it really works, and naturally that feels easier and more comfortable than using it badly. On the face of it that may not sound earth-shattering, but what it boils down to for runners is this: good running form feels easier, not harder! The idea that you should “work” on your running form has become quite common, along with the idea that good form feels disciplined and takes a lot of energy, and falls apart once you get tired or allow your mind to wander. Not so! If that's what your “good” running form feels like to you, it's either not really that good for you or you've achieved it by forcing it on your body instead of relaxing until it emerges.

way is not actually good form, and it's not what I'm proposing. Running involves plenty of effort and a certain kind of tautness, and if you try to let it go you'll end up working harder. This is where the Feldenkrais Method really is indispensable, allowing you to safely test all your assumptions about what effort and movements are necessary to run and do only that, no more and no less. Over the years of studying running and the Feldenkrais Method, running myself, and working with clients ranging from beginner to Olympian, I've found a number of fundamental elements of good distance running form that people naturally adopt once they can really feel what they're doing. They are:  leaning forward from the 

 

The fact that good running form is easier than bad running form is why it improves your performance. You waste less energy fighting yourself and the laws of physics and instead channel it into covering ground. Even if performance isn't a focus for you, the ability to run freer and faster really is a whole lot of fun. Now since I've mentioned the word “relaxing,” let me clarify that running in a limp or floppy

ankles keeping the face upright by sliding the skull forward on the atlas vertebra (this wouldn't be good posture for anything else, but for running it's essential) bending the elbows more sharply than 90 degrees keeping the hands close to torso, swinging diagonally or in a circular motion allowing counter rotation of the torso – upper body turns, pelvis makes a gentle figureeight motion landing midfoot or forefoot essentially underneath rather than in front of the body in a forefoot landing, allowing the heel to descend to the ground

Athletes who play sports involving running generally run this way, since the extra demands of functioning in the game make it too costly to run

any other way. Children from about age six upwards generally run this way as well if they've been physically active and not too heavily shod or wired as they've grown. World-class marathoners – especially those raised barefoot! – generally run this way. These basic elements of good form are footwear-neutral; they stem from what Feldenkrais called our “biological inheritance,” meaning we evolved with a structure that works best this way. So this is barefoot running form, or “natural running form,” and conventionally shod runners run healthiest and best when they learn to run this way as well. There are a few popular running form recommendations that aren't on this list because they interfere with the fundamental ways the body works – and you won't see children doing them, nor will you do them when you're really tired:  running upright with the torso       

perpendicular to the ground tucking the chin lifting the chest pulling the shoulders back tightening the core attempting to “stabilize” the pelvis running with the elbows at 90 degrees or straighter swinging the arms strictly front-to-back (also called “sagittally”)

If it's difficult to picture some of the things I'm talking about, you can take a look at videos we've created and posted on the “resources” page of my American website, www.balancedrunner.com. You'll also find them on our Facebook page and YouTube

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channel. However, as a Feldenkrais practitioner I have to ask you not to try too hard to follow my advice! Let me say again that these elements of good running form work when they emerge from learning how to reduce your effort and do only what is necessary to run. If you force them to happen you'll be increasing the tension in your body and courting disaster. Please keep this as your guiding principle: instead of working on your running form, keep asking yourself where you can feel extra effort or work you could let go of, and then keep your mind open to the possibility that the elements of good form that I've described can emerge. Enjoy!

Jae Gruenke is a Feldenkrais Practitioner certified by the Feldenkrais Guilds of North America and the UK. Known as a “running form guru,” she is the Founder and CEO of The Balanced Runner™ in New York City and The Balanced Runner UK. Currently based in Edinburgh, she works with clients one-to-one and teaches workshops throughout the US and UK. For more information and resources, or to arrange a workshop please go to www.balancedrunner.co.uk. Ask Jae about your running form questions on www.facebook.com/ TheBalancedRunner or www.twitter.com/jaegruenke. Copyright Jae Gruenke 2012

Minimalist shoes • Supplements Books • Huarache kits • Vitamins For thoughts on barefoot running and general health, visit Anna Toombs’s blog: www.barefootrunninguk.blogspot.co.uk

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If you wish to advertise in Barefoot Running Magazine, please send an email to: info@bfrm.co.uk or call 0845 226 7302

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How to: Tie slip-on Huaraches uaraches can be the ultimate minimalist footwear. If you use a sole that’s thin enough, flexible enough, and strong enough, you can get the benefits of being barefoot, plus a layer of protection that can get you through some tricky terrain without a worry. Plus, they look cool! The traditional tying style used by the Tarahumara looks a bit like you’re going to a toga party – not saying that’s a bad thing, but it may not be your thing. Also, that style requires you to lace up your sandals every time you put them on. And some people find that you need to lace the sandals tightly to get a secure fit. Here’s a stylish and functional solution for you: A tying style that lets you slip your sandals on and off in under a second, and is secure enough to get you through a marathon (or longer!). It may take you a bit of experimenting to find the “sweet spot,” where the tension feels just right, but once you do, you may never re-tie your sandals… ever. I’ve got a pair that haven’t been retied in over 3 years!

Setup – Basic Huarache ing Pattern


Most huarache tying styles start with a “basic pattern” and that’s where we begin… If you’re not sure about what materials to use, or where to punch the various holes (toe hole and ankle holes), check out www.XeroShoes.com/howto. For this tying style, you’ll need about 4-6’ of a non-stretch lace depending on the size of your foot. In many of the pictures that follow, I’ve removed the extra lace to make it easier to see the lacing technique. If you have a hard time finding one, they’re available at www.XeroShoes.com/store/ In these instructions, I’m using a Boulder Sky coloured Xero Shoes sole made of FeelTrue™ rubber. These come with the pre-punched, reinforced ankle holes; you just put the toe hole where it belongs for your unique foot shape.

The toe knot – different huaraches have different ways of securing the lace under the sole (it’s between your toes and flattens out; you don’t feel it). This is a Figure-8 knot that’s been heated to seal the lace, and then pressed flat with a pair of pliers. (there are instructions for making a Figure-8 knot on our website).

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Thread the lace down through the OUTSIDE ankle hole. You’ve now created the “Toe Strap.” Next bring the lace round the Toe Strap, from the front, toward the back. m ad

Now thread the lace down through the inside ankle hole (you have now made the “Heel Strap”). Bring the lace around the Heel Strap, from the back to the front.

Firstly, place your foot in on the sole, with the toe strap between your 1st & 2nd toes and the heel strap around, you guessed it, your heel.

This is the basic huarache tying pattern… Now, let’s tie them in a “slip-on” style#1 (yes there are others, but this is our favourite). A

Adjust the tension of the toe strap so it’s “finger tight”. You may find that you like your toe strap tighter (a straighter line between the toe hole and outside ankle hole), or looser… but start here. Also adjust the tension of the heel strap so that it’s snug, but not so tight that it moves your foot forward on the sole. If the heel strap is too loose, your heel may slide left/right when you run.

Next we’ll be tying a “Double Half Hitch.” Here’s how: Wrap the lace around over the top of the toe strap. Put the “extra” lace toward the front of your foot. You’ve now created the “Inside Ankle Strap”. Adjust the tension of the Inside Ankle strap… you want the lace to feel secure, but not unpleasantly tight in 3 areas: The toe strap (between the toe hole and the knot you’re making), the outside ankle strap (between the knot and the outside ankle hole), and the inside ankle strap).

Now bring the lace back over the Inside Ankle Strap. Thread the lace under what is now becoming the “Outside Ankle Strap” (the section between the knot we’re tying in the Toe Strap and the Outside Ankle Hole). Note the loop that you’ve created with the lace, nearer your ankle.

The next step is to bring the lace back through that loop I just mentioned. Tighten the knot. You may want to adjust the tension of the various sections of the lace.

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If you want to be ULTRA minimalist, you can just trim off the extra lace and you’re done! When you want to take off the huarache, just slide the heel strap down off your heel. When you want to put it on, put your foot all the way in, then pull the strap over your heel. It may feel a tiny bit tight as you go around the heel, but then it’ll “lock in” around the Achilles tendon.

Many people, though, find that doubling up the lace is a bit more comfortable and secure. So, let’s continue… Thread the lace under the heel strap by the inside of your ankle. You now have 2 Inside Ankle Straps.

Now thread the lace under the bottom of the two inside ankle straps. Bring the lace around your heel, above the existing heel strap. Pull the lace all the way to “lock it” around the inside ankle hole.

Pull the lace all the way through until you have doubled up the heel strap, then thread the lace up under the bottom of the 2 heel straps. Pull the lace all the way through to “lock” it around the outside ankle hole.

Thread the lace under the outside ankle strap.

The last step is locking the lace in the top knot, the double half hitch. But you can’t do this with your foot in the shoe. Remove your foot from the huarache by pulling the heel straps down over your heel. Then loosen the double half hitch. Thread the lace through the “hole” you’ve created, essentially doubling up the outside ankle strap.

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Pull the lace all the way through, and then tighten the knot. That’s it! If you like, just cut off the extra lace… or…

Now some people like to get decorative with the extra lace. This not only adds some style, but it keeps the extra lace on your foot… if something ever breaks, you’ve got the “spare tire” right with your foot! Here are a few ideas of what you can do. You can wrap the extra around the outside ankle strap.

You can make more double half hitches down the toe strap.

You can make more double half hitches down the toe strap.

You can go “half-toga” and wrap the extra around your ankle (obviously, this changes the slip-on nature of this tying style).

Or you can trim off most of extra and then tie a little knot around the toe strap. To slide off your sandal, just pull the heel straps down over your heel. Then hold the knot with one hand, slide your foot all the way forward, then pull the heel straps over your heel.

Again, it might be a bit snug as you go over your heel, but then loosen up and lock in place when the heel straps are in position over your Achilles. In just a short time, you’ll see that you can slide your huaraches on and off in under a second! If you use a lace like the ones we do, the lace itself won’t stretch, but the knots may “settle” over your first few days of using this style. If you need to re-tie it, it’s simple. If something merely feels a bit too snug, just tug on that section a bit. If something’s a bit too loose, tighten it, and work your way around the lacing pattern to get rid of any slack. Enjoy! Barefoot Running Magazine

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Write back at you Why are we so serious, it’s just running?

ace Directing today is a lot different than it was ten years ago, before the Facebooks and Twitters, changed the way feedback was provided for races. What was once a well thought out email or letter to the RD after the race is now an emotion driven one liner visible for all to see before the RD can respond. Knowing that reality, and seeing it play out over and over again after races on the internet I’ve gotten more frustrated about the way my fellow runners handle their complaints. Before I go any further let me say that I’m not perfect and have issued a complaint before but I would never call out someone on a public forum for the way a Page 60

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race went. I issued a complaint earlier this year after a race, but did it through email directly with the RD. I explained the situation, the RD apologizing for the slight mishap, the incident was resolved and we both moved on. Does this make me any different than anyone that has ever complained? Yes, because I chose to keep my issue between myself and the Race Director and not cause the internet world to become a buzz about an issue that was mostly my fault. Over the last five months I have participated in several races and have volunteered at others and the underlying issue seems to be that everyone thinks

Barefoot Running Magazine

they’re entitled to getting a 100 mile buckle. I’m not sure who said any hundred mile race was easy let alone some of the races that take place in elevation or on rough terrain. These Race Directors put their heart and souls, money, and time into putting on a race and some of the comments I see and hear just blow me away. In order to even have the opportunity to become an RD you must have a passion for the sport of trail running, be extremely organized, not be a person worried about making a dollar but instead be okay with losing a few dollars, have a great bond within the trail community, and be willing to sacrifice yours and your family’s time in order to put on an event. I’m an organized person but I can’t read a map let alone produce topography maps and set up a 100 mile point to point course through a mountain range. I’m not going to go over any specific examples that have come up but I do want to touch on a few topics that always seem to come up with a few runners. The Aid Stations Were Terrible and the Volunteers Weren’t Helpful You can’t fault the Race Director for not knowing what each individual eats and drinks for a race? They allow drop bags at several aid stations as a service to help the runners out in case they have special dietary needs or are partial to one item or another. Most Race Directors go out of their way to

buy several different types of food so everyone can enjoy something. Remember you’re paying $250-$300 (£155 -£185) for a race so you shouldn’t expect prime rib.

“The volunteers who have given up the day or night (often times both) with their family to help you, the runner succeed ” We’ve all heard people say that the volunteers weren’t helpful or didn’t know anything but let’s remember what they are. They’re volunteers who have given up the day or night (often times both) with their family to help you, the runner succeed throughout the day. Yes, some aid station workers are better than others but

when you’re an RD it’s not always easy to find enough help. There are so many things that we can do as a runner to assist the volunteers in getting us in and out of the aid station but very few people realize it. If you’re wearing a hydration pack, don’t just hand it to the volunteer, explain to them where the bladder is and how to open it up. Those things stick together and some are buried deep into packs so it takes a little extra time for the people to figure them out. If you have bottles tell them exactly what you would like in your bottles such as half Gatorade/half water. Don’t expect that they will know what you want because you’ve been to that aid station before. We all change our minds during a run and sometimes certain drinks or foods no longer taste good. If you have a drop bag have your pacer call out your number and bag colour so they can easily access it. They want to help you and get you your items but with 200 bags it is not always a quick process.

A well stocked aid station at the Oil Creek 100

The Course Markings Were Few and Far Between Again let me start by saying I’m one of the worst, if not worst navigators in all of trail running so I’m careful about my selection of races. There are races that I know require navigation skills and there are races where I know they will idiot proof the course and I will probably still go off track. I try to avoid courses that are extremely long between aid stations because I like confirmation that I’m going the right direction. Most trail markings are done on a volunteer basis and the RD explains certain areas to look out for but remember that the person marking the trail often does a section by what they think will be the most valuable to the runner. I’ve seen markings around cairns on the ground because the section was so steep and they knew no one would be looking up, flour at junctions, flags, and usually there are no markings or confidence markers along forest roads until you need to make a turn. This is usually done to keep you from second guessing yourself and it allows the runners to relax and make up some time over that section. If you’re constantly looking for markers along a road it will slow you down and a missed marker or two can lead to serious confusion. Race Directors have pre-race meetings to go over areas that might be questionable, so if you’re like me make it a point to be there and listen. Don’t just assume the person in front of you knows where they’re going because it could be me. Before I conclude on this topic it is important to remember that navigating the course and course knowledge is the

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ultimate responsibility of the runner. The Cut-offs Were Too Tight I only bring this issue up because it’s a common complaint amongst runners but let’s face it most cut-off are extremely generous. I ran Javelina Jundred last year and the cut-off was 30 hours which is 16.5 hours after the winner came in but yet I still heard people say they needed more time. I understand that only the elites are going to run a 13.5 hour 100 mile race but for the safety of the runners they have to set cut-offs. As I said earlier signing up for a hundred mile race does not guarantee you anything and any given day you could DNF. I had to DNF at mile 67 of Pine to Palm and I was in the best shape of my life but I just couldn’t pull myself together. I was sick and while I had 16 hours to finish the last 33 miles I thought it was in the best interest of the RD and me to make the decision to drop.

I’ve been at races where the 50 mile cut-off is 16 hours and people are coming in around 17-18 hours and are complaining that the cut-offs are not fair. I don’t think an RD can send you back out with a good conscious because they don’t want you to get hurt or end up in the hospital. If you do the math on some of these cut-offs they’re giving you an average of 20 minutes a mile. Most of us will have a few of those during a race and maybe even a 40 minute mile if you include a hard climb and an aid station but the rest of the miles will not be run anywhere close to a 20 minute per mile pace. Very few runners will start a race at 20 a minute pace and finish a race. Most start around 12-15 minutes so getting 20 minutes is more than sufficient. Aid stations seem to be the biggest killers for most runners, spending just 3-5 minutes at 18 aid stations results in a 54-90 minute slow down in your race. I think it’s important to race plan before

Running under a beautiful sky during the Javelina Jundred

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hand and decide which aid stations will require you to spend more time at them and which ones you can be out with just a change of bottles. I’ve seen so many people lay down or go to their car for a few hours and then rally to finish a race but if you miss a cut-off because you decided early on to rest it is no one’s fault but your own. Remember to avoid the chair, it’s a death trap and is the number one cause of DNF’s in my personal beliefs. I realize this seems entirely like a big rant but as a trail runner I want to see Race Directors succeed because without their time, money, knowledge, and inspiration we have nothing but fat ass runs. I know we all have a gripe or two sometimes and as I said I’ve said things before in private but respect the volunteers and if you have an issue bring it up with the RD after or during the race. It’s not fair to the race or the race director to air your grievances on Facebook or Twitter before they even have a chance

to fix the issue. They want everyone to succeed at their race, not just the elites. They’re always open to suggestions and most of them welcome them. We need to remember that if running a hundred miles was easy, everyone would do it. It’s one of the greatest accomplishments in running so be proud of yourself for just toeing the line and if it’s not your day, don’t crush the people whose day it is. Don’t be afraid to sign up and volunteer for a race because it’s through giving back that you learn just how much Race Directors put into race planning, how much they love the sport and want to give us all the opportunity to compete against friends on the trails. Their job is not exactly fun or profitable so why do they do it? They do this because they have a love for the sport and want to give back to the trail community by providing a place for us to compete and have fun with our friends.

My name is Jay Danek and I am a 35 year old Ultra runner from Scottsdale, Arizona. I am relatively new to the running world in the last two and a half years, but with the support of my wife Traci and daughter Petra I have found a sport that I really love. For anyone that isn’t familiar, an Ultra is any run that is longer than a marathon typically ranging from 50K to100 miles. I have found my niche in this

world and met some great athletes and people along the way. Arizona is home to many elite Ultra runners (Dave James, James Bonnett, Nick and Jamil Coury, Paulette Zillmer, Honey Albrecht) and they are the most encouraging group of people you will ever meet. This is not a sport that has athletes with egos; it is a community of one and we all look out for each other because these races are not against a clock, they are a race against the mind and body. If you can tackle the mental aspect of a100 mile run, your body is more than capable of doing the rest. I have always struggled with anxiety and when I am out running there is nothing on my mind except my family and the task at hand. It is so nice to clear my head and just concentrate on the mountains around me. (www.mcdowellmountainman.com)

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On track News from the sporting arena Jessica Ennis

Mo Farah

o Farah and Jessica Ennis, Olympic champions, have scooped the male and female ‘European Athlete of the Year’ Award. Mo has produced one great performance after another and we’ll never forget his double gold at London 2012 in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres. Mo has also set up a foundation to help people in East Africa suffering from disease and starvation and is the proud new father of twins! After winning the ‘European Athletics Rising Star Award’ five years ago, Jessica Ennis has proved that she thoroughly deserved it. She was in superb shape at this year’s London 2012 and produced three personal bests out of the seven heptathlon events. She has also received the title of British Athlete of the Year, along with David Weir David Weir, the incredible Paralympic athlete for whom distance seems irrelevant; he won FOUR gold medals at the London Games in the 800m, 1500m, 5000 metres and the marathon!

Usain Bolt signs for Rio. After much media speculation, Usain Bolt has confirmed that he will be defending his 200m title at Rio in 2016, rather than opting for long jump or something completely different – football! Page 64

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IOC chairman would welcome another London bid. The IOC was so impressed with the Games this year that they would welcome another London bid soon – perhaps in the next 20 years!

ontroversy surrounding Lance Armstrong, one of the biggest names associated with elite cycling in recent years, remains rife as repercussions from his alleged drug use continue to unfold. The International Cycling Union (UCI) has accepted findings by the United States Anti-Doping Agency and stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles. The majority of evidence appears to be based on testimonials from former, fellow teammates of Mr Armstrong when he rode for the USPS/ Discovery channel team. A number of them have revealed that there was drug use throughout the team and indeed, throughout the sport as a whole. Some current cycling pros such as Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish are disappointed in the findings and feel that it puts a stain on the sport, whilst others, like Miguel Induran (five times Tour de France winner) for example, still believes Mr Armstrong is innocent.

onny Brownlee, brother of London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist Alistair Brownlee, has won the World Triathlon series Grand Final in New Zealand. Despite the poor weather conditions, he pushed hard to victory and after the race said, “I am pleased the season’s over, it’s been a long year and I’m tired now”. No kidding! Congratulations to Jonny and we hope he enjoys a well-deserved rest!

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International news The latest international news

his series of 34 races, ranging from 5k’s to half marathons, will see a total of 371 km covered in numerous cities throughout the world, with 395,500 taking part. The first race was on 26th August in Riga, Latvia and the last race happens on 15th December in Santiago, Chile. Nike is making use of all the latest technologies, including the Nike+ Running App for iphone, so that people can be part of a big community as their race approaches, with access to coaching advice and training programmes as well as being able to monitor and share their progress.

The amazing Jenn Shelton breaks course record

For more information, visit: www.nikeinc.com

or those of you who’ve read Born to Run you’ll be familiar with the incredible running abilities of Jenn Shelton.

ennis Driscoll is the newest recruit at Xero Shoes and joins the team as Chief Development Officer. He has vast experience in the industry, being co-founder of Avia Athletic Footwear and former Global Design Director for Crocs.

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You may have been wondering what she’s been up to since that infamous trip to the Copper Canyons back in 2006, particularly as there are interviews in which she states that she’s finished with ultramarathons and focusing on much shorter, manageable distances. However, we’re pleased to hear that she is still very much an ultrarunning Goddess, having just completed the Pine to Palm 100 mile race, setting a new course record with a time of 22:24:24.

Barefoot Running Magazine

She is also keen to complete the 223 mile John Muir trail, which runs from Mount Whitney to Yosemite National Park and beat the current record of three days, fourteen hours and thirteen minutes. She has had two failed attempts due to weather problems last year and complications this year with her running partner dropping out with a knee injury and her own struggles with the difficult task of coordinating appropriate sleep and nutrition. Despite this, she’ll no doubt keep pushing until she’s succeeded – a true inspiration to all of us, whether we’re aspiring to complete our first ultramarathon or first 5k.

his September, the 12th Annual Lobster Dash 5 mile race took place at Ogunquite Beach in ME. The event was created in memory of Greg Gumbinner who passed away in 2000 in a plane crash. Mr Gumbinner’s family wanted to celebrate his love of running and sporting activity in general as well as his love of food – hence, the male and female winners win an ‘all you can eat’ dinner! Of particular note this year, the female winner, in a very respectable time of 33:09, completed the race barefoot! Rachel Provost is pictured here demonstrating great form and determination! For more info about the race, visit: www.lobsterdash.com

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The society pages What’s happening within the Barefoot Runners Society up, down, and through it to see if I could handle the bending. Then I decided to try some ladders and monkey bars. Since nobody was looking I tried the little climbing walls, which were maybe 7'. I always thought climbing walls were the exclusive domain of Trustafarians, but they were pretty fun. I never bothered with them before because I am scared of heights and because I don't like Trustafarians (ok, I don't like anybody but you get the idea). I climbed around in several circuits (I did at least refrain from the slides) for about 40 minutes and got pretty sweaty but without blistering my hands. I figure it is a pretty good workout and maybe if I do it more I can do the adventure race. just got back from the playground. Yes, the playground. Why would a stodgy, 30-something, child-free woman nicknamed "The FunSucker", who glares perpetually go to the playground? I am trying to decide if I am still limber enough/have achieved a minimal amount of upper body strength to handle a 5k adventure race. I've been to the park in question before because there is a hiking trailhead there. I'd noticed there was a big geometric monkey bars thing about 12-15' tall, so I thought I'd go climb on it this morning early while there were no kids around. I don't like kids and make a conscious effort to avoid them. Page 68

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When I got there I discovered the geometric monkey bars thing was actually made out of rope but that was ok for what I wanted to do.

I like to read books that encourage natural health and fitness, but I usually ignore the stuff about "embrace wonder" and "playing" because I find it to be a bit "whoo" I was wearing VFFs but barefoot (pronounced like "wu", not to would have been fine. There be confused with "woo" as in was also, I discovered, a set of romantic courtship). While I slides, tunnels, horizontal bars, like to do unconventional ladders, and mini climbing things, like not wear shoes or walls. The playground is wear weird shoes, I come labeled for 5-12 year olds but from a fairly reserved/sedate fortunately/unfortunately due cultural/social background to the obesity epidemic I weigh where attention-seeking is pretty much the same as the frowned upon, plus I'm average American 12 year old anti-social. Therefore I do my and I have been this tall since own thing but try not to be I was 12, so I figured I wouldn't outrageous about it, which bust anything. generally means avoiding any and all activities/philosophies I climbed up and down the rope that could be described as thing for a while then I climbed "whoo". I have now decided

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perhaps I need to reconsider the level of whooness for this playing business, as I have now found it can be done in an adult fashion that generally isn't bothersome. Does anybody else use playgrounds for cross training? If you don't I think you should. I don't see any reason to be embarrassed about it since lots of people have kids and they can pretend they are playing with them to avoid judgmental stares. By the way, here's how I got that name (along with the fact that I don't drink, smoke, swear, or stay up late): Husband: Can we.... Husband: That looks fun... Husband: Let's go... Husband: Hun, watch this... Husband: Look at the cute child/puppy/other baby animal... Husband: Can you come clean up my blood and close this large wound? Husband: Can you come get me out of the ditch? Husband: You’re ok with me testing incendiary devices in the kitchen right? Husband: Drying waterproofed stuff in the oven is a good idea right? Me: NO!

o it’s my one year anniversary for running barefoot. I don't have the exact date, but it was about this time. I started walking barefoot a couple weeks before running, and that was at the end of August 2011. First barefoot run was about this time in September 2011. My last shod race was 17th Sept 2011, after that race I never ran in cushioned shoes again. That race is fast approaching and I'll see what I can pull off barefoot.

for me currently, breaking the half I did a month ago by a few tenths. Last year, shod, 6 miles was a long run for me and 8 was the most I had ever done. Either of these often left me with pains for days. The half marathon in August left me in a bit of pain as well, and a couple weeks later getting the mileage back up to around 12 miles left me just a little sore for a day or two as well. But yesterday’s 13.5 mile run / 13.5 bike left me feeling just great today! It’s amazing to be able to experience your Anyhow to celebrate the event body adapting to these new I decided to just go out for a distances. I know this isn’t long run on a trail I wanted to much compared to most of run back in my shod days but you all but like I said about 6-8 never imagined I could do the mile was as far as I ever went whole thing. Well I did the shod. whole thing, and it is a distance Tristan, Ohio USA Chapter

as people make their own individual transitions towards barefoot and minimalist running The ‘Ask the docs’ forum forms and the doctors are on hand a very valuable part of the BRS to offer their expertise and website. All the resident doctors guidance for any injury-related are barefoot runners themselves questions. and believe in the link between this natural method of running If you find yourself with an issue and reduced injury. or niggle, take a look at the forum posts because someone However, there are still issues may well have experienced that crop up along the way the same thing and there will

already be a useful thread on there. If not, ask your question and one of the doctors will get back to you with some suggestions. Dr Emily Splical, Podiatrist and Human Movement Specialist, is the newest member of the team and has already been offering some sound advice on matters such as foot pain and creaky knees!

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

Hi, I'm currently in the final year of a Maters degree in sports engineering at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow). For my dissertation this year I've chosen to look at the effect that barefoot running has on reducing the risk of ankle injuries. The reason for this is that I suffer from chronic ankle instability as a footballer and I’m becoming more and more frustrated by it. My plan for the project was to carry out some action based research. i.e. actually take up barefoot running myself and recording any changes which I see. Unfortunately this is not sufficiently robust to be considered strong evidence in an academic context; therefore I will also be looking at comparing some of doing some tests on two groups: the first group would be those who Page 70

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run wearing standard trainers and the second group would be those who habitually run in minimalist trainers or barefoot. The are certain characteristics which increase an individuals likelihood of suffering from an ankle injury such as poor balance, asymmetries in foot strength, and foot position when landing, the tests would look to measure each of these characteristics in the two groups and try and identify if there are any significant differences between them. Unfortunately the major difficulty with this approach is that I don’t actually know anyone who barefoot runs! I appreciate that you are probably very busy but if you were able to provide me with some contacts around the Glasgow area (or even just

Barefoot Running Magazine

Scotland!) who you know are barefoot runners and would possibly be interested in taking part it would be greatly appreciated! Alternatively if anyone involved in "Barefoot running UK" is interested I’d be absolutely delighted to here from you. Thank you for taking the time to read this fairly lengthy email. Thanks Craig, Glasgow

EdFor your chance to win a copy of Run Strong • Run Free email us your letters to letters@bfrm.co.uk

It's a small world Went for a barefoot run around the perimeter of the lake inset at one of Swansea’s business parks this morning. Some real nice smooth pavements around the perimeter for a lot of the way which made a nice change. The route is 3 miles around and I went around twice, not a bad route if you are staying at the Mercure hotel, Phoenix Way. Within a minute of leaving hotel got bibbed by someone trying to tell me I had no shoes on really, sorry I hadn't noticed! On leaving our site today I was talking with the taxi driver and barefoot running came up. Do you run barefoot, really? She asked. Of course. Oh God, I think I saw you this morning by the Mercure Hotel! Passenger said,” look, barefeet runner”. The taxi driver said she couldn't believe it and almost crashed. Made me laugh, she was funny but was really interested in why I run barefoot.

Passing on the wisdom My daughter has been indoctrinated! - she found a book on how to run a marathon that I was given before running the London marathon many moons ago and she said, “look they are saying you should heel strike in this book what nonsense!"

More zero drop please! I was treated to a tour of the Walsh running shoe factory by the owner Dennis Crompton last week.

Fascinating to see the process from start to finish. A really good guy who liked the shoes so much, he bought the factory Phil (via email). in 1996. We need to persuade him to made a version without a midsole. I am working on Shoe him. I have told him that if he makes a zero drop version, Recommendations we will have no shortage of runners willing to test them out. Chris (barefootbeginner.com)

How about this one?

Hi all, I just thought I'd share with you a little discovery I had this morning about a possible cheaper barefoot running shoe...I don't run as Ricardo (via Facebook). much as I should but when I do, I'm a barefoot convert… but I have to admit to being a bit of a wimp in the cooold Edand rain. I bought myself Hi Ricardo some Vivobarefoot Neo trails (mainly because I like the Different responses in different colours [smiley face] but places too. We were amazed found they don't feel in Liverpool how many people barefoot enough for me, so just came up and asked us why this morning tried out my we were running barefoot dinghy sailing wetsuit shoes, both when we were running in and they were brilliant! a group and teaching drills. They're really thin, so I felt virtually barefoot, kept my Genuine interest, no nasty feet warm, and I had an ace comments or anything like that. time splashing through all the Such a contrast with London puddles in them...best of all where people just often stare or they're only £25! steer their children well clear as though we might be dangerous! Vicky , London k

Hi all, just a quick post for another potential barefoot shoe which I haven't seen mentioned. I've been using (ie; living in) a pair of Teva 'silch' sandles for about 4 months now, and think they're brilliant for all day use and running in. They are pretty durable and don't mind getting wet, easy to care for, I just chuck em in the washing machine and very comfortable. They have an unusual toe retention thingy which means getting the right size is important but haven't experienced any chaffing issues. I got mine through Snow and Rock but if you need a half size you will have to look elsewhere. Size wise I have an eight but really need a seven and half which is a whole size smaller than my usual shoe. They have a great sole which has loads of grip even in the wet. Well worth checking out.

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Kevin, via facebook Autumn 2012

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Page 72 Autumn 2012 Barefoot Running Magazine August 2011 Volume 1 Issue 2 Page 80

Summer 2012 Issue 5

Page 80

Minimal review Out-of-the-box review: Ozark Sandals Ozark Sandals are lightweight, rope sandals that have been in production since 1983. The company is owned by a mother who wanted to work from home and it just grew from there!


I really loved the styling. The ropes cross over your feet in a simple but decorative manner and there are plenty of different colours to choose from. Some people might find the look a little ‘chunky’.


The fit was a bit trickier as my feet always seem to be between sizes. They just slip on but feel very secure, possibly a little restrictive if you’re used to wearing very flexible shoes. Worth emailing the company so that you get the correct size.

Build quality

These shoes are handmade extremely well. You can feel the durability as you wear them, without them feel cumbersome. These shoes will not be falling apart any time soon!


We usually rate performance in terms of running, although these shoes don’t really fit into the ‘running’ category. They’re more of a daily wear shoe and for that, they perform very well.


Barefoot simulation

This is not a shoe I would choose to run in but they are a great option for daily wear and they are surprisingly light. Compared to the Xero shoe, you will find them more restrictive/stiffer.



They are between $35 and $40 which is very reasonable, given their quality. Shipping to the UK is around $10 so a very decent option for an everyday summer shoe.

Build quality


Barefoot simulation

This is not a shoe I would choose to run in but they are a great option for daily wear and they are surprisingly light. Not as flexible as some of the other minimalist options.



Price Overall rating

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Minimal review results Rating






Build Quality



and Model


Out-of-the-box trail test results

ttHuman Foot My Foot


Kigo Drive


Merrell Trail Glove


Ozark Sandals Tri Black Sandals


Vibram FiveFingers Classic Sprint




Xero Shoe

4mm Invisible Shoe


www.trekoblog.com / The method and the images presented here are owned by Scott Hadley, PhD, DPT. Copyright Š 2011, Scott Hadley, PhD, DPT. All rights reserved.

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Barefoot Running Magazine

Backchat There is more than one way to skin a cat t’s a sad fact of the human condition that we will not accept that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Look at martial arts: throughout my years in the martial arts world I have consistently been asked - and on some occasions challenged - to come up with the ultimate art style. The form that will destroy all others. While this is a great conversation piece over a pint or three, analyzing strategies and moves, the truth of the matter is that all arts have their pros and cons – one strength being another’s weakness, much like the basic premise of the game Rock, Paper, Scissors. However, with martial arts, it is the individual practitioner that gives the art substance with their ability, understanding and skills, not merely the techniques of a particular art style. To some this is not acceptable. They have been led to believe by the modern society that there is always the ‘ultimate’, be it a martial art, car, football team or even religion (let’s not go there!), but this is all subjective. The’ ultimate’ art form is probably the one you follow and have faith in, that gives you fulfilment and enjoyment. And it’s different for everyone. Therefore, the martial art styles I do now are a reflection of my years of experimenting with multiple systems, which has allowed me to draw on their varied viewpoints and belief

structures, giving me a more rounded appreciation of techniques and movement. Hopefully, this has made me a better martial artist, knowing how to emphasize my strengths and mask my weaknesses. This is the same for all sports and movement related disciplines, even running. We, as runners, are always searching for the quick fix, whether it’s wearing the latest running shoes (just look at the shoe companies marketing strategies) or searching for the perfect form that will allow us to run endless miles at top speed with no resulting injuries. But this is not possible. We are all very different, unique in fact, from shape and size to internal bodily makeup and mental attitude. To think there is only one way to run is slightly short-sighted. Instead, think of running form as a collection of theories from both the scientific world and anecdotal tales. There is no singular authority on running, but a collection of individuals with their own knowledge base, experience and take on the subject, all offering valuable advice.

basics, resulting in varying techniques and processes. For example, should one run upright or lean forwards and if so, from where should one lean - and how much? Consider any good sportsman: throughout their careers you will be able to see their form change from the influences of different coaches and their experience gained. No world champion was born a champion but instead was created – moulded if you like. We have still so much more to learn about the human body its functions and movements (one of the reasons I have devoted my adult life to it) and to believe that in such a small period of time we have mastered it only serves to do it and ourselves an injustice. The true joy in any sport is the pursuit of excellence through ever changing discoveries. It’s not our end destination that truly matters but our journey there. Be barefoot and enjoy the sensation of the path beneath your feet – it’s ever changing!

While running is basically just placing one foot in front of one another at speed with both feet being off the floor at the same time within a given stride, the subject of running is too diverse, with differentiating parts layered on top of the David Robinson (co-founder of Barefoot Running UK)

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Profile for Barefoot Running Magazine

Barefoot Running Magazine - Issue 6 (Autumn 2012)  

Issue 6 - Autumn 2012. World's first barefoot & minimalist running magazine, written by barefoot runners, for barefoot runners. Lots of run...

Barefoot Running Magazine - Issue 6 (Autumn 2012)  

Issue 6 - Autumn 2012. World's first barefoot & minimalist running magazine, written by barefoot runners, for barefoot runners. Lots of run...