Monday, March 7, 2011

10 facts you should know about barefoot running and Vibrams

“People who don’t wear shoes when they run have an astonishingly different strike,” said Daniel E. Lieberman, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and co-author of a paper appearing in the journalNature. “By landing on the middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than most shod runners generate when they heel-strike.

Yes, Professor. I understand your point and the point of every 'barefoot' runner that has made many marvelous claims since they read 'Born To Run'. But I've been saying all along that I'm not buying into it. Here are a few reasons.

1. The Lance Armstrong of ultra running and seven time winner of the Western States 100 Scott Jurek, who went to Copper Canyon in Mexico may not have won that race against the Tarahumara as depicted in Born To Run, but did you know that he went back the next year and kicked some Tarahumara butt, wearing Brooks Cascadia running shoes?

2. The Tarahumara do not run barefoot, they wear inch thick rubber sandals.

3. Christopher Mcdougall himself said he only runs barefoot for short distances and only when he needs to correct his form (as if he can't do that in running shoes.)

4. Runners love a quick fix. Hey, we run because we don't want to be still we want to keep moving. But this won't make you any faster, it won't cure all your running injuries and....

5. Changing your running form while going barefoot or minimalist can lead to shin splints, fractures, Morton's neroma, and metatarsal problems. I still have a lingering injury from changing to light weight trainers while trying to improve my form.

6.There's more to the Tarahumara than minimalist shoes and barefoot running. They are known as "the people who run fast." Running fast is not something you accomplish be running barefoot, it's genetic.

7.Kenyans also run barefoot at a young age. They run to school getting in at least 10 miles a day. When they are old enough and if they are lucky they get running shoes. If barefoot running was faster for them, why don't they run marathons barefoot?

8.The name of Vibram five fingers bikila shoes come from Abebe Bikila who was the Olympic Marathon Winner in 1960 and 1964. In 1960 he ran barefoot as he trained, and as he ran his whole life. He won in 2:15:16. When he ran in 1964 he set a new world record of 2:12:11... wearing Pumas.

9.If we were meant to run barefoot then why is it every culture on this planet has decided to cover their feet. Society on a whole has decided that walking and running with shoes of some kind is much more beneficial to them then being barefoot.

10. And finally my moment of validation. In regard to the the quote above and similar claims in "Born To Run." Here are a pair of Vibrams that are worn in very suspicious areas:

Remember it's not the shoe that makes you a great runner or gives you great form it's you.
Just ask Paula Radcliffe, she doesn't have the greatest running form, never grew up running barefoot and has to wear orthotics (which make your shoes a few ounces heavier) yet she's still holds the world record in the womens marathon. Something to think about.