Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Going Barefoot.. and the Kenyans

To add to yesterday's post on going to a more minimalist shoe, I want to talk a little about barefoot
There's SO much controversy around this subject right now.  I am neither "for" nor "against."  (You can read all my posts on barefoot running by going to "Labels" in the right column and clicking on "barefoot.")  Whether you do or don't depends on your own history and if you want to or not.  For instance, if you don't even walk around your house barefoot, you should start there...   walk around the house barefoot.  Then you can start doing some barefoot walking outside, or walking with some kind of protection for the bottoms of your feet.  My preference is Steven Sashen's huaraches, his Invisible Shoes (see box to the right).  Or you can go with Vibram FiveFingers, which there are many different models to choose from now.  Amazon.com has them:

Barefoot enthusiasts say to start by running on grass, which is great!  Except here in SoFL, where the grass is not really grass.  It's essentially what we called crabgrass in Iowa.  It is not soft; it is coarse and tough, and the ground is hard and bumpy...  has to be tough to survive the Florida sun, climate and soil.  So, here in SoFL, running on just any old grass, IMHO, is not really the way to start.  You're going to have to go to a golf course or something like that.  Now, walking (and eventually running) on the beach, yes.  But, there again, if you don't or haven't done much of it, you really have to start out very slowly, walking maybe 10-15 minutes and going from there.

A new book is coming out, I believe May 15 is when it will be available, about Kenyan running, Running with the Kenyans:  Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth by Adharanand Finn.  I was reading a review, can't remember where now, but it was saying that although the elite Kenyan runners all race in very minimalist racing shoes, they train in regular cushy trainers.  They get their perfect form from running barefoot as children growing up--which they keep, whatever shoe they are running in.  It's about form, a shortened stride, and landing mid- to forefoot, which is what barefoot (or minimalist shoe) running can help you with. 

I have pre-ordered a copy of the book from Amazon.com; you can too:

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